Our Pastor’s sermon this fine Sunday morning, Dec 26, was titled “Spiritual Icebergs”. Pastor Vince Giardino dealt with how problems in a Christian’s life can cause him/her to freeze over and be of little use to our Lord. He began with the story of the RMS Titanic and its sinking during the maiden voyage in the North Atlantic. The ship struck an iceberg and this huge “unsinkable” ship went to the bottom of the sea. This and many other examples were used by Pastor G. to show that “nothing is too big to fail”. Further, he mentioned that history demonstrates that no nation or empire lasts forever either. Notwithstanding, Christians also face icebergs in their lives that are freezing them over: issues, problems, and spiritual things they need to get a victory over.
- A Freezing Faith – It can be a freezing feeling when you have problems. Like icicles that are ignored on your house, damage happens little by little to those who ignore their faith. Eventually, a Christian (and a church) can become like an iceberg, frozen, becoming hard. Pastor referenced Heb 5:11-12 in asking if we are growing in our Christian faith. He warned of being susceptible to false doctrines as we grow in knowledge and being carried off in the wrong direction. “But have faith as a child … know that we can jump into the arms of our Father and He will catch us.”, Pastor Giardino taught. He spoke also of missed opportunities for Christians cold and frozen in their faith. And after listing the 3 stages of frostbite, he said, “The worst kind of spiritual frostbite is when you are so inactive for Christ, you may lose your ability to ever work again.” Citing I John 2:15-17, our pastor said we need to put away the world, to have “a funeral for the world” in our life. “Ask the Lord to melt your cold heart.”, he said.
- A Freezing Flaw – Forgiving is a hallmark of our faith. If you have the attitude of not forgiving people, then a life-changing transformation is needed. God saw that our greatest need was forgiveness, so he sent a savior. “Jesus Christ is the icebreaker”, Pastor said , breaking down the barriers, abolishing “in His flesh the enmity” (Eph 2:14-15) between God and us. It takes the blood of Christ to save us, to make us righteous before God. II Peter 1:8-11 says that if you don’t have forgiveness in your heart, you will be “barren” and “unfruitful”, being “blind” and having forgotten that you were purged of your old sins. Pastor G. said that without a forgiving spirit, you are spiritually cold, an iceberg, perhaps talking the game, giving opinions, but nonetheless, just spouting words. Likewise, we often excuse ourselves from helping “icebergs”. Borrowing Jeff’s cowboy hat and playacting in front of the pulpit, Pastor G. hooped and hollered that we need to “lasso some icebergs and bring them into warmer waters (i.e. church) and get them to thaw.”
- A Freezing Flow – “What is controlling you?”, Pastor Giardino asked us. What’s making you flow in the right direction? Icebergs have no power to go anywhere; they can only go with the flow. Regarding the issue of backsliding, Pastor quoted Martin Luther as saying, “when Christians degenerate, they are more godless than the heathen.” If you don’t know the Bible, you are freezing and backsliding. We were reminded of Peter denying Christ 3 times (Matt 14:72), warming himself by the enemies fire. “What have you done to leave the camp of Christianity?” our pastor asked us; “Have you denied the Lord this past year? Which flows have you gone with that have frozen you?” Pastor concluded by saying that, if you do what’s right in Christ’s eyes, everything else will fall in line.”
News & Notes:
- Our music special at the morning service was Mateo V. singing “I’d Rather Have Jesus”, with Michael G. playing piano. Many came forward during this touching song.
- Gospel Light yearly Bible-reading calendars are here, fresh from the publisher. Pick one up on the back table.
- The start time for Friday night’s New Year’s Eve Watch Night service is 8 PM. Don’t forget to bring a dish to pass.
- The new logo for next years theme, “Hoping for Heaven in 2011” has been completed by Salina G., Pastor’s daughter. This blogger has seen the logo; the color scheme and design are excellent.
- An attempt was made to photograph Pastor G.’s cowboy act during his sermon, but sadly the photo came out blurred.