"The Greatest Sermon Ever Written: Softstrong"

Okay, it’s Summer now.  Hot, sticky Summer...

But that also means that it’s also speeding up to our Vacation Bible School time.  As I write this, we actually have slightly less than two weeks before our first day, and we’re still scrambling to get things done (thanks to a last-minute change, we’re revamping and prepping for a “trip to Athens” with our VBS kids this year, so if you have anything that might appear even vaguely Greek/Roman/etc., please let us know if we could borrow it for the week of July 15-19).  But we’re actually pacing ourselves pretty well, and I think that we’ll be ready when that Monday arrives.

Most importantly, I do ask for your prayers for our leaders, our various volunteers, the children who will be coming, and their families.  Far more important than whether or not we get those columns made for the Sanctuary or figure out how to make togas out of old bed sheets is making sure that our hearts are right with the Lord, and that we’re not running ahead or lagging behind His leading.  Please pray for the Holy Spirit to be present and active and preparing every heart involved so that what we do, we do for Him and not for us -- and so that we’re sowing and watering seeds on ground that God has already plowed and prepared for it all.

I would also ask for your prayers for our denomination, who just had a complex and painful Annual Meeting this past week, dealing with difficult issues that left a lot of people feeling somewhat raw and hurt.  No matter where we stand on this issue or that one, we need to always make sure that we’re loving one another well as we interact -- especially as we interact with brothers and sisters we disagree with.

We kind of discussed that a smidgey bit in our message this week, looking at Hebrews 3.  See, most of us can picture people who are strong and hard, vs. people who are soft and weak... but our preacher in Hebrews made a case for people being so hard that they’re brittle and weak, vs. being strong precisely because they’ve allowed God to soften their hearts to His leading.  Think of caramel vs. peanut brittle -- it can take you a year to make your way through a chewy caramel, but only a split-second to shatter the peanut brittle.

The same is true of the human heart.  Sure, sometimes we are Softweak and Stronghard... but we can so often be Weakhard and Softstrong instead.  The Hebrews who hardened their hearts in the wilderness, the Christians who harden their hearts to the discipline of God’s Word, the spouses who harden their hearts to one another -- these people feel like they’re being strong and independent, but they’re really just propping up a weak position by stiffening and pretending to have a strength that they really don’t possess.

No, the healthier (and invariably stronger) position is to let God work your heart like a child works her Play-dough, softening it and showing us how we need to be sculpted so that we can truly care about our brothers and sisters as we interact with them, and so that we can truly follow the strong and healthy directions that God’s wisdom gives us instead of our own brittle assumptions. 

How can you pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)?

How can you become more Softstrong in God’s leading today?