Heaven Life


Featured song: Changed In A Moment by Wayne Watson, from the 1985 album Giants In The Land.

Yesterday, June 6, 2010, Dana Key died suddenly. He was a founding member of the Jesus music duo Degarmo & Key, along with friend Eddie DeGarmo. At the time he died, he had been pastor of a church in Cordova, Tennessee. Along with many others, I am saddened by the news of this loss.

As I myself get older, the news of someone’s death in my age group (Key was 56, just two years older than I) seems to have greater impact than it did in the past. I’ve always had the attitude of “that could be me” when I hear such news, as I have no illusions to my own immortality or indestructibility. Working as a physician, I see disease and death often happen to people who are not “old”.

If you’ve read past entries in this blog, you know that one of my fond dreams is about Heaven, and what it will be like. That threshold we all have to cross, however, is that of Death. It can happen unexpectedly (auto accident) or after a known illness (cancer), but it comes to all.

What Dana Key knew, and what all believers in Jesus should know, is that the life that will be there for us after death is completely outside of our imagination. As written in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” And as much as this life has things in it that are beautiful, enjoyable, or wonderful, the things in heaven will be way beyond anything that we know here.

To commemorate the passing of Dana Key, I am not playing one of his songs. I am picking one by Wayne Watson that seemed appropriate. It deals with the concept of the second coming of Jesus, but is just as applicable to the transition from earth to heaven that happens to us one at a time.

Changed in a moment
In the twinkling of an eye
Taken up into Glory
Seated at the feet of God the Father
Singin’ with the angels, Allelujah!
Any moment now, we could be changed!

I have heard it for some time now
This life will soon be done
That our striving will be over
And the world will soon be one
That the Lord Himself will call us
That the trumpet blast will sound
And the graves will all be opened
And holy feet will leave the ground

Changed in a moment
In the twinkling of an eye
Taken up into Glory
Seated at the feet of God the Father
Singin’ with the angels, Allelujah!
Any moment now, we could be changed!

Oh, I remember praying
In the happy days of youth
For the world to keep on turning
There was so much left to do
There were battlefields to conquer
There were mountains left to climb
And dreams to be realized
But now I’ve changed my mind

Some of the goals that seemed unreachable
Are finally in my grasp
Some of the dreams most unbelieveable
Have come to be at last
And although I’ve had a better life
Than I ever thought could be
There is a better day a-comin’
When He comes back for you and me!

Changed in a moment
In the twinkling of an eye
Taken up into Glory
Seated at the feet of God the Father
Singin’ with the angels, Allelujah!
Any moment now (any moment now)
Any moment now (any moment now)
Any moment now, we could be changed!

Any moment now, we could be changed!

Any moment now, we could be changed!

Any moment now, we could be changed!

Heaven Life

I Was There

Twin TowersFeatured song: Met In The Stairwell, written by Stacey Randall, read by Bob Holiday, from late 2001.

Eight years ago today, our world was changed profoundly. By the actions of some very lost men with a very great hatred, many lives were taken in a tragedy that affects us still today.

As an adult, I had not previously experienced a disaster that affected me in a way that caused me to simply stop and stare at the news on the television, not believing what I was seeing, praying that somehow it was not as bad as it appeared.

I did not personally lose anybody that I knew in the disastrous plane crashes on the World Trade Center towers in New York, or on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. I have no personal connection with either city. I am a midwestern born and raised person, and frankly I have no great love for large cities.

And yet this wanton destruction, this attack on this land that I love, struck me with the same intensity as it did to many others in our country, even in the world, on that day. It was such a feeling of helplessness, of sadness, of horror for the victims (both in the jets that crashed, as well as for those in the buildings those jets struck) and for their families.

In the months following 9/11, one story written about the tragedy from the point of view of Jesus began to circulate the Internet. It first was played on radio station KFSH 95.9 FM in Los Angeles, California in November 2001, and continued to get airplay spreading throughout the nation both during and after the Christmas season that year. The words were written by Stacey Randall, it was read by Bob Holiday of KFSH, and it was recorded with Mannheim Steamroller‘s Silent Night playing in the background. Titled Met In The Stairwell, but also known as I Was There (9/11), I found it to be an intense look at that snapshot in time, and a reminder that most of us do not know whether or not today will be our last day on earth.

I’ve written posts in the past on this web site about the brevity of life, and the need to know now where you stand with Jesus Christ. In the 2 Corinthians 6:2 the Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted hour, behold now is the day of salvation.” I am not promised tomorrow. I am that Jesus will be with me in anything that comes my way today, even if that happens to be the end of my time here on earth.

If you do not know where you stand with God now, don’t take this song and lyrics to be something only intended to draw a tear from your eye. Take it as a promise of the presence of Jesus in your life, knocking at your door, waiting permission to enter. And do not delay, thinking that you will have time “tomorrow”. Take that step today.

You say you’ll never forget where you were
when you heard the news on September 11th, 2001.

Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say goodbye.

I held his fingers steady as he dialed.

I gave him the peace to say,
“Honey, I am not going to make it,
but it’s okay…I’m ready to go.”

I was with his wife when he called
as she fed breakfast to their children.

I held her up as she tried to understand his words,
and as she realized he wasn’t coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor
when a women cried out to Me for help.
“I’ve been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!”
I said, “Of course I will show you the way home –
only believe in Me now.”

I was at the base of the building when the Priest
ministered to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend his flock in Heaven.
He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer.
I was with the crew as they were overtaken.
I was in the very hearts of the believers there,
comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London.
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face.
I knew every name – though not all know Me.

Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.

Some couldn’t hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames,
“Come to Me…this way…take My hand.”

Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.

But, I was there.

I did not place you in the tower that day.
You may not know why, but I do.
However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time,
would you have reached for Me?

September 11th, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you.
But someday your journey will end,
and I’ll be there for you as well.
Seek Me now while I may be found.
Then, at any moment, you know you’re “ready to go.”

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

Remember…I love you.



Wizard Of Oz movie poster, 1939Featured song, The Land Of Oohs And Ahs by Reba Rambo, from her 1977 album Reba Lady.

Unless you have the misfortune to have not experienced one of the great American traditions of the past 70 years, you should have seen at least once the classic MGM movie, The Wizard Of Oz. According the Wikipedia article about the movie, it was not a big hit when it first hit the silver screen in 1939, although the song Over The Rainbow became quite popular at the time. It was first aired on television in 1956, and then annually from 1956 through 1991, thirty-five consecutive years. Since then, it actually airs more than once a year, on multiple networks, including Turner Classic Movies. And as with some other films that were not great commercial successes when they first appeared, The Wizard Of Oz just continued to grow in popularity over time.

We watched this again last night. It was fun, and nostalgic, and again moving in its final message — There’s no place like home! It is actually a retelling of the classic finding-yourself story: Life seems like it has to be better somewhere else; the hero (or heroine) leaves or is pushed away from home to take a journey of adventure and self-discovery; and in the end, it is discovered that part of what was being sought was back at the beginning, at home.

The story experienced by Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz is also the story of some of us. Some may have left the faith of their youth, looking for something better. Sometimes it’s just the normal changes of life, having to leave home and go out on your own, but still feeling that longing for the home in which you grew up. The end of the story is that the Emerald City that we’ve been seeking for is actually not the place we need to be; where we need to be is in the arms of God, in our true home. And the home, the life that we remember and fondly long for again, was just a dim reflection of the true home we will ultimately have. Its why we loved that old home, that old world so much; it was a poor copy of the home we’ll have in heaven.

And then in 1977, this artist named Reba Rambo released a song with a really strange name, The Land of Oohs and Ahas. And here was the influence of so many years of seeing The Wizard Of Oz on TV, but the story was retold in the language of the Jesus movement.

I wish I could say I had a clean copy of this, but the album appears to be available nowhere I could find. This copy of the song presented here is from The Larry Black Show back in 1977. The day I taped it from WOW 590 AM, we apparently had some thunderstorms in the vicinity, and so there are those good-old summertime crashes of lightning here and there through the recording. Similarly, I cannot locate a good copy of the album cover to post at the end of the lyrics. However, if you would like to obtain a better recording of it, you can hear it on The Beginnings Concert, recorded in 2005, along with many other pioneers of Jesus music together in a live concert. You can use the above link, or order it from Amazon (below).

Once upon a time I was caught up in a whirlwind
Spinnin’ fast, till at last I hit the ground
Then I met some folks with faith like little children
With words of truth, they introduced me to their King

Put His ruby slippers on my feet,
Started walkin’ the yellow brick road
Now I’m travelin’ far from home
Instead of bricks, I’ll walk on streets of gold!

We’re off to the pearly white city
Where all of our dreams come true
Word’s can’t describe its splendor
It’s the land of Oohs and Ahs

Somewhere over the rainbow
We’ll see the king Jesus
He’s not exactly a wizard
But He can make new creatures out of us!

He can take a heart so cold as a tin man’s
And warm it up, warm it up with His love
He can give you the courage of a lion
To stand up, stand up in the devil’s face

If you got a mixed-up scarecrow’s mind
Your thoughts He will renew
If you think there’s no place like home
You should see the one He’s built for you!

We’re off to the pearly white city
Where all of our dreams come true
Word’s can’t describe its splendor, no
It’s the land of Oohs and Ahs

Somewhere over the rainbow
We’ll see the king Jesus
He’s so much more than a wizard
And He can make new creatures out of us!
He can make new creatures out of us
He can make new creatures out of us

Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up, where the clouds are far behind me
Where all my troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of
So many times in my momma’s lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Little bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Someday, so will I
Someday, so will I !

