A Visit to the Public Market

A contingent of 25 men, women and children from Gospel Light set out this Saturday morning to the Rochester Public Market. We were able to distribute over 600 bible tracks and chat with many shoppers and vendors, spreading the seeds of God’s Word. Joy B. had a chance to snap a few photos and here are a few. Michael G. was busy recording video, so stay tuned for his next mini-movie (on the church web site’s Media page and the church Vimeo page).The next church foray is planned for May 21. See Gabriel G. for details.

Family Camp Promotional Video

Family Camp Promotional Video – produced and edited by Michael Giardino.

Check out this and many other fun and inspiring videos on the MEDIA page of the Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church web site (www.glbbc.com).

GLBBC on Vimeo

How to Spot the Lies in Cults

This past Wednesday evening (4/27/11) at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church, we were blessed by the teachings of Brother Gabriel Gonzalez, a leader in our evangelical ministries. In his usual concise and understandable way, he delivered a study on the deceptions by cults and how they manifest themselves. Relying heavily and fittingly on scripture, he opened with reading 2 Tim 3:13-17, verses which instruct us to fight deception and properly discern the truth through scripture.


People’s eyes can be covered with false beliefs and doctrines. Brother Gabriel listed four ways that can happen, supported by Bible verses:

  • By man: Eph 5:6, Matt 24:4
  • By Satan: Rev 12:9, 2 Thess 2:8-10
  • By Ourselves: 1 Cor 3:18, James 1:22,26
  • By the Lord: Ezek 14:9, Jere 20:7, Rom 1:26, 2 Thess 2:11

Brother Gabriel then expounded on the ways deception can be seen outwardly, manifesting itself in discernible ways. He taught us several things to look for in every cult that show how people are deceived:

a.) Every cult, in some way or another, doubts the Word of God. They will claim it was inspired and written by men and not of God. They will try to point to errors in translation and imply a need for correction. They may claim that the words are open to interpretation, repudiating that there is only one true meaning. The lesson that Brother Gabriel wished us to learn was that by reading and learning the Word of God, we will see the truth and will believe.

Brother Gabriel then asked two very pointed and shrewd questions: “Why couldn’t God preserve His inspired Word? Do you doubt God’s ability?

b.) One method of deception by Satan is to elevate the intelligence of man. Men who started cults “thought they had a corner on the market” in truth and wisdom, Bro. Gabriel proffered. Satan tries to trick man into believing that they can be like God, as we see in Gen 3:5, “ye shall be as gods”, that they can be more important than they really are. To counter that attitude, Gabriel provided these verses: Prov 16:19, Col 3:12-14, and 1 Pet 5:5-6. We should “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

c.) “Overemphasis of a particular pet doctrine”, Bro. Gabriel said, will lead to an unbalanced faith typical in cults. Such exaggerated doctrines could be gifts of the spirit, the gap theory, the sovereignty of God, the judgment of God, or the non-deity of God. This oversensitivity to one theological item results in an imbalance in the ministry and requires the twisting and changing of scriptures. Cults, because of pride and stubbornness, become unteachable and close-minded.

d.) Brother Gabriel taught that the Lord deceives people. This is something that occurs in all cults. Being told to examine the verses in context, we read from Ezek 14:4-9 and Jere 20:7. God will deceive people when they practice idolatry, when they love things more than God. False or misdirected worship acts as a stumbling block to being close to God. When Israel chose not to put their idols away, God gave them over to their delusions. Bro. Gabriel advised us that “what God was saying to Israel, he is also saying to us individually.” Two New testament verses were given to further back this point. See Rom 1:26-28 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections …” and 2 Thess 2:10-11 “… for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”. God will give you the answer you want because of what is in your heart.Conclusion: Citing John 4:23-24, Brother Gabriel said that first we need to be saved, and then worship God according to the scriptures. He implored us to make sure God is first in our lives. “We need to make things right with God”, he said, “If there is something we love more than God, we need to take care of it before we can ask God for help.” The lesson concluded with reading Eph 5:8-14. Brother Gabriel declared, “We can wake up from darkness.” (Your blogger wonders why anyone would choose to be willfully ignorant.)


Why We Teach Against Cults At Gospel Light

The definite objective in Gospel Light’s work of examining the general history and doctrine of religions in America, with particular attention to those with cult-like attributes, is to bring to light their detrimental effect upon the eternal salvation of our neighbors and friends. Most people in today’s society are unfamiliar with the true Word of God and the way to heaven, having neither interest nor education with these spiritual matters. (Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.) Thus cults can have profound influence upon the uninformed and the naive. Having been brainwashed into believing all religions are equally valid, most Americans have overlooked plain and simple logic. Among the many faiths, each of which claims to be the only truth, in reality only one can be “true” because they contradict each other. This is even more significant when dealing with the doctrine of salvation, for this is where the rubber meets the road.

The real tragedy of false teachings, whether from a main line religion or a small cult, is when people are misdirected or deceived as to how to obtain life after death. It is easy to deceive an uninformed public, to utilize ceremonies and doctrines that appeal to the flesh in controlling their spiritual beliefs. It is in a sea of misinformation, with Satan’s hindering influence, that Gospel Light struggles to reach our unsaved brothers and sisters. Our efforts to seek out the lost and show them God’s truth through the inspired Word is continually troubled by wicked enemies with vile motives. Yet, unless this be done, souls will perish needlessly. For those with the profound and fundamental knowledge of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the gospel of grace, the failure to reach out is an act of moral negligence. We must as Christians acknowledge the importance of individual evangelism, not resting upon the efforts of others. This is an issue of highest importance with eternal consequences.Note: Brother Gabriel is leading a team of volunteers to head to the Public Market this Saturday to spread the Word. Please meet us at the church at 9:30 AM (4/30/11).

