This past week, our LOG teams reflected on John 1:35-42. In this passage, Jesus starts his ministry and calls his first disciples. We discussed that while the disciples initially invited their friends and family to come and see this remarkable person named Jesus, it was ultimately Jesus himself who drew the disciples in and called them to follow.
As I was preparing for this devotional, it reminded me of the many people in my life who had planted little seeds in my heart along my journey toward Christ. I am so thankful for every one of them and so thankful for God’s faithfulness in giving them the courage to share the Gospel with me. Many of those are great stories, and one in particular starts with a very good friend who invited me to LOG.
My first experience with LOG was at an open team meeting the summer before my junior year of high school. I was feeling particularly lost at the time as I had recently had a falling out with most of my friends at school. I was desperate for a new group of people. Thankfully, it was at that time that a newer friend of mine invited me to attend a youth group meeting. At the meeting, I met a huge group of wonderful people that all seemed like they’d known each other forever. They were all there together by choice, having a great time, and their friendships really seemed genuine. For the first time, I met a group of teenagers that seemed to care more about each other than they did about themselves.
Once school started, the team started preparing for the LOG weekend that fall and the meetings were for team members only. I was crushed at not being able to hang out with my new friends at the meetings each week. I couldn’t wait to be a participant at their weekend retreat and learn more about what this special experience was that had brought all of these people together.
I went into the weekend thinking that LOG was just an activity these cool people all participated in. Afterward I realized it wasn’t just a hobby that had brought them together. Their energy and their compassion was actually fueled by the love they had found in God. This was the first time God revealed to me what he talks about in John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The acceptance I felt at LOG and the kindness shown to me there was exactly what I needed at that tumultuous time of my life. Even today, I can look back on that LOG weekend and remember actually feeling God’s love and grace made real to me for the first time.
- by Jamie Studtman (LOG #14 - serving on LOG #99 team)