Saturday, January 30, 2010

I’m preaching tonight on Revelation 19:11–21 on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth. He came 2,000 years ago as a baby but in the near-future He’s coming back, not as a baby, but as a Sovereign and vengeful Judge.

It is at this Second Coming when, as John says in Revelation 19, that the beast (=the Antichrist) and the false prophet (=the side-kick of the Antichrist who performs many miracles and deceives many into believing the cunning lies of the Satanic Antichrist) will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire. How fitting it is for these two human beings to be the first to populate the eternal Lake of Fire.

At the present, when humans die who have not received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior die, they are immediately cast into Hell (=Hades)—a place of torment, but NOT the Lake of Fire (this is, the Second death according to Rev 20:11–15).

Note how one commentator speaks of this casting of the Antichrist and the false prophet into the eternal Lake of Fire:

“Two men, be it noted, are taken alive. They are the two arch-conspirators who have bulked so largely in this book (=Revelation)—The beast and the false prophet, the civil and religious leaders of the last league of nations, which will be Satan-inspired in its origin and Satan-directed until its doom. THese two men are ‘cast alive into the lake burning with fire and brimstone,’ where a thousand years later they are still said to be ‘suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,’ thus incidentally proving that the lake of fire is NOT annihilation, and that it is not purgatorial either, for it neither annihilates nor purifies these two fallen foe of God and man after a thousand years under judgment” (quoted in Walvoord, Revelation of Jesus Christ, 280).
“The gospel, in brief, is the good news about the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Consider for a moment that the eternal Son of God relinquished the glories of heaven to become a man, a human being like you and me. He lived a perfect and sinless life (unlike you and me), fulfilling every requirement of God’s holy law in a way we could never hope to accomplish. And then in a glorious display of God’s love for sinners like us, he willingly received the full fury of God’s righteous wrath against sin by dying for our sins on a cruel Roman cross.

Because God’s absolute and perfect holiness demands an equivalent holiness from all who come before him, in ourselves we are hopelessly lost and condemned. But Jesus, who had no sin of his won to pay for, took our place, paid our penalty, and suffered our punishment. Because his death as our substitute was perfectly sufficient to pay for our sin, God vindicated him by raising him from the dead. So now all who place their trust in Jesus’ work on their behalf and turn from their sin will be forgiven, counted righteous in him, and saved from judgment for all eternity . . . all by God’s marvelous grace. This is the gospel. This is the good news. Better news simply does not exist!”

- Gary & Betsy Ricucci, Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006), 21-22.

HT: Randy Kirkland

Friday, January 29, 2010

The sermons are now up and available if you weren't able to make it to the camp with us.

Session 1 - "God—The Creator and Encourager of Sex" - Gen 2:18-25
Session 2 - "Purity—God's Demand of Your Life" - 1 Thess 4:1-8
Session 3 - "Pornography—God's Hatred of It" - Hebrews 13:4 and Selected Scriptures
Session 4 - "Dating—Maintaining Purity Throughout" - Song of Solomon 8:4
Session 5 - "Resolved—Determining to Live a Pure Life" - Proverbs 5:1-23
Session 6 - Q&A with Pastor Geoff - Selected Scriptures

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"What we do in life echoes through eternity"

--I wonder if he knew the veracity of his own statement...
Bauckham and Hart fittingly remind us...

Because Jesus Christ is returning soon, we should "live expectantly" and "live a life oriented by hope."

Great food for thought today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm preaching on Evangelism and the Great Commission this Sunday at Church and here are a few quotes that I have mused over today...

"'Not called!' did you say? 'Not heard the call,' I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father's house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world."
--William Booth

"Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell."
--C.T. Studd

"If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one GO there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for."
--Charles Spurgeon

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just got home last night from our youth and college winter retreat. We were supposed to go to Big Bear to ski and board but all the freeways going up to Big Bear were closed. So we resorted to plan B—a local hotel. We had a blast as we studied the Word of God in the Executive Room at the Residence Inn. We also traveled up to Frazier Park and had a great day of sledding down some of the hills and played a great game of football in about 6 inches of snow. God truly blessed us with a great weekend. No injuries. No problems. No stoning the preacher. It all worked out well. Our theme for the weekend was God, Sex, and Purity. One of the things I was reminded of was how high (and necessary!) the calling is to preach and live out what you preach. God truly is good and I am thankful, yet again, for the clarity and power of God’s Word. The sermons are up and available to listen and/or download.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hope for the Depressed

by Ed Welch

Never has so much been crammed into one word. Depression feels terrifying—your world is dark, heavy, painful. Some days you think that physical pain might be easier to endure; at least the pain would be localized. Instead, depression goes to your very soul, corrupting everything in its path. Dead but walking is one way to describe it. You feel numb, but you still remember when you actually felt something. Somehow that makes it harder to bear.

