It’s not the first time a song has moved Pastor Giardino. His son Michael, while playing the piano, sang “Word of God Speak” for the music special. This time though, Pastor needed time to pray and compose himself before he approached the pulpit. Misty eyed, he thanked his son for the moving performance.The idea for Pastor Vince Giardino’s 9th sermon on the “Mind” came from his stay in San Diego with Jeff and Jean R. and their family of 6 children, members of Lighthouse Baptist Church. However, the idea came mostly from talking and fellowship with Jeff, who has been a Border Patrol agent for 15 years. Pastor received a Border Patrol patch and Smith & Wesson knife as gifts, which he used as illustrations. “A serious knife for a serious job”, Pastor G. quipped. With no pride at all, Jeff admitted to our pastor that he is known as the “Legend” for his exploits in hunting down illegal aliens.Our pastor’s sermon began with Eph 2:11-20. The passage explains how we were “aliens” and “strangers” when we were without Christ. Through Christ, though, “we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God”. Verse 14 tells how Christ has broken down the wall between us and God, with Pastor G. stating further that “the wall needs to come down … it is the only wall that must come down.”
Pastor then moved on to Ezek 23:17-18, passages about the spiritual adultery of Israel add how that nation’s “mind was alienated” from God. Israel was allowing foreigners to intermingle, pollute, and defile the nation. God then determined that “my mind was alienated from her”, after Israel had crossed the line. “The same thing is going on with some Christians”, Pastor Giardino said. “Let me ask you, what are you doing to protect the borders?” Pastor asked. The borders of your mind may be open because you have no border control. For many of us, “the bad thoughts and doubts are coming in and corrupting you … like aliens crossing from Mexico”, Pastor surmised. We often have no restraint and fail to say no. In Ezek23:19, Israel was enjoying her wickedness and Pastor G. pointed out that it would be her demise. We need to patrol the borders of our minds or we too will be defeated.
Eph 4:17-19 speaks of the characteristics of a lost soul, someone who has not been regenerated. Further, Eph 4:20-24 speaks of need for a renewal of your mind and, as our pastor put it, “tell the old man to hit the road jack and don’t come back!” Reminding us again of border patrols, Pastor G. defined the mission of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the detection and prevention of illegal aliens and contraband into the country. Likewise then, the Christian mind is supposed to be protected from things that can corrupt you and cause you to lose your citizenship. The CBP never sleeps, we were told. “Do you drop your guard and let the aliens rush in?, Pastor asked.
Pastor Giardino defined an alien as “a resident born in another country”. For the Christian mind though, he defined an alien as someone or something that is “a stranger to Christ and the covenant of grace”. Pastor’s border patrol friend, Jeff, told of a story of having to hunt down aliens (known to be in the area for several shifts) at night through thick brush using night binoculars. Equipped with a gun, hat, boots, a big knife, retractable baton, and canteen, Jeff felt the Holy Spirit tugging on him, telling him where to go. He soon found evidence, followed it to where the thicket opened up, and there they were. They were arrested and processed. “Is the Holy Spirit telling you to go further?, Pastor prompted us, “Is there something hiding in you mind that needs to be discovered … something undetected that you need to deal with now?” We were told to arrest that alien thought, process it, and get it out. Or are we choosing to grieve the Spirit by ignoring the problem.