Experience the Reality of Heaven Now

Experience the Reality of Heaven Now

Heaven is not just a place believers look forward to when they die, but they can experience heaven on earth now. Charisma Connection host Chris Johnson speaks with "Heaven Now" author Jonathan Brenneman about how to access heaven through experiencing God's love and healing power. A missionary to Brazil, he also reveals some of the trials he has experienced, including the kidnapping of his wife.

31 Minutes • 8 days ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Chris Johnson

Guest: Jonathan Brenneman

Heaven is not just a place that believers look forward to when they die, but they can experience heaven on earth now. Charisma Connection host Chris Johnson speaks with Heaven Now author Jonathan Brenneman about how to access heaven through experiencing God's love and healing power.

A missionary to Brazil, he also reveals some of the trials he has experienced, including the kidnapping of his wife.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: You're listening to Charisma Connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Author Jonathan Brenneman joins us today all the way from Brazil. So, let's learn a little bit about him. He's a missionary, and he's been traveling to many places around the globe. But for the past seven years, he's lived in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. He's written a three-book series called Heaven Now. So, Jonathan, we welcome you to Charisma Connection.

 

Jonathan Brenneman Books

·         Present Access to Heaven

·         I Will Awaken the Dawn

·         Jesus Has Come in the Flesh

·         The Power and Love Sandwich: Why You Should Seek God’s Face and His Hand

·         I Am Persuaded: Christian Leadership As Taught By Jesus

 

Chris Johnson: It would be great to have a taste of heaven now for us as believers. So, let's take a look at some of your teaching in these three books where you really develop this idea. In fact, in your first book, which is called present Access to Heaven … I'm going to quote you … you write “the gospel is designed to bring us into a present experience of Heaven.” So, you're telling me that Heaven is not just a far-off place that I'll eventually get to when I die, maybe 20 years from now. There's something much more hopeful for the believer today, isn't there?

 

In Present Access to Heaven, Learn:

·         How you can go to Heaven now and experience Heaven in any circumstance

·         How to live as a heavenly person

·         How to receive God’s love and let it transform you

·         How to experience and release the peace, joy and love that reign in Heaven

·         How Rich you are in Christ

 

Jonathan Brenneman: Yes. When I was reading Hebrews chapters 9 and 10, I don't know how I read it so many times without noticing this. But Hebrews chapter 9 clearly teaches us that the true whole Holy of Holies is Heaven itself. The Holy of Holies in the Old Covenant tabernacle was just a shadow. It says in Hebrews chapter 10 that the veil that was torn was Jesus’ body. Then it goes on to say let us boldly approach the father and enter the Holy of Holies. So, if we see what it was saying in chapter 9, it's basically saying, go to Heaven now, because approaching the father is Heaven. Som it's not to negate the reality of a future place called Heaven. But there's a reality now where we experience Heaven in God's presence and entering God's presence is accessing Heaven. As Scripture says, Psalm 16:11, in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand, pleasures forevermore. So, we have access to God's presence now. The apostle Peter wrote that receiving our salvation produces a joy unspeakable and full of glory. So, this is like really possible to experience the joy, the peace and the love that are in Heaven just because we have access to God's presence through Jesus.

Chris Johnson: That's a beautiful thing to think about that it's not just in the future, but it's for today as well. But what do you say to the Christian who says, hey, you know, if you had my life or you worked where I worked, you wouldn't say there's Heaven on earth? So, why is it we don't experience heaven on earth all the time? And what can we do about that?

 

·         John 17:3: This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (MEV).

 

Jonathan Brenneman: In my books, I talk a lot about the very basic, very simple things that Jesus died for us to make the way to the Father. He gave us a free gift of righteousness. He resurrected. But the way that I look at it is we've often heard emphasis of salvation, saving us from hell so that we can go to Heaven. That’s true, but I see a scripture that there's more to salvation than that. It's about knowing God, and it's about becoming a participant in His nature. Jesus said in John 17:3, that this is eternal life that they might know You. So, when it talks in Epheasians about knowing the love of God that surpasses knowledge until we're filled with all the fullness of God. So, there is more to this thing about salvation than just not going to hell and going to Heaven. It's about an experience with God's love. This is very participatory in knowing where we become partakers in His nature. Now, here's the thing. Scripture says in several places that we're growing in the knowledge of the Lord. So, just the way that we first came into salvation and had our salvation experience, by continuing and receiving God's love that's revealed in Jesus’ death, seeing the power that's revealed in Jesus’ resurrection, that continues to transform us. Until we can grow into such a glory that it really is like walking in Heaven on earth. With Stephen in the New Testament, he was being stoned to death. There are all these hateful people around him. None of that could stop him from looking up into heaven, and seeing God's glory so that unbelievers, hostile unbelievers, saw that his face was shining like that of an angel. So, these are very challenging truths. But as we continue in the truth of the gospel, and as you begin to recognize and deal with the things that hinder us from seeing God as He is, these truths really bring fruit in our lives. They brought fruit in my life, to the point where like weeks on end, it just felt like currents of love flowing through my body.

