Sunday, August 29, 2010

Psalm 18

What a wonderful day when we as Christians come to the realization that all that transpires on this earth, and in this life is NOT US…but IT IS GOD! It is God that bestows such blessings as freedom, the Bible, family; AND it is God that gives trials, tribulations, and at times tragedies!

I. The Source of My Strength (vs.1-3)
• When I feel like I am too emotionally, physically, or spiritually weary to go I MUST remember that my source of strength never runs dry!
• The Lord is everything I need; He is the Only One I should cling too, and He is the reason that I keep going when all hope looks lost!

II. Surrounded By Sorrows (vs. 4,5)
• Have you ever been to the place where you just feel like you can’t go on.
• Around every turn is another heartache or struggle.
• Have you ever felt as though you were drowning in misery and defeat.
• It is when I am Surrounded by Sorrows that I am supposed to run to the Source of My Strength – not away from Him!

III. The Seriousness of His Sublime (vs.6-15)
• Sublime means, “impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; inspiring awe; supreme or outstanding.
• Too often we think of God as overly patient and so loving that He will not provided justice to those in need of judgment!
• Yet, here in Psalm 18 there are several verses of the Sublime actions of our God!
• The time will come – I want to be on His good side – not His wrathful side!

IV. The Statement of Ultimate Surrender (vs.30)
• Can you make this statement for your life today?
• Can you say from a sincere heart, believing that it is true?
• Or, are you thinking this morning that God has it all wrong, and he does not know what you need, nor what He is doing?

Health Update


Thank you for all who call to ask how we are doing. Below is a health update from this last week!

This last week was another exciting week in the Giovanelli home. Our school opened its doors to a record enrollment, my wife was getting three kids ready for the school year, and in the midst of it all - the cancer institute decided to have us come for my cancer check-up on Tuesday and Wednesday of the same week. It is always great to watch the Lord work as life sometimes seems to spin out of control.

On Tuesday, August 24th, we arrived at the National Cancer Institute (NIH) early. The day started off with the blood work, then it was off to the third floor for a more intense blood test that required me to lay down for a while. We then made our way to the Imaging Center and waitied patiently for the CT Scans of the chest, upper abdomen, lower abdomesn, kidneys, and pelvic areas. AFter a long day of testing we were able to get back to the hotel - take a quick nap, and then it was off to a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with some friends who drove up to meet us for the evening.

On Wednesday, we met with the Doctors where we were informed that there is one tumor that is growing very quickly. They are guestimating that its growth rate is 1cm every six months. It is currently at 2.2cm. The right kidney has four tumors, the largest being 2.7cm, and the smallest is at 1.2. The left kidney has five tumors - the lergest being 2.6 and the smallest being 1.2. The left kidney has the fast growing tumor that looks like it will reach 3cm within nine months.

Each time a tumor reaches 3cm they have to do surgery to prevent the cancer from possibly spreading. Our prayer is that the fast growing tumor will not grow as fast as it has been. If it does - it will mean another set of surgeries in the next nine months or so.

Thank you all for your prayers and kindness. We are doing GREAT as a family. Our spirit our high, and the Lord is blessing us in so many unimmaginable ways. Feel free to contact us if you have any special prayer requests that we can pray with you about.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wonderful Trip

This last week my wife and I had the privilege of taking some of our Seniors, from the Christian School, to California for their Senior Trip. What an encouragement the young people of our church are to me. If anyone ever wonders if there is hope for America; I would have to say emphatically - YES!!

So many times we focus on the lazy, uniterested in life, down spirited young people of our generation. In doing this we forget or even sometimes neglect the vibrant, exciting, and happy teenegers that are diligently seeking to accomplish something with their lives. I thank God for the teenagers of Calvary Baptist Church and the many other young people whom I have had the privilege of meeting.

May we, the current leaders of our nation, do our part to cast a vision for our young people. May we continue to pray for our children and their future. The days that our teenagers are growing up in are completely different that it was in our day. It is our responsibility to contiue to "train them up in the way they should go..."!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What's On the Other Side

From our vantage point, here on earth, we only have the capability of seeing with very limited vision. However, from the vantage point that God has; He is able to look down upon us and see the big picture.

In each and every life there will be battles that each of us must face. You can choose to face them now, as the Lord leads you, or you can turn from His will and prolong the inevitable. The fact is you will have to face the battle sooner or later. I do not know of one Christian who has ever turned their back on Christ while on a mountain top in their Christian life. Yet, I know many who have turned their back on Him when faced with a battle or trial. As I walk with Christ I must remember that each battle that I am faced with has been carefully crafted by the Master to better equip me for the ministry to which I have been called. It is our responsibility to stay close to Christ during both the mountain top experiences and the valley experiences that I am faced with.

I have heard many Christians make this statement, "I am so tired of these trials!" It is during my most tiresome moments in life that I am to drink from the cool waters that only Christ can provide. During these trials is when I am to pull up to the banqueting table of God's Word and let it fill me with a nourishment and a recharge that only God's Word can give. Sad fact is, many Christians do the complete opposite - we turn away from what the Lord has for us and we try and create a better solution from our finite imagination and we end up making matters worse rather than better.

I have told the people of Calvary many times, "Victory is only found on the other side of a battle!" If you are looking for a victorious Christian life then you must be ready to accept the trials and battles that come with it. Do not quit because times get tough! It's time that Christians toughen up a little bit and realize that Christ never promised that with salvation would come a battle free life. He just promised that you would never have to go through a battle alone again. He knew that there would be burdens for His children to carry so He said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"

Dear Saint of God - stay focused on Christ and you will make it through the most difficult of trials. Remain faithful to His cause and you will find that the Christian life is worth the living. Claim Christ as your dearest Friend, for it is He that promised to be a Friend that sticks closer than a brother!

