Author Archives: Brandon

Make a Difference

What did you want to be when you were growing up?  Many of us wanted to be a police man, fireman, or a super hero.  Some of that had to do with feeling powerful, but I believe the biggest reason is we want to make a difference.  We want our lives to be bigger than ourselves.  We look up to great people like Mother Terresa, Martin Luther King,  Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and of course Jesus.  Each of these people made a significant difference in history.  They made our world better.  

With all of these people, the way they made a difference was the were different.  They did not use their time, talent, treasure and influence the same way other people did. They were different. I think the reason many people do not make a significant difference is they are not willing to be different.  Many people spend their time, talent, treasure and influence the same way everyone else does.  They wake up as late as possible, spend as much time in entertainment or the pursuit of stuff as possible, read as little as possible after all you might miss an episode, try to spend some time with family, and if there is room in our overly busy schedules… time with God.  I challenge if that will make a difference.  I wander what it would look like to be different enough to make a difference. 

King David did not begin as a king but as a shepherd and the youngest son.  This is not the making of a king.  The prophet Samuel shows up one day and anoints David as king.  So you would think David would be king soon right? Not so.  The next scene is David being invited to play the harp for king Saul.  Saul likes David and thinks he should be an armor bearer for him. It would be easy for David to be disappointed in his opportunities.  What if David playing the harp and serving as an armor bearer, God was preparing him to lead a country by overhearing king sized conversations?  Then David faces Goliath and we know with a sling and 5 stones David takes down the giant.  What if God planned for David to win over the army was an opportunity for David to save all of them and their families from slavery?  Saul gets jealous of David and tries to kill him, and David runs all over the country away from Saul.  What if God wanted to show David the territory he was going to lead?  

David did not act like all of the other men.  I believe David thought different.  When other men saw a giant, David saw an opportunity.  What giants are you facing trying to pray them away, when God wants you to overcome them by His power?  How does God want you think different?

David prepared different.  We all like game day, but it is the preparation that determines the winner.  God used some really not fun opportunities to train David to be king.  What is in front of you, that if you used it as an opportunity to prepare for something down the road, you would find purpose in it?

To make a difference, you have to be different.  To be different you have to prepare and think different.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

 Brandon Sereg

Sacrifice

The past couple of weeks I have been in Israel. It was an incredible experience!  I had 10 days with my dad and together we got to experience a tour through several places in we read about in scripture.  I am super humbled to have been in the very places Jesus taught and men of God who walked in tremendous faith.  I learned so much and cannot read the Bible the same.

One of the things that I learned was the value of water.  Israel is a sub-tropic climate and water is not alway consistent and drought is common.  One of the times of drought was when Elijah was a prophet of the Lord and the prophets of Baal and government leaders were killing the prophets of the Lord.  God had sent a drought to Israel during this time and it all led to a climatic moment where Elijah, prophets of Baal, and the people of Israel.  Elijah offers a challenge: create a sacrifice and ask their god’s to start the fire of their sacrifice.

The prophets of Baal passionate try to convince Baal to start the fire.  Elijah mocks them and Baal and nothing happens

1 Kings 18:30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

Imagine three years of drought, water is scarce, sacred, and more valuable than anything else.  Gold has little value compared to the source of keeping your family alive.  You do not waste water in a drought.  Elijah asks the people to pour out their most valuable possession as an offering for the Lord.  It had to have seemed irrational to them wasteful even.  I am sure they could have reasoned their way out of this offering. They didn’t and they filled the trench.  Elijah calls down fire from heaven and the wet bull and the trench burn.  Water does not burn unless God is involved.  After this they kill the prophets of Baal and Elijah prays for rain, rain comes, and the drought ends.  When the people were desperate enough to give irrationally, God showed up and brought freedom.  

Where and how is God asking you to give irrationally?  Will you obey or rationally talk you way out of if?  Do you want God sized blessing and favor or do you trust mostly in yourself to provide?

Friends I will not financially gain anything from this!  God wants to pour out His blessing and favor in you life, but He wants to know if He can trust you with what you have. GIVE OBEDIENTLY, AND IRRATIONALLY IF HE ASKS.  You CANNOT out give God. Your sacrifice will be in vain! GO, OBEY, GIVE!

Recklessly, Obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Labels Part 3

So far in our journey, Jacob has manipulated his brother for the birth right, deceived his dad into getting the blessing, and it hits him.  His brother is going to kill him.  So he runs away.  He runs to his uncles territory, where he meets Rachel his cousin.  He kisses her and makes an agreement to marry her.  Clearly he is from Arkansas. The agreement is he works 7 years to pay a bride price to which he agrees. 7 years later it comes time for the wedding and he celebrates… a little too much.  He starts talking cursive and he accidentally marries Rachel’s older sister Leah.  However he does not recognize it until the next morning.  Rachel’s dad deceives Jacob.  Then makes a new agreement, if Jacob works another 7 years he can marry Rachel too.  He agrees.