Gospel Light’s Morning Service on Resurrection Sunday

Those in attendance at Gospel Light’s morning service on Resurrection Sunday were able to take in the superb sounds of the many talented men and women who sang praises to our Lord. The number of individuals who took part in the three music specials was too numerous to list here, but I will mention that the accompanying piano players, Julia and Koari, played beautifully. We heard “Without the Cross”, “Christ is Our Risen Lord”, and “He is God, He is Lord”.Pastor Vince Giardino made a special effort to salute and commend all those who helped out with this past Friday’s Youth Rally, making note of the key individuals. The head count was nearly 400 and 7-9 people made professions of faith. Pastor was especially pleased that the time that it took the flight attendants to distribute boxed lunches everyone at the rally was less than 9 minutes. Calling those who served “a tremendous team of people”, Pastor stated that Gospel Light is getting a reputation of putting a lot into our Youth Rallies.Pastor Giardino’s introductory story was of the magician and escape artist, “The Great Houdini”. After a brief biography, Pastor told about “the one door that almost defeated him. A crafty jailor tried to out fake Houdini by leaving the rust jail cell door unlocked, causing Houdini to work against himself in his efforts to escape. “Isn’t religion just like that”, Pastor asked, “trying to figure out how to open the door to heaven that’s already been opened by Jesus Christ?” The jailor should remind you of Satan, one who is trying to deceive you. “Think about this question”, Pastor requested, “Is there somebody, a spiritual being, crafty enough to deceive you?”

The key verse for the sermon was Jonah 2:9, where a repenting Jonah recognizes that “Salvation is of the Lord”. Jonah was a prophet who did not want to preach to a wicked Gentile city. He did not want the door open to the Gentiles and he resisted God’s will. Thus did Jonah experience hell in the belly of a whale. Chapter 2 is the prayer from hell from a changing and repentant Jonah. “There is nothing like a trip to hell to scare you into the service of God”, our preacher remarked. Jesus mentioned Jonah in Matt 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” After 3 days and 3 nights in hell, Jesus rose from the dead, taking the sting out of death.

A trademark with sermons from Pastor G. is the use of illustrations. This past Sunday was no different. Pastor read Lam 3:7 “he hath made my chain heavy”, then asked for help hauling a heavy basket in front of the pulpit. From the basket, he pulled out a large, heavy, rusted chain and wrapped it over his shoulders. “I can hardly move like this”, he commented; but “it’s not as heavy as death to someone who is not saved … If I wasn’t saved, I would go to hell like greased bacon and fry.” People are prone to say “I’ll worry about it when it happens”, but the sting of death can happen very quickly.

Pastor Giardino defined chains as a series of connected links used for binding or restraining. People need to be reminded of their chains”, he said.

Chain of Death: The unsaved are destined for hell after they die. That is their burden, that the chains of death will someday be around them. When Jesus died on the cross, he descended into hell and preached to those who had been under the law. Jesus had the keys to let them out of hell, just as He has the keys to get free us. “No one else has the keys”, our pastor declared. Jesus is our way to escape death.

We were told of the time Pastor’s tire went flat on 490 West. Before help could arrive, he had to sit in his vehicle as it was rocked by the wind of passing cars. He felt the presence of people passing by who did not care about his predicament. Pastor’s analogy was that unsaved souls pass by us, busy in their lives, while the chains of death are in their future. “Do you feel that?”, he asked. We should allow the Holy Spirit to touch us, to appreciate the burdens of others, and to reach out and help them. “It has to come from somebody”, Pastor pointed out.

Chain of Deeds: Pastor G. told the story of an ancient Persian king who could not find someone to mend his injured ankle. After being told of a slave who could, he sent for him. The slave was in rags and weighed down with chains, but was able to heal the king. The elated king sent the slave a gift … gold chains. Pastor G. then related the story to people’s lives today where they trade one set of chains for another. They trade their retched, sinful lives for a life of religion and a chain of deeds. They spend their time and effort trying to earn their way into heaven. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:8-9.

Even a follower of Jesus can allow themselves to be encumbered with deeds. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus came to the house of two sisters. “Martha was cumbered about much serving” while Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.” After Martha complained, Jesus answered, saying that Martha was “careful and troubled about many things”, but “Mary hath chosen that good part”. Jesus would rather have us spend time with His Word than put a chain of deeds around our neck. Pastor warned that we need to be sitting at Jesus’ feet and in the Word lest we be troubled; “Your mind clears up when you listen to the Word”, he said.

Chain of Desire: To give us a perspective on how heavy chains can be, Pastor spoke about the chains and anchor on the RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic in 1912. The three anchors weighed 30 tons each. Each link on the three 1800 foot long chains was 3 feet in diameter and weighed 175 pounds. Because a ship will drift when stopped, the anchors and chains are vital for stability and safety. Then Pastor asked us “How strong is your anchor? Are you linked to what God would have you do?”

In Mark 5:1-4, we read of “a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains”. The man was tamed and liberated by Jesus. Likewise today are there men filled with unclean desires, wild and untamed. Pastor spoke of Charles Manson, of homosexuals, and others with bad desires. “Jesus can tame them and take the chains of desire away”, Pastor Giardino said. He also spoke of our tongues, which can defile the whole body. “Is your tongue out of control?”, he asked.

Thank You from Pastor Vince Giardino

A letter from Pastor Vince Giardino to all our guests who attended the Youth Rally at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church:

Hello Dear Brethren,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all the ministries that came to “Preparing For Departure” last evening! We rejoice in nearly 400…(386) folks that came from all over upstate New York and Pennsylvania. More praise worthy to the Lord Jesus Christ are the 7-9 souls SAVED!, decisions of rededication, and MANY getting right with the Lord! The Gospel Light BBC (my crew) are humbled to have had the distinct honor serving YOU with this Youth Rally!

Coming soon, maybe today, will be a recap of the event in detail along with pictures taken for your perusal. See www.glbbc.org.

Pastor Tony Shirley and Pastor Phil Huber did a sensational job in preaching. The Lord continues to move in our region, as the unity of fellow churches that desire to truly want to see something happen for the Lord and the next generation of YOUTH, and as “the time of my [our] departure is at hand”…. is evident.

Psalms 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” May the Lord bless you at your church services, as you exalt JESUS throughout “the land of Egypt”!

Signing off as your captain, Bro. Vince Giardino

April 23, 2011

Are You Ready For Departure?