So many things about your life are difficult right now. Things you used to take for granted—a good night’s sleep, having goals, looking forward to the future—now seem beyond your reach. Your relationships are also affected. The people who love you are looking for some emotional response from you, but you feel empty. Sometimes you are cranky and doubt their love, and then relationships are even more strained.

You aren’t alone, of course. Depression affects as much as 25% of the population. But statistics offer little comfort. In fact, a depressive spin on them can make you feel worse: You wonder why so many people are depressed, and you’re afraid that means there is no solution to the problem. Yet there is another perspective. God tells us that he cares about one wandering sheep in a hundred (Matthew 18:10–14) and counts the hairs on individual heads. If he has this much compassion for a solitary, lost individual, he certainly cares for you and such a large group of suffering people. You may not understand how he cares for you, but you can be certain that he is.


You are suffering, and suffering brings God into view. That’s the way it always happens. The soldier who escapes from a treacherous battle will instinctively thank God. The stock broker who just lost a fortune might instinctively curse him. When hardships come we either cry out to God for help, shake our fist at him, or do both. There is actually a picture of this in the Bible: throughout history God has taken his people out into the wilderness, and you are certainly in the wilderness.

The journey in the wilderness is intended, in part, to reveal what is in our hearts, and to teach us to trust God in both good times and hard times. Why does he do this? To show us those things that are most important. Don’t forget that God takes his children into the wilderness. He even led his only Son into the wilderness. We shouldn’t be surprised if he takes us there as well.

While you are in the wilderness what are you seeing in your own heart? How are you relating to God? Do you avoid him? Ignore him? Get angry at him? Do you act as though he is very far away and too busy with everything else to attend to your suffering? Are you frustrated that God is powerful enough to end your suffering but he hasn’t? In your depression, let God reveal your heart. You might find spiritual issues that contribute to or even cause your depression.


You are on one of two roads: faith or isolated independence. On the road of faith you are seeking and following God. You are calling out to him. You don’t understand what is happening, but you have not lost sight of how the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ assure you that he is good. You feel like you are walking in the dark, but in your best moments you are putting one foot in front of the other as an expression of your trust in God. Whether you know it or not you are being heroic. On this path, although you are suffering, you are still able to notice and marvel that God’s Spirit is empowering you to trust him through darkness and pain.

The other path is the more common one, even among Christians. Even if you believe that God has revealed himself to you in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. You don’t feel as though you are consciously avoiding God. You are just trying to survive. But if you look closely you will notice that you are pushing God away. Look at the tell-tale signs:

  • You have no hope, even though Scripture, God’s words to you, offers hope on almost every page. Here’s just one example, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21–23).
  • You think life is meaningless, even though you are a servant of the King and every small step of obedience resonates throughout eternity. This is God’s purpose for you today, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).
  • You think God doesn’t care, even though Scripture makes it clear that we run from God, not vice versa. Listen to what God says to you, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7).
  • In other words, in many areas of life, you simply do not believe what God says.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bonnie Ribune of the Chicago Tribune writes:

The amount of time young people spend consuming media has ballooned with around-the-clock access and mobile devices that function practically as appendages, according to a new report.

A few years ago, the same researchers thought that teens and tweens were consuming about as much media as humanly possible in the hours available. But somehow, young people have found a way to pack in even more.

In the last five years, the time that America's 8- to 18-year-olds spend watching TV, playing video games and using a computer for entertainment has risen by 1 hour, 17 minutes a day, the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

Young people now devote an average of 7 hours, 38 minutes to daily media use, or about 53 hours a week — more than a full-time job.

"What surprised me the most is the sheer amount of media content coming into their lives each day," said Kaiser's Vicky Rideout, who directed the study. "When you step back and look at the big picture, it's a little overwhelming."

The numbers zoom even higher if you consider kids' multitasking — such as listening to music while on the computer. Those data show young people are marinating in media for what amounts to 10 hours, 45 minutes a day — an increase of almost 2.25 hours since 2004.

The report, "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-year-olds," is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students nationwide. It is the third wave of the nonprofit's ongoing look at children's media use, providing a glimpse at current viewing and listening patterns while also documenting changes from five and 10 years ago.

The huge increase since 2004 can be attributed to the transformation of the cell phone into a content delivery device, Rideout said.

"Kids are spending more time using their phone to play video games, watch TV and listen to music than to actually talk on them," she said.

