Summary: How do you respond to God when he asks you to step out in faith?
The Top Ten Bulletin Announcements
10. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
9. The choir invites any member if the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
8. Thursday night – Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
7. Due to the Pastor’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
6. The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 pm. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
5. Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 pm. Please use the back door.
4. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.
3. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm on Tuesday. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
2. Today, Christian Youth Fellowship House Sexuality Course, 1 pm-8 pm. Please park in the rear parking lot for this activity.
And the number 1 Bulletin Announcement…
1. Missionary, Bertha Belch, from Africa speaking at Calvary Memorial Church. Announcement: “Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.”
The definition of laughter is, “to express certain emotions, especially mirth or delight, by a series of spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied by corresponding facial and bodily movements.” The definition itself makes me want to laugh. Often, when we think of laughter we only think of amusement or delight. But there are other emotions that are expressed through laughter in different situations; emotions such as amazement, being nervous, disbelief, wonder, joy, happiness, etc. Tonight, I want to look at three situations in the Bible where people laughed and showed their inner feelings.
The first person we are going to look at is Abraham. If you remember from last week, we talked about how Abraham, at the age of 75 was told by God to leave his country, his friends and his inheritance and to go to a land that God would show him. Abraham showed his faith in God and went without any complaint. One of the promises that God had given him was that he would become a great nation. But after Abraham had moved to the land of Canaan his wife Sarah couldn’t bear him any children. 14 years went by and Abraham and Sarah still did not have a child of their own. When Abraham is 99 years old, God comes and speaks to him again. This time God is more specific and promises that he and Sarah will have a son of their own. Let’s look at Abraham’s response in 17:17.
Abraham is in shock! “This I have to see!!” he thought. Abraham is laughing in amazement just at the fact of what God might do. What would your response be if you were going to have a son or daughter when you are 100 years old? What we learn from Abraham is that his faith had room to grow. You would think that after all he just went through, leaving everything behind and heading out trusting God with providing a home, that nothing God did would surprise him anymore. But Abraham still had room for growth, his faith was still limited. He went deeper in his relationship with God and trusted God in his promise.
The second person we are going to look at is Abraham’s wife Sarah. God appears to Abraham again at his home and this time with two other men, who were possibly angels. They all sat and ate with Abraham. The Lord again, promises a son to Sarah and Abraham. Let’s look at 18:9-15 to see Sarah’s response.
Sarah’s response was completely opposite of Abraham’s. Sarah laughed in utter disbelief. “Yea right! I am too old to have children and so is Abraham.” What is sort of scary in this passage is God’s response to Sarah. If you look closely in verse 12 it says that Sarah laughed to herself, she didn’t laugh out loud. God knew her heart though and so he questions why Sarah laughed. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” he asks. Then if it isn’t bad enough that Sarah just basically laughed in God’s face in disbelief, she then lies and says, “Umm…I didn’t laugh.” Again, God knew her heart though. “Yes, you did laugh.”
How many people have ever felt like laughing at God before? I sure have! When we are growing in and working at our relationships with God we should be challenged. One of the biggest issues I see in the church today is that people don’t want to be challenged and that they want to just stay comfortable. Unfortunately, the only way we can grow is by being challenged. We need to constantly be reading God’s Word and listening to Him. Then we need to be ready for God to say something that will rattle our previous beliefs or challenge us to try something new. What we need to look at though is how we respond to that challenge of God’s Word.