Freefall : How I Found Life By Dying – Revival Begins

(this post is meant to be experienced with the video and music I’ve posted…take a few and experience this with me)

World champion freediver Guillaume Nery does something extraordinary at Dean’s Blue Hole. This is the deepest blue hole in the world, measuring 663 feet to the bottom floor.

Filmed entirely on “breath hold” by French champion, Julie Gautier.

My daughter Nicole shared a video with me today on Facebook and she could’t possibly know it is an amazing way for me to describe the emotions surrounding the near death experience I had in January 2008. Even the lyrics here fit this experience.

I had developed a serious heart infection that required open heart surgery. During that surgery, a rare complication took place. A blood clot from the surgical process, cut off blood supply killing the majority of my digestive system. I was put into a medically induced coma and given powerful antibiotics to fight the massive infection.  Without much hope for my survival, they woke me from this coma to say goodbye to my children and family. I describe this in the “12 hours to Live Story” 

 I will do my best to describe what happened later that night:

near_death_experience

I became aware of all the sounds in my room. I was in intensive care and could hear all the machines around me monitoring my heart rate and function. At first, I thought I was dreaming…

I saw a vision of myself suspended in water about 100 feet below the surface. Above me (much like in the video) was sunlight filtering down and below me was dark blackness, I could not perceive a ocean bottom. I began to float downward. and as I let go, I could hear the machines making a steady sound like “BEEEEEEEEEP” as I floated down. Then I began to swim upward and as I did,  could hear the machines making that normal rhythm sound like “beep…beep…beep…..beep. I let go again and floated down and again heard the machines making the sound of arrest like “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP”

I did this a few times kind of playing around, until I became convinced that I was not in fact dreaming, that this was real and I was at the edge of death. I stopped playing around, it got real serious..

ALL AT ONCE, a brightest of glory  broke through the surface and surrounded me in the most incredible feeling of peace and perfection that I cannot possibly describe in words. It was awe inspiring and wonderful. Perfect beyond imagination and contained all life and deepest grace and Love all at once. Breathless and in absolute awe……I never wanted to leave that place!

There was no darkness I was enveloped in marvelous light.

I have to say my next thought was all about me. I never wanted to leave this place, kids or no kids, family or no family I wanted to stay right here forever….but then..

man_in_light

I thought of my children. I considered that they would be without a father and I was transported to future events they would face s without me. It was my own “It’s a Wonderful Life” process where where I knew that truly just our existence touches so many around us, and forced me to consider survival. Then I had the most profound conversation of my life. I perceived a voice not with my ears but within my being. The tone of this voice was like nothing I had ever heard or ever have heard again. Too bad I’m not a poet, let me just say that it was the very song of life….

The conversation was simple;

I heard, ” Do you want to live or do you want to die?… I knew this was the edge of death and it seems I had a choice.

In a flash my life was before me. I could see nothing that I wanted to go back for, other than my children, and even in that I thought I had done such a terrible job they really had no use for me. Then a terrifying thought came: I thought to myself “I’m not ready to give account for my life……. literally I wasn’t done yet!

I had something I needed to do…….

Please understand that in this place, it felt like God had nothing but love for me. finally I could clearly see that he was not threat and that he only denied for me in my life that which would hurt me, and never denied anything that would bring me life.

I carefully answered: “I want to live, but I want a different life than I had before, you’ll have to do that” …THEN LIKE A BEAMING SMILE the light went back up in a flash leaving me again where I was with sunlight filtering down and blackness below me…I fell back into the coma where I remained for 15 days while I fought back to life….

That was my experience and the message was simple: I am loved beyond anything I can conceive of and all of Gods desire is to be with me forever and he’s totally crazy about me. All that and I had a choice, that’s it. No great secret message or new secret insight just my own free will and choice to accept him on his simple terms…..just surrender and fall in love with him for eternity. In this experience, something so incredibly simple yet dramatically powerful occured and gave me a new clarity and boldness to face everything that has come after.

During those 15 days much like the diver in this video when he is clawing his way back up to the surface, I was clawing my way back to life.

