Sunday morning services are rarely quiet and ordinary at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church. It seems drama always comes from somewhere and not always where Pastor Vince plans it. This Sunday morning, our pastor faced a full blown mutiny from his most loyal servants, who, after the hymns were over, took command of the service away from the red-faced, confused man of God. Pastor Vince and his wife Lori were seated facing the congregation. Binding them to the chairs was not necessary, but gagging the pastor was considered.
It was only then that Mateo Vazquez announced the true purpose of the mutiny: Pastor Appreciation Day – 5th Anniversary of the GLBBC. Mateo recited Proverbs 20:6, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” Having expressed his joy in finding a “faithful man” in our pastor, Mateo went on to say,”Thank you for all your efforts and everything you pour into this ministry.” The mike was handed to Gabriel Gonzalez, our most excellent Master of Ceremonies, who presented Pastor Vince with a plaque while saying, “it comes from the heart” of all of us. He went on to say that the church has seen “a lot of trials and hard work but a lot of victories in peoples lives.” “Our pastor has lead us effectively through our trials in these past five years.” Gifts came next for our flabbergasted couple: Lori received a bouquet of flowers and Vince receiving an entire formal outfit.
The biggest surprise of the day awaited Pastor Vince; a phone call was put through to a special quest. After hearing the guest’s voice over the speakers, Pastor was delighted to recognize Dr. Vince Massa, pastor of Landmark Baptist Church in Stanford, Connecticut. Brother Massa congratulated Pastor Vince, who responded by saying, “I wish you were here so I could give you a big hug.” The response of “Why don’t you?” coming directly from behind Pastor Vince sent him reeling backward for a few steps from the pulpit. Dr. Massa, his wife and one of his children had snuck in behind our pastor without him suspecting a thing. The shock eventually wore off our once-again red-faced man of God and our congregation finally did stop laughing as a specially organized choir from the congregation sang for us.
Pastor Vince, having resigned himself to putting away his sermon, yielded the pulpit to Dr. Massa. Since he was involved with the ordination process of Pastor Vince Giardino, Dr Massa was qualified to state that he had the “utmost regard” for our pastor and that “I believe in my heart that he is in the very center of God’s will.” Dr. Massa read from Jer 3:6-18, with verse 15 being emphasized for his sermon. With animation and in earnest, three points were delivered from this verse:
1.) God’s Gift of a pastor: “And I will give you pastors”
2.) God’s Guarantee toward that pastor: “according to mine heart”
3.) God’s Guidance through the pastor: “which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
References were made to Ezek 34:23, Acts 20:18-21,24-28, and I Pet 5:1-2, all of them dealing with the responsibilities of pastors to feed the flock. A concluding fourth point was presented, “God’s Glory of the pastor”, which is his congregation. Dr Massa said that there is a Crown of Glory in heaven which is called the “Pastor’s Crown”.
After the sermon was over, the chairs and tables were set up for a fine banquet of chicken, potatoes, baked ziti, mixed vegetables, salad, drinks, and deserts. A live mike was passed around the tables and testimonies were given by most of those in attendance. We laughed and we cried, which is the usual at Gospel Light ceremonies, for celebration of God’s blessings in our lives is a staple for Christians.