Pastor Appreciation Day: Another Hijacking at Gospel Light

Disclaimer: Your blogger apologizes for the length of this post, but it could not be helped. The urge to chronologically report our service was unavoidable – I needed to express my joy. If you choose to read the entire article, I hope you find it enjoyable and a blessing. Please leave a comment also. Special thanks to Bonnie and Mateo for their fine job of arranging a most memorable morning.Pastor Vince Giardino was not fooled. He knew what was coming this past Sunday morning at the 11 AM service. Or so he thought. He had no idea of the extent of what was coming. Had he known that it was the scheming mind of Bonnie Vazquez and her accomplice husband, Mateo Vazquez, that would be planning the occasion, he might not have bothered to prepare a sermon.

So much occurred and so much to write about. Sigh. The morning was simply wonderful; there is no other way to put it. Pastor Appreciation Day was just that, a day of appreciation, and so much more. It was a day imbibed with the Holy Spirit indwelling a congregation that was more than just a church. We truly came together as one body in spirit and in worship. Perhaps we had a taste of heaven.

Written words will do no justice to our Sunday morning service. This post will only attempt to list the events as best as can be remembered. Those who attended will understand:After the seating in front had been rearranged, Mateo asked Pastor, Lori, and their children to come forward and sit in front of the congregation. As the children’s choir was quietly shepherded on stage, Mateo honored Pastor Giardino with a short speech about his tireless, 7 days a week, dedication to his job as Pastor. He also praised the whole Giardino family for their sacrifices and contributions toward the church and the ministry. For six years they have served at Gospel Light.

Prior to leading the children’s choir in song, Bonnie pointed out the scripture passage high above the alter: Ps 144:15 “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” For the Giardino family, the children sang, “Walking Up the King’s Highway”.

With Bonnie assuming the role of Master of Ceremonies, the Giardino kids were in for a surprise. Each was honored in order of their age:

  1. Michael – A letter of appreciation composed by many of Michael’s friends was read by Mateo. Michael was handed a card, as were all the Giardino kids in turn.
  2. Julia – Raquel and Analyse came forward to read a touching tribute to Julia.
  3. Ross – Ross’s close friends Joe C., Roberto, and Derek came up to read their tribute to him.
  4. Leah – Madison and Abigail were next to come forward, expressing their gratitude to Leah.
  5. Lydia – Samantha, Kiana, and a friend spoke highly of their sister in Christ, Lydia.
  6. Nathanael – Gail Reed then ushered in three children from the nursery, who presented Nathan with two wrapped presents. Gail said her nursery class was honored to have “The Little Prince”, his classroom nickname, as a classmate.

The five older kids opened their cards to find cash for shopping and Nathanael unwrapped his presents. Also, the family was told that they would be treated to a steak dinner.

After the kids stepped down, Lori Giardino was presented with a large, multicolor bunch of roses; the multiple colors were meant to symbolize the diversity within the congregation at Gospel Light. With Leah B. and Brenda by her side, Pearl gave Lori a heartfelt tribute and then handed her a card. Inside was a certificate for a day at a spa.

It was time to finally get around to paying tribute to Pastor Vince Giardino. Bonnie expressed how hard it was to find gifts “for a pastor who never asks for much”. Considering the difficulty, the results were truly inspired:

  • Pastor’s “main gift” was to be a shelving unit with a cabinet to help organize his office. Anyone who has paid a visit to Pastor G.’s office understands the urgency in this.
  • Pastor received a box filled with the “Thank You” cards filled out by members of his church. Also in the box were snacks to help tide him over while he read the notes.
  • Our pastor was handed a decorative gift bag and inside was bags of coffee and a travel mug – a perfect fit for Pastor G.
  • Another bag came his way. Inside it was 4 restaurant coupons: Cheeseburger/Cheeseburger, DiBella’s, Jim and Ralph’s, and of course … Nick Tahou’s. Pastor G., you have no secrets.
  • The gift that made your blogger envious came last: a model sail boat. On the main sail was the words to a verse from the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. Once again, a very appropriate choice (e.g. just look at the walls in Pastor’s office)!

