Growing in Jesus, by Fr. Father Robert DeGrandis, another anointed book by a popular charismatic priest who has traveled the world, now writes on how Jesus views you, how you should go to Him, how to grow in the Bible, how to heal your self-image, and potent prayers -- including the "prayer of helplessness." CLICK HERE



Do you believe in Heaven? It sounds like a silly question. For many Americans, it is not. Doubt reigns. For Colton Burpo, there's no doubt for the simple reason that he experienced it.

The result has been a publishing phenomenon called Heaven Is For Real. He was just a couple months shy of his fourth birthday when Colton -- son of an evangelical preacher in Nebraska -- was rushed to the hospital with a burst appendix.

When he came to, the boy had an amazing story. He had died, he told his parents,  and not only had seen the other side, but had encountered a grandfather he never knew (yet could now describe in impossible details, knowing things he could not have known).

As it turns out: he had died and gone to heaven, where he met his great-grandfather; the biblical figure Samson; John the Baptist; and Jesus -- Who had eyes that Colton, now 11, described as "just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle."

While his is not one of the most detailed of such experiences, his book has been a phenomenon. It has sold more than any book ever published by Thomas Nelson Publishers -- one of the world's largest Christian houses. At last rough tally: 1.5 million copies just since last November (reaching the very top of The New York Times bestseller list).

And so it is that these cases fascinate us because they inform us -- they virtually always have some nugget of information that helps us on our own journeys -- and they resonate on the deepest level. The sparkling eyes of Jesus: this is so consistent with others who have glimpsed the other side. They say Jesus has eyes you cannot imagine. They sail beyond radiant, beyond the word beauty; he radiates and is surrounded by a Light that is brilliant even by the standards of Heaven -- which is filled with unearthly luminosity. It is the Light of His Sacred Heart. 

Initially Colton's father, Todd, the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in the farming town of Imperial, was skeptical. As The Times recounted: "At first, he and his wife, Sonja, were not sure if they could believe their sonís story, which came out slowly, months and years after his sudden illness and operation in 2003. The details persuaded them, Mr. Burpo said. Colton told his parents that he had met his younger sister in Heaven, describing her as a dark-haired girl who resembled his older sister, Cassie. When the Burpos questioned him, he asked his mother, 'You had a baby die in your tummy, didnít you?' While his wife had suffered a miscarriage years before, Mr. Burpo said, they had not told Colton about it. 'Thereís just no way he could have known,' Mr. Burpo said."

This is explosive material -- especially for those who believe it's okay to terminate the life of the unborn because they are not yet individuals.

Meanwhile, the boy also described the wounds on the palm of Jesus with detail he also had not been privy to. Remember again that this was a boy who was still a year away from kindergarten.

And while his father was a minister, he had not shown his son details of the Crucifixion.

It all started on a trip to Colorado when the boy developed a stomach ache and was misdiagnosed as having the flu. Upon return to Nebraska, Colton went downhill fast. "There were things Colton did and things he said after the surgery that were out of the ordinary but until a drive past the hospital four months after his surgery none of it made sense," recounted a news report. "His dad jokingly asked Colton if he wanted to go back to the hospital. His response? 'You know dad, the angels sang to me while I was there.' I remember looking in the mirror and he was dead serious,' said Burpo."

The family is donating most of the book royalties, saving some for home improvements.

Colton describes the family's view of the book simply:

"People are getting blessed, and theyíre going to have healing from their hurts," he said. "Iím happy for that."

[resources: Heaven Is For Real and afterlife books]

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