I've been blessed with two biological brothers, but God has always provided other men that have been like brothers to me. Of those, none can compare my friend Aaron Burgess who is celebrating a birthday today.

I knew Aaron from college and really didn't like him . . . at all. When I took a job at the alma mater, Kelly and I were looking for a home church and Aaron had just become the minister at my grandparent's church. After a lunch together, we decided that his church actually needed us and our friendship was formed. We developed a solid friendship, based on a mutual passions for God, ministry, our wives, and baseball. We supported him through those years, and ministered together until I took a ministry at Aaron's home church.

When we thought about starting a church, Aaron was the first person I talked to and he immediately offered to be a part of it. He and his wife Dorota joined Kelly and me at the very beginning in praying for Echo. And three years later, they've relocated downtown and our committed to the city as much as we are.

The thing I really haven't realized until the past few years is that Aaron is an unbelievable encourager. I almost expect my phone to ring Sunday nights after church; it's Aaron, complimenting my sermon in a brutally honest way. Outside of my family, I have no greater advocate. He selfless wants my success. It's a very good thing to have someone like that in your life.

So thanks for eight good years of friendship, man. And have a Happy Birthday too.