Mateo stepped forward to read 1 Tim 3:1-7, which prescribed the qualifications the Apostle Paul laid out for being a church pastor. No one doubted that our dear Pastor met them all. Mateo made special note of the last condition, that of having a good reputation with people outside of the church. If Pastor Giardino still had hopes of preaching that morning, they were soon to be dissolved, because …

Letters of Appreciation had arrived from pastors “outside of the church”! Three that were available were read by Mateo. They were from Pastor Bob Brado, Pastor Scott Strobel, and Pastor Vince Massa. Later, at the evening service, three more letters would be read: from Evangelist Dave Spurgeon, Evangelist Sam Gipp, and Pastor Ken MacDonald. The content of the letters can be found elsewhere on this blog.

Along came Grayson, and carrying his rhythm guitar, he stepped up to the microphone at the pulpit. What followed had to be seen and heard. Singing a composition of his own doing, Grayson crooned a bluegrass melody that had our pastor in stitches and the congregation captivated by laughter. The song hinged on Pastor G.’s propensity to collect “useless items”. With Mateo chiming in, a dozen or more silly items were mentioned. “Our preacher is a man, who does what he can, to find a use for everything”, Grayson warbled. However, Grayson had concealed a profound message in the song: Our pastor sees in each of us a useful and a valuable soul, despite the “useless” sinners we may have once been. For each of us, he looks “to find a use” for the glory of God! Amen.

Next, Gospel Light’s adult choir stepped up to fill the stage. Pastor’s son Michael took his place at the piano and Bonnie came forward to conduct. Three of the singers would take the lead: Leah B., Jaime, and Jesenia. The song they sang, “Pastor’s Song”, was so very appropriate, it was as if the writer of the song knew our pastor personally.

Bonnie and Mateo (Clyde) finally brought their program of appreciation to a close. Our pastor, full of humility and grace, came to the pulpit in sincere thankfulness. He expressed how “a church coming together is very powerful” and had us turn in our bibles to 1 Cor 14:23-25. Pastor Giardino saw in his congregation this morning a Spirit driven church, one that would convince “one that believeth not” to fall “down on his face … worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth”.

Pastor had intended on having Julia and Michael sing “Amazing Grace” as our morning music special … and so the two came forward to perform at last. And not only them, but as the Holy Spirit moved, many of us came forward to the alter to kneel and pray. Pastor Giardino asked us to pray that the Spirit put a fire in us and revive our hearts and minds. “Thank you for your kindness” he said, “but more importantly, if God is in us at Gospel Light, if we are doing it right”, then for those who visit, “they will see God in us … and will fall down and worship God … and will say ‘I want what they have’”. Our pastor promised that “the conviction of the Word of God will penetrate into the mind of an unbeliever.”

“The Life of the Apostle Paul” continued…

Pastor Vince Giardino was teaching once again on the Life of the Apostle Paul at Adult Sunday School. A handout was passed around to the class titled “Similarities in the Book of Acts”. It provided an uncanny list of parallel events between the apostles Peter and Paul within the book of Acts. It clearly demonstrated that the manner by which God used these men, Peter to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles, was the same.

1 Thess 5:14 was cited as a checklist given by Paul: “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” A few verses later, Paul writes, “Prove all things” 1 Thess 5:21, exhorting the saints to be set for the defense of the gospel. Certainly, given Paul’s education and his acquaintance with the arguments of the day, he was more than equipped and ready to defend the Word. Some aspects of Paul’s ministry were given as follows:

  • Paul’s Power – Power to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was always saluting Jesus Christ, Pastor G. said. Paul understood that the power in his possession was not from himself, but from God. Concerning his prayers to rid himself of his “thorn in the flesh”, Paul said Jesus answered saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.2 Cor 12:9. Other verses cited were Rom 1:16, Rom 15:19, I Cor 1:24, and I Cor 9:12, 18.
  • Paul’s Passion – His passion was for prayer. Paul travailed in prayer, our pastor said. Phil 1:8-11 was read as an example of Paul’s prayers.
  • Paul’s Prophecy – Paul was waiting on Christ, setting his eyes on Jesus’ return. Pastor read I Cor 15:51-54 and 1Thess 4:14-17.
  • Paul’s Miracles – Paul’s miracles in the book of Acts were not to fight a physical battle. He was confirming the Word to Israel with signs in order to lead them to the gospel. Acts 19:11-12 was read as an example.

Brenda D. continued with her New Testament walk-through at the giant white board in front of the class. She would come to tears as she progressed through Revelation. The passages that told of the fate of the lost poignantly reminded her of loved ones who faced that very same fate.