We've had a lot of hard times. but it's just like, as I continue to go back to these truths, it encourages me and strengthens me so much. My wife has been kidnapped and escaped. I've had kidnapping threats against my daughter. We've been through crazy stuff. But really, these truths have brought such an indescribable joy in my life. When Peter talked about indescribable joy, he was talking to persecuted Christians. So, when we begin to behold the Lord's glory and grow in the knowledge of Him, there's such a glory that begins to manifest through our lives. It makes us heavenly people. We could have joy and peace and just love overflowing, even for our enemies, even in the worst of circumstances, and it begins to produce miracles through our lives, too.

Chris Johnson: It sounds like you have certainly endured some of those worst of circumstances with the kidnapping. Did that happen over a long period of time? Did it happen in Brazil or where?

Jonathan Brenneman: Yes, that was here in Brazil. We don't experience so much religious persecution, just crime. We've been stopped on a highway, more than once escaped gunpoint. The law doesn't always work very well here. So, the kidnapping threat against my daughter was because he rescued an old man who was being beaten up by bandits. We couldn't really find any way to help him except just taking him out of his house and we brought him in here. The criminals are angry at us because of that. My wife, she was just stopped by a guy on the highway who was armed. What happens here in Rio is a lot of times a bunch of armed bandits stop the whole highway and they just rob everybody. They stop all the traffic. They had just done that and the guy was fleeing. So, he put a gun up to my wife and said, let me in the car, and there's a police blockade in front. So, he's like, you're going to run around this or I'm going to shoot you. So, she ran around the police blockade. Now the police are behind her and she's afraid that they're going to start shooting. If she took him to the Favela, which is like the slum, he would very likely kill her when they got there. So, she crashed the car intentionally into a trash truck on the side of the road. The guy who kidnapped her didn't have his seatbelt on. So, he hit his head pretty bad and kind of stumbled out of the car and the police got him. So, we nearly totaled our car. We've had just lots of crazy experiences like that.

Chris Johnson: Apparently, it hasn't deterred you from living in Rio. Maybe not at the moment. But the fact is that if you're living in a difficult society like that, you don't know what's going to happen to you from day to day. Of course, I'm sure that you pray for the Lord's protection. But being heavenly minded is a good thing in your situation, specially. As you mentioned, Stephen was stoned to death and yet he's looking at Jesus and he's sensing the presence of Jesus and Heaven all around him. I can see how, in a situation like you're talking about where you're dealing with crime, you might have the same experience.

Jonathan Brenneman: Sometimes we get such a short perspective. Scripture says these light and momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. Why are we experiencing so much of that eternal weight of glory? Father God loves me with the same love that He has for Jesus. Scripture says He's given me the same glory that He gave to Jesus. I'm more than a conqueror, I have a hope that nobody can take from me. Nothing on earth can rob the hope that I have. So, we need to be reminded to have this eternal perspective. That’s part of what my like first book, Present Access to Heaven is about. I read this book myself again when I need to be encouraged. A lot of times, I'm just in tears when I read it.

Chris Johnson: Kind of preaching to yourself, eh? And we all need to do that, don't we? What do you think of the saying that says you can be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good?

Jonathan Brenneman: Being heavenly minded does a lot of earthly good. I just think of all the people that have been healed. As we receive God's peace in our spirit just through communion with God, being right with God, God's peace, God's joy, that peace, we release it into people and it drives out pain, it drives out sickness. It’s hard to imagine all the money that this has saved people in medical bills. It's a lot of earthly good. Stress and anxiety and mental torment doesn't do anybody any good. So, we need people who are heavenly-minded, and who are going to carry Heaven’s atmosphere. Just think of all the accidents that are caused, all the fights, all the money that is wasted due to addictions because people have torment in their souls. So, having God's peace as it does a lot of earthly good, for sure.

