For years Steve Musick kept his amazing story to himself, afraid no one would believe or understand it. A major allergic reaction had stopped his heart, hurling him into a five-week coma and a powerful experience of heaven. After returning to life, he couldn’t forget the memory of that vibrant place—and, most of all, the loving words and touch of Jesus.
But that was only the beginning. An amazing series of miracles, dreams, and other supernatural events had been set in motion, showing Steve that heaven was close, even in this life. God was calling him to discover echoes of heaven in the here and now—echoes that can happen at any moment, to anyone—that bring overwhelming joy.
At last Steve is ready to tell the story of his journey of a lifetime—two lifetimes. In it you’ll learn the secret of bringing heaven to earth in your everyday world, and how to nurture a relationship with God so real and intimate that you’ll feel his nearness as strongly as Steven did.
Experience one man’s incredible vision of heaven—and learn how you can live in God’s presence and power today.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
PAUL J. PASTOR is a writer, editor, and journalist who loves telling stories of God at work in our world.
Read an Excerpt
Note from Paul J. Pastor
I was on a writing retreat at a local abbey when my phone rang. It was a good friend who’d recently taken a job with the publishing house that released the book you now hold. “I have a project you might be interested in,” he said. “But you need to hear me out. It’s a heaven-and-back story.”
If I hadn’t known Andrew, I would have laughed and hung up. After all, he knew my feelings about what I call “heavenly tourism” books. While I think many of them are based on real experiences, the way they are told, in my experience, is over-marketed, wrongly focused only on “after you die,” and (sorry) rather kitschy. I was skeptical.
But I knew and trusted Andrew. “Go on,” I said.
“Well, I think you need to talk to Steve,” he continued. “There’s just . . . something about him.”
With a little reluctance, I said yes. And after a couple of hour- long phone calls, I agreed. There was something about Steve, something honest and deep. Something kind and quietly magnetic. Not only did I feel his story of a near-death experience was credible enough to print, but it had an emphasis I’d never heard before in Christian stories of trips to heaven. It cared about here— the world we see now. And over the course of a few weeks, I realized I wanted to be the person to help him tell his story.
The point of Steve’s story isn’t divine escapism or “wait till you die for the pie in the sky.” It expresses, through the story of one man’s life and death and life again, one of my deepest theological beliefs: God’s work in our world is something far greater than merely getting people to heaven; it is bringing heaven to earth in an open mystery, in a secret fullness. “Heaven is much closer than we’ve been led to believe,” you’ll hear Steve say often, both in his teaching and in his everyday conversation. And here is a story that illustrates that principle like no other I’ve ever heard in person.
During our time talking through his great experience, what impressed me most was the overwhelming sense that when Steve was relating his story beyond the white tunnel, he wasn’t just telling it. He was remembering it. It was real. And it had changed everything about his life.
While making this book, I came to know and love Steve as a friend. Between spending long hours with black notebooks and tape recorders, we prayed together, ate together, laughed together, hiked to Oregon waterfalls, and drove curving highways together. We swapped stories of our families, work, and hobbies. We munched hamburgers and burritos. We talked fishing. He got to know my wife and kids and ate spaghetti at my table. He’s a simple, everyday man. Easy to spend time with. But in each of those situations, my mind went back to Andrew’s words: “. . . something about him.”
I think that “something” about Steve is heaven—not as a far-off reality but close. Closer than we’ve been led to believe. I hope you’ll meet him someday and sense it for yourself.
I was skeptical about this story at first. Even as we arranged for my creative involvement, I was considering whether I wanted my name on this book. But that’s not the case anymore. I’m proud to be associated with Steve’s message.
In working with Steve to tell his story, I have become convinced that his account of That Place is worth wide attention, worth your attention. But further, I have felt and experienced for myself the power that comes with an awareness of the beautiful closeness of the kingdom of heaven. I am encouraged, not just for the hope and the clear presence of God beyond death, but for hope now. For hope in this life. Steve’s remarkable story has helped make that more real to me than I had ever experienced before.
Truly, it has.
It’s my prayer that it will do the same for you.
My years on earth have been unusually defined by an experience in heaven. My years of life were critically influenced by my death—a death, by God’s grace, that is proving well worth living for.
This great experience described in the following pages is actually very hard for me to talk about even now. In fact, it took me ten years to tell my wife about it and another twenty-five years to talk about it publicly. Part of the reason is that sharing this ignites in me a deep, indescribable desire to go back. Nothing—nothing—on this side of heaven equates to the kind of joy that you have being there. Once you’ve had that kind of experience, you don’t want to be here. You want to go back there. You just do. And the desire to be there is so intense and so inexpressible that you feel guilty for not wanting to be present in your own life or with your own family. But I know that’s not my call yet. One day. One day I will go back.
