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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Believing in the Hope of Heaven (2 of 2)

Believing in the Hope of Heaven (2 of 2)

Lee Strobel examines why our culture chases immortality and how we want to make a name for ourselves that survives the test of time. He shared evidence for the existence of the soul—and how science actually backs that up! You’ll also get a glimpse into what heaven looks like through the eyes of those who have had near-death experiences. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: June 15, 2023

Preview:

Lee Strobel: When that happens, when you have a brush with death like that and you don’t know, am I gonna close my eyes and open them in the next world, you don’t know, this becomes very relevant, (laughs) you know? All of a sudden the idea of Heaven is not some ephemeral, uh, you know, vague, kind of, idea that you think about maybe once in a while, it becomes the dominant thought in your mind. And so I thought, you know, I believe, based on the Bible, as a Christian what happens when we die, but I’m also a skeptic.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well that’s Lee Strobel and he joins us again today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, John, Lee is so good at digging deeper, tryin’ to find that treasure, and he did that as a journalist-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, and in essence he applied those very skills to, at first, to disprove the resurrection of Jesus, only to find that he was overwhelmed with the evidence for it-

John: Hm.

Jim: … and we heard that last time. If you missed that, get the download or get the app for your smartphone, it was really good, and, uh, you want to hear it. And today we’re gonna continue that discussion, uh, related to his book, The Case for Heaven. And I’m tellin’ ya, I- I know someone’s g-, out there goin’, “Jim, you sound so excited about this.” I am and I’m animated because I think this is the whole ball of wax so to speak, you know? If- if we’re gonna just, kind of, get through the motions here on earth and not be enthusiastic about what’s of, what’s ahead of us, getting to Heaven, interacting with the Lord personally, hopefully being able to ask questions, like, “How do galaxies work-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what was that one?” You know, uh, my mind goes everywhere and I’m like a little child. I mean I am looking forward to it-

John: Hm.

Jim: … and I want you to be looking forward to it as well. Not with fear and in trepidation, but trust and faithfulness like a child. He’s our Abba Father-

John: Hm.

Jim: … let’s go.

John: Yeah. Well our guest today is pretty compelling when it comes to the research he’s found. Uh, Lee Strobel has been here a number of times. He serves as the founding director of the Lee Strobel Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics at Colorado Christian University. Uh, he’s a best-selling author and we’re talking today about a book he’s written called The Case for Heaven: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death. Call for your copy. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Lee, welcome back.

Lee: Thank you, Jim-

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: … appreciate it, thank you John.

Jim: I love it and I love the story. And for those that didn’t hear yesterday, with Leslie, your wife-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … coming to Christ first, coming home saying, “Well guess what, I’ve become a Christian-” (laughs)

Lee: Golly.

Jim: … and you going, “No.”

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: And, uh, that did-

John: (laughs)

Jim: … uh, apply a little disruption into your marriage.

Lee: Oh man, no kidding.

Jim: But, you know, at the same time I- I love the challenge that you put to people who aren’t believers to say, “Well just go disprove it or prove it for-

Lee: Yeah-

Jim: … yourself.” You know, it, it’s a interesting comment I had. I was in Israel doing a trip with Ray Vander Laan-

Lee: Oh yeah.

Jim: … uh, and, uh, I remember talking to, uh, a- a person, a Jewish person who would help him set things up, Boaz, and I remember walkin’ along the trail with him. I said, “Boaz, as a Jewish person,” who, he was not a Christian, not a believer, I said, “what- what’s missing in Jesus’ resume?”

Lee: Hm, (laughs) good way-

Jim: And I remember-

Lee: … to put it.

Jim: … uh, yeah. And he went … You know, I said, “You know-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … goodness, kindness, love, mercy.” I said, “What, for the Jewish people, I mean, what- what’s not in the resume?”

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: And he said, “Hm, never had that question, it’s a good question, let me ask my wife tonight.”

Lee: (laughs)

John: Oh.

Jim: So he-

Lee: Wow.

Jim: … he went home. So the next morning we’re on the trail, walkin’ along, I said, “Boaz, what’d your wife say?” And he said, “Well, we’re not saying he wasn’t the Messiah, we’re just saying, as Jewish people, we’ve got a high degree of skepticism and we’re not sure.”

