Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Christ follower?

Posted: April 5, 2015 in religion

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Christ follower.  It’s a good thing? Growing up I went to a Independent Fundamental Baptist camp during my summers while there I heard many excellent sermons and it was where God first called me to preach.  However, years later I reflected on the theology taught and found it not only lacking but legalistic.  Recently a gentleman and I were having a conversation and he used the phrase “Christ follower” and went on to describe what he believed that to be, which was saving the whole person.  Then he added it’s not enough for a person to “just believe”.  While I would agree that it is highly important for discipleship and we should want to walk alongside those who get saved and guide them.  This terminology is nothing new in fact you probably have read the phrase or theology behind it in books like Radical and/or Crazy Love.  In my opinion it is nothing more than repackaged Reformed theology for a new generation of readers.  The motto seemingly is ‘If it sounds right then it is right’.  These writers are well intentioned and believe in their hardest of hearts that what they are doing is correct, nevertheless it is still bad theology.  While I should be happy (I am) that above all else at least Christ is preached, I am concerned that the toleration of bad theology will do considerable harm to the next generation of believers.  It is something I like to call the Charles Finney effect.

Permit me to write that I am willingly to acknowledge that Charles Finney has done more for the Lord than I have or will.  Now that, that is stated his theology was amiss and had some dramatic consequences.  Charles Finney was an evangelist who lived in the 1800s.  For starters Finney taught a second work of grace apart from salvation (see Merrill Unger for more).  This second work of grace concept became the basis for the modern Pentecostal movement.  Finney affirmed that works were the evidence of faith, which one could consider the same as stating ‘We need to save the whole person and not just simply believe.’  My question is where is the justification by faith alone?  Today it seems it is a justification by faith alone but as long as you have the good works to back it up, but if you sin at some point then may be you were never really saved.  Finney was a charismatic preacher and he wrote a great deal, however, his theology is found wanting and destructive.

Save the whole person?  Of course I believe that Christians should walk next to new converts and help disciple them.  However, the question fails to allow for the concept Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:4-12, one person planted the seed and another waters.  Believe it or not God likes to use different people in all our lives to enable us to grow in grace.  God has use a great many different people in my life.  My brother told me about Jesus, but it was a pastor in SoCal, who discipled me years later.  ‘Save the whole person,’ is a clever way of getting people to think that they have to do something more than simply believe in Jesus Christ.  That my friend as the Fundamental Baptist Preachers used to say, ‘Is a lie straight out of the pit of Hell.’

Jesus said, ‘Believe in me for eternal life’ (John 6:47).  “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12.  Discipleship and Salvation are not one and the same.  Discipleship is a choice a believer makes to follow Christ, to take up his cross.  Salvation is a free gift with no strings attached that Jesus offers freely to all (Revelation 22:17).

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What is Prophecy for Today?

Posted: January 14, 2015 in religion

Prophecy for Today is a blog by me, Dan Robb.  I am Student Pastor and have a high interest in bible prophecy.  Some might say, “What gives me the authority to write a blog?”  I earned a Master Divinity and have been studying bible prophecy for the last five years.  I believe people should know and comprehend not only the bible, but the prophecies in it.

Bible prophecy might be considered a scary subject however, it was meant to be understood.  Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near.”  I do believe in the return of the Lord (John 14:1-3).  I also believe in a Rapture of the Church.  Who is this church made of?  People who believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life (John 3:16; 6:47).  A person does not need to belong to a church or get baptized in order to go to heaven.  While those things are good and should be done, they are not necessary in order to receive salvation.

I take a conservative approach to scripture.  In order to interpret the Bible correctly one must investigate the context, grammar, style, audience (to whom is talking or talking to), and history.  Otherwise people could make the Bible say whatever it is they wanted it to say and many have done this and continue to do so today.  You may disagree with my theological position and I am fine with that, however, have courtesy when commenting.  I realize people get heated and talking religion, however, there is no need to be rude.  I will respect your opinion and hopefully we can have a lively dialogue when exchanging ideas.

May the peace of Christ comfort your hearts.

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I was standing on the field at Laguna Beach High School, it was halftime, and Costa Mesa was losing a football game.  It was about 100 degrees on the field.  I had sweat through my shirt and knew the players were giving everything they had.  Therefore, it was odd to hear someone from the crowd yell out the N- word.  I was completely shocked.  The head coach of the Freshman team was African American and the comment was meant for him to hear.  Obviously it was not enough for the home team to be winning, they had to stoop to new lows in order to intimidate or rather get under the skin of the Mustangs.  The game had gotten out of control and the referees allowed much to happen.