January 2008 – STONE COLD COMA – 15 DAYS AT THE EDGE OF DEATH

While there is NO POSSIBLE WAY through a blog post to convey the experience, I recently ( Revisiting the post in November 2021) was introduced to this song which might illustrate the confusion, spiritual and emotional forces all coming at me at ONCE….the SHAME of my past…together with the ciaos of the culture that came at me throughout my life……fighting back to my children who were lost to me….is indescribable…

CHURCH IN A COMA

But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning. Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first. I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place of influence if you do not repent

Revelation 2:4-5 TPT

Growing up as a cold war kid in the 1960’s, the “love fest” of the 1970’s into and beyond the millennium, mainstream culture moved toward twisted identities, glorification of income and lifestyle, love of money emerged…… puritanical highbrow moral majority attacks ruled mainstream churches. Fear expressed itself with condemnation and astonishing clarity as only negative behaviors were communicated breeding hopelessness.. Fear ruled the days with its powerful illusion that I (and others) were beyond redemption and in my case I processed I would truly be “left behind”

With the church in fear hearts turned away, and an image of “holiness” superseded authenticity…….it seemed good people simply gave up the simplicity of the gospel resulting in a war of words and accusations……an inability to incorporate people like me who had been in darkness they ran into their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and rejected extreme testimonies from those who would be able to use their experience to relate to the lost…….effective prayer became a list of requests, and not a place of revealing identity and heavenly strategies…. people forgot who they were in Christ…….a rejection of knowing the Holy Spirit as a person in fear they unknowingly severed their “better than blockchain” connection with their Father in heaven and the light in their inner temple grew dim or extinguished completely .Not being equipped themselves with the tools of compassion from previous generations triggered messages seemed to contain no empathy, no understanding only judgement and SHAME!

Demanding the local church to develop “the perfect programs” of ministry to fix their feelings and “make them happy”, they sucked energy resources from their leaders and monopolized these pastors time….. when push came to shove they spoke against God’s anointed by carrying their whirlwind to another church to do the same….

As the focus grew intensely on “the enemy” inner temples became a breeding ground for all kinds of evil, and the “church of Laodicea” was carried within….as gossip ruled this age, they became a pack of wolves….(in sheep’s clothing)

Jesus was once asked by the Jewish religious leaders, “When will God’s kingdom come?

Jesus responded, “God’s kingdom does not come simply by obeying principles or waiting for signs. The kingdom is not discovered in one place or another, for God’s kingdom realm is already expanding within some of you

Luke 17:20-21

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James 3:16-18 NKJV

 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

SHOCK AND AWE

BOOM…..like a 100 megaton nuke…. swirled within me as my creator developed a purifying “algorithm” like a thousand tornadoes, a hundred thousand hurricanes to the power of “x” within milliseconds…. my good father in heaven IN HIS MERCY literally FOCUSED ALL MY ATTENTION ON MY 4 CHILDREN I DID NOT KNOW AS ADULTS!!!!!!!!

Those images and movies, vision and dreams literally brought me back to life…..

Am I awake?
Or is this just a dream?
I’d like to say since you went away
Am I awake?
I’m wasting away
Don’t wanna pray
I just can’t take the pain….And I can’t tell today from yesterday
And it’s the same thing over and over again
And that’s why I didn’t plan on
I didn’t plan on being here….Am I awake?
Or is this just a dream?
I’d like to say since you went away
Am I awake?
I’m wasting away
Don’t wanna pray
I just can’t take the pain

This place is just too crazy to be real
Or maybe it’s not it could be…it could be real
Or maybe I’ve lost my mind if you don’t mind
I’ll just lay here for awhile….Am I awake?
Or is this just a dream?
I’d like to say since you went away
Am I awake?
I’m wasting away
Don’t wanna pray
I just can’t take the pain…..Am I awake?
Or is this just a dream?
I’d like to say since you (kids) went away
Am I awake?
I’m wasting away
Don’t wanna pray
I just can’t take the pain

So “BOOM went the dynamite” to extinguish the plans of my enemy and through an amazing set of experiences (I will share later) that all came true in my future steps to answer my Son’s and his friends question on Facebook later in 2010.

