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Who Would You Call If You Had A Concussion?

             Let me ask you a question.  If you got hit in the head and had a concussion, do you have someone you could call and ask to stay up with you to keep you awake?


            I can hear you saying, “Wow Jamie, where did that come from?  What a weird question!”


            I am not crazy.  Let me show you where we are going with this question.  Yesterday I was watching a show on tv where a man was playing football.  He was a man in great shape who was in his forties, and he relied on his good physique to help him play ball with kids half his age.  However, He found out on the first play that he wasn’t as young as he used to be!


            Playing quarterback, he called for the snap.  The ball came to him in the shotgun formation, and 2 seconds later a huge linebacker obliterated him, knocking him out cold!  After waking up, he had a concussion.  As is always the case with head concussions, the doctors told him to stay awake for 24 hours to make sure there were no complications.


            Well, this man’s wife was out of town, and his kids where young and couldn’t stay awake to make sure he stayed awake.  How was this injured, tired guy ever going to follow the doctor’s orders?


            As he sat on his sofa struggling to stay awake, he heard a knock at the door.  It was three of his friends, pizza in hand, arriving to help their friend stay awake through the night.


            I instantly thought, “That’s what it’s all about!  Men helping men and being there for each other, not only in the good times, but the bad!”  Thus my question, If you got hit in the head and had a concussion, do you have someone you could call and ask to stay up with you to keep you awake?


            Guys, we need to have other men in our lives.  No man is an island!  We can’t Lone Ranger our way through life.  Heck, the Lone Ranger didn’t even fly solo, he had Tonto!


            We need men in our lives.  We need what some refer to as a spiritual Band of Brothers.  Why?


            Our Band of Brothers supply support to us.  They provide a way for us to have accountability in our lives.  We all need to be accountable to each other.  Our bands of brothers are men we can trust to look us in the eye and say, “your Priorities are out of whack.”  They can say to us, “Bro, you need to make a change here.”  They are men we are completely open with who can ask us anything they want.


            Over the summer, I went through an experience where a good friend of mine went through a very difficult time, and unfortunately this friend became very bitter.  Over time, their anger and bitterness became like a poison, contaminating everyone who came in contact with them.


            This friend’s behavior began to really affect me.  I started to struggle to follow God down certain paths He was leading me down.  I began looking at certain people through my bitter friends eyes, not God’s eyes.  I was sinking fast.


            One of my band of brothers and his wife kindly confronted me and showed me that I was in trouble.  They helped me see how this friends bitterness was affecting me, and they lovingly pointed me away from this mind set and back to what God had called me to do.  This is what it is all about, men helping men.  Such a man helps us grow in our walk with God.  They point out areas of sin inside of us, helps us see it, and encourage us to grow and overcome!


            Peter had such a friend.  The Bible tells us that Peter was a man who loved to eat ham!  Peter was a bacon guy just like me!  However, a good Jew didn’t dare eat bacon, so when Peter was around Jews, he acted like he hated pork, but when he was around Gentiles, it was BLT’s and chips nonstop.


            Paul loved Peter enough to pull him aside and show him that this was sin.  Galatians 2:11 says Later, when Peter came to Antioch, I had a face-to-face confrontation with him because he was clearly out of line. Here’s the situation. Earlier, before certain persons had come from James, Peter regularly ate with the non-Jews. But when that conservative group came from Jerusalem, he cautiously pulled back and put as much distance as he could manage between himself and his non-Jewish friends. That’s how fearful he was of the conservative Jewish clique that’s been pushing the old system of circumcision. Unfortunately, the rest of the Jews in the Antioch church joined in that hypocrisy so that even Barnabas was swept along in the charade.


           14 But when I saw that they were not maintaining a steady, straight course according to the Message, I spoke up to Peter in front of them all: “If you, a Jew, live like a non-Jew when you’re not being observed by the watchdogs from Jerusalem, what right do you have to require non-Jews to conform to Jewish customs just to make a favorable impression on your old Jerusalem cronies?” (The Message)


            We need such men in our lives, men who will point out areas of sin and show us what we need to change.  We also need them so we have someone to reach out to in times of trouble.  When the going gets tough, we need men in or lives we can cry out to and say, “I am in a battle, I need help!   Will you fight with me?”