I will never forget the play before half time.  One of the Laguna players made a great play, but then decided it was appropriate to do a dance of some kind in front of the Mustang bench.  I am still trying to figure out why he felt the need to do it, because he only made one tackle.  We lost that day, despite a courageous comeback.

However, afterwards I went to my car and I thought how in the world can people attempt to demean others with such hateful words in the day and age that we live.  My rose colored glasses had been knocked off.  While the football game was many years ago, it has left an impression on me and the way people think.  It saddens me.

We all come from some place.   Everyone’s place is different, which is what makes us unique.  I grew up in the MidWest and by all accounts in a sheltered environment in Zionsville, Indiana (by the way it was a great place to grow up).  Yet I did not have the experiences others might by growing up in a different one.   I write this because it took a book to change my thinking about race and how I viewed things.  I grew up Christian, yet when I was in college I knew nothing of my faith.  I discovered a book by Ken Ham called One Blood, which got my mind thinking.  In the book he says that we (the human race) are not that different in fact we are very similar.  What we see on the outside is only a fraction of the difference.  Yet people make a big deal of fractions.  We fear the differences rather than embrace them.

When God looks at us, He does not see the definitions we give ourselves or others give, but rather He sees us as who we really are.  He loves that person.  God does not see in color, but in love.  Religion today can be a hot button topic.  However, it was religion or in my opinion a relationship with Jesus, which taught me how to look at people and how to live better.

Due to a scheduling glitch, we had to return to Laguna Beach the next year and this time we won on a last second play.  It was very gratifying walking off that field again with a win.  I was more happy for the head coach, knowing what he endured the previous season.  I was proud of our guys who fought for the victory.  Our victory on the field that day did not whip out what happened in the past.  It serves as a reminder of what happened and how with each day I am blessed with I can live to be a difference.

After all we are all bleed the same.  There is really not that much difference if any at all.

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Recently I have been having a conversation with an individual who did not believe in the freeness of the Gospel.  This gentleman tried to tell me that while salvation is initially free (meaning we had to just believe), in order to keep or have it we also had to Remain in Christ, obey, love Him.  All of these conditions were necessary in order to go to heaven.  It was as if he wanted it both ways.  He wanted to merit his salvation.  We are not required to prove to God that Jesus did not wasted His blood for us.  All Christ asks us to do is believe in Him (John 3:16, 6:57).   I have no problem with the things his man proposed for Christians to do, they are things Christians should be doing.  However, our eternal destination is not based upon them, rather it is the finished work of Christ.  To add a list to Christ’s work is to say what He did on the cross was not enough.  John wrote his Gospel so that people would believe in Jesus and that by believing we have life (John 20:31).  If other conditions were necessary then when the jailor asks Paul in Acts 16:30 what must he do to be saved, the response should be “Well believe, but then if you must remain in Christ, obey and love Him.  If you fail in these things then may be you never really believed to begin with or you needed to strive harder to merit eternal salvation.”  It was a simple, straightforward question Paul was asked and he gave a direct answer.  Believe in Jesus, that was all he had to do.  For the jailor this was different than what he grew up with there in Philippi.  There he had to please and appease the gods.  He was used to continually doing something in order to stay in good favor with the gods.  Nothing was free.  Yet salvation is.  Still today man strives to do something for his salvation.  All Jesus asks is to simply believe.

The gentleman I spoke with also referenced the Gospel I spoke of as “Cheap Grace.”  I thought it was interesting he used the term because it is “cheap grace,” because it is Free!  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) and all the world has to do is believe in Him.  It is simple and easy.

Some might say, “Hey where is the accountability here?”  I’m glad you asked the question because we will judged according to our works the things done in our bodies (2 Corinthians 5, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  We are accountable for how we live.  We should be laying for ourselves treasures in heaven.  Our focus should be on eternal things, not the here and now.  The things of this earth will pass away.

Salvation is free.  There is nothing I can do to merit it.  Nothing I can do to prove to God I am worthy enough.  He has done the work, all He asks is for us to believe.  In a world where religions and churches demand so much from people.  True Christianity stands in stark contrast.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  I like the use of the word “have” in this passage because it implies that we “have” everlasting life the moment we believe.  It’s free.  Will you believe in Jesus today?