This blogger can’t help but be proud of my church family at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church after all they did to prepare and perform before and during the Youth Rally this Friday evening. By the grace of God and through the vision and planning of those who served, this event was a monumental success.Gospel Light would like to thank all our many guests for attending. We saw folks from: Bible Believers Baptist (Corry PA), Old Paths Bible Baptist, Chili Bible Baptist, Walker Bible Baptist, Trinity Baptist, Calvary Bible Baptist (Elbridge NY), Sampranius Baptist (Moravia NY), First Bible Baptist (Lockport NY), Grace Baptist (Medina NY), Lighthouse Bible Baptist, First Assembly of God, First Bible Baptist (Lancaster NY) and other bible believing churches. Our guests were subjected to airport security screening prior to admittance, in keeping with our event’s theme, “Preparing For Departure”. Each was given a raffle ticket and a song book. The ladies of Gospel Light were dressed up as airline stewardesses and Pastor Vince Giardino was decked out handsomely in a captain’s outfit, complete with cap and pilot wings. “Welcome to Flight 1611”, Pastor greeted his guests. As a backdrop behind the pulpit was a 7 foot wall of luggage. As guests settled into their seats, the background sounds of an airport could be heard through the sound system, enhancing the atmosphere.

The lights were lowered and the stewardesses took their places in the aisles. “Thank you for choosing Northwind Airlines” came over the speakers. Safety instructions were demonstrated by the stewardesses, complete with bible verses and singing. “Flight attendants please prepare for takeoff” was heard, followed by the roaring sound of takeoff.

With the lights still dark, a video presentation was show on the main screen and the many monitors placed around the building. We saw the Bard family at home and poor Peter first losing a video game to his daughter and then losing his cell phone. He then accidentally oversleeps and rushes to get to the Youth Rally on time. His car won’t start, so he hops on a kid’s bicycle and heads down the road. He is met by a hillbilly (played by Grayson K.) named “Willie” in a pickup truck, who gives him a ride. We then see Peter arrive at church, instantly change into a pilot’s outfit, and miraculously, he ran up on stage in real life! Brother Peter Bard is the beloved youth pastor here at Gospel Light.

Peter B. played the part of M.C. for the Rally. After giving a run down of the coming events for the evening, he introduce Pastor Vince Giardino, who provided the opening prayer. Then, with the help of the stewardesses in the aisles using hand gestures, we all sang “ I’ve Got Joy Down In My Heart” with enthusiasm for God. Following the song, a funny and confused old lady (played by Brenda D.) in a colorful hat and a southern accent came onto the stage from behind the luggage, giving Peter more than he could handle. She meandered down the steps and began to toss handfuls of candy into the delighted congregation.

The song leader for Gospel Light, Mateo V., led us in singing 3 hymns from our song books. Our first music special for the evening was from the harmonic quartet of Lori, Michael, Julia, and Ross G., who sang “Living On Higher Ground”. Pastor Giardino had the pastors from each of the churches in attendance stand up and introduce themselves, which brought loud cheers from their church members.

The first game of the evening, “Are You Smarter Than A Teenager”, was hosted by Kevin S. The youth pastors in the crowd were asked to come on stage to compete. Bible questions were given to pairs of pastors, the loser being eliminated. To much hooting and hollering, a winner was determined and given a small prize. And then came the confused old lady again, down the aisle saying “I’m getting the word”. She had a security guard’s headset on; Joe C. came running to collect his absconded equipment. This was followed by the first of the raffle drawings. Six numbers were drawn by Peter B. throughout the evening and each winner given a gift card. Another music special followed, this one by another talented quartet. Lori G., Bonnie V., Jaime S., and Melody C. sang “Are You Ready For The Call”.

Our original 15 minute preacher called in sick, so we welcomed Phil Huber, senior pastor at Walker BBC, to the pulpit. His message was based on Luke 11:14-23, where people were finding fault with Jesus. After admitting to being a Yankee fan, Brother Huber said, “There comes a time in your life where you have to pick which team you are on.” Some people will find fault in the church. These are Christians that can’t decide which team they are on. However, Bro. Huber submitted that there is “no walking the middle ground.” “Pick your team”, he said, “Decide which team you are on and fight for it … stand for your church.” For those brought up on the bible, he chastised by saying, “What is our excuse for not taking a stand for the Lord’s side.” Bro. Huber warned of the consequences of making the wrong choice, which he likened to standing at the wrong gate at an airport. He said that, for some of us, the final call may be imminent and “we ought to be on the right plane.” He said to consider what gate you are at, and if you see it is the wrong gate, then get to the right gate to heaven. At the conclusion of the message, Pastor Giardino invited us to come forward to the alter as he built on what Bro. Huber had said. Brother Tony Shirley was asked to sing at the piano while people came to pray.

Peter then began the first round of Bible Sword Drill questions. The game score was tallied on a giant scoreboard on the wall at the right of the alter. Church names were lifted by stings to the height matching their score. All in the congregation were quite familiar with the game and most participated with their “swords”, the Word of God. Kevin went around with a box of candy bars and winners were allowed to chose one.

Eleven men, old and young, from Gospel Light made up a chorus that came forward to sing “I’ll Fly Away”. Grayson accompanied on his banjo and the singing was spirited, both with the men and in the congregation. And once again came the confused old lady to entertain, this time with Brother Shirley on stage. Using a hand flicking motion, they discussed how to shout “shore”, Bro. Shirley’s way of saying “sure”. The old lady thought it would be a good idea to hold something in your hand while flicking and suggested Bro. Shirley use his handkerchief. She used her hat, but snatched off her wig also, exposing the hairnet underneath.

Kevin was back on stage for another game, this time inviting 1 or 2 teenagers from each church to come on up. He passed out bubble gum to each contestant and said “start chomping”. The goal was to blow the biggest bubble. After a slow start, several were able to manage a bubble, winners were determined and prizes given. The winning churches were given points on the scoreboard. Another round of sword drills was hosted by Peter, and at this middle point, Walker BBC led with 8000 pts and Old Paths BBC was 2nd with 6000 pts.

