God is a Show Off

”He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.”

Today we are talking about size and what this parable teaches us.

Before we dive I want to read to you a snippet from the margins of a bible about parables. The quote is from the Voice Translation.

“Jesus’ teaching often includes parables: stories that explain truth about the Kingdom with examples from everyday life. Considering that most of His listeners know about farming, it’s no wonder most of Jesus’ parables are based on agricultural realities.

Parables like this force Jesus’ listeners to think about the kingdom of God differently. He challenges their ideas, and He also knows they are unlikely to forget it. When they see farmers broadcasting their seeds they will remember this parable and ponder the mysteries of God’s kingdom. It never seems to bother Him that people are confused by His teaching.

HE doesn’t expect them to understand everything; He wants them to wrestle with His teachings so His worlds will sit in their hearts and germinate – much like the seed sitting in good soil that eventually grow to bear fruit.”

Jesus is by far the greatest teacher that ever existed, which is important because we have many teachers, but truly there is only one that matters as much as Jesus does.

This morning, my prayer for all of us is that Jesus’ words would sit in our hearts and germinate like a seed in the soil.

Today Jesus calls you and me to understand that we need to wrestle with the simplicity of the mustard seed. It’s not simple, and we must wrestle with what it truly means.

The question is why?

About a month and a half ago my life and my wife’s life changed forever. Our daughter, Rilla Olive Rey Alexander was born at 7:51 am on July 19. She was born at 6 pounds and 1 ounce and was 19 3/4 inches long.

She was tiny.

Smaller than I was comfortable with because I was so afraid of hurting this little life that we were now entrusted to take care of.

To explain the last month or so I could wholeheartedly say that God is a Show-Off.

I have never been so terrified in my life and yet I have never before been so blessed in my life. I lose it more and more every time I look into her eyes. She was so tiny, and she was creating seismic changes in my life, how was this possible?

We have a misunderstanding in what size is. We have a skewed understanding of what strength is and what weakness is. For centuries we have surmised that God’s power would level the earth and rightfully so it could, but it doesn’t, it works like a still small voice. We are given this parable today about a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds in the entire earth.

The imagery of the seed is seismic in how much it changes how we think about life. We believe you to be big and strong and have muscled out to your eyeballs; we have to have large sums of money or even be a certain age or tax bracket to impact change in this world.

We have never been more wrong.

How can this be? How can something so small impact so much change, how can the faith of a mustard seed move mountains?

God uses everyone, no matter their age, how much money they make or what job they have or how attractive the world deems them to be they are all of the sacred worth to God and deemed very good by the creator of everything.

So, today know that wherever you are, whoever you remember the famous quote from Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Know that you can change the world.


God is Never Absent

“God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away; that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety – that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it.

Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.” (“God in the Manger” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

I love me some Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he is truly an important voice in the history of faith and Christianity. His words from God in the Manger are so well crafted and expressed that I believe there will never be a time in this world where His words are not applicable to our daily lives.

2016 was a interesting year. Interesting in fact is putting it lightly. There are a lot of people that left this earth that some would say earlier than expected. These people were creators in some form and so because they created things that fed us to a certain extent it has been as the worst year ever. I want to remind you not to buy into this feeling. As people of faith we know this:

We have to take the good with the bad.

Our lives cannot always be filled with good all the time or bad all the time, there are good things and there are bad things. And no matter who you are and where you are there is someone somewhere that has it worse than you. That is what life is. It’s a journey that has mountaintops and valleys. When we have valleys we tend to ask where is God in these moments, because we have implicated for years that where bad exists of course God cannot exist.

We really need to stop this. Dietrich’s words strike true because God is never absent from our lives. He is present on the mountaintops and present in the darkest of valleys.

He is.

Anything that says otherwise is not truth, not our God.

God is good and present all the time. The issue is are we even looking for Him? Are we listening for His voice and not our own? Today I challenge you and myself to do something. I challenge you to at some point in every day to say a prayer. A very specific prayer. A covenant prayer.

This challenge is an experiment. An experiment of what our lives could look like if we read this covenant prayer everyday. I wonder what would change. How would it change our relationships? Our work ethic? Our social media presence?

I have no idea what it will do, but I am curious and wondering so I am going to do it. Even if I am the only one in the world to do it. I hope you will join me in reading this prayer everyday. Here it is:


A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (Contemporary Version)
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.

I wonder what this would look like if we really tried to apply this perspective? I invite you to join me in this journey. I bet you will see God doing wonders in places you never considered.

Be Excellent to One Another


It wouldn’t take you long to experience a very bitter truth about his world. It probably happened this morning already, and it is everywhere, spreading like cancer.

The truth is we treat each other like trash.

From politics to school, to work, and yes even at church (no matter what denomination you claim), it is everywhere.

A good majority of Jesus’ ministry can be organized categorically as the behavior of citizens of God’s kingdom. i.e. Jesus talked FREQUENTLY about how we treat each other. By “frequently” I mean, he talked about our treatment of others all the time. Additionally, when he wasn’t talking about how we should treat one another, he was actively doing it.

