Amazing show tonight at Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Joliet, Illinois. First off, I’d like to thank Pastor Kevin Comfort for making me feel so welcome – particular since he was not supposed to be welcoming ME at all, he was supposed to be welcoming a different (and much better) comedian by the name of John Branyan. Poor John was stuck at an airport in Atlanta – snowed in pretty much all day. Apparently several inches of global warming had caused some major flight delays and cancellations. It’s hard to get planes off the ground when the climate change is that thick. So John Branyan’s manager, Todd, gave me a call to see if I could possibly fill in at the last minute, as I lived only a couple of hours away from Joliet, IL.
It’s awesome how God works. The cliché of “mysterious ways” really is true. The original plan for tonight was for me to do a show with a few friends in Aurora, Illinois for free – just for fun. But then I had a paying opportunity come up that would take me to Freeport, Illinois. I wanted it to work out to do both but I just couldn’t see how I could logistically pull it off, so I politely bowed out of the Aurora show in order to concentrate solely on the show in Freeport. After all, I have bills to pay and now that I’m no longer working in radio I need to take every paying comedy show I can find. Well, yesterday my Freeport show called and cancelled saying that they did not have enough tickets sold to make it worth the effort. It was a large chunk of change that I would not be receiving. Disappointing for me, sure, but even more so because I knew I’d also b disappointing the nice folks at American Express at the end of the month.
So I called up my friends in Aurora to see if I could possibly jump back in and they welcome me with open arms. I wouldn’t be getting paid anything, but it was still an opportunity to do comedy with some friends –and I’m always up for that. But when I woke up this morning I had a voice mail from John Branyan’s manager asking about my availability tonight.
I’m sure I missed God’s voice somewhere in there – I’m sure He told me sometime in the last twenty-four hours, “Don’t call your friends for the Aurora show – I’ve got something else planned for you!” But I didn’t hear it. So I had to humbly call my friends back again and bow out. I’ve never had to cancel a show before this one… and I’ve cancelled it twice now.
Here’s the cool GOD part of the story. Yes, I had to bow out of my free show in Aurora. Yes, I had a paying show scheduled for today that cancelled on me… but because of those things it left me open to do a show that paid me more than twice as much as I was going to receive previously. God rocks.
But that wasn’t the end of God speaking to me today. After the show tonight I had a wonderful woman come up and talk to me, encouraging me to allow God to continue using me in the gifts He’s blessed me with. She told me not to be afraid to tell others about what Jesus did for all of us. When I was a singer and songwriter many years ago I had no problem telling others about Jesus. I even led the audience in a prayer of salvation so those who wanted to accept Christ into their lives could do so right then and there.
But I’m a comedian now. A COMEDIAN. How can I segue from guffaws to grace? Or even SHOULD I make that segue? How do I go from talking about irritable bowel syndrome or looking like a leprechaun, to talking about an innocent man dying to pay the penalty for my sins? Am I even SUPPOSED to take up such a challenge?
There is a section of my show where I talk about being “slightly irregular” – meaning I’m not perfect. None of us are. I do speak a little about Christ in that part of my show (because he IS perfect). But I typically end my show talking about stupid warning labels on the products we buy. It occurred to me while talking to this woman tonight: warning labels… that might be an interesting place to move into a gospel message if God truly wanted me to do so.
We have warning labels in this world on everything. I’m drinking a Loca Moca coffee drink as I type this. It’s a coffee drink, not beer, yet it still has a label that says “consume responsibly”. I hadn’t really thought about it until just this moment… now I’m suddenly trying to figure out a way to drink this in any way other than responsibly.
I also have a bottle of children’s chewable vitamins next to me (Yabba Dabba Doo!), and it says to keep the CHILDREN’S chewable vitamins “out of reach of CHILDREN.” So then how do you give your kid the vitamins?
We don’t get a warning label for life though. No expiration date is pre-stamped on the bottom of our feet telling us when our time is up. For some of us, our shelf life could be another ninety years. For others, it could be another ninety minutes. We just don’t know. I very well could be entertaining people for the last moments of their lives without realizing it.
Gee, no pressure.
If I knew someone was leaving that room tonight and wouldn’t make it home, would I be satisfied knowing I’d left them laughing… or should something deeper and more important have been conveyed? I’m called to be an entertainer, that I know for sure… but is there room for evangelism as well, or does that detract from my calling? I’ve got a national TV appearance coming up this Friday, February 19th (and again on February 22nd) on the Cornerstone Television Network’s “Focus 4” program. A TV appearance such as this very well may force me to really think through this issue with sincerity and purpose.
Would love to get YOUR opinions on this issue! Please leave your comments!