Victory is only found on the other side of a battle!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

They Do What They See

I was reading in I Kings chapter 15 today, and saw how it says that King Abijam did according to the sins of his father. Abijam learned his life’s habits from watching his daddy.

Isn’t it true? Our children learn from our actions! We, as parents, must be so careful in the way that we live our lives. Our lives should magnify the Lord and cause our children to want to honor Him. However, the more I counsel teenagers and young adults, the more I realize that children are not being brought up with Biblical principles, but instead are being brought up by human reasoning.

Human reasoning in child rearing only works for a season. Through human reasoning I don’t see how my child can get into trouble if they just go to the mall alone for a while. Our finite minds want us to believe that our children are perfect and would never do anything that would cause dishonor to the Lord and especially their parents. Yet, the Bible says, “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” We must learn to replace human reasoning with spiritual reasoning. The Spirit of God must be allowed to govern our very thought and decision making process.

If our parents would learn to live according to the leading of the Spirit; their children would see Christ in their parents. However, if mom and dad are live for God on Sunday, and live for themselves Monday through Saturday – the children will not only grow confused, but they will grow bitter. We as parents must understand that in everything we do; we teach one of two things: we either teach them HOW TO do something, or we teach them HOW NOT TO do something. Granted, not everything we do will be right because we are human, but our children should see a broken and contrite spirit when we have wronged the Lord. They should see us striving to please the Lord in all we SAY and DO!

As children begin developing into little individuals they all learn to have heroes. To most children, their parents are just that to them – you are their hero! They are watching everything we do and trying to mimic our actions. They listen to everything we say and eventually you will hear them say that exact statement with the same tone and expressions. Children are like sponges and they soak up everything they can – that’s how they learn.

I am the father of three beautiful children. I thank God for my children and my greatest desire for them is that they learn to find the joy in Christ that I have found. I have watched and listened as my children sometimes repeat something I have said, or they do something because “daddy did it”. Sometimes it is cute because the thing that they are mimicking is not wrong, but then there have been times when I will hear one sister say to the other, and it is a statement that I made with the same frustration that I made it and I am quickly compelled to go and correct her for what she just said. It grieves me to hear, “but daddy, you said it too.” My heart sinks to think that I have caused my daughter confusion in right versus wrong. She trusts me and thinks that if daddy can do – so can I.

We as parents MUST learn and accept the responsibility that God has blessed us with. We are parents and we are raising these children for God. Let’s never forget – they are still His! He just asked us to raise them for a short time so that they can fulfill their destiny for Christ in His service!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Having An AWESOME Marriage

God has blessed me so much more than I deserve. As I look at the blessings in my life I cannot get past the wonderful wife that God gave me on May 27th, 2000. Almost ten years ago I stood on a platform with my bride and little did I know, I was getting the best God had to offer!

The longer I serve the Lord the more I find that couples do not feel that way about each other. Marriage can be AWESOME, but at the same time marriage can seem like a prison here on earth. Marriage takes work! Just like anything else that we succeed at; marriage takes determination and careful consideration to figure out what your mate enjoys and you trying your best to accomplish just that - making them happy.

Someone once said that marrige is a 50/50 relationship, and that is not the case. Marriage is a 100/100 relationship. The husband must give a 100% effort to the marriage and the wife must do the same. If both, husband and wife, are giving all of themselves to the marriage and not expecting anything in return - you will find that your marriage will be happier.

I remember listening to Pastor Mike Ray speak on marriage, and one thing that stuck in my mind, and I have used it many times since, is the illustration of the triangle. If you draw a triangle and put Christ at the top, then put the husband on one lower corner and the wife on the other lower corner, and both husband and wife do everything they can to draw closer to Christ. The thing you will see is this: the closer you draw to Christ, the closer you in turn draw to each other.

I believe my marriage is AWESOME because my wife and I are both actively serving the Lord in ministry. However, we are both serving Christ at home as well. Serving God is not an on-again off-again life-style. Serving God ought to be something I do out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to have a marriage that you can label as "AWESOME"; then you are going to have to put Christ first and foremost in your lives, and both husband and wife is going to have to determine to give 100% of yourselves to the Lord and each other.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Future Is Bright!

Last night, February 17th, our teenagers took over the mid-week service. Their choir started off powerfully, and the congregational singing was filled with excitemend as our Youth Pastor, Matthew Robinson, led us in some old-time hymns. There were two specials; one was a teen girls ensemble that brought me to my feet at the opening of the first chorus, and the second was at trio with Bro. and Mrs. Robinson and Ryan Birner (one of our Seniors) taking the lead, who also gave the announcements and read over the Prayer Page for the evening. Three preachers stood and delivered powerful truths from God's Word: Justin Kidwell, Andrew Linder, and Bubba Birner. Each boy was prepared and did a fantastic job delivering their thought.

At the close of the service it was great seeing that alters full. As I walked up on the platform and saw our teenagers scattered around the auditorium I could not help but be overwhelmed with pride at their serve to the Lord. I have heard many people say that "our youth isour future", and as I looked out on our crowd i think, "if these kids are our future; then our future is VERY bright!"

Teenagers, your Pastor is very proud of you. I am thrilled that you choose Christ instead of the world. I am also very proud of the Robinson's. Bro. and Mrs. Robinson came to us in August of 2009, and have taken their ministries to the next level and beyond. They have captured the hearts of our teenagers and with sincereity and a godly example have shown the teenagers that serving God is awesome!

To the parents of our teenagers; you are to be comended for your stedfastness and faithfulness in raising your children for the Lord. In the day and age that we live there are so many deterants and hazards as we raise teenagers. Always remember, if you stay faithful to Christ, and if you stay focused on His will; you and your teenagers will find that the future is bright!