The lights were turned down and our eyes were drawn forward to a skit performed by Julia G. and Derek M. Each had a different approach to getting ready for an upcoming trip. Julia prepared thoughtfully and prudently. Derek was distracted by other things. When time came to depart, Julia was organized and happy. Derek found trouble. Julia said, “I’m so glad I was ready for departure.” Derek saw his flight leave without him.

The final game of the evening saw Kevin asking for items from the congregation. The first person to produce the item scored points for their church. The items were: paperclip, nail clipper, $20 bill, silver gum wrapper, 1980 quarter, pocket lint, green highlighter, tooth brush or paste, and hairbrush. This gave us our final scores. Walker BBC was the 1st place winner and a $50 gift certificate was given to the youth pastor. Lighthouse BBC was 3rd, winning $25, with Gospel Light coming in 2nd.

Pastor Giardino introduced our featured preacher for the evening, Brother Tony Shirley, pastor at New Manna Baptist Church in Marion, NC. Stepping up to the piano, Brother Shirley sang “Jesus Never Fails” and “He’s Been There”. Then stepping to the pulpit, he found a few items that amused him: a “whacking stick” (Mateo’s conducting wand) and a “half sucked cough drop”, which reminded him of a story. His story was about a man who ate peanuts, only to find they previously had the chocolate sucked off. Bro. Shirley said the thing about Youth Rally’s is that you can tell gross stories. So he told two more. The first being about the rough flight into Rochester and a boy 2 rows back vomiting. A young girl struggling not to do the same despite the sounds and smell said “This is not happening”. Brother Shirley thought, “If she goes, we all go … it would have been like a horror movie.” His second story was even funnier and more gross and involved a dead mouse at the bottom of a soup bowl … enough said.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, Brother Shirley chose 2 Tim 4:6-8 to base his sermon on. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” 2 Tim 4:6. Paul had been preparing for his departure for a long time. Bro. Shirley asked a series of questions about our own departures:

  • Where are we going? Heaven, a place where there will be no more sin or sorrow.
  • How are we going? Either by death or by the rapture.
  • When are we going? The exact departure time is unknown, but is “at hand” as Paul said. “None of us know if we are going to make it home tonight”, Bro. Shirley reminded.
  • What are going to be the signs? The disciples of Jesus asked him what signs there would be (Luke 21:7). Jesus said there would be “distress of nations” Luke 21:25. A graphic was shown on the church video screens showing Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen, middle east countries currently in turmoil. Jesus also spoke of “the sea and the waves roaring” Luke 21:25. The next few graphics shown were of the huge waves, the recent tsunami that destroyed the Japanese coast. Jesus also said that knowledge would increase; “it’s going through the roof”, Bro. Shirley remarked. Jesus was letting us know of when the time of departure was imminent.

Brother Shirley asked the congregation, “Are You Prepared?

Reservation “The first thing you do is get a ticket”, Bro. Shirley counseled. Even before you pack your clothes, before you do anything else, you must have your seat reserved. Our ticket is being “born again”, he said. “Jesus paid for the ticket … but it doesn’t mean everyone will go … not everyone has received his ticket”, he continued. Brother Shirley warned that, “If you’ve never prayed yourself and asked Jesus into your heart, you are not saved.” If we cannot remember the date we were saved, we should at least be able to remember the moment in detail. Then we can be assured of a reserved seat for the flight to heaven.

Inspection In 2 Tim 4, Paul knew he was ready; he had perfect peace. He knew he’d be with Jesus when he died. Bro. Shirley asked, “Can you say like Paul ‘I’m ready’?” Further he asked, “Would you be willing to face Jesus with the life you’ve led in the past two weeks?” There is an inspection we will face. Bro. Shirley had Mateo come up with him, and with a hand-held security metal detector, did a spiritual scan of Mateo. “What if Jesus were to inspect you tonight?”, he asked:

  • Where have those feet been taking you? “It breaks Jesus’ heart if you have been going where you shouldn’t”, Brother Shirley remarked.
  • What have those hands been doing? Would the scanner go off if over what you have been touching, or what you have been texting, or what you have been doing?
  • What is it that your heart really loves? Are their things we love a little bit more than Jesus, such as sports? We should not want to grieve Jesus.
  • Would the alarm go off around your head? What have we been looking at or listening to? With regard to music, Bro. Shirley reminded that “fools make a mock of sin.” What have our lips have been saying?

“Will you be OK with how you’ve been running the race if you have to stand before Jesus tonight?”, Brother Shirley asked as a followup. “The good news is that we can get rid of the junk from our lives and put it into the basket of grace.” The invitation to come forward was made, and so many came to the alter, that there was hardly room for us all. Brother and sister Michael and Julia G. softly sang “Amazing Grace” as Michael played piano. “We are in the valley of decision right now”, Pastor Giardino said, continuing the invitation, “Let’s get ready for departure.” Brother Peter Bard came to the pulpit with the names of those who made professions of faith. At least 8 names were given!!!

To the surprise and delight of the congregation, boxed lunches were delivered to all present by the stewardesses. Using carts, they went down the aisles passing out the boxes (containing a sandwich, chips, cookies, and a coupon to Clubhouse Fun Center) and cans of soda. One box contained a golden ticket, which was retrieved by Elizabeth B. of Old Paths, winning her a 12 mega-pixal camera! Finally, Brother Scott Strobel, pastor at First Bible Baptist Church in Lockport NY, dismissed us in prayer. Animated and uplifting fellowship ensued as a successful evening slowly wound down.

Brother Shirley Reveals the Enemy’s Tactics

Who needs to go to a Christian music concert when you can attend Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church in Gates, NY. If you want to talk “talent”, God has richly blessed a large portion of our church members with various musically skills, especially with their voices. Not only was that depth of talent on display this Wednesday evening, but our guest preacher, Pastor Tony Shirley joined in. Leading off with our musical specials was the trio of Leah and Peter B. and Michael G., who sang in 3-part harmony, “I Will Meet You in the Morning”. After a session of prayer, Grayson K. stepped forward to play “I’ll Fly Away” on his banjo, a performance that made our guest Bro. Shirley, who was raised in Kentucky, feel right at home. Next in line to sing praises were Melody and Joe C. Accompanied by Julia G. on piano, they sang “The Blood Fell” in wonderful harmony. Brother Shirley then sat at the piano to touchingly sing and play three songs: “He’s Been There”, “I Know the Peace Speaker”, and “Please Forgive Me”. During his songs, many from the congregation came forward in prayer at the urging of Pastor Giardino.

