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The Secret of Success
Fame and fortune were his. Kirk Cameron was at the top of the success ladder at age 18. When he thought there was nowhere else to go, he discovered a higher calling.

If you could have anything, what would make you happy? A posh home, a new car, power, prestige?

Australian filmmaker Rhonda Byrne says she's discovered the secret to achieving the heart's desires and vows to reveal it in a 90-minute film titled The Secret.

Kirk Cameron

Photo courtesy Mark Craig Productions

The Secret is based on the power of positive thinking and visualization: people can obtain the things they want through their thoughts, willing them into reality.

Producers used a word-of-mouth strategy to promote the film, creating a buzz in niche markets before branching out to the mainstream. With the DVD making appearances on Larry King Live and Oprah, The Secret is definitely out.

However, not everyone has bought into to the belief that positive thinking guarantees success and happiness. Actor Kirk Cameron has learned firsthand that people need more than themselves to fill the void in their lives.

As the teen star of ABC's smash-hit TV sitcom Growing Pains (1985-1992), Cameron probably visualized many desires — fame, fortune and power — and he saw them become reality one by one.

"I was rich, I was young, I was famous, I could have anything I wanted with whomever I wanted," Cameron says. But the teen celebrity wasn't happy; he lacked peace. Something deep within was missing, and there was nothing he could personally do to fulfill the longing.

"There was this aching, empty feeling that left me very disillusioned with the business I was working in," he tells Today's Christian. "What else was there? What else did I have to shoot for? I'd basically reached the top of the ladder, and I was 18."

Even though he had every material thing a person could desire, he felt there must be more to life. He began talking to Christians and asking them questions.

Then one day while driving his sports car, he pulled over to the side of the road and had a heart-to-heart with God.

"God, if you're real, I want to know. If you're there, I want you to show me," he recalls saying. For the first time, the star opened his heart to the sense that there was a God. Prior to that point, he was a "devout atheist" who claimed that "thinking people didn't believe in fairy tales."

But then Cameron read the Bible and learned about the real secret of life.

"I read about this amazing God who sees my thought-life, who considers lust to be adultery, who considers hatred to be murder, who sees all the sins that I've committed that no one else knows about — the secret arrogant attitudes," he says.

"And instead of giving me what I deserved, He's provided a way for me to be forgiven and changed."

"Something just completely captured my heart about the message of the Gospel," he tells AgapePress. "I felt convicted of my sin and needed God's forgiveness and wanted Him to change me."

Cameron accepted Christ as His Saviour and since then his life has changed dramatically. For one, he has partnered with evangelist Ray Comfort to teach Christians how to share their faith like Jesus did.

Their ministry, The Way of the Master, is an evangelism training program that includes a radio broadcast, numerous books, an online school, small group training courses, a website and a reality TV show, in which Cameron and Comfort dialogue with everyday people about their spiritual beliefs.

After ABC featured a story in January 2007 on atheists, Comfort contacted the network, offering to prove God's existence, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible. ABC agreed and in May hosted a debate that was featured on Nightline.

Cameron, a former atheist, and Comfort, author of God Doesn't Believe in Atheists (Bridge-Logos 1993), felt well equipped for the challenge. Cameron says his faith in Christ has helped set his priorities — God, family, and career, in that order.

"If someone was asking me to do something that would compromise my relationship with my wife, I wouldn't do that," he tells People of the Web. "If it's going to hurt my kids, I'm not going to do that, and I take it a step further and say if this is going to hurt someone else's kids, I don't want to be a part of that."

Though his decisions have most likely limited his film and TV roles to faith-based productions, Cameron has maintained a successful career. He is known for his portrayal of journalist Buck Williams in the Left Behind movies. Cameron's wife, actress Chelsea Noble, also appears in the films, playing the role of Hattie Durham.

The couple met on the set of Growing Pains and married in 1991. They have six children, four adopted and two biological. Noble, who shares Cameron's faith, tells The Christian Herald, "God is the most important thing in our lives, the centre of our lives."

Cameron's ultimate goal, personally and professionally, is to share the message of God's love with everyone he meets, beginning with his family. Although raised with moral values, his family did not go to church and didn't understand that a relationship with Christ is more than just trying to live a good life.

Through his ministry, Cameron has helped introduce his mother and sister, Full House child star Candace Cameron, to Jesus. As well, Cameron's father recently became a believer and asked his son to baptize him.

Cameron reaches out to people through personal projects he undertakes with his wife as well. The couple has traveled to Uganda, Africa to help with the Children's Hunger fund and they also work with Camp Firefly, a retreat for seriously ill children and their families.

Cameron and Noble have discovered that the real "secret" to a life of contentment and happiness is more than believing you'll get what you desire if you want it badly enough.

"There's nothing I've ever done, nobody I've ever met, no dreams that I've ever had in my career," says Cameron, "that even comes close to comparing to the joy that I know in knowing God and following Him day by day."

Originally published in Living Light News, July/August 2007.




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