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I Hated Church Ministry

Author, songwriter, business owner, and professor Dave Yauk shares how after his life went into a tailspin, until he found Christ:

I was born and raised in a Christian home. My great-great-grandfather was Louis Talbot, one of the founders of Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, and a preacher who worked closely alongside Billy Graham.

Yet despite this lineage of faith, I grew up as a “moralistic therapeutic deist.” I believed loosely in a divine mind that created the world, and I believed that this being would want us to be good and nice to each other. But I knew this “thing” wasn’t especially involved in my life.

I attended my family’s church until I was 11 years old. In that time, I acquired a certain cynicism about religion and ministry. In many ways, ministry became an idol in my home, and it often kept us from being a close family. Our home life was emotionally arid and devoid of intimacy, and I grew to hate whatever god would allow this.

Around age 17, I began my first serious romantic relationship. But this girl quickly became my idol. It only took a few months before I was pouring my anger onto her. I became what I had vowed never to become: an abuser.

My life went into a tailspin. I entered a 10-month depression. Not a day went by without thoughts of killing myself. I was desperate to learn how to love and be loved. So I studied psychology and read ancient holy books. One remained unopened: the Bible.

But one day, I opened a book that posed a question I couldn’t answer. The author asked, “Do you have a desire to be perfectly loved?” That’s impossible! No one can love us perfectly. And yet the author probed deeper, acknowledging that we still desire this sort of perfect love, even though no one on earth can provide it.

This was the first moment I ever entertained the possibility of a personal god. I finally opened my Bible, and almost instantly I came upon John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Suddenly it all made sense. I understood how Jesus differed from all the other religious leaders I’d encountered in my reading. Jesus sacrificed everything to come down to us!

In that moment I finally met Jesus. Becoming a Christian didn’t make my life any easier. Immediately after Christ entered my heart, he started dealing with my sin. He led me down the dark path of confronting my horrendous addictions. He revealed a stubborn tendency toward lying and deception and a violent temper burning with white-hot flames.

More and more, I came to understand why I needed Jesus’ love. It was one thing to receive the perfect love that every human being desires. It was quite another to know he had offered this perfect love while I was still a wretched sinner. When I contemplated the weight of the horror my sin had caused, it drove me to a deeper humility. The more I understood my status as a beloved son of God, bought by the precious blood of Jesus, the more I learned to welcome the Holy Spirit into my life as my comforter, counselor, convicter, and confidant.

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