Flash – Pastor Appreciation Day Letters

Dateline 2011-02-27 16:55: In an exclusive scoop, your church blog has received the entire text of the Pastor Appreciation Day letters sent in by pastors outside of Gospel Light. The letters were written to our dear Pastor Vince Giardino from Pastor Bob Brado, Pastor Scott Strobel, and Pastor Vince Massa and were read before the congregation at this morning’s service.

As a service to the loyal readers of the Gospel Light Blog, we can now present these letters to you in there original, unedited form. Please click on the “Thank You” note below to read the letters!

Adult Sunday School: The Journeys of the Apostle Paul

For the past few weeks at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church, our adult Sunday school class has been focusing on the life of Paul the Apostle and his missionary journeys. To help visualize the scope of each of Paul’s journeys, maps have been created tracing the likely routes that Paul took. Some maps have been presented during the class. Many are available on-line at various web sites. Among the better maps that can be found, we present here a series of four maps found at LookLex Atlas. These maps provide a better grasp of the distribution of churches popping up in the early church age and the distances Paul was required to travel.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey: ~ 46-48 AD

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey: ~ 49-52 AD

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey: ~ 53-57 AD

Paul’s Journey to Rome: ~ 60 AD

“Restore New York” Legislative Day

Come to Albany for the Tuesday, March 15, “Restore New York” Legislative Day event.

The event will be held in the Convention Center at the Empire State Plaza (Albany, NY).

New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms invite you to this year’s “Restore New York” Legislative Day event. With speakers like David Barton, founder and president of Wallbuilders, attendees will be reminded of America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.

Members of Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church and friends are encouraged to attend. Contact Pastor Vince Giardino if you would like to be a part of his traveling caravan.

Coming soon … Fellowship Weekend !!

Men’s Prayer Breakfast:

  • Saturday, March 5th at 9:30 AM
  • Guest Preacher: Brother Vince Massa, Pastor of Landmark Baptist Church in Stamfort, CT.

Ladies Meeting:

  • Saturday, March 5th at 3:00 PM
  • Guest Speaker: Mrs. Roxanne Massa
  • Fellowship & finger foods.

Pot Luck Dinner:

  • Sunday, March 6th after the morning service.
  • Sign up at the back table in the sanctuary.
  • Bring a dish to pass. Keep in mind that we will be feeding many people, so think big.

Bro. Tony Shirley: Jesus Never Fails

We are greatly looking forward to the visit of Brother Tony Shirley, Pastor of New Manna Baptist Church in Marion, NC. He will be here at GLBBC on Wednesday, April 20, for the evening service and on April 22 for our second annual Youth Rally. We also expect to see him at Youth Ablaze this weekend.

If you have never met Bro. Shirley, then surely (pun intended) this video will provide an excellent introduction:

Guest Article: Saved for Sure!

Saved For Sure!

By Bill Brinkworth


One of the most disputed doctrines taught in the Bible is that of eternal security. The question many have is, “If one is saved, can that salvation be lost?” The Bible clearly teaches that once we are truly saved, we will always be saved.

After we’re saved, we will still sin. The soul is saved from hell, but we will still have the same old flesh we were born with; and it will do wrong, if we do not keep it in submission. Our sin grieves the Holy Spirit until we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against Him. It does not mean we have lost our salvation. We are still sinners, but are forgiven.

To say, “Well, since I’m saved, and I cannot lose it; I’ll do anything I want,” is ridiculous and unbiblical. When people get saved, the Holy Spirit dwells inside. They will be most miserable, if they continue in sin. They will grieve the Spirit of God and will lose their joy, and the Holy Spirit will not work in their lives. If they are really saved, they will not want to do anything they want, but only what pleases their new spiritual Father …

To read the rest of this timely and inspiring article, go to:

Building Hedges Around Your Marriage

As part of Pastor Vince Giardino’s Sunday night’s sermon, we were given a list of hedges to be used to help safeguard our marriages. Here is that list as found on line:

8 Safeguards Against Getting too Close

By Jill Savage (at, a magazine from

  • Hedge 1: Choose wisely. – Avoid unnecessarily spending time with someone of the opposite sex. For instance, if you’re looking for a personal trainer at the local gym, choose someone of the same sex.

