WE LAUGH as often as possible. The world wants to beat us down and leave us helpless—laughter is our way of saying NO to despair and YES to joy. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We believe God has a sense of humor and that farts are funny.

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    - We are Crossroads.
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    A group of Jesus lovers
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    who are more interested in being real
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    than looking good.
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    We believe the church is called to love God
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    and our neighbors.
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    No memberships or secret handshakes required.
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    We strive to do what we see Jesus do.
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    We run to the lost, the hurting, the hungry,
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    to those who are asking questions and seeking truth.
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    We will do anything short of sin
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    to reach our friends and neighbors.
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    We believe that everyone has a seat at God's table.
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    We go outside our walls
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    to serve the forgotten and marginalized.
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    We believe we are called to be
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    the hands and feet of Jesus on earth.
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    We laugh as often as possible.
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    The world wants to beat us down and leave us helpless.
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    Laughter is our way of saying no to despair and yes to joy.
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    We don't take ourselves too seriously.
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    We believe God has a sense of humor
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    and that farts are funny.
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    We challenge ourselves and each other
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    to get out of our comfort zone and do hard things.
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    We believe that God uses any struggle
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    and adversity we face to sharpen us,
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    grow us, make us stronger,
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    and take us to new places we can't get to from our couches.
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    We sacrifice everything for the cause
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    to go the way of Jesus.
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    We believe everything we have is from God and for God.
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    So we give our time, talents and money.
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    We choose to die empty.
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    We endure through any struggle we face.
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    Jesus overcame the world,
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    so when things get hard, we push through.
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    When we get knocked down, we get back up again.
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    Yesterday, today, tomorrow we will follow wherever God leads.
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    We are Crossroads. This is us.
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    - Hey, what's going on? I'm Andy and welcome to Crossroads.
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    We believe that you are made for a life of adventure with God
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    and we want to help you get there.
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    Today and this month we're exploring
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    who God has made us to be as a church,
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    that we run, that we go.
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    And this week we're talking specifically about how we laugh.
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    One of my first times at Crossroads was
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    this thing called the Super Bowl of Preaching.
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    Now, I did not know you could have this much fun at church.
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    I literally laughed and cried in the same hour.
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    And around here we believe that God wants us
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    to be challenged, yes, and have fun.
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    And that's what Chuck is going to talk about today.
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    And maybe, just maybe, he'll even do
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    a little bit of stand up comedy for us.
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    But before we get there,
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    we're going to spend some time singing.
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    And these songs are meant to be a conversation with God
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    for us to tell Him who He is and even for us
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    to hear from Him about who He says we are as His children.
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    So put in your AirPods, turn up your TV and sing along.
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    - Do this, put your hands together.
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    I'll put my little hands together.
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    Come on, everybody. Here we go.
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    No matter what you feel like in this place,
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    I can bet I feel weirder. Let's sing together.
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    -All right, now I got to get out of this thing.
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    Y'all, y'all, y'all just chill for a moment.
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    You can clap your hands like this for a moment. Yep.
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    - They need to make that tear away.
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    Hey, if you just walked in in the middle of that,
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    man, I'm sorry.
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    My name is Justin if we've never met.
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    And here's the deal.
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    Somebody texted me on Thursday and said, "I bet you won't."
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    Don't text me, "I bet you won't," because I bet I will.
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    And I said, "You don't think I will?"
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    I said, "As long as I get that costume
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    to take home to my family and make my kids laugh,
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    then I'm all in." Did y'all laugh a little bit?
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    Well, here's the thing, I've done this for 25 years.
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    I've never been on stage in a dino costume
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    singing The Joy of the Lord.
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    I take what we do very seriously.
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    I love Jesus deeply.
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    I take singing to Him and about Him so serious.
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    And I think sometimes He looks down and says,
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    "Would you just laugh a little bit?
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    Would you just be ridiculous a little bit?
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    Because that's My heart."
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    So maybe walking in here felt ridiculous to you.
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    Great. You're in the right place.
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    Maybe singing right now feels ridiculous.
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    Great. Follow my lead. Be ridiculous.
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    Maybe lifting your hands up in this place feels ridiculous.
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    Great. Let's go.
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    We're going for ridiculous for the joy of the Lord today.
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    Y'all ready?
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    He's the source of our joy and what He's done.
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    - Y'all got some beautiful smiles out there.
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    You know, John 15,
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    Jesus is with His closest friends and His followers.
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    And if you've been in church for some time,
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    maybe you've heard the word abide.
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    It's where Jesus says abide in Me, like remain in Me.
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    And He's saying follow all these things I've taught you.
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    And then he says this line:
