Dennis Hof is dead. Many people do not know the man, but his life of vulgarity and degradation have destroyed many homes for many years. You see, Dennis Hof ran several houses of prostitution in the state of Nevada. One of the many stunts that the man offered was for veterans returning from war to give him a call. He would extend the red carpet to anybody who wanted to come to one of his businesses and treat them royalty.
In this life, we never know whose life we will touch and almost seven years to the month, this man and I met in September 2011. I was a funeral director working in Carson City, Nevada. I also served as the chaplain for anybody who did not have a minister.
One day, we received a call to collect the remains of a man who had worked on the staff of one of Mr. Hof’s houses of prostitution. The wife came to the funeral home to make the arrangements. In the process, she asked if I knew somebody who could preach the man’s funeral and I told her that I would be willing to do so.
She asked what kind of message I would preach and how I conducted funerals. I told her that I pulled no punches. I said, “Ma’am, I am a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ first. Second, I will not allow anybody to dictate to me what I should or should not preach, even at a funeral. Third, I do not preach anybody into heaven or hell for I do not the condition of their heart. However, I will preach the truth and I always give a gospel message.”
We completed the arrangements and she stood to leave. I could tell something was bothering her and asked if there was anything else I could do.Before she left, she turned to me and said, “I am so glad I came here. There are not many who would be willing to preach my husband’s funeral, and if they would be willing, then they would not preach the truth.”
I thanked her for her time and she left the building. In just a minute though, she came back in.
“Mark, there is something else you need to know. I do not know all that my husband did at Mr. Hof’s business, but you need to know that he and several of his ladies will be at the funeral.”
At the time, I had no clue who Mr. Hof was and it did not matter to me whether he was connected to the prostitution business or not. I told this man’s wife that I would still teach the truth. She thanked me and then left. I would not see her before the funeral.
The owner of the funeral home received a few phone calls and a couple of individuals who came to inform the staff that “Mr. Dennis Hof will be attending the funeral.” The police even came to ensure us that they would be providing additional security.
The day of the funeral arrived and the funeral home chapel was packed. There were people lining every aisle and even into the side rooms listening in. The only exception to the seats being full were six or seven seats across one side at the very front and two very imposing men stood with very dark sunglasses keeping people from taking the seats.
A few minutes after the funeral was supposed to start, I had still not been given the ok to start and the front seats were still empty. A ripple of words began to filter through the assembled crowds and somebody whispered to the man’s wife. She stood and walked up to me. Leaning down she whispered, “Mr. Hof has arrived.”
I nodded that I understood and waited. In a couple of minutes, the main doors opened and 4 or 5 women dressed extremely provacatively pranced down the center of the chapel and found their seats. They were followed by a woman dressed all in black and a large man that I knew must be Mr. Hof. Coming down the center aisle, he stopped to greet several people, shook several hands, and finally took a seat right on the front row.
Looking over at me, he said, “Hey preacher-man, you can get started now.”
Several people chuckled and I knew that the service was not going to get any easier. A tradition in Nevada that is not found everywhere is allowing people to stand and offer their condolences or to share an anecdote of the person’s life. This was scheduled to take place at the very end of the service.
Praying for wisdom, I started the service. The family had selected some songs and one of the man’s daughters read a brief eulogy. When I stood to deliver the message, I knew that what I had to say needed to be said last, so I asked for friends and family to share any thoughts.
Several things that were shared are not printable and perfectly described the debauched life that the deceased must have lived. The brothel madam (Mr. Hof’s other half) stood and gave a raunchy anecdote about the man and then Mr. Hof stood to speak. He wasted no time trying to make everybody laugh and more than a few grew extremely embarrassed at what was shared.
He finally wound down and looked at me with a smirk. “I guess it is time to hear the preacher-man with the few minutes we have left.” Sitting down, he crossed his arms and stared at me.
Standing to my feet, I began.
“Thank you for your attendance today and despite the length of time that has been taken, the wife of the deceased asked me to preach a message. I will share this in its entirety.”
If looks could kill, the entire front row would have been in attendance at a second funeral.
“The Bible tells us clearly in Hebrews 9 that once a person passes away, there is a judgment which will follow.”
Over the next 30 minutes, I followed the pattern of the apostle Paul in preaching to Agrippa in the Book of Acts. God gave me the strength to preach sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment.
On the front row and possibly for the first and only time in his life, Mr. Hof and his ladies heard the truth. They heard that judgment was real and that everyone will face it at the moment of death. However, they also heard that God is merciful to those who call upon Him and repent and turn away from their sins. As I closed, I appealed to each person who was in attendance.
I looked each one of those women and Mr. Hof in the eyes as I scanned the room. In my concluding remarks, I told them that I stood ready to answer any questions they may have, but that they could not walk away and think they could make a mockery of God because ONLY the fool says in his or her heart that there is no God.
As I did in every funeral I preached (a total of 271 over 8 years), I said something like this.
“I do not know where the deceased stood before God. However, if they could return for just one more minute of life, they would implore you to make things right with God. They would tell you that heaven and hell are real. They would tell you to not put off the reality of eternity for all of us will face it the moment we cross from death into the life after.”