John: Hm.

Jim: I said, “Well that- that’s a step in the right direction.

Lee: Sure- sure.

Jim: So I, you know, I just told him, I said-

Lee: That’s an atheist into agnosticism-

Jim: Yeah-

Lee: … right there. (laughs)

Jim: … yeah. I said, “I just hope, you know, after you do these tours a few times- (laughs)

Lee: … yeah.

Jim: … maybe that light will come on.” And it-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … again, it’s just such an amazing thing. What- what is missing for that atheist or that nonbeliever in Jesus’ resume that-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, that they need in there to prove that he was the Messiah?

Lee: And for me as a- a- a journalist, uh, trained in law, you know, who has investigated history, uh, you know, the nuts and bolts of history tell me that Jesus didn’t just claim to be the son of God, he backed up that claim by returning from the dead.

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: You know, it’s interesting when- when in, uh, John 10, verse 3, where Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” The Greek word for one there is not masculine, it’s neuter, which means Jesus was not saying I am the Father of the same person, he was saying I am the Father of the same thing. We’re one in nature, or one in essence. And the audience understood what he was saying, they picked up stones to kill him ’cause they said, “You, you’re just a man and you’re claimin’ to be God.”

Jim: Right.

Lee: But you know what, anybod- … I could claim to be God, you could claim to be God, John, well maybe not John.

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: Any- (laughs) anybody could claim to be God, but if Jesus claimed to be God, died, and then three days later rose from the dead, that’s pretty (laughs) good evidence he’s tellin’ the truth.

Jim: Yeah, woops, maybe-

Lee: Right-

Jim: … he was-

Lee: … exactly-

Jim: … and, uh-

Lee: … yeah.

Jim: … that’s the whole point, right, don’t miss it-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … don’t live this entire life … I remember being in college and thinking that, that’s what got me back-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … to the Lord, I, you know, accepted Christ at 15. I’m sitting in a philosophy class-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … going, I’m learning all these things about Aristotle, Plato-

John: Hm.

Jim: … all that, and I said, “I should actually read the Bible-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … before I reject it-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … right? And I was just on the bubble with all of it-

Lee: Wow.

Jim: … I didn’t know to believe it or not believe it, so I, that was it. I hung up all the books at school and for that semester I got through it-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … but I spend most of my time reading scripture and, boom-

Lee: Wow.

Jim: … that’s when the Lord said, “Yeah.”

Lee: And you know what the relevance is today? People think, “Okay, well, okay, you come to that conclusion, great, how does is that, well how’s that really relevant today?” It’s relevant because if Heaven is real, uh, which I believe it is and that’s what my book is about, that Heaven is real. If that is true, it’s, like, having a vacation on your calendar. So in other words if-

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: … if- if you’re-

Jim: I love that.

Lee: … if you’re at work and your boss is breathin’ down your neck, and you got a million projects, and things are difficult, and the family’s goin’ crazy, and things are hard right now, things are difficult right now, but you know in three weeks I got a vacation in Hawaii comin’ up, my wife-

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, no kidding.

Lee: … and I are gonna get away to a … It makes the present difficulties easier to get through.

Jim: Hm.

Lee: And when we know that Heaven is on our future calendar, we may- may not know when, but when we know someday it’s on our calendar, it helps us deal with the present difficulties-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … because we say, “As hard as things can get in this world, guess what, I’m goin’ to Heaven.” And after 583 billion, 362 million, 572 thousand, 263 perfect days of bliss, in the perfect pl-, presence of God, I’m not gonna remember-

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: … the- these present difficulties-

John: Hm.

Lee: … at all.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Wow, that’s a big number.

Lee: (laughs) It is.

Jim: How’d you come up with that?

John: (laughs)

Lee: And that’s just gettin’ goin’.

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: That’s- that’s so good.

John: Hm.

Jim: Um, Lee, let’s get into the content of the book. Uh, in there-

Lee: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you have a partner you’ve worked with for years, uh, Chad Meister.

Lee: Yes.

Jim: It, kind of, comes down to a Christian worldview-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … that’s what we’re describing. I know even now people are sayin’, “Ah, that’s an antiquated word, worldview.”

