Author Archives: Brandon

What REALLY matters?

My grandfather was just placed in hospice this week, after 12 years of fighting cancer, open heart surgery, and diabetes he does not have much time left.  To say it has been hard would be a huge understatement.  He is going to leave behind a wife of 58 years, three kids, eight grandkids, and seven great grandkids to date.  He loves Jesus and served Jesus, the Church, and people well.  He was not a perfect man and didn’t always get it right.  He did not have new cars, fancy toys, or a large retirement.  Depending on what you value, some may say he had it all and others very little.  He went to most of my games as a kids, taught me to hunt and fish, and taught me to work on cars.  I think he had what matters most. 

I asked him after 80 years of life, what really matters.  He said that is easy.  

1. Jesus
2. Marriage
3. Family

He told me if I am successful in those areas, that is what matters most.  Family for him is a lot more people than blood relations. I was overwhelmed at the number of people who came to visit that told me he is family.  

At one point, Jesus was asked about priorities and what really matters.

Matthew 22:35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’e 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Verse 40 sticks out to me.  Jewish laws and customs had over 600 regulations that children spent years learning and old men spent years debating. Jesus wraps up the entire point of the Old Testament in three sentences.  Can you imagine the response?

So I have a question for you: What do you really value?  Not what do you say you value… what does your time, talent, and treasure say you value?  It is what your words say?  If you say you value your church but do not give and serve, your time, talent and treasure trump your words.  If you say you value family, but spend all your free time in front of a TV, hunting, and side projects, your time, talent, and treasure say different.  I am not trying to make anyone feel shame, but I want to challenge you to make your time, talent, and treasure line up with what you say you value.

If you are unsure, ask the people who know you best what you really value and just listen don’t defend. Create a plan for your time, talent, and treasure to match your values.  Value the right things!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Where am I going?

I use Siri on my iphone all the time.  I will hold the home button and say, “Siri directions home.” Siri will then tell me turn by turn where to go.  I know before GPS people used maps to get places and I do not remember a world like.  When my GPS is not working I get lost and sometimes will not attempt to go at all.  The idea and getting in a vehicle and just going a long distance without a plan, sounds horrible to me.  Like if you hoping to drive to San Francisco and drive towards New York, despite your best intentions you will never get there.

I meet with people all the time and when you ask where they are going they often cannot give an answer, or they give an answer but their actions communicate they are heading somewhere else.  Where are you going? Do your actions and choices line up with where you want to go?  Have you sat down and prayed about the steps to get there? How often do we make plans without God’s wisdom?

 

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

This Proverb assumes we know where we are going and have plans to get there.  So I guess first we have to answer what is the vision for our lives?  What do we hope to look back in 10, 20, 50 years from now and hope we did?  Did our lives help others or just us? Is the world better because we were here?  Is God even in it?  Like for real, did God lay out an assignment for you to live?  Know God has a plan for you and that plan is to make a difference in the lives of others!

If you were to write your obituary (article for the paper after a person dies) what do you hope other people would write? Then comes the plan, if you keep doing what you are currently doing would that be what people would write, or would it be a very different story? Living a life that makes a difference is not comfortable, safe, and certainly not easy.  But when you were a kid, did you dream about comfortable, safe and easy.  Now that you are grown do you think God wants to make you civilized? The God of the Bible, the Jesus of Nazareth, and those that followed where rarely comfortable, safe, or living it easy.  Make a plan of risk, adventure, and faith.

I have a dream in my heart, and when I reach 70 I do not want to look back and wonder… If I had done _______ what could God have done?  I want to look back and say I dreamed, planned, and followed Jesus on the most incredible adventure. I think you do too.  I think it is wired deep in each of us… WHERE AM I GOING?

So do you know where you are going?  Are your plans really going to get you there? Have you sought the Lord for him to direct your steps?

Get a God sized dream!  Get a Holy Spirit led plan! Live a life of risk, adventure, and faith!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

I am not going to be father of the year…

My daughter, Eliana, is 9 months old and is climbing up on EVERYTHING. There is a small step stool my older daughter, Eden, uses.  Eliana will climb it and reach for cabinet knobs.  I knew watching her, this could and probably will end in tears.  Then I got caught in conversation.  About a minute later, my ears are throbbing and it sounds like an ambulances decided to loose it’s mind in my kitchen.  How something that small can make a sound that BIG is a small miracle.  I know I will not be getting the father or the year award, because she has done it before didn’t learn and I know she will do it again. 

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Both the prudent and the simpleton foresee danger, it is what they do with it, that determines the outcome.  I foresaw Eliana hurting herself and could have easily taken precaution, but I got distracted and went on blindly and suffered the consequences and so did my daughter.  I think in all of our lives we do things knowing they could end very badly and probably should end badly.  We through caution to the wind and go on blindly and then blame God for the consequences we face.