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I went to the Lego Movie the other night with my wife.  It was a pretty cool movie and we enjoyed it.  However, in one of the previews of an upcoming IMAX movie on some animals really struck me.  The narrator called the animals mankind’s (or as people would say now humankind) relatives.  He stated it, not as a question but as fact.  It bothered me because of what the statement implied, which is man is only an animal.  There is no glory in him, there is nothing inspiring about him.  He was not created but merely evolved and is lucky.

It is this view that man is really an animal that has enabled him to pursue his own way of life apart form any moral accountability to God (or any god).  He is freed to do whatever he desires.  Some might argue that even those who profess a belief in God live the same way, which is sadly true.  However, a belief in God means that man can be something more and was created to be that way by a God that cares about him.

The prevailing belief today is that man is an animal and thus is his own god.  If everyone is their own god then there is no real truth and life IS meaningless.  Sure we can and do sugar coat it by doing good but there is no substance behind the good deeds.  As much as atheists will claim they have morals (which I do not doubt at all) there is nothing behind the morals but morals for morals sake.  What is then true for one person then is not for another.  There is no set moral code.  I am not suggesting this is anything recent as in the last 50 years.  Man has always attempted to make a life apart from God and even be a god himself.  However, the end of this way of thinking has never been a good one.

Genesis 1:26 tells us that man is created in God’s image.  When the bible says “Let us make man in our image, the Hebrew grammar suggests it means “Let us make man as our image.”  In ancient times an emperor might place statues of himself throughout the remote part of his land.  These symbols would declare that those areas were under his power and reign.  Therefore, God placed man in the world as a living symbol of Himself on earth to represent his reign.  This is why God gives the command for man to have dominion over the earth.  This is the reason God values people so much: We are made to reflect His majesty on earth.  There is a significance to mankind.  There is no chance or survival of the fittest.  One only has to look to the world created around him to understand if this is all random chance then they should go to Vegas and gamble it all.

God has created a world and given man the opportunity to know Him.

 

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When I saw on the news Monday (February 10th) that Iran warships were coming close to the US coast I thought, “Is April Fool’s Day happening sooner this year?”  Fox News reported on their website that Iran is doing this because the US has deployed ships close to their borders.  This is a puzzling development.  Iran is obviously attempting to take a stand against the US.  The US appears reluctant to start a war.  Could this be the beginnings of a new cold war?  That is one possibility.

While the world pursues peace, there will always be a stumbling block for it until the Antichrist strikes a deal with Israel and the Muslim community in the Middle East.  What does this mean for people living today?  The time is now to put your faith in the one true God.  Things are only going to escalate more and more and more in the coming years.  The peace the world desperately wants will never be until the Lord returns (John 14:3).  The bible tells us that God sent His Son to the world to die for our sins and the sins of this whole world and all that is asked is not for us to join a church or give money or be a good person.  All that is asked for you to believe in Jesus for eternal (John 3:16 and 1 John 2:1,2).  You do not need to pray a prayer or become a Christian in order to believe in Jesus.  All you need to do is believe in Him (John 6:57).

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A article in the Austin Statesman by New York Times writer Jim Yardley entitled “Pope urges World Peace reaches out to other faiths,” ran this past Thursday.  The pope in his first Christmas address urged the world to come together for peace.  He went on to say, “True peace is not a balance of opposing forces.  It is not a lovely facade which conceals conflicts and divisions.  Peace calls for daily commitment.”

Peace is a good thing.  I think any one reading this blog post including this writer would agree with that.  However, the bible claims that there will be no such thing as peace especially in these last days.  The Pope is welcomed to urge the world all he wants however, God has already spoken (Matthew 24:6,7).  The conflict in the Middle East is only the tip of the ice berg of what is to come in the Tribulation.

Matthew says there will wars and rumors of rumors of wars and that nation will rise up against nation.  These says are Jewish idioms for world wars.   There have already been two and there is still a yet third world war that is lurking on the horizon.  The third world war or possibly fourth by the end of the Tribulation will be when the Beast brings the armies of the world against Israel.  The Lord Jesus ends the war with His return (Revelation 19:11-21).

The perspective in which I write is a Pre-Tribulational view of Bible Prophecy.  This means I believe the Lord will return for believers before the Tribulation begins (Daniel 9:27, John 14:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:2-3).  Therefore, when I read that the Pope is urging the world for peace I think “That’s great, but it will not be a lasting peace.”  1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “Peace and safety then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.  And they shall not escape.”  The is saying that the world will achieve some sort of peace (which I believe will happen when the Antichrist or Beast finally gets a covenant signed with Israel and their foes) this peace will not last because the signing of the covenant will signal the start of Tribulation.

