Revealing Heaven by John W. Price (TLC Book Tour/Review)


God is ultimately concerned about the way we live our lives while on earth. We are to share God’s love, share the gifts God gives us , knowing we create our own heaven or hell here for others and ourselves while we are alive. Those who have experienced life review report God’s one commandment is to live in love. ~John W. Price
When I was contacted to review Revealing Heaven by John Price, I thought to myself, No. No way, not my type of read. Yet, since Heaven and Hell are the focus and since so many seem to be sharing “Near-Death” Experiences in mainstream media, perhaps, just maybe I should take a look. I always like to consider a person’s perspective, especially when they are sharing how they have come to the conclusions they hold.
So I began reading this former hospital chaplain and current Pastor/Spiritual Director’s perspective.
Which kind of starts off like this…
A Priest that doesn’t believe in Heaven, yet leads an Episcopalian congregation,is convinced ultimately that Heaven exists but seems a little unclear about how you get there. For sure. Or maybe he has a clue but it might not be what you think or the way he thought at first. Besides most of the Priests in his circle are not convinced of the after-life anyway. Whoa.
Let’s back up, here. I am not one who likes to dabble in these types of books. Although near death experience seems to be the current trend in publishing in both Christian and Secular circles, trends just get my red flag flying on any day but when you are talking about areas which are going to rely on anecdotal stories, I tend to be cautiously curious and skeptical.
It did not surprise me that there were varying beliefs about the afterlife in the religious order and circle that surrounded Reverend Price at the time he began to explore this phenomenon. In the days that Jesus confronted the Pharisees, Sadducees and religious sects, they could not agree on what they believed about life after death either. As a matter of fact for the most part, Christ came to make the way that God’s chosen teachers were blocking.
 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

Matthew 23: 13-15
Christ came to set the record straight. God came down and said that there was a way. One way. 
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:6
I digress. Back to Mr. Price’s book. He is asking us to consider the accounts that he has personally heard (for the most part) from those who have had a NDE (Near- Death Experience) and have come back to share their vision of God, Jesus, Heaven or Hell as the case may be. I am not one to dismiss the personal accounts of others, having had my own personal experience of the conversion kind. I have seen miracles and have experienced a few not so easy to explain situations. I think if we want to be heard or understood we need to be willing to do likewise. 
In the two parts of the book we hear the stories of those who had heavenly experiences encountering the after life interviewed as well as the personal story of John’s journey of growth in his own perspectives about faith, spirituality, life, death and pastoral responsibility.
The second part of the book delves into the specifics of the NDE which seems to characterize almost all of the returnees. Here is where we find the Hellish experiences and impact on the returning person’s life as well as those who have had positive experiences and the impact on the lives they now live.

My first thought was to share this book with my Pastor and I will. The second thought was for you to read it yourself especially if you are skeptical about the reality of Heaven, Hell or Near-Death Experience. Aren’t we all guilty of sometimes drawing conclusions without carefully listening to a view that might challenge our own point of view? I propose that before you dismiss something, consider how you feel when someone dismisses your thoughts, feelings or conclusions. I tend to want to avoid those things that can’t be logically explained. But consider that we (Christians) want others to consider something that isn’t logical at all. Wouldn’t it be wise to at least be willing to treat someone who holds a view different than yours or that you are skeptical about with the same consideration you want them to offer you? 
Here is what I liked about this book:
The fact is, this is an amazingly intriguing read. The author is sharing something which obviously has become his life’s work. I found it hard to put down as he shares his first hand conversations with those who have allegedly gone to Heaven or Hell and been pulled or sent back for whatever the reason. I can respect someone’s thoughts, opinions and conclusions whether I agree or disagree with their position.
I think John Price wrote well and I appreciate and respect his dedication in seeking to understand something that is possibly beyond the realm of human understanding this side of eternity. Mr. Price has dedicated his life to this endeavor and shares candidly both his initial ignorance and epiphany moments along the way. The stories of the Near-Death Experience returnees are riveting.
Here is what disturbed me:
This book is a compelling read.
If you are a Evangelical Christian, I think you are going to have a hard time accepting some of his  conclusions. As I read the book I started to find myself feeling hopeful and the author’s own quest for truth and understanding resonated within me to the core. When I put the book down, I had to acknowledge the (not so) subtle message that came through to me most was the works based philosophy underlying the main point. Live a good life, go to heaven. Meanies go to Hell. When in doubt I must, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, default to what He said about Heaven, Hell, Life and Death. I turn to scripture not experience. I am not denying that people have these experiences. Nor am I implying that Mr. Price is wrong to seek to understand them in the context of those he ministers to and serves. What I am saying is that we should listen to what others say regarding their spiritual experience and beliefs, especially if we want them to return the courtesy to us. I conclude with a quote by Elisabeth Elliot, “If God were small enough to be understood, He wouldn’t be big enough top be God”. In the end God is Sovereign. As far as all else.

