Author Archives: Brandon

3 Keys to Keep Your Heart Alive… part 1

Have you ever fasted?  Day one you are hungry. Day 2 you have headaches and are getting really hungry. Day 3 you would eat anything.  Day 4 hunger is way less.  Day 5-7 energy is low but you are not hungry.  Day 8-whatever… I have no idea what that feels like.  Could you imagine fasting 6 days a week and only eating one meal on the 7th every week?  Sounds terrible and a recipe for death.  

Many Christians eat only one spiritual meal a week and fast the rest of week. Then their pastor does a couple evangelistic series, and they complain about not being fed.  Then many get stuck in a form of religion (going through motions without any transformation happening in them) or just walk away thinking it didn’t work.

All of us have experienced some part of the above!  I know with 4 kids, 2 jobs, and preparing to plant a church, there is so much that pulls on me that will not keep my heart alive.  So how do you keep your heart alive?

3 Keys to Keep Your Heart Alive

  1. Prayer
  2. Worship
  3. Word

Today I am going to write about prayer.  There are many forms of prayer that are valuable. Talking to God and talking with God are very different. Both are valuable but waiting for God to speak is the single most important way to keep your heart alive.  This is my opinion… Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer, but I do not think he gave it to us so we could pray it word for word but to teach us how to pray.

Mark 6:9 Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.

Start by focusing on who God is and telling Him how he alone is worthy of worship and praise.  Relate to Him as a good Father who loves you as a son. Sons are sons by birth not worth.  Some of you need to read that again. Sons are sons by birth not worth. Approach Him boldly as a dad who deeply loves you and has great plans for you.


10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.

Pray that Dad’s will would be done and that you would lay your will before His.  Ask Him to open your eyes to see a bigger picture than the one you see on your own.  Pray the Kingdom of Heaven would be in your home, your church, your work, your world.  This is about aligning your values and vision based on what Dad sees and not just what you see.


11 Give us today the food we need,

Remember who is your provider!  You can plant seed but cant make it rain. All the farmers know something about that this year. You can’t make things grow.  You can apply wisdom, great strategy, and great stewardship but if you add Dad’s blessing to that the results can equal whatever God wants.  We do not worry about tomorrow because God is faithful and His principles true. 

12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

Now confess to your great Dad your failure, your sin, and your shame. He will remove it as far as the east is from the west. 


13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Remember you have a real enemy.  It is not a boss, a spouse, or a person, but an enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy you.  Ask Dad to give you His grace to overcome.  On your own you do not stand a chance to the enemy, but when God surrounds you, we walk in victory and freedom.

So today, pray! Keep your heart alive! Don’t eat one meal a week!

Helping people live a better story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church

Celebrate

I went to a birthday party for a friend whose daughter had just turned 1.  I had not spent time with this precious girl, but went because I value my friend.  When it got time for the cake, the immediate family got really excited and everyone else was watching, but did not share the same enthusiasm.  The kids had fun and the adults talk about normal life.  I have 4 kids and we have had first birthdays and I realized this must be how everyone else felt at my kids 1st birthday party. 

I was reading about King Josiah this week in my 1 year Bible.  He became king at 8 years old and followed the Lord in an unusual way.  He destroy all the other places of worship to other gods.  What stood out to me what this. 

2 Chronicles 35:16 The entire ceremony for the Lord’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had commanded. 17 All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel.

Passover was a celebration that the angel of death passed over them and killed the first born of Egypt.  The next day they were released from their slavery and their bondage.  This was not only about what they have been saved from but what the have been saved to.  In King Josiah’s rule, Israel had again been made slave and Judah was on the brink of capture.  

It was easy for them to forget what had happened over 1,000 year before.  I wander how often we gather in church, celebrate Christmas or Easter, and forget why we are gathered and why we should celebrate.  Think about this… God gave clear expectations for our lives that we intentionally rebelled against.  That sin requires death.  God sends His own Son to die as payment for that sin.  We receive that forgiveness that we did NOTHING to get. Then we forget to remember and celebrate the forgiveness we have received and the priced paid for it.  Or we go to church out of duty because that is what we are supposed to do and not out of remembering, worshiping, and celebration. 

So today… Remember the freedom you have and the price paid for it.  Remember God owes you nothing, and you owe Him everything.  Celebrate Him in the way you worship, the way you work, and the way you love.  Tell others about the freedom you possess.  Jesus is worthy of our remembering, our worship, our celebration!

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church
@brandonsereg

3 Guard Rails for Life

Have you ever hit a guard rail?  Most of the time, we drive by them and don’t even notice.  Driving off the road is always dangerous, but when they add a guardrail it is really dangerous.  They know going fast enough you could loose your life if you go off the road in that spot.  You will never be more grateful for a guardrail than when you hit one.  Yes they ruin the side of your car but they save your life.
 
I think in life it is easy in life to treat our roads like our lives.  We only have guardrails that other people put in place for us.  What are the places that God has called us to put up some key guardrails in our own lives?
 
