I am from Upper Michigan. There is not a whole lot that goes in in the U.P. Every summer my family and friends would look forward to the U.P. State Fair to go on rides, and hang out. When I was 16 years old I was at the fair in Escanaba, MI on a Saturday night. My brothers and I found out that “Weird Al” Yankovic was playing a huge show at the fair that evening. To our knowledge he didn’t know Christ, and so my brothers and I prayed that God would give us a divine appointment to meet him. We really wanted to pray for him and get a chance to tell him about Christ. Growing up I remember seeing some of his music videos on TV. “Weird Al” would take popular songs do parodies of them. Some of the most popular ones were when he parodied Michael Jackson’s song, “Bad,” and Coolio’s song, “Gangsta Paradise.” Weird Al has won 3 Grammys for his music and to date has sold over 11 million albums. He was also in the movie UHF.
We prayed that the God of the impossible would open a door so we could minister to him. Soon after praying my brother, Jon, found out that one of his old high school friends played a small role as a dancer in “Weird Al’s” show. Jon called her and she told him that if we wanted to meet Weird Al that we should go to the Best Western hotel later on that evening because that’s where he and the band were staying. So we did. I was a little nervous on the way there because I had never met a celebrity before and didn’t know what to expect.
We parked the car and walked into the Best Western. There were around 20 eager fans in the lobby waiting to get an autograph from “Weirld Al.” Apparently we weren’t the only ones with inside information. We all waited for a few minutes and then Weird Al Walked in the room. He was much taller I expected, and he had this crazy grin on his face. Everyone around me was starstruck as they sheepishly went up to him to get an autograph. People got signed whatever they had- a cd, a t-shirt, a piece of paper… whatever they had at the moment. “Weird Al” finally made his way around the room until he was standing directly in front of me. He made direct eye contact with me and asked me if I had something I wanted signed. I said, “My name is Paul and I just wanted to meet you.” and I reached over and shook his hand. He smiled in a quirky way and said “Hi, it’s good to meet you as well,” and then he left the lobby. At this point all the fans in the lobby went home. I was thinking that the divine appointment I was praying for ended up being pretty lame.
My brothers and I stuck around and we prayed for another opportunity to talk to him. We saw “Weird Al” go into the bar to have a few drinks with some of his roadies. We figured we would just wait for him to get done drinking. After about 30 minutes or so he left the bar and started walking right by us. As he was walking by my brother Dave yelled out, “Hey “Weird Al”! He turned around and walked towards us and said, “Hello. What can I do for you?” My brother David said, “hey, do you mind if we pray for you? He said, “No, I don’t mind at all!” So my brother laid his hand on his shoulder and said, “Jesus, I thank you that you love Weirld Al, and I pray that you would reveal yourself to him in a supernatural way. Please let him know how much you love him. Amen.”
The whole time during the prayer “Weird Al’s” eyes were wide open like saucers and he still had this quirky smile on his face. You could tell that he wasn’t used to this type of thing. I didn’t really know what to do when my brother was praying so I just stretched my hand towards “Weird Al” and quietly prayed in tongues. After we prayed “Weird Al” said, “Thanks!” and then left. That was the last we saw of “Weird Al.” Some friends of ours told us the next day that they saw Weird Al wondering around the streets of Escanaba that night looking really confused and perplexed. I wish I could say that I KNOW “Weird Al” Yankovic, but I don’t really KNOW him, I have only met him. I guarantee that he wouldn’t remember my name today.
Many Christians claim to KNOW Jesus and yet they have only met Him. They met Jesus when they received the free gift of salvation, but it takes a lifetime and even eternity to really KNOW the depths of Christ.
If it takes years to develop deep and meaningful relationships with humans, what makes us think that we can have Jesus (who is infinite, eternal, human AND divine) figured out in an instant? Many grow up in the church learning about God, but not getting to know Christ in a personal/intimate way. I could know all about “Weird Al” Yankovic through the internet and studying his life, but that doesn’t mean that I KNOW him. I could only KNOW him through having a real friendship with him. I propose that most christians don’t really KNOW Jesus like they think they do. They may have met Him, and they know about Him, but they don’t KNOW Him in a deep intimate way.
David said in Psalm 145:3 “Great is Jehovah! Greatly praise him! His greatness is beyond discovery!”
Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
To really KNOW Christ takes effort. Sadly most believers would rather do things for Him, than spend time with Him. We have a plethora of Marthas’ in the body of Christ, but not many Marys’ (read my previous posts). The only way to discover the depths of Christ is through spending time with Him. It’s a lifelong discovery that will take un into eternity.
Years ago I was at the Onething conference in Kansas City, Mo and after one of the sessions I ran into Billy Humphrey. (Billy is currently the director for the Altanta IHOP) I first met Billy when I was interning for Richard Crisco back in my intern days at Brownsville A/G. He preached at our yearly youth conference at Brownsville, and I remember that he had an intense hunger and passion for more of God. I chatted with Him briefly at Brownsville. Years went by and then I randomly run into him at Onething. Somehow he remembered my name and we greeted one another at chatted. Then he looked at me intently and said words that I will never forget…
He said, “Paul, you don’t KNOW Him (Jesus) like you think you do. I’ve been spending hours with the Lord everyday in prayer and He is so different that what I thought He was. Paul, there are depths of God that you haven’t discovered yet.”
After he told me this he said goodbye and left. I remember being in a sense of bewilderment. No no one ever told me that I didn’t know Jesus like I thought I did. To be honest I felt a little insulted. Revival had marked my life and changed me in profound ways. I spent time with the Lord and read my Bible. I had interned for Richard Crisco for 2 years- who being the youth pastor during the biggest revival in american history, was one of the most sought after mentors in the nation. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I DON’T KNOW JESUS LIKE I THINK I DO!?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Throughout the rest of the Onething conference I couldn’t stop thinking about this strange encounter I had with Billy Humphrey. Do I really know Jesus like I claim to? Was there more to Jesus than what I previously thought? I pondered these questions for months.
I have discovered throughout the years that Billy was right. I didn’t KNOW Jesus like I thought I did. Out of my pride and arrogance I thought I had Jesus pretty much figured out. I was so wrong. He is deeper than I thought. He is unique. The things He values are much different than the things we value. He is infinite in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Eph 3:18 tells us that His love is wide, long, high, and deep. The apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament said that there was so much more to Christ than he was experiencing. Lets see what Paul writes in Philippians.
10 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”
If the apostle Paul said there was so much more to knowing Christ (verse 10,12), then why do we think that we have arrived? I really believe that…
Most christians don’t really KNOW Him (Jesus) on a deep intimate level… they have simply met Him.
Recently I was at Family Christian Stores trying to find a book to take me deeper into my walk with Jesus and a title caught my eye called, “To Know Him.” I took a look at the author and it’s written by the very guy that told me that I didn’t KNOW Jesus like I thought I did- Billy Humphrey. I figured that God was trying to tell me something so I picked it up. 🙂
I was encouraged when I started to read chapter 1 when Billy himself says that He didn’t really KNOW Him…
Billy says, “I THOUGHT I knew Him. However, if I’m completely honest, I really don’t. He’s so much different than I imagined. That’s right, I’m confessing to you that I don’t know God. Not really. Not in the way my heart craves. I’m not saying I’ve never met Him or that I’m not saved. I’m saying that what I imagined I knew of God was thin and pale compared to what I’ve found is available. I have found out that knowing God is a process that happens by degrees. A journey that takes an eternity.”
I am on a journey to KNOW Him and I invite you to join me.