Brother Tony Shirley is the pastor at New Manna Baptist Church in Marion, NC. He enjoyed the hymns, but jokingly expressed confusion over what to shout, saying “If there is any shouting going on, I want in on it!” It turns out that shouting “sure” is popular back home for Bro. Shirley. However, they pronounce it “shore” and it is what they shout after the preacher says, “It’s good to be saved”.

To warm up his audience, Bro. Shirley told us a very funny story about an old Kentucky farmer. It seems that a Philadelphia lawyer, having heard that rural Kentucky was a great place for duck hunting, had shot a duck in flight, but the duck landed beyond a fence. Not being familiar with the area, the lawyer climbed over the fence to retrieve the duck. Upon reaching for the fowl, he suddenly heard, “Hey, put that duck down.” The voice was that of the old farmer and the land was his. After a bit of an argument over who’s duck it was, the lawyer threatened to sue, but the farmer countered by saying that things are decided in Kentucky by the “3-kick rule”. The farmer explained: “First I kick you 3 times and then you kick me 3 times, and so on, back and forth until someone gives up”. The lawyer agreed, having seen that he was in much better shape than the old man. The farmer struck first, kicking the lawyer first in the gut, doubling him over. His next kick bloodied the lawyer’s nose, who fell to the ground after the third kick struck him in the legs. As the bruised lawyer rose and brushed himself off, the farmer said, “I give up. Here’s the duck.”

I suppose one might ponder how Brother Shirley might top his “duck” story, seeing that the purpose of his visit was to preach a sermon after all. No need to wonder as Bro. Shirley provided valuable insight on the obstructive techniques of those who would be enemies to the purposes of God. Opening to Ezra 4:1-5, we read about the adversaries of God’s people. The nation of Israel had been taken into Babylonian captivity because they had strayed from God. God’s heart had softened toward Israel and a God-ordained plan was underway to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. A remnant of the nation was allowed to return there. The enemies of Israel, however, endeavored to make tough the work of God “to frustrate their purpose” Ezra 4:5.

Brother Shirley explained that attacks by the adversaries of God often take place after there has been a great revival, as was happening with the nation of Israel. He drew a parallel between the attacks on the building of the temple and the hurdles being faced at Gospel Light in attempting to prepare for Friday’s Youth Rally. “Whenever the people do the work of God for the glory of God, then the adversaries come out to frustrate it”, he said. Bro. Shirley was careful to point out that the enemy can rise up to frustrate God’s purposes but can never stop them. With the aim of teaching us the techniques employed by the enemies of God, Bro. Shirley highlighted the malicious tactics used in Ezra chapter 4 against Israel.

1. Manipulation – “Let us build with you”, said the adversaries of Israel (Ezra 4:2). However, their intent was to hinder the work. Their rationale was that they also worship the God of Israel, but they also worshiped many other gods as well. In today’s world, our enemies will deceptively say, “We’re all the same”, blurring and diluting the distinctions between faiths. Brother Shirley gave many example of this, but warned that we can not risk truth in favor of getting along with other faiths.

2. Accusation The nation of Israel faced many false accusations (see Ezra 4:12 and 16), being called a rebellious and bad city. Bro. Shirley warned that our enemies will “come at you personally”, criticizing your standards and doctrines. They will criticize your motives and they will criticize you to the people around you. How we handle ourselves in the midst of attack, we were told, will determine whether we are frustrated. “You don’t have to answer back!”, Bro. Shirley advised, “Don’t be ignorant of their devices … it happens because you are serving God.” When you make a stand because your heart is right, darts will begin to be thrown.

3. Confrontation – Israel was made to “cease by force and power” Ezra 4:23. “Then ceased the work of the house of God” Ezra 4:24. Americans have not had to face as much confrontation because of their faith as what occurs in other countries. However, times are quickly changing. Brother Shirley gave several recent examples of government authorities attempting to take away religious liberties. “You need to make a stand when authority tries to block you”, he exhorted. We are not to let fear destroy our service to God. Confrontation takes the opposition to another level, but it can not stop the work of God. God is able to take the workings of evil and turn it around for good. Brother Shirley urged us to “press on”, to stay in the Word, and to make sure we are right with God. And when the work of God is finished, even our enemies will marvel.

A Doubtful Mind

Pastor Vince Giardino read the words of Jesus in Luke 12:24-29 to introduce his next sermon on the “Mind”. Jesus was pointing out how God looks after the needs of his own and so man should “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on” Luke 12:22 … “neither be ye of doubtful mind” Luke 12:29. With those words in mind, Pastor titled his sermon this past Sunday evening (04-17-11), “A Doubtful Mind”.

A short history of the men who were assembled to translate the bible into English for King James 1 was given by our preacher. For seven years they labored, humbly and ardently seeking a true translation. The men had confidence and a good spirit when presenting the finished bible to the king. At the front of the bible was their Epistle Dedicatory, a preface to the work and a salute to the king. Pastor Giardino read the work in its entirety and concluded by saying, “There was no doubt in their minds that they had done their best.” Pastor then pointed out that we have doubt toward God because of our lack of devotion and discipline toward reading the Word during our daily lives.

Doubts Unveiled – “If you have a doubtful mind, you are not living by faith”, Pastor said, and “the cares and pleasures of the world will choke you.” He defined “doubt” as to waver or fluctuate in opinion, to hesitate, to be apprehensive, or to fear. Pastor read from the gospel of John three instances involving the Apostle Thomas (i.e. Doubting Thomas). In chapter 11, Thomas had a “gung-ho” attitude, fired up in his new faith. However, something happened from that point on. In chapter 14, Pastor G. showed how Thomas began to question Jesus. Thomas’s faith was dimming. By chapter 20, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is a different Thomas altogether as Thomas said “I will not believe” John 20:25.

