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I never knew what love was. Rage and hatred filled my heart. I dabbled in other religions and witchcraft searching for truth.
But I knew something was missing.
My brother had been harassing me for weeks to come to a Cru meeting, but I always dodged him. My friend Brannon called to tell me they were watching Braveheart and that I should come.
At the meeting, I noticed something different about the students. They had something I didn't. I thought to myself, These people are real. I like it.
After the movie, a pastor gave an analogy about a septic tank filled with years of waste. He said our hearts can become like that over time until we're standing in years of garbage, but Jesus loves us and will wade through the muck to reach us.
The pastor said that I could pray and surrender my life to Christ and He would forever change me. I remember saying to God, "If this is real, I want You to come into my life and change me."
I felt instantly new. It was the first time in my life I felt someone loved and cared for me.
Before, I was into evil, cultic things. I was finding my satisfaction in alcohol, drugs and women. Jesus took those things away when I put my faith in Him. I have peace and joy because He has come into broken places and brought healing.
God is teaching me how to become a man. My friends are helping me move away from secular things, and I'm spending more time resting and reading the Bible.
Many people are like I used to be: broken and empty. I want to introduce them to Jesus and tell them the incredible hope I have in Him.
Now I volunteer with Cru's high school ministry and tell kids, "Don't do the things I did. There is hope. I know what you're going through and there is a greater way, through Christ."
Casey lives in Hixson, Tenn., where he works full-time with Dawson McAllister's crisis call center, HopeLine. When he's not working, Casey is volunteering with the high school ministry of Cru, watching Anime with his friends or listening to music.
When we put words to the hard parts of our stories, we can give those around us a new picture of who Jesus is.
Read about others who discovered their hope was misplaced and how they found a hope that lasts.
The time I spent with my father throughout my childhood is mostly an angry blur of yelling and crying.
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