Laughter and love make this ship go
JULY 27, 2021
Laughter and love make this ship go. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown, he’s an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life, a program all about God’s radical grace. We’re committed to bringing you Bible teaching, that’s honest, straight-forward and street-smart. Keep listening to hear truth that’ll make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re joining us now for the first time, we’re studying the book of Acts and we’re up to the final part of the second chapter of Acts, that seems kind of pedestrian, but it’s not, it’s really important, because it’s an illustration of so much that Jesus taught, and Paul taught in the Bible about family and the importance of family. And we’ve seen a number of things and one of the things we saw yesterday is that openness is the fuel of God’s family. You can’t bear one another’s burdens, that’s Galatians 1:6, until you share one another’s burdens. The church ought to be the one place where you don’t have to be phony. It ought to be the one place where you can share your secrets. Now, I’m not suggesting that we be stupid about it. You know, there are certain things that are not appropriate publicly, but you ought to have brothers and sisters before whom you can be totally honest about who you are, where you’ve gone, what you’ve done and what you need. And that is the stuff that makes the family, the family. I don’t know if you know the name Carlyle Marney. At one time, he was pretty well known, across the country. He was the pastor of the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. And then they had him and I forget the name of the program, but at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, he created a place, a fellowship where people could come together. And somebody asked, Carlyle Marney, what are you doing this for? He said, I want to create one place where a man or a woman can come and say anything, and know, they won’t get kicked out. Oh my, that’s a pretty big deal. But it’s an important one. You can’t bare until you share. And, that’s what’s going on, the needs were very apparent in the early church. There were physical needs. And while Luke doesn’t talk about it, there were emotional needs. And we’re going to see those as we go along. There were spiritual needs and we’re going to see those as we study the book of Acts. But they shared that with one another. And that is the stuff that happens in family. There are certain jokes that only our family know, their inside jokes. And we’ll be laughing, and nobody will know why we’re laughing. And there are certain secrets that we share. My mother said, as you know, and I’ve told you a hundred times, when I left the pastorate, my life was really in shambles. I mean, it didn’t show, nobody knew it, but I was really in serious trouble. My schedule was killing me. I was burning out. I was depressed. It was just an awful time. And then I spent a full year trying to find out why I was so messed up and I’m not going to go into it now, but we created a Born Free Seminar after that, out of that material, and we taught it around the country and my mother told her Sunday school class, she said, you know, my son drives me nuts. I’ve spent all of my life trying to hide the family secrets and he’s out telling everybody. Well, she had a good point. There were a certain secrets I didn’t tell, because they should only be shared within the family. And openness is so important within the body of Christ. Now let me show you something else. Joy is the sign of the family. Joy is the sign of brotherhood and sisterhood. You find it, look at the last part of that paragraph. Let me start at the 46th verse.
Attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.
What does that mean? That means they had a party, it really does. Don’t spiritualize that too much, or you’ll miss the point. They had a party. There was laughter and joy. And it’s because of all the other things I’ve been teaching you that were going on, laughter is a serious part of it. I just submitted the manuscript that I had been working on for months, to a new book that I’ve written. The working title, and they’ll probably change it is Laughter and Lament: The Touchstones of Radical Freedom. And now I gotta deal with editors and Steinbeck said to his editor, where were you when the page was blank, but at any rate. That work will be good. I have a wonderful publisher and they make me better than I am. But, the theme of that book has taught me so much. I started to write a book on laughter, I was teaching at the Cove, the Billy Graham training center, and they wanted me to give them a title for next year’s seminar. And I said, The Laughter of God and more important, The Laughter of God’s People. And, they announced that’s what we’re going to be talking about the next year when I was there. And some of the people said what’s that about, I said, we’re going to get together and tell each other our best jokes. That’s what we’re going to do. And some said, way cool. And some said, that doesn’t sound very spiritual to me. And then I got to thinking about it and working on it. And I began to realize that you can experience joy, till you experience two tears, without lament there’s no real laughter. And that’s the supernatural working of God in the life of the believers. And one of the clear witnesses that we give to the world, how we deal with cancer, but how we laugh in a cancer ward. I have a quote in that book from a friend of mine, Mike Graham, who knows more about my other friend, Jack Miller, who was the founder of World Harvest and Serge, and so much other, one of the major movements and the grace movement. And that quote in his doctoral dissertation about Jack Miller. When, when Jack was dying, his friend visited him and they laughed more than they cried. Now, that will witness to the doctors and the nurses. And so joy, having a party is so important to the reality of the family of God. And, we need, and as I said to those folks at the Cove, we need to tell each other our best jokes and we need also to share our best recipes and we need also to get together and get down and party. My friend, Tony Campolo and we don’t agree on anything but Jesus. And I love him a lot. My friend Tony Campolo, and he’s going through a really tough time. Both he and his wife, Peggy. And if you’d say a prayer for them, that would be really appreciated, but he has this wonderful story of throwing a birthday party for a prostitute. And, the bartender said to him, what kind of preacher are you? And he said, I’m the kind of preacher who has parties and celebrate. And, that’s, that’s what the people of God ought to be. And when people come to the church and you know, the church, you don’t come to, we are the church, but in a colloquial way, when people come to the church, they shouldn’t see a bunch of somber, down, depressed, very serious servants of Jesus and God. You know, they ought to hear the laughter, the laughter of the redeemed. That’s a part of the family. And if it’s not there, Jesus leaves the building. If it’s not there, there’s a deadness, and it’s not the way it’s supposed to be. If there’s not joy there, you’ve got a real problem. And so I submitted the manuscript of that book to the publisher and I had so much fun writing it. I was able to tell some jokes and to relive some memories and to be glad for the family of God, of which I am a part. We know how to cry, good heavens, we know how to do that, because we feel the pain that we all experience at one time or another. And if you’ve ever been a part of a church and somebody in your family died, you remember you got more food than you could possibly eat, because the people in the church brought their casseroles, so you wouldn’t have to cook. And some of the people in the church mowed your lawn, so you wouldn’t have to take care of that in your time of mourning, we do that well. We worship well too, at least in some cases, but let me tell you something, we have to learn to have a party. We’ve got to learn to laugh. We’ve got to learn that joy is at the center of it. It’s the flag that flies over the castle where Jesus is resident. Hmm. That’s good. Joy is the flag that flies over the castle when Jesus is resident. You think of that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, digging deeper into the last part of Acts chapter 2. Today, touching on the idea that joy is a sign of the family. I don’t know about you? I like the sound of that. More to soak up tomorrow, hope you will join us then. So, I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re enjoying Steve’s guided tour through Acts. I know I am. That’s why I want to tell you about a free booklet, I know you’re going to use and love. It’s called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. It contains an overview from Steve on Acts touching on topics like how did the early church get it start? What about early church leadership and the Pentecost and the fellowship of believers and persecution. It’s all in there. Plus, it has an overview of Romans. And for both books, there are introductory comments, there’s an outline of major themes. It’s great. And you’re going to love it. So grab your free copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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