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Posts Tagged ‘end times’

Beyond The Message: Millennium

Online Campus Pastor Robert Murphy sits down with Sarpy Campus Pastor Steve Walters to discuss the millennium. Steve preached on the millennium, at the Sarpy Campus, as part of the Future Shock message series. We wanted everyone to have a chance to hear about some of the main points from Steve’s message.

Questions we discuss are:
What is the millennium?
Why is it necessary?
What can I learn from it?
Why do I need to be aware of it?

Additional resources:
William Barclay commentary on Revelation
Things To Come by J. Dwight Pentecost

How long has Hell been around?

Interesting thought from one of our participants at Gathering during our current series on Hell. This person feels hell is plausible because the idea has been around a long while and is taught by other religions.

What are your thoughts about hell? Bring them with you and come out to Gathering this week. We will be trying to dealing full-on this time with the issue of predestination! Come hear guest speaker Walt Hooker, a Gathering favorite every time he comes.

Check out our Facebook Gathering Page as well for more thoughts. It’s shaping up to be one of our most interesting series. Come join in and bring your toughest questions.

Beyond The Message: Evil, Evil, And More Evil

Here we go! As I mentioned yesterday, Tim Perry and I sit down to talk some more about his recent message “Evil, Evil, and More Evil”. Some of things we discussed:

“How do I talk about this with my children?”
“How do I contend or endure when this evil comes?”
“How do I approach and/or study this topic?”
“What are some other biblical resources about this?”
And more…

Who Else Is Preparing For The End Of The World? Porn Companies.

I thought this past Sunday was a great start to Future Shock. For me, it was great to see months of preparation pay off with the series beginning. One of the things I had done for the series was to do research on various end of the world businesses, like Vivos (bunkers) and After The Rapture Pet Care (no explanation needed). Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that porn companies are trying to cash in on these fears as well.

This week I was on Drudge Report and saw a link about a porn company building an underground bunker so it can be ready for the end of the world in 2012. I was curious about the story, but my first thought is, “What kind of website does this go to?” Checked the address, and it was to a CBS blog out of Los Angeles. Whew!*

*I say that partly to be above reproach, partly to acknowledge the reality many of us face who spend time online, and partly because of my story of being a former porn addict.

The bunker will be more a hedonistic den than a bunker. They aren’t truly preparing for the end of the world, but I found it funny and sad that this bunker is in the works. I’m sure we’ve heard people joke about partying when the end of the world comes. When Harold Camping gave his failed Judgment Day date in May, it became an excuse for many people to gather together and party. Next December, this porn company will make sure its porn business/lifestyle can continue if the end of the world happens in conjunction with the end of the Mayan calendar. And, those of us who have given ourselves over to sin, can be in the “safety” of the bunker for a price. The porn company will make a ton of money off of leveraging people’s fears and/or addictions.

What about you? We’ve all joked about the end of the world, and we know people who say they are looking forward to partying in Hell. When the world does end, it will not be a fun-filled time. Hell will not be a paradise for sinners. As Lead Pastor Mark said in the first Future Shock message, you need to be ready. Jesus is our coming King. The future implications are huge for the present.

When the world ends, make sure Jesus is Lord of your life. Don’t make sure you can still be a sinner.

Maybe I should be worried?

Starting to think about our next message series coming this fall – Future Shock. Not sure how I landed it but my job on the teaching team this series is to deal with all the cosmic bad-boys found in biblical eschatology! Who are God’s most powerful enemies- bent on the destruction of his people- alive and dangerous as they rise in power and influence in our world?

If you’ve ever read parts of scripture like Daniel 8-9 or Revelation 16-19 you’ll meet world rulers with blatantly anti-God goals, Dragons and Beasts depicted as tools of Satanic aggression, false prophets actively manipulating world systems, deceiving people and bringing them under his power, the Anti-Christ, and even a cosmic bad-girl who imbibes the blood of Christian martyrs! To be honest, I feel like Daniel in response to his apocalyptic visions:

“I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.” Dan 8:27

Something of enormous proportions is at stake. In Daniel’s day a vision of a goat with a few extra horns growing out of it’s head turned into a disgusting abomination of God’s temple and the public executions of priests. Antiochus IV was a real world ruler Daniel’s vision predicted would unleash great evil on God’s people. Does the Bible tell us similar things might be in store for Christians today?

YES. God has enemies. Real ones. That means God’s people will face God’s enemies in some form. Church history tells that story already. Christ followers have always taken the mission of Jesus forward through real opposition. That will only intensify as the timeline of salvation history advances to it’s climax. The role for Christians isn’t to “hope it doesn’t happen” or just close our eyes and brace for it.

Jesus gave us absolutely realistic instructions when he said this: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, the world hates you.” Or how about this one: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15.

I don’t know about you, but along with the likelihood of being the target of Anti-Jesus hatred comes a fascination with who those enemies are. I want to know as much as I can about The Anti-Christ, The Beast, The False Prophet, The Dragon, The Man of Lawlessness, The Blood-drinking Prostitute riding a scarlet beast (well maybe not so much about her).

