Author Archives: Brandon

Smite Thy Enemy

Have you ever had someone go out of their way to make your life miserable?  Like they have an agenda to embarrass and shame you infront of people. Then we play out what we wish we could do to them or we have these fake conversations in out head with them.  We tear them apart in our heads.  Some of us actually do those things.  We get even with them!

Then you come across the words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 

Most of the time we are like “He is Jesus. He can do that. I can not.”  Or we think ok I will pray for them… “God get them, smite them, destroy them, expose them.” I do not think that is the kind of pray Jesus was encouraging.  Love your enemies.  Love those that go out of their way to make you miserable.  Love those who intentionally hurt you. 

Then if you actually do, something deep in you happens.  The pain of what they did hurts less. The hatred toward them goes away.  Here we feel like they are getting away with it.  What if God telling us to love our enemies was actually about us too.  What if He knew holding on to the pain and resentment would steal life from us? What if we would just let Him have our hurt we walk away free?

Then what about them? What if when they see you responding in love instead of anger, they see who the Father really is?  

So loving your enemies heals you and shows the offender the nature of the God.  So who do you need to forgive?  Who would God have you pray for?  Who do you not want to pray blessing over?  Go do it!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
@thevibrantchurch
www.thevibrant.church

The Shadow of Death

Last week, we are outside on a beautiful Florida winter day, Johna and I are talking while watching the kids play.  The big kids have neighbors over and are playing kick the can.  Praise God for games that keep them from a television screen playing video games.  Yes kick the can is still the best backyard game when you have kids of all ages.  While the bigs were playing an intense game of kick the can, that yes still ends in tears as the rules change every time they play, my two year old Eliana discovered her shadow.  I can only imagine what happens in the mind of a toddler when they see this dark image on the ground that seems to follow them everywhere they go.   The image at first startled her, and then she just stared at it.  

Psalm 23:4a Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. 

David writes this psalm as he is leading sheep from one valley to another and has to pass through what is called “shadow of death.”  It is a dangerous ravine that has earned its name.  David does not see his own shadow but that of the high cliffs reminding him that if danger approaches he has nowhere to go.  The shadow is a constant reminder that his problem is so much bigger than him!

All of us find ourselves at times intimidated by the shadow of what could be. Fear has a way of causing our heart to be crippled. I know right now there are a lot of shadow.  What if I can’t find a venue?  What if the government shutdown keeps the IRS from approving my accounts?  What if no one comes to our start up parties?  What if no one comes to our church?  What if we don’t make it?  Will there be enough for my family after we launch and the church is my only income?

Your shadows probably look different? Will there be enough to make payroll this week?  Can my marriage survive?  Will I always have this addiction?  Will they show up?  Will I have a job next month?  What will the doctor say if I go see him?  Will the treatment work? Do I have what it takes?  Am I enough?

It is easy for our eyes to get fixed on the shadow of what bad things could happen.  David shows us another way.  He knew that a shadow had to have light.  He knew if he took his eyes of the shadow and onto the light, he would live differently.  Here is the rest of that verse: 

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

David knew God was with him.  Though the shadow of what could happen was bigger than him, it was not bigger than his God.  When we stare the shadow down we rarely feel like God is with us.  David was amazing at remembering God’s faithfulness in the shadow of his past.  They were a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness to him.  

So what shadow looks to take your courage? What shadow follows you and reminds you of what you are not?  What shadow of you past reminds you of what you have done?

Jesus paid way to high of price for us to let the shadows of our lives cripple us.  God is with you.  He had not abandoned you.  You have not sinned too greatly. You are not too far gone.  So turn your eyes from the shadow to the Light.  The Light has already overcome your shadow!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
www.thevibrant.church

Unexpected Appointment

As many of you know I am preparing to plant a church late summer of this year.  What many of you might not know is I have been waiting and praying for this for 8 years!   Waiting is hard but timing is everything.  Let me tell you it is HARD!  I need to raise the equivalent of $500,000, build a team of 150 people (120 that are people I do not know), and find a venue for us to rent.  

In Plantation, there are 2 public high schools, 2 public middle schools, and 3 private schools.  I have called all of them, email all of them, and showed up to all of them requesting a meeting.  One high school has a church in it, the other said they were not interested. One middle school did not have a room big enough.  One private school said they use their facilities on the weekends, and the rest did not reply to email, phone call, or visit.  

Matthew 6:31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 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.

Let me tell you I was getting worried!  I know I have 5 months until I need a building, but it seemed like the lack of options was closing in all around me.  My heart was growing anxious.  Then I met a guy who worked at a public park building.  He said to come back in a week and he could introduce me to a couple of principals.  He did but they did not have the room size I needed, then one of them introduced me to a middle school principal.  This was one of the schools that had not replied.  She asked what I was looking for.  I told her we need a space for the weekends but more importantly we want a school to partner with.  She said she had a space but did not have a sound system or lighting.  I told her we could install our system.  She shared how she needed the money to help feed kids that could not afford breakfast or food for the weekend.  I told her we want to help her meet those needs.  We could paint, landscape, clean, or whatever they needed. She about cried.  

We set up a meeting for the following week.  We talked about how we could serve them.  We got to pray with them and are looking for some early ways to bless them.  

