I loved playing AD&D in high school, being able to be creative and adventure in strange lands with fighters, mages, clerics and thieves.
But as a Christian in a household that read the Bible nightly, I had trouble with the non-Christian aspects, and simply accepted that using myth and magic was far more entertaining than not exercising my creative mind and imagination. It was the only way to escape the drudgery and duties I was given day after day. [Insert suburban youth sob story]
To say I was a compliant Christian with no real spiritual interest does not begin to tell the whole story. Suffice to say I thought I was a Christian because I held certain concepts about the death and resurrection of Jesus and tried to be good - most of the time.
I had no desire to be a "born again" Christian nor did I have any desire to have Jesus (who seemed pretty tame and a bit wussy) as my Lord. He did not keep the bullies off of me at school and having sex with my girlfriend was a bit more important than reading the Bible. I was in fact, a white-washed loser of a Christian.
I held the precepts as "true" like I held my AP Math as true. Yeah, its true, but it doesn't do much for your heart or soul or change your life, really.
So I knew more about the Dungeon Master's Guide than the Bible, and turned there for my release and my entertainment, my comfort and my excitement.
There was, however, an exception in my Christian faith that did awaken me that it could be more glorious than sitting half-awake in a liberal church listening to short homilies. There was, just a few years before I was introduced to AD&D, a Christian artist, a musician, who stunned me with his powerful songs about Jesus. They were not mooney, pie-in-the-sky "You Are the Light of My Life" songs.
No, they had punch and drama. They hit hard, and I liked them. The problem is, I did not know I was supposed to respond by giving my life fully to Christ. I thought that was covered when I got baptised and told everyone I believed. There is a VAST difference between the two, as I now know.
"Its like the difference between a night light and a strobe light," I told one inquirer.
The artist who awakened my hunger to know Jesus as the King who was ALIVE was Don Francisco. I heard this by song back in 1978, when I was 13 and newly baptized, and in 1998, after I knew Jesus as my True Lord and God Incarnate, I bought the CD with his greatest hits the moment I saw it. The song answers the shame and pain of Peter who denied Jesus and his joy and release at finding out his best friend in the world is not dead.
Swords, soldiers and tombs could not stop this King.
When I heard the Voice of Christ after my divorce, immediately after telling a girl we would not be sleeping together (and her angry exit), I discovered the very joy Peter felt that morning - and an utter realization of how badly I stank: morally, ethically and relationally.
But Jesus did something crazy: He forgave me and embraced me.
If you do not know Him, I cannot tell you how good that felt.
Believe me, Jesus is good and forgiving. He is alive.
I know it for a fact. I hope you will too.
Here's a simple prayer if you wish to know Him:
"Dear God, I humbly ask Jesus to pay for my sins, both the ones I know and the ones I do not remember.
I believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead to do this.
I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection.
Thank you. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
Jesus know ALL the ways you have abandoned Him.
He doesn't care. Come back.