Author Archives: Brandon

How to Hug a Vampire 3

When I was in 17, a group of guys started a rumor that I was gay.  There were three of them so as big as my ego was, a fight didn’t sound like it would go in my favor.  I also knew defending myself would draw attention to it and people would start to believe it.  I felt at a total loss, and like no matter what I did I lost.  This consumed me for weeks.  Then one day at my student ministry I prayed and asked God to SMITE THEM.  Then I asked God what I should do about it… God never asks easy and this was no exception.  He told me to forgive them.

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

photo-1464618055434-20b22e97995aFORGIVE THEM…. NO WAY! GOD DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT ME! They are NOT asking for forgiveness and they are still slandering me.  In my heart, the real issue was I wanted them to pay for what they did for me.  I thought that payment should look a certain way.  Break their teeth, shatter the windows of their cars, have someone lie about them.  As I started to fantasize about all the things that should happen to these bad people.  God spoke to me again. Pray blessing over them out loud. 

Through tears of anger and pain, I prayed the Lord would bless them and asked Him to help me forgive them.  After the prayer, I pictured those three guys and I said out loud, “I forgive you.”  I learned a powerful less about forgiveness.

  1. Forgiveness does not mean what they did was ok
  2. Speaking blessing and forgiveness took the grip of the pain away
  3. Forgiveness makes us more like Jesus

So who is your enemy?  Who has wounded you and even when your think about them, anger and pain fills your heart?  Unforgiveness will rob you of your joy and kill the work of God in you!  So right now ask God who you need to forgive.  Ask God to give you strength to forgive them, and then speak a blessing over them.  DO IT OUT LOUD! not in your head.  Then picture that person and say OUT LOUD, I forgive you.

I would like to tell you that they stopped spreading the lie after that, but they didn’t.  By God’s power I was able to really forgive them and be kind to them.  They hated me even more because if it, but the power of their lie was removed in my heart because I obeyed the Lord.  So obey the Lord now and let Him heal your heart. 

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

How to Hug a Vampire 2

Following Jesus has caused me to give away some uncomfortable things.  We have given the majority of our saving to single moms or a church, we have let abandoned teenagers or single moms live with us rent free, we have given away a car we couldn’t afford to replace. At first it was really hard, then I found none of those things were mine anyways.  I had given my whole life the Jesus and all by “stuff” belonged to Him.  My role was to be a good steward of His stuff.  I learned He didn’t take anything from me.  You can’t take what you have already given away.

photo-1443683263937-3e377546e8a8Over the years, starting in elementary school I have been called so many names.  People have labeled me a liar, a cheat, bible beater, gay, poor athlete, stupid, unqualified, poor leader to name a few.  Before I knew Jesus, these phrases stuck and grew like a cancer in me.  My identity was shaped by other peoples words.  Then my identity started shaping my behavior.  These words sucked the life out of me and shattered my self esteem. 

When I started following Jesus and started reading scripture, I found other people that had the same issues that I did.  Men and women who had shaped their identity off of other peoples words or the sins of their past.  Then they would have an encounter with God, and God would speak to their identity.  One of my favorite examples of this is Jacob when he wrestles with God in Genesis 32.

Genesis 32:28 “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.”

Jacob means “liar, supplanter” and God says he is now Israel “May God prevail. He struggles with God. God perseveres.”  What a shift!  People still tried to label Israel according to his past.  But he found a new identity in the identity that he gave away.  Here is what he learned.  People can’t take what you have already given away.

For the rest of you life people you care about and many who don’t will speak terrible things about you.  People will try to label you and shift your identity.  But they cannot take what you have already given away.  

Who own’s your identity?  Who owns the words your heart hangs on? Who owns your stuff?  What would your life look like if you gave your identity, purpose, your stuff, and your life totally to Jesus?  Would you like who you become in 10 years? Would you life be richer and fuller as a result?

GO DO IT!!! Go meet with God and let Him speak to you!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

How to Hug a Vampire

I hate halloween.  My kids are little and they always have bad dreams in October.  They are forced to choose between bad dreams and cheap sugar gathering night (AKA Trick or Treat).  They always choose the sugar.  If that neighbor comes out of his yard to scare my kids this year, I will blow my top.  

A photo by Sašo Tušar. unsplash.com/photos/yP19KADwhEIHow to hug a vampire: How do you love people who suck the life out of you?  I am sure as you read this you are thinking of people who have been doing this to you for years.  People have lied to you, cheated you, talked about you, made empty promises to you, and annoyed you.  They have sucked the life right out of you.  Good days made miserable, potentially good moments ruined, and smiles turned tears.