As a result of my experience, I no longer struggle at all with my faith. I have plenty of other struggles, but wondering if I’m saved is not one of them. In an unusual way, my faith became sight when I was thrown out of the tunnel of light and into the presence of Jesus, as you will soon read. There’s a certainty for me that came with that experience. I know what it will be like when I go back. I have seen heaven. I know firsthand that the presence of Jesus is my home. I don’t have to believe; I merely have to remember. It is still fully real to me. Perfectly fresh. And I know I will fully return there one day.
But even as I look forward to returning to That Place, I feel passionate and deeply called to be fully here in the meantime. As much as I long to return, it fuels me to see God’s work and presence here, where we live and work and weep and play and receive tastes of his presence and of heaven. I want my life to be a preview of coming attractions. I want people around me to get a flash of heaven, a glimpse of what Jesus is like and what the Father is like.
I recognize the impossibility of recreating that perfect place on this imperfect earth. But I believe we should try. I know it is what we were made for and what all of us want. Everybody. God’s kingdom can be seen in part now, even though the totality of that joy has to wait. You and I can see glimpses of it and can welcome the kingdom of heaven that Jesus preached so often about while he walked the earth.
We can feel it now. We can taste it now, even if it’s not the full thing. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
I think we’re supposed to have that. What’s more, I think we can.
You don’t have to have an experience like mine to truly experience some of the kingdom. You and I can feel it and know it now. We can even learn to anticipate such moments. I think my death can be one worth living for. I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I think this is why I’m here. Why I couldn’t stay there. And why I’m supposed to tell you about it.
You see, this is not just a story of life after death. This is a story of life after heaven.
From Earth to Heaven
A Life Begun
I’m sitting in a six-lane intersection close to home, my blue Subaru station wagon idling at the traffic light. Through the windshield I see a watery sun going down over the Colorado mountains, red and hazy in the summer sky.
A white moving van pulls up in the turning lane to my left. A white panel truck pulls up on my right. We wait for the light to change.
My vision is totally obscured by the two trucks, one on each side of me. The light clicks to green. The trucks don’t move. Are they texting or something? I think. I step on the gas.
My car accelerates into the intersection just in time to meet a careening green-and-white garbage truck running a red light. The massive truck smashes into my driver’s side post, tearing through my car, atomizing glass, crushing my body with a sickening crash. I am killed instantly.
I wake up from the dream.
It’s the middle of a warm night in June 2011. My bedroom is dark; my heart pounds. The atmosphere in the room feels heavy, like a spiritual weight is pressing down on us. My wife, Elaine, wakes up instantly, feeling something significant has happened. “What was that?” she asks. Still disturbed, I tell her the dream. We fervently, earnestly pray together.
Lying there in the dark, we both have the overwhelming feeling the dream means something, something from God far too important to ignore. Somehow, we just know it.
For the next several weeks we prayed for him to tell us what to do, how to understand it. We were unnerved. We were inquisitive. But the interpretation didn’t come. I didn’t get it. So as the days went by as usual, we moved on as usual too.
But “usual” didn’t last.
Table of Contents
Note from Paul J. Pastor xiii
Part 1 From Earth to Heaven
1 A Life Begun 7
2 The Reluctant Volunteer 19
3 A Shot in the Arm 29
4 The Great Experience 37
Part 2 The Place Between
5 Coming Back 51
6 The Inner Struggle 67
7 Bubbles of Heaven 81
8 The Great Return 97
9 Seeing More of Heaven on Earth 111
Part 3 From Heaven to Earth
10 The Invitation 121
11 Kingdom of Heaven Bubbles Are for All 125
12 Kingdom of Heaven Bubbles Are Close 139
13 Kingdom of Heaven Bubbles Surprise Us 151
14 Kingdom of Heaven Bubbles Are Opportunities 171
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once I started reading I just couldn't put the book down---it was so exciting and interesting! I felt compelled to learn more and to experience heaven on earth! In my struggles and stresses, I learned they paled compared to Steve's disabilities! I am a christian and have longed to know why I am here, what is my purpose. Now I can truthfully say I am here to serve and love. I want to know God and his Son more deeply, to love Him more, to trust Him with all my heart and soul. After reading "Life After Heaven" I have dedicated my life to volunteer for Jesus! Hazel Settle