Author Archives: Brandon

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

Varsity You

As a student pastor in a wealthy suburban Kansas City culture, I am never sure how to dress.  In high school, I wore sweat pants, gym shorts and t-shirts.  The culture of rural Iowa and where I am now are very different.  I am 31 and work with teenagers and I want to look relevant but not 18 and I do not know how to do it.  Then I look at the people I aspire to be like and I am even more confused in how to dress.  THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.  Do I really want to dress like someone else?

I have tried to preach like other people and it goes really bad for me.  Here is what I have learned… Be the Varsity me verses the JV them!  In teenage world and in the adult world it all seems the same, people pretend to be someone they are not.  Often they do not really even like the person they are trying to become.  In the Bible, there was only one Moses, one Abraham, one David, one Elijah, and one Peter.  The circumstances and calling which walk hand and hand were so different.  God only needed one Moses because the leader Joshua had a very different assignment.  

annie-spratt-96529.jpgI believe the reason we are tempted to be someone we are not is because of envy.  We look at our gifts and compare them to someones.  That comparison causes insecurity or worse.  I look at some preachers that I aspire to be like and when I compare I never feel good about me.  However, they have been preaching 10 years plus more than me. I hope I am a better preacher in 10 years than I am today. 

Psalm 139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
   and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!

This what God thinks about you and the specific gifts He designed you with.  A specific knitting together, a specific set of gifts, and a specific plan was laid out for you.  God only does varsity level gifts!  

So who do you compare or try to be?  Are trying to be a varsity you or a jv them?  Go to Jesus today and let Him share His thoughts toward you! Ask Him how He made you to be and go do that!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Take your friends to Jesus

So many times in my journey with Jesus I have had a friend that needed to get to Jesus but would not get there on there own.  There have been times that I wanted to get frustrated that they are stuck and seem to just be a victim.  Other times I want freedom for them more than they do and end up frustrated.  Then I have friends who are pursuing freedom and take 6 months of strides forward and the one week backwards is more than the 6 months forward.  Have you ever felt stuck in your friendships seeing the freedom available for them and they are not walking in it?  That is how these four friends felt and here is what they did…

edan-cohen-2486Mark 2:1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.

The refused to be denied.  Could you imagine the response of the homeowner when he found a new skylight in his roof?  The audacity for these four friends to damage someone’s property.  What would you do for your friend?  Would you stop at the crowd, or the fact Jesus was preaching, or how hard it would be to get a paralyzed friend on the roof? These friends found a way to get their friend to Jesus.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Notice it says seeing “their faith.”  This is the faith of the four not the paralyzed friend that led Jesus to forgive the sin of the one who’s faith is not represented. 

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves,“What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

This miracle happens because 4 friends had audacious, crazy, reckless faith to do the unthinkable, because the consequences of their friend not meeting Jesus was greater than the price of the roof, offending the crowd, or annoying Jesus.  What is the miracle God wants to do in your friends life?  What if while you are waiting on God, God is actually waiting for your faith to be activated and risk greatly for your friends freedom?  Go today in faith and risk greatly for your friends freedom!

Recklessly, Obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

3 Kinds of Friends Part 1

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. 

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

These are just a few of the many verses referencing healthy friendship.  I have found that there are 3 kinds of friendship that all of us should have.

  1. Core Friends

wa-gs5r58ga-tim-marshallJesus had the 12 disciples but Peter, James and John were His core.  He shared and showed more to them than the other 9.  When you have the right core friends.  All of your core friends should be strong believers and unless you are married to them or blood related, they should all be the same gender. These friends are the ones you share your life with.  They give you insight and strength.  When you have the right core friends, the roots of your faith, character, and relationships dig deeper and give you greater capacity for the next levels of friendship.  A tree with shallow roots and broad branches will never weather a storm.  Jesus said we would have storms and modeled keeping a strong core to have strong roots.

2. Squad Friends

These friends are the ones you spend a lot of time with.  You have fun and love doing life with these people.  Most of the friends in this group should be believers.  To do this level of friendship well and not destroy your roots you need to know how to do relationships here. This is not the group of people who you look to for advice, and you will need to have some strong resolve in two areas: 1. I will never let my friends distract me from God’s plan.  Jesus was on a mission to lay down his life to save the world, but the 12 tried to encourage him not to go to the cross. Jesus deep roots and clear resolve kept him on mission.  2. I will never let my friends continually tempt me to sin. Temptation is inevitable, but we all know the people that intentionally tempt us to compromise our values.  That is why in this relationship you HAVE to be the influencer and not the one influenced.  If you cannot do that the best thing you can to is separate this friendship to the next level.

3. Missional Friends

I am going to write more about this next week.  How do we lead people far to God to Him?  Jesus was clear to GO!

So do you have the right people in your core?  Who do you share your heart with that shouldn’t be in your core?  Who is in your squad that distracts you from God’s plan or tempts you continually?  Get the right core so your roots can dig deep and your reach of God’s plan for you life can reach it’s potential.  Show me your friends and Ill show you your future.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Who is your guide?

I have spent a lot of time recently looking through the different seasons of my life and what contributed to the good seasons and the challenging ones.  Here is what I have learned.  Who I allowed to speak into my life determined the quality and direction of my life.  When I was in college, I had a mentor who was rough, offensive, arrogant, and caused hurtful waves in relationships.  Sad to say in those years and some to follow I was rough, offensive, arrogant, and caused hurtful waves.  It brought challenges in the relationships I valued most.  I did not know any better.  Today my heart grieves some of the things I have said and did that hurt the people I love.  I have had to repent to so many people as a result.

hkuoyzj4rtu-davide-cantelliProverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

A couple of years later, I got a new mentor.  He was a peacemaker.  Do not get me wrong… He was strong, direct, loving, and by no means passive.  He taught me, corrected me, and at times lovingly rebuked me.  Often it hurt and challenged the way I had been living, all the things that I had learned from my previous leader.  This new mentor made me better, helped me find spiritual strength, and told me the truth.  

King David had 3 relationships that made him a better man. Samuel was a prophet looking for a new king for Israel.  Jesse (David’s dad) brought all of David’s brothers to meet Samuel thinking one of his oldest and strongest would be chosen.  Samuel by the power of the Holy Spirit saw something in David that no one else saw.  Everyone else looked at the outside but God looks at the inside.  Samuel made David better because he call out the gift of God in him.  David also had Jonathan.  Jonathan was King Saul’s son.  There was a time David was ready to give up on what God had called him to do and Jonathan approached him and said…

1 Samuel 23:16 Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. (emphasis mine)

Jonathan helped David find spiritual strength.  David also had Nathan.  Samuel the prophet had died and Nathan took his place.  Later in David’s life, he fell into sin and tried to cover it up.  David is king now and hold the power to do what ever he wants.  Nathan learns of David’s sin and rebukes David in a way he did not expect. David repents of his sin and spends a large portion of his life trying to resolve the consequence of his sin.  Nathan loves David enough to tell him the truth.  

So who is your Samuel, your Jonathan, your Nathan?  You will never be who God has called you to be without them.  Get humble, seek God for who He wants to play those roles in your life.  Go ask them!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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