As I thought about who has done this the most to me, I found this person has lied to my more than anyone else, made the most empty promises, put me in bad situations, and cheated me short of my potential.  This person is ME. How many times have I said I will only have one bite, I’ll start tomorrow, spent time with people who drag me down, and been in the wrong place at the wrong time and knew it was a bad idea all along.  I sure have messed me up.  I stayed in relationships longer than I should have and pushed good people away too early.  I think you relate to my problem.  You are just like me. You suck the life out of you too!

Psalm 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

How do you start living a suck proof life?

  1. Spend time with God daily
  2. Spend the most time with people who make deposits vs. withdraws
  3. Take a full day to sabbath
  4. Be in great small group
  5. Be generous in our finances
  6. Control the negative thoughts about you in your head
  7. Write a personal declaration to read daily about who Jesus says you are

Remember God does not want something from you, but has something for you.  He does not want to be part of your life, He wants to lead your life!  These are seven things that you can do to lead a life of being full instead of being sucked dry.  God has SO much for more for you than you can imagine.  When you do life His way you get to live the life He designed for you.

So which of these 7 things do you need to start doing?  Go do it!  Tackle one of these at a time and let God transform your life!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

How to Change

Have you ever wanted to do something good and then lacked the will power to stick with it? Maybe you wanted to get in shape, or save for a big purchase, or prepare for a promotion.  At first you are all in and disciplined.  That lasts for like one day then you lack the will power and do not finish.  Have you ever wanted to change something in your life and once you tried you did not have the power to bring change? Maybe it was doing pull ups, confronting a friend, or trying fix something in your house only to find you could not do it.

photo-1470342495351-a5f90c5011cdI think this describes our relationship with God at times.  We want to wake up early and then the snooze button wins.  We want to read His word and then that text comes in.  Or we want to go to church but we are behind in homework, projects at the house, or life happens.  Then there is our relationships with other people.  We want to call them once a week and we do not.  We want to spend quality time but we have two jobs.  So often we lack the will and the power to change the things we really want changed.

Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

This is one of the most encouraging verses in scripture.  The God who gave His son for our salvation also gives us the desire to do what pleases Him.  We all know we cannot please everyone, but we can please God.  He gives us the desire the will power to do it. Desire is not enough.  We also need the power.  I have the desire to change our nation but I do not have the power.  President Obama is not in my contacts on my phone.  I also need the power for change.  So God also gives us the power for change.  This power is not of this world or something we can make happen on our own.  It is only found by the Holy Spirit. 

 What I have just described is grace.  In scripture there are two kinds of grace.  There is the grace that covers our sin.  Before Jesus people would do sacrifice to receive forgiveness, then Jesus made a way to cover all of our sin by being our sacrifice. Then second kind of grace is by the Holy Spirit who enables us by giving us the desire and the power to live where we are called to live.  

So how do we change?  We go to God in prayer in the secrete place and we ask God to give us give us the desire and the power for change in our lives.  So where do you need change and you are trying alone?  Go to Him now and ask for grace to live in His desire and His power for change.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Skinny Fat

I have been on a quest for a new “healthy” lifestyle.  I want to be healthy.  I want to have energy. I want to look good for my wife.  I met with a trainer and he said the secret is simple… 30/70… I had no idea what that meant.  I thought most of the results for getting healthy would be in my level of exercise.  He told me that 70% of my results will have to do with how I eat.  If I were to work out and not change what and how much I eat. I would see limited results.  If I eat right and do not live an active lifestyle, I can become “skinny fat.”  It is only when I eat the right stuff and live actively will I see the results that I want.

photo-1470338950318-40320a722782I meet people who do the right thing (help people, serve others, be kind, etc.). They are good people in their eyes but they do not spend time with Jesus.  They often find an identity in what they do, instead of whose they are.  They are the missing the best part of doing good, and that is why you do good.  If you do good to feel better about yourself then get busy or think you can always do more, then you get stuck really fast.

Then I meet people who listen to 10 messages a week from churches all over the country.  They make this their time with Jesus and are not doing anything for the kingdom. They are fat.  They eat a lot but because they are not exercising what they heard, they…

James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Information (feeding on God’s word) + Application (obeying God’s word)= Transformation

We all want the benefits of transformation. If we apply the wrong things or for the wrong reasons we do not get the transformed life.  If we feed on God’s word and do not obey it we do not live the transformed life.  It is only when we get alone with God, admit we need Him, listen for His voice, quickly obey it, and follow that process over and over again will we get to live in the fullness of the transformed life.

So what are you feeding on?  What do you want to feed on?  When, where, and what are you going to do about it?

What do you need to do?  What act of obedience do you need to walk out? DO IT NOW!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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