What does this have to do with you?  Everything!  This school is what I have been praying for for years.  God heard my prayers even when I thought they were bouncing off the ceiling.   God has filled our church with purpose by meeting the right person at the right time.  Many of you have jobs that pay the bills but do not have a purpose.  You have prayed and tried to open doors.  God is a God of perfect timing, and will open the door for you in His timing!  So pray and believe!

Oh and if you want to give to the school to meet those needs you can give to this link and we will give the money to the school… https://pushpay.com/g/thevibrant?src=hpp

But today, ask God to open your eyes to how you can be a blessing to the world you live in!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church

Prayer that Changes Things

Have you ever felt like you get in the way of all God has for you?  I know my thoughts can drift, my attitude can get sour, my eyes can wander, my mouth can say things I wish I could take back, and I can do things I know I should not?

Romans 7:14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 

So here the Apostle Paul, who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament understands the struggle we share.  I find a lot of comfort in his vulnerability.  I am not the only one who struggles and neither are you.  So every morning I pray over the different parts of my body.  Here is a sample of my prayer:

Jesus I need you today. I give you my mind.  My mind wanders and is easily distracted.  Your Word says that You are renewing my mind.  So I ask you today to give me the grace needed to think thoughts that are good and thoughts of You and others.  Teach me to think less often about myself and more about Your Kingdom!

Today I give you my eyes.  They tend to wander and lead me to places you have given me victory over.  I ask that you would not just lead my eyes from wandering but you would open my eyes to how you see.  Show me the broken and wounded and give me insight to make a difference.  Open my eyes to my family for what they need from me.

Today I give you my ears.  My ears tend to listen to the wrong voices which shape the world I see and how I engage with others.  Open my ears to hear your voice and quite the voices of the world.  Tune my ears to hear you and where you are leading me.

Today I give you my mouth.  Oh how my words can wound without intention.  Today would you help me to control my tongue.  I want to listen more than I talk.  May the words that come from my mouth be used to speak life and build up and not tear down.  Give me the courage to speak the truth in love.  Would you use my words to heal, give home, and comfort! May praising Your Holy Name be the first and last words on my lips.

Today I give you my heart.  How my heart is so easily led astray by how I feel.  Today put courage and love in my heart.  Open my heart to love those that are not easy to love, and to love my family that is easy to overlook.  Teach my heart to trust you when it doesn’t make sense and walk in faith at your leading.

Today, I give you my hands.  My my touch be gentle and strong.  May my hands be used to bless and encourage.  Increase the work of my hands, they are infinitely more capable when your blessing shapes what they do.  Teach my hands to rest and trust you for the increase.  Take the gifts and talents you gave me and use them to build Your Kingdom and not my own.

Today I give you my feet.  Lead me to where your hand is leading.  I do not want to get off the path you planned for me. Forgive me for following the wrong path and getting distracted by the world.  Set me again on your path and light it with Your word.  Give me the courage to obey you when it is scary or I think I am not capable.  

Amen

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church
@brandonsereg

Prayer of Jabez

I am not very religious and do not like prayer on repeat, but I have learned that praying scripture is powerful and can be done in a way that is not at all religious.  Today I want to share one of my favorite scriptures to pray.  It is the prayer of Jabez.  This is in the middle of a geneology.  You know the scripture we usually just skip or breeze through.  In the middle of the list of first borns comes this…

1 Chronicles 4:There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful.10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.

 

  1. Pray of Blessing

Here I ask God to give me favor.  I need favor with men, in my finances, and as I do what God has called me to.  I ask God to bless my finances as I want to honor Him how I spend the resources He gave me.  I also ask for wisdom beyond my years.  I am a young man but do not want to walk in the wisdom of a young man.  So I pray this, “Give me more than I need that I might be a blessing to others.”  God knows how much I need, I want my heart to align with His why which is to be a blessing to others.

2. Pray for Influence

Here I ask God to expand my territory.  I pray, “Fill my heart with vision and purpose from you.”  I do not want vision and purpose of my own ambition or from the values of the world.  When you meet a man who has found purpose birthed in conviction from God’s presence, he is different than other men.  He sees life different. His wife looks at him different. He has a drive that is not tainted with pride but making a difference in the lives of others.

3. Pray for His Presence

Deuteronomy 31:Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  The reason we do not walk in fear or discouraged is because he goes before us.  He is already where He wants us to be.  He is also with us.  He is not only the God of our future but the God who is in our present.  He knows you and sees you.  He knows your heart is bent toward fear and discouragement, which is why over 365 times in the Bible you will read “Do not be afraid.” It is not because the circumstances were not worthy of fear, but because the God that was with them is greater than their circumstances. So I pray, “What you have called me to is bigger than me.  God would you lead me to where your hand is leading me.”  I want to go to the future that he designed.

4. Pray for Protection

I have an enemy that does not want my to know God and fulfill my purpose.  In fact he wants to steal my purpose and kill my knowing God intimately.  It is what he fears the most.  So I pray, “Strengthen me and protect me from the attack of the enemy.”

So I encourage you to pray this prayer everyday!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church
@brandonsereg

 

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