  • Hedge 2: Share carefully. – If you find yourself sharing things about yourself or your marriage that you haven’t or wouldn’t share with your spouse, that’s a red flag. Not all affairs are physical – an emotional affair is just as damaging.

  • Hedge 3: Stay in large, public settings. – Determine not to meet one-on-one with anyone of the opposite sex. If your coworker asks if he or she can join you for lunch, ask a third person to join you as well. If necessary, don’t hesitate to share the boundary you and your spouse have agreed upon in your marriage. You just might lead by example.

  • Hedge 4: Don’t be naïve. – Most people who end up in affairs don’t set out to have one. Infidelity usually begins with an innocent relationship that, in time, moves to an emotional depth that crosses a line of fidelity.

  • Hedge 5: Increase your investment at home. – Solid marriages are built by spending time together, laughing together, and playing together. If you aren’t dating your mate, set up dates for the coming months and make spending time together a priority.

  • Hedge 6: Pay attention to your thought-life. – When all you think about is your spouse’s faults, any other man or woman will look better. Make a list of the strengths that initially attracted you to your spouse. Increase encouragement and decrease criticism.

  • Hedge 7: Don’t play the comparison game. – We all make mistakes, have bad habits and annoying behaviors. When we compare a “new friend” to our spouse, it’s an unfair comparison because we aren’t seeing that person in a “living under the same roof, taking care of kids at 3 a.m., struggling to make ends meet” reality.

  • Hedge 8: Seek help. – Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A Christian counselor can provide valuable perspective and help set new strategies for a marriage that can go the distance.

Ride Upon the High Places: Altitude Part III

Did you miss this past Sunday morning’s service (01-20-11)? Then you missed a very special “Music Special”. With an original 3-part harmony, the hymn “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” was sung by the trio of Melodie C., Joe C., and Grayson K with his rhythm guitar. Follow the link (above) to find the words and the history of this beautiful hymn.Where does our pastor get his ideas for sermon illustrations? He began his sermon by asking us to watch while he buttoned his suit coat up wrong. “It doesn’t look right, does it. Why? Where did I go wrong?”, he asked? OK, so there was method to his madness. He said, “I didn’t line up the first button, did I.” So the rest were all wrong also. The lesson: The first step for a Christian is your attitude. If that is wrong, everything else will go wrong. Thus began Pastor Vince Giardino’s sermon on “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.

Our pastor finished tying up a few loose ends from last week, where he spoke on Aptitude. “Those in higher places (in society) are not going anywhere without God”, he maintained, “You can aspire to those high things (in this world), but God is not promoting you, you are promoting yourself.” In Psalms 18:32-36, David is giving credit to God for the strength, perfection, salvation, greatness, and setting him “upon my high places”. Pastor asked, “How can a Christian go to a higher place?” He said we need a spiritual perspective on life.

Pastor Giardino’s introductory story was about the crash of Eastern Airline Flight 401 into the Florida Everglades in 1972. The crash was due to the airline crew being preoccupied with a faulty landing gear indicator light. No one paid attention to the loss of altitude of the plane. The moral of the story: “Are you losing altitude?”, Pastor G. asked. We need to have people making sure the church is focused in the right direction – that of saving souls. We personally need to keep our attention on heaven and not on earthly things.

Pastor read from 4 places in Ephesians (Chapters 1:3-4, 1:19-23, 2:5-6, and 3:10-11) to help us see that Christ is our high priest in heaven to whom we have access. After we are saved, we have access to “heavenly places”. “Say Wow!”, exclaimed our pastor. We were told how important it is to surrender to God. Re-emphasizing this importance, Pastor brought to mind select individuals, such as Paul, and those in Acts 4:13, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” There is something about your time with Jesus, that despite your education or station in life, you stand out and are unique, just as the apostles were. Have you taken in the Word? Pastor G. said, “The most important calling for me and for you is to see God, so we can enjoy our citizenship in heaven.”

Not many things seem to provoke our dear pastor as much as quotes from atheists. Pastor G. was none to happy to quote Ernest Hemmingway: “All thinking men are atheists.” Job 40:1-14 was Pastor’s counter thrust. Even Job had an attitude and God had to sit him down and reprove him. “I am vile”, said Job in verse 4, humbling himself before a holy God. Our pastor wanted us to realize that, we too will someday face judgment. “Hast thou an arm like God?“ (Job 40:9) was the challenge that Pastor Giardino took from Job and asked his congregation.

