Laughing in the Dark

By Michael Agnew
By Zabdi Piña
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By John Hames
By Makenzie Romero
By Caroline Khameneh
By Victoria Renken
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Paul Leadabrand
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Justus George
By Lori Kuykendall
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Courtney Grimes
By Jessie Yearwood
By Jeff Black
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Sandhya Curran
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Alf Laukoter
By Neil Wiersum
By Jim Henry
By Erick Rodriguez
By Jenn Wright
By Kevin Harwood
By Nandi Roszhart
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Albán Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith
In Home Groups
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At yesterday’s Big Brunch for Small Groups, the topic was fun. We talked about the importance of having fun at small group, we developed a theology of fun, and we shared ideas for small group celebrations.

But there’s something we missed: fun in the face of sorrow.

I truly believe that God is fun, that he has a sense of humor, that our deepest joys in life come from him. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine,” and I think it’s medicine that the Great Physician prescribes. Small groups are so much fun when laughter comes easy — when life is good and the kids are well-behaved and food tastes delicious and the wise cracks flow like pass rushers through a Cowboys offensive line. At brunch yesterday we talked about fun in all those settings.

But we didn’t talk about sorrow, and that may be the most important setting for joy.

Over the past few years, my small group has experienced more sorrow than we care to name. Last summer, we buried one of our members: her widower is still reeling. We have faced cancer together: Melinda’s brave fight ended too soon; I go for my annual check-up tomorrow. We regularly discuss career struggles, marital disputes, financial stress. And, of course, we aren’t alone. Every small group faces problems. If everything is going swimmingly for everyone in your group, rejoice! Blessing is beautiful! But it’s often fleeting. There will likely come a time when life seems hard, hope seems naive, and joy seems elusive.

And it’s just at those times when laughter is most unruly and most important. Because it’s just in the moments when the kingdom of darkness seems strongest that the kingdom of light can shine brightest. Like midnight praise in a Philippian prison, like Christmas feasts in Western Front trenches, like bedside communion in a hospital, the joy of God’s people is an act of defiance against evil. When we laugh in the darkness we declare that we are obedient to the Bible’s most-repeated command: fear not.

I hope your small group is a fun place. I hope there is laughter and warmth and rest and celebration. But I also hope your joy is loud because your courage is fierce. Laughter is warfare, brothers and sisters.

Let us bellow at hell.

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