All this talk of peace should be taken as a sign that the Lord’s return is coming soon.  Believers should be looking up (1 John 2:28).

I have not written this blog post in an attempt to scare any one.  The purpose of Prophecy for Today is to prepare saints for the Lord’s return and His future Kingdom.  I take a conservative approach to bible prophecy interpretation in order to ensure and allow the word to speak.  Thank you for stopping by.  God Bless.

 

What Christmas means to me

Posted: December 17, 2013 in religion

I’m that guy!  The guy who puts his Christmas tree up early and takes it down late.  Sometimes I wonder if it was possible I would much like to keep the tree up year round.  Why? Is there something wrong with me?  I’m sure something is most likely wrong with me, but nothing clinical.  I just love Christmas time.

This time every year I read  Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.”  It is probably my favorite book, because of the characters and themes of the book.  Scrooge is my favorite.  I love reading about his transformation.  It is the transformation of Scrooge that I love.  It reminds me that this time of year is not about the presents or get togethers with family, but it is about the birth of the savior of the world.  Through His death and resurrection we can be transformed thru believing in Him (John 6:57).  For those, who already believe in the Lord there is hope that He will someday return for His church (John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

This time of year makes me pause and remember all that the Lord has done for me.  Humbling himself and becoming a baby so that He would eventually die for me and mankind to save the world.  I am touched by my Savior’s great love for everyone.  Jesus did not die for only those who would believe in Him, but for everyone who would ever live on this earth (1 John 2:1 and 2). Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, because we can celebrate the birth of our savior, which gives us all hope.  Merry Christmas!

 

Something to be Thankful for

Posted: November 27, 2013 in religion

These interesting times in which we live in America.  Our nation seems as if it is at roads.  There are continual healthcare debates as well as a great many folks who are already seeing their premiums go up a great deal.  There is uncertainty in the Middle East.  For some the hope of a bright future in the United States is being diminished, because has become increasingly difficult to make it like their parents did.  The world in which our parents grew up is not the same one we live in today.

Yet despite all of these things that are going on, there is much to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving.  The early settlers had endured much in not only their travels to the new world but also in their acclamation to their surroundings.  It was a hard life in harsh conditions yet they made it work.  There was still much to be thankful for.

It is in these difficult times that we can find our thankfulness in the simple things like family, friends, and faith.  Life may or may not give us the same opportunities our parents had, but we still have much.  We can find our solace in the fact that we are alive and that life is a gift from God.

Personally I am thankful for my family and loving wife of almost seven years.  We moved from California to Texas to start our lives.  While it was a difficult transition and we would not have done it any other way.  I am thankful to have her by my side.   I greatly appreciate the people who have supported us in our decision to leave California and helped us along the way.  I am thankful for the new job I have, which starts next week.  I will be in ministry again, doing what I love the most.  There is much to be thankful for.  There is much for us to be thankful for.  God is good all the time.

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Revelation 13:16-18, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom.  Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

Growing up whenever I would read this passage or here people describe it I was amazed.   I always wondered how it would work or how the technology would be created?  You may or may not have heard about Digital Life it is wireless home security from a AT&T.  You are able to control everything from your Iphone or Ipad.  You could unlock your home from your Ipad if you were at work.  It is pretty cool.  If you have someone who cleans your house, you can freak them out by turning on the lights while your at work through your phone, because of Digital Life.

It is interesting where technology is going.  Soon there will be something called Connect Car and it would build off of the Digital Life.  You would be able to turn on the lights in your house through your car.  Then a few years or maybe sooner is the Digital Wallet.  I heard about this last week.  Everything can be accessed through your Iphone.  AT&T has been working with banks of the world and states to come up with something safe and reliable.  You go to the store, just use your Iphone to pay.  If you buy alcohol, the store clerk might check your ID.  No problem.  Just pull your Driver’s License from your Iphone.  The wallet will be a thing of the past.  Pretty crazy!

The technology is moving to a place where in the future people will no longer need the wallet but will have access to everything via in themselves.  In the verse 16-17 of Revelation 13, no one may buy or sell unless they have the mark.  I have always heard about this technology, but with the Digital Wallet it will make the hard copy a thing of the past.  Eventually the technology of the Digital Wallet will give way for a new tech, which could at some point be what we read about here in Revelation.

What does it mean?  It means that we are getting a better idea of how things are leading up to the Mark of the Beast.  However, if you have put your faith in Jesus (John 6:47) then you will not be here to experience the Mark and the End Times.