Author Archives: Brandon

Chase the Lion part 3

I was playing Monopoly with my son this week.  He wants to beat me at a strategy game so bad.  About mid game, he is winning.  His roles are unbelievably lucky and I land on his big properties every time.  I get to a place in the game where I am almost out of cash and I finally land on the property I need.  If I buy it, it might win the game in the long term. However in the short term, I will be out of cash and one roll away from losing the whole game.  I have a decision to make, play to possibly win or try not to loose.

I think it is easy to play life not to lose.  Don’t stand out too much.  Do what is expected.  Play it safe.  However in our safe life, we aspire to be the risk taker. We know deep inside doing something significant in obedience to God or to serve or give until it hurts requires tremendous risk.  There are no guarantees or risk free options.  It will require faith at another level.

2 Samuel 23: 20 Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. (emphasis added)

Chase the lion- Defining moments require risk

Benaiah is a man who chased a lion.  He intentionally went after a 500 pound predator. One way or another, either the lion or Benaiah is going to die.  The natural instinct to survive is powerful and both warrior want it.  We would not know about Benaiah had he not chases the lion.  We would not know about him if he had died.  Billions of people will hear about him and be added to the scripture if he kills the lion.  Notice now he did not just go after the lion he chased it.  What causes a lion to tuck tale and need to be chased?

Sometimes God asks us to do something that takes significant risk.  It might be to forgive someone who isn’t sorry or doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. It might be to give what you can’t afford.  I might be to start something that hasn’t been done. It might be to move to a city you don’t know anyone.  What I know for sure is when I get around Jesus followers and listen to their stories, the ones they come alive telling are the ones where they obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense.

A couple years ago, my friend was applying for a job.  The job required transportation and just as he was about to begin his car broke down beyond repair.  Johna and I prayed about it.  I wanted to give like $500.  We didn’t have $500 to give.  Johna said we should give him our jeep.  So we compromised like couples do and we gave him our jeep.  We did not have the money to replace the jeep.  So I rode a bike to work for months.  I kept thinking God will give us a vehicle.  It never did.  We actually refinanced our house to pay for another vehicle.  It still doesn’t make sense.  However, we find so much joy in obeying God and seeing my friends face when I gave him our title for free.

Don’t misunderstand… I am NOT saying go gamble money playing the lottery or climb a mountain without gear.

What risk is God asking you to do?  Go do it in faith! Forgive, give and serve until it hurts, love again, start it.  We serve a big God with dreams! Go chase the Lion

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Chase the Lion Part 2

When I was in 7th grade I went out for wrestling.  I was terrible!  I remember my first match, I was going as hard as I could and was winning.  I was looking at my coach for help and I remember him just laughing at me.  That season, a kid named Cody from my church went out for the team.  He was worse than me.  He went to my church and our moms were friends.  So my mom would have him over to hang out with me.  In the hallways at school he would put his arm around me and announce to the whole hallway full of middle schoolers that I was his best friend.  One day at the end of practice, the other wrestlers started making fun of him.  They were so cruel.  Cody looks at me looking for some defence.  I took the cowards way and join in the making fun.  I can still see the look on his face as his “best friend” humiliated him.

2 Samuel 23:20 Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. (emphasis added)

In a pit- Defining moments often happen in enemy territory

Benaiah has to go into the pit to face the lion.  The pit is the lions home, for Benaiah this is enemy territory. I was on a wrestling mat with my character on the line.  For you it is at school, at work, at the party, or alone at a computer.  These defining moments rarely happen at church.  The lion you face is not a 500 pound predator. It is not even a person though often it all feel that way.

Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Your lion might look like addiction, or lust, or lying, or depression, or fear, or many other things.  The hard thing about facing those lions is your do not know what to hit at. If you are facing a lion you better go with a gun in 2018 or a spear in 2000 BC. When you look at a physical enemy you can know how to kill it.  But when it is unseen, it can feel like punching at the air. It is easy to feel stuck or defeated.  

