Author Archives: Brandon

Live a Better Story- Part 3

Have you ever wondered if there was more to following Jesus than being forgiven for your sins?  If you have ever had that thought, you are right!  Not that if the only thing received was forgiveness that would be enough, and we should praise and worship in response for all eternity. Jesus forgave us by His death but he actually died so we could have Freedom!  

800 years before Jesus the prophet Isaiah told us what would happen to Jesus and why.  He endured 4 unique wounds so we could experience the life He desires us to live.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

The Whip: Freedom for my body “by His stripes we are healed”

The first wound was the whip or “cat of nine tails.”  It had a two handed handle and nine leather chords, each with pieces of rock, stone, glass, and metal tied to it with horse hair.  They would soak the whip in water to make it heavy.  They would whip you 13 times across each shoulder muscle and 13 times down your spine, let it stick and then pull down to sever the muscle.  I have been physically healed and I know many people who have been healed.  God still heals today!  Does He always heal? No. Why? I don’t know.  But we can go to Him with our brokenness and know He heals us.

The Thorns: Freedom for my mind “The punishment that brought us peace”

I know depression.  I know sadness that overwhelms me.  I know anxiety worrying if there will be enough.  I know fear that cripples my faith. I know what it is to have no peace in my mind.  I also know what it is to walk in freedom here!  Though the circumstances were just as big, in my mind the peace of Jesus overcomes the depression, anxiety, and fear.   So how do you get this kind of peace?  I am sure there are places in you mind where you lack peace.  You lose sleep over things that might happen, you don’t like being alone in silence because silence makes you uncomfortable, you stuff emotions choices you have made and will not look yourself in the eyes, you overcompensate for your lack hoping people won’t notice. Don’t worry you are not alone and Jesus knew you would be here.  This peace is not earned but received. 

The Nails: Freedom for your hands “Pierced for our transgressions” 

He was nailed to a cross for a slow suffocation to maximize torture. This was for the sin we chose to do. We knew it was wrong, we knew they would get hurt, we knew it was selfish, we know it had consequences and we did it anyways. You see the nails were in his hands and feet.  It was our hands that did the sin, and our feet that got us there. This is for the forgiveness of what we have done, are doing, and will do.  Jesus knew it all and died for you anyways. He bore your shame so you could have peace in your soul.  He not only did this to forgive you but he wants to give you the ability to forgive yourself.

The Spear: Freedom for my heart “crushed for our iniquity”

Finally, they took a spear and drove it under his ribs into His heart.  When they did this water came before blood, showing His heart sack had already been broken.  You see He did not die of blood loss, suffocation, but of heartbreak.  I know what it is to have my heart broken and be betrayed. You are overwhelmed by everything to such a level that you can only see your hurt. The Father turned His back on Jesus so He didn’t have to do it to us.  That is what crushed Him. He bore the weight of our inherited sin passed down to us by our families.  

This is the Freedom He purchased.  It is received and not earned.  Some of you need to read this 3x times today to let it sink in.  Where do you need freedom today?  Go to the source!  Receive out of relationship and not religion.

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

 

Live a Better Story- Part 2

If I could only write one last devotional and was unable to write another this would be it.  This is the most important message I know to write.

Jesus was born into a time when men had turned God’s 10 commandments into over 600 laws that no one could keep up with.  It was a time of insiders and outsiders and the gap between was immense.  Jesus tells a parable in a crowd of thousands.  Many were outsiders attracted to the teaching of Jesus and some of the crowd were the very religious.

(Matthew 25:1-12) At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Now the religious people are getting excited.  Jesus is talking about perfect virgins who have not violated their standards expecting Jesus to show the outsiders just how far out they are. 

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” “No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.”

Now the religious people are getting more excited.  Oil represented life and the Spirit.  It is not just about perfection but the anointing of God.  They do not expect what is about to come.  Before we get too harsh on the religious people, it is the same thing when we think we are right with God because we go to church, pray, or are a good person. Jesus was making a point that your church attendance, prayers, and giving will not save you.  Also that you cannot be a good enough person.  Lets keep going…

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Sir! Sir!” they said. “Open the door for us!” But he replied, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”

We get to the end of the parable and you would expect Jesus to day he would have let the 5 others in because they were perfect enough and had enough oil.  But Jesus turns the whole story upside down and says it is, “I do not know you” for why the other women were not allowed in.

So Jesus says the key to salvation is not being a good enough person, going to church, serving, giving, or fulfilling the requirements of the law and morality.  He said it is all about knowing Him.  You see when Jesus died the veil to the Holy of Holies was ripped, showing the separation for knowing God had been resolved in Jesus death. Now we have the same access to God’s Spirit as the High Priest did.  

So where do you stand in knowing God?  I am not asking if you read the Vital devotional, read your Bible, or pray, however those can help.  I am not asking if you know about God like you know about a president.  I am asking do you know God.  The greek word Jesus used for know refers to know intimately like a best friend.  Do you know God like that?  If not don’t feel bad, Just learn to know.  How?  Worship, praise, share your heart, and listen for His voice.  He said His sheep know His voice.  I pray today that you would grow in your know God as a friend. Spend time today and everyday developing friendship with the One who loves you and created you to know Him

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

Live a Better Story- Part 1

Would it be fair to say there is a better story for you life than the one you are living? I think God calls it hope.  There is a better future, the best of my story is yet to come, our best days are ahead and not behind. God wants to bless you in abundance and not scarcity, he wants your cup to overrun with oil!  Now I do not think that necessarily means a Mercedes, bigger house, bigger income, or nicer clothes.  How many of us know people that got bigger and better and it ruined their marriage, cost them their kids, and they lost a lot of friends.  

