Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can You Laugh At Yourself?

I ask that question because it begs a follow-up question: Do you ever do anything in life that others could think, just for a moment, "Is he crazy?" Then they could possibly laugh at you, but can you laugh at yourself?

Mark Batterson shares some thought-provoking ideas in his book, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day. He writes, "Faith is the willingness to look foolish." By how you live life, do you ever look foolish? Are you willing to look foolish? Then where is faith in your life?

Batterson writes, "Noah looked foolish building an ark in the desert. Sarah looked foolish buying maternity clothes at ninety. The Israelites looked foolish marching around Jericho blowing trumpets. David looked foolish attacking Goliath with a slingshot. But, that's the essence of faith. And the results speak for themselves."

"Part of spiritual maturity is caring less and less about what people think about you and more and more about what God thinks about you," says Mark Batterson.

See how the above two paragraphs fit together. You can be doing something that looks absolutely foolish to the world, but as you mature in your faith, you will care less about how stupid you may look to the world. Your focus has changed. You care about what God thinks!

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise..." 1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV

I remember about 20 years ago coming up with a really pregnant idea. I was pastoring a downtown church that had probably experienced its best years, unless it was willing to change. I had a dream to show the community that old First Church was still alive and kicking.

The idea was to film a Christmas Eve Special and purchase local TV time to show it about 11:00 P.M. All the film footage could be shot in the early fall, edited, and put in final form long before the airing date. We would create an audience using various media prior to the event.

The dream simmered for several months. One day a member walked into my office and said, "You must have a dream...every pastor has a dream. Here is a sizable check that should more than cover your dream. I was speechless and almost couldn't speak for several hours.

I contacted a local advertising agency and they developed my dream into a plan of action. I shared the plan with our congregation. We had Christmas in September and filmed at least 50% of what we needed. Then a few "leading" members put the brakes on the project. It came to a sudden screeching halt.

The advertising agency came up with an alternative plan. We had shot more than enough footage for another project. We would turn selected footage into 30 second spots, purchase time on 5-6 cable stations, spread the spots over the entire day for the month of December.

Would you like to know what happened? I looked crazy. There were TV spots all day long on multiple stations all during the month of December. People in the whole area heard about old First Church for four weeks. We had a great Christmas Eve service and people heard that the church was alive, or at least conscious.

I was willing to look foolish, think outside the box, and use the originality of my personality to give a church an opportunity for new life, change, and vitality. Did they take it? No, but I did what needed to be done.

What about you? Have you dared getting out of that box that you put yourself in so long ago? Are you willing to look foolish to the world and maybe your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? If you will stretch yourself, then you will be able to laugh at yourself and do something great for the Kingdom of God.

2 comments:

stephen h said...

Mike,

I enjoyed reading your posts. Nice writing style, just like I remember. Great family photo!

Stephen H

Steve C said...

box? what box??

Here's my own Proverb based on these ideas:

"Only fools fear looking foolish, but the faith of the wise looks foolish to the world."