It’s been said that this is the year of faith-based entertainment with movies such as Son of God, Noah, God is Not Dead, Left Behind, Exodus and Mary, Mother of Christ due to hit theaters.
One such movie that my dad is especially excited about is based on a book that greatly inspired him a couple of years ago – Heaven Is For Real.
In the book, Todd Burpo writes that during the months after his son’s emergency surgery in 2003, his son Colton began describing events and people that seemed impossible for him to have seen or met. Examples include his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. Colton also claimed that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-colored horse and sat in Jesus’ lap, while the angels sang songs to him. He also says he saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus.
My dad loves the purity and innocence that is conveyed throughout the pages of Heaven Is For Real. Especially in light of the skepticism that surrounds us in most media and entertainment today – even within the Church community at large.
Dad has experienced several instances of something spectacular happening at one church, and while congregants at a “church down the street” are initially excited, but quickly turn to skeptic thoughts such as, “I’ve never seen that happen at our church, so maybe they’re not giving us the full story.”
Contrarily, as my dad listened to his unabridged audiobook account of Colton Burpo’s near-death experience and peek into heaven, Dad couldn’t help but believe it.
Could Colton’s father, Todd, have embellished or even made up the whole thing to make a ton of money of his son’s brush with death? Sure.But as my dad compared Colton’s experience with what Dad has experienced himself and with Dad’s own Biblical knowledge, the book rang true.
Some of the things that Dad knows for a fact is that God is real and He has a plan for each of us. It’s up to us to seek out and discover what that plan is and work it out in our lives.
For my dad, part of his calling is to encourage and equip other people, and he has had multiple opportunities to do so by sharing with them just glimpses of Colton’s peek into heaven.
Another key component to Heaven Is For Real – and other faith based books and movies for that matter – that my dad enjoys is the aspect of challenging people’s understandings of God and heaven and beginning discussions about what is true and how does this truth affect our lives today.
Now, Dad is all too familiar with people – even pastors – who will boo-hoo Heaven Is For Real, claiming that it is simply too spectacular to warrant credibility. But from Dad’s vantage point, if anyone’s curiosity is piqued about what God is about and God’s plan for their lives, then Dad gets excited!
Now, my dad understands why some pastors may be hesitant to accept each and every book or movie claiming to be truth as actually Biblical. After all, part of their job and calling is to protect their flock.
On the other hand, if Jesus were here walking amongst us right now, and he said and did the things that are listed in the Gospels, would we be on the side that says, “Man, this guy is doing miracles!” or would we be on the side that says, “I don’t trust him.”
What would we do if He was here today?
So, the challenge comes down to this: If heaven is for real, if the Bible is true, then how does this impact, affect and guide our lives today?
For more engaging and encouraging podcasts and videos, check out the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com