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: But it’s understanding the world through a Christian perspective-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … that’s all that- that means.

Lee: Right.

Jim: Chad has a really good pyramid-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … to describe this, go for it.

Lee: Yeah, no Chad was a guy who, an engineer-

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: … who was on the verge of suicide-

Jim: Wow.

Lee: … about to pull the trigger and blow his brains out and God supernaturally intervened. He became a Christian and now he’s one of the world’s leading philosophers, uh- uh, um, uh- uh- on, uh- uh, subjects of faith on the whole planet.

Jim: Wow.

Lee: Um, but, yeah, he has what he calls the, uh, the Heaven pyramid. So picture a pyramid. On the base of the pyramid is the question of truth, what is truth? Well we know what truth is, Aristotle told us, Plato told us. Truth is whatever it is that corresponds with reality-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … that’s what truth is. Then you go to the next level, worldviews. Worldview is a v-, the lens through which we view the world. There’s only three possible worldviews. There is, uh, atheism, there is theism, the belief in a god, and there is polytheism, belief in many gods. Those are the three, oh, really the only three basic-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … worldviews. And so, what we do in the book is we analyze those three worldviews from the area, uh, perspective of livability and logic, and we find that atheism doesn’t stack up-

Jim: Right.

Lee: … because under atheism there is no free will. Well we don’t act as if we don’t have free will. Under atheism there is no objective morality. Well we don’t act as if there’s no objective morality-

Jim: There’s always a line.

Lee: … there’s always a line and so atheism doesn’t make sense. Polytheism doesn’t make sense because it blurs, um, the distinction between good and evil, between cruelty and non-cruelty, but we don’t live that way. And so what emerges is theism, belief in a God. That takes us to the next level, which is revelation, uh, or which is theism. Then we look at theism and we see that there is evidence from cosmology, physics, biochemistry, different areas that support the truth, that there is a God. And then that brings us to revelation, the Bible, which is unique in its reliability, and then that brings us toward the tip of the pyramid, we get to the resurrection, the evidence that Jesus not only claimed to be the son of God, but backed it up by returning from the dead. And then, ultimately, the peak of the pyramid, which is the gospel, that, uh, we can’t earn our way to Heaven, that, uh, forgiveness and eternal life is a free gift of grace. So that, kind of, forms a- a pyramid, uh, that points toward Heaven. And in the book we go through that pyramid and show that the only logical and livable worldview is that of Christianity.

Jim: Um, y- you know in that regard, uh- uh, Lee, it’s so amazing to think of the distinction with Christianity, and I’ve had scholars say it to me this way-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … “Christianity is the only faith where it’s God reaching to man.”

Lee: Yes.

Jim: All other faiths are doing things to earn your way up to-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … God-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … all of ’em.

Lee: Yes.

Jim: Pray five times a day, uh, live this perfectly clean life.

Lee: Give alms to the poor.

Jim: Alms to the poor-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … all those, uh, works as we-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … would call them, the deeds that are necessary to earn your way in-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … and that’s not … Christianity is the one that says, “Hey, I don’t need your deeds-

Lee: That’s right.

Jim: … I’m gonna do it for you as a gift.”

Lee: It’s the only worldview, it’s the only, um- um, religion on the planet that is based on what we call the- the done plan. Every other religion is based on the do plan-

Jim: Huh.

Lee: … you must do something, try to earn your way to God. Christianity is the done plan-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Lee: … Jesus has done it for us and offers forgiveness as a free gift.

Jim: Okay, uh- uh, as a former atheist-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … yourself, why do people not want to investigate that deal?

Lee: Well, it’s a good question.

Jim: Is it pride?

Lee: It … I- I think it is, I think it’s because they have lifestyles that they know would contradict the teachings of the Bible and they don’t want to give these things up. Uh, I- I will tell you, Jim, I was a happy drunk, um, when I was an atheist. Um, I lived a hedonistic life, an immoral life, and I liked it. I was, I was (laughs) a good drunk. I would go into bars, I was the friendliest guy in the bar. Buy everybody drinks and- and that was, kind of, my hobby was gettin’ drunk. I didn’t particularly want to give that up. Uh, I knew if I became a Christian I would need to, and yet the evidence for Christianity was overwhelming to the point where I, the only logical thing I could do would be to receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. And then my desires changed, then God changed my attitudes, my perspective, my worldview, my attitude, my priorities-

Jim: Your appetites.