Mr. Hof was furious and I honestly wondered if he was going to say anything else or come to the front and accost me in some way.
I gave a final prayer and dismissed everybody. Most ignored me on the way out including most of the women from Mr. Hof’s ranch. However, one of the women stopped as if she was going to say something. Her face was a wreck from tears that ran freely down her face. She turned to walk away as Mr. Hof walked up behind her.
“Ma’am, is there anything I can do for you?”
She turned back and said with sobs, “I heard you speak the truth today, but I am not sure that I can change now. Please pray for me!”
I put out my hand and shook Mr. Hof’s hand. I told him that I would be praying that he would know the truth that I preached. He only glared at me and didn’t say another word to me. He turned on his heel and left just as the wife of the deceased walked up to me and gave me a hug.
“I know Mr. Hof is very angry right now, but I want to tell you that I am so glad you were the one preaching. Thank you for sharing the gospel. My husband was not a believer and things were not good for us the last few years after he took the job. However, I can say that all of these people needed to hear what you said.”
I told her again that I would be praying for them and with that everybody was gone. I have never forgotten the events of that day, nor have I forgotten each person that I personally interacted with that day. A man had gone into eternity and I had been granted the privilege of preaching as a dying man to dying men.
From all the news reports today, Mr. Hof died in the midst of enjoying his sin and his debauched life. Now, he faces the God of all creation and I could not help but wonder if he has ever remembered the words that I preached that day back in 2011.
Sin brings judgment and now he faces judgment alone without any of the women he sought to keep entrapped in a life of destruction. I do not rejoice in the death of this man, but pity those he left behind. I have sorrow for those he has destroyed.
Tomorrow, his family and friends will be making final arrangements for the earthly remains of Mr. Dennis Hof, but eternity has already started for his man.
Here now the Word of the Lord God –
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” – Ezekiel 18:32
This is still the only message to be preached to unbelievers. TURN AND LIVE!
Glory to God, amen. Thank you for sharing this, brother.. I’m convicted and encouraged by your boldness in speaking the truth in love.
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Thank you for your encouraging words Dean.
Wow…that was…powerful! To God be the glory for your obedience in such a difficult place, Mark. I am grateful for people like you, who preach the Gospel unashamedly, because back in 2009, God used DefCon to save me and give me a new lease on life! Thank you brother.
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Reblogged this on Revival & Reformation.
I am amazed at how God brings things together. I have passed on your quote to The Pilgrim who started DefCon back in 2007/2008. It has been my privilege to call him a brother and a friend. I know he will be encouraged at your testimony. Thank you for sharing.
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Thank you and your team for continuing on the fight for the faith. You never know who you might touch with the light of the Gospel.
Good word, Mark.
Reblogged this on For Such A Time As This.
Thank you Mark,
I was in tears as I read your account of the funeral in Carson City 7 years ago.
I had also never heard of Mr. Hof until last night on our local news station because our former county sheriff had just met with Mr. Hof earlier on the night that Mr. Hof died. The news explained that Mr. Hof was a Republican running for Congress in Nevada.
They also explained his line of work.
I understood enough to consider the gravity of the situation. Our former sheriff (in his 80s) spoke on the news about how surprised he was to hear of Mr. Hof’s death because there was no sign of ill hearth.
I woke up early this morning thinking about how short life is and how quickly anyone can be taken.
Then, later this morning, I was reading Psalms 49 through 52, and pondered how those two particular Psalms might apply to that man (or anyone who hates God and has not become broken before Him). It made me consider the end of all things, and how tenuous life is, and how much we are all at the mercy of God each and every moment of our lives. All that God asks is that we fear him, repent, and obey his commandments (“Turn and Live” or as Spurgeon preached, “Turn or Burn”)). Jesus said in John 14:15, “if ye love me, keep my commandments.” In Ecclesiastes 12:13 we read, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
In Matthew 10:28 we read, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The “Him” Is God.
It was clear to me that God arranged for Mr. Hof to hear the sermon that you preached on that day 7 years ago. God also gave that man 7 years to repent and make peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Would that it were that he listened and became broken rather than hardened. However, we do not know his heart and particularly at the last moments of his life, but we do know that if he could come back for a minute he would indeed warn everyone that Heaven and Hell are real and that God was telling the truth in the Bible where it says in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
I immediately think of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:27-31) when the rich man calling out from hell to Abraham (remembering that this is a parable) said :”…I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (BTW: The One Who rose from the dead in Jesus)
And Psalm 49 and 52 provide clear and dire warnings to those who refuse to hear.
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing and it was very timely for me to read and ponder all these things at this time. God knows the end from the beginning. In reality, there is no such thing as coincidence.
I pray that your prayers for the lost souls took effect on at least one of your hearers.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
God bless you and your ministry.
(BTW: I sent you a private email, but it must have gone into your spam folder)
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Dennis Hof thought he could live his life on his own terms. Problem is, when the “party” called life for Dennis ended, he found out differently. Now it is not Election Day that Dennis will look forward to but Judgment Day regrettably. One can only hope his girlfriend Dasha Dare will come to her senses and repent. Kudos to the preacher who speaks the truth as you have, even if it makes one man mad and another man glad.
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