Friday, October 30, 2009

Blurb for Winter Retreat Flyer:

Pornography, sexual immorality, and confusion has raided our modern culture. Our young people are introduced to sex in many different forms younger and younger. In a recent survey last year, 90% of young people ages 8-16 have viewed pornography online. Additionally, in a survey conducted in 1996, 46% of all 15-19 year olds in the US have had sexual intercourse at least once. By age 15, 13% of teens have had sex, but by the time they are 19 years old, 7 our of 10 teens have had sexual intercourse!

Furthermore, at 13.3 billion, the 2006 revenues of the sex and porn industry in the U.S. are bigger than the NFL (=football), NBA (=basketball) and MLB (=baseball) combined. Worldwide sex industry sales for 2006 are reported to be 97 billion. To put this in perspective, Microsoft, who sells the operating system used on most of the computers in the world (in addition to other software) reported sales of 44.8 billion in 2006.

Is there a solution? Can we do anything to help our teens fight against culture and honor God by living sexually pure in this impure generation? Yes there is hope! There is a solution and God’s Word contains it. Join us on our winter retreat this year to Big Bear as we study these issues and dig into the Bible to see what God has to say. Our theme is: God, Purity, and Sex. If we properly understand God, we will know what he demands regarding our purity, and that will then put sex in its proper and beautiful place within the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. Consider coming with us. The cost is only $110. Scholarships are available on a need basis. Talk with pastor Geoff for more info.

When: January 22–24, 2010

Where: Guest House | Big Bear, CA

Cost: $110

Theme: God, Purity, & Sex

Info: pastor Geoff:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don’t let John Wesley see me!

John Wesley went a little far in his applications when he “expressed doubts about the spirituality of anyone who spent less than three hours each day in personal prayer!”


But it is, nevertheless, a humbling reminder of where our priorities should be.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A secular idea of: The Key to a Happy Marriage? A Younger, Smarter Wife (and Sex)

AOL News today: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The practice of "marrying up" might be looked down upon by some, but when you're talking age, it might be the key to a happy marriage. A recent study showed that the couples who were happiest and had the lowest divorce rate were those where the woman was at least five years younger than her husband -- and when she's better educated.

But it doesn't work both ways. The same study claims that when the wife is older by five or more years, the couple is three times more likely to break up than if they're the same age. (We're looking at you, Demi.)

Does this mean that men with younger wives are destined to be happy? Perhaps. Another factor might be that we're getting better at staying together; at least that's what a different poll conducted by The Times of London stated: 54 percent of those polled hadn't even considered having an affair.

What's the key to remaining faithful? Pretty obvious: a decent amount of sex. Of the respondents, 44 percent said they had sex at least once a week and 32 percent are having it two to four times a month. Two percent of the couples, who are obviously a little more limber, are having sex every day.

But that doesn't mean everyone is remaining faithful. Compare the U.K. research with a 1991 survey from this side of the pond conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The study found 22 percent of married men confessed to being unfaithful, while only 10 percent of married women admitted the same. In 2006, the same survey by the NORC found that 16.7 percent of women admitted to infidelity -- a dramatic increase.

What makes a person cheat on their partner? It's a deeply personal issue, but according to Dr. Lauren Rosewarne, quoted in The Times, "People cheat to feel younger, different or challenged."

Maybe, for those couples facing an age gap -- and possibly an intelligence one, too -- those extra years are enough to make the difference.

Click here for the source

Geoff's Comment:

Does the fact that the wife is a handful of years younger than the husband prove show that a happy marriage will follow? Is that the new survey facts available to us today? What about those who have “married up?” I have. My wife is four years older than I and we have a much deeper love now in our marriage than we did on our wedding day.

What about the key to remaining faithful, is it really just more sex? Is that the answer to everything? If you want to have a happy and faithful spouse all you must do is have sex—is that what we’re reading?

Why do people cheat on their spouses? Is it because of Rosewarne’s words: People cheat to feel younger, different or challenged? I think she is greatly mistaken. Though this may be an effect of the deeper heart issue, the reason people cheat on their spouses is SIN and the lack of ridding sin from its inception in the heart and mind of oneself. In other words, cheating on a spouse just doesn’t happen one day. It all begins with a lustful thought, then another, then a dwelling on those thoughts, then a preoccupation with them and a refusal to repent, confess, or acknowledge to the spouse the sins and seek genuine forgiveness.

