The Newly Saved: An Introspective Look

Disclaimer: This article is entirely an opinion piece and is subject to pastoral/editorial oversight. Those with varying opinions, please feel free leave a comment, amen!

Over the course of the past 12 months, my family and I have been happily attending Gospel Light. We’ve greatly enjoyed making friends with the “regulars” and the “not-so-regulars” in the church family. We agree with Pastor Giardino’s assertion that church attendance is a must for Christian growth. Pastor highly recommends attending several times a week in order to become intertwined with the church family, be regularly fed the Word, and to be actively involved with church functions. Nevertheless, we can all agree that, for the “not-so-regular” folks, some church is better than no church.

Likewise over the last year, we’ve seen a seemingly constant stream of events and activities at Gospel Light. Unlike some other churches, where actives tend to be social gatherings meant for entertainment, Gospel Light is focused elsewhere. Our church has three primary goals; our pastor has taught this to be I.O.U.: 1.) In-reach (growth & preparation of our church members, 2.) Out-reach (reaching the lost & leading them to salvation), and 3.) Up-reach (worship of the Lord our God).

And again, over the course of those last 12 months, we’ve witnessed how Gospel Light has been graced with many visitors, both during our services and outreaching events. During service, visitors are warmly acknowledged, given an information packet, and at most church events, invited to come forward. More than a few have answered the call to be saved.

However, we must not deceive ourselves; soul winning is often a heart-breaking business. Ask Pastor Giardino about lost sheep. I can’t help but wonder what becomes of these new Christians who chose not to attend Gospel Light. The onus is squarely on the backs of those individuals; whether or not a person truly commits in their heart to repent and follow Jesus is between them and the Lord. Pastor Giardino and others can attempt to counsel them on how they should begin their Christian walk, but ultimately they must make the decisions on whether to attend church and let the Spirit enter their hearts. Pastor Giardino’s Comment: “Tricky stuff to try to figure out. People don’t have a clue what they want … then they ‘stumble’ across a progressive church that their flesh is a-liking!

Consequently, upon thinking back to the days after I was saved, I can understand the difficulties and obstacles that lay in the path of a new Christian, and perhaps you can too. The carnal “old ways” needed to be examined, sometimes for the first time in my life, and dealt with. What was I going to keep in my life, what needed to be changed, and what was to be discarded? Some habits, possessions, and even friends and family, were enormously difficult to come to grips with. You don’t become the perfect saint overnight. We can remember all the circumstances and excuses that kept us away from church and the body of Christ. We can bring to mind today’s struggles with our own walks with God. So we can understand the trials that our newly saved brethren are going through, as an enraged Satan tries to derail them. They need our prayers, our encouragement, our understanding, and our patience, just as God is long-suffering and patient toward us. May God bless you as you pray.

Teen Field Trip: Stokoe Farms

This coming Saturday, Oct 30, Brother Peter Bard (teen pastor) will be leading a flock of Gospel Light teens (13 yrs +) to:

Stokoe Farms,

Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Fest

in Wheatland NY. The cost is $6 per person (pumpkin launcher is $1).

Please phone Brother Bard ASAP, if you would like to join, at 603-540-5273. Be at the church by 9:30AM at the latest on Saturday morning.

A Church Is Its People

Our pastor has taught us that the church is comprised of the people. The church is not a building.

Here is a recent photo of the front of Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church:

Here is that same picture built from the members of the church. Can you find yourself in the jumble? Click to enlarge the mosaic picture:

This composite picture was created using the program AndreaMosaic.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! More baptisms to come.

If you are interested and have not yet been part of a baptism class, please put you name on the list in the back of the sanctuary.

On Thursday, October 28, at 7 PM, an adult baptism class will be held in the church library.

On Sunday, October 30, during the evening service, Pastor Giardino will be doing adult baptisms.

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.” (Mt 3:13)

Our Youth Being Baptized: 10-17-10

The baptismal pool at Gospel Light was a busy place on Sunday evening, October 17. Pastor Giardino baptized those who had taken his class a week earlier in front of the congregation and the Lord our God.

The Apostle Paul tells it Straight!

