On this fine spring Sunday morning, all the cheery members of Gospel Light were back in the seats after a four day adventure at Family Camp. In fact, the seats are almost filled to capacity these days and Pastor reminded us that today was the day to put money in the offering to help buy 50 new chairs. If you missed this chance to contribute, please contact the Pastor. After our hymns and fitting nicely with the sermon we were about to hear, Mike Walters sang “I Bowed My Knees” at the pulpit as the music special. Mike has been blessed with an abundance of vocal talent.Psalms 78:23-25 were the key verses for Pastor Vince Giardino’s sermon, which was the second part of his message titled, “Open Shut Case for Heaven”. The verses speak of God’s blessings to man coming down from heaven. After reading the verses and praying, Pastor began with a story about the TV game show, “Let’s Make a Deal”. The show’s original host, Monty Hall, “TV’s Big Time Dealer”, would chose a member of the audience and conduct a series of deals. Explaining that Monty Hall was in control of everything that was happening, Pastor equated the host with the devil in the spiritual world. The devil will choose your door to knock on, will offer you a blind but appealing deal, and try to make you do the wrong things through lies. Pastor said, “The devil never forgets who takes the bait.”
God offers us, not a blind deal, but the best for your life. Using the Bible as our guide, we are able to discern what comes from God. Pastor said that God has no secrets and that “He wants to open up opportunities for you.” “What prevents you from getting the best of what God has for your life?”, Pastor G. asked.
There is nothing new about government persecution of the church. Pastor related the story of how Herod killed James the brother of John, and then imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:1-16). But the church prayed without ceasing for Peter. Pastor Giardino used this story to show that you don’t know what is going to happen when you pray. Consequently, an angel of the Lord led the well guarded Peter out of prison and to freedom. “Nobody has all the answers”, Pastor said, “but we must pray to get heaven’s doors open … No matter what your situation, you need to be praying.” After that same angel “smote Herod” (Acts 12:20), “the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).
Another form of persecution that the church faces is from other religions. Pastor showed this by referring to Acts 5:17-20. The apostles were imprisoned by the high priest and the Sadducees, but once again, “the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” Pastor called “go”, “stand”, and “speak” the 3-point plan. God will open the doors for us to spread the Word of God.
Pastor went on to show how God opens our hearts and our eyes. He spoke of a spiritual body piercing, where we chose to be the servant of God for the rest of our lives. The proper order in our lives was given by Ex 21:5, “the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children”. This order is kept in place, Pastor G. explained, “by you saying to God, ‘You are my Master’”. Matt 7:7 was used to provide the acronym, ASK = asking, seeking, knocking.In essence, Pastor’s message to us was a preparatory sermon for the Bible Conference coming this week. Special church services with Dr. Sam Gipp are scheduled for this Thursday evening (June 9) and Friday evening (June 10). A men’s prayer breakfast will be held Saturday morning and a much anticipated debate is scheduled for 1 pm on Saturday afternoon. Expect large crowds for both Saturday events!