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    Jesus wants your joy to be full,
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    like the whole spectrum of it, to be complete.
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    He doesn't want your religion.
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    He doesn't want your task and checking off the box.
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    No, He wants His joy to be in you.
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    So sometimes in singing we say,
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    Hey, we're going to lift our hands in this moment
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    or maybe put our hands out like this.
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    Here's what I want to do together.
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    Can you all just smile, like,
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    all the way up at the top of the balcony?
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    Can you just smile?
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    Yeah. Not like this smile.
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    Right? Nobody needs that smile. Right?
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    But if you're searching for a smile
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    or you're struggling to find a smile this morning,
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    can I help you? See this.
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    Come on. That's my six year old son, Weston.
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    After a long day at work on Tuesday,
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    I pull in the driveway,
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    and that's the joy I see right there.
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    Right? And he's doing this.
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    He's like, "Dad, I'm so fast. So fast." Right?
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    Jesus wants your joy.
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    This next song we're going to sing is the Lord's Prayer.
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    It's literally just His words.
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    And I can tell you, this is a prayer of sacrifice,
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    but on the other side of sacrifice is your deepest joy.
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    So everybody just relax, smile this morning while we sing this.
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    Just the words of Jesus.
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    Father, let your kingdom.
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    Father, I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
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    Where? Down in my heart, because You placed it there,
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    because You're the life giver,
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    because You're living water,
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    because You're sunshine in the morning,
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    because You're wind in the fall that cuts through things.
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    You hold joy for us and You want to give it away to us.
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    Thank you, God. I praise you this morning in a dino suit,
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    but with a full heart because you're so good and so generous.
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    We pray all this because of you, Jesus. Amen. Amen.
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    - So whether you live near one of our physical locations
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    or are a part of our Anywhere community all over the world,
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    there are tons of great opportunities to get involved.
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    And the best way to stay in the know about all of them
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    is just to download the Crossroads Anywhere app,
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    enter your location and click on happenings.
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    You'll see specific ways for you to engage
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    and get connected with other people
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    and even use your gifts, talents and abilities to make an impact.
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    And in the app you can watch the weekend,
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    read the Bible together,
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    and journal alongside other people
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    like Brian or Kyle or Alli or even myself.
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    It's probably one of the only apps on your phone
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    that's going to bring you closer to God.
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    So download it and get started today.
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    Now the app, the weekend service,
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    the stuff we do locally and globally
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    all over to change lives and make an impact,
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    it all happens because of generous people like you and me.
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    So, learn more about why we give,
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    about where the money goes, and about
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    how you can join the team at Crossroads.net/give.
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    And today, as I said, we're talking about
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    how we as a church laugh.
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    It's who we are. It's part of our DNA.
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    We're all about having fun.
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    And I want you to hear some of those stories right now.
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    - Chuck, do you remember?
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    I remember being a young, I don't know, I was a kid.
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    - You were a kid? - I was a kid.
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    - Yes. - It was when you were deciding
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    whether or not to come on staff at Crossroads
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    and you were being interviewed
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    and kind of like wined and dined.
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    - Yep, and the final thing was you come to Brian's house.
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    For -- we had Sunday lunch after church.
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    - That's right. That's right.
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    - You came over and I remember--
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    - Maria had never met your parents, had never met Brian.
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    This is her first time meeting Brian.
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    - And he was like, "We got to see if Maria can hang."
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    And so he had Jake put a fart machine, my brother,
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    under Maria's chair at lunch.
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    - Yes, the first time. - During Chuck's interview.
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    - That's so Brian. - Yes. - That's incredible.
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    - I totally remember that. And what I remember most is
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    I remember you and Jake's faces laughing as it unfolded.
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    - We were like 10 and 12, like, "I can't believe this."
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    - And you're thinking, "Oh,
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    this is how you professionally interview people."
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    Yeah! - Right, exactly.
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    I'm going to write this down.
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    - It's a spiritual discernment right here at its finest.
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    - This is what we do. This is what we do.
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    - Oh, I totally remember that.
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    - Chuck and Maria both laughed and they could hang,
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    and look 20 years later here we are.
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    - You should talk about this more, though,
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    because this idea of like having fun and laughing,
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    I think it's pretty unique to Crossroads
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    and how serious we take it and how much we embrace it.
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    And I think it starts -- - We're serious about laughing.
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    We are serious about not being serious seriously.
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    But it starts with your family and it starts with,
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    I feel like this idea of fun that exists,
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    has existed for a long time in the Tome household.