Reba Lady, 1977, Reba Rambo [iframe 120 240]

Roll Call

Featured song: Lazarus Come Forth, from the 1984 album by Carman, Comin’ On Strong

The Raising Of LazarusAnyone who grew up in a church that had Sunday school classes for children was exposed at a young age to stories from the Bible. There were stories from the New Testament about Jesus, but there were also those great stories from the Old Testament about the encounters that people had with God over the thousands of years before Jesus came to earth.

All of the most interesting stories are those in which God does something miraculous in His interactions with people. Hebrews 11 in the New Testament is specifically discussing the topic of faith, but in the process it gives snap shots of many of the miracles of those saints of the past.

These stories are compelling because they are not part of the ordinary life that we usually see from day to day. They inspire, they provoke dreams, and they have built up my confidence in the certainty that God interacts in daily life.

In today’s song by Carman, we have another Jesus story. Again, it is told from the point of view of someone in the story as he lives through it. The story is about Lazarus, one of Jesus’ friends, and his two sisters. Lazarus became ill; Jesus heard about it, but purposely chose to not come and heal Lazarus. Instead, He allowed this illness to take Lazarus’ life. And that choice made the miracle all the more miraculous, because it was not only a healing, but a resurrection from the dead.

The story, told from Lazarus’ point of view, shows his journey from life into death, and his interaction with the faithful dead saints of the past. It is told in the context of these souls having a meeting, and each sharing his or her testimony of God’s action in their life, how they knew Him. The song is a powerful reminder that God can make the difference in a life — in my life, and in your life, even today!

“I am the resurrection and the life
He that believeth in me
Though he were dead
Shall he live”

A certain man had died
In the town of Bethany
And Lazarus was his name

The Bible says he was
A man that Jesus loved
And his sisters
Thought it was a shame

Mary and Martha longed
For Jesus’ healing touch
To come and raise their brother
‘Cause they loved that boy so much
But Jesus had a plan
Not known to any man
That would soon take away their pain

They was waiting for Jesus to come and say
Oh, Lazarus,
Hey, Lazarus, come forth!

When he died he went to where
The saints of God did stay
In the holding place
They lived beyond the tomb

And there he saw Elijah, Moses and Samuel, even Ruth
And all the others, jammed up in a room
He turned around and saw Ol’ Gideon standin’ by the door
He walked up, said, “Hey, brother
Tell me, what’s this group here for?”
Well, Giddie said,
“Well, alright, this is testimony night;
Have a seat, man, ’cause the meeting’s startin’ soon!”

While Mary and Martha just wanted to see their Lazarus,
Oh, Lazarus,
When will their Lazarus, come forth?

Moses shook his stick, said,
“Now, this meeting come to order!
Can I get a witness for the Lord tonight?”

Abraham kicked it off, said,
“I want y’all know that I knew Him;
He gave a child to my barren wife!”

Isaac waved his hand, said,
“Hey, daddy, I knew Him, too!”

Jacob jumped up, says,
“Amen, Grandpa, preach it!”

Old dignified Solomon
He adjusted his robe, said,
“I knew him; He made me so smart,
I started to teach it.”

Ezekiel said, “I knew Him
As a wheel within a wheel.”

Job said, “Man, he healed me
When I was almost dead!”

Sampson said, “I knew Him
When some Philistines tried to jump me;
I took a donkey jawbone, busted a few heads!”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said,
“We knew Him in the fiery furnace.”

Jonah said, “Man, He gave me a second chance!”

Daniel cried out, “I knew Him
In a hungry den of lions”

The Holy Ghost hit King David,
He just started to dance!

Lazarus got so excited,
He shouted, “Hey, I knew Him too!”

Moses put down his stick,
Said, “Hey, who’s the new kid?”

Needless to say the room got real quiet
When Lazarus said, “But I knew Him
In a way that y’all never did.

“You see, man, I walked with Him and talked with Him;
I saw how His teachings awed the crowds.
Those famous tears of compassion, I could actually see.
Man, He used to come over to my house after church,
And my sisters would make Him dinner
Every month, I even supported his ministry.

“You see, man, I watched him confront the Pharisees
I was there when he fed the five thousand
I heard the people gasp when he healed the lame
You see, man, I even remember the littlest things;
The things that most folks would forget.
Like the simple, loving way He’d just
Call my name.”

Up at the grave, stone rolled away
With a loud voice Jesus started to say,

“You see, fellas, it just seems like yesterday,
I could hear that man saying my name…”


“As a matter of a fact it seems like today, I don’t…”


“Excuse me brothers,
I think I hear Him calling me now, what…?”

“Hey, Jesus!”

“Lazarus, come forth!
Come forth!
I command you,
Come forth!!”

Whoa, Lazarus,
Hey Lazarus,
Oh, Lazarus come forth!
Like Jesus was saying,
“Sickness be healed,
Mountain be moved”
When He said, “Lazarus come forth!”

Mary don’t weep, Martha don’t moan
Here come your boy, comin’ forth!

“He that believeth in me,
Though he were dead
Shall he live.”

Comin' On Strong, 1984, Carman