Make sure you don’t miss Future Shock. I think it will scare your pants off to be honest. But I also think for every nasty enemy of God poised to unmake our world, there’s an assurance from Jesus that he can see his people through and that he longs to share his cosmic victory with us!

Send me your comments and questions as we gear up for this incredible series. Get into the book of Revelation over the next several weeks. Let us know what you’re thinking!

PS – no, this is not a photograph of me or any other CCC staff member.

Apocalypse Continues…

Just thought I’d better get this pic out to you revealing the crossword puzzle clues from my previous post. All you have to do to read it in most browsers is just click on the image and it will enlarge.

Next post I’ll try to put some of the questions we’re getting from our sessions. Here’s the link to week one’s presentation An Introduction to Eschatology. Hope you’ll make your way to Gathering as we continue for another couple of weeks.

The Gospel of the Kingdom – G. E. Ladd

A great read I’d highly recommend for understanding Eschatology. He develops a theology of the Kingdom from a historic, pre-millennial perspective. Here’s a summary of chapter one: What is the Kingdom of God?

1 – A present Spiritual Reality.
2 – What people experience when they give their lives to the rule of the Spirit.
3 – An inheritance that God will fully give his people at a point in the future.
4 – A realm of power or dominion into which true followers of Jesus have entered.
5 – Anywhere the king is present and his subjects recognize his authority.
6 – An inner redemptive blessing experienced only by spiritual re-birth.
7 – The rule of God.

Why is the kingdom so important? In order to understand how and why God will bring the present age to a close, one has to have some starting point of what the rule of God in our world is like. The apocalypse is all about the handing over of this age to the next by the power of God on his time-table. It really should be thought of as the in-breaking from the future into our world as we know it now in order to fulfill the plan of God.

Send me your questions! Let’s get this thing rolling now.

Time-line Sanity

Here’s my first shot at an eschatology time-line. This comes from a great book I’ve been Nordicizing called The Gospel of the Kingdom by G.E. Ladd. Of all the numerous end-times schemes, this one actually seems sane to me (eschatology timelines get crazy real fast). We’ll explain it on Sunday at Gathering when we begin our series called Apocalypse.

I offer this sketch to preview the conversation we’ll have this week. The best starting point in my opinion in talking about the end times is the overlap between “this age”…and “the age to come”. See Chapter III – The Kingdom is Today. Ladd’s book is so refreshing because he keeps it simple.

When Jesus came announcing the Kingdom of God, he started to connect the time frame human history has always happened in (the bottom line) with the age to come in which the Kingdom of God overtakes all human history and the rule of Jesus is made complete.

The age we live in now – is a time of transition – a huge overlap let’s call it between the world as we know it and the world to come in which all things will be made new. The first half of that overlapping history is called the church age and the second half of that time scripture calls the millennium.

Enough for now. We’ll add more to the diagram as we talk about it from week to week at Gathering. I’ll try to get you a few more posts before Sunday comes and start defining some helpful terms. I’ll show you the book in the next post.

PS – you can ignore the stamp.

Apocalypse Crossword Is Here

Check out this sweet little eschatalogical crossword puzzle for all you end-times buffs. Fabulous prizes for the first two people to hand me a completed, fully accurate puzzle. Download the puzzle by clicking here. Print it, fill it in and bring it to me at Gathering this next week (Oct 4th, 12:30pm at the Student Center on the Old Mill Campus). I’ll check it and give you your prize on the spot!

Apocalypse Is Coming!

Just a brief word here on Apocalypse, a new Gathering series about to launch (Oct 4th). I’d like to start stirring the pot with my readers on this vastly complex topic. There are a couple of strategies we could take in discussing the biblical view the last days.

Possibility One
This strategy I’ll call the Systematic Theology approach. In this scheme, one tries to devise a simple interpretive framework for understanding all the biblical data that has to do with the end times. The approach is a pretty helpful one, but as you can imagine, what starts out as a goal to be simple gets deep pretty fast when we’re talking about all the stuff we see in books like Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. The goal in systematic theology is to help you plant your flag firmly in one camp or another Pre-Millennial or Amillenial. Pre-Tribulational or Post-Tribulational Second coming of Christ.

Possibility Two
This strategy we’ll call the Biblical Theology approach. Biblical theology sticks as close as possible to the biblical and literary contexts of the relevant passages. Lots of loose ends are left hanging around. Frameworks and timelines are held pretty loosely in the process. Good Systematic Theology is rooted in good Biblical Theological method.

In Gathering, we’ll definitely be starting with Possibility Two! Rather than jumping in the deep end right away, we’ll try to build our understanding of this compelling subject from the ground up. We’ll start week one off with an over-view and some definitions. We’ll make lots and lots of space for questions each week! We’ll also try to keep it real in terms everyday practical interests in the topic. So don’t be surprised if we don’t push one brand of eschatology over another. We’ll all have much more fun exploring the Apocalypse in the end (Ha!).

On our way to the starting line, though, it would be great if you would hit the comment button or e-mail me your questions about the end times. Let’s ramp up the dialog before October 4th!