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    - One of my joys of being here
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    is getting to laugh at Brian's expense,
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    which we occasionally get to do.
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    So, we went to -- you might -- we've done --
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    Well, we've done a bunch of the filming series in Israel.
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    And so the second year that we did that,
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    I don't know if you recall this, Kyle, but we,
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    you know, we had him filming at
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    this ancient Roman, like, chariot ring.
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    He was all talking about -- Is this the shorts?
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    - Yeah, he was all about, like, preparing for the race.
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    We're like, you know, we should do,
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    we should dress him up in one of those, like,
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    70s La Fontaine kind of like tight, short kind of things.
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    And we should make him run funny.
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    And so -- - [indiscernible]
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    - Yeah, it was, no, it was good.
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    So, basically we set up this outfit
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    that was like an American flag,
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    kind of like tight little onesie
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    and these shorter shorts you could possibly think.
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    We didn't tell him about it. - We worked hard on it too.
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    I remember going back and forth, like, "I don't know,
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    what do you think about this one?"
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    "I don't know. Not short enough."
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    "Yeah, not short enough, shorter shorts."
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    "What about an American flag though?"
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    And so, and then we got it all set
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    and we didn't tell him about it until it was time for that shot.
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    And we're like, "Okay, Brian,
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    we're going to need you to change.
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    We need you change because we're going to have
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    you run in this next thing. Go put these on."
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    And you can see in the whole thing he's like,
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    "Oh, this is not cool, this is not cool, this is not cool."
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    And but then he did, and then he had to walk up
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    in that ridiculous thing. - To random people.
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    - Yeah. I mean, pretty basically, like,
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    almost an illegal outfit, like, you know,
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    like, indecent exposure and had to walk up to two tourists
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    and get them to race him. Yeah.
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    And like so some like German, some German girl
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    and some Swedish dude, like, ended up racing him
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    and he's in that outfit and it was hilarious.
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    But, I mean, that does say something about him
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    that he's willing to be laughed at as well as --
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    I mean he does his share of laughing at us.
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    - We look for intentional places
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    to just let people laugh and have relief.
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    And I remember there was a friend I had
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    who was a club promoter in Cincinnati.
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    So put whatever stereotype you want on top of him about that.
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    And he came to Crossroads for the very first time
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    and he's getting coffee and the first thing out of the gate
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    in the service was that What Does The Fox say video
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    that was like, What Does The Fox Say?
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    Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.
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    And he's like, "What?"
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    And it was the first time he had ever seen that video
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    because it went viral like 24 hours later.
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    And we went, 'We got space
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    and let's put that thing and everyone's laughing about."
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    And it totally disarmed him
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    and he came to know Jesus here after that because
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    it started in a place of him laughing because
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    we don't take ourselves seriously.
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    It's just a disarming thing.
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    - I just think that shows that faith
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    is meant to be every single emotion.
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    It's not just like the piety and the down on this,
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    but it's like it's the joy and it's the laughter
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    and it's all those things, and so that's where we try.
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    You know, a lot of times people are wrestling
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    with something pretty heavy in a service
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    and we want to break the tension and be like,
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    "No, we're all real people here."
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    You know, I think that goes hand in hand
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    with the vulnerability and all the other stuff.
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    - Life's hard, I mean, even outside of the church,
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    life's just hard.
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    So if we can be a place where people come in
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    and they actually get to go, like,
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    "I walked out of here laughing more in church
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    than I did at work or that I did in my car."
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    That's a win because I feel like we really believe
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    and we put into practice we want to be
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    like fresh water for people the way that Jesus tells us to.
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    And one of the best ways for us to do that culturally
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    is just to get people to laugh
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    because it's healing and it's helpful.
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    And you walk out going like, "I needed that,"
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    and it's just who we are.
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    BT always kind of says, like, You know what dad
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    doesn't want to see his kids laugh," right?
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    And so we just get to be conduits to that, so we laugh.
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    - Yes, we laugh. We laugh.
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    I've been laughing with this community
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    for almost 22 years now,
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    and you are some of the funniest
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    and fun loving people I have ever been around.
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    I love that this is a distinctive,
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    a part of who we are.
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    If we haven't met, I'm Chuck.
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    I'm one of the teaching pastors around Crossroads.
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    And you find us in this teaching that we're doing,
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    this kind of series of teachings called This Is Us,
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    where we're just recognizing that, you know,
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    God is bringing new people into our community,
