Have your life circumstances or problems left you feeling broken and in need of fixing? I’m a part of a group of guys who all need help and are working toward the solution.
Are you one of us?
I submit to you a group of ragtag men who get together each week to talk about life. We study the Bible, we pray for each other, we hold each other accountable, we are there for each other, and we support one another. We are “The Broken”. We are “Men of Valor”. We are the ordinary men you see walking around in the mall, at the grocery store, drooling over electronics at Best Buy, dreaming of fulfilling that mid-life crisis as we walk through the muscle car section at the car dealership, and we’re the guys crying over what’s happening in life on Tuesday nights.
Are you looking for the solution like we are?
People today ask more and more what the solution is to our world’s problems. I can tell you that it’s the same solution that has been in existence for more than 2,000 years. His name is Jesus. How can that be? No one alive today has actually seen Jesus. No one alive today heard any of his sermons. No one alive today witnessed any of his miracles, let alone talk with anyone who was touched by him or what he did for them. No one alive today has any proof or evidence for Jesus’ existence except that which is provided by the Bible and historical texts. Why should we believe in him? If you don’t believe that Jesus lived, died and rose again, then you can’t believe that Alexander the Great existed at all. There is more historical proof outside of the Bible that Jesus existed, than that of Alexander.
What’s the best way to see the evidence of Jesus in today’s world: People.
I know Jesus was born of a Virgin, lived, died and was raised three days later. I know that he is who he says he is: God. If he was not God, then we have no other explanation for how He is moving in the lives of these broken, sinful men I call “brothers” on Tuesday nights. You see, we are like most of you. We have welders, small business owners, retired military, stay-at-home dads, business professionals, bikers, hunters, computer gurus and ranchers counted among those of us who meet together regularly. We shake hands and we hug. We challenge each other. We shoot guns together. We eat roast “beast” together. We serve in our church together. We call each other out. We help each other out. We are learning that manly men fall down and have to get back up.
If you’re one of us, take courage that you’re just like the disciples Jesus chose.
If I could give you a better summary, I would say this: our men’s group looks a lot like the disciples that Jesus called. No, I’m not calling our group equal to the 12 men Jesus walked with, taught and did life with for three years. What I am saying is that Jesus called the unqualified. None of the guys in my group (myself included) would think that Jesus might have looked our way and said “Follow me.”
But let’s look at the disciples: Peter: husband, father, fisherman and denied Christ three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Thankfully, Jesus restored him (John 21:15-17). Matthew: Tax collector (Matthew 9:9). Automatic outcast of society because he was friendly to the Roman empire that oppressed his fellow Israeli countryman with the overburden of heavy taxation to pay for the Roman occupation of Israel. Matthew wound up writing one of the Gospels found in the New Testament. James and John: also fisherman, brothers…who also had an overzealous mom who requested that Jesus seat one of her sons at either his left or right hand when Jesus finally ascended to power and ruled over Israel as King. Thomas: doubted Jesus had actually risen from the dead. He wanted proof. Jesus gave it to him (John 20:24-29). This is just a sampling of the men Jesus called; rough, crude mostly uneducated and on the lower end of society.
“Iron Sharpens iron” and being there for each other.
This is how I know Jesus is alive and lives in me. If he can take me, a sinner, a fallen, broken man and redeem me, and I am seeing him do the same in the lives of the men I meet with on Tuesday night, then how can Jesus not be who he says he is? We’ve seen answered prayer. We’ve seen unanswered prayer. We’ve seen lives get better. We’ve seen lives get worse. We’ve wrestled with the Scriptures and what God is saying in them to us. We have made realizations that iron does indeed sharpen iron, but it involves friction to do so.
The one factor that unites us is the love of Christ. We could not do life without the love of Christ. Why? The Apostle Paul answers this for us:
“Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:35-39, HSCB)
Find a band of brothers like us near you.
If you are walking through life and believe that no one else has ever been where you’ve been, or lived through what you live through, I challenge you to find a church that preaches the Gospel of Christ. Inside that body of believers I’m sure you’ll find someone who has been where you are, and they would love to encourage you to know Christ and how he can make a difference in your situation. I see it most every week our group gets together.
If you’re having trouble finding your group of brothers this prayer is for you.
Can’t find a good group of men? Are you not sure whether or not they would accept you? Keep looking. If you’re not sure about whether or not God loves you unconditionally, then pray this prayer with me:
“Father God, I need to know you are near. I need to know that I’m not alone. Please bring someone into my life who will show me your love and kindness, your grace and mercy, and your forgiveness. I am one of “The Broken”. My life is in pieces and I need your help to find all of the pieces so you can put me back together. Help me understand that for every missing piece I can’t find, you will make a new one to fit in its place. Give me the courage to reach out and ask for help. Make me your child. Be a father to me, and thank you for loving me when I’m convinced I don’t deserve it. In the beautiful name of your son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
(Copyright David E. Shelton © 2015, All rights reserved.)