Today we enjoyed an entertaining message from comedian Michael Jr. while Pastor Miles is on sabbatical. Michael Jr. is a comedian who has performed in a variety of settings, from Vegas to television shows, from churches to prisons. As he puts it, it doesn’t matter where he is, it’s the same show because he always serves the same God.
It looked like a handicap, but actually God was using this situation in Michael’s life to help him develop the tools he would need for his future.
As a child, Michael had a lot of difficulty reading. The traditional strategies for decoding words just didn’t click with him, so he developed seven ways to look at a word in an attempt to decipher its meaning. He would look at the font color and size, notice what was in front of it and behind it, examine how people reacted to it, etc. At the time, this strategy was a hiding mechanism born from low self-esteem and insecurity about his reading struggles. It looked like a handicap, but actually God was using this situation in Michael’s life to help him develop the tools he would need for his future.
As a young man, Michael eventually moved to New York City to pursue his comedy career. On one occasion, Michael was slated for Open Mic Night at an elite and competitive comedy club. Against all odds, God’s favor not only gave Michael a spot on stage, but a successful act which caught the notice of an already established comedian, George Wallace, who invited Michael to join him and his best friend, Jerry Seinfeld, for another night of comedic performances.
After two shows with George and Jerry, Michael received two standing ovations…and an offer to attend church the next day. Michael wasn’t keen on the idea. Not only were his childhood memories of church unpleasant ones, as an adult, he didn’t drink, smoke, or curse, so his general attitude was that Jesus was unnecessary to his life. He didn’t care about the testimonies people gave; he was focused on advancing his career. But once at church and hearing the Word of God, Michael encountered who Jesus really was. If he wasn’t ready to commit his life to Christ that day, he was determined to read the Bible and find out more.
In reading and studying God’s Word, Michael realized for the first time that Jesus had died for him. And God began to adjust Michael’s way of thinking. Before, he had always thought that he was funny, but now he began to see that he was funny for a reason—that God had “a purpose behind the funny.” Whatever gifts, talents, and abilities God has placed in you are there for a reason, too. He has plans for you, to prosper you and give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Michael says that God is like a navigation device in your car. It tells you how far to go and where to turn, but it can’t make you go the way it suggests. If you decide to turn right where it tells you to turn left, it recalculates to try to advance you to your destination. But the more poor decisions you make, the more the road conditions may change. While the original path marked with good choices may have been a smoother and straighter journey, you may have chosen a rockier path full of hills and potholes.
Usually, the right choices aren’t really all that hard to hear. Because of that, Michael suggested a new name for God: “Something.” When you’ve made a bad choice and are dealing with the consequences, you say, “Something told me not to do that!” So maybe “Something” told you to read or listen to this message today – because Something wants you to know how much you are loved and that He has great plans for you.
Michael recounted several more stories—in a green room with some big-time comedians, in a prison setting, in a shelter for abused children—where God met him over and over again, inspiring him at just the right time to say just the right thing when he felt he had nothing at all to say. Over time, Michael’s mindset toward his career changed. His goal was no longer to receive laughs for his work, but to use his work to give others an opportunity to laugh.
A mindset is a fixed mental attitude that pre-determines a person’s response to and interpretation of a situation.
His career experiences have taught him two important things:
- He often doesn’t know what he’s going to say or how he will handle a difficult situation until his feet are planted there; and
- God is always with him. The ideas for comedy come so quickly because God has been preparing him all through his life (and even using one of his greatest childhood weaknesses) for the moments that He is bringing to Michael now.
So how does God want to alter your mindset?
So how does God want to alter your mindset?
Michael challenged everyone to imagine that you’re in a house. Outside of the house is Jesus Christ and He wants to come in, but He’ll never force His way in; He must be invited. Maybe you haven’t invited Him in because you’re cool with the way things are right now. When you need something, you crack the door, say what you need, and go back inside. But that’s not really a relationship at all.
Maybe you haven’t let Him in because you believe He’ll be disappointed with the messy state of things. You may think you need to clean it up before He enters, but He can already see inside. In fact, He’s standing outside with a bucket and apron as the only Person who can help—but not unless you open the door.
Maybe you used to let Jesus have access to all the parts of your house, but now you’ve moved Him into “the good room”—the one with the big picture window in front and the plastic-covered furniture that always looks perfect. That one room may make it appear to others as though you have Jesus, but if that’s the only part of your house where Jesus is allowed to be, then He doesn’t have you. He wants access to the whole house.
So it’s time to reflect. If “Something” has told you to listen to this message, what does He want you to hear?