The 3rd part of the 3-part sermon was about Altitude. Pastor G. asked, “How can you maintain that altitude when you step out the door?” Romans chapter 12 holds the keys:

  1. You need to have a renewed Mind – Let go of the fleshly man and “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” Romans 12:2.
  2. You need to have a renewed Manner of Love – Do you have a genuine love for one another? “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” Romans 12:10.
  3. You need to have a renewed Motive – What is the measure of your faith? “To think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” Romans 12:3.
  4. You need to have a renewed Motion – A motion of serving the Lord. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” Romans 12:11.
  5. You need to have a renewed “Much” – “Some of you always have something to be contentious with.” Pastor G. warned. “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19.

Pastor said we need to have an “introspective look” into our lives to find out why God is not blessing us. “All of us are cutting through the fog and need to turn on the spiritual fog lights.” he said. Despite our troubles, how do we reach for higher ground? The verses in Deut 32:13-15 and Isaiah 58:10-12 have a “double application”, Pastor said, first regarding the nation of Israel, and then to us. Israel rode “on the high places of the earth”, having experienced God’s aboundance, but they “forsook God”. Pastor advised us all to read chapter 58 of Isaiah to learn about fasting, seeking after God and “breaking the bands of wickedness”. Isaiah was warning the people of Israel, who had gotten fat and forgot God, just as the people of America have done. Verses 13-14 exhort the reader to turn away from your own ways, your own pleasure, and your own words, but to delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth”.Pastor Giardino concluded by asking, “Do you want to go higher with God? You need to humble yourself … You need to surrender your attitude and altitude … to get on your face and seek the God that loves you and wishes to bless you.” “As a child of God, what are you aspiring to?” Pastor solemnly asked, “We’ve lost the high standard of living for God.”

Calvinism: A look at “Perseverance of the Saints”

Brother Scott Allis concluded his series on Calvinism during last Wednesday evening’s service at Gospel Light. As discussed before, the five points of Calvinism are know by the acronym TULIP. This fifth letter “P” was the topic of the evening and stands for “Perseverance of the Saints.” The definition of this 5th point is a continued effort to stay in the grace of God until death. Throughout our class, we were shown that this 5th point is self-contradictory and pure heresy. Calvinism believes the saints must persevere in obedience and those who do not hold fast to Christ can be lost in the end.A leading Calvinist author and preacher, R.C. Sproul, has been known to doubt his salvation. For a believer of Calvinist doctrine, one can never be sure of your salvation because you can lose it; salvation is not eternal. The first four points in Calvinism are about the irrevocably elect and God’s sovereignty; all that changes with the fifth point. Now salvation is up to man and his ability to live like Christ. It is the perseverance of the saints that gets them to heaven, the Calvinists believe. Their own position of the sovereignty of God and predestination is destroyed by their own doctrine of perseverance.“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”, Deut 33:27. “Our refuge is not in theology”, Brother Allis taught, but is in “the eternal God”. We are “preserved in Jesus Christ” Jude 1:1 and are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” 1 Peter 1:5. The truth about salvation is that “after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” and “also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” Eph 1:13. Thus salvation comes from hearing and believing and, once gained, is sealed and cannot be lost.Calvinist preacher and author Jon Piper admits, “Our faith must endure to the end if we are to be saved.” However, the contradiction in Calvism is very clear. A man can not have any part in his salvation since God must choose him to be one of the elect. Yet it is up to him to persevere. Brother Allis displayed an amusing “Prayer of a Calvinist” and it went something like this: “God, are you going to save me by your sovereignty, or are you going to make me save myself?”Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.John 5:24. It is beyond any doubt what the bible teaches about salvation, that it is by faith in Christ. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” Titus 3:5. It is God through the Holy Spirit that preserves our salvation, not works or “perseverance” which bring about pride.

What did Paul think about losing salvation? “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.Pastor Vince Giardino concluded the message with his own thoughts. “How read the bible is important”, he stated, because it”will dislodge any cult.” “Cults do not finish the context”, he warned. For example, Phil 2:12 can be easily misinterpreted: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” You must continue to read the next verse, Phil 2:13, in order to properly understand the meaning: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God is there helping you.

Youth Ablaze: 2011

Dates: Thursday, February 24 at 7 pm and continues through Saturday morning, February 26. See schedule of services below.