Lee: … my appetites, everything, uh, for the good.

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: That’s so good. You know, uh, so often, again, we get mixed up in what sounds like antiquated language-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … so, you know, these are the idols in our lives.

Lee: That’s right.

Jim: That’s what the Lord’s referring to about an idol, something-

Lee: That’s right.

Jim: … more important to you than me.

Lee: Right.

Jim: And, again, I just want to challenge … I think the reason I’m inserting this, is I just want to reach that person that’s going, “I don’t believe any of this, uh-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … you know, I love sittin’ at a bar”-

Lee: Yeah, right. (laughs)

Jim: … and, you know. But, man, think about the- the really important things in life.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: Um, in- in fact, you have a man in the book called s-, uh, his name is Scott McKnight-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … um, what was happening with Scott and-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … his Heavenly experience?

Lee: Scott is a, uh, theologian, well-known New Testament scholar, he’s written a- a slew of great books about God. And, uh, I went to him ’cause he had written a book about Heaven and I said, “Let’s try to clear up some of the misconceptions about Heaven. You know, what are some of the s-, common questions that people have, that I have about Heaven.” And so I sat down with him for a day and just peppered him with, uh- uh, tough questions about what the afterlife is gonna be like, ’cause he said, you know, “A lot of people think the afterlife is some ethereal experience, you know, where ghostly figures were on a cloud somewhere playing a harp.” And he said, “No- no- no, this is a new Heaven, a new earth. This is the renewal of all that is good. This is a very physical experience that we will have. We’ll have resurrected bodies and we will be, uh, participating in festivals and in- in, um, uh, joyous experiences in the presence of God. And then he said somethin’ I’ll never forget, he said, “Lee, and in Heaven, every year, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.”

John: (laughs)

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: That can’t be true.

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: That you think the Lord’s gonna accomplish that?

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: No, I’m kidding.

Lee: (laughs)

John: Yes.

Lee: Can … Might some things beyond the ability of God, I …

John: (laughs)

Jim: I’ve often thought, “Does he really care who wins the Super Bowl”-

Lee: Yeah- (laughs)

Jim: … I don’t know-

Lee: … right. (laughs)

Jim: … maybe. I- I think orientation in Heaven, that first day, is-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … here, here’s the fire extinguishers-

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: … over there, you know, and then at the end the Lord says, “And I really didn’t care who won the-

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: … Super Bowl.’ (laughs)

Lee: Right. (laughs)

Jim: Anyway, uh, Lee, one of the major points of apologetics is that with good comes evil. This idea that-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … we know good because there’s evil.

Lee: Yes.

Jim: Um, uh, kind of, go through that. I think you met with a man named Paul Copan?

Lee: Yeah, Paul Copan. He’s a philosopher at, uh, Palm Beach Atlantic University, great Christian philosopher. And I talked to … I have two chapters in my book about Hell, ’cause I figured I can’t write about the afterlife-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … and not deal with the alternative-

Jim: Right.

Lee: … with Hell. And, you know, there’s a lot of misconceptions about Hell. Again, the Bible uses a lot of figurative language to try to explain to us things that we can’t even comprehend yet. And so, it uses imagery of flames and darkness. Well both of those can’t be true at the same time, because if the, uh, the flames would light up the darkness. Uh, but they’re intended to convey to us that Hell is the worst possible experience that anybody could ever possibly find themselves in, um, and- and so the- the Bible uses these, kind of, metaphors. Hell is not a torture chamber, it is not a place where God tortures us, but it is a place of torment, which means that this comes from within. It is a regret, it is a, um, a despair that takes place when we realize that we have squandered our lives and we have walked away from God. And, you know, the truth is, Hell is made up of people for whom Heaven would be Hell, ’cause they didn’t want anything to do with God, um, and for them to be in the presence of God would be Hell. Uh, (laughs) they, people are not in Hell because they somehow want out and God is not good enough to let them out, they don’t want out. Thi- this is what they have come-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … to experience and to, uh, accept as being their fate, um, and yet they do it- it, with a sense of anger, and a sense of-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … gnashing of teeth the Bible says, uh-

Jim: You know a- a mentor of mine, when I was in my 20s, said to me, “Hell,” in his, uh, description, “was where the absolute characteristics of God do not exist.”