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    which is amazing that people are meeting Jesus here
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    and we're celebrating that.
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    And we're also recognizing, man, we don't want you
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    to have to wait to know who we are as a community.
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    So, it's always good if you're new
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    to kind of know what a place is about.
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    And that's what this series is.
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    But am I the only old fogy around here that's like
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    it's good to be reminded of what we're about.
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    It's good to be reminded of the distinctives
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    that have been part of Crossroads
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    for years and years and years.
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    So the first week Brian talked about this idea that we run,
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    we run after people who are far from God.
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    And last week Kyle talked about the fact that we go.
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    We go places where people need
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    to see and experience the good news.
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    And a lot of what we do in our reach out is connected to that.
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    And today we're going to talk about a community who laughs
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    because we laugh around here,
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    but we're going to pray before we go any further.
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    Let's do that now. God, I thank You
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    for the gift of laughter and joy.
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    I thank You for the ways that I have seen that.
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    Bless me from being a part of this church.
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    I can think of weekends where I came in
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    and was surprised or delighted by something,
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    and it just reminded me that You are a loving God
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    and You are a God of joy.
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    And so maybe someone's coming in today
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    and they really need that message.
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    I pray that they would hear it loud and clear,
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    that their spirit would lift from maybe where they came in
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    or where they tuned in to where You want to lead them today.
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    And I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
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    We laugh around here because we think
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    this is what God's people should be like.
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    Big idea today is this: Laughter and joy
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    should be the calling card of a Jesus following community.
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    Like wherever you see people who follow Jesus,
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    who say their lives have been changed by Jesus,
  • 00:28:14
    there are some things that should be a part of them.
  • 00:28:16
    And yes, absolutely, love is one of those things
  • 00:28:18
    and faith is one of those things.
  • 00:28:20
    But I believe laughter and joy should also be among that list.
  • 00:28:24
    You know, Jesus was funny. He was funny.
  • 00:28:27
    And sometimes we don't read it
  • 00:28:29
    and catch it in the words of the Bible,
  • 00:28:30
    because some of the puns and wordplay he was using
  • 00:28:34
    made sense in the original language,
  • 00:28:35
    but it didn't translate to English.
  • 00:28:37
    But Jesus was funny, and I tell you this,
  • 00:28:39
    He had to be fun to be around because I don't think
  • 00:28:43
    you can draw the kind of crowds that Jesus drew
  • 00:28:45
    if you weren't fun to be around.
  • 00:28:47
    I remember seeing this billboard years ago
  • 00:28:49
    and it just simply said, God is in a good mood.
  • 00:28:53
    Think about that, like, what comes to mind
  • 00:28:56
    when you think about God's mood?
  • 00:28:57
    Do you think of God as dour and sour and judgmental?
  • 00:29:01
    No. God is in a good mood
  • 00:29:04
    and there's a joy that emanates from Him.
  • 00:29:06
    And that joy should also emanate from people who follow Him.
  • 00:29:09
    And at Crossroads, we've just said
  • 00:29:11
    we want to be a place where this is true.
  • 00:29:12
    It's why we do crazy things like the Super Bowl of Preaching.
  • 00:29:15
    Anybody ever been here for one of those things, right?
  • 00:29:18
    Super Bowl of Preaching where we totally make
  • 00:29:20
    a mockery of ourselves as communicators
  • 00:29:22
    and act like we're football players and stars and all this.
  • 00:29:24
    It's really fun.
  • 00:29:25
    And man, some of those commercials
  • 00:29:27
    are the funniest commercials you will see
  • 00:29:29
    on Super Bowl Sunday, am I right?
  • 00:29:31
    And so that's just a part of our community.
  • 00:29:34
    We laugh around here and we love that
  • 00:29:36
    because we don't take ourselves too seriously. We don't.
  • 00:29:39
    And actually, there's a spiritual principle behind this.
  • 00:29:42
    We've all heard the adage
  • 00:29:43
    laughter is the best medicine, right?
  • 00:29:45
    We've all heard that.
  • 00:29:46
    Do you know that actually comes from the Bible?
  • 00:29:48
    It comes from the Bible. Let me read it to you.
  • 00:29:50
    Proverbs 17:22 says:
  • 00:29:55
    A joyful heart actually is life giving.
  • 00:29:59
    And in fact, we now know this isn't just an adage,
  • 00:30:02
    this isn't just a wise old proverb,
  • 00:30:04
    medical science has proven this to be true.
  • 00:30:07
    There's an article from the Mayo Clinic
  • 00:30:09
    entitled Stress Relief from Laughter: It's no joke.
  • 00:30:11
    It came out in 2021.
  • 00:30:13
    And here's among the things they say are benefits of laughter.
  • 00:30:15
    First, they talk about short term benefits.
  • 00:30:17
    They say a good laugh has great short term effects.
  • 00:30:20
    When you start to laugh,
  • 00:30:21
    it doesn't just lighten your load mentally,
  • 00:30:23
    it actually induces physical changes in your body.
  • 00:30:26
    Laughter can stimulate many of your organs.
  • 00:30:28
    You can actually add oxygen to your lungs and things like that.
  • 00:30:31
    It can also activate and relieve your stress response.
  • 00:30:34
    So if you're having a stress response,
  • 00:30:36
    laughter has a way of relieving that.
  • 00:30:38
    It can literally soothe tension.
  • 00:30:40
    It can have muscular benefits to you from laughing.
  • 00:30:43
    But it's not just short term effects.
  • 00:30:45
    Laughter also has long term effects like
  • 00:30:48
    improving your immune system.
  • 00:30:50
    You literally can laugh your way to better health.
  • 00:30:52
    It actually can improve and reduce pain.
  • 00:30:55
    It releases some of the same things that your body releases
  • 00:30:58
    when it's trying to address pain are released when you laugh.
  • 00:31:01
    It can increase your personal satisfaction.
  • 00:31:03
    It can improve your mood.
  • 00:31:04
    And relate it to laughter is this idea of play.
  • 00:31:07
    And we think that play
  • 00:31:09
    is something that we need only as kids,
  • 00:31:10
    but we actually need to play as adults.
  • 00:31:13
    It is healthy to play.
  • 00:31:14
    In fact, a friend of mine just this week sent me an article.
  • 00:31:17
    He's right there. Thank you, Russ, for sending
  • 00:31:19
    this article to me from The Washington Post.
  • 00:31:20
    And it talks about play.
  • 00:31:22
    This is some of what it said. It said:
  • 00:31:37
    Listen to this.
  • 00:31:49
    And so in preparation for this week
  • 00:31:51
    I wanted to go to school on laughter,
  • 00:31:55
    I wanted to go to school on joy.
  • 00:31:57
    And I decided to spend time with some experts at it,
  • 00:32:00
    stand up comedians. I love stand up comedy.
  • 00:32:03
    Let me ask you a question, do you remember
  • 00:32:05
    the first stand up routine you ever saw?
  • 00:32:08
    I don't know what it was for you.
  • 00:32:10
    I might be dating myself a little bit, but for me,
  • 00:32:12
    it was Eddie Murphy, Delirious. That was the one for me.
  • 00:32:15
    That was the one for me.
  • 00:32:17
    And no, I was not supposed to be watching it.
  • 00:32:19
    Of course not.
  • 00:32:20
    In fact, I asked that these last two minutes
  • 00:32:22
    be struck from the record because my mom might see this
  • 00:32:24
    and no, of course, Mom, I didn't watch Delirious
  • 00:32:26
    when you told me not to. No, I did not at all.
  • 00:32:28
    But I remember experiencing that.
  • 00:32:30
    And just remember like, man, what is going on here?
  • 00:32:32
    How am I laughing so hard?
  • 00:32:33
    There's something special about stand up comedians
  • 00:32:36
    and what they've learned about laughter.
  • 00:32:38
    So I said, You know what?
  • 00:32:39
    If I'm really going to go to school on this, I should try it.
  • 00:32:44
    And so I signed up for open mic night
  • 00:32:47
    at Go Bananas Comedy Club in Cincinnati.
  • 00:32:50
    And a couple of Wednesdays ago
  • 00:32:52
    I did my first open mic night of standup.
  • 00:32:55
    You guys want to see it? [cheers & appause]
  • 00:32:57
    All right. Let's watch this together.