Location: Roberts Wesleyan College, Life Cultural Center, 4322 Buffalo Road, North Chili, NY 14624

Theme: “Take heed…Lest Thou Forget

Special Event: Friday Night is the “Parade of Banners”, so don’t forget your banner!

Description: Youth Ablaze will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Please come and help us celebrate this year. Come hear some great preaching and singing. Cost is $25 and includes, Thursday night pizza, wings & drink, Friday all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, and use of facilities. Each service will have a mixture of congregation singing, Youth Choir specials, Bible questions & Sword drills, Flash Point (one minute preaching), Dy-note-mites (name that hymn). Preaching will be from local pastors, local youth pastors, Bro. Eddie Wyatt, and our mystery preacher!

Schedule of Services:

  • Thursday Night: 7 pm
  • Friday Morning: 10 am
  • Friday Morning Split Sessions (men/women)
  • Friday Afternoon Service
  • Friday Night: 7 pm (6:45 prayer meeting)
  • Saturday Morning: 9:30 am

Note: Each church is responsible for their own reservations and payment.

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A few Sunday evening photos …

Dear Blog Visitor,

For no particular reason, your blogger snapped off a few pictures at this past Sunday evening’s service. For Gospel Light regulars, these shots will seem all too familiar. For people outside the church, perhaps the shots will give you a glimpse of what our church services are like.

An Alienated Mind

It’s not the first time a song has moved Pastor Giardino. His son Michael, while playing the piano, sang “Word of God Speak” for the music special. This time though, Pastor needed time to pray and compose himself before he approached the pulpit. Misty eyed, he thanked his son for the moving performance.The idea for Pastor Vince Giardino’s 9th sermon on the “Mind” came from his stay in San Diego with Jeff and Jean R. and their family of 6 children, members of Lighthouse Baptist Church. However, the idea came mostly from talking and fellowship with Jeff, who has been a Border Patrol agent for 15 years. Pastor received a Border Patrol patch and Smith & Wesson knife as gifts, which he used as illustrations. “A serious knife for a serious job”, Pastor G. quipped. With no pride at all, Jeff admitted to our pastor that he is known as the “Legend” for his exploits in hunting down illegal aliens.Our pastor’s sermon began with Eph 2:11-20. The passage explains how we were “aliens” and “strangers” when we were without Christ. Through Christ, though, “we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God”. Verse 14 tells how Christ has broken down the wall between us and God, with Pastor G. stating further that “the wall needs to come down … it is the only wall that must come down.”

Pastor then moved on to Ezek 23:17-18, passages about the spiritual adultery of Israel add how that nation’s “mind was alienated” from God. Israel was allowing foreigners to intermingle, pollute, and defile the nation. God then determined that “my mind was alienated from her”, after Israel had crossed the line. “The same thing is going on with some Christians”, Pastor Giardino said. “Let me ask you, what are you doing to protect the borders?” Pastor asked. The borders of your mind may be open because you have no border control. For many of us, “the bad thoughts and doubts are coming in and corrupting you … like aliens crossing from Mexico”, Pastor surmised. We often have no restraint and fail to say no. In Ezek23:19, Israel was enjoying her wickedness and Pastor G. pointed out that it would be her demise. We need to patrol the borders of our minds or we too will be defeated.

Eph 4:17-19 speaks of the characteristics of a lost soul, someone who has not been regenerated. Further, Eph 4:20-24 speaks of need for a renewal of your mind and, as our pastor put it, “tell the old man to hit the road jack and don’t come back!” Reminding us again of border patrols, Pastor G. defined the mission of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the detection and prevention of illegal aliens and contraband into the country. Likewise then, the Christian mind is supposed to be protected from things that can corrupt you and cause you to lose your citizenship. The CBP never sleeps, we were told. “Do you drop your guard and let the aliens rush in?, Pastor asked.

Pastor Giardino defined an alien as “a resident born in another country”. For the Christian mind though, he defined an alien as someone or something that is “a stranger to Christ and the covenant of grace”. Pastor’s border patrol friend, Jeff, told of a story of having to hunt down aliens (known to be in the area for several shifts) at night through thick brush using night binoculars. Equipped with a gun, hat, boots, a big knife, retractable baton, and canteen, Jeff felt the Holy Spirit tugging on him, telling him where to go. He soon found evidence, followed it to where the thicket opened up, and there they were. They were arrested and processed. “Is the Holy Spirit telling you to go further?, Pastor prompted us, “Is there something hiding in you mind that needs to be discovered … something undetected that you need to deal with now?” We were told to arrest that alien thought, process it, and get it out. Or are we choosing to grieve the Spirit by ignoring the problem.

