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December 23, 2020 5:00 am
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God doesn't make entrance into heaven. Something you just it's a gift. All is a heart turning to him, saying, I want your love. I want your forgiveness.
I want your life left John Burke and he's our guest today on Focus on the Family host spoke as president and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John. We had John Burke on the program back in April right as the coronavirus shutdown was full force as a pastor and the author of a book on near-death experiences. He gave us a glimpse of what heaven will be like and he is done incredible work survey work with over a thousand people that it had near-death experiences in it was one of the top programs of the year and I'm excited to have John back to talk further about the stories that he collected and hear his insights about near-death experiences. Yeah, I think the message of hope in the eternal came through loud and clear from John and certainly as were celebrating the birth of Christ, just around the corner. I want to have John back to put a new emphasis on the hope we have in Christ in his research. As you said Jim really brought out a lot of interesting things from near-death experiences, people who were clinically dead, came back and had stories to tell and that really is the foundation for the conversation today you better understand.
I believe what Paul mentioned in first Corinthians, when he said what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him and these people have seen a glimpse of that and that's organ a touch on the day. I've also asked my wife Jean to come back she was with us last time. Jim is great to have you here. Well, it's a pleasure being very excited about the subject matter if it's an extra skip in my step.
Have you here, it's already nicely can do lunch and John, welcome to Focus on the Family, so grateful to be back is fun to have you here and I should mention John Burke is the pastor and founder of Gateway church in Austin, Texas, and the book is called imagine heaven near-death experiences God's promises and the exhilarating future that awaits you. It's a great book and we encourage you to get a copy. We do have those email@example.com/broadcast John. Let's give a little bit of background for the listener, who may be joining us. Didn't hear the previous broadcast that we did with you as a young man you were skeptic of Christianity. Your background is engineering. I get that that's a typical combination right your very science oriented. You want facts in front of you, etc. but you did have a major event in your life that changed your perspective what happened will my dad got cancer and so literally death was knocking on our door and at that time I thought maybe there's a God I don't know Jesus probably just good man. Myth about son of God and pastor the day that's phenomenal well there is one on yeah so the thing that happened is a friend gave my dad the very first study on near-death experiences right and I couldn't put it down and I was so blown away because I thought okay. I've always asked you know how you know this stuff is real. How do you know and here I was seen evidence from you categorize 100 people and so many of them were seen. This God of love and light, so many of them saw Jesus and new God is Jesus and I was like wow could this be true. Now I wouldn't convince right away, but I within the next couple years ended up starting to read the Bible and got into smolder by came to faith in Christ and then I think it was God's providence. I kept running into more and more of these stories and I just was curious like okay, how does what the Bible say correlate with what these people are saying and initially it doesn't always.
So I am always skeptical of any one story and I think that's a good posture to have actually John, let's get into some of this. One of the similarities with those experiences that you followed and described that researcher so people have a scope, but it has been over a thousand people that you've interviewed are people that you are working with you. So it's a big number. But what are the similarities that you did find you mentioned a couple of them yeah well and in the book. I kinda focus on 12 or 13 of the commonalities when someone dies, they they say they leave their body. But there in the room, still many times they can see their body. They can see the resuscitation attempts to talk about how they're still themselves. They have a spiritual body, but they're still fully themselves. In fact, Fillmore themselves and they've ever been. Yeah remember everything about their life and their watch what's going on. Complete sense of peace. Just feel like they've never felt so alive. Many times they travel then sometimes they call it through a tunnel.
Sometimes it's a path like a pathway of light. Sometimes it's instantaneous. It is there and they get to this place of incredible beauty, not unlike Earth, mountains and flowers and trees and forests and, but also so much beyond. At the same time and in this place. It's lit up with the most exquisite light but the light doesn't shine on things. It comes out of everything and it's not like like the light of earth that hurts your eyes.
It's like that they say is palpable.
It's love its life and its light altogether and it's like it's emanating from everything working to get into some of the stories Regina wanted to turn you and just took off a few things that caught your attention as you and I read the book.
