Author Archives: BrandonS

Dangerous Prayer: Search Me

Growing up I always saw the Bible like a magnifying glass.  I would read it, look at the world, and judge people based on what I read.  It served like a magnifying glass.  The problem with that is you cannot see your reflection in a magnifying glass.  In college, my views changed.  I started reading the Bible like a mirror.  Instead of evaluating with world and other people through what I read, I started to look into me like a mirror.  

The Mirror changed everything.  I saw how far I had to go, not in a “I am bad or stuck” sort of way, but in a I need God to change me to look less like me and more like Him.  I wanted to look in a mirror and see the character and love of Jesus.  Then I came across this verse…

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Search me is a dangerous prayer.  Know my heart… Like all of it. What about the addicted parts, the lustful parts, the selfish parts?  Does a God who knows my heart want to have relationship with me? YES! This is the great exchange.  Jesus took all of that junk and gave us all his goodness.  So when we invite Jesus to know our hearts, he will reveal our mess so we can give it to Him to bear. 

Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  This is not God look at my happy, worshipful thoughts, but know my messed up thoughts that are nothing like yours.  After you know them then I want you to test them.  That is inviting God into your innermost thoughts.  This takes so much trust.  What will God do with these thoughts?  Will he smite me, reject me, or just be silent? Then I think what would Jesus do.  Jesus would be tender yet firm.  He would encourage me, because you know what my anxious thoughts lack… COURAGE. He would IN-COURAGE me.  That might be bad grammar but it is good theology.  I can trust him with my brokenness. 

Point out anything in me that offends you.  When I pray this I never get, “you are doing great, just keep it up.”  

Psalm 23:4b Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

A rod and staff are designed to redirect and discipline a sheep.  They are not to pet the sheep.  The psalm writer King David, said this redirecting discipline stick comforts him.  How can that be? He knows it keeps him close the that Good Shepherd.  The Shepherd disciplines the sheep he loves.  Discipline is love.  Proverbs goes so far as to say a parent who does not discipline their kids hates them.  

So I dare you to pray this dangerous prayer and then listen to what God says to you…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Dangerous Prayer… Lead Me

Peter grew up fishing.  Not the go to the lake and throw a line in the water.  Like fish all night in the cold with a net, this is my job not this is my hobby fishing. His dad fished, his grandpa fished, and his great grandpa… you guessed it… he fished. He was set up to do what everyone expected him to until one day something changed.  After a full night of fishing and catching nothing, a rabbi shows up and says something that seems so demeaning. “Throw your nets on the other side of the boat.”  Can you imagine?  You have come from a line of fishermen and know how to fish these banks and maybe what is wrong is you are fishing on the wrong side of the boat.  However, since this is a man with authority he does it, probably just to humor this rabbi who clearly knows nothing about fishing.  Then it happens.  He has no idea following this simple suggestion is about to change the course of his life.  The net gets overwhelmed with fish to where the nets start to break.  Peter goes to meet this rabbi.  The rabbi gives an invitation.

Matthew 4:19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

This was a call to leave the family business, walk away from his family, and leave everything he has ever known.  He has no idea what he is about to sign up for.

vs 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

I think for many of us, we had no idea what we were signing up for when we decided to follow Jesus.  We prayed asking God a dangerous prayer… LEAD ME.  We signed up to follow Jesus to let Jesus lead us and our life changes.

Not all prayers are created equal.  There are safe prayers. Bless me, protect me, give me traveling mercies.  Then there are prayers that are not safe they are dangerous.  When you pray these prayers your life changes… Lead me.  He will lead you.  The place he leads you to is not where we expect.  He leads us out of slavery to our sin.  The hardest part of that is not getting us out of slavery it is actually getting slavery out of us.  Slavery to the way of this world and getting the world out of us when it is all we ever know.  Then He leads us to purpose.  He has a specific plan for each of us.  I think many people do not ever get to know their purpose because they struggle to get the slavery out of them.

Are you ready to pray a dangerous prayer?  “Lead me out of slavery and into purpose.”  Where is the slavery still in you?  Have you given it to the  Lord?  Have you sought Him to find your purpose?  He is for you and paid a high price for you to pray this dangerous prayer.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Run to Win

I watch a couple of people race each other recently… Like backyard style, not on a track.  One person got ahead quickly but not by a lot.  It looked like they were set to win the race, then they violated good racing… They looked back to see where the other runner was, and the runner in the back started catching up.  They look back again and they were catching up again.  When the lead runner was looking where they were heading, they kept their distance but when they looked back that distance shrunk.  Eventually the runner in the back caught up and took the lead to win the race.  

Had the lead runner kept their eyes ahead of them instead being so concerned with the other runner they would have won easily.  I think this is true in my life too.  There are people all around me who do marriage, parenting, ministry, and friendships so differently than me that causes me to look at them and be jealous, insecure, or question myself.  Comparison cripples me.  I forget to look ahead at the finish line and get distracted by other people around me. 

