52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
Heaven Changes Everything: Living Every Day with Eternity in Mind by Todd and Sonia Burpo is a devotional that builds on the story of Todd Burpos's bestseller Heaven is for Real, which details the Burpos' son Colton's experiences during a near death experience. There are 42 entries which are written by one or both of the Burpos that follow the same format. Each chapter opens with a brief excerpt from Heaven is For Real, followed by a narrative that builds on the principles of the excerpt or discusses events that have happened since the publication of the first book, a thought to contemplate and finally a Bible verse linked to the devotional's main point. The topics covered vary from serving, grieving, the afterlife, evangelism, prayer and many more.
As I read though this devotional, I found that it would be what most would expect from a devotional reader with brief chapters that can be mulled over. I believe that this offering would be of interest to two audiences. First, fans of Heaven is For Real will likely enjoy this text since the Burpos expand on stories within the original book and share stories from their life about what has happened since. The second audience is those who are wrestling with grieving. Having lost a child to heaven, and have him returned they speak of loss in a different way than others that did not walk through journey. Additionally, as a pastor and his wife they have seen and helped others in their periods of loss. Overall Heaven Changes Everything is a typical devotional that fans of Heaven is For Real will likely pick up to enlarge the story of the Burpo family.
Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2012
My mom passed on the book Heaven is for Real after she read it and it was also the first e-book I bought for my wife when she got an eReader. While a book about people who go to heaven and return to tell about it is met with skepticism, I enjoyed reading this book. One of the things that I appreciated about the Burpos was how they interacted with Colton regarding his memories of heaven. They tried to allow him to share as opportunities presented themselves, rather than ask leading questions or perhaps planting ideas in his head. They sought to simply allow him to share.
In Heaven Changes Everything Todd and Sonja build on what was written in the first book. This second book is set up more as a devotional type reading, with forty-two short chapters based on a section of Heaven is for Real.
One of the nice aspects of this book is that it gives a look into where the family is now after the publishing of the first book. The Burpos share about some of the opportunities that have come their way because of the success of the first book. They talk about some of the speaking engagements they've had as well as chances to talk individually with those have lost a child or suffered some type of loss. They talk about family life after the writing of Heaven is for Real and the popularity of Colton's story. Their story gives some insight into how Colton's visit to heaven has impacted their own faith and the spiritual life of their family.
One thing continues to come out of the pages of this book - hope. Even though the Burpos were given their son Colton back, they also share the pain of a miscarriage prior to Colton's birth. They have not only experienced the hope that God provides, they have been given a platform to share that with others. The encounters they share continually point to the promise of heaven and a Father who cares for His children.
If you have read Heaven is for Real, you would enjoy this next book. If you haven't, this book provides a glimpse not just into the Burpo's past experience, but how it impacts the way they live today.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Would you live your life differently if you knew that it had a good ending? In the book Heaven Is For Real, 4-year old Colton Burpo made a trip to Heaven and his story is told. In their latest book, Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo, the Burpo's share daily readings based on that book.
This book has 42 inspirational readings based on excerpts from their first book. The readings share more personal experiences and thoughts based on their story and their lives since sharing Heaven Is For Real. In this book, Sonja shares her perspective as a Mom for the first time. These readings offer more comfort and encouragement for everyday life such as financial difficulty, stress and parenting. However, I especially appreciated their stories on losing a child to miscarriage, since I struggled with the loss of our own child through miscarriage. Even if you've experienced an abortion, the Burpo's offer hope for your loss and the reunion you will one day have with that child in heaven. Each reading is designed to help you live "every day with eternity in mind."
This book would be a great gift for just about anyone but especially for those dealing with a loss of a child. Bundle this book with Heaven Is For Real and it becomes a great tool for sharing Christ with someone experiencing loss or struggling with every day struggles as their story offers hope beyond those struggles. I especially appreciated that this book included readings written by Sonja so we hear her voice in the story first hand. Also, I read a few of these readings with my family during our devotion times, it gave us some good discussions based on them. I recommend it for both personal use and gift giving.
I received this book from Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2014
Something that has become fairly common over maybe the past 10 years is a "religious blockbuster follow-up" book, like this. The author writes a religious book about some event in their life and it winds up on the New York Times bestseller list.
Expecting to capitalize on their new-found fame, their publisher then convinces them to write a follow-up book. Folks who read the first book automatically assume (as I did) that the second book will provide some additional details as well as additional insight from things they studied related to the contents of the first book. But the second book is really just an "ain't God great!" book with references to their first book and tidbits about their life and stock scriptural phrases.
Unfortunately, this second book falls right smack into that category. Nothing new about Collin's visit to heaven. No real narrative, just 42 separate very small chapters. If you didn't read the first book most of it will make little sense and if you did read the first book there's nothing new.
As far as being "inspirational", it's pretty mundane. There are a lot of "inspirational" books that are a lot more inspiring.