Here are verses from Romans 1:18-32 (KJV of course) that sent a chill down my spine. The apostle Paul does not mince words; he gets straight to the point. These passages are dire warnings to the ungodly that “they are without excuse” and “worthy of death”. God has given them up to their “uncleanness” and “reprobate mind”. Imagine God giving up on you. We all were unrighteous at some early time in our lives, so the harsh words in these verses once pertained to us. Praise God for his mercy and grace!

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Hope for Rochester Ministry Presents: Mike Hoggard

Hope for Rochester Ministry’s Movie and Lecture Series

Invites you to a very special 2-Day event

With Guest Speaker:

Michael Hoggard

FREE ADMISSION

In 1997, Pastor Mike Hoggard started an in-depth study of Bible Prophecy. From that point on, the Lord started revealing to him one thing after another. He has taught many bible studies on Bible Prophecy, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. He has lessons on Bible numerics, the King James Code, and his well known series about DNA and the Bible, just to name a few. Those that come to our classes and movie nights know of the amazing teachings of Pastor Hoggard. Now is your chance to see and hear him live for 2 nights. Don’t miss out on this rare chance to hear one of the greatest teachers of our day. Come out to see Mike Hoggard, and bring your friends and family with you, the admission is free. There will also be free DVDs, CDs, and books. Hope to see you there!

WHERE

Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church, 4393 Lyell Road, Rochester, NY 14606

WHEN

Wednesday and Thursday, October 21st and 22nd, 2010

6:00-7:00 PM – Doors open, meet and network with new friends and sponsors

7:00-7:15 PM – Opening prayer and introduction

7:15-9:00 PM – Presentation

9:00-9:30 PM – Question and answer session

9:30 PM – Socializing and fellowship

Times are approximate

Our Sponsors:

Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church Little Red Book

1310AM Sonshine Network Harvest Time Alert Ministry

Watchmenfaithministries.com Campaign For Liberty

For more information, visit our website at www.HopeForRochester.tk or call Mike LaRocca 943-3458, Bernie Wheater 355-4091, or Valerie Goodhew 244-2303.

Slippery When Wet

On a crisp, clear, sunny Sunday morning, The people of Gospel Light gathered in the sanctuary to praise our Lord and be fed the Word. Leading the praises was the Children’s Choir, lead by Bonnie with Michael on piano, who sang, “Here Am I”. Pastor Giardino called their singing a “great job” and “very powerful”. Dan P. played piano during the offering and the the Adult Choir took the stage to sing, “Jesus Never Fails”. The choir was led by Mateo and Jesenia had the lead part in the singing.

Titling his sermon, “Slippery When Wet”, Pastor Giardino read the main text verse, Job 12:5, “He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” His story for the sermon was about gambling, card playing men in Macao, China. The young man at the table sang a verse of the hymn, “One Sweetly Solemn Thought”, which profoundly affected the gray-haired man. The old man immediately gave up gambling, becoming a “hard working Christian” and convinced the young man to also renounce gambling and other vices.Pastor G. then placed an hour glass upon the pulpit and said, “the sands of time are sinking … time is no respecter of man”. Just as the gray-haired man explained to the young man in the story, we don’t have much time in life and we should not waste it. Pastor went on to define “slippery” and gave several examples. “Christians are slipping”, he cautioned, in attendance, bible reading, and singing praises. He advised us to maintain a “good footing” by staying in the bible, “in order to keep from slipping” in our Christian walk (refer to Psalm 17:3-5 and Psalm 18:36). Our pastor had time for point 1 in his sermon:

1.) Take Heed: Pastor Giardino said that many saved Christians never get to the second law – How to live a Christian life. Heb 2:1 says “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Pastor explained that “lest” is a preventative word. Pastor Giardino said there are “too many slipping, sliding Christians who need to be grounded in God’s Word.” Nevertheless, he explained that we are in good hands with Jesus, we won’t slip out, we won’t lose our salvation.
As 8 is the number of new beginnings, “take heed” is mentioned 8 times in Deuteronomy. Pastor only had time to go through four of them: Duet 4:9, Duet 4:23, Duet 11:14-17, and Duet: 12:13-14. In the course of his reading, he warned that “God’s hand is coming off this country … God wipes out people that worship idols.” This is proven through the bible and history. He also explained the need to go to church and give to the Lord, at “the place that God chooses.”

