Have You Laughed Today?
“Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.” – from the article, Laughter is the Best Medicine
If you’re like me, you probably already knew the truth of that article from Reader’s Digest, but the healing power of laughter is also found in the Bible! Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Let There Be Laughter
God created laughter, and he created us to laugh. Verses like Proverbs 31:25 speak of those who have faith to laugh, rather than worry, at times to come. Psalm 126:2 responds to the mighty works of God with mouths filled with laughter and tongues with shouts of joy. Jesus even promised in Luke 6:21, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Laughter and faith seem to go hand-in-hand.
We Don’t Always Make Joy Sound Joyful
Preachers love to draw a sharp and somber distinction between joy and happiness. Trust me; I are one! We say things like, “Happiness is a response to temporary situations, but joy is a response to the presence of God.” That is an actual quote from one of my own sermons! But sometimes joy is just joy! And laughter can be good medicine! So, in this message, we looked at the healing power of laughter and how we can share that with others.
And I got to tell a lot of corny jokes! You should hear the ones I left out!
On second thought, you really don’t want to!
God created laughter to heal, and he created you to laugh. So in this message, I dig into Proverbs 17:22, laugh a little, groan a lot, and learn to share one of God’s greatest gifts with others.
How Did It Go?
Humor comes naturally to me, but I often find it difficult and forced from the pulpit. In some ways, this sermon felt very comfortable, and in other ways, it pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I had to practice this one many times to try to get the timing right.
Structurally, I was very pleased with the sermon. I’ve been working on my “sermon spirals” in outlining, and this one was about as perfect as I could get it. Each move in the sermon began with some lead-in jokes, went on to define the movement, then provided an illustration in which I was “minding my own business.” After that, the illustrations became more local and more personal. For the final illustration, everyone knew and loved Gordon. He was the perfect example of this proverb’s power.
At the end of each of the sermons in this Proverbs series, we provide a small card with some instructions to do something with the card. Sometimes the hearers are told to put it someplace they will see it. Other times they’re told to give it away. Today’s card was different.
We designed the cards to look like prescriptions, written by Dr. K. Solomon, of course! At the bottom right on each card was a joke. We printed twenty-four different versions, so there are twenty-four different jokes! There were those, of course, who wanted multiples!
And, on the back of each card is a mustache sticker, so (as in the pictures above) you can put it under your nose and say, “I mustache you a question. Have you laughed today?” Then tell the joke!
My church is putting a lot of comedians out of work this week!
There’s Always Got to Be a Problem
About two minutes into the sermon, my wifi microphone went offline! For those watching our livestream, the audio was from the camera, about 10 feet in front of me. It sounded fine, but not great. I was able to take the video from our livestream and the audio captured by our sound system and put them together in one YouTube video. I’m usually fine with only offering audio of my sermons, but movement was a big part of this message.