Shepherd's News
“Heaven Is for Real”
 
(Jesus says,) "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am, " (John 14:2,3).
 
In the month of November we enter the portion of the Christian Church Year known as End Time. During this season we are encouraged to be faithful to God's Word (Reformation Sunday), mindful of God's final judgment (Last Judgment), watchful for our triumph at Christ's coming again (Saints Triumphant), and joyful in the reign of Christ here in time and for all of eternity (Christ the King). The following may serve as an illustration to stimulate our thoughts during this time of the Church Year. "Heaven Is for Real." This book spent over 50 weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This past April, it was also made into a movie that earned just under $100,000,000. It's the story of little Colton, a 4-year-old boy, who had a near death experience during an emergency appendectomy. But what sets this story apart from the literally millions of other near death experiences, is that afterward Colton seemed to know things that would seem highly unlikely for him to have learned during the short course of his life.
 
For example, little Colton described his great-grandfather, whom he had never met, and told of spending time with him in heaven. He said that he met his sister, who died in the womb, and whom he had never been told about. And he described in great detail what his parents were doing while he was in surgery - again, something they had never discussed with him. But what really fascinates me is not the story, but people's reaction to it. Polls say that 90% of Americans believe in the afterlife, and the popularity of Colton's story says they clearly want to know more about it. Blogs on this book/movie are filled with comments by people who have recently lost loved ones - in many cases children - telling of the comfort they have found in this story's assurance that heaven is for real and that their loved ones are now in a beautiful, loving place.
 
We, on the other hand, believe that heaven is for real not because a little boy spent time with his great-grandfather, met his unborn sister, or rode a rainbow-colored pony with Jesus. Quite the contrary. We know that heaven is real because our Lord Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many rooms ....I am going there to prepare a place for you, and....I will come back to take you to be with me. "
 
And that's what makes it heaven, isn't it? Not all the leisure activities and all the natural beauty we've ever imagined - all without sickness or sorrow, trials and troubles, pain and tears, or conflict of any kind. No, what makes it heaven is Jesus! We will meet him face-to- face, the One who loves us so much that he carried our sins to the cross, the One whose perfect life of obedience and whose sacrificial death earned our place in heaven, the One who has been with us the whole time, guiding, providing, and protecting us. As we wait, let's not just read books and watch movies - let's tell as many people as we possibly can, as often as we can, about the One who made it all possible - our Lord Jesus, who is "the Way and the Truth and the Life, " (John 14:6). Heaven is for real!

Rev Terry Deters