I am particular about sponges. I don’t use the bathroom sponge for kitchen items, and vice versa. It’s just not done! But if you see a sponge on the counter, how do you know what it was used for? You have to squeeze it.
Picture this - There are 4 sponges laying on your kitchen counter top. Each member of your family has been cleaning up different areas of your home, but all the sponges look the same. You are curious as to what was cleaned in your house, but you can't tell by looking...they all look the same....so what do you do? You squeeze each sponge to see what comes out.
As you squeeze the first sponge, you see that soda comes out, and so you decide that someone cleaned the kitchen with that one. Upon squeezing the second sponge, you find tub and tile cleaner – that one was used to clean the bathroom.
Next, in the third sponge, you find motor oil - hubby was cleaning the garage! And finally, in the fourth sponge, baby powder puffs out when it is squeezed - yep, the baby's nursery was done with that one!
As you lay the last one down, you look again at their similarity. And they all look the same - until they are squeezed. Christians are the same way. Have you ever felt the squeeze of life? As life squeezes us, different things come out - anger from one, a need for revenge from another, tears from one, remorse from yet another - also greed, untruth, lust – all kinds of emotions come out. Such was the case with the Pharisees:
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” Luke 11:39
The Pharisees looked holy from the outside. But remember, you can’t always judge a book by its cover! They cleaned the outside only. It’s just like those sponges on the counter. You couldn’t tell how they really were just by looking at the outside. The Pharisees looked holy, talked holy, and carried themselves in ways that made them appear to be holy. But Jesus, who knows us better than we know ourselves, saw what was on the inside of them – and it wasn’t pretty. So, Jesus put the squeeze on them…
“You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you…
44 Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves,
which people walk over without knowing it.”
Luke 11:40-41, 44
Just like the sponge, we can only squeeze out what is put in. If you spend your life complaining and cussing, when tragedy strikes guess what will come out – complaining and cussing! But if you spend your time filling up on the Word, praying, helping others, then when a situation comes your way, you will handle it with grace and dignity (hopefully!).
When life puts the squeeze on us (and it will) what’s IN us is what comes OUT of us – so I ask you today: What’s in your sponge?
Join us this Sunday as we continue our final summer series, Fun and Games: What’s in Your Sponge? Join us in-house at 10:00am (masks optional), or you can also join us online. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Breakthrough Prayer Don’t grow weary in your praying, church! Have you found that you’re remembering some of the Breakthrough Scriptures by now? And maybe some of the Breakthrough Prayer? Perhaps you have some praise reports of where God broke through a situation in your life. If that’s you, we’re planning a time of sharing when we can come together and talk about where we have seen God during this time of Breakthrough Prayer. And remember, there are prayer cards at the Welcome Center if you have personal prayer requests, and the Prayer Room is open before and after worship. And as always, if you would like personal prayer from your pastor, feel free to contact me at 314-324-8405.
New Sunday School Class Starts! This Sunday we will have two adult Sunday School classes gathering at 9:00 am. The Friends of Barnabas class is currently meeting on the lower level, Room 109. A second class will also meet on the lower level, room to be determined. And don’t forget that our Coffee and Conversations small group continues to gather on Thursday evenings. You can get more info on the topic of discussion at www.umcgt.org.
The Word on Wednesday (WOW) is gearing up for the Fall! This is when we gather together for dinner, then break out into small groups for discussion and fellowship. If you have an idea for a small group (something for moms, or dads, or fishing, or quilting – the sky really is the limit) please don’t be shy! Shoot me an email with your idea (email@example.com) and let’s come out and have a good time on Wednesdays. We’ve already got some good classes lined up, but there’s room for more. Food – Fun – Fellowship, WOW!