This is my last post as Pastor of Edinbrook. In fact, I’m writing as the minutes wind down on 2011, which marks the end of one era of my life and the beginning of another. But I will never be the same for having served at Edinbrook Church for nearly 16 years. This is the sixth of 6 Truths Learned as I draw the curtain on my pastoral ministry.
The last Truth Learned may seem a little shallow, but it proved to be life-giving for me through the years–and I think, for our Eteam too.
#6 Truth Learned: Laughter is good medicine. It lightens the load, is attractive to seekers, and provides strength to persevere.
I laugh a lot. I find humor in people, every day events, animals, mistakes, and you name it. Laughter has actually enabled me to not take myself too seriously, release stresses that would have hurt me, and enjoy life.
One fairly famous pastor once said that humor has no place in preaching. Contrary to that, I found that when I had fun while communicating truth, people caught what I was trying to say. It also encouraged our church to stay real. There are lots of things that God gave us to enjoy.
I’ll never forget the late afternoon that Mark Thurston and I thought we were all alone in the church. We started a wrestling match (this happens from time-to-time) and soon found ourselves panting and wrestling on the floor of the church office. Suddenly, the door of the office opened, a woman we didn’t know opened the door, looked with horror at the two of us–one on top of the other–and said, “Oh my. This is not a good time.” She walked away and, as far as we know, we never saw her again. Mark and I have laughed so many times at this stupid little event. We can’t change it, so we might as well enjoy it.
How about the time the Sunday morning fire alarm went off. We were just about to collect the offering when the alarms went off through out the building. Every one needed to exit until the Fire Department gave us the green light to re-enter. Of course, the entire first service would miss the message I was convinced God wanted us to hear. With 800 people in the parking lot, I called them all together, stood on a bench and preached my sermon. And had lots of fun doing it! By the way, in my 16 years of ministry here, no other sermon elicited more emails, notes, and feedback than that one. And it was good feedback, too!
I’ve learned to laugh at myself, as well. I do lots of stupid things. I’ve decided I might as well face it, humble myself and enjoy my goofs (at least, if they’re not too serious). One that really stands out is the time I wiped out preaching. In the former worship center, someone removed a section of the stage on a particular Sunday morning. I didn’t realize it, however. I was preaching like crazy, moving here and there. Suddenly, I stepped off the stage and totally bit the turf! I was as shocked as everyone in the congregation. I got back to my feet, up on the stage, and stated, “Well–that hasn’t happened before!” We all had a laugh on that one.
The proverb tells us that “laughter is good medicine.” Research has actually shown that laughter releases stress, produces endorphins (which make us feel good), and that happy people live longer.
I’ve also had so many comments from unchurched people over the years that Christians often turn them off because they’re too serious. I’ve never been accused of that.
#6 Truth Learned: Laughter IS good medicine.
It’s 11:59PM. Happy New Year. God bless you all. I love you!!!!