Well, there are many right things but I'll just mention the dilemma that overwhelming and boundless love that people experience from Jesus that it's a love that so incredibly full of warmth and grace. Send people describe it as being fully known and fully loved and it's it's something they feel they just feel it permeating that men and coming through Jesus. The lights you just mention that as well delight in heaven. The being mean, brilliant, radiant light coming from and through Jesus send and that Jesus and God the father literally light up heaven and that people describe their senses. It's been so much more than what they have on it's it's so amplifier ME to yeah it was like you could see 10 feet or hundred miles. That's another great example. You know the commonalities like of the descriptors I wrote about probably 12 to 15 of the commonalities typically but there actually are categorized over 40 descriptors of this place and what these people sat across the globe and actually matched them to what the Bible says and I've got verses for all but two while that's amazing, and even the to someone and this is where when you first hear the stories as Christians.
I think it does sound kind of maybe out there weird like that. They will say something like you know there were colors far beyond the color spectrum and you know this light that is love and all that well once you start to see what the Bible says, you realize I will.
That's what we should expect if we had imagine heaven right right we don't we don't really read it and go, what would that be like people being able to see you like to say I could see miles and I was right up close like will okay will.
That's not in the Bible. Actually, it is John in the book of Revelation is taken up into heaven. He's taken in the Spirit to a great high mountain, and yet he reads the words inscribed in the stone used to know the Negroes okay you know the foundation stone asked their names written or how did he read him. That's correct. Question what they commonly say this, they have their eyesight is not in fact they say that you don't just have five senses. It's more like you have 5000 senses, and in the senses are blended so again that's where it's like will that's really amazing yeah but if you think about it, you know, we are constrained by three dimensions of space were constrained. This is a limited experience of this abundance of life that Jesus promised, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly in the studio joining us gene dealing than John Burke. John has written a book called imagine heaven near-death experiences God's promises and the exhilarating future that awaits you and will encourage you to pick up a copy of that book. We do have those here. Just check the episode notes for more John, I think we've done a good job kinda painting the picture of what data you collected in the like is that connecting it to Scripture, we can cover all that in 30 minutes of people need to get the button to get into more detail, but I do want to cover some of the stories because again the profound. Let's start with Dr. Mary Neal, the physician she had an accident of water sport accident describe what happened and what happened to her in her experience yeah and you know so many of these are like doctors and airline pilots and that's what really got me is why would they make this stuff it just it only hurts their career and Dr. Mary Neal's a spine surgeon. She was kayaking with her husband in Chile and she goes over a fall and it was a steep drop and her kayak wedge between two boulders underneath the waterfall right so she ran. She couldn't get out and she was pinned to the kayak tried to release her spray skirt the force of the water was holding her down. You know, her friends were waiting for her to come up and she's sitting there doing everything she can calmly trying to get out and then she starts to realize I've been underwater too long. I can't be underwater this long. I can't still be alive, and she's and it's pretty here in the book. I describe what she said. She said she she's feeling more peace and joy than she's ever felt before. More alive than she's ever felt. And yet she's also completely yourself. She's super analytical cause occurs yet right and she's sitting there watching her knees bent backwards analyzing now.
What's going on with my cartilage in my bones right now is, but that's not what she's experiencing. Instead, she's experiencing Jesus physically, tangibly holding her and gives her a life review which is another commonality that we sing your life to experience our lives in a powerful profound way. Like Mary said not only was Jesus showing me all the experiences of my life. He was showing me how everything the things I said were good. The things I said were horrible. How he use them in other people's lives and he showed me sometimes.
10 2030 people were moved how truly good comes of all things and that you know that verse of God uses all things to good of those who love and how long was she dead and what happened to her. 30 minutes so they she finally dislodged about 15 minutes underwater and then they were able to body come up. They pulled her up on shore. They started resuscitation, and meanwhile she shoots up out of the water and she's up above the water fully yourself and can see them searching for her searching for her body and she said, and this is another commonality is welcoming committee and was there, but they she said were bursting with love and light like it was coming out of them toward her. It was like this and they were it was like this big great party. They were joyful and dancing and hugging and you know kissing her.
It's real life. You know how we tend to think well okay there.
These people would like coming on. That's weird, but actually that's Daniel that's Daniel chapter 12 I believe, where he says everybody will die and be resurrected.
Ultimately, some to you know eternal tradition, but some to everlasting light, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. Let's moved another story, another doctor actually Richard EB. This one is really interesting to see was that for 10 hours that they arrived that I mean most and he's a medical doctor and he's 10 hours had an open survived that I know what happened well so he was helping relative move and they were moving out of two-story.