If you are looking for more information about heaven -- MUCH more -- I recommend Richard SIgmund's book My Time in Heaven. I've read most of the books on Amazon about visits to Heaven and/or Hell except for the ones that are obviously fantasy or where commentators pointed out numerous things that contradict scripture or the author has a string of books obviously aimed at profiting financially, and Sigmunds is both the most detailed and by far the best.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2014
If you have read this book or seen the movie, you are aware that at the very end it is revealed that the "jesus" Colton Burpo encountered is the same one depicted by the supposed child prodigy painter Akiane Kramarik.
Akiane Kramarik is now almost an adult, but in her early years her parents sold her as a child prodigy artist who supposedly (without any near death experiences or medical emergencies) was just spontaneously abducted by "jesus" and taken out to heaven to have personal conferences with him. During these abductions, her mother claims her body could not even be located. She would literally be playing in the living room and then suddenly disappear. They would search all over for her, but she could not be found until "jesus" returned her. And when he would "return" her, she would spontaneously appear in the middle of the living room, out of nowhere.
After Akiane was returned from her so-called "jesus abductions" she supposedly began to manifest a supernatural ability to paint (an ability way beyond her age of 4 years old). It was from this talent that she supposedly (and I emphasize the word supposedly, please keep reading) that she painted the portrait of "jesus" that Colton Burpo identified as being the same "jesus" he met with. Now, please read this statement put out by someone that personally knows the Kramarik family:
"Akiane's mother Foreli Kramarik was a friend and neighbor of my mom when her family lived in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado during 2002/2003. She was also associated with the Boulder Colorado "Urantia Book" religious organization, of which my mother is a member. We believe that there are many questionable circumstances surrounding Akiane's status as a child prodigy. Firstly, her mother is a painter in very much the same vein. In fact, one of the paintings on Akiane's website is virtually identical to a piece which was hanging in their living room, and was represented to us as being created by Foreli. Also, Foreli was avidly searching for a model for a portrait of Jesus that SHE wanted to paint. SHE CONSTANTLY TALKED ABOUT AKIANE BEING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST; time traveling, unusual dreams, prophetic quotes, etc.... To us, the child acted and spoke as a normal seven year old kid. When her mother would conduct such rantings about the child, Akiane appeared upset and annoyed about the stories."
Regardless of whether Akiane actually paints her own pictures (or her mother is doing it and lying)......there is no refuting the fact that Akiane once admitted in a filmed interview that a live human model was used for her "Jesus Prince of Peace" paintings. Please google "Akiane on Hour of Power (age 10)" to find the video on You Tube. In this interview, she describes how she begged a family friend to pose for her. I think it is important to point this out because so many people seem to believe that the paintings of Jesus came from her own mind (from memories of her supposed "conferences" with a "jesus" who abducted her). They think that she just sat down and painted these portraits from memory. She did not.
Knowing this, you also have to admit that the painting Colton Burpo claims is an accurate representation of the "jesus" he saw, is in all reality a painting that was created by viewing a male model who posed for the Kramarik family. Again, google "Akiane on Hour of Power (age 10)" to see the words come right out of her own mouth.
Akiane's paintings sell for around $3 million dollars, so this has been very profitable for her parents. Incidentally, now that Akiane is near grown, they have started new marketing campaigns to promote some of their other children as prodigies. But in spite of all the money they have made off these ventures, it hasn't stopped some of their children from trying to contribute to the family income. For example, Akiane has an older brother named Delfini (on facebook the mother spells it Delfinijus) who was arrested during 2010 in Northbrook, Illinois for being a major heroin dealer. He was arrested along with a woman named Neringa Eidimtaite. A quote from the Daily Herald article covering the arrests reads: "According to the detective, these were big time dealers out here," Northbrook police press officer Michael Shep said. "I'm sure there are always people above them ... but those who are into (heroin) knew of them."
To confirm this stuff yourself, google "Delfini Kramarik" and the news articles of his arrest will come up immediately. To confirm that it is Akiane's brother, go to the mothers facebook page (Foreli Kramarik) and look through her publicly posted family photos. You will see Delfini, and it is definitely the same Delfini featured in the article discussing his arrest. Heroin use in the family.....gee I wonder if this is the real cause of Akiane's "visions"?!?!
Also - do some research into the cult "Urantia Book". It is a White Supremacist cult based on "Baltu Religija" (otherwise known as "Baltic Religion", which makes sense because Foreli Kramarik was born and raised in the Baltic State of Lithuania.) This cult believes that there was a preeminent white race that existed long before any other race, and that blonde hair/blue eyed people are superior to all other people.