            Jesus did this while in earth.  On the night He knew He would be betrayed, He took His 3 closest friends aside and asked them to support Him.


            Matthew 26:36  Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.


            Jesus knew what He would face that night, and He wanted His closest friends to help Him get through it. 


            Paul also looked for men to come along side of Him during His times of trial.  Throughout the book of Acts, we see Paul constantly surrounding himself with men who helped him through the hard times He faced.  When facing His darkest hour, awaiting his death at the hands of an insane dictator, Nero, he reached out to his friends to support him.


          2 Timothy 4: 9 Do your best to come to me quickly …Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.


            Facing a time of trial, Paul wanted to gather his men around him for help and support.  


            I honestly don’t know what I would do without my band of brothers.  Just a few weeks ago, I was facing a really tough situation, and I honestly didn’t know which way to go.  I immediately dropped an email to my guys, asked for support and prayer, and literally within a minute, my phone rang.  It was one of my boys calling to help me. 


            Over the next few days, these men held me up in prayer, and I could literally feel their prayers making a difference.  This is the reason we need a band of brothers.


            We need men around us who we can learn from.  We gain prayer support and encouragement from our band of brothers.  We can also learn from each other.  Older saints can help the younger saints.  There is no trial or temptation that is new under the sun, and it is time for God’s men to be open and vulnerable and admit to our struggles and weaknesses so we can support each other, but also learn from others how to gain victories or avoid defeats.  A band of brothers can help each other by saying, “I struggled with this area, I learned this going through it, now here is how you avoid making the same mistake.” 


            I have a young friend who is starting the road to ministry.  God has allowed me to help steer Him along the path towards discovering the call on His life.  I have been able to help Him avoid some of the mistakes I made.  I have been able to give him guidance as to what path to take or what decisions to make based on my own personal experiences.  I don’t say this to make myself look good.  I say it to show how God can use us.  Why should this young man have to strive and struggle when I have gone through the same thing? 


            I have had older guys do the same for me.  A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to try a type of outreach that I hadn’t done before.  This was a HUGE opportunity for me. The man who invited me, a good friend of mine, sat in on my outreach.  Half-way through, he came up front and began co-teaching with me.  I was honestly shocked and instantly I thought, “Wow, I blew it!  He didn’t like how I handled this situation, and he took it over.”


            I was crushed.  I felt like I blew a big opportunity.  I felt like a failure.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to this guy after the meeting as we both were mobbed with men asking us questions, but late that night, he called me on the phone.  He explained to me what had happened.  He always intended to interrupt and take part in the class because he wanted to help me learn.  He then went on to show how he had orchestrated everything about the outreach, the crowd size, the topic, everything, so that I would succeed and also learn from him for future events.  I went from feeling like a failure to feeling loved and protected by a father-like figure.  I will never, ever forget how this man invested in me and made sure I learned and grew in a safe environment, while giving me a chance to grow and succeed.  He poured into me what he had learned over the years, just like I am pouring into this younger guy as he begins down the path of ministry.  THAT is what it is all about, Men helping men.  Mentoring.  Going on a Man-Tour, showing other men what you learned on your journey into manhood.


            We all need this in our lives.  Every man needs a man older than him mentoring him, and every man needs to be mentoring other younger guys.  We need to work together and help each other on this journey along the Christian life.   


            What about you?  Do you have men in your life who are investing in you, showing you ways to avoid the same mistakes and failures they encountered?  Are there younger guys in your life you can do the same for as they go through their walk with God?  Do you have men you can contact for help when going through tough times?  Are their men in your life who will love you enough to stare you straight in the eyes and say, “Bro, you’re in trouble.  Stop what you are doing?”


            We all need men in our lives like this.  If you don’t have such men in your lives, start asking God to send them into your life.  Start attending a Bible-believing church.  You will connect with other believers who can disciple you and help you along your spiritual journey.  You will meet younger guys you can invest in as they grow in God.  If you are not already attending a men’s group, I recommend you connect with the one at your church.  If your church doesn’t have a men’s ministry, contact me and I’ll help you get one started.


            Guys, take this article seriously.  Make your 2014 New Year’s Resolution to develop a band of spiritual brothers in your life.  Keep the resolution.  You can’t do it alone!

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