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September 2020 Message

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  

(41)  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).  (42)  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).  (43)  The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  (44)  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  (45)  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  (46)  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

John 1:40-46

Greetings to you in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We tend to think of well-established, successful movements and organizations as beginning in that same fashion. That is rarely the case. Because of the explosive growth of the Christian movement in the first century and to the present day, we naturally read the stories of its origins in the light of its later success. We celebrate those early disciples and outright champion the Twelve. It is so easy to retrospectively romanticize the early days of a smashing success.

Did you catch this phrase from today’s text?

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  

Wait! One of the two? The great John the Baptist, the phenom forerunner of the Son of God, the one who first identified him to the world, only managed to come up with two followers for Jesus?

Think about it. By any standards, we would file an outcome of two responses on day one (or day two) in the Epic Fail folder. We might console ourselves to remember that one of those two brought his brother and the other one produced a sarcastic, cynical colleague (a.k.a. Nathanial).

Why are we so seduced by the shallow metrics of numbers when it comes to our churches and kingdom efforts? Three joiners and a tepid fourth does not seem like anything we would even have the guts to report. Even twelve would be considered an embarrassment we would desperately want to somehow explain away.

As ego-inflating (or deflating) as the case may be, when it comes to the kingdom of God, numbers are at best an unreliable source and at worst a deceptive measure of success.

Of all those droves of people listening to John, only two raised their hands. It just so happens that one of them turned out to be the apostle to Europe and the other the apostle to Africa—both of which were founding fathers of what is today a 2000-year-and-counting global movement of more than two billion people.

This is how God starts a movement. This is how Jesus saves the world. It should cause all of us to pause and reconsider what success might look like in the eyes of God—to remember the mustard seed and the loaves and fishes and a band of twelve that started with two. And, yes, to never, ever despise the days of small beginnings.

Questions to reflect on:

  1. Have you ever thought of Jesus’ beginnings as being weak and unimpressive?
  2. What is it about numbers that so seduces us?
  3. What will it take to shift our mind-set on what  constitutes true success?
  4. How do we live in the midst of a world (even the church) that remains in the old and broken way of seeing and thinking?

A final thought: Never despise the days of small beginnings. Small beginnings are, in fact, the true nature of how the kingdom of God spreads and grows.

Prayer:  Abba Father, thank you for teaching us the secret of the seed. Cultivate in us the audacity of faith to trust the small starts and humble origins. Come, Holy Spirit, and retrain our vision, remake our mind, and retool our expectations that we might be freed from the ways of the world and fit with the wisdom of the kingdom. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your servant and fellow brother in Christ,

                      Pastor Bacic

*Adapted from the article “Remembering the days of small beginnings” (08/10/20) from To subscribe to the Seedbed Daily Text, go to and click on the “Daily Text” tab and select “Subscribe.”