The cultural breakdown of “the family” in our day-and-age is the plot of Satan to overthrow and destroy our world (and it’s working too!). Obviously, God is sovereign and in total and complete control in everything that happens. We must, however, not minimize the destruction of the contemporary family regardless of what shape or form that may take—homosexual marriages, marital infidelity, unconfessed lust, the rampant addiction of pornography and masturbation of our culture, and an all too flirtatious attitude toward others at work, school, or wherever.

So what must the Christian’s response be to this AOL article? We must be those who uphold the biblical priority and view of marriage. That means, first, get your own marriage straight and make certain that the marriage relationship is the primary relationship in the home—yes, even before the kids! And it is “healthy” for the children to see that mom and dad are priority in each other’s life—not the kids. Second, it means that we must be involved in the local church submitting to the preaching and application of God’s Word on a regular basis. We ought to be building, forming, and cultivating relationships with people—both inside and outside of the church—so as to be competent to counsel them from the Scriptures regarding marriage, purity, sex, and biblical principles. This sad reality also means that we, third, live gospel-centered marriages. That means that in the marriage relationship, everything—yes, everything!—we do must reflect the cross of Jesus Christ, the greatness and sufficiency of our Savior, and the holy, righteous, and pure life that He demands His followers (i.e., true believers) to walk. Let us be those who do not add to the cultural “statistics” of marital unfaithfulness, pornography addicts, or happy-marriage fix-it-ideas but, rather, let us be those living lives so consumed with God and so loving our spouses by serving, caring, nurturing, speaking well of, pursuing, and encouraging so that even the non-believers will “see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Praise God for the ministry of Joni and Friends

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of the greatest things I’ve learned today in my Greek class is the difference between semantics and pragmatics when it comes to Greek linguistic study. What I mean is this. The lexical, grammatical (=unchanging, uncancelable) form of the verb is the semantic category. It cannot change. This grammatical form of a verb may have “meaning” but it is impossible to know what the verb really means a part from a context. This is where pragmatics fits in. In my class today, we heavily hit this issue and observed how the Greek verbal form (semantic lexeme) is used in a particular context to denote a particular meaning (pragmatic value). This is how we find out the meaning of a verb form—not inherent within the form itself but in its usage in the context.

If I were to walk up to a complete stranger and say “I got it!” he would have absolutely no idea what I’m saying. But if I were to answer a question you asked me: who will go to the grocery store and buy milk and I answer: “I got it!” it makes perfect sense! The way in which a verb is used in context is its pragmatic function in the discourse. This is precisely why the context is king (Or, as I learned from my mentor and friend, Dr. Varner, Kontext is King!) We then proceeded to observe Mark 1, 2 and 12 in understanding how Mark uses the verbal forms in his narrative structure. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll observe more from other genres (epistolary literature and Revelation). God is good to me in allowing me to be here. I am tremendously humbled.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I made it safe to Baptist Bible Seminary last night after a long day of acquainting with the Newark airport en route to Scranton. I am here for the week for my doctoral seminars. I’m taking two courses: advanced theological method and New Testament Greek studies. Today was my first day of PhD classes. But before my classes started, I had a 3 hour orientation/colloquy with the dean of BBS and the director of the PhD program—Dr. Stallard. It was great. In fact, I’ve never had someone sit down with me and go through the seminary’s doctrinal statement point by point as he did with me today. And I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion. His heart for the local church and for scholarly men to love and shepherd people in the local church permeated the discussion and were cause for comfort. I will be transitioning back and forth between classes this week while meeting one on one (yikes!) with Dr. Stallard (my theology prof.) for interaction outside of class time. (Today we had lunch but much of our conversation centered around football and sports!) I will try to post as opportunities arise. Pray for me on Thursday, specifically, I have 2 presentations: one on Louis Berkhof in my theology class and another critical analysis of a Linguistic book for my New Testament Greek class. Pray that God endows me with divine wisdom!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In response to a question recently asked of me: who is your favorite theologian and why, I responded as follows:

Well, I’d have to say that my favorite theologian has come to be Louis Berkhof. I must post my caveat up front that I know he’s covenantal in hermeneutic and that he’s a “baby-baptizer” in ecclesiological practice, and both of which I wholeheartedly disagree with and find no Scriptural basis for, but nevertheless I’ve come to really appreciate a number of things about Berkhof over the last month that has given me a deep respect for and a great indebtedness to this man. (Also, it may have something to do with the fact that I don’t know if there’s another theologian out there whose material I’ve read more of than Berkhof.)

