Quick Review of 90 Minutes in Heaven


I wanted to do a quick review of the book 90 Minutes in Heaven by Pastor Don Piper and Cecil Murphey because the story is so compelling I couldn’t put the book down (at least until I got about half way through the book). I had this book on my shelf for over a year before I picked it up last Saturday. The story was totally and completely unknown to me before last Saturday and it was simply the time and place for me to read this book, especially with everything going on with Deborah in the last few months.

The story is about a pastor who actually died in a car crash on the way home near Huntsville, Texas, and was then later revived. He goes into as much detail as possible about his visit to Heaven and then his subsequent recovery when God decides to answer the prayers of His people and brings him back to life.

90 Minutes in Heaven, while not a highly theological or doctrinal piece, has an incredible explanation of Heaven and that alone is worth the price of the book. Piper does only spent about 1-2 chapters on his heavenly experience, something I would have enjoyed reading for most of the book, then basically spends the remainder of the book on his arduous recovery. It was still exactly what I needed to read just at that particular time, and for that I’m grateful.

Another book I am currently reading by a different Piper, called Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper, is a great book as well, and if I can ever get through the entire book I will post a review as well.

The Complete Egoist by Arthur Guiterman

I have tried over the years to reconcile the whole of what is social networking to how it helps or destroys the effort of devoting one’s life to the pursuit of God.  Reading through a sermon written by a family member in 1976, I came across this poem by Arthur Guiterman called “The Complete Egoist”, who wrote this around 1930 about our pursuit to self. I wonder what he would think of our narcissism in 2010.

A Mollusc who dwelt in primordial slime
Was always himself to the innermost core;
As being himself took up most of his time,
He never did anything more.
Still just as he was, though long ages have flown,
He stands on the specimen-cabinet shelf
A fossil, immortal in durable stone,
A monument raised to himself.

–Guiterman ~1930

Getting Sick is a Waste of Time, Or is It?

Azalea in Bloom

I would say I hate getting sick, but so does everyone.  I haven’t been sick to the point where I felt like I needed to stay home from work (or refrain from work, these days you can work from anywhere) for years.  I say years because I really can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel well enough to go to work, until yesterday.  It really only lasted a few hours in the morning and then the rest of the day was semi-productive but it got me thinking about what a waste of time it is to be sick, or is it God’s way of forcing us to slow down.

Being sick always seemed like a waste of time to me.  All of a sudden you are sitting at home with time (which seems to be manufactured from some where, because if you weren’t sick you wouldn’t have the time) to do just about anything, except you can’t or don’t do anything because… you are sick.

Time to stop and smell the flowers so to speak.  In a few weeks this part of the country will be in full bloom of Spring.  The photo above is one of our very early bloomers in the front yard, and a reminder that one of the most beautiful times of year in the south is on its way, if we stop and take the time to look.

10 Things That Being Sick Brings to Mind

  1. we are not in charge
  2. those of us in generally good health often take it for granted, until we get sick
  3. we have time, we just don’t make time
  4. you take pleasure in little things, like silence
  5. a cloudy rainy day is a great time to be sick
  6. no one wants to be around you
  7. your spouse is the greatest person ever
  8. nothing tastes good
  9. daytime programing hasn’t changed and the news is still annoying
  10. the work you did’t get done, probably didn’t need to be done that day anyway

Of course this comes from being sick where I couldn’t move or do anything for about half a day.  If I was laid up for several days in a row I am not sure what in the world I would do with myself.

Youth Boys Campout on the Farm :: Friday Feet

This week my Friday Feet post is a little different.  We had the boys youth group out to have a campout, cookout, and whatever else they do at that age.  Being Friday I used this opportunity to get a Friday Feet shot in with some of the guys before they ate.  It was absolutely pitch dark but those are my feet in the middle and Rusty Hutson’s one foot stuck in the side, Heath to my right with socks on, and everyone else that stuck a foot in at the time.

The boys play this sort of cruel version of a game that no one over the age of 25 should play called catch the flag.  I was given the “easy” task of guarding our teams flag (this is pitch dark night at 30* by the way) and when someone came by I was to “get” them.  After several sprints, tackles, and sumersalts that this body hadn’t done in a while I was exhausted.

The food was great.  They brought out some fraternity grill on a trailer and cooked all night until we were all full.  Breakfast was a different story.  I learned you need to cook a normal portion times 10 for these guys, but it was all great fun.

