Note: Portions of this article have been edited. With a surprise visitor present, Pastor Vince Giardino reminded us, by reading Psalm 100, to be joyful and thankful to the Lord. And how could we not be after a blessed weekend at Gospel Light, which included the much anticipated (and highly successful) Youth Rally this past Friday evening. Our Pastor called for individual testimonies of thanks from his flock and many gladly spoke.
As mentioned, this was a evening and we were greatly blessed by the presence of one of our church’s great friends, Charlie B. Most of us know his younger brother, the local piano teacher Brad, with whom many among us have taken lessons from.
With great admiration for his evident passion for the Israeli people, we listened to Charlie detail his plan to return to the that nation with his wife and family in order to pursue charity work.
The lights were dimmed, the big screen lowered and a slide presentation was given of Charlie’s previous visit to Jerusalem. We saw many Israeli people and the streets of Jerusalem. He gave testimonies of the many doors opened in Israel and of the people he interacted with to spread the gospel message. His method of approach on the streets is that of engaging in conversation. He spoke of how Orthodox Jews are very well versed in the Old Testament. Likewise however, the entire Bible to our missionary friend is as familiar to him as the alphabet. Thus, with intelligence and Spirit-driven compassion, Bro. Charlie was often able to direct the conversation to Christ and His sacrifice. “Jews require a sign”, Charlie said, and showing you care about the people and their country is surely a sign that works.
Charlie began a sermon from the book of Esther (2:7-8,10, 4:13-15), that he titled “Preparation for the Time”. We read how Esther, blessed with beauty and grace from God, went from a slave to being chosen queen of Persia. God had prepared Esther for this purpose. God brought her to a place in time where she could help save the scattered nation of Israel. It was hard to misunderstand where the sermon was going: God will put each of us in a position to do something for His glory and purpose … if we allow it. We were warned that our potential to do God’s purpose is diminished, if not destroyed, by our bad testimony. With sin and skeletons in our closet, then there can be no glory for God.
Thus, how do we get to that place where we can fulfill God’s purpose for us? How can we be sure that we will be able to do what God wants us to do with the position He puts us in? We were given a four step process to “Prepare for the Time”:
- Daily Devotions – Daily reading greatly help to stay in the Lord. God to speaks to us through His Word.
- Careful Communication – Read Titus 2:1-2. We need to watch our speech, keeping it sound and pure. Be discreet even in computer texts and tweets. “People are going to want to find a reason you are dirty”, we were told.
- Strive for Mastery – Whatever you do for the Lord, do it well. And with everything you do, do it as a testimony for Christ.
- Realize Our Purpose – Read Rev 4:11. The purpose of our creation is to please God. “Our goal should be to live every single day for God … we serve a higher being”, Brother Charlie taught.
It is not hard to appreciate and admire the man, Charlie B. But he would be the first to tell you to appreciate and admire our Lord, who is working through this faithful man to bring the truth to foreign lands. Nevertheless, thank you Charlie for choosing to let God work in you.