I think apartment and he was throwing junk over. You know the edge about the now trail. I like his salary moving. I just get rid of the and is leaning on that railing and he didn't realize the termite said, basically, good, and it it it went in and had went headfirst in the concrete split his skull open and so yes so he revived miraculously in the morgue. He was already in Morogoro to now 10 hours yes Stanley medical doctors hearing that now are saying that it's impossible happened. Yeah it happens and yeah I and I have others who have medical records 45 minutes an hour, but that is his experience.
Given that he was so like you didn't travel path aura and that's where you know these commonalities different people experience different points of these commonalities, some more than others. I don't know why, honestly, but he just was instantly in this valley. This gorgeous Valley with mountains and field and flowers and tall grasses, and as he is asking these questions.
I guess the question can I can pick a flower and immediately the answer is there and he knows this is Jesus, and so he picks it.
It's not watery it's not like the cellular watery and the voice says, of course, because Jesus is the life that flows through and it just it made me realize that something it says in Hebrews chapter 8 about when God told Moses to construct the tabernacle. He gave them a pattern for and he said constructed exactly as this pattern I give you because it it says in Hebrews 8 is a shadow of the real one in heaven and started to make me just think, is the son and the water which is life-support of earth just a shadow of the glory of God and the living water of heaven. That's the real thing.
And this is this is all shrunk down version very life. John, you know, that sounds great and I know that there can be listeners that are hearing this, they're having horrible life experiences. I mean, I don't know what it could be but you know we know the categories loss of a loved one terminal illness diagnosis or other pain, loss of a son or daughter.
And it's hard to imagine that it actually is going to be better. Yeah in heaven because there feeling that pain experiences that concept if you can, that the hope of heaven yeah is what were aiming for here even though this life is going really dish up pain and what's the purpose of the pain well and Paul says in Romans eight I am convinced he's convinced from experience that the sufferings we go through on this earth are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed that hopeful point in heaven and you know to realize though that relationship is meant to last forever. I think a lot of fear that even Christians have all people, but I think even Christians have is somehow heaven will be this mystical. Even the way I described you might feel like that's kinda weird and scary like I don't want to be a light. I don't to be a right but you're not your fully you are a this is what people say and that and that's why I put the hundred and 20 of their stories in hearing in their words, what the Bible says Jesus said you will be with me to his friends. I will come and get you.
You will be with me I won't eat or drink. You know, again, until we eat and drink and feast together in the kingdom of heaven. That's what's can happen. There's a great reunion and so everything that we suffer here on earth is set straight right John dear Pastor I met your heart coming out of that engineering background and this is something God's given your passion for. I'm thinking of the listener right now who doesn't have that relationship with Christ and we talk a lot about that often times your focus we say if we can help your family. That's one thing but if we haven't introduce you to the author of the family. We kind of failed in our Christian mission right Jack. So we want to do both, and I'd like for you to speak to that person. Right now who's listening this going as sounds like a bunch of malarkey now it for me it's excitement because I think you're putting pieces together that the Christian community.
We either have lost talking about this, but it's right there in Scripture. You do a fabulous job of connecting Scripture to these experiences that people have. And I think that's that's the evidence I need you two are together, but I want to speak to the person who sitting there right now they're driving down the freeway or whatever they might be doing there going what, but there still listening is very intrigued, but you know speak to their heart about what this means. This is critical well stop and think about this you're talking about millions and millions of people all across the globe, not just Western, you're now know I would like her. She doesn't like studies and imagine heaven where they studied 500 Indians in the continent of India and compared to 500 Americans you know very different cultural religious upbringings and yet what they're describing the heaven and the God they're describing is the same you know I was like I wasn't very open-minded. It was the death of my father, you know, that made me kinda wake up and I think it's a sad truth that many times we go through life wanting to get our will be done by an that's fine.
That's Christians and non-Christians. We live in a world of wills at your and Jesus taught us to pray father, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven because that's what's missing on earth God, though, and this is what I think is important to realize that I started to realize God is love right.
He sent Jesus, the father sent Jesus, so that we would know what love looks like in our finite world.
God wants relationship and it's hard to imagine relating to a mystical spirit you can't see and yet God remains hidden for a while because he's teaching us something he's teaching us how to forever choose love had forever. Choose the author of love, the God of love, but we haven't all of us have gone her own way. All of us is chosen. I know what's best for my life. My will be done now and we leave inadvertently or blatantly push God aside and the Bible calls at seven says the wages of sin is death, which is spiritual death means separation from God, but this is the amazing thing and this is what the stories reiterate as well. God doesn't make entrance into heaven. Something you earn.
