Today is Jon-Mical’s birthday. He is 10 today. He is named after his father, Joshua Jon-Mical, who was named after Doris’s brother John and me, Michael, Jon-Mical. Jon-Mical doesn’t have a middle name. He just has the one, hyphenated Jon-Mical. Just like I don’t have a middle name. I just have the one, not hyphenated PoppyC. When Jon-Mical was born, my name changed. I used to be Pastor Mike, or Michael (to Doris, when I was in trouble), or Jacob’s dad, or the director of Branches. Now I am just PoppyC, a name that I wear with honor and delight. Everything changed when Jon-Mical was born.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times God has visited me through Jon-Mical. The moment we saw him through the nursery glass window. The infield homerun he hit in T-ball. The first swimming lesson at Susu’s pool, (another new name). All visitations of God that became sermon illustrations or blog ideas, God has appeared to me often in ways that surprised me through my grandson, Jon-Mical.
Here’s one of my favorites. Jon-Mical went to preschool at the big Methodist church down the street from us. Jennifer would drop him off in the morning at our house and in a little while I would take him to preschool.
One day we were turning into the driveway of the Methodist church. It was a Monday and there must have been a youth thing in the parking lot the night before because in the middle of the driveway was a giant cross drawn in chalk. Jon-Mical sat up and exclaimed with great delight, “Look PoppyC, Jesus drew a cross on the driveway.” I said, “Yes Jon-Mical. I see it.” The Jon-Mical sat back in his car seat and said in amazement, “That crazy Jesus.”
That story has become one of the themes of our family. Every time God shows up in some wonderful, unexpected way we will say, “That crazy Jesus.” Every time we are surprised by His great love for us, (and we are often), we will exclaim, “That crazy Jesus.” Every time He overwhelms us with His grace in ways we never saw coming we say, “That crazy Jesus.”
In Deuteronomy 18 God sends priests and prophets. In Proverbs 18 God speaks to us with great wisdom and common sense. And in II Corinthians 2 God directs Paul to just tell the truth about friendships and relationships. God shows up in all kinds of ways, at all different times. In Deuteronomy 18 the Lord is giving instruction about the future. In II Corinthians 2, He is explaining the events of the past. And in Proverbs 18 He gives us direction for day to day living. Jesus is interested in the most minute details of your life. He cares about you. That crazy Jesus is always “showing up and showing out” as my friend Sarah says.
So today, look for God to visit you. Take notice of those moments when that crazy Jesus demonstrates His love for you. Whether your name has a hyphen or not, if you are Sam or Ben or Rita or Mimi, God is going to visit you today and it will be wonderful. And when He does, join me in singing that great old hymn of the church….
Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Jon-Mical. Happy Birthday to you.
(We were snowed out of our last service for the Winter Renewal Conference here at Landmark Church. I posted the notes. Read through them and get your praise on.)
I am learning so much from you! Thank you!
Today is my birthday too! Please tell Jon-Mical that his birthday twin says “happy birthday!”
Dr Mike, love your writings! I laugh out loud, cringe inside, smile…all because “that crazy Jesus” uses you and your experiences. Keep on writing! He’s given you a gift.
I feel compelled to share a story about my grandson. He was born to my daughter out of wed lock and during the end of her sophomore year of college. This also happened during a time in my life that my heart has been completely broken. For the first couple of weeks after he was born I would look at him in total amazement because he was so perfect. I was in love with him from the moment I saw him on the ultra sound screen but just kept thinking of how difficult the timing was, how much harder my daughter’s life was going to be, and how I knew deep down in my heart it would only be a matter of time that his father would run for the hills. I guess you could say it was me questioning God but often I would look at my precious grandson and think O if this was only 5 years from now how much better it would be. And when I was alone with my grandson I might have even said it out loud. Now you can call me crazy or a religious zealot but when my grandson was nearing his one month birthday I had just changed his clothes and his mommy was at school and I said out loud to the baby Grammy loves you so much but I just wonder how this is all going to work out. If only this was 5 years from now when your mommy was all finished with graduate school hownmuch better it would be for everyone. Then I said God pls show me how this is going to work and why Lord did this have to happen now? My grandson just grinned that little newborn grin at me. As I was walking down the hallway in my house carrying the baby I felt a heaviness on my head almost as if someone was gently pushing down on it. And my spirit said STOP SOEAKING THAT OR THINKING THOSE THOUGHTS. HE IS WONDERFULLY MADE. I HAVE A PLAN AND A PURPOSE. I NEED HIM TO BE WHO I CREATED HIM TO BE. 5 YEARS FROM NOW IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT EGG AND A DIFFERENT SPERM. SOEAK LIFE TO HIM AND ABOUT HIM. HE WILL LEAD YOUR DAUGHTER, MY DAUGHTER BACK TO ME. APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE OR YOU COULD LOOSE IT. That moment was so powerful that I slid down the wall and just cried like the babe in my arms. (Who was fast asleep) I repented to God for questioning him. From that day forward when those sorts of thought entered my mind I would say he is fearfully and wonderfully made. That was 3 years ago. My daughter has completed college, she has put graduate school in hold. My daughter returned to the faith she was raised with even when that meant telling the babies father I will no longer live in sin, either you want to get married or we have to break up. He left. She is an amazing mom. She supports herself and her son. She loves the Lord and serves him faithfully. My grandson loves for “church days”, and has brought more healing to our family in his 3 short years of life than I ever even dreamed possible. What is funny is when my daughter was a preteen and teenager I used to tell her she has to have her own faith, she could not rely on my faith to get her to a relationship with her savior “cause God ain’t got no grandkids” is what I would tell her. She said she would see how we loved her son and learned what the love we had for her felt like once he was born and that gave her a better understanding of how God loves her that he was willingness to send his son to die for her. And that changed everything.