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The 700 Club

Mega Church Pastor Wouldn’t Change His Difficult Past

Robert Hull - 700 Club Producer

“When I grew up, I didn't look at God like a loving, caring, compassionate God. Like for me, he was this authoritative dictator who was always out to get me,” says Robby Gallaty.

Robby Gallaty grew up Catholic and never knew that God loved him until college when his friend Jeremy shared the Gospel with him.

“I never thought one time, ‘let me surrender my life to Christ.’ because my motto at that time in the world, was ‘if it's meant to be, it's up to me.’”

After college, Robby had success in business, trained in martial arts, and felt invincible, until one night an accident with a tractor trailer left him injured and in excruciating pain.

“I torqued my back, herniated two discs in my neck, two discs in my back. I'm legitimately in pain. And so the doctor says, "We're going to send you home with four things, Oxycontin, Valium, Soma and Percocet.”

Robby quickly became addicted to prescription drugs which then lead to street drugs. Before long he had a $200 a day heroin addiction. With no money, he realized he could easily steal from his dad.

“I went to his wallet at home, took his credit card out, wrote down the number and then memorized it. And over the course of three months, I charged $15,000 on the – on the business bank account. My mom eventually found out, she said, ‘Robby, we found out about what you did, your father is furious and I’m disappointed. Don't you ever come to this house again.’ And as arrogant and as prideful as I was, I said, ‘Mom, you know what? I don't need you guys. I never needed you then, I don't need you now.’ And I hung the phone up and I took the little bit of money I had left, and I blew it on drugs and alcohol and that was the point in my life that was literally living hell. For the next 2½ months it was the hardest season of my life. I had nowhere to turn to, and I had no money.”

Robby pawned off everything he owned just to get by, and after a short couple of months—he realized he couldn’t do it on his own anymore.

“I was desperate, but I was blaming people. It was this problem, and that problem, and this situation and that. You know, my parents did this to me. And at this point I couldn’t – I couldn't hide it anymore. I mean, the pride was gone, and the arrogance was gone, and the tears started to stream down my cheek, and I said, ‘Mom, I'm not doing good.’ And I said, ‘Can I come to the house tonight and talk to you guys?’ Here I was tough, this a, self-made man, here I was, broken in their – in their living room.”

His parents forgave him but insisted he check into an intense ten-day rehab.  Once he returned home, he remembered what his friend Jeremy told him about the love of God and forgiveness through Jesus.
“I come to my room and I realize, for the first time in my life, I'm lost. And for the first time I realized if I died, I knew I was going straight to hell. And so I cried out to the Lord and here's what I said, ‘Lord, I know you're real, I’m going to surrender my life to you.’ I knew that. But here's what I told the Lord, ‘I'm going to go after you with the same intensity I did to get high.’ And so I had this radical 24-hour experience with the Lord Jesus. The day he saved me, I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was going into ministry.”

Robby preached his first sermon at a homeless shelter, but soon began preaching all over the country with his friend Jeremy.

“At this time I felt invincible. I'm thinking, ‘Man, I mean, God's hand's on me, I'm preaching, people are getting saved, I mean this is – this is everything I thought I wanted to do in life. I mean, God's really blessing.’ So what did I do? I decided to go back to save two of my friends. I said, ‘hey man let me tell you what God is doing in my life.’ And I said, ‘Do you mind?’  And one of my friends said, ‘No not at all, do you mind if I roll a joint while you tell me?’  I’m like, ‘Man, I’m invincible, you’re not gonna, not gonna mess me up, do whatever you want.’”

But he wasn’t invincible, that night Robby fell back into heavy drug and alcohol abuse.  Weeks later he had a conversation at a bar that brought him to his senses.

“I'm trying to witness to the girl who's the bartender. Her name is Christy. And so I'd walk in and I'd say ‘Hey, Christy, listen, I'd like a 190 octane, and by the way, do you know Jesus died for your sins?’ She says, ‘You know what Robby, for somebody who knows so much about Jesus, you sure don't act like it.’ And I thought, ‘wow’.”   

That was the turning point for Robby, he finally quit drinking and using drugs. He started attending church where he realized the importance of being discipled and accountable to another person following Christ. He says God has used life experiences to make him the leader he is today.

“At life, we all have pieces of a puzzle in our hand, right? And we don't see how the pieces fit and we don't know how the pieces connect. But when you go through life and look back, you start to see how God's putting this puzzle together of your life.”

Today Robby has a family and pastors a church just outside of Nashville. He now sees the way God is using the puzzle pieces of his story to share God’s story of redemption with others.

“People say man you had a tough life would you change anything?  And the answer is no I wouldn’t change a thing. The reason I wouldn’t change a thing is because everything in my past as difficult as it was, led me to here.  And even your life, you may have a difficult past and you may have a troubled past, all of that is what God used to bring you to this moment today.”

“I tell people, ‘Don't ever underestimate the power of the gospel sown into a hardened heart.’ I mean, I'm the last guy who would ever come to Christ. And Jeremy planted those seeds and God would bring that to fruition seven years later.”

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Robby Gallaty
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