Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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by Tom Goodman
April 30, 2008

When you're texting on a cell phone, one response to a friend's joke is "LOL" -- which means, "laughing out loud."  (Any teenager will tell you that "ROFL" is also an option to let them know you're "rolling on the floor laughing.")

When was the last time you "laughed out loud" in wonder over God's goodness?

The Canadian musician, Carolyn Arends, recalled a conversation with her three-year-old about a Sunday School craft the child had brought home.  Her daughter, Bethany, had cut out and colored pictures of children engaged in different acts of worship, and glued them onto a sheet.  As Arends pointed to each picture, she asked Bethany what the people were doing.  "Praying! Giving!  Reading the Bible!" the girl shouted as Arends pointed to each scene.

Then she pointed to a boy with his mouth open wide in song and asked Bethany to explain what he was doing.  "Singing is my favorite form of worship," Arends wrote, "so I knew it would be Bethany's too, what with her mother being a singer and all."

"Laughing!" explained Bethany.

Arends wrote, "I stood corrected.  Laughing is my favorite form of worship."

Laughter isn't always an act of praise, of course.  In Genesis 18, in the guise of a traveling stranger, God announced that the son he had promised Abraham 13 years earlier would finally be born before the next year.  Sarah overheard this and laughed to herself.  She had given up on God long ago, and her laughter was a sign of her cynicism.

But in Genesis 21, Sarah held her little boy in her arms and laughed again.  This time, though, she laughed with God, not at him.  She named her son "Isaac" and exclaimed, "God has brought me laughter!"

You see, Isaac is a Hebrew word that means... well... "LOL"!

We shouldn't laugh at God's promises in despair, but be sure to laugh with God when he keeps his promises.  Has God answered a prayer?  LOL!  Has he surprised you with blessing?  LOL!  Has he set you free from a destructive addiction?  LOL!  Has he come through for you when you were at your wits end?  LOL!  Has he rescued a marriage on the brink?  LOL!  Has he given you the hope of eternal joy?  LOL!

Singing, praying, giving -- they're all good acts of worship.  But don't forget that laughing in wonder is worship, too!

Interested in Membership?  Spread the word about our next Discover Hillcrest class.  It will be held this Sunday, May 4, right after the second morning service.  LUNCH IS PROVIDED!  The class is for those who want to become members, and for those who just want to learn more about Hillcrest.  While I teach the adult class, BJ teaches "Discover Hillcrest Kids" for children ages 8-12, and Jim teaches "Discover Hillcrest Youth" for students in grades 6-12.  Childcare is provided for children under the age of 8.  Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.  You can register by contacting our Ministry Assistant, Jami, at

Israel Trip Report.  Join us in the MPC at 5:30pm this Sunday, May 4, for a 20-minute presentation of my trip to Israel.  The folks who attend PraiseHill will be holding a fellowship following, and you're invited to bring a sandwich plate or dessert and stay for the informal meal.

Drop By the Blog, Leave a Comment.  At my weblog, "Get Anchored," every Sunday I post a new "Song of the Week" (This week, The Weepies', "Keep It There").  Also, every Tuesday I post some entertaining and informative "Links to Your World."

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