First, his commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture is worthy to be modeled on many fronts. He absolutely rejects the humanistic, rationalistic, existential philosophies of secular minds (or frankly, religious minds for that matter). His stance that God’s Word is inherently inspired and authoritative because God breathed His Words into the book undergirds all his argumentation and apologetics. He also seeks to derive his theology from the entire Bible. He is a systematic theologian at heart. His philosophy of hearing what the Bible has to say about a given topic and then systematizing it and presenting it in a logical and coherent fashion is helpful and educational.

Second, his commitment to the sovereignty of God is undoubtedly seen throughout the corpus of his writings. That Berkhof believes in a sovereign, holy, righteous, and perfect God and that man is sinfully depraved, hopelessly lost, and inwardly corrupt proves to be a theme Berkhof emphasizes numerous places. But the foundation upon which Berkhof builds much, if not most, of his theology is the sovereignty of God. God sovereignly calls sinners to salvation. God sovereignly draws them through the internal and irresistible calling of God’s Spirit. That God sovereignly orchestrates all that happens in life for His good purposes are truths Berkhof stands upon.

Third, his heart and passion for bold and fearless preaching of the Word of God was unknown to me before I started reading his books and articles about him. Apparently Berkhof pastored a couple of different churches and had a great passion for the heralding of God’s Word in the pulpits. Perhaps this is why he remained as a professor for so long. He knew that he could impact men with the truths of the Word who would then enter churches and preach God’s Word from the pulpits to God’s people who would then take that truth which they heard and share it with their friends. Berkhof recognized the scary, watered-down state of the “average” pulpit and he expressed that concern often in his lectures. This was usually followed by a passionate plea for men to remain confident in God’s Word and preach it as a bear standing upright against its foe.

Fourth and finally, given some of the practical situations I find myself in at our church, I found great comfort and encouragement to press on from Berkhof’s love for and his passion for the local church; specifically, the purity of the local church. Berkhof notes three primary ingredients to the local church that are indelibly printed on my brain. First, the church must have the true preaching of the Word of God. Second, the church must have a regular and right practice of the ordinances of baptism and communion. Third, the church must practice discipline.

I recognize that none of these points center on Berkhof’s methodology or presuppositions per se as they do his practical theology and love for God’s Word. But in my study of Berkhof, these are some of the primary ingredients that have grown me to appreciate him and be refreshed by much of (not all of!) his theology.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

some of geoff’s thoughts this week.

Since I’ve been sick and (completely) out of action the last few days, I’ve had some time to think, read, study, and write. Here are some thoughts I’ve had:

I read a new story about a man who was shot and killed in the country of Somalia for smuggling Bibles in to a town to give to an underground house church. The man boldly was silent when they questioned him and it cost him his (earthly) life. Sadly, I thought: I wonder how so-called Christians in America would handle this situation if, at gun-point, someone questioned them regarding their faith? Is it any wonder that Satan doesn’t seem to be attacking the American “church” (as much) because, I think, he probably doesn’t need to—he’s already won them over?

I’m doing a paper on Louis Berkhof. I’ve been tremendously encouraged and edified in reading this brilliant theologian. I agree with nearly everything he says until he gets to the topic of the covenants and covenant theology. I still have no clue how covenant theologians try to support their theory that Gen 3:15 is part of this covenant when, in the Scriptures, there is no mention of the Hebrew word berit at all. (The first mention of berit in the Hebrew Bible is Genesis 6:18 regarding the Noahic covenant.) It baffles me to no end and I reject covenant theology even more strongly than I did before I started this paper.

I’m preaching on Philippians 4:4-7 this upcoming week and I’m reminded that it is a sin to be anxious to the point that it causes a person to be overwhelmed or consumed with a particular issue. I can’t believe how many people think that a drug, medication, or some other self-help formula will alleviate the issue (they refuse to call it a “sin”) rather than recognizing it for what it really is;—a SIN—repenting of it, seeking Christ alone for guidance and help, and moving on with joy (which is the remedy in Phil 4:4-7). To me, Scripture cannot be clearer that “worry” and “anxiety” is a sin when Jesus says 3x in Matt 6:25, 31, and 34 “do not worry.” If we would encourage people to acknowledge anxiety as a sin, repent of it, confess it as what it is, namely, a sin of idolatry and disbelief in God’s sovereign goodness, and trust in Christ anew and pray to him when the temptation strikes again I think we’ll be better off.

This morning I was at a coffee shop studying and I heard a lady say in the booth behind me (yes I was eavesdropping) that her house was robbed this week. It reminded me of our house burglary last summer and how God so graciously protected us and our belongings because the things that were stolen were just that—things. It reminded me, again (because I need to be reminded over and over), that I must heed the command of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

God is truly good to me and my family.

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