Author Archives: Brandon

Hope Carriers

I lead an internship of young adults.  Let me tell you they can eat!  We prepare twice as much as we think they can eat and we always run out.  They are bottomless pits.  I think this is preparing us for parenting teenagers for sure.  

How many of you have that favorite dish mom made that when you found out she was making it, you got so excited.  Well the Johna’s dish that got our interns excited about was her enchiladas. We do what we call family dinners and they come over and all they can talk about is whether enchiladas is on the menu.  I have to admit they are amazing.  When they come out of the oven, the smell and the look of them makes your mouth water.  That excitement carries into the conversation and the sense of family.  In a sense, it builds hope.

I know first hand what it feels like to be stuck without hope and that is a dark place. It is a hole that seems to crowd in, and the journey out is just as dark.  When you are there you see people who have hope and when you are around them their hope seems to transfer to you.  I LOVE those people.  I call them hope carriers. 

This is the hope that we have.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul.  I want to highlight a couple words.  “An Anchor” is what keeps a boat grounded from drifting to a place that was not intended.  Think about that in reference to your “soul.” Your soul is related to your emotions.  So go with me for a minute here… 

Your emotions are anchored from drifting because of hope.  So what is hope? It is like the enchiladas coming.  You know the best is yet to come and that feeling and belief called hope is strong and trustworthy.  So then where do we place our hope?  Is is ourselves? Our gifts? Our dreams? Glass is half full? NO!  Hope is founded in the character of God that He is faithful to His promises.  None of us can see into the future and the future is full of unknowns.  But as believers, we have hope in what lies ahead because God’s plan if full of hope. So even in our suffering, our disappointment, and days of great joy, we get to carry hope to a future that is bigger than us in His story that is greater than us.

So today carry Hope and let it be a strong and trustworthy anchor for your soul!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Worry Killer

Have you ever felt anxious or worried about the future?  I know I tend to.  In high school, I worried about where to go to college and for what.  When I got engaged, I worried about being married and sharing toothpaste. When we got pregnant with our first kids, I worried about finishing college while providing for a family on one income.  Finishing college, I worried about finding the right church to work in.  Taking a job in Alabama as a youth pastor, I worried about connecting with a different culture. Today getting ready for a fourth kid, I worry about all of my kids getting enough attention and dad from me.  

What I have learned about worry, is it consumes my thoughts and causes me to not act myself.  I try to control things I can’t and frustrate people in my worry.  I have learned worry is a killer of my emotions, my creativity, my engagement level, my leadership.  I try to convince myself that worrying is critical thinking toward a solution.  Then I pray.  In prayer, the word, and Godly counsel, the Lord has shaped me.  He has changed the way I have faith, how I think, how I love my wife, how I parent, how I make decision, even how I pray.  Worry kills the good that comes from me. 

Matthew 6:25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Can it really be that simple… Seek His Kingdom, obey His ways, and he will give you what you need?  YES!!!!!! Some of you get hung up on the word need.  We tend to see “need” in what we think we “need.”  What if we need to fail to stop trusting in ourselves?  What if God allowing us to fail prevented a bigger failure that could cost you even more?  What if God knows you need humbled in front of others to put a lid on your pride?  What if God is letting you miss a payment to find how the borrower is slave to the lender?  What if your perspective of what you need is led by what you see and God’s perspective of what you need is wider than you see?  

I believe God really likes me.  I really believe I am an adopted son in a Kingdom not of this world.  I believe God has a plan for my life and it is a better plan than I could write for myself.  I believe my bent toward worry is based on a false sense that I am in control of the outcome.  When I look at my problem I worry… When I look at Jesus my problem does not seem as big.  I am not saying this is easy or Jesus removes fear.  I believe He give us courage to do it while afraid. So where are you worrying today?  Where are you trying to control the outcome?  Get in prayer, obey God’s ways and trust He knows what you need.

Recklessly, Obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

The End of Me

Have you ever just wanted to drop the “It isn’t fair” card with God?  Have you ever felt like a chess piece in some cosmic game?  I know I have.  I think all of us come to the feeling of “the end of me.”  “The End of Me,” is a feeling of pure stuck.  You have done all you know to do for good and to be faithful and hoping God would meet you halfway at least only to feel like you are trying to run in mud or swim against the current.

I have just finished reading through Job in a Chronological Bible.  Most of the book is written from Job being at the end of himself and some thick headed friends that offer little help.  Behind the scenes, God and Satan are using Job to prove they are right.  Before the wager of God and satan, Job was found faithful to the Lord.  Satan said it was only because he walked in the full blessing of the Lord in his family, health, influence, and finances. Job has no control over the direction of his life and we read the story watching his response.  Many conversations happen with Job and his friends before God speaks.  Job has accused God of being unfair. 