Chris Johnson: In your second book, which is called I Will Awaken the Dawn, you talk more about God's presence on the earth today. Are there certain scriptures that speak to that fact and how can we appropriate the scriptures to make God's presence more real and more part of our daily lives?

 

·         Isaiah 6:3: One cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (MEV).

·         Habakkuk 2:14:For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas” (MEV)

 

Jonathan Brenneman: When I was a teenager, I was 14 when I went on my first mission trip and all I wanted was to dedicate my whole life to seeing nations come to Jesus. I wanted to see people worshipping Jesus. So, I started to read everything I could about revival, about prayer. I read histories of revivals. I threw myself into praying for the nations. On my first solo missions’ trip was when I was 18 years old, I went to Belize. I had been praying and fasting for Belize. I had a few encounters with God's presence and all of a sudden it was just like the atmosphere was electric. I just started screaming. But I got into a place of real heaviness praying for Belize praying against the crime, the corruption, the drug trafficking, all the bad things that I heard. I went there when I was 17 with a group before I went on my first solo trip, and God rebuked me.  God said, why are you giving all of the attention that I deserve to the evil that's at work? I'm the One who's worthy of your worship. So, God rebuked me. He's like, get out of that place of heaviness. He showed me in Scripture … Isaiah 6:3 says that the whole earth is full of God's glory. We see the same concept in different places in Scripture. In Psalms, it says the whole earth is full of God's steadfast love. I began to consider well, if that's true, why isn't the earth like Heaven?

Then I saw other scripture such as Habakkuk 2:14, where it said that the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord's glory as the waters cover the sea. That’s kind of related to what we have in our first Heaven Now book because there's an understanding of salvation. It's an experiential knowledge of God's glory where our eyes are open to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge. That becomes our nature. So, I saw in these other places in scripture when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. That's when the earth will be like Heaven. I was really into Psalms and Isaiah. I kept coming across all of these scriptures that were about praise and about nations coming to Jesus. So, I began to get into this real big study on praise. I saw in Scripture, Isaiah 60, this dawn of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord over the earth. Then in Psalm 108, it says, I will sing Your praise among the nations, O Lord.

 

Connect with Johnathan Brenneman

·         At gotoheavennow.com

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

 

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

With Chris Johnson

Guest: Jonathan Brenneman

Heaven is not just a place that believers look forward to when they die, but they can experience heaven on earth now. Charisma Connection host Chris Johnson speaks with Heaven Now author Jonathan Brenneman about how to access heaven through experiencing God's love and healing power.

A missionary to Brazil, he also reveals some of the trials he has experienced, including the kidnapping of his wife.

Introduction

Chris Johnson: You're listening to Charisma Connection. I'm Chris Johnson. Author Jonathan Brenneman joins us today all the way from Brazil. So, let's learn a little bit about him. He's a missionary, and he's been traveling to many places around the globe. But for the past seven years, he's lived in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. He's written a three-book series called Heaven Now. So, Jonathan, we welcome you to Charisma Connection.

 

Jonathan Brenneman Books

·         Present Access to Heaven

·         I Will Awaken the Dawn

·         Jesus Has Come in the Flesh

·         The Power and Love Sandwich: Why You Should Seek God’s Face and His Hand

·         I Am Persuaded: Christian Leadership As Taught By Jesus

 

Chris Johnson: It would be great to have a taste of heaven now for us as believers. So, let's take a look at some of your teaching in these three books where you really develop this idea. In fact, in your first book, which is called present Access to Heaven … I'm going to quote you … you write “the gospel is designed to bring us into a present experience of Heaven.” So, you're telling me that Heaven is not just a far-off place that I'll eventually get to when I die, maybe 20 years from now. There's something much more hopeful for the believer today, isn't there?