Photos of the Valentine Dinner at Gospel Light

Monday evening at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church was an absolutely marvelous time for everyone involved with the Valentine Dinner. The Lord has richly blessed our church by allowing our congregation to closely bond as a Christian family and this was very evident at the banquet.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger snapped off a few photos during the event. Rather than place them all here on the blog, they are located in the GLBBC web site’s Photo Album page. On the front page of the web site, click on “PICTURES” and then click on “Ministry Pictures”. — OR — To make things easy, just click on the button below. Remember, no one ever accused your blogger of being a photographer, so pardon the occasional blurriness in the photos.

High Places – A Higher Plain

  • Date: 02-13-11 Place: Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church
  • Time: 11:00 AM Preacher: Pastor Vince Giardino
  • Charge: High Places – A Higher Plain, Part II about Attitude
  • Music Leader: Mike Walters Reaction: “Say What?”

The hymns were led by Brother Mike W. this wondrous morning due to the absence of our regular song leader. His lively, spirited, competent manner of conducting was sure to signal Mateo not to be ill for long. (Make note that Mateo was back leading the singing at the 6 PM service.) Music-wise, this wasn’t the only surprise of the morning. For our music special, young Madison C. stepped up to the piano to lead a chorus of women and girls in singing, “A Crucified Heart”. The chorus consisted of Leah & Julia G., Analyse R., Madison & Abigail D., Jesenia C., and Melodie C. During the offering, Michael G. played a lively piece on the piano.Pastor Giardino had quite a bit to say about his stay at the Leadership Conference in San Diego (hosted by Pastor Doug Fisher of Lighthouse Baptist Church). He spoke about a story from Dr. David Gibbs concerning a fellow Christian pastor in dire need. Pastor G. called Dr. Gibbs “a champion for those going through difficult times”. This being their second trip to the annual conference, Pastor said, “its always good to get back in the groove”. Welcome home Pastor G.As he did two weeks ago during Part 1 of his sermon, Pastor Giardino read the famous quote from American author “Zig” Zigler, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” The lead-off text verse was Psalms 18:32-36, which has David praising God and recognizing it is God that is behind all that he has accomplished. It was God’s hand and God’s grace that “setteth me upon my high places” Psalms 18:33, and not his own.

The main point of our pastor’s message was “what the scriptures have to say about aptitude”. He gave a short review of part 1 on attitude. Then Pastor read: “A Christian is:”

  • A Mind through which Christ thinks.
  • A Heart through which Christ loves.
  • A Voice through which Christ speaks.
  • A Hand through which Christ helps.

We were told, “God wants to use you.” and asked, “How much have you given?” A very key verse in this sermon was Paul writing in Phil 3:8: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Christ”. Pastor wants to see people of the church, young and old, surrender to God and to evaluate our lives, what little we may have left. “The way up is down”, he said, “like so many things in Christianity.” Vanity is an issue most of us struggle with, it comes from our culture and “is an affront to Jesus Christ”, our pastor warned.Pastor described in detail the scene in a Norman Rockwell painting called “Lift Up Thine Eyes”. The sign on the church reads “Lift Up Thine Eyes”, but ironically, all the people walking past on the crowded sidewalk are so preoccupied that no one looks up. Pastor asked, “Have you been so consumed by trying to get by … caught up with life that you haven’t looked up?” As he did two weeks ago, Pastor G. held the open bible to his face and breathed. He then said, “You need to breathe in the book … it will give you perspective”.

