Author Archives: Brandon

Thermostats and Thermometers

A couple weeks ago, I walk into a house that felt HOT!  I walked into a wall of heat like I walked into the desert.  My internal thermometer was reading “this is miserable.” So I go to the thermostat and change the temperature.  A couple hours later (yes my a/c unit is weak), the temperature was normalized and it was good.

I could have just complained about the temperature and made other people miserable.  Or I can go set a new temperature on the thermostat. 

Proverbs 13:9 The life of the godly is full of light and joy,
    but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Almost anyone can tell whether a room is hot or cold.  Almost anyone can identify a problem in this life.  You can identify it in your job, your spouse, you parent, your kid, your church, and every once in a while yourself. Anyone can identity a problem.  If you can identify a problem, this does not make you special.  It just makes you human. 

When you can change a situation without making the room too hot or cold, you are a thermostat.  Jesus wanted his followers to be thermostats.  He wanted them to change the temperature of wherever they went.  

Paul and Silas were once in prison because they preached the gospel.  At midnight, they starting singing worship songs out of a heart of joy.  Their circumstances could have made them a thermometer and they could have been angry or discouraged.  Like the Psalm, their life was full of light and joy.  The jail is shaken and the doors open.  The warden comes to find the doors open and Paul and Silas still in their cell.  They lead this man to Jesus and his whole family gets saved. Why?  They were a thermostat.  

How to be a Thermostat?

  1. Don’t let your circumstances shape your internal temperature.  It is easy to let our temporary problems shape our internal temperature.  God has put His Spirit in you so you can choose light and joy. 
  2. Don’t let your emotions cause you to set the wrong temperature.  Remember who you are and whose you are!  God has called you to change the world you are in not be changed by it!
  3. Invite God to give you light and joy.  He is your source and wants to teach you how to be a thermostat, not just a thermometer. 

You are a thermometer.  You can feel the temperature.  A thermostat needs a thermometer to know how to adjust.  So choose to be more than a thermometer and change the world around you.  Set the temperature at home, at work, at church, in your heart.  Don’t let other people taint your ability to set the right temperature.  Gossip kills. Negativity destroys.  Fear corrupts. Joy brings hope. Light dispels darkness. Love covers.

So go be a thermometer!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Ending Summer Slump

Every summer christians all over the world get stuck in a slump.  During the school year there is clear routine and schedules.  During the summer, all of the routine and schedule gets thrown out.  So how do you keep your relationship with Jesus healthy?

I wish every person would read through the Bible every year, go to church every week, serve using their gifts and talents every week, spend time as a family talking about what God is doing in each person, serve people everyday, tithe to a local church, and be generous as a lifestyle not just to get the tax break (however I am very grateful for that break).  I know most of you would aspire to do many of those things but won’t.  So if I could encourage you to do one thing this summer it is this…..

Pray for at least 5 min a day

Pray like this…

  1. Say out loud that God is God. He is holy, righteous, good, kind, perfect, worthy of honor, worthy of praise, or anything else that speaks to His great value.
  2. Say out loud 10 things you are grateful for.  There is nothing that sets our heart right like gratitude.  If there is someone close to you that you are struggling with, speak 3 things that you are grateful for about them
  3. Confess the places you struggle with and ask God for strength and courage to life apart from sin. It is for freedom He sets you free, and by grace that you overcome sin. 
  4. Ask God to give you 3 people to encourage today.  They might need prayer, affirmation, or just someone to ask how they are doing and really listen for an answer.  
  5. Ask God to speak to you.  Now listen with your eyes and ears.  You might see something or hear something that will fill your soul

You will be surprised how fast 5 minutes will turn in to more.  

Psalm 27:Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.

    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

So today… Pray. God loves you and is for you.  His is not looking to catch you in sin but to forgive and save you from it.  Approach Him as a loving Father.  If you have never known a loving father, let Him show you and heal you.  He wants you to hear His voice more than you will ever want to hear his voice.  Go pray

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Liquid Courage

Have you ever been in a circumstance that required more courage than you had?  Some off you are like… “that is my whole life.”  I know the feeling.  Then you have to muster up courage to face the problem, or just bail…

I spend a lot of time with young adult men.  One of the things they often talk about is how to approach a girl.  They joke about how before Jesus, they would drink liquid courage and approach a girl in a bar.  This rarely worked and if it did it was often the wrong kind of girl.  That version of liquid courage also made people look better than they really were. Either way liquid courage seemed to give them greater reason to be afraid than to carry out courage. If you were born on an alter and have never heard of liquid courage… it is alcohol.  It blurs vision, alters reality, giving temporary numbness to pain, and compromises perspective.  