  • 00:33:00
    - Okay, so this next dude is doing stand up
  • 00:33:02
    for the first time ever, so it's really hard
  • 00:33:05
    and he is a great dude.
  • 00:33:07
    So give your love and give your attention
  • 00:33:09
    to Chuck Mingo, everybody. [cheers]
  • 00:33:17
    - Well, as Blake said, this is.
  • 00:33:18
    This is my first time ever doing stand up.
  • 00:33:21
    So thank you for bearing with me on that.
  • 00:33:23
    But I feel pretty hopeful this is going to work because,
  • 00:33:26
    well, I read this book and the book said
  • 00:33:28
    there is a foolproof one question funny test.
  • 00:33:31
    And the question is, are you Jewish, Italian or black?
  • 00:33:36
    So, I figured game on. I mean, I got that one covered.
  • 00:33:38
    So, yeah, that didn't work too well, but it's all good.
  • 00:33:41
    And so I'm good.
  • 00:33:43
    The challenge, really, as a pastor is not getting on stage.
  • 00:33:47
    The challenge is going to be getting me off the stage.
  • 00:33:50
    You know what I mean?
  • 00:33:51
    Especially because I know you guys can't tell this
  • 00:33:54
    with all the lights, but because I'm a black pastor, that's --
  • 00:33:58
    Can we be personal tonight? Can we be personal?
  • 00:34:00
    - Long winded. - I've been black all my life.
  • 00:34:03
    I really have. I was raised by black people,
  • 00:34:06
    and as somebody just said, long winded.
  • 00:34:08
    I grew up in the black church. I grew up in the black church.
  • 00:34:11
    It's amazing there's air conditioning in here tonight.
  • 00:34:13
    I'm not used to that from a church experience.
  • 00:34:16
    I had three hour services when I went to church.
  • 00:34:20
    I was 23 years old before I actually watched
  • 00:34:22
    an NFL football game live on television because
  • 00:34:25
    I was in church while that was happening.
  • 00:34:26
    So I'm going to give you a little warning,
  • 00:34:28
    you might find yourself in a black church,
  • 00:34:30
    this might be helpful.
  • 00:34:31
    The pastor at some point is going to say,
  • 00:34:33
    "And I'm closing with this," don't believe it.
  • 00:34:37
    Don't believe it, they might not even be
  • 00:34:39
    at the halfway point of their message yet.
  • 00:34:41
    I just want you to know that.
  • 00:34:42
    So they told me I have five minutes tonight
  • 00:34:44
    and don't believe it, I'm going for a tight 45 minute set here.
  • 00:34:47
    So, I'm also a husband and a dad and I really love that.
  • 00:34:54
    So I want to give a shout out to my wife
  • 00:34:56
    who decided not to be here tonight. She's not here.
  • 00:35:01
    I also want to give a shout out to my kids,
  • 00:35:04
    who also aren't here tonight.
  • 00:35:07
    My kids said, "Dad, it's a school night."
  • 00:35:10
    What kid uses that as an excuse? I was pretty upset.
  • 00:35:14
    So I said to my kids, "WTF?
  • 00:35:16
    Where's the faith, kids? Where's the faith?"
  • 00:35:20
    [laughter & applause]
  • 00:35:24
    That worked. That was a dad joke.
  • 00:35:25
    That one worked, all right.
  • 00:35:28
    But I can't blame my kids, though, for feeling embarrassed
  • 00:35:31
    because something happens to all dads.
  • 00:35:33
    All dads take the trail from cool to corny.
  • 00:35:37
    I used to be cool. I had fly gear growing up in the '90s.
  • 00:35:41
    I had fly gear. You know, I had the dope fade.
  • 00:35:44
    I had an arrow that was carved into my head
  • 00:35:47
    that pointed down my back.
  • 00:35:48
    I don't know what it was pointing people to,
  • 00:35:50
    but I certainly wasn't pointing them to Jesus,
  • 00:35:52
    y'all, I'm just sayin.
  • 00:35:54
    And now when I ask my kids, "Hey, what's my style?"
  • 00:35:57
    They say, "Dad, you're NPC."
  • 00:36:02
    I don't know what that means, but I'm thinking
  • 00:36:03
    it's just like, Nah, pretty cool.
  • 00:36:05
    That's probably what they're saying to me. I don't know.
  • 00:36:08
    The other day my son said to me, "Yo, dad, that's Gucci."
  • 00:36:10
    I said, "No, I'm pretty sure I bought this at Target."
  • 00:36:13
    I'm pretty sure it wasn't Gucci.
  • 00:36:15
    And I'm gonna close with this.
  • 00:36:17
    I'm going to close with this.
  • 00:36:23
    Wait for it, right? No, my kids and my wife,
  • 00:36:25
    I love them because
  • 00:36:26
    they help me not to take myself too seriously.
  • 00:36:28
    And let me tell you, life is better
  • 00:36:30
    when you don't take yourself too seriously.
  • 00:36:31
    Because sometimes when you do, you think
  • 00:36:33
    you're going to end up in the NBA and you wind up
  • 00:36:36
    ending up in the emergency room after all.
  • 00:36:39
    All right. That's all I've got.
  • 00:36:40
    So let's close our eyes and we'll pray.
  • 00:36:42
    We're going to pray.
  • 00:36:43
    I'm just kidding. We're not going to pray.
  • 00:36:45
    You guys have been great. Thank you so much.
  • 00:36:57
    - Oh, you guys are too kind. You're too kind. You too kind.
  • 00:37:00
    You kind of like that, though, so I guess this is
  • 00:37:02
    a great time to announce
  • 00:37:03
    that I actually am going on tour.
  • 00:37:05
    We're calling it Sacrilegious. It's going to be --
  • 00:37:10
    Coming soon to a city near, no.
  • 00:37:14
    So after that experience, I was texting with Brian
  • 00:37:17
    and he was like, "So how was it?"
  • 00:37:18
    And it was it was a bunch of things.
  • 00:37:20
    First, I have to tell you, I had a lot of fun.
  • 00:37:22
    I had a lot of fun.
  • 00:37:23
    I enjoyed the whole process, like preparation.
  • 00:37:25
    I was working with a comedian
  • 00:37:27
    who was helping me kind of refine.
  • 00:37:28
    That was fun. It was fun to be there.
  • 00:37:30
    It was fun to be on stage.
  • 00:37:31
    The other thing, though,
  • 00:37:32
    is it was surprisingly freeing because at some point,
  • 00:37:35
    as I said yes to this new thing, I realized
  • 00:37:38
    this is my first time. I don't have to be good at this.
  • 00:37:41
    And it was really freeing just to say like,
  • 00:37:43
    okay, I'm just going to do this thing
  • 00:37:44
    and have this experience.
  • 00:37:46
    It was also incredibly healing and I'm going to
  • 00:37:48
    talk about that a little bit later.
  • 00:37:50
    But the thing that also I saw was I saw in that comedy club
  • 00:37:55
    a microcosm of what I believe God's vision is for His church.
  • 00:37:59
    And let me explain it to you.
  • 00:38:00
    So when you're doing open mic, you get invited
  • 00:38:04
    to be a part of this comics meeting,
  • 00:38:06
    which happens like right before you go on stage.
  • 00:38:08
    And you know, all the comics went outside and circled up
  • 00:38:11
    and they said, "Hey, is this anybody's first time?"
  • 00:38:13
    So it was me and another person's first time
  • 00:38:14
    and they're just really encouraging,
  • 00:38:16
    "Hey, glad you're here.
  • 00:38:17
    Like, awesome. Way to go".
  • 00:38:18
    And then you kind of learn the logistics, right?
  • 00:38:20
    So, you know, hey, you got five minutes.
  • 00:38:22
    There's going to be a light in the back that blinks at four.
  • 00:38:24
    We will cut your mic off five, you know all that stuff.
  • 00:38:26
    Then also they're telling you,
  • 00:38:28
    hey, you got to introduce the next person.
  • 00:38:29
    So this is who's going to introduce whom.
  • 00:38:31
    All of this is happening.
  • 00:38:32
    And I'm just in this circle and I'm like, Man,
  • 00:38:34
    this is a really interesting group of people.
  • 00:38:37
    Can I just tell you, I think my comedy routine
  • 00:38:40
    would be rated G, maybe PG, that was a rarity that night.
  • 00:38:45
    I'll just put it that way
  • 00:38:46
    for those of you who've been in a comedy club.
  • 00:38:48
    So I'm in this group of people and, like,
  • 00:38:50
    there's unique people in that circle.
  • 00:38:52
    There was one woman who literally had on this blazer,
  • 00:38:55
    and when she gets up on stage, she opens up the blazer
  • 00:38:57
    and there's a bearded lizard just hanging out
  • 00:38:59
    that's a part of her comedy routine.
  • 00:39:01
    So it was interesting.
  • 00:39:02
    And so I'm in this circle and I had this thought.
  • 00:39:05
    I said, you know what?
  • 00:39:06
    These comedians are a group of ragtag people
  • 00:39:09
    who have a common mission and have learned to laugh
  • 00:39:12
    through the ups and downs of life.
  • 00:39:15
    And that's exactly God's vision for us as His people.
  • 00:39:18
    That if you go into a church, what you should find
  • 00:39:21
    is a group of ragtag people who have a common mission,
  • 00:39:24
    who have learned to laugh at the ups and downs of life.
  • 00:39:28
    There's something to this for all of us.
  • 00:39:30
    And so as we think about this idea that we laugh,
  • 00:39:33
    I want us to know this is, I believe,
  • 00:39:35
    God's vision for you as an individual
  • 00:39:37
    and for us as a church.
  • 00:39:38
    And so there's a scripture that I want
  • 00:39:40
    to kind of raise up today that to me kind of reinforces
  • 00:39:44
    this idea around laughter and joy.
  • 00:39:46
    It's Philippians and it's actually a short letter,
  • 00:39:48
    Paul wrote it to a group of followers of Jesus
  • 00:39:50
    in a city called Philippi in the Roman Empire.
  • 00:39:52
    Philippians 4:4 he says this:
  • 00:39:58
    So, Paul is saying, "Hey, this is important.
  • 00:40:00
    I'm repeating it."
  • 00:40:01
    This idea of rejoicing always in the Lord is so important.
  • 00:40:06
    He goes on to say:
  • 00:40:20
    And here's the result of doing that.
  • 00:40:30
    And so I want to use these words just to reflect
  • 00:40:32
    on three reasons why we laugh.
  • 00:40:34
    And the first reason is we laugh because it connects us.
  • 00:40:38
    Laughter is a universal language that every human speaks.
  • 00:40:43
    Have you ever been in an environment, I have,
  • 00:40:45
    where I don't share the language with the people I'm talking to?
  • 00:40:48
    I'm barely good at speaking English, right?
  • 00:40:51
    The language I grew up learning.
  • 00:40:53
    But like, I know some Spanish, but like,
  • 00:40:55
    you put me in a room with Russian, Chinese, Hindi.
  • 00:40:57
