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Finding Jesus at Sin City

11.10.17 | Written | by DCC Story Team

"At that moment I knew and believed God is alive and real and He actually spoke to me. I hadn't cried in years and tears streamed down my face. I surrendered everything to Him during that service."

Chad had been in and out of rehab twice by the time he graduated high school. “I was emotionally and spiritually dead,” he remembered. Though he grew up in the church, he walked away as soon as he had the chance.

His mom gave him an ultimatum at graduation – get clean or move out. “I packed my bags and moved in with friends,” said Chad. “Drugs and alcohol were a part of most every day and before long, I was even selling.” 

He started playing poker professionally and gambling quickly joined the list of his addictions. By the time he was 29-years-old, he was living on couches and had exhausted all resources.

I was thirsty for success, and to me, success meant money,” said Chad, remembering how he and his then wife chased the highest paying casino dealer jobs. "I quit drinking for about six years, but my addiction was being fed by gambling and drugs,” said Chad.

The two started taking weekly dance lessons that included social drinking at the end. "Alcohol tasted good and for the first time ever, I felt like I had the ability to quit drinking after a few,” said Chad.

That control didn't last long. Chad went on a three-day trip to Las Vegas with a friend. Within days of being there, Chad was back to daily drugs, alcohol and gambling. "My wife flew out to bring me home, but she flew home alone," Chad remembers. A three-day trip turned into three months.

“I was a mess when I came back,” said Chad. What used to be a couple drinks after dance lessons was now not enough. “One night she wanted to go home, but I didn't. After an argument, I went to the bar alone." Chad woke up hours later in jail with no recollection of why he was there. "I lost everything that night,” he said.

"I was broken, desperate - willing to try anything to get rid of my pain," said Chad, "so I agreed to go to church with a friend." When he walked into the church, he was met with a city-scape visual of Las Vegas on stage and the message was titled, Sin City. “I dismissed this as coincidence,” remembered Chad.

The pastor shared how through his faith, God healed him of many years of hurt through forgiveness and love. There were many similarities to Chad's life in his story. Chad heard God speaking directly to him in a way he couldn't dismiss as coincidence.

"Amazingly at that moment, I knew and believed God is alive and real! He actually spoke to me that day! I hadn't cried in years and tears streamed down my face," Chad shared. "It was as if the hurt and pain was being washed away. I surrendered everything to Him during that service. The Father had sent his Comforter,” remembers Chad.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
John 14:16

Everything changed for Chad. "I was no longer held hostage by my addictions. I could eat and sleep again for the first time in a very long time. I felt a sense of hope and peace.” Looking back, Chad knows God was with him all through his struggles and addictions. “There is no way I would still be alive if He were not,” he said.

Chad moved to Madison shortly after accepting Christ and started attending Door Creek Church. He has been sober for 11 years, is now married to Esther and a proud father to Caleb and Jane. He serves on the Usher Team.

“I try my best to live my life by God’s will today. I am honored to share God’s truth with my family and pray over them. I am humbled enough to share my story to reach others who may come to know Christ through it. I am blessed to read His Word and pray for guidance every day,” said Chad.

“I used to seek people for guidance, but now I seek Christ. My compass is set on him, by His will alone. God’s grace and mercy is always there. God saves every day."