The first time I was lied to by a bunch of Christians I was 14. I was invited to go to watch these guys give motivational speeches, sing, and preach. When it was over there was some psychological manipulation going on. They turned the lights down low, played that "inspriational" 'i can only imagine' song and basically wooed ppl to come forward and "get saved."
I remember my friend Landon going forward, and feeling kind of pressured to do the same. I went up stairs and talked to a councelor who told me that in order for me to be saved all i had to do was "pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart" and if i did it with enough sincerity I would be saved. Well i did it.
Weeks turned into months and months into years. This whole time nothing changed in my life. For years I thought I was a Christian because I prayed this prayer one time at a meeting. Nothing changed about my life.
It When I look back at my life prior to becoming immortal I cringe. Some of the things I did were unspeakable, and many of my sins were public. I remember that year of my conversion, if asked, a person may say that I was a jerk that did a bunch of drugs. They didn't know the half of it, but in general that was probably what I was known for. Treating people like crap and getting high.
It all started, oddly enough, with Harry Potter. I remember when I was in grade school and middle school reading those books and liking them. It was my senior year and my British literature class was assigned the series. I remember thinking that this was going to be easy, and I was happy about the assignment.
Jake Davis set into motion what would be the most significant event of my life. He told the teacher that his parents didnít want him to read the books because witchcraft is evil. If I recall, there was a big ordeal. The teacher was mad at him and his parents had to come to complain to the superintendant to get him out of it.
Finally the teacher folded and gave Jake an alternative assignment.
Now this part is kind of hard to explain. Months later I was lying in bed and this mysterious motivation just rose up in me to protest the series. I was just suddenly convinced that Harry Potter was wicked. Now remember, I was neutral with the whole Harry Potter thing. I actually enjoyed those books!
So I stood up and said I am a Christian, which was laughable, and that I would not be reading JK Rowling. Again, the teacher caused this big public scene. It got heated to say the least but finally she gave in and gave an alternative assignment to me as well. We were assigned to write an essay on why Harry Potter goes against our religions.
I donít want the reader to miss what is going on here. I am a wicked young man doing all sorts of horrible things, and I am convinced in my own mind that I am indeed Christian. So here I am after this very public dispute trying to act Christian. See my arrogance drove me to suddenly be super spiritual. I was delusional, and I was trying to justify myself. For months this ridiculous behavior continued. I drove a lot of my friends away for good, but it was all a part of a larger plan.
In early 2007 I was on the internet one night doing some research for my assignment on Harry Potter. Now remember until the moment I decided to start "acting Christian" I didnt know much about the Bible. It's not like my family was religious or anything. Basically I was just winging it by repeating what other men had said.
I am surfing the internet and I come across a sermon entitled "Shocking Youth Message Stuns Hearers" by Paul Washer. This man pulled the rug from under my feet. He showed me the foundation I was standing on. It was a mound of lies. Worthless.
Something supernatural happened to me that night. The Lord spoke and He told me what I was. I don't believe I heard an audible voice, yet He spoke. How do I explain this? It was an intense experience. It was as if another person had invaded my mind and He was saying I was in a desperate situation. It wasn't that I had messed up, it was that I had never done anything but mess up. My very nature was vile. I couldnít stop thinking about it! He would not leave me alone.
It was as if something outside of myself was reminding me of all the wrong I had done in my life. There was this internal battle waging as I tried to convince myself that I was a good person but the Holy Spirit unveiled my true nature. Theologically this is called repentance although I didnt know what was happening then.
I was cowering in my room weeping in absolute anguish over my condition. The pain was intense and I felt hopeless. I remember crying out to Him begging for forgiveness. It seemed like an hour of this nightmare. Suddenly the love of God was shed into my heart and I knew I was forgiven. All that pain was replaced with joy and peace and that night I slept like a baby.
I specifically recall the way I felt the next day. It was as if I had a new hope. There was this underlining purpose to my life. It was like knowing a really good secret, and as my mind would drift off to other things I would always race back to thoughts about what matters. Its that way even today, God is constantly tracking me down urging me to seek Him. I have strayed, and strayed far and long since coming to Christ, yet the desire for Him remains.
Written September, 2009