Next week, Pastor Giardino will continue the sermon with points 2.) Take the Helmet of Salvation and 3.) Take Him as Your Savior. Brother Peter Bard sang at the invitation with Michael accompanying him on piano.

* The Sunday evening service was to have seen several young people baptized and Part II of the pastor’s series on Tough Faith.

* We were reminded that Jeremiah is to teach on Pentecostals and Charismatics during the Wednesday evening service.

Total Picture Bible Study

On Oct. 17, Adult Sunday School saw the class jump into the Total Picture Bible Study material with both feet. Last week, Pastor Vince Giardino began this new series of bible studies, which is a continuation of his previous series, Big Picture bible study. Students will keep a notebook for these classes: for handouts and their own notes. New notebooks were distributed to those who needed them along with catch-up handouts from the previous Big Pictures classes.Pastor Giardino started out by by clarifying the definition of “perfect” in the verses, For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” I Cor 13:9-10. This definition was a topic of much discussion last week. After much study and consultation, Pastor now strongly believes that “that which is perfect” is “charity” in the people of the church. “Perfect” does not mean flawless. Likewise, “that which is in part shall be done away” refers to the healings, miracles, and other signs; there was no longer a need for the gifts of the Spirit once the church was mature.I. Bernie Wheater was asked to do an Old Testament walk-through to help the class come up to speed. He did this by referencing 12 major events in the Old Testament:

(1) Creation – God, Adam, Satan being the main characters; man’s fall.

(2) Flood – Noah; man multiplied/evil worsened.

(3) Tower of Babel – Nimrod; tower destroyed/language confounded.

(4) Patriarchs – Abraham, Jacob, Isaac; 12 tribes of Israel.

(5) Bondage – Joseph; dreams interpreted/Joseph governor of Egypt.

(6) Wandering – Moses; took his people out of Egypt.

(7) Conquering of the Land – Joshua; Canaan/doing the Lord’s will.

(8) Judges – Gideon, Abimelech, Sampson; falling into evil

(9) Kings – Saul, David, Solomon; people demand a king.

(10) Kingdoms Split – Judea: 2 tribes, Israel: 10 tribes; corrupt rulers.

(11) Captivity – Daniel; Assyrians and Nebuchadnezzar capture tribes.

(12) Return – Ezra rebuilt people, Zerubbabel rebuilt temple, Nehemiah rebuilt wall.

This was followed by 400 years of silence.II. A summary of the New Testament was then done by Pastor Giardino. John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. The law ended with John, who baptized Jews and Jesus, who of course is the main character of the New Testament. The four gospels were written with 4 distinctive personalities: Matthew (lion), Mark (ox), Luke (man), and John (eagle or deity). Pastor then went through the high points of the New Testament: disciples, Holy Spirit, first church (Acts 2), multiplying of church, stoning of Stephen, Paul apostle to the gentiles, time of the gentiles, roman rule, Paul preaches resurrection, teach in all the world, epistles, small epistles (Hebrews and James to be used during tribulation), church matures, charity increases, signs disappear, rapture, 7 years of tribulation, Jesus’ return.

Men’s Prayer Breakfast: How to Build a Friend

At a Gospel Light Men’s Prayer Breakfast, we always start with … breakfast! As promised, Chef Jeremiah and his crew served up ground sausage in gravy poured over biscuits and scrambled eggs to boot. Our delicous meal was followed up with hymns, led at first by Pastor Vince Giardino, and then by our song leader, Brother Mateo. Brother Gabriel did a head count during the event; we numbered 75 souls in service for the Lord.Pastor once again took the pulpit and spoke about an old friend who, a while back, had fallen on hard times and had fallen away from God. But acting on Gal 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens”, Pastor determined to help restore his friend’s faith. Revival happened in his friend’s life along with success. Pastor G. read a just received letter from his friend under that friend’s company name, JCS, and it included a check for $1000 to be spent on missionaries. Praise God for friends like our very dear pastor.

