One life can change our world. This last week, Paula and I received word of the home-going of Dr. Robert Christensen. Bob and his lovely wife Lynne, have been long time friends of Paula and I for over 37 years.
We first met when I had the privilege of being Dr. Bob’s jet flight instructor and examiner after he enrolled in our Cessna Citation Jet Type Rating Course. As I reflect back on my aviation history of training more than 1,000 professional pilots, Bob was among the most likable, intense and teachable pilots I’d ever been in the cockpit with.
Dr. Bob was a good Catholic and even raised a son who became a priest. He had a respect for God and was serious about his religion. However, he had never been introduced to a relationship with God through Jesus. He admitted that he had no personal understanding of his need for a Savior, nor did he realize that to be acceptable to God he must personally receive Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for his sins. Scripture tells us in John 14:6, that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Bob did not understand that he could pray directly to God through Jesus . I pointed to the scripture in 1 Timothy 2:5 which says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” I explained that according to the Bible, no priest, no other person was meant to be in between us and God. Not even the Pope. Only Jesus, God’s Son.
One evening after flight training, Bob and I talked for several hours about what the Bible teaches regarding our need for a Savior. Most importantly, I showed him in the Bible where Jesus taught that eternal life in Heaven is available to those who believe in Jesus and receive Him into their heart. In John 1:2 it says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
God had me explain that there is nothing we can do to earn our way to God… there is no sacrifice big enough to impress Him. The only thing God requires for a personal relationship, is for us to recognize we are a sinner and that sin has separated us from Him. We can repent directly to God for our sin in Jesus’ name. We can invite Jesus into our life and receive His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. That is how we are acceptable to God. It is through the blood of Jesus we have right standing with God.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And in Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith (believing), and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.”
Later that evening the Lord saw fit to use me to usher Bob into the family of God. What a wonderful privilege! Bob’s zeal for life and learning became supercharged once he experienced the new birth. What a glorious and permanent transformation he experienced. After finding Jesus as his Savior, Bob was filled with the Holy Spirit. Very soon afterwards, Bob’s wife, Lynne, also invited Jesus into her heart and she too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. They had recently divorced but God then faithfully restored their broken relationship and they were remarried. This time it was a marriage based on the love of God through Jesus.
Dr. Bob started his spiritual life not knowing much about God, but quickly he became a strong man of God’s word. He became a man of faith and a gifted leader in the body of Christ. Eventually Bob and Lynne started a daily Christian TV program to help restore broken marriages. They put God and His Word first place in their lives… and their work goes on through Covenant Marriages Ministry.
God began to work in Bob and Lynne’s life and they befriended and received great counsel in the early days of their ministry from singer / actor Pat Boone and his amazing wife Shirley Boone. In turn, Bob and Lynne helped guide and disciple actors Gavin and Patti MacLeod in the Christian faith. (Gavin of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Love Boat and more). Bob was particularly instrumental in pointing Gavin and Patti into trusting God to save their troubled marriage. Bob was best man at Gavin’s remarriage ceremony. Bob’s life and ministry has had an eternal impact on many and still ripples throughout the world through the lives of those he touched.
Professionally, Dr. Bob specialized in oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery and he also developed a unique TMJ invention (see Dr. Bob’s bio below). He has authored 26 Christian books and patented 3 revolutionary dental procedures which changed oral surgery. For more than 20 years he was our primary physician on many of the evangelistic missionary trips that Paula and I conducted worldwide through Eagle International Church. Bob performed surgeries, cared for the poor, taught God’s Word and gave his testimony regularly. He always gave his time and expertise at no cost. We also took several personal vacations together over the years as our friendship grew closer.
Of course we’re going to miss Bob and we will miss the strength that God placed in him. But we are not people without hope. We know beyond a shadow of any doubt that Dr. Bob has simply changed addresses. He has stepped into the presence of Jesus.
Their ministry, Covenant Marriages Ministry, will continue. The words that Bob preached will not go away and the impact of his life in Christ will remain. I pray that someone reading this newsletter will find help through his ministry that is still touching lives and marriages for Jesus Christ.
In the meantime Dr. Bob’s awesome books are available to read for a limited time without cost. Go to his website to browse, learn, read, and enjoy Bob and Lynne’s wonderful ministry: www.covenantmarriages.com/
As you can see, this newsletter is a very personal expression of my friendship with a wonderful Christian businessman, surgeon, pastor, inventor, author, pilot and more. Below, I have included the last email Bob sent to me… and I give God the glory for his salvation and his life:
For many years, we have been blessed to have Dr. Bob among us. It is a far greater blessing, that through Christ we have the great hope of Heaven where we will be together again. Whether in death or when Christ returns, we will see Jesus soon. This life is fleeting and eternity is forever. How we spend our days here, on this side of eternity, will effect how we will spend our eternity. Use the time wisely. We encourage you to share the good news of salvation whenever the opportunity is available to you. One life can touch so many more.
In closing, be reminded of a key scripture. “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Jesus has tasted death for every person. All we need to to do is accept this free gift of salvation. Share the good news.
May Bob’s life remind each of us of the impact a single person can have if they use their life for God’s kingdom. Bob was a dear personal friend, and a brother in Christ to all who are part of God’s family. Once he found Jesus as his Savior and Lord, he picked up his cross to follow Him to become a minister of the gospel. Below is a copy of Bob’s obituary: His memorial service is today in Erie, Colorado.
Robert Wayne Christensen, 93 years old, passed away at home on January 17th, 2019. He is survived by his loving wife, Lynne, along with his ten children, twenty-seven grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved deeply.
Bob was born in the Bronx, New York on April 6th, 1925 to Charles and Eva Brophy. He had one older brother, Charles, and one younger sister, Shirley. After losing his dad at the age of two, his family made their way west and finally settled in Southern California where his mother remarried and he was adopted by his step-father, Leland Christensen.
Bob was a proud military man who served as a Navy corpsman in WWII and as a Navy (Lieutenant) surgeon stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (San Diego) during the Korean War. From his days riding with the old-time cowboys on cattle drives in California, his years in medical school at NYU, working as a cattle rancher and flying as a private pilot, Bob always had a story to tell.
His drive for accomplishment and adventure carried into adulthood as he authored 26 books, won awards for movies describing innovative medical procedures, held five medical device patents and had two major university biomechanical labs named after him. His dream of following his father’s footsteps into dentistry blossomed into an extraordinary career as an oral & maxillofacial surgeon, which included innovations of dental implants as well as the first implant for replacement of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
When he retired from performing surgery in 1988 he continued to further his dream of helping patients suffering from TMJ disorders by founding and leading TMJ Implants, Inc. for more than 20 years. More than anything, Bob was passionate about sharing his story and life experiences as he pointed people toward Jesus. He served as a minister of the gospel and led a ministry for broken marriages over the years, never shying away from talking about the love of God and the work He wanted to do in the lives of others.
Why not take a moment right now to reflect on your own life. Are you traveling the path that God has for you? Do you need to make adjustments? If so, go ahead and turn to God in prayer right now. Surrender your all to Him. You’ll forever be glad you did.
You remain in our hearts and prayers. Remember also, with God nothing is impossible!
Dale & Paula
Did President Trump “cave in” last week, or are other factors involved? See: Kara’s Commentary
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