Author Archives: Brandon

My Friend Got Robbed…

A friend of mine recently got robbed.  He owns a business that sells used items on ebay.  He was on vacation when he gets a text from his assistant.  Needless to say enjoying the vacation was hard to enjoy!  When he got home and assessed what was stolen it was over $10,000.  I met with him and he was pretty sure it was one of his employees.  He was so angry and felt deeply violated.  This was a guy that he had helped out.  He gave him a job when no one else would.  

One day, he sets up to take this guy to lunch.  The night before, he went to the Lord.  He told the Lord he wanted to set him on fire and drag him behind his truck.  God said other wise.  On top of robbing him, this employee owed him over $20,000.  God said don’t prosecute, forgive the debt, and bless him.  

So the lunch finally comes.  My friend eats lunch with his employee like nothings wrong and then asks him a question… “tell me about the break in.”  The employee breaks.  He confesses, admits he should go to jail, admits to abusing pain killers and alcohol. My friend had a letter written up forgiving his debt.  He gives it to the employee.  Now the employee is sobbing in the restaurant. My friend says he is not going to prosecute.  Then he starts giving him gift cards for gas and groceries. 

About an hour after this lunch, I get a call from my friend.  He is asking how to get his employee in Celebrate Recovery.  He tells me the story over the phone.  Now I am crying as I see this is what did for me. 

Romans 6:22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We deserved death and owed a debt we could pay.  Then a good Father sends His Son.  I have a son.  I would not give my son for my enemy.  I, through sin, made myself an enemy of God.  God gave the punishment I deserved to His Son.  He forgave my debt.  He set me free. He blessed me with new life, a Church to help me,  and a purpose inside me.  He has called me a son. 

If you are also following Jesus and received his salvation, thank Him now!  Worship Him!  

If you are not following Jesus and have not received his new life you can now!  If you know you are a sinner and want Jesus to forgive you. If you want who you are now to die and have a new life in Jesus.  If you would trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for your freedom.  Then pray this prayer:

Jesus, forgive me of my sin.  I trust what you did on the cross for my freedom.  Give me new life.  i choose to follow you all of my days.  Amen!

If you just prayed that prayer, I am so proud of you! You are BRAND NEW. God loves you!  I would love it if you would comment to let me know your prayed that prayer.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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

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