Knowing this, you must ask yourself.....why would any christian promote Colton Burpo when he agrees that the "jesus" he saw is the exact same one that Akiane Kramarik saw? It is either a money-making hoax, or spiritual deception of the satanic variety. If you are not a christian, then of course you won't agree with me and I wouldn't expect you to. But for those of you who walk around calling yourselves christians, while simultaneously promoting this book at church........I hope you wake up and realize that the "jesus" being sold to you in this book is a false jesus/antichrist. The REAL Jesus warned us:
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect, if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24)
Wake up christians and stop wandering around like bleating, blabbering sheep with no sense. Follow the REAL Jesus. He may not be handsome or have blue eyes. Isaiah 53 states that there is nothing in his appearance that would appeal to us:
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53)
Stop following the fake "jesus" being sold to you by The Burpo family and Akiane Kramarik. Follow the Jesus of Isaiah 53. He is the only true Jesus, and the only way to salvation. And when He comes, we will ALL see him. Every eye - not just those who are supposedly abducted and taken aboard the so-called "jesus" ship.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2014
This book is all about the inadequate preacher-dad continuing to preach to a hopefully larger audience. If he believed what he preaches in the first place, he would never have doubted his son's experience in my opinion. There is no new information added to the original story line. Don't waste your money on this one. Instead, support the local church of your choice and read the Bible of your beliefs.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I didn't know what to expect from this since I don't read much Christain oriented literature. I found the idea of a small boy who had been to heaven and come back fascinating, as many people do. But I have a somewhat skeptical point of view, since the child's father happens to be a preacher. I couldn't help but wonder if the child had picked up enough ideas from his father to piece together some revelations that his father would be pleased by, and therefore shower attention onto the child.
But I like to think of myself as generally open minded, so with this in mind, I read this book, "Heaven Changes Everything" by Todd and Sonja Burpo.
I was hoping for more descriptions of heaven when I got this but was disappointed. I suppose I should get the first book, where the child describes what it was like there, for that. This is a somewhat, in my humble opinion, lame follow up. I say that because, while it is extremely well written, this seemed to me to be heavy on preaching what Jesus taught. Each chapter has teachings of Jesus, that we've all heard many times, with different illustrations of the teachings.
If you can't ever get enough of hearing stories of the teachings of Jesus, and want more descriptions of events that really bring the stories home for you, this is a very lovely well written easy to read book. I didn't read very much at all, unfortunately, of what the boy experienced while in heaven, except for a few hints, almost thrown in as an afterthought.
I did piece together enough of the boys experiences in heaven to see that indeed, the child did describe heaven in the traditional Christian way, with big gates, those who had passed on having large wings, and Jesus sitting on the right side of his father. Also there are the family's unborn children there waiting to greet newcomers with hugs, and they have grown into children from infants. Elderly people have regressed into the prime of life.
I do hope all this is true! I hope this isn't a young child repeating what he has been told by his parents. At any rate, a couple of bestsellers have been launched. In this case at least, heaven did change everything, at least for the Burpo family.
18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
I was very disappointed in this book. I purchased Heaven Is For Real and really enjoy the book. This book repeats it's self way to many times. It made me think I had started at the wrong place. It should have stated the book was the pastor's messages. I am sorry I bought the book. I wish I had my money back!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2012
Heaven Changes Everything is a devotional reader based on the bestselling Heaven is for Real (a young boy's experience of going to heaven and back). Each of the 42 short chapters begins with a quote from Heaven is for Real, followed by a personal reflection based on that quotation, and ending with a sentence of advise and a Bible verse. Some of the topics focus on heaven, but many are narratives of general Christian living. Overall, the book reads like a blog of reflections on past experiences: candid and personal encouragement about life and God through day-to-day stories.
I felt that this book was "just okay." I enjoyed reading many of the stories, but didn't feel it was deep enough or substantial enough to compete with the many other devotional books on the market. I also thought it was odd--considering this is a devotional reader--that each chapter was focused on a quotation from Heaven is for Real, instead of on a scripture or Bible passage. I would have liked to have seen the scripture have a larger part of the message--not that the messages were unbiblical (they weren't)--but that a focus on scripture can bring an additional layer of wisdom to our personal experiences. The format was such that the scriptures felt like an after-thought, rather than a reflection point. So, despite some of the encouraging context, I don't feel that Heaven Changes Everything is a resource I can recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogging Program through booksneeze.com.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo is a great little devotional. It will take excerpts from Heaven is for Real and dig a little deeper into what God was doing in their lives and how they grew from that amazing experience. If you've read Heaven is for Real you will enjoy remembering with the Burpo's certain experiences in their lives. They will also dig deeper into scripture and the way they were changed during the whole process.
This book is for all you devotional readers out there. It's the perfect blend of scripture, insight, and wisdom. Hopefully, it will make you look at your life and want to change certain aspects of it so you are continually growing closer to Christ. I will say that it would be difficult (not impossible) for someone to read this devotional if they did not read Heaven is for Real. What Mr. and Mrs. Burpo do is take excerpts from that book, dwell on the experience and then they use scripture to encourage the reader to grow as well. So dear readers if you are a fan of Heaven is for Real you will definitely love this devotional.
*This book was given to me via Booksneeze in hopes of my honest opinion and I honestly gave it.