I believe there are a number of reasons why we do not take precaution.  One is we do not take time to stop, process what we are about to do and foresee the potential outcomes.  Our culture trains us to pursue happiness and what we want now.  The culture of the Kingdom will sacrifice what we want now for what we want most.  Take Eliana… What I want most is for my daughter to feel safe and protected in my home.  What I wanted in the moment was to stay engaged in the conversation.  I made a poor decision.  How many stories do all of us have where we chose something in the moment that violated a greater value we wanted most.  I could write a book.  So what decision are you facing today between what you want now and what you want most?  Stop, process the outcomes, and decide…

I think how we continue to make those decisions will dictate our options in the future.  If you invest wisely starting in your 20’s, you won’t be dependant on a bankrupt government for social insecurity.  If you love and pray over your spouse or future spouse you will have a greater chance of staying married.  If you choose wise friends, you will like the quality of life you experience later.  So I ask it one last time…

What decision am I facing now? What do I want now? What do I want most? 

Stop, process the outcomes, and decide knowing the prudent foresee danger and make precautions, and the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

3 Ways to Grow

Have you ever seen someone who when they talk about spending time with Jesus, the Word is alive in them, prayer is rich, and the Spirit is strong in them?  I remember meeting these people and wishing my relationship with Jesus looked that way.  Wishing didn’t change anything for me.  Here are three things I have done that have helped me grow in relationship with Jesus:

1 Corinthians 9:26 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.

Commit to a plan to win

photo-1462690417829-5b41247f6b0e (1).jpegNot all plans help.  If you plan is to obey one verse a day by randomly opening your bible and reading you might find “Judas went out and hung himself” or “Joshua circumsized all the men of Israel.”  Life goes really bad for you this way.  Pick a good time of the day for you to read scripture, pray, and listen to God.  I like my kitchen table, other people like outside.  I like highlighters, pens, and space to spread out.  Also, get a translation that works for you.  I like the NLT.  It is written at an 8th grade reading level and it is easy to understand.  The KJV was written in 1611, and word do not mean the same thing they did then.

Feel free to change it up.  I have friends who write songs for Jesus.  They sing scripture.  Some go on nature walks, listen to the bible through YouVersion, or use art for engagement.  What I have learned… Have a consistent time, place, and plan.

Get the right coach

Growing up in sports, I recognized really early that I needed someone who could see what I couldn’t see.  Someone with a trained eye.  I ran faster, had better technique, and won games more ofter with a coach.  Not every coach I had was a good one, I learned some bad habits from them.  With the right coach everyone got better.

I have learned that I cannot do life alone.  I grow the most when I invited a man who is farther down the road than me and has a perspective that I cannot see.  Who is someone that is the same gender as you, that you can invite into your life to confess sin, ask for prayer, get wisdom, and seek guidance?

Beware of comparison

I have been married to my wife for 11 years, by far the majority of her adult life.  She has some friends that she has been walking with for 2 years, and they do not know here the way I do.  Isn’t that an unfair comparison.  Yet isn’t that what we do with other people.  Compare our relationship with Jesus to theirs.  They may have been following longer or shorter than you and it is not a fair comparison.  Your relationship is unique.  You have been following Jesus for as long as you have, maybe 3 days maybe 3 decades.  You have one focus… Grow.  They way you grow is to spend quality time together.  There are no short cuts…. just our most valuable non replenish able thing… TIME!!!!

So get a plan, get a coach, and don’t compare.  Go be in relationship with Jesus!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

What is a “Man’s Man?”

Earlier this week, I got a text message from a man I used to mentor.  It was a real question I feel may of us struggle with but at times lack courage to ask.  Asking real questions can leave us feeling weak or spiritual not what we portray.  In front of the people, especial people we admire we want to portray
an image of strength and maturity a real “man’s man”, even when it is not our present reality.  This young man showed real courage in showing his weakness, and I believe the Lord sees it as strength.

His text… “Brandon, if you could just pray for me, I’d appreciate it. Just seems like I’m in a constant battle with wanting to live for the world and living for The Lord.”

I started praying for him right there.  The next morning, I was reading a prayer of David. 

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
    that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
    so that I may honor you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
    I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
    You have rescued me from the depths of death.

David admits before the Lord that he lacks understanding in the ways of the Lord, purity of heart, and walked into the depths of death and needed rescuing.   When it comes to being “a man’s man” lacking understanding, purity of heart, and needing rescuing doesn’t fit.  However, in the Kingdom it is STRENGTH and HONORS THE LORD to be vulnerable and admit your need for help. 

David took on Goliath as a teenager, led armies against tens of thousands, fought wars on multiple fronts, defeated a real army with a band of rebels, took these rebels and made them his mighty men.  When we think of being “a man’s man” we like this part of the story.  However,  David sounds bi-polar in psalms.  One minute he seems to be questioning God and himself, and the next celebrating how the Lord never leaves him hanging. If you are anything like me, you read this and are like, “David there is something wrong with you.”

Here is what I am learning.  David was a Vital man because he was willing to reveal his brokenness.  He waited for the Lord to give him strength.  He gave the Lord credit for EVERY VICTORY.  He made them into songs sung by the people to the Lord.  So all of Israel saw David’s brokenness and vulnerability before the Lord, giving them an example of how to engage with the Lord.  So the Lord declares David a man after His own heart.

According to the Lord, “a man’s man” or a Vital Man is a man who walks humbly before the Lord and men open with their brokenness and dependance on God’s strength, wisdom, and rescue.  So where are you showing false strength and need to be real?  Where do you need to not “fix” you but ask the Lord and other men to help you?  What do you need to repent of to find freedom for yourself, you family, your community, and your church?  Go be vital, DO IT NOW!

Recklessly, Obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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