I think all of us face defining moments in our lives that require a kind of courage that is not naturally in us.  We see other people face these moments and we want what they have. Then you read the Bible and you see so many people that have this courage you only wish you had. I know I do. When ever we hear or read a story like President Lincoln, Billy Graham, or David from the Bible, we put them on a super human level. I have a theory though.  They are not super human.  In fact they are just like all of us, with one difference.  They know they need a courage bigger than their own.  What if they are just more honest with themselves then us?  In that vulnerable place, they didn’t dig deep to find that courage but sought God. 

After Jesus died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, 11 men whom Jesus called His disciples scattered the world to tell people about Jesus and begin what we call the Church. They were imprisoned, beaten, and killed for doing it.  They knew that would most likely be their fate and the did it anyways.  Almost daily, they had communion. Not in the religious sense many of us think of.  They remembered Jesus in the face of fear, with this liquid courage and bread, and found a courage not of themselves. A courage found in God’s faithfulness to His promise to them.  What promise? Not an easy life, or one with out pain.  The promise was that He would be with them in the struggle and the sacrifice.  

Mark 14:23 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people.

Today, I need courage bigger than myself and I think you might too.  You can believe the lie of the culture that says to dig deep and look in the mirror.  Or you can find real courage by remembering Jesus promise to be with you.

Recklessly, obsessively Following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Facing the Giant…

Have you ever stayed up at night because of a problem you are facing?  I know I have several times.  We hear a doctors bad news, a fight with family, a policeman who hands you a document, a moment that changes your life. In that moment, you feel completely vulnerable.  You have no idea how you got where you are and worse yet no idea how to move forward.

I just had my fourth kid.  No I am not amish… Someone asked me recently what it is like having your fourth kid.  I said imagine you are drowning and then someone hands you a baby.  Johna, my wife, had a c section and cant drive, pick up anything of size, and has 3 other kids that want her constant attention. I have two jobs and a growing family, and I do not want to drop the ball in any of those arenas. It feels like a giant in front of me.  I know it is bigger than me and could easily crush me.  

David was a young teenager when he faced Goliath. Goliath was a man of war and David was a shepherd.  Goliath saw just a boy.  Little did he know that this boy had killed a lion and a bear already.  David knew what God could do through him.  David knew the lion and the bear should have killed him, but they didn’t. He was familiar with feeling small compared to his problems and knew first hand that God could deliver him.

We see David stand up to Goliath with such tenacity and audacious confidence, that he almost see like a Marvel superhero. Here is how David stands tall before Goliath:

1 Samuel 17:45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 

David understood something I want all of us to understand.  David knew Goliath was greater than him.  He also knew the God inside of him was greater than the giant in front of him. All of us have problems that stand in front of us and remind us how small we are in comparison.  So this is our confidence, God is greater!  He is greater than cancer, divorce, addiction, depression, loneliness, family tension, death, and sin.  

So what are you facing today that cause you to worry or walk in fear?  Look that problem in the face and remind it that the God in you is greater than it is.  Speak it out loud. Write it down. Shout it from the rooftops!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

How to Pray?

I was talking with a staff member at my church this last week and they shared how they are active in their Bible and worship, but prayer has been difficult to add. He works for a church and struggles with prayer.  If that is true in him, it is true with many other people.  

One of the things that make it hard is when we hear professional prayers.  We go to church, watch it online, tv, or the radio and we hear people pray these great, eloquent, big word prayers.  These prayers are intimidating.  I have a 4 year Bible degree and have been a pastor for over a decade.  I will hear people pray and they use words I do not understand and at times feel less spiritual.  

In Jesus time, professional prayers would stand a street corners and show how great they were and how they obeyed the law. Here is what Jesus said about that…

Matthew 6:“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 

Then he tells how to pray in a very simple way…

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

So how do you pray?  Here is what Jesus said…

Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
    but rescue us from the evil one.

It was less about praying these exact words and more then meaning.  Jesus start by reminding us that God is a Father who is Holy.  If we see him as a father it reminds us that we are his kid!  That is a great way to approach prayer as a kid who has a great Dad!!!!  Then He leads us to pray about His kingdom.  This causes us to think less about building our kingdom and joining Kingdom.  This is your mission, your calling, and God’s will for your life! Be about and build His Kingdom. After knowing He is a good Father and we are all about His kingdom, we now can ask with right motive for Him to supply our needs because He cares about our needs, wants to forgive us, and lead us towards freedom. 

  1. Remember who He is and who we are
  2. Be about His Kingdom
  3. Ask Him to meet our needs
  4. Ask forgiveness from a loving Dad
  5. Ask to stay in freedom

This is how Jesus taught us to pray.  This is a great way to start to pray. It doesn’t have to be pretty, full of big words, or even very long.  Think about going to spend time with a Dad who wants to help you know who you really are and wants the best version of life possible.

Go spend time with Dad in prayer!!!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

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