Author Archives: Brandon

Chase the Lion part 3

I was playing Monopoly with my son.  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

Not too long ago, 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

Sabbath

Have you ever wondered what Sabbath really was?  For those of you who have not grown up in church this word might as well be greek.  So let me explain… When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, He wanted to give them a standard to live by.  So He gave them 10 commandments. One of those commandments is: 

Exodus 20:8 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

In 6 days, God made the whole universe and everything in it.  He did it with His voice. On the 7th day, He rested. God is trying to show the world his power.  The world works 7 days and trusts in their labor for increase.  God said you will work less and because you are blessed will harvest more. Science shows people who really rest live longer, have greater happiness, and are overall healthier people. This is really about trust.  Do you trust God or do you trust you?  Do you trust God multiplies what you trust Him with?

Overtime sabbath became something different.  It turned into a religious duty about law instead of a matter of trust and filling our tanks.  So Jesus address it:

Mark 2:23 One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. 24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

So what is Sabbath?  Is it napping and watching TV? NO!  Sabbath is relational and restful.  Sabbath is about spending time with God and worshiping Him.  It is also about spending time with family and friends.  For me a great sabbath day is extra time in prayer, spending time with my family, and getting my tools out and building something. Why is that not work?  Because during the week I do not have a physical job and building fills my tank.

So do you sabbath?  Is it rules or relationships?  How do you need to find a sabbath rythm?  Btw… my sabbath is Saturday.  I do not work on Vibrant or counsel people.  If something comes up on a Saturday like it has this week.  I move my day.  Why?  I was not made for sabbath but sabbath for me.  So sabbath this week.  Do it every week!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
www.thevibrant.church

 

Smite Thy Enemy

Have you ever had someone go out of their way to make your life miserable?  Like they have an agenda to embarrass and shame you infront of people. Then we play out what we wish we could do to them or we have these fake conversations in out head with them.  We tear them apart in our heads.  Some of us actually do those things.  We get even with them!

Then you come across the words of Jesus:

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! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 

Most of the time we are like “He is Jesus. He can do that. I can not.”  Or we think ok I will pray for them… “God get them, smite them, destroy them, expose them.” I do not think that is the kind of pray Jesus was encouraging.  Love your enemies.  Love those that go out of their way to make you miserable.  Love those who intentionally hurt you. 

Then if you actually do, something deep in you happens.  The pain of what they did hurts less. The hatred toward them goes away.  Here we feel like they are getting away with it.  What if God telling us to love our enemies was actually about us too.  What if He knew holding on to the pain and resentment would steal life from us? What if we would just let Him have our hurt we walk away free?

Then what about them? What if when they see you responding in love instead of anger, they see who the Father really is?  

So loving your enemies heals you and shows the offender the nature of the God.  So who do you need to forgive?  Who would God have you pray for?  Who do you not want to pray blessing over?  Go do it!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
@brandonsereg
@thevibrantchurch
www.thevibrant.church

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