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Greg Laurie and Lee Strobel: The Case for Heaven, Part 2

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2022 3:00 am

Greg Laurie and Lee Strobel: The Case for Heaven, Part 2

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 19, 2022 3:00 am

Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie has invited NY Times best-selling author and former atheist Lee Strobel to discuss the afterlife.

The Boise Harvest is almost here and we want you there, especially if you’ve ever questioned your purpose or felt lost in the world. This free event is taking place soon on April 23–24 at the ExtraMile Arena—don’t miss it. You can join online or in person; learn more.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners. 

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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more@harness.org and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith in God's word long for something more Bible says yes today. Greg Laurie talks with father Lee Strobel is what I wish there is really is is this when I die, I just snuffed out forever. Fortunately, the greatest news about heaven is about hell is beginning pastor Greg Laurie has invited a friend of his studio today for a fascinating discussion.

Our guest's New York Times best-selling author Lee Strobel. As you may know, Lee is a former atheist and at one time was the legal editor for the Chicago Tribune is trained in both the law and investigative journalism and is written a new book that we want to talk about called the case for heaven. What did you believe about the afterlife as an atheist way back. Yeah, you know, like a lot of atheists. I believe that it was like the light going out in the refrigerator all your clothes are going to fridge or light goes out. I thought you just cease to exist, and you know, just as you didn't exist for millions of years before you came into being. Now that your life is over.

You just cease to exist forever and that is actually very frightening thought, you know, I mean there were nights as an atheist. When I would stare up into the blackness and say really is. Is this it, I mean.

Yet when I die, wife just goes on it unchanged in this world and and I just am snuffed out forever.

It's a frightening thought and think everything about it is you know what, as an atheist I was willing to accept it if it were true, you know, is difficult it is to deal with it. If that is true. I got accepted in and learn to live with it. Fortunately is not true.

Fortunately, the greatest news about heaven is it is real and the worst news about hell is that it's real so the afterlife is is is real. There is a reality and so that I think the evidence as I present in this book points powerfully and persuasively toward the fact that there is an afterlife and so I hope people read it and get encouraged and realize that you know is great often will say you know where we end up spending eternity is dependent on how we respond to this offer from Jesus Christ of forgiveness and eternal life is a free gift of his grace, and I think that's prewired us to long for something more Bible says that God is set eternity in our heart yes and we don't know what that something more is there to be specific that someone more, but we think I was a little kid. See about a new friend. It's a new bike if you get a little bit older and it's a wife it's a husband. It's a career you get a little bit older. It's retirement this insecurity financially, etc., and you know and then you keep moving forward and you find out that's not it, and I was thinking when is the little boy is like 16 years old. I would lay I would be awake at night and I believed what you believe that I would cease to exist, and it freaked me out. Now that how can I cease to exist because it was said kind of that pre-wiring that there's more yes and that was a search and of course, ultimately I came to the same conclusion you came to, I wasn't the legal editor and I was at the computer teenager, but II found the same answer that you found Lee in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and so that that's a great he gives as he takes us from hopelessness exactly in and what you said is so true.

Ecclesiastes talks about God's plan eternity in our hearts, and that the Hebrews there is is a is a low confusing but you know where I see this illustrated in the life of nonbelievers is they try to somehow achieve immortality apart from God and so they want to write the great novel that is going to carry their name on after they die there going to design a cathedral to get a peanut painting there and they're going to put their name on the side of a building, they're going to give to a hospital have a wing of the hospital named after that we all live on. Some are motivated to do evil things.

Mark David Chapman said he murdered John Lennon because he wanted peace of his fame, and so he was motivated by negative things to try to live on. He wanted a piece of that fame. Interestingly, some people have large families. A partially because they want their name carried on in the history the family name to continue.

And yet if you asked the average person what was the name of your great-great-grandparents. They don't know they don't. I don't know the names and I great-great-grandparents and and then if they do know you say, but do you care and hope I don't care.

The thing is with you if there is no God in these these vain quest for immortality amount to nothing the amount to nothing.

The amount of your DNA, which will continue on into future generations get smaller and smaller and smaller so than a few generations. There's not enough to that to fill the mosquito so no apart from God. There is no hope as you say, and yet with God. There is hope and and and what what excites me is a guy who tends to be rational and logical respond to evidence is you note this is not wishful thinking is not make-believe.