Give Thanks to God for All His Gifts :: Quips

This is a continuation of the Quotes and Quips set of posts I am doing on Sunday’s (see last week’s entry called Quotes and Quips // a Real Life). Just something light for Sunday out of my mother-in-law’s notebook of quotes. She loved clipping out quotes from books and newspapers and she has collected some good ones over the years.  I hope to continue going through them over the months and posted the more interesting ones here, but I will also post some poems and lyrics that I find and take meaning in my life.  Similar to what Georgia did with her newspaper clippings but online.

Give Thanks

Give thanks to God for all His gifts
Every time you count them it will give you a life.

Give thanks for your mind and your health
In both of them there is great wealth.

Give thanks for all your friends
Their kindness never ends.

Give thanks for your good eyes
To see beauty and wonders that around you lies.

As the old hymn says, “Count your blessings one by one”
It will surprise you what God has done.

-Louise Russell

Louise Russell, at the time of this writing (date unknown) was a 91-year old resident of San Juan Care Center, Del Norte, Colorado, where she is a shining example to all as both person and poet. In keeping with the thought of this post, (and a long overdue acknowledgment of Worship Journey’s post called exactly), I changed my about me page on my personal journal blog to reflect five people that have influenced my life the most as of late.

So, thanks to these folks, who as of late have weaved their way into my life and made a difference to me. My wife, my dad, Brian Johnson, Jack Fisher, Josh Agerton, and Heath Spurlock. So that is actually six, sorry, and thanks, Louise.

Why Should We Pray for Senator Ted Kennedy?

I didn’t think this would ever become a topic for my particular blog but I felt compelled to write a quick post about his situation (and this is not in any way a political post, so don’t tune out quite yet). I think the terms enemy and hate are a little strong for people who live int he same country, but it is spoken that way on both sides of the aisle.

But in that same context as above. Why should we pray for Senator Kennedy who now has a brain tumor and is going to undergo surgery today? Well at the very least, it’s simple, Matthew 5:44 tells us to (like I said, I would not translate a dislike for someone political position for a personal hate or enemy status, but some do, so that is the context here).

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

What this is saying to me to even those whom we disagree with, mildly or strongly, we should sincerely pray for their wellbeing. Especially when God through a situation or circumstance reaches out to us and says, pray for this person. I remember when Tony Snow was diagnosed with cancer and there were people everyone, especially on the Internet, saying the most vile and despicable things and wishing he was dead or would die from the terrible fight he was going through.

I have watched Ted Kennedy’s career during the time I was old enough to follow politics, but I have also read many historical reports about his career prior to my understanding as an adult, and although I may disagree with his political career, I think it is important to remember to pray for people like this, just as we did for Steven Curtis Chapman’s family last month.

So what go me going on this today? Well, my mother in-law, Georgia Christal, was diagnosed with a brain tumor similar to Ted Kennedy’s and she just died a few months ago. Watching and praying for her over the last three years as she battled this cancer was by far the most difficult thing she had ever done, but I can remember at one point thinking I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

So here is a sincere pray for you Mr Ted Kennedy. I hope the surgery goes well, they remove all traces of the cancer, the treatment is quick and successful, and that you don’t have to go through any of it again, but most of all, I pray for God’s will to be done, whatever that may be.

Mother's Hospital Room in Dallas :: Where Are We Wednesday

Today I planned to launch a new weekly post category that would give my readers a sense of where we are and what we are up to. We travel (or try to) quite a bit (or use to) and I wanted to be able to share photos and fun stuff about our trips.

Where Are We Wednesday – February 02, 2008

Interesting how life takes over and changes even the best laid plans. It turns out that I am posting this from my mother’s hospital room. Yesterday, my mother had surgery to remove potentially cancerous cells from the wall of her brain (basically results form her last surgery when she had a brain tumor removed). The surgery went very well and she is now in the room, just as talkative as ever. She will be going home tomorrow and we will be heading back to Alabama on Friday.  As I mentioned above, this is her second such surgery (and hopefully the last) over the last two years.  The first came about when she and her husband were in Colorado and she flew back to Dallas.  This time she will have to go through chemotherapy and radiation once she heals from her surgery.

There are no photos to share this time, just relief and thanks to all those who have sent their wishes and have been praying for her.  Next Wednesday, we will be somewhere else, hopefully more relaxing and enjoyable.  How about anyone else who has traveled or is traveling on Wednesday.  Doesn’t have to be something on this exact Wednesday, just let me know something exciting you did on “this” Wednesday, whenever and where ever you are on that day.