Author Archives: Brandon

Live a Better Story- Part 5

Where I live dog racing is a big thing.  There is a round horse track and attached to the middle of the track is a mechanical rabbit.  The race begins, the rabbit appears to be running, and the dogs lose their minds chasing it. Recently, one of the rabbits exploded mid race.  One of the dogs stopped, layed down and took a nap.  A couple dogs kept running thinking the rabbit was over the fence, and they ran through it breaking a few ribs in the act.  The remaining dogs realized the crowd and began barking at them.

I thought to myself, what a picture of humanity! When we do not have something specific to go after… aka a vision for our lives, we will either take a nap, hurt ourselves, or bark at the people around us. 

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint.

Restraint is something that holds us back.  It can be handcuff or an internal conscience that keeps us from hurting ourselves or someone else. The Message translation says it like this:

Proverbs 29:18 If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

It is like a crowd of people running in the dark.  There will be chaos, and it will be crazy.  Turn on the news or go to the mall and you will see this verse right in front of you. So if that is not God’s plan what is?

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Good work prepared in advance for us to do.  What is the good work God planned for you?  The happiest people I know are not the ones with the best of circumstances.  In fact some have lost their spouse, been bankrupt, lost their job, faced physical illness, and many other things.  Yet they carry a joy that is bigger than all they face.  They have a clear purpose and are making a difference in the world they live in. How do you feel when you bless a widow, give a honkin’ tip… for those of you that did not grow up in the country “a generous gratuity”, buy groceries for a single mom, help someone on the side of the road.  Or people who start a business to help people get a job and keep it. I know people who serve homeless, serve in kids ministry because they want those kids to really know God, people who reach out to teenagers, coaches, teachers, CEO’s who give millions to churches and missions.  

1 Corinthians 9:22 Whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.

Want to make a real difference that lasts for eternity.  Do you want your heart to be alive?  It can’t happen on the lake, or on the bike, or with the bigger house, or the bigger bank account, or the prettier spouse.  Your heart will be alive when you know God and look to make Him known.  How do you reach someone?  Don’t go on a mission trip! Cross the street!  Find someone in need and help meet that need.  When you do listen to their story and dont judge them.  What is wrong with them is not their bad behavior but they don’t know Jesus.  Meet the need and Jesus said that is meeting His need.

If you are bored, facing mid life, wandering if there is more than 9-5, get on your knees and ask God to give you vision for you life.  Know this… You cant Make a Difference if you don’t Discover Your Purpose. You can’t Discover Your Purpose if you don’t Find Freedom.  You can’t Find Freedom if you don’t Know God. 

So where are you?

Where ever that is take a next step.  When? Today! Now! Go!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

Live a Better Story- Part 4

I meet so many men that want to know their purpose.  They get to a time in their life where they have done what they know, what have always done, and what paid the bills but look back to a time where they dreamed of something different life.  No kids dreams about being miserable in a 9-5.  Now before you think it is money that makes the difference let me clarify. I know men who have money and lack purpose.  I live in South Florida.  The weather is a paradise, the median income is 3x the national average, 25 minutes from the beach, and every kind of ethnic food within 20 of your house.  Theyhave beautiful homes, incredible cars, and lack purpose.  It is really simple.  Many people live life thinking success is around the corner. Then they get around the corner and find another corner of in the distance. 

Do you want to know God’s will for your life?  There is something wrong with you if you would answer yes. 

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We all want the 2nd part of the verse and forget about that the word “then” creates a condition.  The condition to knowing God’s will for your life starts with 2 things… Don’t pursue purpose where the world looks for purpose and admit you don’t think right and let God change the way you think. 

3 Enemies of Purpose

  1. Confusion– We don’t know where to look, or we think we do and find it is empty
  2. Comparison– You want their money, their house, their wife, their hair, their body, their influence, their life
  3. Counterfeit– You sought a career and not a calling. You looked for it in a person, did find it and got a new person and same story

How God Reveals Our Purpose

  1. The Call from Birth

Jeremiah 1:4-8 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah responds with how he is too young to God.  Funny thing is I hear this all the time from men.  I am too old, too poor, too many kids (this might be mine with 4), or I am too far from the starting line.  Funny thing is Joshua was 80 when he took the promised land, David was about 13 when he faced Goliath, and the writer of most of the New Testament was a terrorist before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Dave Thomas started KFC with his social security checks. Michelangelo was in his 80s when he began to paint the Sistine Chapel.  God has never been limited by the things we limit ourselves.

      2. Growing Awareness

Joseph had a dream of his family bowing to him.  He shared the dream and got sold as a slave.  That led to and accusation, prison, and being forgotten about for years. It was only after all of the hardship that God made a way for the purpose to be shown. 

      3. Walking Through Open Doors

Esther was an adopted misfit that had unusual beauty that led to a change to save her people by risking her life before a cruel king. 

Esther 4:14-16 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”… I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Here is what I know… You were created on purpose and for a purpose.  Even if you do not see it right now, you are not too far from that purpose.  You are not too old, too young, too poor, or have sinned too much.  God is God and before you were born He had a purpose to fulfill and then He created you to fill it. If you are not dead, He is not done! Start the business, plant the church, quit the 9-5, or go to your job with purpose to make a difference in the lives of the people around you!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

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

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