Thomas was of a doubtful mind, but he was revived, giving hope that we too can be revived. Thomas needed things spelled out because he did not understand the deity of Jesus. Yet Thomas did achieve victory when he answered the risen savior, “My Lord and my God” John 20:28. Pastor taught that someone full of doubt and anxiety is faithless, as Jesus said to Thomas “be not faithless, but believing” John 20:27. Saying, “God is looking for us to walk in faith”, Pastor explained that our faith can begin to fade, and as it does, our doubtful mind can affect our health. He spoke about a book written by a Jewish doctor who wrote how most depression, anxiety, and mental illness is due to the lack of applying personal responsibility to our lives. Pastor suggested that, if we suffer from doubt, perhaps we do not know who Jesus is. Perhaps we forget about the deity of Jesus Christ?

The Devil Assails – Pastor Giardino read about the devil’s attack on Jesus in Matthew 4, tempting Him three times. He asked us to personalize the chapter, saying, “If the tempter came to the Son of God, he will come to a son of God.” Pastor portrayed the episode as rounds one, two, and three. In each case, Jesus countered the devil with scripture. We were reminded that the Word of God is a “sharp twoedged sword” Rev 1:16. Jesus used the Word of God to dispel the doubts, and we should do likewise. We need to be led of the Spirit and full of God’s Word. Pastor G. assured us that people will tempt us and try to cast doubt on our Christianity. He also assured us that we will get beat up if we are not prepared as Jesus was.

The Truth Prevails – This third part of this message will be continued during Pastor Giardino’s next installment on the “Mind”. Stay tuned.

Hands From Heaven – Part 2

On April 17th, by the grace of God, the church at Gospel Light came together to worship and praise Him and to hear his most blessed Word. Your blogger fervently hopes to bring past Sunday morning’s service and sermon to light through this brief summary. Just as Pastor Vince Giardino prays before each sermon that the Holy Spirit guide and inspire his message, so to do I pray that my written words will reflect the sermon given and be a blessing to those who read it.

Pastor G. has reminded us that purpose of singing hymns is to praise God. With sincere passion, our three brothers, Mateo, Jeremiah, and Gabriel, sang in harmony to the Lord, “Rock of Ages”. Just prior to the sermon, our pastor’s son, Michael, was asked to sing (at the piano), “Word of God Speak”, so that we, the congregation, would examine our hearts and open our ears. “We need to hear from God … to ask God to speak to our hearts”, and be “hungry for God’s word”, Pastor urged.We opened our bibles to Psalms 90, which is a prayer of Moses. Pastor Giardino read the whole chapter, explaining the verses as he went. The prayer begins by acknowledging the power and glory of God and the insignificance of man. Moses then writes about our sin and God’s chastisement. He concludes by asking God to “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalms 90:12) and to “let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” (Psalms 90:17). Moses’ hope was that “the work of our hands” (Psalms 90:17) can do something for God.

Our Pastor read several quotes from this country’s past founding fathers, statesmen and public officials in order to show that “God’s hand has been upon this country”. However, in recent years, there has not been very much evidence. Pastor asked, “Is God’s hand coming off this country … loosening its grip?” Most often, those passing laws today do not have our best interests in mind. Even as the bible shows us that God’s hand has been on nations guiding them, so also should God’s hand be on our country, our church, and ourselves.

What causes God to remove his guiding hand? Pastor Giardino explained that we ourselves limit God, stepping back into the world, and failing to search Him in his Word. He encouraged us to let God speak to us by reading the bible. “Shame on you if you are not opening up the bible?” he scolded us. By reading His Word, we allow God’s hand to be upon us. “A thumb print on the bible is better than a foot print on the moon”, Pastor quipped. “What we do will bless God if we do it right”, he continued. God opens His hands and gives, but we have to have a righteous life to get things from God. “Are you limiting what God can do for you?”, our preacher asked.

The importance of thanking God was driven home by a story of a professional beggar. James Steward of Hull, England, had “Thank You” tattooed on the palm of his right hand. He knows that he has to thank those who give to him. Pastor Giardino pointedly asked us, “When was the last time you thanked God?” Because God’s hand opens up and generously gives to us, “’Thank You’ should be embedded on your mind and heart”, our pastor admonished. He then warned us against “biting the hand that feeds you” by complaining, murmuring, and foolish behavior.

The Apostle Paul, to the Ephesians, exhorted, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” Eph 4:14. Likewise, Pastor Giardino warned us of deception and trickery in churches today. There are crafty men in churches that want to con you and hide the truth. Jesus spoke of the evil of scribes and the Pharisees: “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Matt 23:4. There are religions today that want to burden the people with religious duties, ordinances, idol worship, and other heresies. However, Paul admonishes us to speak “the truth in love” and to “grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” Eph 4:15. We need to grow up in the Lord as Christians.

To demonstrate that “even you own eyes can deceive you”, Pastor Giardino invited his friend, Jonathan Blaze, to perform for us. We all were amazed at his very wonderful act, which used five Chinese leaking rings. With Mateo as his helper, John linked together and separated the apparently solid rings in a variety of combinations. Was there a trick behind the performance? Of course. Are you being deceived by a church that tells you heaven is earned on your own merits? Of course. The slight of religious deception leads people away from the bible and the truth. If you are not trained in the knowledge of Christ, you are vulnerable to religious con artists. And the deception goes deeper as Satan infuses his beguiling influence and lies into the body of these churches.

And so we return to the words of Paul, that we “be no more like children”, vulnerable to those that “lie in wait to deceive” and that we “grow up” in Christ. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15.

Free Boarding Pass to the Youth Rally at GLBBC

All young folks that attend Friday’s Youth Rally at GLBBC will receive at the door a free “boarding pass”. Hold on to it tightly as this is your raffle ticket (see example below) for the many prizes to be raffled off throughout the evening.

