Titling his sermon, “Faith Afloat”, Pastor Giardino stated that “I want to have a strong finish to our theme this year”, Fishers of Men in 2010. His key verse was Eccl 11:1, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days”, where the water is people and bread is the Word of God.
His story to lead things off was about how Christopher Columbus, because of storms at sea on his way home from America, put messages of his discoveries in several bottles, sealed them, and tossed them into the sea. Columbus did not want his important discoveries to be lost so he preserved the information in the bottles. Thus did Pastor make the analogy of some Christians who have a distress signal and their ship may be going down.
To help us understand his message, Pastor G. used a fish tank full of water and an empty coke bottle. By tightly capping/sealing the bottle, it stayed afloat in the tank. Likewise, “God wants to put something in your mind that needs to be preserved on the sea of life”, Pastor explained, “It is supposed to float.” (Comedy note: Pastor G. tricked Mateo into letting him use his sleeves to dry his hands. Mateo, being quick minded, immediately left and returned with a stack of towels to dry off himself and the pulpit area. Touche!)
- A Bottle Bonds (Seals) – Luke 5:37-38 tells of putting new wine in new bottles, where both can be sealed and preserved. Eph 1:13 says that after we hear “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation”, we are “sealed with that holy Spirit”, so that we can float. In II Cor 3:2, Paul expressed his desire to have the epistle written in our hearts. And in Eph 4:30, we know that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. Pastor used one more illustration with the water and the bottle, showing that if our seal is broke and we allow the wrong things inside of us, we begin to sink down. However, we will still survive; we will get through it.
- A Bottle Bobs – Pastor Giardino threw a few bobbers into the tank, saying that they float, are noticeable, and they keep the hook afloat. In Isa 55:11, we are shown that God expects His word to get out and not return void. God throws you out with the Word inside you for the world to see. We need to floating so God can use us to help rescue the lost, who can only be saved by Jesus Christ. Pastor asked us to be “spiritual swimmers … burdened for souls.” “Are you bobbing, trying to get the message to people who are drowning?”, Pastor asked.
- A Spiritual Bottle is for Breaking – We need to break our seal in a good way to get the message out. Like a sealed soda bottle, shaken so that the carbonation wants to burst out, Pastor asked us, “Are you bursting to get the message out?” “Evil falls on everybody”, Pastor Giardino continued. Thus, trouble in one’s life can also cause you to break; your testimony is what bursts forth from inside of you. Job said in Job 32:20, “I will speak, that I may be refreshed”. “God will press the refresh button”, our pastor promised, “When you testify for the Lord, you get refreshed.” When you are broken, the bible in you comes out and your testimony of Jesus Christ is heard.
Pastor concluded by reminding us that Jesus was broken for us. When we accepted that, the Holy Spirit put a seal on you.
Just a few comments on the music: The Giardino Trio of Lori, Michael and Julia sang for us “Come Divine Messiah”. Later, Michael sang a stirring rendition of “It Was the Voice of the Shepherd” while gracefully playing piano. Dan P. blessed us with his piano playing during the offering.