All pastors, missionaries, and full-time servants of the Lord were asked to stand up front and introduce themselves. Pastor thanked them for their time and travel with $25 gas cards. Following this, our music special commenced with the song, “The Day that the Lord Hath Made”, sung by Bro. Bard with Michael G. on piano and harmony vocals. Pastor Dickson Beam then took to the pulpit to introduce Bro. Eric Capaci, our featured preacher for the morning.

After expressing his gratefulness to those who showed up, Brother Capaci, spoke of the Pastor Prayer Team at his home church consisting of over 200 members. To encourage prayer, he had brochures, titled “A Foundation for Prayer”, passed out to the congregation. “Prayer is a wonderful gift God has given us”, he said.Brother Capaci began his sermon by stating his goal, which was to “help you grow your church and reach more people.” (Just a side note for those who were not present, this sermon was lively, inspiring, insightful, and full of very funny stories. Yet, there were sad moments also.) He advises churches to be more relationship centered and less program centered; being something rather than doing something. “Growing churches love and loving churches grow”, he said. He listed several reasons why people chose a particular church, however, 50% of people choose a church because of friendliness. Thus, Bro. Capaci sought to teach us about cultivating friends.

True friendship will sharpen you”, our preacher reasoned, “It will make you a better person.” Brother Capaci continued, “A true friend will stick and stay with you … with love at all times.” Further, “A true friend will stab you … tell you the truth,”; these are “the wounds of a friend.” Also, “True friends are built”, he explained, just as discipleship builds. Borrowing from characteristics of Jesus, Bro. Capaci presented Five Secrets of Building a Friend:

1.) People need to be accepted. A true friend understands how to accept you. Just as Jesus taught us how to love, Bro. Capaci said, “love is my acceptance of you” and “fellowship is your acceptance of me.”

2.) People want to be acknowledged, to know that you care about them. “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” Psalm 34:15.

3.) People want to be appreciated. “People have a deep desire to be appreciated”, Bro. Capaci explained, and we need to “build them up” with our sincere praise.

4.) People need to be affirmed. Affirmation is encouraging people for what and who they are; that you approve of them.

5.) People want to be assured. They want to know that you understand what they are going through. We should try to relate with empathy, remembering our own experiences.

Our service ended with prayer requests. Pastors Phil Huber and Scott Strobel prayed for those requests at the pulpit while we prayed along with them.NOTE: Be sure to look for a photo album of this event on the GLBBC web site. Three cameras were clicking away, so photographs should be up soon in the GLBBC Picture Gallery.

More GLBBC Event Photographs

An announcement from the GLBBC Facebook Page:

More pictures are posted at the website: Men’s camp out and June Men’s breakfast. Hey…better late than never, right! Check it out at www.glbbc.org‌.

Or… from the front page of the web site, click on “Pictures” in the left hand column, and then click on ” Ministry Pictures”. Easy-Peasy!

Forgotten Treasure

A man once entered a home in Germany, and found it very wretched — no fire, no furniture, no food.  Everything bore the appearance of utter poverty.  Glancing around, he saw, in a neglected corner, a copy of the Bible, and when he went away, he said to the poor tenants, “There is a treasure in this house that would make you all rich.”

After he had gone, the people began to search the house for what they thought must be a jewel or a pot of gold, and finding nothing, they went to dig up the floor, in hopes of discovering the hidden store of wealth.  Their labors were all in vain.  One day, the mother lifted up the old Bible, and found written on the flyleaf of it, taken from its own pages, these words, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.(Ps. 119:72)

“Ah!” she said, “can this be the treasure the stranger spoke of?”  So, she told her thought to the rest of the family.  They began to read the Bible and became changed in character, and the blessings of God came in to stay with them.

The stranger came back to find poverty gone, contentment and peace in its place, and a hearty Christian welcome.  With grateful joy, the family told him, “We found the treasure, and it has proved all that you said to us it would.” – written by Dr. Edmond.