And, of course, the last time Kaiser took the nation's temperature, social networking sites barely existed.

"The average day for me, if I am not at work, I will text all day or be on MySapce or Facebook," said Felinda Seymore, 17, of Waukegan. "That's my life."

On Sunday, for instance, she fiddled around online from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., updating her status and commenting on her friends' pages, she said.

Yikes--O how important it is for us to saturate our minds with God's Word!
I am utterly convinced that the responsibility to preach and teach God’s Word is the highest calling God could have placed upon feeble man. Last night I had the privilege of preaching at church and I delivered a sermon on why you should believe in the gospel. It was a gospel message. I had seven reasons:

It reconciles you with a holy God
It transforms you from the inside out
It rescues you from eternal torment
It promises you eternal life at the moment of death
It gives you perspective in this world
It compels you to evangelize the unsaved
It instills in you a God-glorifying desire

These truths are just a few of the myriad of reasons Scripture gives for us to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ! It is only in the gospel of Christ where sins may be forgiven, we may be washed and cleansed, and made right with Almighty God.

Listen here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nearly all OT scholars affirm that the superscriptions (the titles) in the book of Psalms are not inspired. I differ, however. I am absolutely convinced they’re inspired and written by the author to enhance the historical setting and meaning of the psalm.

For example, I’m preaching Psalm 51 tomorrow and the superscription (=title) says:

בְּֽבֹוא־אֵ֭לָיו נָתָ֣ן הַנָּבִ֑יא כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֝֗א אֶל־בַּת־שָֽׁבַע׃

When Nathan the prophet came to him when he went into Bathsheba. (Title in the English psalms)

One reason why I believe the superscriptions are part of the inspired text is because of verse four (v.6 in Heb).

לְךָ֤ לְבַדְּךָ֨ חָטָאתִי֮ וְהָרַ֥ע בְּעֵינֶ֗יךָ עָ֫שִׂ֥יתִי 

Against you and you alone have I sinned and the evil in your eyes I have done.

The amazing note is when David says: I have committed the evil. Virtually no commentators make reference to this but the only referent to this article on “evil” is the superscription speaking of David’s going-into Bathsheba (=adultery). Without this superscription showing which specific sin David is referring to, the definite article here is meaningless. This is why the original languages are important and why it is crucial to examine every nuance of the languages so as to find what the inspired text is.

I am currently preaching through the book of Psalms. Tomorrow night we are blessed to study Psalm 51. In studying this psalm, I came across this hymn that I’d never heard of before. I am going to close by reading a few of these verses.

Written by Samuel Stone in 1866, Weary of Earth and Laden with My Sin contains marvelous theology:

Weary of earth, and laden with my sin,
I look at Heav’n and long to enter in,
But there no evil thing may find a home:
And yet I hear a voice that bids me “Come.”

So vile I am, how dare I hope to stand
In the pure glory of that holy land?
Before the whiteness of that throne appear?
Yet there are hands stretched out to draw me near.

The while I fain would tread the heav’nly way
Evil is ever with me day by day;
Yet on mine ears the gracious tidings fall:
“Repent, confess, thou shalt be loosed from all.”

It is the voice of Jesus that I hear;
His are the hands stretched out to draw me near,
And His the blood that can for all atone,
And set me faultless there before the throne.

’Twas He Who found me on the deathly wild,
And made me heir of Heav’n, the Father’s child,
And day by day, whereby my soul may live,
Gives me His grace of pardon, and will give.

O great Absolver, grant my soul may wear
The lowliest garb of penitence and prayer,
That in the Father’s courts my glorious dress
May be the garment of Thy righteousness.

Yea, Thou wilt answer for me, righteous Lord;
Thine all the merits, mine the great reward;
Thine the sharp thorns, and mine the golden crown;
Mine the life won, and Thine the life laid down.

Naught can I bring, dear Lord, for all I owe,
Yet let my full heart what it can bestow;
Like Mary’s gift, let my devotion prove,
Forgiven greatly, how greatly I love.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Now this is cool.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This is probably one of my most favorite videos for some reason. I always get a kick out of it and I always laugh--even though I've watched it many times!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


How would you finish this statement? What would you say? What is the most important thing you…? In our culture today, some think that the most important thing you can do is make a lot of money and support a family. Others suppose that the most important thing to be done is to better society and make our world “greener.” Still others, perhaps, think that we need to help others and make our world a “better place to live.” There may be a few others who think that the most important thing is to please—or appease—God by living a morally good life.

