Weekly Update | January 19, 2023
Weekly Newsletter 01/19/2023
Grace to you and peace!
Charles Spurgeon was famous for his humor. He was once confronted by someone because his horses worked on Sunday, bringing him to church. To which his response was that his horses are Jewish, so they rest on Saturday. When he repented during his youth, his mother wrote that she was very happy that God answered her prayers regarding his conversion, however she didn’t ask that he would repent and become a Baptist! His response was that God had in fact answered her prayers and did even more than she had asked for. Or here’s another, “There are difficulties in everything except in eating pancakes.”
Let’s take a look at humor. Humor is often associated with laughter and joy, but not always with the Gospel and Christian humility. Is there a balance between humor and a serious outlook on life? There are two extremes in Christianity:
1. Humor without boundaries (this is an instrument by which people strive for joy and manipulate others).
2. A lack of humor for spirituality’s sake.
Is there a balance? If yes, then what is it?
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Eph. 5:4)
This text does not completely forbid humor or jokes. It’s talking about coarse, foolish, and sinful jokes that bring spiritual emptiness. But this passage does not exclude humor. Why? Because the counterweight to filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking is not being serious, it’s being thankful! In other words, if what I’m saying can in that moment bring me to a prayer of thanksgiving, then I’m in a normal and natural life situation where I can laugh! If not, then this joke or humor rob me spiritually.
In general, the principle of checking via a prayer of thanksgiving can be applied to many “grey” areas of a Christian’s life. For example, non-Christian music, rated R movies, compromising vacation places, the use of alcohol, and other things that are not clearly mentioned in Scripture. If in whatever I’m doing I have the freedom to pray and thank God for that, then I have a proper balance. Of course, this works only as far as I’m filled with the Holy Spirit and seek the will of God (Eph. 5:17-18).
Practical application of humor in a Christian’s life:
- – Don’t build your success with jokes at the expense of others. Meaning, don’t joke about others to raise yourself up.
- – Make yourself the subject of your jokes. When a person is able to joke about themselves, they clearly show humility.
- – Humor is impossible in a legalistic environment. Being able to joke shows that the legalistic religious system has not become the basis of your relationships, since in this kind of system everything is built on the rejection of failure and weakness. No one is ever able to point out their own weaknesses or ever others’.
- – When presenting the truth, either in a sermon or in a discussion in a small group, don’t become dependent on humor. Humor is dangerous because it can cast a shadow on the truth, and people will remember your jokes but not the truth. Humor is effective when it’s natural, not planned.
- – On the other hand, if humor is natural and can be appropriate in the situation, it can help break the ice and help an insecure leader build up relations with his listeners.
- – The best joy and humor are those that come out of a deep understanding of Scripture and the nature of mankind.
- – If humor is not natural for you, don’t strive to be funnier. God has gifted you with other character traits by which you can excel and compensate for the lack of humor.
And now a couple important announcements:
1. Men’s winter camp: Registration is open for all brothers, young and not only. Please note that this is approaching very quickly; don’t delay registering. Remember, the main point of such retreats is to study the Scriptures together. This year we’ll be studying 1 Timothy. You can register here: https://mygracefamilychurch.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1549526 Last day to register is January 23rd.
2. Kairos course (evangelism and missions): The Kairos course will be held at our church February 3-12. If you are planning on attending this course, please register as soon as possible. This greatly simplifies the logistics, since the course is dependent on how many people have registered.
To find out more about the course, schedule, and registration, visit the website http://gfckairos.com. The last day to register is January 22nd.
Continue supporting the churches working among the people who have suffered from the war in Ukraine: https://gfchurch.com/ukraine/
The Scripture memory text – Acts 17:24-2524 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man
25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Below are the services and meetings for this weekend:
Thursday (6:30 PM) – Children’s Bible School (open to all but required for parents), followed by Bible Study (Proverbs) for the whole church at 7:30 PM.
Saturday (9:00 AM-12:30 PM) – All church staff and volunteers meeting. All members of the church who are interested in learning more about the ministries in the church are invited. Light breakfast and coffee will be served at 8:30 AM.
- – Worship Service in Russian at 9:00 AM
- – Worship Service in English at 11:15 AM
- – Family Evening Service at 6:00 PM (GFC membership meeting) – Please bring some sweets or fruits to the table for our fellowship afterwards. Thank you!
On behalf of the elders of GFC