 

In Present Access to Heaven, Learn:

·         How you can go to Heaven now and experience Heaven in any circumstance

·         How to live as a heavenly person

·         How to receive God’s love and let it transform you

·         How to experience and release the peace, joy and love that reign in Heaven

·         How Rich you are in Christ

 

Jonathan Brenneman: Yes. When I was reading Hebrews chapters 9 and 10, I don't know how I read it so many times without noticing this. But Hebrews chapter 9 clearly teaches us that the true whole Holy of Holies is Heaven itself. The Holy of Holies in the Old Covenant tabernacle was just a shadow. It says in Hebrews chapter 10 that the veil that was torn was Jesus’ body. Then it goes on to say let us boldly approach the father and enter the Holy of Holies. So, if we see what it was saying in chapter 9, it's basically saying, go to Heaven now, because approaching the father is Heaven. Som it's not to negate the reality of a future place called Heaven. But there's a reality now where we experience Heaven in God's presence and entering God's presence is accessing Heaven. As Scripture says, Psalm 16:11, in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand, pleasures forevermore. So, we have access to God's presence now. The apostle Peter wrote that receiving our salvation produces a joy unspeakable and full of glory. So, this is like really possible to experience the joy, the peace and the love that are in Heaven just because we have access to God's presence through Jesus.

Chris Johnson: That's a beautiful thing to think about that it's not just in the future, but it's for today as well. But what do you say to the Christian who says, hey, you know, if you had my life or you worked where I worked, you wouldn't say there's Heaven on earth? So, why is it we don't experience heaven on earth all the time? And what can we do about that?

 

·         John 17:3: This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (MEV).

 

Jonathan Brenneman: In my books, I talk a lot about the very basic, very simple things that Jesus died for us to make the way to the Father. He gave us a free gift of righteousness. He resurrected. But the way that I look at it is we've often heard emphasis of salvation, saving us from hell so that we can go to Heaven. That’s true, but I see a scripture that there's more to salvation than that. It's about knowing God, and it's about becoming a participant in His nature. Jesus said in John 17:3, that this is eternal life that they might know You. So, when it talks in Epheasians about knowing the love of God that surpasses knowledge until we're filled with all the fullness of God. So, there is more to this thing about salvation than just not going to hell and going to Heaven. It's about an experience with God's love. This is very participatory in knowing where we become partakers in His nature. Now, here's the thing. Scripture says in several places that we're growing in the knowledge of the Lord. So, just the way that we first came into salvation and had our salvation experience, by continuing and receiving God's love that's revealed in Jesus’ death, seeing the power that's revealed in Jesus’ resurrection, that continues to transform us. Until we can grow into such a glory that it really is like walking in Heaven on earth. With Stephen in the New Testament, he was being stoned to death. There are all these hateful people around him. None of that could stop him from looking up into heaven, and seeing God's glory so that unbelievers, hostile unbelievers, saw that his face was shining like that of an angel. So, these are very challenging truths. But as we continue in the truth of the gospel, and as you begin to recognize and deal with the things that hinder us from seeing God as He is, these truths really bring fruit in our lives. They brought fruit in my life, to the point where like weeks on end, it just felt like currents of love flowing through my body.

We've had a lot of hard times. but it's just like, as I continue to go back to these truths, it encourages me and strengthens me so much. My wife has been kidnapped and escaped. I've had kidnapping threats against my daughter. We've been through crazy stuff. But really, these truths have brought such an indescribable joy in my life. When Peter talked about indescribable joy, he was talking to persecuted Christians. So, when we begin to behold the Lord's glory and grow in the knowledge of Him, there's such a glory that begins to manifest through our lives. It makes us heavenly people. We could have joy and peace and just love overflowing, even for our enemies, even in the worst of circumstances, and it begins to produce miracles through our lives, too.

Chris Johnson: It sounds like you have certainly endured some of those worst of circumstances with the kidnapping. Did that happen over a long period of time? Did it happen in Brazil or where?

Jonathan Brenneman: Yes, that was here in Brazil. We don't experience so much religious persecution, just crime. We've been stopped on a highway, more than once escaped gunpoint. The law doesn't always work very well here. So, the kidnapping threat against my daughter was because he rescued an old man who was being beaten up by bandits. We couldn't really find any way to help him except just taking him out of his house and we brought him in here. The criminals are angry at us because of that. My wife, she was just stopped by a guy on the highway who was armed. What happens here in Rio is a lot of times a bunch of armed bandits stop the whole highway and they just rob everybody. They stop all the traffic. They had just done that and the guy was fleeing. So, he put a gun up to my wife and said, let me in the car, and there's a police blockade in front. So, he's like, you're going to run around this or I'm going to shoot you. So, she ran around the police blockade. Now the police are behind her and she's afraid that they're going to start shooting. If she took him to the Favela, which is like the slum, he would very likely kill her when they got there. So, she crashed the car intentionally into a trash truck on the side of the road. The guy who kidnapped her didn't have his seatbelt on. So, he hit his head pretty bad and kind of stumbled out of the car and the police got him. So, we nearly totaled our car. We've had just lots of crazy experiences like that.