Yet according to the Bible none of these are the most important thing. According to God—whose opinion alone ultimately matters—the most important thing you need is to be reconciled to God. Very bluntly, you were born into this world as an enemy of God. If you are not a Christian you are God’s enemy and none of God’s enemies enter heaven—ever. Souls are at stake, eternally. Eternal hell is at stake. Eternal heaven is at stake.

Born into the world as an enemy of God Almighty because of our sin, we all as humans have one fundamental problem, namely, we are sinners through and through. Our nature rejects God. Our flesh wants to be in control. We are proud, arrogant, immoral, impure, defiled, idolatrous, and self-sufficient. We, in and of ourselves, love to dethrone God and enthrone self. This is at the heart of Satan’s sin and Satan rejoices with all the demons in hell when individuals fall prey to this same self-idolatrous sin.

The only way to be reconciled to God is for GOD to reconcile you to Himself. And the good news is that Jesus has come. He has lived the perfect life. He has died an undeserved death in the place of sinners who rightly deserve the wrath of God. But Jesus came to bear that divine and ultimate wrath of God for sinners who believe in Him. In a word, the only way you can ever be reconciled with God is by believing in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior. Belief includes more than a simple trust that He once existed as a human person. It demands more than a sheer intellectual knowledge that He was God’s Son (nearly everyone in the world would acknowledge that). Rather, true faith and belief demands a knowledge that Jesus is truly the God-Man who came as God to live a perfect life and as man to relate to us humans and a life-commitment and total-surrender to this Sovereign King.

The plea on the table before you today is this: be reconciled to God! Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Don’t say no. Don’t reject it. Fly to Christ for if you do not you will at the instant you close your eyes in death (whenever that may be) you will forever be in agonizing torment being personally and vehemently crushed by this God who once offered you reconciliation!

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One of the greatest blessings in a preacher’s ministry is when he raises up Godly men, teaches them the rules and methods of hermeneutics (biblical interpretation), educates them on how to prepare and preach a sermon while instructing them in godly living. This is one blessing that has become mine recently. A young man in our church was saved this past summer and as he has been delving into church ministry, church involvement, weekly men’s discipleship times, I’ve had the privilege of raising him up as a leader in our youth/college group.

This week I am not preaching Tuesday night. The reason is because this man is going to preach his first sermon. I have met with him numerous times. We’ve gone over the rules of biblical interpretation, how to prepare a sermon, and how to preach a sermon. He preached his sermon for me this past week and I have him a sermon evaluation form completely filled out with encouraging remarks and helpful tips for improvement.

What a joy to see a young man pursue Jesus Christ and read his bible often (putting some of us to shame!) and stand strong for Jesus Christ at a public college here and be ridiculed for his faith. God is truly honored in this kind of radical discipleship.

Matthew 10:32 32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

I am excited for this privilege to sit back and hear the Word of God preached as he opens the truth of God’s Word to us this Tuesday night.

2 Timothy 2:2 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just got home yesterday from an 11 day tour in Israel. Here are a few lessons God taught me this trip.

First, God Guides. I knew this already. I have experienced this before in my life. But this trip reminded me and showed me that God truly is the One sovereignly orchestrating every single step of our lives. In Israel as I led our group of six around the land, I prayed daily for God to guide us and lead us to the perfect sites, that I would find them if they were tucked away in a corner somewhere. And God totally answered that prayer--daily.

Second, God Guards. I also knew this. But God protected us. We had people that were nearly 70 years of age on the trip and that God protected them and guarded their bodies as we walked all around the Old City the final few days is remarkable. Additionally, God guarded us in a land that is very different than our own and a culture that is very different than our own. God truly is a wonderful shield.

Third, God Convicts. I pray just as every Christian does. Yet when we were sailing on the Sea of Galilee I was meditating on the verses in the gospels where Jesus got away to an isolated place (Mt Arbel?) to pray. As I was on the boat looking at Mt Arbel, God convicted me for my prayerlessness. Christians must pray. And if pastors are sovereignly entrusted with the duty of overseeing the spiritual condition of the souls of the sheep in his fold, then how much more ought pastors to pray. Earnestly. Urgently. Fervently. Constantly. God is good and God convicted me and starkly showed me that I must delve into more times of prayer with God.

Fourth, God is Good. We know this from Psalm 119:68--You are good. When people tell me that they have seen the land of Israel and are amazed at how small the land is and how and why events happened the way they did (e.g., for geographical reasons), I am overjoyed. When people tell me that they have a greater hunger to go home after the trip and start in Genesis 1 and read the entire Old Testament again with the knowledge and understanding gained because of this trip to Israel, it is all worth it.

Again, we can say with the Psalmist:

"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good; His lovingkindness endures forever." Ps 136:1
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