The Substance of Prayer

If you are a regular reader of the GLBBC blog, you may have seen me write about the topic of “prayer”. Well, I’m at it again and I can’t help myself. It seems nowhere else in my Christian walk do I have more problems than in my prayer life. The lack of frequency (i.e. not talking with God as often as one should) is one matter, but that’s not what is perplexing me. What should prayer consist of; that’s what seems to cause me to stumble. What is acceptable to God in prayer?I know that we should thank God for everything in our lives, so expressing our appreciation is part of prayer. We owe God our very lives. Certainly, I understand prayer requests and their urgency and need. Therefore, asking God to intercede into difficulties others’ may face is part of prayer. However, outside of thanking God and praying for necessities, I’m often at a loss for words before the Lord. (Perhaps I’m not such a good conversationalist.) How much effort should we be spending in asking for things anyway? After all, in Matt 6:25, Jesus teaches, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Are there not higher aspirations that we should be petitioning for?I read the apostle Paul’s second letter to the “church of the Thessalonians” and came to II Thess 1:11, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power”. I understand the “pray always” part of the verse; Paul was a prayer warrior. The three things he wanted for Thessalonian church … well I know those must be admirable things to ask God for, but I admit I don’t understand them. I have a suspicion I might learn something important if I did. Paul prays for:
1.) “that our God would count you worthy of this calling”,
2.) that God would “fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness”, and
3.) “the work of faith with power”.By reading this passage and other instances where Paul is praying, I was able to get a glimpse into the nature of Paul petitions to our Lord. Material things don’t appear often in Paul’s prayer life, but things that are spiritual do. Are we to pray then, for ourselves and others, that we be more spiritual, that we grow in understanding, that our ultimate hope is to be more like Jesus? I won’t mind just being more like Paul.

Baptism

Baptism

In light of the upcoming baptisms to take place at GLBBC during the Sunday evening service, this forum would like to provide a quick primer on the topic of scriptural Baptism.  There is only one way to be baptized, and only one type of person that should be baptized. Clearly in scripture, baptism is commanded for the Christian.

1. Members of Baptism

Who can be baptized? Only those who have been saved by trusting Christ for salvation can be baptized. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized…” (Acts 2:41) This would eliminate baptism as a rite to be performed on infants and unbelievers. Only as an individual gives testimony of salvation should he be baptized. Baptism comes only after salvation. “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God…and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:37,38)

2. Motives of Baptism

There are three reasons or motives for scriptural baptism:

A. Commanded by Christ

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…” (Acts 10:48)

B. Example of Christ

Jesus’ baptism is recorded in Matthew 3:13-17. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.” (Mt 3:13)

C. Identification with Christ

Baptism is an outward picture of an inward grace. Baptism is important because it presents a picture of the gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Col 2:12)

3. Mode of Baptism

Since baptism is to be a picture of salvation, it is important that it pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Hence, the method shown in the Bible is baptism by immersion. The word “baptize” means to dip, to plunge, or to sink beneath the water by immersion. “And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:38)

Often when a person is baptized, the pastor will say something that shows the picture of the gospel, such as, “I baptize you my brother/sister in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; buried in the likeness of His death, raised in the likeness of his resurrection.” Would you like to follow Christ’s example in believer’s baptism?

Missed the Boat!

Galvanized Faith

While speaking about this Saturday’s Men’s Prayer Breakfast, Pastor Giardino ask Jeremiah, who happened to be sitting in the back row, “What is on the menu?” “Grease”, answered Jeremiah matter-of-fact like, “pork sausage, gravy, and biscuits.” Eric Capaci will be the preacher that morning, Oct 16th at 9:30 A.M.

Our music special was indeed special. Grayson, once again with guitar in hand, led the singing with the two wonderful voices of the Derefinko daughters. The threesome sang a story about two little girls who were able to resist temptation, a story written by the Clark Family.Pastor Giardino began his sermon by reading Rom 8:35-39, which details the perils that Paul endured, none of which was able to separate him from the love of God. As Pastor often does in his sermons, he draws an analogy to make his points. This sermon’s analogy was that of galvanized steel, made durable and tough by its zinc coating. Similarly then, the apostle Paul had a tough faith, made durable by bond of Christ. It is the love of Christ that should “constrain” us so, like Paul, we also could go through anything for Him (IICor 5:14-15).