It's not fairytales it's not mythology. This is based on solid data and an iSight data from the Bible. I eyesight data from outside the Bible to say that there is good evidence that we do indeed live on forever in one place or another.

So if you want to know more about what Lee is addressing here. You want to get a copy of his brand-new book called the Kings for heaven and will send it to you for your gift of any size this month. Please let me ask you, we would expect non-Christians to have alternate views of the afterlife, but what what percentage of Christians have an accurate biblical view of heaven in the afterlife. Yeah, that's a great question. I can't give you a specific number but I can tell you that there's a lot of confusion there's a lot of misinformation and part of it is that it cannot, we have to understand you know the Bible says no I is seen, no ear is heard, no mind is even conceived what God has in store for those who love him. We can't understand that the hotel, the beauty, the wonder of heaven yet and so the Bible uses figurative language to try to suggest to us send in an accurate way, but that to to kinda give us a little bit of a foretaste or an appetizer to try to understand what happens can be like.

But the truth is we can't comprehend it yet. In fact, you know in this world we see a color spectrum and is based on the light from the sun in heaven, though the color spectrum would be based on the light of God is working to see colors in heaven.

We we've never seen and how would you describe that to someone you can and so the Bible can't say will here's a color you can see, and you can't describe it.

So the Bible gives us suggestive language and so forth. And sometimes it can lead to a bit of confusion if you don't interpret it properly, but I think the confusion about heaven is true, as you say, not just among nonbelievers but among many Christians.

I hope this book gives people a sense of encouragement, a sense of wonder. A sense of anticipation, a sense of joy I mean when you think it would consider this, you see pictures from the Hubble space telescope of the incredible galaxies and you know, billions of light years with of the universe and so forth in the beauty and the wonder of God had called it into existence and when you look under a microscope and you see the complexity of a salad.

You see the beauty of flowers in the wonder of the animal kingdom say this is the creativity of God and the say that this God is going to create an afterlife heaven that is going to be an expression of his creativity and love for us a place designed for us to to maximize our sense of pleasure and joy in adventure and wonder if think about that you go okay I may not understand yet what exactly what heaven is going to be like when I tell you this. I can't wait to experience it is essentially awesome. This is gonna be awesome. So if you want to clear up your confusion about heaven the afterlife you want to get a copy of this brand-new book from Lee Strobel. It's called the case for heaven will send it to you for your gift of any size to us here at a new beginning and will use those resources to reach more people with the gospel in the teaching of the word of God and is our way of saying thanks will send you your own copy of the case, for heaven, so Lee Strobel you are 70 years old.

Yes I am. I'm an old man.

Well, I'm right behind you. Why I am when I'm 69. You know we all leave a legacy were all remembered for something.

How would you like people to remember you while well that's a great question Craig. I night I think about survey what what what I want my tombstone you know and I think I'd wanted something along the lines of he dragged his many people to heaven with them as he could let you know I'm in God. God can't redeem me he changed me transform. He gave me a mission you give me purpose in life and I just want people experience that I will people have what I've had, which is the joy in the adventure and the wonder of knowing God personally. Through Jesus Christ and experiencing than a daily basis of being enriched by Scripture and ended that the wisdom and the, the stories in the that the insights that we get from Scripture. I just want people experience a and I think of my father-in-law was an atheist and he had a stroke and the doctors told us he was going to die soon and so we had them at our house and lazy boy chair and I said I said to my wife, and his wife who is a Christian I said, you know, give me one more shot and they went out to do something in and I was just me and Al and I looked on. I said Al you realize you die, I want to be in heaven without you while your daughter, your grandchildren, your wife, we want to be in heaven without your help please and height for 45 minutes.

I could shoulder. My reason with them.

I explained the gospel again and again and and then I began to seek tears in his eyes and I said you want to receive Jesus right now don't you and he nodded and at the age of 87, 87 years old. Atheist is whole life. Unbelievable.

He prayed he received Christ and then my wife came back in, his wife and and we we we had a celebration we're going to cook a dinner and have a party to celebrate Ella coming home to God. But then we notice him was wrong, it is left side was sagging.

He was having another stroke we call an ambulance. Leslie, my wife got in the ambulance with them went to the hospital. I got in the car she got to the hospital and the put them on a gurney and they were wheeling them into the emergency room and he looked up at Leslie and he said totally.

Thanks.