Then the sisters start competing through having kids.  To increase their chances they marry their maid servants to Jacob. Now Jacob is married to four different women and over time has 12 sons, not including daughters.  Could you imagine the family tension.  Jacob’s father in law feels like he has been deceived by some strange business deals and Jacob decides it is time to go. He leaves only to find out his brother is on the way with an army.  Jacob has no where to go and his past has finally caught up with him.

I am sure all of us have had the moment where our past seems to label us and determine our future.  They change the way we see ourselves in the mirror.  So what do we do with the labels of our past?  Jacob has a defining moment in his most desperate hour.

Genesis 32:24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

He replied, “Jacob.”

28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”

Jacob wrestled with God in his labels.  He was covered in labels from other people, labels he pursued that did not work out, and labels of his past that seem to follow him around.  So God shows up and rewrites the labels.  That is what he wants to do with you, to take the labels that follow you and rewrite them. 

So go to Him now and let Jesus rewrite the labels.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Labels Part 2

When I was in late middle school, I played baseball on a really good team. At one of our tournaments, a really pretty girl showed up.  All of us in the dug out started a competition to get this girls attention.  I am up to bat and I step in the batters box and in my most manly pose, then I wink at the girl and point to the outfield.  Embarrassing I know… Then I look to the pitcher and see the ball coming toward my head.  Then it happened. I got hit in the temple with the ball and get knocked out.  I fall to the plate and needless to say I did not impress the girl.

Here is what I learned.  When you pursue the wrong label… it hurts!  Last week we talked about Jacob and how the labels that were put on him negatively effected his behavior.  The next label that effects us is the labels that we pursue.  Jacob now has the birth right, but one thing he is missing is the blessing.  The blessing is the passing of God’s favor and covenant.  The birthright is incomplete with out the blessing.  Jacob’s dad is getting old and is ready to give Esau, Jacob’s older brother, the blessing. Jacob’s mom over hears and tries to set Jacob up to get it.

Genesis 27:5 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread.

18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said.

“Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?”

19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.”

Jacob wanted power and influence and pursued it at the cost of his character.  All of us are pursuing labels.  Some might be pursuing the image of success, other are pursing “not single”, others are pursuing an online image.  Many of these labels cause us to do what Jacob did.  Jacob pretended to be someone he was not.  God cannot bless who you are pretending to be!

So what labels are you pursuing?  Be honest and write them down. Are they the labels God want for you?  Ask Him what labels he wants you to pursue?  Pursue them with all your heart!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Labels Part 1

When I was in 5h grade, I got in trouble for talking in class.  I was making all of the people around me laugh.  My teacher said if I did it again then I would have detention. Well 10 minutes later it happened again.  My teacher told me that unless I gave her a good reason for why I was laughing I had detention.  I told her in health class we learned that laughing builds our immune system and since I had a cold, laughing would be less distracting sneezing.  She laughed at me and called me “Slick.”  This nickname stuck.  For the rest of the year, my teacher and my class called me slick.  I learned how I could be smooth with words to get what I want.  This label shaped my future.  Other people said talk was cheap, but smooth talking got me friends, jobs, and many opportunities.

This is the story of Jacob.  Labels shaped how he saw himself, the things that he pursued, and the choices that shaped who he became.  All of that began at birth when his parents named him Jacob which means deceiver and supplanter. Jacob was a twin and second born.  So Jacob wanted to surplant his older brother Esau so he could have the first born right. So Jacob waits or the right moment and takes advantage of his brother in a weak moment.

The first label is the label others put on us.  All of us have labels that have been put on us.  Some lifted us up and others tore us down.  Some were from people we cared about and others were just people who said the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Either way these labels gave us an identity that we walked in either to prove right or fight to prove wrong.  That is where our story begins.

Genesis 25:29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)

31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”

32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”

33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.

What are the labels other people have put on you?  Write them down. Who did they come from?  How do you respond to them?  Are they lies of the enemy that work against you to kill the good God wants for you?  Ask Holy Spirit to replace the lie.  Write down your new label.

Often the process I describe above is painful.  I know it has been for me.  Many of these old wounds have layer Holy Spirit leads me to.  I will think I have fully dealt with the wound only for Him to take me to another layer of the wound.  What I know is this…

Philippians 1:6  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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