    I've been with all kinds of people from different cultures.
  • 00:41:00
    I don't share the language and so there's a barrier there.
  • 00:41:03
    But something funny happens and all of a sudden
  • 00:41:05
    we are speaking the same universal language.
  • 00:41:08
    No matter where you are, people speak the language of laughter.
  • 00:41:11
    I was thinking about this
  • 00:41:12
    in terms of the family I grew up in.
  • 00:41:13
    I grew up around a bunch of funny people, I really did
  • 00:41:16
    My family is crazy, seriously.
  • 00:41:19
    Like they rolled up in here, you would know
  • 00:41:22
    that it was my family because you would hear laughter
  • 00:41:24
    so loud it would fill this whole room.
  • 00:41:26
    I mean, just that's how I grew up.
  • 00:41:27
    And it's so funny because all of these gatherings
  • 00:41:30
    that we would have, whether it was a holiday,
  • 00:41:32
    we all went to the same church.
  • 00:41:33
    All of this, they're just filled with
  • 00:41:34
    all these moments of laughter.
  • 00:41:36
    And it's funny, like, I can go back to Philadelphia
  • 00:41:38
    as I did recently, and I can be with my cousins now.
  • 00:41:41
    We're in our 40s and 50s and beyond,
  • 00:41:43
    but we can remember these funny moments that happened
  • 00:41:45
    when we were like nine and ten years old.
  • 00:41:48
    There's just something about a family that I think
  • 00:41:51
    is marked if it's healthy by laughter.
  • 00:41:54
    And so Paul is writing to the church at Philippi
  • 00:41:57
    because they are a spiritual family,
  • 00:41:59
    just like we at Crossroads are a spiritual family.
  • 00:42:01
    And Paul is saying to them, and it's interesting,
  • 00:42:03
    of all the things he could focus on, he could have said,
  • 00:42:05
    "Hey, I want to remind you about
  • 00:42:07
    the need to live faithfully.
  • 00:42:09
    I want to remind you about the need to love well.
  • 00:42:12
    I want to remind you about
  • 00:42:13
    the need to stay rooted in the truth."
  • 00:42:15
    all important things, but of all the things
  • 00:42:18
    Paul wants to remind this family of believers of
  • 00:42:20
    who are living as religious minorities,
  • 00:42:22
    persecuted minority, he says, "I want to remind you
  • 00:42:26
    to rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice."
  • 00:42:31
    Joy is a common language that Paul wanted the church to speak.
  • 00:42:36
    And I think that's true for us.
  • 00:42:37
    He wants us to know that part of the way
  • 00:42:40
    that we connect to each other comes through laughter
  • 00:42:43
    and it comes through joy.
  • 00:42:44
    And I want to say this I know that for some of you,
  • 00:42:47
    you walked into this room or you logged on,
  • 00:42:50
    and joy is not the defining emotion
  • 00:42:52
    you're feeling right now.
  • 00:42:54
    There's heaviness in our lives.
  • 00:42:56
    And I know there's people in here who literally
  • 00:42:58
    may have been crying in the parking lot,
  • 00:43:00
    and it took everything in you to kind of
  • 00:43:02
    collect yourself enough to come here.
  • 00:43:04
    And you came because you're hoping that
  • 00:43:05
    there's something here that can lift your spirits.
  • 00:43:07
    But you didn't walk in here with joy.
  • 00:43:10
    And yet I want you to know that you being here
  • 00:43:12
    in the presence of other people who are laughing
  • 00:43:15
    is part of the power of being in a community like this.
  • 00:43:19
    Paul uses the word joy in Philippians 16 times,
  • 00:43:22
    way more frequently than any other book its length
  • 00:43:25
    in the Bible because rejoicing is a communal project.
  • 00:43:29
    There are some days I got to borrow your joy
  • 00:43:31
    because I don't have it, and there are other days
  • 00:43:34
    I hope you can borrow my joy.
  • 00:43:35
    This is what it means.
  • 00:43:36
    And so we laugh because it connects us.
  • 00:43:38
    But we also laugh because it keeps us humble.
  • 00:43:42
    Paul says this, he says,
  • 00:43:43
    Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
  • 00:43:47
    Another word for that is
  • 00:43:49
    let your gentleness be known to everyone.
  • 00:43:51
    Let your kindness be known to everyone.
  • 00:43:54
    So I just want you to take a moment
  • 00:43:55
    and think about someone you enjoy being around.
  • 00:43:59
    Like, if you knew you were grabbing lunch with them
  • 00:44:01
    after service today, after you log off,
  • 00:44:03
    you would be looking forward to it.
  • 00:44:05
    You wouldn't be dreading it. You'd be looking forward to it.
  • 00:44:07
    Think about that person.
  • 00:44:09
    I may not know that person, but I know
  • 00:44:11
    two things are true about them.
  • 00:44:12
    Number one, they're reasonable. They're reasonable.
  • 00:44:15
    That doesn't mean they don't have passion,
  • 00:44:17
    doesn't mean they don't have perspectives
  • 00:44:19
    and points of view on things.
  • 00:44:20
    But there's a part of you that's like,
  • 00:44:21
    "I can be around you because you're a reasonable person."
  • 00:44:25
    And the second thing is, I bet you they're humble.
  • 00:44:28
    I bet you you like spending time with them because
  • 00:44:31
    you know the whole lunch isn't going to be focused on them.
  • 00:44:34
    They're not going to make it all about them.
  • 00:44:37
    There's a reasonableness that they have,
  • 00:44:39
    and that's what humility can do.
  • 00:44:41
    And I think part of that is humor.
  • 00:44:43
    So let me be very clear.
  • 00:44:44
    I'm not saying today that if you're a follower of Jesus
  • 00:44:47
    you need to be able to tell a good joke.
  • 00:44:50
    But I do believe this, if you're a follower of Jesus,
  • 00:44:52
    you need to be able to take a good joke.
  • 00:44:55
    That you don't take yourself so seriously
  • 00:44:57
    that you can't laugh, that you can't be a person
  • 00:45:00
    who is humble enough to take a good joke.
  • 00:45:03
    And let me be very clear, if you want influence,
  • 00:45:05
    and God wants you to have influence,
  • 00:45:07
    if you want influence, you can't take yourself too seriously.
  • 00:45:10
    There's actually research that shows that
  • 00:45:12
    managers who have a sense of humor, again,
  • 00:45:13
    not that they can tell a joke, but they can take a joke,
  • 00:45:16
    are 33% more trusted by those who follow them.
  • 00:45:19
    And so I just want you to know
  • 00:45:21
    this is a part of how we have influence.
  • 00:45:22
    And let me be very clear, God wants you to have influence.
  • 00:45:28
    God wants Crossroads to have massive influence.
  • 00:45:31
    Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 5. He says:
  • 00:45:44
    And this is what Jesus says to us:
  • 00:45:55
    Look, you don't have to look far and wide
  • 00:45:58
    to see the darkness in our world,
  • 00:46:00
    yo see that there's brokenness, division, there's pain,
  • 00:46:02
    there are people hurting in our world.
  • 00:46:04
    And yet what Jesus says to you and I is
  • 00:46:07
    we are to be people who shine in that darkness.
  • 00:46:11
    Tim Keller is a pastor that I respect. He put it this way.
  • 00:46:13
    He pastored in Manhattan for many years, and he said:
  • 00:46:18
    And I've heard Brian say similarly.
  • 00:46:26
    Isn't that powerful? And I believe that's God's call.
  • 00:46:29
    And it's our desire that in Cincinnati
  • 00:46:31
    there would be people who would say,
  • 00:46:32
    "I don't go to Crossroads.
  • 00:46:34
    I don't believe what Crossroads believes,
  • 00:46:36
    but I would hate to see what our city
  • 00:46:38
    would look like without Crossroads.
  • 00:46:39
    I would hate to see what Columbus
  • 00:46:41
    would look like without Crossroads.
  • 00:46:43
    I would hate to see what Dayton
  • 00:46:44
    looks like without Crossroads.
  • 00:46:45
    I'd hate to see what Lexington
  • 00:46:47
    and areas in Kentucky looked like without Crossroads.
  • 00:46:49
    For those who are joining Anywhere, wherever you are,
  • 00:46:51
    people in your neighborhood should say,
  • 00:46:53
    I would hate to see what our neighborhood
  • 00:46:55
    doesn't look like without them.
  • 00:46:56
    Not only because we're faithful people,
  • 00:46:58
    not only because we're people of the truth,
  • 00:47:00
    but because we laugh,
  • 00:47:01
    because there's a sense in which we shine.
  • 00:47:04
    You know, some of the things that
  • 00:47:05
    we need to do to shine are just smile.
  • 00:47:08
    You shine when you smile,
  • 00:47:09
    you shine when you're hopeful in this world.
  • 00:47:12
    I got to see this up close and personal
  • 00:47:14
    with my friend Zach Wycuff.
  • 00:47:16
    So Zach Wycuff is a professional comedian.
  • 00:47:18
    He's really good.
  • 00:47:20
    In fact, he was at Go Bananas last night
  • 00:47:22
    and some people saw him perform.
  • 00:47:23
    And so Zach was the person I went to
  • 00:47:25
    when I realized I was going to do this whole open mic thing.
  • 00:47:27
    And I was like, "Hey, I need you to make me funny, Zach."
  • 00:47:30
    That's really what I told him.
  • 00:47:31
    Like, you got to make me funny.
  • 00:47:33
    So it was great working with him.
  • 00:47:35
    But then we got to Go Bananas
  • 00:47:36
    and I got to see Zach in a different light.
  • 00:47:38
    You know, Zach is on staff at Crossroads.
  • 00:47:40
    I see him in this light,
  • 00:47:41
    but I got to see him in the comedy club.
  • 00:47:43
    I'm just going to tell you,
  • 00:47:45
    there were people in that club that were hurting.
  • 00:47:47
    There were comedians that got up that night that were hurting.
  • 00:47:50
    And Zach was just a friend to them.
  • 00:47:53
    I saw how he encouraged them.
  • 00:47:55
    I saw how he was present for them.
  • 00:47:56
    And I saw how as a comedian, he just shows people,
  • 00:48:00
    look, I love Jesus and I'm a normal dude, too.
  • 00:48:04
    And it was really powerful.
  • 00:48:05
    So afterwards I got a chance to just send Zach this text.
  • 00:48:08
    I said, "Zach, thank you so much for shepherding me through this.
  • 00:48:11
    I saw a side of you last night at that comedy club.
  • 00:48:14
    I saw how you are shepherding
  • 00:48:16
    those other comedian friends as a good shepherd."
