My name is Dan Tucker. I was born in Orlando, Florida back in ’74. Spent a few years there. My father is a pastor, and from that point on (my early childhood) we moved to about seven different cities; been in seven different ministries.
At five years old I made a profession of faith, you know, very young, and my father – I actually was not baptized until I was seven – he wanted to make sure that I understood what I was doing.
Enjoyed the church, had great experiences with the church, but the older I got, I got to see the human side of the church. You know you see the notorious preacher kid side of it, where you see people aren’t always what they appear to be.
And so there was a period of time where I actually went through my rebellious stage where I was kind of angry at “church people” – saw people who would says things that weren’t nice about your dad, and that kind of thing.
So my heart began to harden in my later teenage years. As it did that, that’s when I actually decided to go into the Army. Part of my plan was because I wanted to get away from the church life for a little while. And unfortunately I focused on the negative things that I’d seen and heard instead of my personal relationship to Christ.
And I spent a few years there. Attended church, but wasn’t really getting anything out of it. When I was stationed up in North Carolina.
Later on in life, after I got out of the Army, when I was 28 years old, I remember I had just moved back to Tallahassee, and I began to really examine my heart and my life. Just knew something was desperately wrong. I had no passion for people or for the lost. I had to force myself to crack my Bible open. And, you know, I did my quick three minute prayer in the morning and at night and I was checking off all the things I’m supposed to do, but there was zero heart behind it.
And I just remember one night for the first time, looking back over my rebellious years. My heart began to break over that. I began to see my sin in a different light. I began to see it as an affront to a holy God.
And I began to look at the things that I was angry about the church. And I remember my father saying this to me, he said, “What did the Lord Jesus do to you?” Because I was taking my anger, or maybe my disappointment in people in the local body, and taking it out on my relationship with the Lord. And it just really hit me hard.
And there was an evening I said, “Lord, you know I prayed this prayer, I surrendered my life to You, but I really haven’t surrendered my life to You.” And I just spent time with the Lord where I just broke. I repented. I confessed my sin and named them one by one, everything I could think of, everything the Holy Spirit was bringing to my mind I would just…saying “I hate this now. I want to turn from this.”
My heart’s desire from that point on was to do whatever the Lord wanted me to do. That was the turning point in my life. And it really came down to…the best way I know how to describe it was just a real hatred of my sin. In the past I knew that my sin was wrong, the choices that I made as a teenager and in the Army, some of the things that I did – I felt bad about, and there was a little bit of remorse, but there wasn’t this disdain for it. There wasn’t this hatred for it.
I told the Lord, I said, “I am completely, 100% Yours. I’m broken. Take me. Whatever happens, this is all for You.”
My life changed – my attitude towards sin, my attitude toward the things that I did, the things I thought – was just a drastic change.
I always heard, “God is holy. God is holy.” But I think a lot of us are guilty of hearing things about God and mentally assenting to those things about God, but we don’t get in the Word and discover them for ourselves. It sounds pretty simple, but it was when I started really getting into the Bible and studying about who God was, how awesome He was, and the things He expected from me, the Holy Spirit just seemed to open a passage to my heart that says, “Okay, now you see yourself, who you really are.”
I believe when I saw myself in light of God’s holiness, that was when my perspective changed. And then the biggest difference that changed in my life was realizing that it wasn’t church attendance, it wasn’t putting money in the plate, it wasn’t doing religious things or having a religious vocabulary. It was understanding myself and my sinful state as a sinner before a holy, perfect God; that I had to have something to take care of that sin that I could not take care of myself.
And it was when I realized that I had to put my faith in Christ and Christ alone and nothing else, adding nothing to it and bringing nothing to the table, that was the change. That’s it.
My encouragement to everyone is, don’t be one of those people that Matthew 7 talks about, that you’re going to be standing in front of the Lord one day saying, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I do all these things?” The Bible is very clear on the path of salvation. There’s only one way and that’s through repentance and faith in Christ.