I will let scripture speak:

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14



From the Publisher: In Revealing Heaven: The Christian Case for Near-Death Experiences, the Reverend John W. Price, a longtime Episcopal priest and member of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation, tackles a subject that’s been long-ignored by clergy. For the first time, Price offers a pastoral perspective on near-death experiences, illustrates how NDEs can be used as both a ministry tool and a catalyst for personal spiritual development, and explains why we should see them as gifts from God. Beginning with a life-changing experience as a young National Guard chaplain, and offering numerous examples from the over 200 near-death experiences related to him in his 40+ years of church service, Price offers some surprising and hopeful lessons for Christians struggling with death and grief: One does not need to be baptized a Christian to go to heaven—anyone who lives a good life and practices kindness can experience heaven. Sins we commit in life are forgivable even in death.
God has a plan for all of us, including a specific “time” for each of us to continue our lives in heaven.
In Revealing Heaven, Price offers a compilation of experiences by “returnees” along with biblical evidence to contend that NDEs are both valid and fully consistent with Scripture. A resource for a Christian audience looking for answers about life and death, this book will also appeal to anyone seeking a greater understanding of what the afterlife means for us in the here-and-now.

I received this book from TLC book tours and Harper One in return for a an honest review.
The opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.
Thank you TLC and Harper One!

Writing to God (Week 2)

Credit

Well, week 1 (Book: Days 1-7) is behind us and we get ready to journey ahead for week 2 (Book Days 8-14) of our Writing to God adventure. If you are along for this journey I invite you to share in the comments what your favorite prompt or writing day was this past week. If you happen to be dropping in, please join in the opening conversation or jump in with the below Prompt (Creative Writing) from Rachel’s Writing to God Discussion Guide. 

Opening Conversation:
What writing are you doing this week (emails, grocery lists, etc.)?

Creative Writing
Write creatively (in any genre – fiction, poetry, memoir, etc.) for ten minutes
in response to this prompt: “Tomorrow promised to be a good day.” Offer
the opportunity for group members to share parts or all of their writing after
the ten minutes.

My thoughts from the past week:

*One of the reasons this book sat on my shelf for a bit was my concern about writing from prompts daily that were written by someone else. Generally that feels confining to me, or at least that was my perception prior to this first week of writing in response to these daily prompts. To my surprise the scripture and readings are edifying uplifting and inspiring. I only had one day where I felt I was a tad bit unfocused and chalk that up to my own issues of the morning.

*I can’t even pick a favorite because I find each day has really been incredibly satisfying and positive.

*A note: I generally write to God through my journals. I tend to go on, and on and ramble back and forth. This is not a bad thing necessarily but my goal and hope for this Writing To God journey is to have a more focused time of writing that leads into my morning prayer time. I pick up my journal randomly anytime to write so I really was hoping that this endeavor would limit me (in a good way) and allow me to have a richer,more focused writing/prayer time that would be set apart each day. I only allow myself to write on the one page given, as an effort in focus and supporting my effort in this area. I do think that for some, a journal or notebook would be best, especially if one has not been writing in this way before. Then the freedom to go with the prompt and explore without page limits might be best. But for me in this season, limits are needful and helpful! Do what is best for you in the season God has you!

I hope you will comment and share how you are doing on your journey here with us! Feel free to link a post if you have one related to today’s prompt or a post written about your journey! Otherwise, What are you writing this week? 

Feel free to pop in here anytime during the week to add a comment or link related to your journey.
Let’s keep it lively and see you here next week as well!

Forgiven

He came that I might know
truth.
Have life.
Live love.
Overcome as He overcame
death.
He lives now
so that I can…
know how
to live today
and forever
I wish I could say I know all
but choose instead
to learn to know the One
who said:
 *“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, 
even though they die;
 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. 
Do you believe this?”
so I die…
to my own selfish ambitions, 
and trust
that if I crucify
the me in I
Somehow I live and never die,
because He lives, so do I. 
simple, 
grand,
 a maddening plan,
I have my part 
I take His hand-
I choose
life
by grace through faith,
I believe
I am 
forgiven.
Amen.
*John 11:25-26
Ephesians 2:8 (grace through faith)
I am Linking with Create with Joy for Wordless Wednesday (but I had a few words) 
and my friends at dVerse for some poetic justice on a Tuesday afternoon!

Here’s What I am Reading, Book Babes! (WOYN)



Here’s what I finished since last time:


Revealing Heaven by John W. Price-Reviewing Thursday, February 28th

Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy- I appreciated Kris’s heart as revealed in this collection of readings she put together for the Lenten season. Raw, real and inspiring.

Finally Free by Kim Tabot – This just the right size study was a perfect start to the new year.
The readings spoke to the heart of my journey this year, challenging me to let go- releasing those things God has not meant for me to carry into my faith journey. I participated in the online 6 week study and found Kim makes some excellent points about true freedom in Christ. Practical.

Lifted by Angels by Joel Miller: Review for Miller’s book review Here.

