John Meyer made a statement earlier today on the Converging Zone Network that caught my attention: “Belly laughter in a room full of lovers is way more fun than a room full of dream killers.” Immediately I thought of an experience I had back in ’09 when I ministered at a conference with my friend, Tom. I had ministered at this particular church before and witnessed the Lord move mightily in their midst; for this second trip I recommended Tom to the Pastor as a keynote speaker and he obliged. However it turned out to be one of the WORST ministry engagements I've ever done. Words cannot even express it all. I was slated to minister the opening night which was a bomb (in the sense that it was BAD!). We were shocked when we arrived to hear the pastor question whether or not this conference was of the Lord (just minutes from the start of a conference is not the time for such talk). Then the church bus bringing people to the meeting broke down while we were in his office. The worship was...uh, absolutely "off the charts" in a bad way (even one of the worship team members communicated this to me too). Finally the pastor introduced me in his best impersonation of a Pentecostal preacher and I’m thinking, “This is the same guy who was just preaching doom and gloom in his office and now he’s trying to work up the crowd.” As I got up to minister, there was absolutely no anointing on me for preaching or prophesying—it was humbling, to say the least. Regardless of circumstances, I should have risen above the distractions. I certainly take responsibility for my own action in that I was not prepared for such an onslaught of warfare against the meeting.
The next day Tom was scheduled to be the speaker at their main Sunday morning service, which was a packed house. I was in the front row with Paige Rowland, a dear friend who’s a precious brother. Tom ministers with an uncanny prophetic anointing and has a blunt way of saying things that can ruffle some feathers, especially in a religions setting. Honestly, I was feeling somewhat uptight myself after the horrible service the previous night. Now Tom was ministering as a result of my personal recommendation to the Pastor (I was hoping for a home run so I would somehow be off the hook for the dismal service the night before). In the midst of his message Tom was speaking a direct word to the men in the audience; and he pointedly hollered, “We need men-of-God here…we need men with balls!” At first I couldn’t believe what he said as my eyes widened. And to ensure that no one misunderstood him, he repeated his statement.
I could feel the heat rising as sweat glistened on my forehead. As I squiggled in the pew on the front row, my eyes caught the shocked look on Paige’s face as he glanced at me. When our eyes fastened, we simultaneously burst out laughing—uncontrollably.
Tom continued unabated with his message.
Here I was, with my friend, laughing on the front row for all to see. Just when things would calm down and I appeared to have regained a semblance of composure, I would peek over at Paige and we would burst out in laughter all over. Tears flowed freely down our faces as our bodies trembled with refreshing heaves of laughter. We couldn’t stop. This continued on for a good 10-12 minutes. And it was absolute bliss. It was the best I had felt in months.
And, yes, Tom did hit a home run with his message. It was powerful!
Well, we never did get a thank you follow-up from the church or even the special offering they took up for us after Tom preached (but we didn’t care because that wasn’t the reason we were there). But I did a receive something of far more worth than what money can buy—a good belly laugh amongst my friends Tom and Paige! I’m reminded of the truth of Proverbs 17:22 concerning the value of a merry spirit: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (NASB). Dream killers are those who possess a “broken spirit [that] dries up the bones”; whereas, lovers operate within the AGAPE reality, i.e., a joyful heart, that give permission for others to express the laughter of joy that heightens the joy of laughter for all.