Author Archives: Brandon

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

Light in the Darkness

Have you ever thought about writing out your future story?  Maybe you have not written it but thought about what you would like your life to be like later in life.  Those pages and thoughts would be full of great stories, adventures, love, and accomplishments.  However, life doesn’t usually get written that way. 

Everyone of us has a story, two, or years of stories that we would not have written into our story.  Some of those stories are a result of choices we made or friends we spent time with. Others were things that happened to us.  Some of those stories led to resentment towards someone or a group of people.  Others led to deep regret which is resentment turned inward.  Again there is no way we would have written that into our story. 

Joseph (Not Jesus dad) was born into a family of 11 other brothers from 4 mothers and one dad.  Joseph was born into a family where the wifes and brothers fought for Jacob’s attention, affection and position.  In the midst of this Joseph starts having dreams from God about being put in position over his dad and older brothers.  Like many young men he shares this dream and his brothers hate him for it.  

The brothers conspire to kill him but don’t want the guilt of his death.  So they sell him into slavery to the Egyptians.  I am sure that was not apart of Joseph’s dream. However in slavery, he is loved by his master.  Then his master’s wife offers herself to him, he refuses.  She becomes angry and accuses him of rape.  So Joseph goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

In jail, he is loved by the warden and is put in charge of the whole prison. In prison, he meets some people who have some dreams.  Joseph interpreted those dreams.  One person who got an interpretation, goes to work for pharaoh.  However, he is forgotten.  

His story changes when pharaoh has a dream and the man remembers Joseph can interpret dreams. That day he is brought before pharaoh and impresses pharaoh so much he is made 2nd in command of all Egypt. Later his brothers show up and Joseph confronts them.  

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Joseph was able to look through the mess of his life and see God was able to use it.  He even sounds grateful for it.  He was able to see past his pain and hurt.  What about you?  What part of your story do you wish wasn’t there?  What would happen if you invited Holy Spirit to heal and forgive?  What if God could use even the darkest stories to reveal His great light?

I challenge you right now to pray and ask God to highlight one moment from your past, and ask Him to heal, forgive, and use it for for His glory.  I want to let you know doing this does hurt, often very deeply.  But when you watch God use that story to help someone else it will all be worth it!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Build on the ROCK

2000 years ago, two men move to a desert near a river.  One man wants to grow his new business quickly and builds his house like every other man.  He builds it right on top of the sand.  The second man builds his house on a rock.  Everyone said it was not necessary and mocked him for having such a high unnecessary standard.  A couple years pass by and a storm hits.  The banks of the river flood and now both houses have water in them  Both families respond by getting on their houses. Soon the man who built his house on the sand recognises that his house will not hold and his whole family is in danger.  He gets his family off their house right before the collapse and joins the family who built on the rock.

How often has that been the story of our lives?  We build friendships, finances, health, entertainment or many other things only to find out its value in the midst of a storm. 

john-hult-58894.jpgMatthew 7:24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

How to build on the Rock?

  1. Listen to God’s Word

How many of us know that hearing and listening are two very different things?  Someone you have value for or someone you want to learn from, you will listen to.  Others you might hear but will forget what they say quickly.  Listening is leaning in and weighing every word and filtering your beliefs through what is said.  How different would our lives be if we listened to God’s Word.  

2. Follows God’s way

Listening is a powerful first step, but unless you follow what you have learned the impact is considerably stunted.  God does not want you to just know, understand, and agree with His ways, He actually wants you to live this way.  To do this you have to believe that even when what He wants you to do something that does not make sense, His plan is good for you.

3. Build in God’s will

All of us want to know clearly what God’s will is for our lives.  Many Christians want to know God’s will, then they will walk in God’s ways, and maybe they will get in His Word.   Jesus taught something different.  He said first listen to His teaching, then follow His ways, and then you will find yourself in the center of His will.

So what does this mean for you today?  Where have you built your life on the sand?  would it be your relationships? Money? Health?  Career?  Choose one today to focus on rebuilding on God’s will.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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