High Places – A Higher Plain

  • Date: 02-13-11 Place: Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church
  • Time: 11:00 AM Preacher: Pastor Vince Giardino
  • Charge: High Places – A Higher Plain, Part II about Attitude
  • Music Leader: Mike Walters Reaction: “Say What?”

The hymns were led by Brother Mike W. this wondrous morning due to the absence of our regular song leader. His lively, spirited, competent manner of conducting was sure to signal Mateo not to be ill for long. (Make note that Mateo was back leading the singing at the 6 PM service.) Music-wise, this wasn’t the only surprise of the morning. For our music special, young Madison C. stepped up to the piano to lead a chorus of women and girls in singing, “A Crucified Heart”. The chorus consisted of Leah & Julia G., Analyse R., Madison & Abigail D., Jesenia C., and Melodie C. During the offering, Michael G. played a lively piece on the piano.Pastor Giardino had quite a bit to say about his stay at the Leadership Conference in San Diego (hosted by Pastor Doug Fisher of Lighthouse Baptist Church). He spoke about a story from Dr. David Gibbs concerning a fellow Christian pastor in dire need. Pastor G. called Dr. Gibbs “a champion for those going through difficult times”. This being their second trip to the annual conference, Pastor said, “its always good to get back in the groove”. Welcome home Pastor G.As he did two weeks ago during Part 1 of his sermon, Pastor Giardino read the famous quote from American author “Zig” Zigler, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” The lead-off text verse was Psalms 18:32-36, which has David praising God and recognizing it is God that is behind all that he has accomplished. It was God’s hand and God’s grace that “setteth me upon my high places” Psalms 18:33, and not his own.

The main point of our pastor’s message was “what the scriptures have to say about aptitude”. He gave a short review of part 1 on attitude. Then Pastor read: “A Christian is:”

  • A Mind through which Christ thinks.
  • A Heart through which Christ loves.
  • A Voice through which Christ speaks.
  • A Hand through which Christ helps.

We were told, “God wants to use you.” and asked, “How much have you given?” A very key verse in this sermon was Paul writing in Phil 3:8: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Christ”. Pastor wants to see people of the church, young and old, surrender to God and to evaluate our lives, what little we may have left. “The way up is down”, he said, “like so many things in Christianity.” Vanity is an issue most of us struggle with, it comes from our culture and “is an affront to Jesus Christ”, our pastor warned.Pastor described in detail the scene in a Norman Rockwell painting called “Lift Up Thine Eyes”. The sign on the church reads “Lift Up Thine Eyes”, but ironically, all the people walking past on the crowded sidewalk are so preoccupied that no one looks up. Pastor asked, “Have you been so consumed by trying to get by … caught up with life that you haven’t looked up?” As he did two weeks ago, Pastor G. held the open bible to his face and breathed. He then said, “You need to breathe in the book … it will give you perspective”.

Pastor asked “What about your aptitude; what is it?” He defined aptitude as intellectual ability, intelligence, and the condition of being apt. He then discussed the higher degrees of learning being pushed out by colleges and the young people who graduate with high opinions of themselves, bursting with pride over their knowledge of the world. Many bright minds are being degraded to the world’s standards. Yet Paul wrote about “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” Phil 3:8. Asking “Can higher education best God’s knowledge”, Pastor quoted several atheists and celebrities. He talked about Richard Dawkins, David Hume, Glenn Beck, Betty Eadie, and Gloria Steinem, and their philosophies and quotes; all this in order to illustrate smart people making ludicrous statements. Richard Dawkins, for example, is known for saying, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

It is profitable at this point to hear from God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. (Read also Job 36:22-29.) Pastor Giardino asked, “Do you think you are smarter that God?” He gave examples of smart people’s failures. “Intelligent people did not make this country great, the churches did and God allowed it.”, Pastor claimed. “Patriotism and the Tea Party movement will not save this country, but the gospel of Jesus Christ will.”, he continued.Psalms 62:9 says “men of high degree are a lie” because men put intellect and education above God. Psalms 62:10 says “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them” because riches and education should be used for God and not for better living. “We need a Christian aptitude”, Pastor Giardino said, “our agenda should be Christsurrendering our hearts, soul and mind to Him.” Pastor read from 1 Cor 1:21-25 to show how preaching Christ is foolishness to the Greeks. Nevertheless, Paul wrote “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” 1 Cor 1:25. Acts 4:13 says that the apostles were perceived as “unlearned and ignorant men”, yet they achieved great things because God was leading them. Pastor’s challenge to us: “Do you have a passion for God … to follow after what is right?”

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