So how do you go into enemy territory when you can’t see your enemy?  You build yourself up in the Word of God. You spend time in prayer asking God to give you victory. You show love.  You forgive. You confess your sin to God and to other people. You bring the things hidden in the darkness and bring them to the light.  The hope that we share because of Christ, is that when we do those things the enemy flees and victory purchased by the resurrected Christ avails. 

So today…  FIGHT! Find the Freedom you were freely given.  You are NOT too far gone, you have NOT sinned to greatly, your hopelessness is NOT too deep. You are deeply loved, highly favored by the Creator.  Go to Him and find freedom.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Chase the Lion Part 1

This past week, a bat invaded our house.  My grandma woke up to it flying in her room.  I went in the room and could not find it.  Part of me thought she didn’t have her glasses on and she was disoriented.  Later that morning it shows up again.  My 10 year old son decided he was up to the challenge.  He went and got his Red Ryder BB gun.  It was perched in a corner of our vaulted ceiling in a little ball.  Nervously he aims at the bat knowing it could get spooked and start flying again.  He takes aim and shoots the bat.  He nails it and the bat swoops to the floor at all the girls in my house start screaming.  My wife covers the bat with a towel and takes it outside dead.  Levi my son is now a sharp shooting warrior.  He has officially gotten his first man card at 10!

One of my favorite stories in scripture is about a man who steps up in a crazy way.  The act of heroism, by this many named Benaiah, along with a few others led him to eventually become the captain of the guard under King David and commander in chief under King Solomon.  Little did he know these acts of heroism would set up such a dream responsibility.  

Here is the account:

2 Samuel 23:20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[i] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[j] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it.22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors.

On a Snowy day-

Isn’t that just how God works.  If you live in Israel snow comes around about as often as it does in Alabama.  They are not used to this kind of cold.  On a miserable day comes a defining moment.  I don’t know about you but most of my defining moments were on a bad day or a hard day.  Benaiah has to face a lion one on one on a miserable day.  

I think in our lives we find ourselves here on our worst days.  The day you didn’t get enough sleep, had a rough morning, spilled something on yourself, lost an opportunity is the day you notice that person who is having a rough day, you have the opportunity to cheat or lie, or feel compelled by the Lord to be overly generous.

These are the days God tests our character and He find whether we can be trusted.  So this week I want to challenge you to ask God to give you an opportunity to show faith in a way that costs you like it would on a snowy day.  Then ask God to give you the strength and courage to do it.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Hope Carriers

I lead an internship of young adults.  Let me tell you they can eat!  We prepare twice as much as we think they can eat and we always run out.  They are bottomless pits.  I think this is preparing us for parenting teenagers for sure.  

How many of you have that favorite dish mom made that when you found out she was making it, you got so excited.  Well the Johna’s dish that got our interns excited about was her enchiladas. We do what we call family dinners and they come over and all they can talk about is whether enchiladas is on the menu.  I have to admit they are amazing.  When they come out of the oven, the smell and the look of them makes your mouth water.  That excitement carries into the conversation and the sense of family.  In a sense, it builds hope.

I know first hand what it feels like to be stuck without hope and that is a dark place. It is a hole that seems to crowd in, and the journey out is just as dark.  When you are there you see people who have hope and when you are around them their hope seems to transfer to you.  I LOVE those people.  I call them hope carriers. 

This is the hope that we have.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul.  I want to highlight a couple words.  “An Anchor” is what keeps a boat grounded from drifting to a place that was not intended.  Think about that in reference to your “soul.” Your soul is related to your emotions.  So go with me for a minute here… 

Your emotions are anchored from drifting because of hope.  So what is hope? It is like the enchiladas coming.  You know the best is yet to come and that feeling and belief called hope is strong and trustworthy.  So then where do we place our hope?  Is is ourselves? Our gifts? Our dreams? Glass is half full? NO!  Hope is founded in the character of God that He is faithful to His promises.  None of us can see into the future and the future is full of unknowns.  But as believers, we have hope in what lies ahead because God’s plan if full of hope. So even in our suffering, our disappointment, and days of great joy, we get to carry hope to a future that is bigger than us in His story that is greater than us.

So today carry Hope and let it be a strong and trustworthy anchor for your soul!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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

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