While and he went in and that stroke ended up destroying his mind and he lingered for a while and then he dies you got in under the wire underlies the last cogent conversation of his life and he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and I will spend eternity in heaven with him even though it was under the wire at the last moment you know Jesus tells a great parable about the landowner who who hires the workers summit nine in the morning Summit noon sum of five BF and some at the end of the day, and he pays him on the same thing and in they say wait a minute. How fair is that he said you questioning my generosity. God's grace is so overwhelming that even my father-in-law crusted guy Army veteran.

You know, tough as nails to receive Jesus in the last conversation of his life now in heaven.

He'll be with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You never met and that's the the wonder of God's grace. He drug as many people to heaven as he could, is that when she left that I've heard that before.

If you if an older Lee could speak to a younger Lee like a young boy maybe yeah what would you say to yourself I can say keep searching the truth is out there. You know I want to say don't give up and and I said that anybody listening who says I'm not sure about the stuff I'm not sure I believe.

I'm not sure what I believe.

Keep searching the truth is often the Bible says in the Old Testament, the New Testament, those who sincerely seek God are going to find God rewards those who seek him and so I would say just don't give up keep seeking and you know what the seeking process is not in vain.

It's a good thing when I came to faith. Ultimately, after two years investing the evidence God gave me that two years of evidence now that I use in reaching out to others with the gospel as it was not a wasted time and so, as you said, you know, many times to ask questions to have some skepticism as August is a healthy skepticism is okay.

Yes, you know, I think of John the Baptist got arrested and he began to wonder a little bit about her Jesus. And so he but he took action, got a couple friends together. Said tract Jesus down and asked him point-blank are you the one we been waiting for. We to wait for somebody else and and and so that's I think the approach we need to take when we have doubts when we have uncertainty one works attempted to deconstruct our faith, so to speak, pursue answers, pursue evidence in you know God will reward those who sincerely seek him. That's Lee Strobel you're hearing from everyone and he is a brand-new book out called the case, for heaven, subtitled a journalist investigates evidence for life after death.

There were sending it to you for your gift of any size to help us continue to teach God's word and proclaim the gospel because we likely want to drag as many people to heaven this weekend was speaking that Pastor Greg just recently a very dear man died.

He was like a like a second father to me.

I hadn't seen him in years and I learned from his funeral that he accepted Christ at the age of 7070 well and I can't tell you the joy I felt when I knew I would see him again in heaven. You know, can you imagine if you didn't believe in the afterlife. How much harder it would be to grieve for loved ones who pass you. You know what everybody agrees.

When they lose a loved one, even Christians. And I think it's a mistake to say to a Christian you should not grieve or feel sorrow if your loved one is gone, they haven't the differences we don't grieve. Hopelessly we grieve. Hopefully there's we have hope. We know will see him again, but the depth of our sorrow is an indication of the depth of our love because we love the person we mourn, we grieve even when Stephen was martyred Godly men mourned over him why he was in heaven. Well, as he loved him and they missed him and they wanted him there with them. Still, there's nothing wrong with that. The Bible even says there's a time to mourn, but at the same time, there can be comfort that will come from the Lord, because Jesus said blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted in the comfort is knowing will see our love. Once again the comfort is in knowing they're happier than they've ever been, and does so it puts things in perspective. You know, I would like to ask Lee a question that illustrates out no one is beyond the reach of God. As you mentioned your friend who is 70 years old, Lee told us a story of famous daredevil evil Knievel yeah and you received a phone call from you because a lot of people don't know the story about what happened to evil Knievel yeah evil Knievel manner lived here as a womanizer.

He was a drunk, he was went to prison for beating up a guy with a baseball bat. Just a lived a very godless life and one day my phone rang and I picked it up and and I said I this is Lee and the voices.

This lease from I said yes and he said this is evil, and Satan's got my phone is no noise. It is evil Knievel at all and he told me the story said it was. I was on the beach in Florida and God spoke to me. I said I felt it on the inside, and God said to be Robert was his real name is Robert. I've saved you more time single ever know. Now you need to come to me through my son Jesus and he had this experience.

Any thought to know Jesus is so the only Christian he knew was Frank Gifford, the sportscaster and so he called up Frank to Frank I have this experience. Whose Jesus and Frank said get that book of the case for Christ rightly Strobel little explain half so you got to read my book anyway.