Lee: Yeah, shame.

Jim: There is no love, there is no joy, there-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … is no peace, only weeping, only sorrow.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: I mean that’s the torment you’re talking about-

Lee: That’s exactly right, yeah.

Jim: … that God’s character is not present there.

Lee: Yes-

Jim: Think of that.

Lee: … yes and we can’t imagine. What would that-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … be like? We see in this world, yes we have a world that is sin stained, we know that sin has affected our world-

Jim: But his presence is around.

Lee: B nut his- his presence is still here.

Jim: There is love, there is-

Lee: There i-

Jim: … joy.

Lee: … exactly.

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: Take all that away, it’s hard to even imagine what that would be like, but it’s gotta be the worst possible situation.

John: Hm, well this is a heavy topic that we’re talkin’ about today. Joy-filled, as we talk about Heaven, uh, pretty heavy as we talk about Hell. If we’re touching a- a nerve for you, so to speak, uh, and you have questions, give us a call, we’d be happy to talk to you, point you to resources, we have some free online things. Uh, we also have Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Heaven: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death. Uh, we’re a phone call away. That number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or you can find details and help at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Lee, let me throw you the zinger question-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … I mean this is it, uh, if God is good, why would he send people to Hell? You’ve touched on that, but-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … I wanna, I wanna phrase the question for the skeptic listenin’-

Lee: Sure.

Jim: … or you can even include, if there is a good God, then why do people suffer, why do children die. Uh-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … they’re … Take any of those, or all three of those.

Lee: Well, I don’t think God does send people to Hell, we send ourselves to Hell. Uh, we make the decision to not follow Christ, to ignore his gift of forgiveness and eternal life. I mean, my goodness, what could God have possibly done other than send his own son to die a tortuous death, to pay the penalty we deserve for the sins we’ve committed, so that we could be offered forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift of his grace. And yet some people say, “No- no- no- no thank you, don’t want it, not interested, I’d rather live my life in the way that I want to live it.” And so we send ourselves to Hell, um, uh, and I think that’s an important distinction.

Jim: Uh, and- and it’s bold, but it’s accurate.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, again, it’s a free gift-

Lee: That’s right.

Jim: … you can’t, you can’t get there and say, “You didn’t give me a chance.”

Lee: Exactly.

Jim: The, uh … Lee, in that regard, uh- uh, when you look at where we’re at with technology in the-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … world today, I mean I know there’s, you know, wonderful efforts of tryin’ to get the gospel, the, at least, those are the four first books of the New Testament-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … the story of Jesus-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … in every language and in every tribal language-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … and they are makin’ progress.

Lee: Yes.

Jim: I know, uh, the Greens from Hobby Lobby are invested in that in a-

Lee: Right.

Jim: … big way with the Museum of the Bible. But there is a big effort underway to reach that point, because the scripture actually says-

Lee: Yes.

Jim: … that this must happen before things begin.

Lee: History is consummated-

Jim: Yeah-

Lee: … right?

Jim: … and so, bang, I mean they are working toward doing that, I think, in the next, you know, 15, 20 years.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: And in that regard-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … the point, and the reason I’m even talking about this-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … is that people won’t have the excuse they don’t know.

Lee: Well that’s true. In Romans 1, verse 20 says, “W- we’re all without excuse, because we can all see by creation the power and the wonder of God.”

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: We look up at the stars at night and we think there must be a God. Um, uh, but, you know, nobody, uh, goes to Hell because they lack information. Uh, I believe that anyone, anywhere, at any time, in any culture who reaches out, uh, with the light that they do have and seeks after the one true God, will be given an opportunity in some way to respond to him.

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: There’s some theologians, and I write about this in my book, I’m not necessarily in this camp, but there is some theologians who believe that those who, in this world, did not get an opportunity to hear the gospel, uh, or maybe even a child or whatever, or someone who’s mentally impaired and can’t understand the gospel-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … that they will get a postmortem opportunity to hear the gospel, know there’s-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … after death they would get a chance to hear the gospel. Um, interesting question. You know, the Bible says in Hebrews, “We are appointed once to die and then the judgment,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean immediately then the judgment.