He just it's a gift. All he needs is a heart turning to him, saying, I want your love. I want your forgiveness. I want your life, one that was one of the challenges.
As I read the book really and I'll let you know as a reader of your book how I responded to it because when the Muslim encountered the light and the light said that Muslims one of the experiences in the book I'm Jesus.
My attitude was women, the Lord you gave him a chance. He pastored by now, in this near-death experience you're allowing him to acknowledge you and I'm tired and my heart John what I heard was oh are you can set the boundaries of my grace. I thought I just great.
Like Lord I'm so sorry and and you know what's funny Dean Braxton who is a wonderful Christian man he had when these near-death experiences. So here he is in Jesus presence and he's experiencing this love that he said and many said this.
It felt like I was the only one Jesus loved, he loved me so much and was so crazy about me and like I was his only kid and he said, but then I would think about someone else I realize I don't know he he loves them the same but I feel like I'm the only one. And then he had this thought, what about them and what he was thinking is child abusers and he was thinking it is in a judgment as a genre and he said Jesus almost in the in a harsh kind away said to his mind to his thoughts and his heart. Who are you to nullify what I have done and he said when you put someone in prison so he uses own analogy because he was in the criminal justice system.
When you put someone in prison. Eventually they get out they get out, or they die when we put someone in hell it's for eternity and then he said he stretch out his his arms like he was on the cross and he could see the nails in his actually wrist more like wrist, they would say and what he realizes he wants everyone there. He died for everyone. He wants everyone hard to fathom them.
And yet, that is, it is that God has removed every barrier between us and the one who loves us except one are prime in our pride we can play God and we can say I don't need you God and my will be done, or we can just simply humble ourselves and go.
Lord forgive me thank you that you paid for all my wrongs 2000 years ago so that a simple I do is all God needs an that's the beauty of it getting back to that original question if you don't know or don't have a relationship with Christ.
We want to introduce you to what it means to become a Christian and we have many resources to help you with that. That's our core goal here Focus on the Family John, thanks for being with us. This is been really good though. I so appreciate being here. Thanks you and you share that message John of the hope we have in heaven is so beautiful here, and especially poignant, as were just a few days away from celebrating the birth of Christ and Jim.
I can imagine a more perfect time for our listeners to consider inviting Jesus into their life and we have a lot of resources, as you said to get started like a free booklet coming home which describes God's love and grace and how you can become part of his family. We also have the outstanding book we talked about today by John Burke.
Imagine heaven, and Jean and I so enjoyed reading through the stories and the imagery of the book really gives you a strong sense of what awaits us in heaven when we pass from this life, and step into the loving arms of Jesus at 2020 has been a challenging year and I'm thankful Christmas is finally here. We all need the hope and peace, Jesus Christ came to give us in our mission here Focus on the Family is to remind you of that hope. We aim to give you practical tools and insights to help you be a better spouse and a better mom or dad let me share a story from one of our listeners. She wrote as long as I can remember, our family has listened to Focus on the Family. I know my parents have been very blessed and encouraged by listening to your programs and now as a parent myself I find myself checking the app every day to listen.
I'm just so thankful for the work you are doing. Thank you for telling the truth and not backing down on the tough topics in these days.
It's so refreshing to hear message of hope of help and of truth keep fighting the battles and keep pursuing Jesus I pray that you will be thriving and even more impactful for my children as they grow up to that is really an encouraging note. It is, but we can't do it alone.
We need your help on this Christmas you can come alongside struggling families with a special holiday gift. Your support of Focus on the Family will give families help and when you give a gift of any amount today to the ministry will send you a copy of John's book as our way of saying thank you for being a part of it. Your support is critical so that we can finish the year strong and plan to reach like she said in her note even more families in the coming year. I know God is going to do tremendous work through you and Focus on the Family 2021 donate today and get your copy of imagine heaven by John Burke asked for that booklet as well. Coming home to call 800 K in the word family or click the link in the episode, and when you get in touch.
Be sure to ask that the CD or look for the download of this conversation John Burke. It has about an extra 30 minutes of content we just couldn't squeeze into on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.
Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