We recently went through our first major incident since hurricane Rita back in 2005. It was during this recent season that we found ourselves realizing a distinguishable difference between a “friend” and a “brother”.

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Disclaimer: It’s not that anyone did anything wrong, actually quite the opposite.We have been flooded with FaceBook responses, and I have a lot of friends – specifically 1046 of them on Facebook.  Many of them saying they were praying that they were believing for us that they were hoping for good news when our house was taking on water. 

We had a lot of emoticons of surprise… sadness… and smiles when rejoicing. 

And those are great reminders! 

It’s likely people who care, people who will actually take the time to say a prayer for us. 

However, I learned something really special through hurricane Harvey (even all the way up here in Tennessee). While we are preparing efforts at our church to go down to the Houston and Louisiana area to help those who are in need, I find myself realizing the power of a personal touch.

 It’s really safe for me to reply to those that are in need with a “praying”. Or a simple “let me know if you need something”. But this weekend while we were cleaning up the mud in our house (from the same – hurricane Harvey), it got me thinking about the fact that I didn’t have to do that cleaning alone (and I am not talking about our 8 kids).

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Within hours of finding out, we had the texts and phone calls of friends that were more than Facebook friends – they were more like brothers. We even had a “new friend” that was a relative of an “old friend” who lived in this area (doesn’t know us) offer to come and help us.  Friends that offered food, offered clean-up help. Friends that didn’t just text to find out what was going on but actually offered to bring their family over to help us scoop up mud out of our bathroom and library.  Friends acting more like brothers.

This is love in action.

Sometimes it may be going over to their house to help them clean, or sometimes it may be setting up at Wednesday evening cribbage game like Clark is doing from my dad during his cancer battle. 

This doesn’t take away from those that care enough to send a Facebook message or comment on a picture but it does bring up an old phrase that God gave me about eight years ago about impressions. You can’t make impressions from a distance because impressions always leave a mark. In order to make a lasting impression, you have to rub shoulders and you have to be a part of the solution. 

That’s what Brothers do! 

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Brothers go beyond with a phone call, and actual time of praying and interceding, or with an immediate offer to come along side AND they aren’t the empty offers. 

Believe me, I know empty offers! 

As a pastor, we are unfortunately good and handing out empty offers. 

There have been times, sadly to say, that I’ve looked it Nili and said let’s offer _______ knowing full well, that there’s a great chance they won’t take us up on it. 

Now for some of you who think more highly of us then you should, we are not a perfect human being’s :-). 

But as I prepared to make an announcement to our church about the way that we will respond to hurricane Harvey’s victims in the southern part of the United States I was reminded that there is a difference between a friend and a brother.

I’m thankful for both, but I think we could all be better brothers to those in need!