couple of my friends would always disappear on Friday nights. They were always going to “The Program”, as they called it. Of course, I was immediately intrigued, and so I resolved to come see “The Program” for myself. It was only then that I learned that Hartford City Mission’s YoungLife was indeed a 'program' for highschoolers, and I was shocked to find out that it was a program about Christ! I can truly say I have never had so much fun doing anything that had to do with God (or anything at all, for that matter), and it did not take long for me to find friends in the leaders. As time went by, I met more and more people on fire for the Lord, and I finally started to feel like I was in a place where I belonged, and where I was accepted. It was not until I graduated from high school and became a leader at YoungLife myself, however, that I started to truly realize that God often uses us as his hands to touch others in our lives. Before I knew it, it was me, a former participant, standing in front of telling them about Jesus, and the love of God. I know that it was only possible for me to feel the confidence to do so because I was surrounded by other believers in Christ, and looking back, I can see how important it is to have a network of people who love Christ as you do, people who will hold you accountable and can encourage you. I can say from firsthand experience that it makes a world of difference, and if you don't believe me, the Bible says in Proverbs 18:1- “One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment.” So don't put yourself in corner, like I did for so long, or you and your spiritual walk will also wind up suffering. Another important thing to think about - other than our own spiritual well being - is in bringing non-believers to Christ. And honestly, it scares me to think that if God uses us as ways to touch others, and if we as believers can even make other believers feel ostracized, how can we ever show the love of God to those who don't know him? James already spoke out against favoritism in the church long ago, and if we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, how can it be that any one of us can be put aside, if we are truly to be disciples of Christ? Like James, I also warn us, for the sake of His Kingdom, to take how we treat each other seriously. We are representatives of Christ. We are family. If you sat me down now and asked me about Mark 3: 34-35, I would be able to fully appreciate it, as I hope you do. And if you are reading this, and are a follower of Christ, I welcome you as my family.