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.)