  • 00:48:18
    Jesus said He's a good shepherd
  • 00:48:19
    that lays down his life for his sheep.
  • 00:48:21
    And I saw Zach doing that.
  • 00:48:23
    I said, "You are called to make people laugh
  • 00:48:26
    and also to help people heal.
  • 00:48:28
    You represent a picture of Jesus they desperately need to see.
  • 00:48:31
    So yes, I agree. Laughter is holy and you are called to it."
  • 00:48:36
    And Zack, of course, in comedian fashion responded this way.
  • 00:48:38
    He says, "So kind of you to say, brother, thank you.
  • 00:48:40
    I do love comedians,
  • 00:48:42
    they're such weirdos and I love them so much."
  • 00:48:44
    So there you go.
  • 00:48:46
    But Zach is salt and light in a place that needs it.
  • 00:48:49
    And I think it's an honest question to ask as we talk
  • 00:48:51
    about a community that laughs, being people who laugh,
  • 00:48:54
    how can we laugh in the dark world that we live in?
  • 00:48:59
    How can we laugh when there is real pain,
  • 00:49:02
    real loss, real suffering?
  • 00:49:04
    When there are people literally dying,
  • 00:49:06
    when there's all kinds of things happening in the world,
  • 00:49:08
    how can we be people who laugh?
  • 00:49:11
    It's a fair question.
  • 00:49:12
    And what I love about God, what I love about Jesus,
  • 00:49:15
    what I love about the Bible is
  • 00:49:16
    the Bible doesn't skirt that question.
  • 00:49:18
    The Bible doesn't hide from that question.
  • 00:49:20
    And what the Bible says is the reason you and I can laugh,
  • 00:49:23
    even in the challenges we face in this world,
  • 00:49:26
    is because we have genuine hope in Jesus Christ.
  • 00:49:30
    We laugh because we have genuine hope.
  • 00:49:33
    See, I don't want you to hear today that
  • 00:49:36
    what the world needs are happy clappy Christians.
  • 00:49:40
    Because in fact, what the world needs way less of
  • 00:49:43
    is happy clappy Christians, so don't hear that.
  • 00:49:46
    But let me tell you this, but the world needs
  • 00:49:49
    way more hopeful Christians.
  • 00:49:51
    The world needs people who, despite the darkness,
  • 00:49:55
    see a brightness on the horizon
  • 00:49:57
    and they can invite others into the journey to get there.
  • 00:50:00
    That's what the world needs more of.
  • 00:50:02
    I told you that the experience of being there
  • 00:50:07
    at Go bananas was healing for me.
  • 00:50:08
    Let me say a little bit more about that.
  • 00:50:11
    That week was one of the hardest weeks
  • 00:50:14
    I had experienced this year.
  • 00:50:16
    And so I was not in a good place going into that Wednesday night.
  • 00:50:22
    In fact, I felt like
  • 00:50:23
    I was living two realities at the same time.
  • 00:50:25
    The one reality, I struggle with anxiety, the one reality
  • 00:50:28
    I was literally losing sleep.
  • 00:50:30
    I was only sleeping 4 to 5 hours a night that week
  • 00:50:32
    because I was so anxious about a lot of the things
  • 00:50:34
    that were going on in my life.
  • 00:50:36
    That was one life that I was living,
  • 00:50:37
    while at the same time I'm over here
  • 00:50:39
    trying to write jokes on a napkin for a standup routine.
  • 00:50:43
    And it just felt so disorienting to me.
  • 00:50:45
    And in fact, I really was almost there.
  • 00:50:47
    I was like, "I'm gonna pull the plug on this.
  • 00:50:49
    I'm gonna pull the plug on this comedian thing,
  • 00:50:51
    because not only do I not feel funny, I don't feel happy.
  • 00:50:54
    And I don't know that I can do this."
  • 00:50:57
    But can I just tell you, I'm so glad that I followed through.
  • 00:51:00
    And here's why I'm glad.
  • 00:51:01
    Because something about that process
  • 00:51:03
    and something about even standing up there that night
  • 00:51:06
    was me saying to the darkness,
  • 00:51:08
    "The darkness will not define my whole experience."
  • 00:51:13
    It will not define -- Oh, it's real.
  • 00:51:15
    I can't ignore that I didn't sleep well that night.
  • 00:51:18
    I can't ignore that I'm dealing with anxiety.
  • 00:51:20
    But by the same token, that lack of sleep
  • 00:51:23
    and that anxiety isn't the only thing defining my life.
  • 00:51:27
    And it was so healing,
  • 00:51:29
    doing that was literally healing for my soul.
  • 00:51:32
    And it reminded me like that's what biblical hope is.
  • 00:51:35
    So when I use this word hope, I want to define it for you.
  • 00:51:37
    I define biblical hope this way:
  • 00:51:39
    it is a confident expectation and desire
  • 00:51:42
    for something good in the future
  • 00:51:44
    based on the promises God makes to us in Scripture.
  • 00:51:48
    It's not based on circumstances, because
  • 00:51:50
    our circumstances aren't always going to bring hope.
  • 00:51:53
    It's not even based on the struggles that we face,
  • 00:51:56
    because I know and this is an old song
  • 00:51:58
    that says trouble don't last always.
  • 00:51:59
    I'm so glad trouble don't last always.
  • 00:52:01
    So I don't even want to have it based on that.
  • 00:52:03
    So where can we find this kind of hope?
  • 00:52:06
    We find it in the promises of a God who is
  • 00:52:08
    always in a good mood because He is always in control.
  • 00:52:12
    I know that sounds trite, but it is also true.
  • 00:52:15
    We can have genuine hope because God is in control,
  • 00:52:19
    even in the crazy world we live in,
  • 00:52:21
    even in the thing you're dealing with right now,
  • 00:52:23
    God has not lost control. He is in control.
  • 00:52:26
    And you can rest on His promises,
  • 00:52:28
    even when your circumstances don't look like it.
  • 00:52:31
    And I just want to encourage you around this today.
  • 00:52:34
    Can I encourage you for a bit?
  • 00:52:35
    I just want to encourage you from the Word of God
  • 00:52:37
    for a few minutes through some things that Jesus says
  • 00:52:40
    and what the Bible says.
  • 00:52:41
    Look at what Jesus says in Luke 6:21.
  • 00:52:43
    These are some of the promises we have in Him. He says:
  • 00:52:49
    See, the Bible doesn't ignore that weeping is going to come.
  • 00:52:53
    There's a verse that says sorrow will last for a night,
  • 00:52:55
    but joy comes in the morning.
  • 00:52:57
    It doesn't mean that sorrow is not real.
  • 00:52:59
    But I want you to know what Jesus says is
  • 00:53:01
    your sorrow won't get the last word.
  • 00:53:04
    Those weeping tears, He catches them in a bottle
  • 00:53:07
    and it won't be that He ignores those tears,
  • 00:53:10
    but He will redeem the situation causing those tears.
  • 00:53:13
    And I want to say this, I'm not talking about,
  • 00:53:14
    Yeah, it's all going to be good in heaven.
  • 00:53:16
    Yes, it will be really good in heaven.
  • 00:53:18
    We will laugh our butts off in heaven for sure.
  • 00:53:20
    But even in this world He's working,
  • 00:53:24
    He's redeeming, He's healing.
  • 00:53:26
    Why would Jesus say it in the present tense?
  • 00:53:28
    Blessed are you who weep now for you shall laugh.
  • 00:53:32
    You shall laugh.
  • 00:53:33
    How about this one? Isaiah 54:17 says:
  • 00:53:39
    I know some of us feel like someone's taking aim at you.
  • 00:53:43
    And I want you to know that that person
  • 00:53:45
    is an entity called Satan.
  • 00:53:47
    We have a real spiritual enemy.
  • 00:53:48
    And some of us, he's taking aim through accusation.
  • 00:53:51
    Some of us he's taking aim through false things
  • 00:53:53
    and lies that are being told about you.
  • 00:53:55
    But I love this verse that says, you know what?
  • 00:53:57
    Even in the midst of that, you can laugh and have joy because
  • 00:53:59
    no weapon fashioned against a child of God will succeed.
  • 00:54:03
    So you can have confidence and trust that in that battle
  • 00:54:06
    God is fighting for you.
  • 00:54:09
    How about this one? Philippians 1:6 says:
  • 00:54:16
    When you came into relationship with Jesus,
  • 00:54:18
    He began a good work in you, He planted good seed in you,
  • 00:54:23
    He planted things that will bear fruit in your life.
  • 00:54:26
    And I know you might not feel like that right now.
  • 00:54:28
    And that's why I want you to rest on the hope of this verse
  • 00:54:30
    and this promise
  • 00:54:31
    that He who began that good work will complete it.
  • 00:54:34
    Let me talk to parents in here who feel like
  • 00:54:36
    your child is in a place where they're wandering
  • 00:54:39
    and you don't know what the future holds for your child.
  • 00:54:41
    You want some things for your child
  • 00:54:43
    that you're not experiencing right now.
  • 00:54:45
    I want you to know the same God who gifted you
  • 00:54:47
    to carry that child to term
  • 00:54:49
    is the same child who has a plan for that --
  • 00:54:51
    Same God, who has a plan for that child's life.
  • 00:54:53
    And what He begins, He will complete.
  • 00:54:55
    You can trust that. You can have hope.
  • 00:54:58
    Even in the midst of the evidence not showing that,
  • 00:55:00
    you can have hope in that God.
  • 00:55:01
    Some of us walked in here today alone because
  • 00:55:04
    we are in a marriage that seems like it's dead on arrival
  • 00:55:08
    and we don't know how things can change.
  • 00:55:10
    And yet there's a God who promises that
  • 00:55:12
    what He starts, He completes.
  • 00:55:14
    And I want you to have that kind of hope.
  • 00:55:17
    That's why I love what it says in James 1:2.
  • 00:55:19
    Here's another promise. He says:
  • 00:55:27
    And I love this:
  • 00:55:35
    And here's the promise that really covers all the promises.
  • 00:55:38
    2 Corinthians 1:20 says:
  • 00:55:43
    Every promise of God finds its yes in Jesus Christ,
  • 00:55:47
    finds its yes in the fact that Jesus came
  • 00:55:49
    and lived the perfect life we couldn't live,
  • 00:55:51
    that He died the death that we deserved,
  • 00:55:53
    that He didn't stay dead, but three days later
  • 00:55:55
    He rose from the grave and now offers us life
  • 00:55:58
    and a redeemed relationship with God.
  • 00:56:00
    Every promise of God finds its yes in that.
  • 00:56:04
    Every promise of God finds its yes in that.
  • 00:56:06
    So this is what I would say to you,
  • 00:56:07
