“I looked for joy and fulfillment in the bar scene. It was the only thing I knew.” – Matt Pacholczyk
“I’ve never been a guy who enjoys receiving gifts,” said Matt Pacholczyk. “When I received a present from a friend or family member, I’d feel bad about it like I didn’t deserve it. Similarly, when someone told me that grace was a free gift available to me only through Christ – that there was nothing I could ever do that was good enough to earn God’s love – I found that very hard to believe.
“I’ve tried almost every way that the world says will lead to happiness. When the first hundred times of looking for contentment failed, I tried even harder. All I ever really wanted was to be well liked. In pursuing that goal, I went off the deep end.
“In high school, I wanted to be where the popular kids were. They were the ones who partied and drank heavily, so I pursued that lifestyle. When a relationship with a girl who was very important to me ended, I became depressed and partied even harder.
“In college, the waywardness got worse each passing year. I started smoking marijuana, but my real idol was relationships with girls. When I found someone who ‘loved me’, I’d break out of loneliness and depression. After the relationship ended, I’d manage my depression and loneliness through partying and drinking.
“After college I moved to Houston and took a job in the medical field. It was high stress and high intensity. I was on the clock 24/7, answering emails in the middle of the night and always staying in the middle of what was going on. I only knew a few people in the area, so I looked for joy and fulfillment in the bar scene. It was the only thing I knew.
“From time to time, I wondered if living for the world would ever be enough. I heard the gospel for the first time in a podcast message that a friend had sent me from Watermark. At that point, I trusted in the world more than I trusted the Lord, but a seed had been planted. Eventually, I became broken enough to realize that nothing I was doing was ever going to satisfy. I finally said, ‘Lord, you win!’ In November of 2013, during my darkest season of loneliness, I trusted Christ.
“I don’t know why the truth of the gospel finally clicked with me (I’d heard it many times in college). I think what surprised me most was that the Creator of the universe wanted to know me, in spite of how wicked I was. In fact Jesus died the most devastating death so that I could know Him and spend eternity with Him. God opened my eyes to the grace available to me through Christ. That’s how I was able to trust in the Lord.
“I really wanted to get involved with other believers somewhere, but I didn’t know how to transition from my old group of friends who partied to a new group. I actually started looking for other jobs and moved up here to North Texas for work. I knew if I didn’t ‘change my playground,’ my faith wasn’t going to grow. I came to Watermark’s Fort Worth campus, and God used the love, encouragement and relationships I built in community to change my life.
“God blessed me with a group of guys who constantly point me to truth, encourage me in both joyful and difficult times and are willing to walk with me through anything I could ever experience. I did not know what true commitment looked like until I joined community. Since joining Watermark, community has grown my faith more than anything else. As we continue to lead each other closer to Christ, the abundant life happens.
“Another way that Christ made a difference in my life is in my job. In the past I looked at my career as a source of power and fame. After I started walking with Christ, achieving the world’s view of success in the corporate world began to lose its appeal. I now view my job as my mission field where I hope to be a source of truth to people I know.
“I also hope to do the same thing in the lives of the young adults I meet at The Porch. It’s a great opportunity to tell others about how much God has changed me over the last year. Perhaps outwardly it wasn’t obvious, but inside, I knew my heart was wretched. God still pursued me, even when I was unworthy and ran from Him. At one point I would have said this kind of radical transformation was impossible. But now I can look at others and say, ‘If God can do this in my life, He can certainly change yours.’”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)