Friday, September 29, 2017

Should We Celebrate the Life of Hugh Hefner?

Hugh Hefner died yesterday. A lot of men wanted to live the life that he did, but possibly a lot of men despised him for making it easy for their addictions to take over their lives.
I was talking with an older gentleman who said of him, something along the lines of, “I don’t know how a man could do such a thing with his life…” I immediately looked at him and said, “I bet if most men were given the chance, they would do the same thing.”
Think about this... If you had the ability to become invisible at your own command, what would you do with that ability? Many readers might think that probably nothing would change. Then the more you thought about it, the more fun you would have with the idea of it. I bet, if you were honest with yourself, you would come to admit that you would find yourself in the women’s locker rooms and Banks after hours or on airplanes traveling the world free of charge, etc.
Eventually you would use this power and ability to serve yourself. Even if you were older and married. The accountability would leave and eventually you would come to serve only yourself. Why?
The point here is that people are inherently evil. All we have to do to know this is look at the comment section of most of the posts on the internet. But seriously, Hugh Hefner was not a hero or a model citizen by any means. He was self-serving. All of these women now have to explain to their granddaughters that they sold their body for money. What do we call that? Prostitution. What does that make Hefner? Nothing short of a pimp. What is a pimp? Someone who exploits women. What does that make women? Objectified.
What does the Bible say about this kind of thing? Romans 1:21-25 seems to speak very clearly on the subject:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Isn’t it interesting how such an ancient text seems to have words which are timeless? God is such a gentleman that He will step aside and let people do what they want. If they want to be their own God, then He will let them for a time. Unfortunately, this comes with consequences. The Bible also says that “It is appointed unto men once to die, and then after this comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Listen to that claim! How audacious can the author be!
Speaking of audacious claims, Jesus makes the claim that He is “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Think about that for a moment. Would you ever make a claim like that about yourself? Would anyone you know make a claim like that about themselves in all seriousness? Definitely not. So either Jesus was insurmountably crazy, or He is the Lord.
These kinds of things ought to drive us toward researching the evidence of Christianity ourselves. With claims like these, we can’t just let them go. We have to ask, how did a document with claims like these survive the ages?
Lee Strobel was being interviewed by John Ankerberg and Lee was asked to reflect on his meeting with Hefner:

I had a chance to go to the Playboy Mansion, interview Hugh Hefner for a TV program that I was doing. And I asked him about the resurrection. And he seemed confused. And I said, “What about the evidence for the resurrection?” and he said, “What are you talking about?” And I said, “What do you do with the historical data that support the return of Jesus from the dead?” And he said, “I have never heard this before.” And I gave him a copy of my book The Case for Christ. And he was looking through the Table of Contents and said, “This is fascinating. Nobody has ever told me this before.”
And then he said something very interesting. He said, “If this is true, this trips a whole bunch of dominoes that have a wonderful effect.” He said, “I am getting to be an old man. I wish it were true that there were eternal life.” And I said, “You know what, look into the evidence yourself. Come to your own verdict. But I am telling you there is convincing, there is powerful, persuasive, compelling evidence that Jesus did return from the dead. And when He tells His followers they will spend eternity with Him, we can believe Him as a result” (

We will never know the decision that Hefner made that day, but we can be certain that Strobel’s words ring true. We have to look at the evidence. We live in a world today where everyone is a skeptic first and foremost. For good reason though. In a world of information and technology, people who are inherently evil will publish false information in order to get what they want. Manipulation is an easy way for people to serve themselves and not look evil to the masses right off the bat.
Research requires real work for real information. Don’t google sensational articles on the internet that an irresponsible person has written, with a pink background and blue letters and call yourself convinced. Examine the real facts. If you are up for the challenge, do the research. Your eternal life depends on it.

