Everyone has an image of God. Even someone like Richard Dawkins, who claims to have no faith, has an image of God. It’s just that with some he is greatly diminished.  The question is, how big is God to you? — Steve Sjogren, Heaven’s Lessons, pg.19.

Today I have the privilege of reviewing the latest book, “Heaven’s Lessons: Ten Things I Learned About God When I Died”  from my good friend Steve Sjogren.  Late last year, Steve and I sat down over lunch and talked about his near death experience (NDE) that changed his life and ministry forever.  Like so many of us, tragedy can shake our world and change our perspective on God.  In Steve’s case this NDE started him on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

The ten things Steve identifies that he learned were:

  1. We live in a spiritual world
  2. God is big
  3. Success works backwards
  4. God especially enjoys irregular people
  5. Don’t fear death
  6. Quit quitting (best of the chapters — helped me)
  7. God heals gradually
  8. Get over it!
  9. Face your fear
  10. Be thankful.

The publishers describe the book like this:

A simple surgery went horribly wrong…

Steve died on the operating table. He encountered a heavenly world where he felt infinite peace. And then he had to come back – back to a physical reality filled with pain and disability and an endless line of tests.

The drama of dying suddenly paled in comparison to the trauma of living. Sjogren could not face this new existence with his same old comfortable understanding of God.

Heaven’s Lessons is not written for Christians, although many will appreciate Steve’s journey.  Instead, Steve’s desire is that this book will help people who do not know God begin their own journey of discovery and seek a relationship with Jesus Christ.

So while Heaven’s Lessons may not be a great read for everyone, I think anyone struggling with a crisis in will find encouragement and hope from Steve’s story.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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