My Brothers

My brothersPastor, I love how the Apostle James consistently addresses his audience in his epistle. Eleven times in his five short chapters, Pastor James addresses his congregation as my brothers (sometimes the phrase is even my dear brothers).

The word brothers is always the Greek word adelphos, which means from the same womb. James didn’t elevate himself, nor put down others in the church; he constantly put himself on the same plain. He was saying, “Look, I struggle with what you struggle with—we all have the same issues. I’m not immune to these things because I’m the so-called leader of the Jerusalem church. I have to keep alert and keep on working in these areas too!”

Sometimes James adds the adjective dear (or as the KJV says, beloved). This word is from the root word which means to be fond of someone, to love dearly, or to be well pleased. James, in essence, is saying, “I like you! You’re not just someone that goes to church with me, but you’re a dear friend.”

As the adage goes—People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. So almost every point James covers in this epistle is introduced by the my brothers tag. It’s his way of reminding them, “I’m sharing this with you because I really like you, and I want us to grow closer to God together.”

Wow! What a great example for me as a pastor. I’m not immune to struggles. I’m not in a separate category. I’m in this with my dear brothers and sisters, and I want us to all overcome and grow in our level of intimacy with God together.

Don’t Get Left Behind

This post is especially for the men (but, ladies, feel free to read along too).

No, I’m not talking here about the series of Left Behind books that tell a story about people who may miss out on the rapture of the Church. I’m talking about you leaving the protection of your friends and being exposed to a serious defeat.

Most times when I am counseling men who have given in to a temptation, or those who are battling the same old perplexing problems, I find a common theme. It’s not something new… it’s been around a long, long time.

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Do You Really Want To Be Accountable

I have a great friend. He is the brother I never had, but he is more than any brother I could have ever hoped for. We are brothers like David and Jonathan were brothers in the Bible. We are covenant brothers (we’ve coined the shorthand CovBro).

What is accountability? The dictionary simply says it means “to give an account or to give an answer.” It doesn’t say “to give an excuse or to give the rationale.”

Accountability means there is only black and white. No gray. Either I did what I was supposed to do. Or I didn’t. King Solomon said it this way

Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

Before it’s time to give an account to God, wouldn’t you like someone else to hold you accountable? I would!

In this everything’s-relevant, I’m-not-responsible-for-my-own-actions world, finding someone who will actually hold you to a rigid “Yes, I did it” or “No, I didn’t do it” standard is rare. But my CovBro is one who holds me accountable.

When we meet each month, he asks me the hard questions.

  • How are your business dealings?
  • Are you spending enough time with God?
  • Are you doing what God has called you to do?
  • What’s happening in your marriage? Your relationship with your kids? Your church?

He gets my internet usage report from X3 Watch. He is the iron that sharpens my iron. He accepts no wishy-washy answers nor any flimsy excuses. I do the same for him. And we’re both better off for it.

Do you really want to be accountable? Then find someone that loves you too much to let you get away with anything less that your very best. Someone who will hold you to God’s standards. Someone who will sharpen your iron. It can be painful. But the results are so worth it!

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