1 John 2:16  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
 
Here John identifies three places God has called us to place some guard rails.  Now I want to share how a friend of mine recommended my guard rails should be.  This is an older man of God that wants to protect me from these areas that could keep me from fulfilling what God has called me to. Here is what he shared:
 
1. I will not develop personal relationships with the opposite sex in an isolated place

I know this is culturally not popular, but it is wise.  Friendship involves intimacy of emotion and soul.  I made a promise with my wife 13 years to make her the only woman outside of my daughters who know my heart. The key word is isolated.  I have friends who are the opposite sex, but that is only in the context with my wife and not apart from it.  If you are single your guard rail will have to be different, but please marry your friend and not someone you have known for only a few weeks. 

2. I will not accept an attitude (in me) that someone owes me something or that I deserve something

God does not owe me anything, but I owe Him everything. He has not called me to use people to serve me or for things to be equal or fair.  He has called me to serve others and keep short accounts.  If there is a difference between give and take, I am called to give. 

3. When a win does not involve others, I have bumped up against the guardrail of my own pride, pursuing my personal success and achievements. 

Winning in life is not when I set up my success, but setting up the success of others.  Real achievement, legacy, and transcendence is found in giving until it hurts and risking on other people.  When I am motivated by making myself known and increasing my influence for my pride, I have actually compromised the gospel.  Jesus gave the model of what it means to serve others and not yourself.

So what guardrails do you need to add in your life to keep you from losing what you care most about. 

Helping People Live a Better Story

Brandon Sereg

Jesus > Religion

Have you ever gone to church because you are supposed to?  Some of you do it every week…  Have you ever prayed and it was more just going through the motions? Have you ever felt like following Jesus sucks the fun out of life?  Have you ever felt bored because of your beliefs?  Have you ever been exhausted because all you do to keep your public religious perspective strong?  I know I have at times.  Here is what Jesus has to say about that…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said following Him would not leave you tired, worn out, and burnt out on religion.  Key word… RELIGION.  Jesus did not come to start or continue a religion. Overtime, religion has become mans earning of God’s approval or appeasement of His wrath.   Jesus was around people who acted that way towards the Father He knew.  He came to show a better way.  

“Come to me. Get away with me.” speaks to relationship.  There is no sense of earning or appeasement, but friendship.  Jesus offers says he is offering the recover of life and real rest.  This is the opposite of the religious system that was imposed on the people Jesus was talking to.  Would you describe your relationship with Jesus as “come with me, get away with me, recovery of life, and real rest?”  or are you stuck in religion?  

Jesus gives us the answer. “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  Key word is with.  Religion is you do on your own, relationship is with.  How would you describe your relationship with Jesus… with or  just for?

Relationships take effort but not to earn but develop.  They are strengthened over time.  Vulnerability and truth are keys to depth of relationship.  Prayer is how we communicate.  Scripture is how we learn His wisdom and ways.  Worship is how we set our mind, heart, and soul.  Want to live free and light… Let religion fall away and develop relationship with the God who gave His Son so you could know Him. Come. Walk. Work. With. Watch. Learn. Relationship

Helping people live a better story

Brandon Sereg

Investment and the Kingdom

A business man owns an investment company and has three employees.  He is getting ready to go on a 2 year trip to start some new business ventures. To keep the company he already has going, he entrusts each employee with money based on what he thinks they are capable of overseeing.  For one he gives $1.4 million, another $3 million, and his strongest employee $7 million.  

2 years later, the owner returns to see how his business is running.  The employee entrusted with investing $7 million now has $14 million.  The owner rewards his success by adding another $7 to his accounts.  The employee with $3 million now has $6 million, and is entrusted with an additional $3 million.  The employee with $1.4 million put it in a brief case and did nothing with it.  When asked why an investment company employee did not invest the money, the employee replyed

Matthew 25:24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ (emphasis mine)

This story is a paraphrase of a parable Jesus often referred to as the parable of the talents.  For the amount of money was called a talent. 

The business owner trusted the servant because he was a good man, but the employee questioned the character of the owner.   I think one of the reasons we do not experience all God has for us is we distrust God’s character and motive in our lives. Is God really setting me up for joy or keeping me from something good?  Is God really good when bad things happen in my life? If I tithe, does God really bless me?  

“I was afraid” really says it all.  Not only did this employee doubt the goodness of the owner, but they doubted their talent.  Fear so easily creeps in.  It is one of the enemies first tactics against you… Fear.  Some say fear is False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.  Sometimes the evidence is real and there is real reason for why we could choose fear.  There are 365 times in scripture God tells us not to give into fear.  Why?  Life and the enemy gives us plenty of reasons to fear.  

Each employee had reason to fear.  If they lost all the money they would loose their job.  Investing has risk, and risk invokes fear. Two employees buried their fear and their ability made way to double their talents. The employee entrusted with the least buried their talent and fear won the day. 

God has uniquely designed the fabric of who you are.  You have a personality make up, you have gifts, resources, and many other things.  You also have an enemy looking to keep you ineffective in the Kingdom of God by intimidating you with fear so you would bury your talent.  

Today you will bury something: your talent or your fear… choose

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg
www.thevibrant.church

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