Chris Johnson: Apparently, it hasn't deterred you from living in Rio. Maybe not at the moment. But the fact is that if you're living in a difficult society like that, you don't know what's going to happen to you from day to day. Of course, I'm sure that you pray for the Lord's protection. But being heavenly minded is a good thing in your situation, specially. As you mentioned, Stephen was stoned to death and yet he's looking at Jesus and he's sensing the presence of Jesus and Heaven all around him. I can see how, in a situation like you're talking about where you're dealing with crime, you might have the same experience.

Jonathan Brenneman: Sometimes we get such a short perspective. Scripture says these light and momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. Why are we experiencing so much of that eternal weight of glory? Father God loves me with the same love that He has for Jesus. Scripture says He's given me the same glory that He gave to Jesus. I'm more than a conqueror, I have a hope that nobody can take from me. Nothing on earth can rob the hope that I have. So, we need to be reminded to have this eternal perspective. That’s part of what my like first book, Present Access to Heaven is about. I read this book myself again when I need to be encouraged. A lot of times, I'm just in tears when I read it.

Chris Johnson: Kind of preaching to yourself, eh? And we all need to do that, don't we? What do you think of the saying that says you can be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good?

Jonathan Brenneman: Being heavenly minded does a lot of earthly good. I just think of all the people that have been healed. As we receive God's peace in our spirit just through communion with God, being right with God, God's peace, God's joy, that peace, we release it into people and it drives out pain, it drives out sickness. It’s hard to imagine all the money that this has saved people in medical bills. It's a lot of earthly good. Stress and anxiety and mental torment doesn't do anybody any good. So, we need people who are heavenly-minded, and who are going to carry Heaven’s atmosphere. Just think of all the accidents that are caused, all the fights, all the money that is wasted due to addictions because people have torment in their souls. So, having God's peace as it does a lot of earthly good, for sure.

Chris Johnson: In your second book, which is called I Will Awaken the Dawn, you talk more about God's presence on the earth today. Are there certain scriptures that speak to that fact and how can we appropriate the scriptures to make God's presence more real and more part of our daily lives?

 

·         Isaiah 6:3: One cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (MEV).

·         Habakkuk 2:14:For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas” (MEV)

 

Jonathan Brenneman: When I was a teenager, I was 14 when I went on my first mission trip and all I wanted was to dedicate my whole life to seeing nations come to Jesus. I wanted to see people worshipping Jesus. So, I started to read everything I could about revival, about prayer. I read histories of revivals. I threw myself into praying for the nations. On my first solo missions’ trip was when I was 18 years old, I went to Belize. I had been praying and fasting for Belize. I had a few encounters with God's presence and all of a sudden it was just like the atmosphere was electric. I just started screaming. But I got into a place of real heaviness praying for Belize praying against the crime, the corruption, the drug trafficking, all the bad things that I heard. I went there when I was 17 with a group before I went on my first solo trip, and God rebuked me.  God said, why are you giving all of the attention that I deserve to the evil that's at work? I'm the One who's worthy of your worship. So, God rebuked me. He's like, get out of that place of heaviness. He showed me in Scripture … Isaiah 6:3 says that the whole earth is full of God's glory. We see the same concept in different places in Scripture. In Psalms, it says the whole earth is full of God's steadfast love. I began to consider well, if that's true, why isn't the earth like Heaven?

Then I saw other scripture such as Habakkuk 2:14, where it said that the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord's glory as the waters cover the sea. That’s kind of related to what we have in our first Heaven Now book because there's an understanding of salvation. It's an experiential knowledge of God's glory where our eyes are open to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge. That becomes our nature. So, I saw in these other places in scripture when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. That's when the earth will be like Heaven. I was really into Psalms and Isaiah. I kept coming across all of these scriptures that were about praise and about nations coming to Jesus. So, I began to get into this real big study on praise. I saw in Scripture, Isaiah 60, this dawn of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord over the earth. Then in Psalm 108, it says, I will sing Your praise among the nations, O Lord.

 

Connect with Johnathan Brenneman

·         At gotoheavennow.com

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

 

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Experience the Reality of Heaven Now