3rd Annual Youth Rally – Friday, April 22 at 6:30 PM

Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church, 4393 Lyell Road, Gates NY

585-352-4964 – Travel Map

Two believers in Christ were baptized

At Gospel Light this past Sunday evening, Pastor Vince Giardino had the privilege of baptizing two believers in Christ, Samantha C. and Benjamin R. This blog was blessed with access to the photos that were taken and we are presenting them to you now:

For those who have been saved by trusting Christ for salvation and are now thinking about being baptized, please speak with Pastor Giardino about participating in one of his baptism classes. You will learn why we are baptized and the true meaning of scriptural baptism.

Sneak Peak – GLBBC Youth Rally

Tentative Youth Rally Itinerary (as of 4/15/11)

  1. Safety Check-In (up to 6:30 PM)
  2. Opening Video (TBD)
  3. Welcome
  4. Hymns (3)
  5. Music Special
  6. Welcome to GLBBC by Pastor Vince Giardino
  7. Game
  8. Music Special
  9. Offering
  10. 15-Minute Preacher: Nathan Gipp of Emmanual Baptist Bible Church
  11. Music Special
  12. Game
  13. Hymn (1)
  14. Game
  15. Skit (TBD)
  16. Music Special
  17. 15 minute slot (TBD)
  18. Music Special
  19. Preaching by Brother Tony Shirley of New Manna Baptist Church

Semi-Random Quick Notes

  • Coming this Wednesday, April 20, Brother Tony Shirley, Pastor of New Manna Baptist Church will be preaching during the 7 PM evening service. Normally scheduled activities are canceled for that evening so that a regular service can be held.
  • Please consider joining us in next Wednesday’s All-Day Church Fast as this is to prepare our hearts and minds for Friday’s Youth Rally.
  • Brother Tony Shirley will again be guest here at GLBBC as the featured preacher for the Youth Rally, Friday, April 22.
  • Our next topic for the “Hinging On Heresy” Cult Series will be the Jehovah Witness cult. The series continues Wednesday, April 27th.
  • Congratulations to Samantha C. and Benji R. who participated in the believer’s baptism here at Gospel Light this past Sunday evening.
  • This coming summer, GLBBC will see an expansion of the parking lot. A base will be put down by Jeff Brongo.
  • Missionaries Patrick and Teresa Pruett are underway in their 8-day trip to the mission field of Peru. Our church supports their endeavors and was able to help with the travel costs.
  • Don’t forget about the 2nd annual Yard Sale here at Gospel Light coming up on May 12 through 14. Bring your donations starting April 24. Proceeds are to help families attend Family Camp.
  • An additional featured guest at Friday’s Youth Rally will be Nathan Gipp, associate pastor at Emmanual Baptist Bible Church. Brother Nathan will be our “15-Minute Preacher”.

The Mind Series – Sermon #15: A Ready and Prepared Mind

From Sunday Evening Service, April 10, 2011: After once again reminding his congregation that “the battlefield is in the mind”, Pastor Vince Giardino read the key scripture verses for his sermon, 2 Cor 8:16-21. We learned that, not only was Titus (a protégé of Paul) well trained, not only did he meet the criteria to be used, but there was a “performance also” and “a willing mind”.Pastor’s introductory story was about an accomplished pianist, Liu Shikun, who was imprisoned and denied the use of a piano for 7 years during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Soon after his release, he was back on tour performing better than ever despite the lack of practice. When asked how this could be, he explained that everyday during his detention, he had rehearsed the musical pieces note-by-note in his mind.

Our preacher’s theme then was about having a ready and prepared mind, a mind that wants to serve the Lord. “What’s going on in your mind to prepare you to perform for the Lord?”, Pastor asked us.

In 1 Peter 5:1-2, elders of the church are being exhorted to “feed the flock of God”. Our Pastor took this verse as a directive to “willingly” have oversight of the church. Peter also exhorts the elders to be “of a ready mind”, admonishing them to have a prepared mind to love and serve the church. Pastor G. defined ready to mean, “a quickness, a promptness, a cheerfulness, a willingness, a willingness to serve the Lord … not for money” … being able “to preach unhindered by filthy lucre”. Further, 1 Peter 5:3 asks leaders to be “ensamples to the flock”; the pastor’s life should be a testimony of what God is doing in his life. In verse 4, the “crown of glory” is for a pastor, having to answer to God, that fulfills his duties properly.Are You Ready to Save?“The Lord was ready to serve me” Isaiah 38:20 and also us! Jesus Christ was ready to go to the cross. Pastor assured us that we can depend on this: “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” Psalms 145:18. If God is ready to save those that call to him, then at the very least, we need to be ready by reading and memorizing his Word.

If the Lord was willing to suffer for us, what are we willing to go through for him? Pastor brought to mind the martyrs, their courage, and all they went through for Christ. The martyrs faced open physical warfare. On the other hand, our battlefield today, here in America where we have it easy, is in the mind. Our Pastor strongly urged us to keep our minds stayed on Jesus and that “we have a prayer life”. He referred to 1 Peter 3:15 as an example of how we should serve and save others, being “ready always”.

Are You Ready to Soar?Our Pastor is determined to help us prepare our minds and life to get to a place where we can soar. He painted the picture of soaring for us by telling of the glider planes around Elmira, Corning, and Harris Hill. Using air currents rising from the hills, the sailplanes fly without any power of their own. Likewise then, Pastor Giardino asked, “What more should you rely on as a Christian to ready yourself than to rely on the Holy Spirit of God to move you, to fly your ship, to soar?” He defined soaring as “to rise high” or “to tower in thought or imagination”.

Pastor read Isaiah 40:28-31 to show that God “giveth power to the faint”. God will give us that strength so we can soar. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” Isaiah 40:31. We need to let the Holy Spirit of God direct us in preparing and conditioning ourselves. Matt 10:19-20 and John 14:16 remind us that it is the Spirit that gives us power, speaking through us, and bringing all things to our remembrance.