He had a Apsley profound conversion experience hold was he with the stuff you know he was Callie. He was around 70 down around 70 and radically transformed, radically transformed when he gave his testimony at the time he was baptized. The pastor literally ripped the his sermon into and said, you've heard the gospel that you need me to preach a sermon evil Knievel just preached you a sermon. He just told you about the grace of God how God transformed his life and if you want to receive Jesus right now, be baptized right now. Come on up this church. I don't think it ever had an altar call 700 people came up in the services and receive Christ were baptized. I mean, he and I tell you want a great as I got to know you because we became friends before he died. And by the way on his tombstone, it is requested says believe in Jesus but his biggest regret. He used to call me upset, Lee sent what if I had received Christ as a kid as a teenager, my life could been totally different so I could live for God my whole life. But here I am. I'm an old man and in and it and I would tell them I would say evil. You know God is going to use you to reach people, or maybe would not be reachable by someone who became a Christian as a kid because you did live a while life and you did live an immoral life and yet God is redeemed you these changes give you new perspective new values and so forth. And maybe you will have credibility with people that you wouldn't otherwise have.

But his biggest lament was always fight only come to Christ as a teenager and I think about that when I speak to teenagers and I think you get your whole life ahead of you, and in evil would've given anything to go back receive Christ and live a godly life.

He just had that sensor regrets.

I tried to encourage German and he became a dear friend. I look forward to spending time in heaven with him when he died. We were looking for motorcycle to buy a want to get an another triumph motorcycle Bonneville that he used to jump way way back when. And he was shopping for one at the time when he died. Using give me a ride and I said you know in heaven. I'm really evil Knievel is just a hop on the back lead for the ride of your life not just thinking that right now you're listening and you might be a person who's older 7080, maybe even older than that you are thinking it's too late for me it's never too late to come to Christ. But I'm thinking of someone younger. Listen to the advice of evil Knievel. He had it all yet fame he had money hit all the things that people say you should have to be happy, but his regret was, why didn't they do this sooner, maybe you're young you can do it right now.

Learn from evils mistakes and I'm thinking this would be a great time to just invite anyone listening, young or old man or woman, boy or girl whoever you are.

If you've never asked Jesus Christ to come in your life, what would you do it right now. That's right right now I'm in as Lee the leads you in a prayer and maybe you would pray this prayer with Lee Strobel, a prayer of accepting Christ into your life.

Lee could you leave folks in a prayer yeah just for it is pray this you say it out loud to say in your heart.

God will hear you just say Lord Jesus as best I can. I do believe that you are the son of God, you proved it by returning from the dead and right now I confess the obvious, which is that I'm a sinner, if there's no mystery about that. I've I've done things I knew they were wrong before he did him and I did them anyway. I've seen and I want to turn from that an attitude of repentance and faith. I want to receive. I want to receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that you purchased on the cross when you died as my substitute to pay for all of my sin.

Thank you for loving me so much that you underwent the torture of the cross so that we could be reconciled forever help me, Jesus, to live the kind of life that you want me to live because from this moment forward, I am yours, amen, amen. If you just pray that prayer with Lee Strobel. I want to send you at no charge.

A copy of something we call the new believers Bible.

It's a New Testament with hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in an understandable way.

What it means to know and walk with Jesus Christ. So Dave is going to give you the information. The phone number to call and we wanted say to you if you just pray that prayer with Lee. Congratulations and welcome to the family of God.

Yeah, that's right.

And we hope you'll write us today for that new believers Bible. In fact will even throw in some additional resources as well than a packet of information is free of charge. You can call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org and click on know God and of course we hope you let us send you a copy of Lee Strobel's new book, the case for heaven. In it he interviews a number of experts about the evidence for the afterlife and offers credible answers to the most often asked questions about what happens when we die near death experiences.

Heaven and hell. It's our thank you gifts when you partner with us to help keep these daily studies coming your way and your support also helps us reach out with the gospel.

As will be doing this weekend in Idaho at the Boise harvest. Get the details@harvest.org but we hope to hear from you today. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300 call anytime 24 seven at 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or go online to harvest.org and thanks for praying for the Boise harvest this weekend. Pastor Greg welcomes Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Andy Mineo and Jordan Felice pray that many would hear and respond to pastor Greg's gospel messages and if you know a friend who's in Idaho. Tell them about this event. Get the details@harvest.org when next time Pastor Greg offers some important insight on the Lord's prayer another one we usually think of the one that starts our father who art in heaven will consider the prayer Jesus prayed on our behalf join us here on a new beginning.

Pastor and Bible regularly beginning Greg Laurie podcast made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner harvest.org


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