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reaching Out

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." --1 Timothy 6:12

Nabeel Qureshi. From what any of us can know about him via the internet or his books, he was always full of grace, patience and he always corrected, rebuked and encouraged with careful instruction. He may have lost the battle, but he fought a good fight.
Nabeel wrote the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and anyone who has read it saw that he had a deep concern for showing respect toward his Muslim friends and relatives. The Bible is very clear on how to win people to Christ. Paul says, “When I am with the Jews, I become as a Jew so that I might win them… I become all things to all men that I might win some” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). So we see a taste of what Paul directed, and likewise, Peter admonishes, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you of the hope you have in you, but do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). I would say that these must have been some of Nabeel’s life verses, because he so naturally followed them. We can tell the character of a man if we are around them long enough. The internet presence that Nabeel had was all one needed to see his gentleness and genuine love for other people.
I remember first hearing of Nabeel’s cancer when he went public with it, and thinking about how he might be leaving his young wife and child behind. How hard it must be for them. My fervent prayers continue to go out for his family.
But seriously, why am I writing all of this anyways? I am writing to David Wood. David was, as Nabeel stated in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, someone “whose impact extends far beyond his contribution” and that Nabeel is “eternally indebted to him for his faithful fulfillment of the call to reach out to a young, zealous Muslim despite all the odds” (emphasis mine). Actually, I am writing this to the David Wood's all over the world. The people who have taken in someone and brought them close to themselves, they offered vulnerability and pressed down these barriers that scream “I need to trust you before I let you in!”
These are the kinds of people who have an eternal mindset. So many people get sucked in to the idea that they cannot trust people, simply because they do not know them (I’m talking about mature situations). These people have the mindset that their life is not as important as getting someone to see the truth of Christ. We protect ourselves to such a point today there is no chance for harm and we are so deeply afraid of offending others that we don’t talk about “what is truth.”
It seems that 99% of the western world today is chronically paranoid when it comes to other people; when it comes to reaching out. I have been studying relationship interaction in society lately and I find that people do not accept the truth even if they are confronted with the facts because they consider themselves a part of a “tribe” of something or someone. Take pro football for instance. Denver Broncos fans are loyal because they consider themselves a part of that tribe. If they were to speak against that tribe, then they would be betraying the other members of that tribe. It is the same with all NFL fans. There really is no reason they should like them anyways, it is not like they are actual buddies with the players. There is probably not one NFL player in the whole league who knows who I am. Yet why would someone like me like a particular team? Because I am part of a tribe. A tribe member will not be disloyal, but will defend the tribe no matter what.
The same goes for militant atheists. They are also in a tribe. They consider themselves the pinnacle of intellect, yet they are faced with miles of opposing facts, continually, and don’t budge an inch. Even when faced with the facts, a tribe member will not let the other members down. Where does such loyalty come from?! I would be willing to bet (monopoly money) that employers dream of their people having such loyalty.
I was talking with someone the other day and telling them about these things I was studying and all the sudden, it hit me that two thousand years ago, the Bible give the answer to this problem of tribe loyalty, even in the teeth of evidence (to use a now-popular phrase). It is just as the David Woods of the world do. I already mentioned it. It is found in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. Paul says “I become all things to all men that I might win some.” What does that mean? It means he gets on their level. Either he brings himself up or lowers himself down. We are not going to reach a tribe member if we are not gentle and respectful.
Practically speaking, this looks like restraint: a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits. When we have the knowledge to put someone in their place, we can’t do it disrespectfully or we won’t get anywhere. The next time you get pulled over for speeding or running a red light, tell the police officer he is wrong and let’s see where that gets you.
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel writes about how David continuously and gently challenged him but was never flat-out disrespectful. David frequently let Nabeel stew on things over night or even for several days. Paul tells us to become like other people, but in reality, we won’t do that unless we place ourselves in the midst of other people. David reached out, and look what happened. Nabeel changed the world for Christ.
I just want this to soak in for a moment. If we think about the seeds that we plant and how much one man’s life can change the world for Jesus, shouldn’t this make us more encouraged, more on fire for getting the word out to the lost? Shouldn’t it cause us to reach out more often?
Therefore, to David Wood and all like him out there, to all the apologists, teachers, pastors and Christians… reach out to the lost. Take someone in. Get on their level. Pray for their willingness to hear the Good News. Not only bring them to the foot of the cross, but “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20; emphasis mine).
What has He commanded us? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40; emphasis mine). Please understand the correlation between these two passages. Love your neighbor as yourself. Teach them about Jesus. The deep concern here is, after all, where people spend eternity.

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.