Paul said that “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” Rom 5:3-4. “Sometimes a Christian has to go through things to get a galvanized coating to toughen us”, explained our pastor. In II Cor 11:21-30, Paul again speaks about all he had been through, yet he said, “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” Pastor Giardino also used Jeremiah 23:9-15 and Ezekiel 3:7-9 to demonstrate the toughness of these two Old Testament prophets.

Pastor urged, “Don’t lose your heart, the love of Christ will help you endure.” He made two points to close his sermon:

1.) You need to be galvanized to forbear – There are times when you have to put up with others, even other Christians. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:2-3.

2.) You need to be galvanized to fight – The apostle Paul was on the radar; he was on the hit list of evil spirits. Because of his toughness, he prevailed. Pastor Giardino wants us to be aware that “there is a fight going on” against “spiritual wickedness in high places.”



Lost in the Sea

Sunday morning service, Oct 10, saw several of our men folks returned safely from the Men’s and Boys Outing at Camp Sugar Maple. Our own Pastor Giardino described his 5:30 AM wake-up on Saturday morning. While up and out of the cabin in his bare feet and admiring God’s handiwork – the stars in the sky – he saw a shooting star. This blogger wonders if it wasn’t just from Jeremiah hitting him upside the head before dragging him back to bed at that early hour. Please keep eye on out for soon-to-be-posted photographs from the outing; Mrs. Giardino has approximately 130 photographs to wade through before uploading them to the GLBBC web site Photo Gallery.

Pastor continued his latest miniseries: Lost in the Sea, Part II. Our featured text verse was Joel 3:14. In order that we better understood Pastor Giardino’s sermon, he spent time discussing rip currents. These are narrow, powerful, off-shore water currents that can catch you off guard. Many swimmers panic when caught by one, having no idea how to handle the situation. Likewise, the analogy for our lives, we also can get caught up in powerful currents: an “addiction or relationship that has drawn you in and taken you far beyond what you intended”, Pastor G. said. Just as one should keep their wits about them when caught in a rip current, it is imperative that you keep your wits about you when caught in life’s undertows, while at the same time, Pastor and the church are calling you back. He continued then with his five point outline.

  1. Lost in the Sea of Debt – This was the focus of last week’s sermon, which dealt with our indebtedness to Jesus for taking upon our sins and offering salvation through grace.
  2. Lost in the Sea of Depression – “Body, soul and spirit need to be preserved until Jesus Christ come back, but until then, there are lots of things that can drag you under”, Pastor Giardino cautioned. Regarding depression, Pastor read from Psalms 66:1-18 to encourage us to rejoice in the Lord and his refining process. We need to start to be grateful for what God has provided and our deliverance from eternal damnation, shaking off the unwarranted depression.
  3. Lost in a Sea of Deceit – Using both Acts 15:24-25 and II Cor 11:13-15, our pastor warned of cults and false religions and doctrines that can subvert you and “turn you from the truth.” There even “lost” saved people who have been swept away by deception, he said. Pastor Giardino advised that we should be ready to show others that “sacraments and works” cannot save you, as we witness to others.
  4. Lost in a Sea of Doubt – Using the story of “Doubting Thomas” in John 20:19-31, Pastor G. showed that we should be looking for God and expecting His return. We have doubts, Pastor suggested, because we are not “taking advantage of the teaching at church.” Pastor urged us to be aware that “someone or something will catch your attention and, before you know it, you are going to go under.”
  5. Lost in a Sea of Doom – Finishing up during the invitation to the alter, Pastor G. frankly stated that, if you are not saved, you are doomed to hell. You are not good enough under any circumstances to go to heaven. That is why Jesus had to take upon our sins.

Why get “Saved”?

The following link is to a wonderful article titled, “I’m Glad I’m Saved Because …”, describing the benefits of being saved (besides avoiding hell, that is). This is the testimony of a saved Christian man who publishes weekly on the web.

To Do List