A young prophet finally speaks into the situation with what seems to be a harsh response…

Job 36:26 “Look, God is greater than we can understand.
    His years cannot be counted.
27 He draws up the water vapor
    and then distills it into rain.
28 The rain pours down from the clouds,
    and everyone benefits.
29 Who can understand the spreading of the clouds
    and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?
30 See how he spreads the lightning around him
    and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
31 By these mighty acts he nourishes the people,
    giving them food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning bolts
    and hurls each at its target.
33 The thunder announces his presence;
    the storm announces his indignant anger

Job is reminded if God is really in control and has allowed him into this mess, then God would be the one who can get him out.  Job does what many of us do.  He tries to make God like him. That God would be corrupt, evil, or alluf. Then Job remembers God’s faithfulness and humbles himself before the Lord.  Then the Lord blesses him with more than he had before and restore in abundance the blessing. 

Where do you think God is unfair, but God is looking for you to be faithful and obedient?  Who are we to accuse the one who holds lightning bolts and mercy in His hand?  Where did we get off thinking we deserve breath, hope, and salvation?  What if “the end of me” is actually the beginning of the richness of blessing He wants to give?  What if you need to grow your view of God and find your identity in Him?

So I pray “the end of me” over both of us today!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Gratitude

I recently met with a friend who was really frustrated with their place of work.  They shared how discouraged they were in the expectations put on them and how the overall culture is overworked and those that work the longest are the most celebrated. Seeing the negative impact on himself and several that had decided not to work there, he decided he wasn’t sure he wanted to work there.

This Sunday, at his church they preached on writing a list of things they are grateful for. He was led by the Lord to write things about his work.  It was not hard for him to make the list.  He read the list outloud and it softened his heart toward his work.  He went from ready to consider quitting to grateful for his opportunity.

I think all of us can relate with his frustration.  It might not be a job, but a person or a group of people.  So I want you to do something.  I want you to write down one person or thing in your life that really frustrates you. Really stop reading and write it down. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Next I want you to write down 7 things about that person or thing that you are thankful for about them or it. Don’t say, “I have nothing.”  There is something.  Take the time to let it be deeply personal.  Now read it outloud.  Read it again before you see that person or go to that job and notice how different your attitude is.  

Why?  It is hard to keep a grateful spirit down.  Grateful people are noticed for their genuine smile. They are noticed in how they treat people different.  They are noticed for how the see more than normal people do.  If you were a boss interviewing two equally qualified people, one was grateful and had a smile, the other just didn’t. Who would you hire?  The grateful one… Why we like being around grateful people is because they are fun and light up a room.  They emanate hope. 

So today choose to be grateful. Choose to emanate hope!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Light in the Darkness

Have you ever thought about writing out your future story?  Maybe you have not written it but thought about what you would like your life to be like later in life.  Those pages and thoughts would be full of great stories, adventures, love, and accomplishments.  However, life doesn’t usually get written that way. 

Everyone of us has a story, two, or years of stories that we would not have written into our story.  Some of those stories are a result of choices we made or friends we spent time with. Others were things that happened to us.  Some of those stories led to resentment towards someone or a group of people.  Others led to deep regret which is resentment turned inward.  Again there is no way we would have written that into our story. 

Joseph (Not Jesus dad) was born into a family of 11 other brothers from 4 mothers and one dad.  Joseph was born into a family where the wifes and brothers fought for Jacob’s attention, affection and position.  In the midst of this Joseph starts having dreams from God about being put in position over his dad and older brothers.  Like many young men he shares this dream and his brothers hate him for it.  

The brothers conspire to kill him but don’t want the guilt of his death.  So they sell him into slavery to the Egyptians.  I am sure that was not apart of Joseph’s dream. However in slavery, he is loved by his master.  Then his master’s wife offers herself to him, he refuses.  She becomes angry and accuses him of rape.  So Joseph goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

In jail, he is loved by the warden and is put in charge of the whole prison. In prison, he meets some people who have some dreams.  Joseph interpreted those dreams.  One person who got an interpretation, goes to work for pharaoh.  However, he is forgotten.  

His story changes when pharaoh has a dream and the man remembers Joseph can interpret dreams. That day he is brought before pharaoh and impresses pharaoh so much he is made 2nd in command of all Egypt. Later his brothers show up and Joseph confronts them.  

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Joseph was able to look through the mess of his life and see God was able to use it.  He even sounds grateful for it.  He was able to see past his pain and hurt.  What about you?  What part of your story do you wish wasn’t there?  What would happen if you invited Holy Spirit to heal and forgive?  What if God could use even the darkest stories to reveal His great light?

I challenge you right now to pray and ask God to highlight one moment from your past, and ask Him to heal, forgive, and use it for for His glory.  I want to let you know doing this does hurt, often very deeply.  But when you watch God use that story to help someone else it will all be worth it!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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