Are You Ready to Serve?As a soldier of the cross, do you know the scriptures? Pastor took the passage in Acts 17:11 and substituted Gospel Light for the people of Berea: “Gospel Light was more noble than those in (unnamed church), in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Pastor then asked us, “How are you doing with searching the scriptures?” The short poem he read us taught that trusting and obeying are part of a ready mind. In closing his sermon, Pastor read 2 Cor 10:4-6 to encourage us to be ready to counter untruths and heresy with God’s Word, which should reside in our hearts and minds.Special Note: Upcoming messages on the mind will cover “the complexities of the wiring job that the Lord has done.”

The Female Mind – “It’s Harris Communications, governmental radios, very complex frequencies.”

The Male Mind – “It’s Home Depot, simple house wiring.”

Ladies Bible Study: Keeping Our Church Unified

Did you happen to miss the Ladies Bible Study this past Monday evening (April 11) at Gospel Light? Me too. Of course, I’m a guy and I wasn’t invited. However, because I write for a blog, I have connections. I happen to have been given access to the entire bible study, which was presented by our Pastor’s wife, Lori Giardino. Since I can never keep a secret (no one ever tells me things they want to remain a hushed), it is logical to conclude that Lori wished this study to become public … and so it shall.

Mrs. Giardino uses James 3:1-6 to introduce the main idea of her study, but ends up using many other verses in scripture. Her topic deals with those things that would keep our church from being a growing, thriving, unified body of believers. Here is some excerpts from her bible study, with the entire study available for downloading <HERE> and at the link at the bottom of this post.There are always times in a ministry when things swing from “everything is going great” to “things are pressured” or even “it’s rough going and people are leaving”. I believe we can say that things are great here and we are having a great time! What I want to do tonight is to caution all of us to:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

The truth is, that Satan does not like that Gospel Light is a growing, thriving church. He will blind your eyes to the great worship services, people getting saved and baptized, new folks joining the church and getting involved. He will not allow you to see the good because he is busy pointing out the petty things that will sidetrack you from faithful service here. He may even convince you that nothing here is good enough and you should try a different church.

What is Satan whispering in your ear? What lies is he telling you?The study then goes on to ask the question, What is it that keeps us from being unified? with four in-depth answers:

1. Gossip

2. Murmuring

3. Pride

4. Resentment

Ladies Bible Study – Monday evening April 11 <— use this link to download the complete study.

Note: Ladies Conference @ GLBBC coming May 6-7.

Three-part series on Mormonism

Linden Overhiser Sr. has completed his 3-part series on Mormonism. He has been teaching Wednesday evenings as part of Gospel Light’s series on cults. We have continually been making available these presentations here on the blog and the complete presentation on Mormonism has now been posted.

Under the “Pages” heading along the right-hand side of the blog home page, click on “Cult Series Library” to find your way to the current list of presentations … or just click <HERE>.

Brother Overhiser’s presentation was titled, “Mormonism, Satan’s Great Masterpiece”. His topics included:

  • A Timeline of Mormonism
  • What Mormons Will Not Tell You
  • Answering Mormons Verse by Verse
  • Some Interesting Symbols found on the Mormon Tabernacle
  • What happened to the three main witnesses?
  • The Bible and the Book of Mormon Compared

A Hand from Heaven

A Hand From Heaven” was the title of Pastor Vince Giardino’s sermon this past Sunday morning at GLBBC. He opened by reading Psalms 98:1-3 and then thanked God in prayer that the “Lord hath made known his salvation”.

Pastor’s introduction was a true story set in a frontier city. A young boy was saved from a burning home by a courageous man who climbed a hot drainage pipe to the second floor and carried him down. The boy’s grandmother had perished in the fire. Later, when a judge held a hearing as to who would take custody, a farmer, a school teacher, and a banker all claimed to be able to provide for the boy. But a man in the back row stood up, said all he could provide was his love, and showed his scarred hands, burned from the hot pipe. The boy ran into this man’s arms, knowing this was the man that had sacrificed for him. Are you reminded of someone else with scarred hands that sacrificed for you?

The story of Thomas’s unbelief was read from John 20:24-29. Pastor defined the term “Doubting Thomas” as a skeptic, a nonbeliever in Jesus Christ. “We live in an age of skepticism”, Pastor said. To a skeptic who does not believe in that which he cannot see, Pastor suggested we remind them that they cannot see the air they breathe, but it is just as essential to life as is God.

Pastor Giardino then went on to address those who do know the Lord, but doubt that God can reach into their lives to do marvelous things. Jesus said to Thomas, “be not faithless, but believing” John 20:27. God can direct our lives if only we faithfully pray “Lord, I need your hand upon me”, Pastor G. encouraged. He read John 10:25-28 to show that we are in “good hands” as God’s sheep.

In 1 Chron 4 Jabez is shown to have sorrow in his life, but called on God in prayer so “that thine hand might be with me” 1 Chron 4:10. “God is in the granting business”, Pastor Giardino assured us, so that “God granted him that which he requested” 1 Chron 4:10. God responds to humble, sincere prayer and recognition of the need for Him.

After reading Isaiah 59:1, “the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear”, our preacher asked us why we think that God cannot hear or help you? Isaiah 59:2 tells us that it is our own sin that separates us from God. God is reaching down to us with His love and mercy, shining toward us even in our sin. After his story about a record-breaking submarine, Pastor commented that, “God, in all his riches and splendor … has no problem reaching down to the farthest reaches of earth to save anybody.”

Psalms 139:1-10 shows that King David knew full well that God was able to help him, that God had “laid thine hand upon me.” Pastor G. used these verses to let us know that God is able to search us and read our hearts and minds, knowing our intent. Further, he said that we can run but not hide from God’s presence, His Word, and His law. However, God’s grace and mercy intervene, saving us from judgment.

Lam 3:1-10 are sobering words with a double meaning. On one hand, they describe the coming judgment on Israel and Judah because of idolatry, attitude, and short-changing God. But the words also describe the hopeless conditions of man in hell. Pastor warned: “God will judge you!” If we are a saved Christian, we will face the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all we have done for Christ will be put through a refining process. For the unsaved, the White Throne Judgment will be their fate. Rejection of Jesus gets you bound hand and foot and tossed in the lake of fire.