    if you can find the body of Jesus, stop laughing.
  • 00:56:12
    If you can find the body of Jesus, I'll stop laughing.
  • 00:56:15
    If you can find the body of Jesus, I won't have hope.
  • 00:56:18
    If you can find the body of Jesus,
  • 00:56:20
    I don't have any source of joy.
  • 00:56:22
    But for 2000 years since He died and rose,
  • 00:56:25
    no one has produced a body.
  • 00:56:27
    And so what I'm telling you is He's not dead; He's alive.
  • 00:56:30
    So every promise of God has already found its yes in Jesus.
  • 00:56:34
    And even if right now you don't see that in your life,
  • 00:56:36
    it's coming, friend, it's coming, so you can have hope.
  • 00:56:39
    It's coming, friend. It's coming.
  • 00:56:41
    So you can laugh at the days to come.
  • 00:56:42
    It's coming, friend. It's coming.
  • 00:56:44
    This darkness of the present moment
  • 00:56:46
    will not define your future.
  • 00:56:49
    Every promise of God finds its yes in Jesus.
  • 00:56:53
    See the source of our joy, the source of our laughter
  • 00:56:56
    is a person, His name is Jesus.
  • 00:56:59
    And in Him we have redemption.
  • 00:57:03
    In Him we have forgiveness of sins, everything that
  • 00:57:05
    we've ever done that goes against God is forgiven.
  • 00:57:10
    When we trust Him, in Him we have salvation.
  • 00:57:14
    Not only did Jesus save you, He is saving you
  • 00:57:18
    and will save you.
  • 00:57:20
    He's in the process of doing that right now.
  • 00:57:22
    In Him we have healing, deep emotional healing,
  • 00:57:25
    heart healing, physical healing can be a part of that.
  • 00:57:28
    In Him we have freedom. We're no longer slaves.
  • 00:57:31
    We're no longer bound.
  • 00:57:32
    And in him we have a redeemed and unbreakable relationship
  • 00:57:36
    with our loving God who is always in a good mood
  • 00:57:39
    through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • 00:57:41
    Look at what Paul says in Philippians 4:7,
  • 00:57:43
    based on all of these promises, he says:
  • 00:57:51
    Biblical hope empowers us to both be rooted
  • 00:57:54
    in reality and laugh. We can do both.
  • 00:57:59
    And I just want to pause and ask the question
  • 00:58:01
    of you in this room and people watching right now:
  • 00:58:03
    Are you in Christ?
  • 00:58:06
    Because everything that I'm talking about
  • 00:58:08
    are not general promises; they're promises
  • 00:58:12
    to those who have trusted in Jesus.
  • 00:58:15
    And so I just want to know, are you in Christ?
  • 00:58:17
    Have you surrendered your life to Christ?
  • 00:58:19
    Have you trusted Him for your life?
  • 00:58:21
    Have you said to Him, "Jesus, I need the forgiveness
  • 00:58:23
    that you provided through your death on the cross.
  • 00:58:25
    Please forgive me.
  • 00:58:27
    Jesus. I want to trust You and follow You.
  • 00:58:29
    I want to turn and walk a different direction.
  • 00:58:31
    Jesus. I want the life that You offer to people who follow you.
  • 00:58:35
    I want to have this joy."
  • 00:58:36
    Are you in Christ?
  • 00:58:38
    I still got a couple of things to say,
  • 00:58:40
    but I want to just stop right here
  • 00:58:41
    and invite you to receive life in Christ.
  • 00:58:45
    So I would ask, everybody,
  • 00:58:47
    just close your eyes if you would do that.
  • 00:58:49
    And if what I'm saying resonates with you
  • 00:58:51
    and you would say, "I did not leave,
  • 00:58:53
    I didn't come here today
  • 00:58:55
    in Christ as you're defining it, Chuck.
  • 00:58:56
    But I want to leave in Christ."
  • 00:58:59
    Then I would invite you to just pray these words after me.
  • 00:59:01
    You can just simply say, Jesus, I want to live in You.
  • 00:59:07
    Please forgive me for all of my sins.
  • 00:59:12
    And would You cleanse me and help me live a new life in You.
  • 00:59:19
    I will trust You
  • 00:59:20
    and for the rest of my life I will follow You.
  • 00:59:26
    I surrender today. Please give me Your life.
  • 00:59:30
    Please give me Your Spirit.
  • 00:59:32
    And please give me Your joy and Your peace. Amen.
  • 00:59:38
    I want to encourage you, if you prayed that prayer,
  • 00:59:41
    I want to invite you to not leave online
  • 00:59:43
    without connecting with someone through the chat
  • 00:59:46
    who would love to just help you take next steps
  • 00:59:48
    based on the choice and the prayer that you just made.
  • 00:59:50
    If you're in the room, our prayer team at all of our sites
  • 00:59:53
    just would encourage you to not leave without that.
  • 00:59:57
    See, this idea of we laugh is really the idea
  • 01:00:00
    that we can live freely and lightly.
  • 01:00:03
    That that's possible for us.
  • 01:00:04
    I'm going to go to Matthew 11:28,
  • 01:00:07
    this will be the last verse that I read for you today.
  • 01:00:09
    This is Jesus's invitation.
  • 01:00:11
    Jesus wants to help you live this way.
  • 01:00:12
    He wants to help you live a life of laughter and joy.
  • 01:00:15
    And so He says:
  • 01:00:37
    How can we be a community who laughs?
  • 01:00:39
    We learn to live freely and lightly together.
  • 01:00:42
    How can we be a community who laughs?
  • 01:00:44
    We learn to have joy based in genuine hope.
  • 01:00:48
    How can we be a community who laughs?
  • 01:00:50
    We don't take ourselves too seriously
  • 01:00:52
    and we can trust even in the challenges
  • 01:00:54
    that our God is in control.
  • 01:00:58
    So we're going to have an opportunity
  • 01:01:00
    to put this into practice.
  • 01:01:01
    I'm going to invite everyone everywhere to stand.
  • 01:01:03
    We don't do this often, but we decided today
  • 01:01:06
    that we want to sing this final song as one church.
  • 01:01:09
    So all of us at all of our sites are going to do this together.
  • 01:01:12
    We sung this song a little bit earlier
  • 01:01:15
    and the song is about praising God, it's about rejoicing.
  • 01:01:18
    And so we're going to have an opportunity to rejoice,
  • 01:01:20
    to say to God again, Hey, here's the posture we will have
  • 01:01:24
    as a community who laughs at the days to come because
  • 01:01:27
    we trust You and our hope is rooted in You.
  • 01:01:30
    And so this might be challenging for some of you,
  • 01:01:32
    but I want to invite you to sing these words.
  • 01:01:34
    And we decided to strip down the band
  • 01:01:36
    and just have Justin lead us
  • 01:01:37
    so that we can hear each other's voices.
  • 01:01:39
    Because like I said earlier, we need to lean on each other
  • 01:01:41
    to have this kind of hope.
  • 01:01:43
    We need to lean on each other to have this kind of joy.
  • 01:01:45
    And so we're going to do that together as we sing.
  • 01:01:47
    So, God, I pray that in this moment
  • 01:01:49
    we would connect with You and with each other
  • 01:01:52
    for the sake of joy. Amen.
  • 01:03:53
    Yes. [cheers & applause]
  • 01:03:56
    - So, God, we pray that You would make us
  • 01:03:58
    a people who rejoice, that we would literally
  • 01:04:01
    laugh our way out of here because You're alive
  • 01:04:06
    and all that we talk about,
  • 01:04:07
    all that we just sung about is true.
  • 01:04:10
    I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
  • 01:04:16
    - Hey, we love to have fun around here.
  • 01:04:19
    And actually, I remember how crazy it was for me
  • 01:04:21
    when I first started coming around Crossroads
  • 01:04:23
    that a church would have fun,
  • 01:04:25
    that we didn't just have to check the boxes,
  • 01:04:27
    that we didn't have to be serious all the time.
  • 01:04:29
    It was absolutely radical for me and,
  • 01:04:32
    man, if you maybe resonate with that,
  • 01:04:34
    if you might have some of the same misconceptions that I had,
  • 01:04:36
    there's an article I would love for you to check out.
  • 01:04:39
    It's called Anything Short of Sin.
  • 01:04:40
    It's actually written by my wife, but I promise
  • 01:04:42
    that's not the only reason that I love it.
  • 01:04:45
    You should check it out at crossroads.net/articles.
  • 01:04:48
    Now, Crossroads is more than
  • 01:04:50
    just a video on a screen once a week.
  • 01:04:52
    It's also a community that you can belong to
  • 01:04:54
    no matter where you live.
  • 01:04:56
    To learn more about how to get started,
  • 01:04:58
    just head to Crossroads.net/anywhere.
  • 01:05:00
    You can even chat with us, ask us anything.
  • 01:05:03
    We'd love to pray for you and we'd love to hear from you.
  • 01:05:06
    We'll see you next week
  • 01:05:07
    when Brian talks about how we challenge.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend-Follow Up! This is the group part of the Bible Challenge, so your questions are based on specific Bible passages from the weekend message. Each week, your group will discover what God might be saying to you, and how you can respond through a group discussion.

  1. When was the last time you experienced stand up comedy? Was it funny?

  2. What stood out to you most from the message?

  3. What are some things that make you laugh?

  4. Where have you seen the power of laughter show up in your life?

  5. What’s an area of your life, or a relationship, or a situation that could use the healing power of laughter right now?

  6. Is it easy or hard for you to imagine that Jesus has a sense of humor? Why?

  7. Chuck mentioned that in order to have joy, we have to have hope. What’s an area of your life you’re struggling to have hope?

  8. Let’s end with prayer. You can say something like, “Jesus, thank you for the gift of laughter. Thank you for giving us a reason to laugh, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Give me a joyful spirit, one that’s quick to laughter. Free me of any shame that might stop me from sharing the joy you’ve given me with others. Amen.”

More from the Weekend

__Bonus Questions! __ Check these out if you’re on a roll and want to go a little deeper.

  • How would your life change if you were quick to laugh?
  • What’s an activity that brings you joy? Commit to making time for it this week and invite God into it.

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(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

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Sep 24, 2023 1 hr 5 mins 16 sec

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