Ex-Gang Member Calls for Godly 'Heart Revolution'

Correction Appended

A former gang member turned pastor is seeking to start a nationwide "heart revolution."

Sergio De La Mora, founding pastor of Cornerstone Church of San Diego – named one of the fastest growing churches for two straight years by Outreach Magazine – recently released the book The Heart Revolution. The book invites readers to "experience the power of a turned heart" in a one- chapter-a-day, 40-day challenge.

"This is what America needs right now. America doesn't need another economic plan. America doesn't need to promote more education," said De La Mora to The Christian Post.

De La Mora insists that society today has underestimated the value of the heart, choosing to instead spend millions of dollars educating people's minds.

Your heart is your most valuable asset, he writes. The course of your life is determined by the condition of your heart.

The Heart Revolution, released earlier this month, begins the heart challenge by finding purpose in pain.

"Hurt is a precious commodity to God, which He transfers to your account so that you can learn invaluable lessons," the young Hispanic pastor explains. "Choose to grow through situations rather than simply go through them."

De La Mora, who went through his own religious heart revolution at the age of 17, offers personal insight into his own trials and triumphs to inspire readers to "live, love and lead from the heart."

Throughout the book, he illustrates the life changing power of God in testimonies and transformations witnessed in his church.

De La Mora was brought up in the Catholic Church, but spent his early teenage years in a violent gang. His experience with gang life included being stabbed in the back as an eighth grader and being addicted to cocaine.

But his life took a turn at age 15, when he became an extremely wealthy disc jockey after starting the largest DJ company in Santa Barbara's history.

"I had the success that everybody in the world said a person should have, but it didn't come with corresponding significance," he recalls. "I was empty."

After attending a church plant and hearing someone preach the gospel, De La Mora accepted Christ in his life and hasn't looked back since.

"When I received Christ in my life, that same day I went into the radio station that I was on and I couldn't turn on the microphone and be the same person."

De La Mora quit the radio station, sold his disc jockey company, and began to serve God in the church and in outreaches, where he would use his disc jockey skills to attract hundreds of youths and preach to them.

"To be a true heart revolutionary you have to embrace the risk to open up your heart to God and trust Him with your destiny, and to live out His plan and purpose for your life," said the gang-member-turned-pastor.

"Without risk there is no reward, without risk there is no revival, without risk there is no revolution."

The Heart Revolution Conference 2011 kicked off in Brooklyn, New York on Jan. 24. De La Mora and other keynote speakers will address leaders and pastors with the goal to revolutionize the hearts of the next generation.

Founded in 2009, Cornerstone Church of San Diego is the largest Latino-led church in the city. Recently, it also established Cornerstone Church of Mexico City.

Correction: Tuesday, January 25, 2011:

An article on January 24, 2011, about a California pastor who wants to start a "heart revolution" in which people open their hearts to God incorrectly reported that Pastor Sergio De La Mora stabbed an eighth grader in the back as a teen. Karen Campbell, De La Mora's book publicist, said her client was the one stabbed in the back as an eighth grader.

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