31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers: Myer’s book review Here.

The Curse of Tutankhamen by Elaine Landau (Mysteries of Science)- I read this because my Girl is studying ancient civilizations and we brought a stack of books home from the library- of which this was one I was blessed to explore and thoroughly creep-ed out by the stories surrounding the history surrounding the unearthing of this mummies tomb!

Here’s what I am currently actually reading:

Writing to God by Rachel G. Hackenberg- Journeying through this book for the next 40 days HERE.
 As someone who writes regularly in a journal and to God, I thought I would find the prompts limiting or that I would dread being prompted but I am thoroughly enjoying using Rachel’s prompts and am pleasantly surprised with the inspiration that comes new each morning!

Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer by Lynn Morissey
This one has been on my shelf for many years, and I know I perused through at one time- but am reading now after my friend Kel @ Nourishment for the Soul posted a blurb about it! Straight from the heart and beautiful to gaze upon as well-will review this lovely book soon!

Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help and Encouragement for Hurting Parents by Janet Thompson

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan G. Wooldridge

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

by Ross W. Greene

Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
by Harold Bloom (Selections)
This one is part of our Home-School reading but, sweet!


Blog At Home Mom
by Christin Slade
(I won this book over at Amy of Gospel Homemaking’s place – YAY!)



Here’s what I will be reading for review:





is my next reading for review choice from Booksneeze.





my read shelf:
Dawn's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

What's On Your Nightstand

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Man Plans, God Laughs on Monday!

Nobody is more motivated than you, nobody loves your child more than you do, nobody has [a greater] desire for your child to succeed than you. 
~Krisa Winn on Home-Schooling. 
I loved stumbling upon the quote above this week, and am making it my Home School theme quote. The past week has been full, of graces, blessings and mercies fresh daily. He is faithful! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~
It has been a busy week for us, as the public and private schools were on winter vacation this past week. We managed to keep to our Home School work and schedule while allowing for some fun time with friends as well. 

Monday was a great get together and we headed to local Sand Dunes that are usually awesome for sledding but due to exceedingly high winds were a little blotchy. Everyone still made the best of it!

My Girl sliding…
My Girl’s exit off of sliding apparatus! 
 
Sometimes beauty, like grace walks gently into our moments as quiet as a deer… 


Though it seems to walk by, it never leaves but reveals itself
in tender, unexpected moments.
*A half dozen deer showed up as my sweet friend and I sat praying following a blessed day!

February 20th was the Hub’s Birthday.
We celebrated with Peanut Butter Cup Brownies and a special Mid-Life Crisis Present for him. He wanted it, don’t get your panties all up in a bunch!

Sunday we got to see the most beautiful Bride-to-be, Sandy. Overjoyed for this dear friend and her soon to be Husband.


So here are my planning pages for the Blog as I was fleshing out the upcoming weeks. How is it that I decide to make a “blogging schedule”, and no sooner than I do just that, I immediately break my own plan? That is when I am reminded of a sweet Jewish client who used to speak these sage quotes, “Man plans, and God laughs”. Well, this is His place, I pray I am just the Facilitator and hostess, and available to flex as He wills. 
So much for the 4 day a week schedule…
Let’s say that it is a “tentative” schedule, shall we?
Because this week IS a busy week here, ok? Stay with me and I will let you know so you can pick and choose what you don’t want to miss!

So Emily over at Imperfect Prose put out a DARE this for the next few Mondays…
It’s a dare, friends. It’s A DARE TO LOVE YOURSELF. Starting now.
I took the dare and will be linking up with Emily for her Synchroblog -which starts today:February 25th!Consider taking the dare, ok?


Tuesday is time for What’s On Your Nightstand– Stop by and I will tell you all about my current pile of books. I’ve got a pretty busy stack for the slowest reader in the land of Blogdom.
Stop by if you can- and consider sharing What’s On Your Nightstand, too!
Wednesday is our informal check in for our Writing To God  journey.  Those participating  will share how their week of writing exercises went, share a post in the comments if they wish, or just comment on the “Conversation”. I will be posting a little conversation prompt, for those who may drop in to visit and want to join the conversation.
 
Thursday I am hosting a Book Tour with review of this book by an Episcopalian Priest who shares some of his perspective on how the Near-Death Experiences of many, convinced him of the reality of Heaven. This one may be the most challenging Book Review I have had to write to date. Prayers welcome as I wrap that up. 
Friday is Random Journal Day– Hooray!
 

396. Lost keys in deep snow that God returned once we asked TOGETHER in prayer!
397. A blessed, busy joyful week. 398. Active, productive and peace filled days. 399. One day at a time may be the key to everything. Maybe even one breath, one step…
400. The God who grows greater in my eyes, but who is already greater than I can perceive.

Eyes to see, Lord. Eyes to see.  May I see your greatness and glory in the details of every moment, every day. Hallelujah!
I still have more I want to share, but it can wait! 
How about you-what’s new and exciting in your life? 

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