Jim: Right.

Lee: So, some believe that that might be an explanation for what might happen to someone who lives on some remote island who doesn’t get to hear the gospel. My God provided an opportunity, either right before death or immediately after death for them to hear the gospel. Um-

Jim: That’s- that’s been true of some of those near death experiences. Uh, John-

Lee: Yes, that’s true.

Jim: … John Burke, who we talked about last time, talked about that where-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, that Muslims are having that experience where they’re having-

Lee: Uh, absolutely.

Jim: … a near death experience and then Jesus appears to them.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: I think in his book he talks about one who comes back, becomes a Christian-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … his wife divorces him, (laughs) because-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … you know, uh, what are you doing?

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, but again, powerful testimonies of that. So I don’t know theologically-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … but, you know-

Lee: Well we can trust God. His is loving, he is-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … good, uh-

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: … (laughs) and- and he is perfect.

Jim: Well to be honest with you, I’m in, the middle of the night I’m, um, listening. Jean likes to listen to audiobooks-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … and she falls asleep before chapter one ends.

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: I get hooked, I’m into chapter seven, it’s 2:00-

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: … in the morning, and then the next-

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: … night Jean says, Jean will say, “I, kind of, fell asleep fast, can we listen-

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: … to that again?” “Sure.”

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: So I’m goin’ to hear … But there’s that one story, it really caught me, and I said, “Lord, that seems unfair that this particular person is Muslim, had the opportunity and that near death-

Lee: Hm.

Jim: … experience to experience you-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … and comes back convicted-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … becomes a Christian, loses his family because of that, be, he became a pastor.

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: Um, so I- I- I remember thinking, “Lord, that seems unfair.” And what I heard in my spirit, Lee, I mean it was very convicting-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … and embarrassing that it was, “Oh, do you set the boundaries of my grace?”

Lee: Mm-hmm, hm.

Jim: We don’t know all these things.

Lee: Right, we don’t-

Jim: It’s not explicit-

Lee: … we don’t.

Jim: … we don’t know.

Lee: And what’s interesting, even Martin Luther, uh- uh- uh, apparently believed in the possibility of a postmortem opportunity-

Jim: Hm-

Lee: … to hear the gospel, now that’s interesting.

Jim: It is. Uh, Lee, we wanted, before we end here-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, we want to talk about Luis Palau, your-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … relationship with him. Um, talk about your time with him and what- what you saw in his zeal for Heaven.

John: Mm-hmm.

Lee: Yeah, you know, Luis Palau, of course, the great evangelist who had shared his faith with a billion people during his lifetime, and he was dying, and he was my hero, and my friend, so I went out to visit him. I had the last interview with him before he died. And, um, it was a powerful interview. I asked him if he was afraid of death and he said, “You know, I’m not really afraid of death.” He said, “The Bible makes it clear to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” and he said, “I’m ready to go, my bags are packed,” and so forth. He said, his dad, who died when Luis was 10, showed him how to die with, uh-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … Him in his heart and scripture on his lips. And, um, but Luis said something, even before he died, that I will take with me to the grave. Um, he looked up at me and he said, “Lee, I can tell you from personal experience that when all is said and done, when you get to the end of your life, you will never regret being courageous for Christ.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Lee: I thought, “Whoa, that’s …” And- and- and that means different things for different people.

Jim: Yeah.

Lee: You know, it means speaking up in a social setting, that’s maybe uncomfortable, to share the gospel with someone, it means, maybe, takin’ a social risk, inviting someone to Easter services or Christmas services at church or whatever. But, uh, are we being courageous for Christ? And I said, um, “Luis, if you could send a message back from Heaven to every Christian on planet earth, what do you think it would say,” and he said, “I think it would say, ‘Go for it.’”

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: I said, “What do you mean go for it?” He said, “Go for it, tell people the good news.” He said, “The Holy Spirit is your partner, that his job is to convict him of sin. Let him do his job, but you- you can bring ’em the best news in the world that there is redemption, there is hope, there is eternal life, and (laughs) he said, he said, “I would just say to my Christian friends, “Go for it.”