1 Corinthians 9:24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Running to win does not allow us to look at people running in other lanes, because that is not the lane God designed for us to run in.  How often do we look at what other people drive, who is friends with who, who has money, or any number of other things? We loose speed when we try compare ourselves to what other people have. What about you?  Where do you need to focus on you lane?  Where do you need to keep your eyes on a prize that will last instead of one that doesn’t?  Where do you need to discipline yourself to develop your gifts to win your race?  Where is comparison killing your potential?

Ask Holy Spirit right now what He wants to do in?  Where does he want to develop you, train you?  What does he want your eyes to be focused on?  Go to Him now and RUN TO WIN!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Desperate Faith

Last year, I took 4 interns to Colorado to climb Pikes Peak.  It is a 13.1 mile hike where you gain over 7,000 feet in elevation.  At about the 10 mile mark you go past the tree line.  Not much grows here so it is mostly rocks.  In the distance, there looked to be some clouds that might turn into a storm.  My interns look to me and say “you are our leader we trust you.”  It is 10 miles to go down and 3 up.  The hardest 3 at that.  Now if the storm comes above the tree line lightning bounces in the rocks and people die every year on this mountain because of this.  No pressure. Parents are looking to me to bring their kid home.  We get 2 miles up and sure enough it is getting darker and it is starting to snow.  I am desperate to get up the mountain.  We are out of water, food, and one member has a person pulling her with a rope and another pushing their lower back.  

Before we started the last 3 miles we were at a crossroads. As I was praying for you, I sense many of you are at a crossroads. Whole heartedly go after something greater or stay in the comfortable place.  

Elisha is an old testament prophet.  One day a widow shows up.  Her husband is dead and she is in so much debt, the people she owes money to want her sons for slaves.  This woman is desperate and she goes to Elisha for help.  Elisha asks a strange question, “what do you have in the house?”

I think often we believe that to get where need to go we need what we do not have.  What if God wanted to use Moses’ staff, David’s sling, Samson’s jawbone, Elijah’s cloak to accomplish something great? All this woman had was a jar with a little oil.  What if our greatest limitation was God’s greatest opportunity?

2 Kings 4:3 And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors.

Asking for help for many of us is out of the question unless we are desperate.  What if God wants us to be desperate for something more than we are currently experiencing?  Are you desperate?  Are you too proud for desperate?

4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” 5 So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim!“Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.

This woman used what she had, acted desperate, and responded in faith.  What do you have? Is it a gift of playing an instrument, teaching, making people feel special, building, leading?  Are you using it for His Kingdom?  Are you desperate for God to move on your behalf?  Or are you just costing in dead religion?  Are you responding in faith?  What is the last thing God told you to do?  Are you doing it?  Go use what you have, act desperate, and respond in faith!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Developed or Discovered?

I work with leaders from the age 13-60.  Many of them want positions of authority.  Some have had a lot of leadership experience and some none at all.  The most successful leaders are not the ones that are fighting for position but those who are quick to learn and ask a lot of questions.  They are concerned with being developed.

I am 31 years old this year.  I am reviewing my 20’s and I would do a lot different.  There were times when I tried to prove myself so I would be discovered as a great leader.  Those times were always full of conflict and insecurity.  Then there were times when I was all about being developed, not striving or proving anything.  I recognized my need for growth huge in this time.  I found mentors and leaders who could help me.  I did what they said whether it made sense or not.  I grew a ton! Also, leadership opportunity came my way. 

Jesus was God’s son and Jesus was about 30 when He started his ministry.  Why not 18 after all he is God in flesh.  Joseph was 30 when He was promoted 2nd in command of Egypt, before that he was a slave in Potiphar’s house and a prisoner in a political prison. David was about 30 when He was finally given the role of King of Israel.  All of them had been given a dream years before that. God waited until they were developed before they were given position. 

Can you imaging being Jesus at 25.  You know who you are and the mission you have been called to and you have to wait.  From age 12 – 30 we have one verse.

Luke 2:52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Weird thought isn’t it. Jesus had to grow in wisdom and favor with God.  Jesus needed developed.  Even at 30 he is saying my time hasn’t come.  Can you imagine Mary?  She has a virgin birth, and I am sure everyone believes the engaged pregnant woman saying she has not had sex.  She wants her son discovered for who He is. 

Joseph has a vision of greatness. He tell his family who you would hope supports his dreams, and he gets sold into slavery by his brothers.  If Joseph is to one day lead an Egyptian amy being in the caption of the guards house, in charge of everything in the house.  Maybe God is up to something.  If farmer boy is going to be 2nd in command of the greatest nation on earth, learning politics in a political prison doesn’t seem that far out.  As a prisoner, Joseph is put in charge of the prison. Slavery and a prisoner would not his first choice, but he was developed into who God wanted him to be. 

You might feel stuck in obscurity and that you have not been discovered yet in the dream that God has for you, but God has a tendency to test his people in the place of obscurity to see if they will be humble and be developed or just whine about their circumstances.  God has GREAT THING planned for you life, but He wants you focused on being developed so He can trust you being discovered.  Who is further in the journey that you need to have mentor you?  What job do you have you need to do your very best in?

Recklessly obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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