I also do not think blessing is looking at other peoples lives on facebook, instagram, or how they appear to be at church.  I don’t believe Jesus died so you can impress people you don’t know or even like. In fact when I read the Bible I see God wanting us to live a better story because we find life in 4 places. Today I am going to skim the surface but in the next 4 week, I will dig into each of them a little deeper. 

Make a Difference! You were not made to work your life away so you can provide and play on your days off.  You were made so the generation and the world would be different because you walked the earth.  You were made so when people share about who helped them get where they are, your name is mentioned. You were made to make a difference where no one but God knows, where there is no trophy, recognition, or platitude.  If you are still breathing God is not done!  You are not too far gone, sinned too much, too old, too young, too poor, or too wealthy.  God is bigger than all of that!

Discover Your Purpose!  You cannot make the difference God intended unless you discover the purpose for why you are here.  Young men want to know what to study in college or what career to make. Middle aged men want to know if there is something more than 9-5. Older me want to know if what they did can be passed on or if there is anything left in retirement.  There is! Purpose is different and different seasons, and God reveals it in His time.  Purpose is found in His presence when He downloads holy conviction of making a difference. It is different for everyone.

Find Freedom!  You cannot discover purpose when you are bound to your past, your sin, your addiction, and your shame.  You need freedom for that.  God paid a very high price in His Son for you to know more than just forgiveness.  Confess your sin to God and you are forgiven. Confess your sin to men and you will be healed.  If you are sick as a mature believer for prayer, for their prayer is powerful.  God designed us to not be alone on our spiritual journey but to travel together. You will never be the person God made you to be apart from vulnerability with His people.

Know God!  You cannot find freedom until you know God.  “I met the mayor” and “the mayor is my best friend” are very different.  The first says you who who they are about you know about the mayor.  The second one reveals real relationship.  The will of God for your life is not for you to be religious!  The will of God for you is to know Him. You can not clean yourself up and come to God, you come to God because you need him to clean you up. 

This is getting long… Sorry about that!  I look forward to the next 4 weeks as God leads you to live a better story because you Know God more than ever before, found Freedom in places you didn’t know possible, Discovered Purpose in knowing what you were made to do, and Make a Difference in a way that will really matter.

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

How to Change the World… part 4

A little over four years ago I bought a house. The ceiling was falling down. The water pipes were broken. The HVAC was broken. Most of the house didn’t have any flooring in it. Oh and it was UGLY!!! Wow it was ugly. The house had been on the market for months. No one wanted it.

I went to go see it and I offered more than they were asking. I bought the house. Then I fixed that house. It has new everywhere! I put it on the market and it was under contract in 36 hours. The house sold for $81,000 more than I put in it. Most people saw a problem, I saw an opportunity.

I wonder how often we see problems and get stuck in our complaining instead of seeing it as opportunity.

Joshua inspected the promised land with 11 other spies. 10 spies saw giants, massive armies, and huge walls. Joshua and Caleb saw an opportunity. The 10 spies gave their report and here is what happened next.

Numbers 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. 6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”

The 10 spies saw the problem and felt defeated before they even started. Joshua and Caleb saw the problem with God in mind and the problem looked small and the opportunity was great.

The fourth way to change the world is…. See problems as opportunity

When we compare our problems to our abilities it is easy to get defeated. When we look at our problems compared to God we see opportunity.

So what are the greatest problems you are facing now? Write them down… like for real, do it now.

Now compare them to God one at a time. Ask Him what He thinks of your problem. Write that down too! The Lord opened Joshua’s eyes to opportunity that looked like giants, massive armies, and huge walls. May the Lord open your eyes to see as He sees.

Take the opportunity!

Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

How to change the world… Part 3

As a teenager, I learned something… My parents did not have a clue!  They said the world worked a certain way, and my friends showed me different. I got in trouble for rolling my eyes all the time.  Even if I didn’t roll my eyes talking to them, my attitude was the same.  They told me my girlfriend of 2 weeks didn’t love me. They told me the friends I choose were trouble.  They told me popularity was fleeting and a total waste of pursuit. 

They helped me buy a car and gave me an allowance.  So if I did not obey them, they would pull my keys, ground me from friends, and not let me go to places that would grow my popularity.  They were killing my image.  However, I wanted to drive and have cash so I obeyed.

I had a vision for my life.  It was full of popularity, pretty girls, and fame.  My parents had a different vision. It was full of loving God, a future of education, and a marriage to a christian girl.  So I gave in and submitted to their vision, because the consequence of not was too great.

15 years later, my vision was a waste of time.  My parent vision was so much better.  I am soglad I submitted to their vision.

Here is the 3rd way to change the world…

Serve someone else’s vision

Exodus 17:10 So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold themup. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

Joshua changed the world.  Before he led Israel, he served Moses vision.  Moses had these kind of plans all the time.  As long as Moses hands stay above his head, then Joshua would win.  If you are Joshua, your training and size of your army didn’t matter.  Your fate was litterately in the hands of an old man. This just sounds ridiculous.  

Joshua would have never been put in charge had he not first served Moses vision.  Submitting to a person is hard.  They are imperfect and do things different than we think they should.  Kind of like my parents in high school.  We think as we get older we are above this but we are not.  

I know this rubs wrong because we want to think we are smarter and above this.  It is not true.  Who’s vision do you need to submit to?  Did you know division means two visions?  Not one bad or one good, just two different vision.  Rebelion is trying to build a vision different than the person in charge.  

Who are you submitted to that if they tell you no you will do as they say?  If you don’t have an answer you are in a dangerous place. 

If you have that person, today thank them for what they do for you.  If you do not, ask God who He wants to play that role.

Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

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