Jim: Let me ask you right here, though-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … there’s gotta be a person that’s saying, “Maybe … Okay, the evidence is there, I’ll believe Lee because he was this investigative journalist and he’s done the hard work, and he’s proven it to himself, he convinced himself that Jesus is who he said he was, but you don’t know who I am.

Lee: Hm.

Jim: You don’t know what I’ve done-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … you don’t know the depth of my sin.”

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: Speak to that person at the-

Lee: Yeah.

Jim: … end here to say, “You’re okay.”

Lee: Yeah, you know, um, Phillip Yancey, the great, uh, Christian writer once said, uh, “There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less.” Like, God loves you because God is love.

Jim: Hm.

Lee: And, yes, you may have lived a sinful life, guess what, so did I and I lived a hedonistic, um, immoral, drunken, profane narcissistic life, um, but I found forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ. And he not only redeemed me and opened the doors of Heaven for me, he changed my life in this world. He gave me new perspective, new worldview, new attitudes, new relationships, new priorities and- and to the point where I go, “Why would I ever want to go back to that life I was living before?”

Jim: So true.

Lee: So, you know, the Bible is 800,000 words, it’s big book, but you can sum it all up in one verse, Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” In other words, what we earn, what we deserve is death or separation from God because of our sin, our wrongdoing. But, it says, “The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The forgiveness and eternal light is a free gift of his grace and if we receive it, like we receive any gift, we receive it out of an attitude of repentance and faith, and when we do that, we become a child of God forever. Um, John, um, says in his gospel, believe plus receive equals become. In other words, (laughs) um, “As many as believed him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.” And that forms an equation of what it means to become a child of God. To believe, but also to receive this free gift of grace, and then you become a child of God-

Jim: Hm.

Lee: … forever. And the doors of Heaven are flung open for you, and Jesus is waiting to embrace you, and kiss you, and welcome you to dwell with him forever.

Jim: You have hit it, I mean this is it. And so-

John: Hm.

Jim: … if you are in that spot, uh, let’s just … I know there are some people listening or watching that haven’t made that commitment, man, I hope we’ve put it out there in such a way that at least, um, you’re opening the door to the-

John: Hm.

Jim: … possibility, that’s great. Maybe you need to talk to someone. We have caring Christian counselors-

John: Hm.

Jim: … we have lots of resources that can help you, including a PDF called, Coming Home, it’ll answer more of those questions, but get in touch with us-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … this is why (laughs) we’re here, this is the core. I remember Dr. Dobson always said, “We can help, uh, save a marriage, or help a parent with a crisis in their parenting, but if we don’t introduce you, or introduce them, uh, to the author of the family, we, kinda, miss the mark.” So we live for this, and we want you to have a relationship with Jesus, so get ahold of us and, uh, likewise, get a copy of Lee’s wonderful book, The Case for Heaven. And, uh, if you can do that with a gift of any amount, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you. If you can do that monthly, it helps reach more people and help people in that way, and, uh, we will send it for that. And if you can’t afford it, we’ll get it into your hands and trust others will take care of the expense of that. But what I’m tellin’ ya is get it, especially if you don’t know if Heaven is real.

John: Well, our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459 and then online we’ve got links to, uh, Lee’s book, The Case for Heaven, that PDF Jim mentioned called Coming Home, and so much more. Uh, stop by the website, that’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Lee, again, thanks for bein’ with us. I’m excited.

Lee: (laughs)

Jim: I wish we could hang out more often.

Lee: Hey, I will hang-

Jim: (laughs)

Lee: … out with you in Heaven. (laughs)

Jim: Let’s do it-

Lee: All right.

Jim: … for five million, 600 whatever the number you said.

Lee: We’ll even invite John along-

Jim: (laughs)

John: Yeah-

Lee: … absolutely.

Jim: Absolutely will. It’s good to have you here.

Lee: Great to be here, thank you.

John: Hm, and what a great conversation with Lee. Uh, do plan to join us tomorrow for a special glimpse at the impact dads have on our lives, as we look forward to Father’s Day.

Roland Warren: There’s amazing opportunity that every father has to- to be a representation of our Heavenly Father in human form and, uh, when you do that, uh, not only will be you blessed, but your kids will be blessed.

Today's Guests

The Case for Heaven: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death

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