He regularly fellowshipped with the sinners. Tax Collectors, Prostitutes, Thieves, Lepers, he didn’t choose who to love. He fellowshipped with everyone. Additionally, probably the crowd that he was hardest on was the leadership of the church, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees.

He expected more from the church. His expectations for how the church treats the world were exceedingly high. The church according to our Savior not should lead the way, but must lead the way.

Maybe that’s why 1st Century Followers of Jesus were often called Followers of THE WAY.

I think Ted “Theodore” Logan said it best: “Be excellent to one another, and party on dudes!”


Let’s celebrate life together! This community, the community of Christ, the body of Christ must be known as people that are excellent to one another. Don’t attack one another, but in all things show excellent love and grace to another as Christ has shown you.

Our identity as the Body of Christ is how excellent we are to another, those in all parts of the world.




Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
I read a very interesting piece out of the most recent Relevant Magazine yesterday. It was an article entitled, “Just Great…We’re The Most Anxious Generation Ever.” This article of course talks about a lot of things, but one part that really struck me was the following:
Modern life doesn’t give us as many opportunities to spend time with people and connect with them, at least in person, compared to, say, 80 years ago or 100 years ago,” Twenge told New York Magazine. She also pointed to millennials’ tendency to desire fame and money as a possible contributing factor. “There’s clear evidence that people who focus on money, fame and image are more likely to be depressed and anxious,” she said. But another study, also led by Twenge, may offer another clue. Not only is belief in God at an all-time low, but the amount of people who say they pray is five times less than the number of individuals who prayed in 1980.”
This study led by San Diego University social psychologist Jean Twenge definitely brings up some excellent points for us to consider. It’s worthy of us noting in our lives how connected as we? Also what is the connection between anxiety, isolation from community, and a down trend in our prayer life?
We would naive if we thought these are not connected because they are most definitely connected. From the beginning of time God has designed us to be beings that connected to nature, others in community, and of course to God himself. That design is everywhere in our lives and in creation.
The rise of social media and technology itself even speaks to our need to be in connection with others.However, we can be so connected to everything that we are really not connected to anything. Being connected in the sense that Jesus was speaking about in community is being all things for all people, but being intentionally connected to what or rather who matters.
As disciples of Jesus Christ our first and foremost connection should be lived out through prayer in the presence of God. By actively engaging in conversation with God through prayer the Holy Spirit molds us, convicts us, and empowers us to be more and more like Christ. If we are not connecting to that then we will stagnate and again will be controlled by anxiety, our will, and ultimately fear.
The argument is that we have too much going on to invest in this time with God and with our community the church.
I completely agree. It all comes down to intentionally connected to what or who really matters. We will have to sacrifice some things to invest in this connection and THAT IS A GOOD THING, becuase our connection with God should supercede everything, but it doesn’t because it’s easier or more comfortable to put God on the back burner than ourselves or others.
I pray that we will be in prayer with each other, and at times confess what we need and what God needs us to be and to do. And may we do what the Holy Spirit guides to do.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭CEB‬‬) http://bible.com/37/pro.3.5-6.ceb

There has been one constant since God created the heavens and the earth, we have a lot going on. With all that is going on that usually brings two things: anxiety which brings stress. We are always so worried about what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. We have an aversion to seeing what is now, because we are controlled by what has been done to us, what we have done and what will be done.

We don’t trust anything, let alone God.

When we are controlled by anxiety, stress, and distrust that leads to a life of fear, and we absolutely controlled by fear.

Fear is not the life that God wants us to live. It is not the desire that He has for us, there is so much more that He wants for us.

Some of you like me have heard that about God all our lives and when we hear it still we cannot comprehend a day without fear. Largely because we think that we are in control of our lives and everything we have is because of ourselves and our will to get it. You can’t live the life that God desires for us.

Think about this for a moment. God himself had to die to give us what we truly need. Even God in all His perfect glory and majesty didn’t just give us that life, but He sacrificed living in Heaven and came to earth and died a brutal death on the cross. Even God had to sacrifice so He could give.

In that He is teaching many things, but most of all that the life that God desires for us is not freely lived, freely given yes, but we must die to ourselves to live into this desire that God died for us to have.

I have a bracelet that I wear everyday, in fact I never take it off. That and my wedding ring are the two things that I never take off. Here is a picture of both of them:

Band and Ring

I always wear these two things because it is a reminder of what truly defines my life. First and foremost I am no longer my own, but I am God’s and everything that I want for my life doesn’t matter, but what God wants for my life supercedes my desire. Secondly, my commitment to my wife to be her partner in everything, in marriage, in ministry, and in life. What’s most important between these two things is that God’s will is primary in both commitments. For the best life possible to truly happen in my life and in my marriage to Amy Christ HAS to be the CENTER. The three rings symbolize that. That at the center of everything: life, marriage, and all that is Christ is and has to be the center.

No matter where you are, what you are going through I submit to you to trust in the Lord with all your heart. This is your choice and that is the point. Trusting is a choice. It’s all a choice, but its the best choice you will ever make.


Live in that Trust.