Reaching for Higher Ground

An observer from outside of Gospel Light would scarcely believe the quantity and quality of musical talent that God has blessed our small church with. Our music director, Mateo Vasquez has a deep pool of singers and musicians to draw from, a pool that just keeps expanding as our youngsters train and develop their skills. Case in point: Rachel O., one of our newer members, displayed the wonderfully sweet voice that God blessed her with in singing, “No More Night” during our morning service this past Sunday. Likewise, among the very many pianists at Gospel Light, Dan P. displayed his expertise with an upbeat style of music during the offering.Pastor Vince Giardino opened his Sunday morning sermon with Psalm 18:32-36 to show that it is God that sets us up on high places. He followed with reading the lyrics of the John Marshall Family song, “To the Highest Place”, which was also the title of his sermon. Our pastor’s goal for the morning was to motivate and encourage those of us that are in the midst of difficult times, times that are affecting our attitudes. The sermon outline was based on a famous quote from American author “Zig” Zigler,“It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” Pastor also mentioned the devotional by Christian minister Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”. Pastor G. explained how our generation, contrary to earlier generations of Americans who had to work hard for what they obtained in life, has become “fat and lazy” and dependent on the government. We often bow down to material things instead of God.

Pastor then read the lyrics of the hymn, “Higher Ground”, in the hope that he could help us to get our feet on higher ground. After talking about climbers reaching 18,000 feet, the maximum height to which human life can be sustained, he asked, “How can a Christian reach that higher ground spiritually?” Holding his bible to his face, Pastor G. took several deep breathes, then said, “Breathe in, breathe out” the Word of God. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, the apostle Paul wrote in Phil 2:12. Pastor spoke of long distance runners that train at high altitudes and are frequent winners of marathons. So too should we train in high places with the right church and the right friends, then being able to run the race of life more effectively for the Lord.

Pastor asked his congregation, “What are you looking for?” Among NASA’s goals is reaching toward the heavens in search of extraterrestrial life (a futile effort indeed). “Are you reaching for lost souls?”, Pastor asked. We should be searching for truth also. Local churches like GLBBC and others like it are “pillars of the living church … that can help you achieve higher ground”, our pastor prompted. How close we can get to God is up to us.

Point #1 in Pastor G.’s sermon was about Attitude. By church attendance, through conversation and other means, a person’s attitude can be assessed. Even more so, God knows your every thought. “Thus saith the Lord … I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them”, Ezek 11:5. “God will judge the intent of your heart”, Pastor Giardino warned. Some of us are “cold, saved, but carnally minded saved”, he continued, and need to be renewed and refreshed. I Chron 17:16 shows the humble heart of King David. We would do well to follow David’s example and read the Psalms for instruction in attitude.

In the time of the prophet Malachi, God’s people had a bad attitude. Pastor showed several examples in the book of Malachi where the priests and higher ups showed contempt for God. They were contrary in attitude toward God, who was speaking to them through Malachi. “Say what?” exclaimed Pastor, mimicking the haughty disrespect of “God’s people”. For the people of Israel, what followed was 400 years of silence from God.

Pastor concluded by asking, “How is your attitude?” It could be why we may not be getting anything out of church. Your attitude toward money may be why God does not bless your finances. God would allow us to go further than we are right now if our attitudes were a little better. Pastor advised us to thank God for our job, our spouse, our family, our church, and our relationship with God. Mal 1:2 states, “I have loved you, saith the Lord.” Following up, Pastor asked, “Have you forgotten how much God loves you?” “Now is the time to get right.”, he said as we were called forward.

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