Pastor asked “What about your aptitude; what is it?” He defined aptitude as intellectual ability, intelligence, and the condition of being apt. He then discussed the higher degrees of learning being pushed out by colleges and the young people who graduate with high opinions of themselves, bursting with pride over their knowledge of the world. Many bright minds are being degraded to the world’s standards. Yet Paul wrote about “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” Phil 3:8. Asking “Can higher education best God’s knowledge”, Pastor quoted several atheists and celebrities. He talked about Richard Dawkins, David Hume, Glenn Beck, Betty Eadie, and Gloria Steinem, and their philosophies and quotes; all this in order to illustrate smart people making ludicrous statements. Richard Dawkins, for example, is known for saying, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

It is profitable at this point to hear from God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. (Read also Job 36:22-29.) Pastor Giardino asked, “Do you think you are smarter that God?” He gave examples of smart people’s failures. “Intelligent people did not make this country great, the churches did and God allowed it.”, Pastor claimed. “Patriotism and the Tea Party movement will not save this country, but the gospel of Jesus Christ will.”, he continued.Psalms 62:9 says “men of high degree are a lie” because men put intellect and education above God. Psalms 62:10 says “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them” because riches and education should be used for God and not for better living. “We need a Christian aptitude”, Pastor Giardino said, “our agenda should be Christsurrendering our hearts, soul and mind to Him.” Pastor read from 1 Cor 1:21-25 to show how preaching Christ is foolishness to the Greeks. Nevertheless, Paul wrote “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” 1 Cor 1:25. Acts 4:13 says that the apostles were perceived as “unlearned and ignorant men”, yet they achieved great things because God was leading them. Pastor’s challenge to us: “Do you have a passion for God … to follow after what is right?”

Was Paul the perfect choice to be sent to the Gentiles?

We welcomed Pastor Vince Giardino back from his travels today at Adult Sunday School. To help Pastor rest up and recharge his batteries, Bernie Wheater was asked to lead our Sunday school session, just as he did last week. This gave Brother Bernie a chance to finish last week’s lesson on Paul the Apostle since he had so much material to get through. Bernie’s focus for the morning was to explain why Paul was so important in the New Testament.

Again like last week, he assigned scriptural verses to individuals in class to read. This time, prophecy verses dealing with Gentiles were chosen, most of which came from Isaiah. Bro. Bernie pointed out that 30 times in the Old Testament Gentiles is mentioned, 15 of which are in Isaiah. These verses deal with the salvation that is to come to the Gentiles. In Isaiah 60:3, we read “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light”. That someone will bring the Word of salvation to the Gentiles is more than implied and that someone was Paul.Last week’s teachings were reviewed, such as Paul’s Hebrew background, Jesus appearing to Paul, Paul’s conversion, and Paul’s ministry journeys. “Outside of Jesus, Paul was the most significant person in the early church.”, Brother Bernie said. The reasons for this was Bro. Bernie’s point of emphasis.

1. Paul’s Roman citizenship allowed him to preach the gospel throughout the Roman Empire, including Rome itself. The other apostles did not have this advantage. Paul knew the law of Rome and how to word things to keep him out of trouble. For example, this what Paul said as he was about to be scourged,“And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?” Acts 22:25. When the chief captain and the centurions understood Paul was “free born”, they released him. Paul knew when to claim to be a Roman, Christian, or Jew.

2. Paul was born and grew up in Tarsus, which was a prosperous trading center of a quarter million people largely influenced by Greek language and culture. Merchants from Tarsus were well know, the area had many resources, and Paul was a maker of quality tents. The city was a university town with many educated people and Stoicism (i.e. the rational unemotional investigation of questions) was a major influence on the population. Thus, Paul took advantage of the education system. Paul was fluent in Greek and his writing style and terminology showed Greek influences. This made Paul’s letters in the bible stand apart from the rest, having a unique style. Many of the cities Paul taught in were predominately Greek speaking, so knowing Greek was an important advantage for Paul. Paul used his Greek style of teaching and his broad knowledge to reach the Greek Gentiles.

3. Paul knew the Hebrew law like no other. Prior to his conversion, Paul was a zealous Jew and a “Hebrew of Hebrews” in regard to the law. Because of this, it is thought Paul is the person most likely to and most capable of writing the book of Hebrews. The letter’s audience was to Jewish Christians. With the Jewish people, Paul often used the old testament prophecies to show the relationship to the risen Christ.With Paul’s Roman citizenship, his knowledge of the Greek language and culture, and his broad knowledge of Hebrew law, “he had the ability to do what no other apostle had the ability to do.”, Brother Bernie explained. Nobody in the bible could come close to his capabilities to reach the Hebrew, Roman, or Greek. “Paul had all the tools he needed to establish churches throughout the empire.” Bernie taught, “He was the perfect choice to be the apostle to the Gentiles.”

Indented Quotes and Images – beautiful

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