The Bridegroom-King

Who is this one?
    She arises out of her desert, clinging to her beloved.
    When I awakened you under the apple tree,
    as you were feasting upon me,
    I awakened your innermost being with the travail of birth
    as you longed for more of me.
 Fasten me upon your heart as a seal of fire forevermore.
    This living, consuming flame
    will seal you as my prisoner of love.
    My passion is stronger
    than the chains of death and the grave,
    all consuming as the very flashes of fire
    from the burning heart of God.
    Place this fierce, unrelenting fire over your entire being.
 Rivers of pain and persecution
    will never extinguish this flame.
    Endless floods will be unable
    to quench this raging fire that burns within you.
    Everything will be consumed.
    It will stop at nothing
    as you yield everything to this furious fire
    until it won’t even seem to you like a sacrifice anymore.

The Bridegroom and the Bride in Divine Duet

 Arise, my darling!
    Come quickly, my beloved.
    Come and be the graceful gazelle with me.
    Come be like a young stag with me.
    We will dance in the high place of the sky,
    yes, on the mountains of fragrant spice.
    Forever we shall be united as one!

Song of Songs 8:5-7, 14 TPT

EDGE OF DEATH WORSHIP

My Mom and Dad told me that during my 15 day fight back to life, they would play worship music….I’m told that while in a STONE COLD medically induced coma when they played worship…I would raise my arm and hands up to the sky!!

All I can say is that must have been my spirit since my body was failing and my mind was asleep….still hard for me to believe since I have zero memories (for obvious reasons)

Then, something more beautiful happened when i woke up…… Like in the video at the top of this post, he breaks through the surface and takes his first breath………. my first awareness coming back to consciousness was in the arms of my oldest daughter Michelle as I woke up crying “your here”…”your here”…”I’m alive, I’m alive!!!

Astonishing to me is what a writer God is when he is in charge. Our lives are transformed from confusion and sadness to a living poem…

Christopher, Michelle, Nicole, Laura – 2009 just months after my near death experience

Also quite amazing is that all I considered that night and in the 15 days that followed were my real treasure. I have experienced allot during my life but there was nothing else, just them. The incredible treasure called Michelle, the honor of knowing Christopher, the passion I feel for Laura and the love and affection of Nicole. All such rare and precious gifts. I found out that all along it was only relationships that mattered at the base root of life. It makes sense after all because God is the restorer of relationships, that is his heart.

And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
– Malachi 4:6

What a debt I cannot ever repay to God who gave me time to love them now. What an amazing heavenly father I have to do that for me!

(Kids just a note…in the picture of us in 2009, if you guys remember I was still really sick. See my expression in that photo? It’s was all I could do to just sit up. I crashed out on the couch and woke up hours later with like 20 sticky notes all over me with messages “we love you dad!, You can do this!, we believe in you ect…..WOW see how amazing you all are even under pressure and pain?…ya’all HELPED BRING ME BACK TO LIFE!)

near death expereince

When I woke up I was completely rearranged. You could not tell it by the way I was talking in those early days, as i was experiencing a common thing called “ICU psychosis” it is when after trauma you cannot tell dreams from reality and has to do with the anesthesia. I can tell you there are allot of funny stories about how I was behaving and God allowed this to show me the difference between being ICU psychotic and the profound clarity I felt at the edge of death.

It was here that I understood the difference between my body and my spirit. As my body failed, I lived on, with even more clarity than I had ever experienced in my life to this point or after.

Looking back over this all I have come to some foundational conclusions:

  1. I believe the following:

Every human being is appointed to die once, and then to face God’s judgment. But when we die we will be face-to-face with Christ, the One who experienced death once for all to bear the sins of many! And now to those who eagerly await him, he will appear a second time; not to deal with sin, but to bring us the fullness of salvation

Hebrews 9:27-28

2. God is love but  just and sin separates me from him. It’s my simple childlike  faith in Jesus makes me justified before him. I choose my eternal destination by accepting Christ.

3. I am justified by faith and not works, nothing but my surrender is of any value, and even that is a gift God gives me.

4. God loves us beyond anything we can possible imagine as he is the perfect loving father. Nothing I can do can change that.

5. God allows everything for my eternal salvation, and has given me choice after choice to choose the path of life.

6. It is not Gods will to induce suffering. Suffering happens because we live in a fallen world. We have free will so people make bad choices

7. must live by faith and not by sight,  with the Holy Spirit leading me in everything that I choose

I came away with knowing the difference between my spirit and my flesh and feelings and that helped shape my decisions after this point.

 Reborn: Witnessing The Glory

The choice I made to live was my first real surrender. looking back over my answer when I said “I want a different life, you’ll have to do that was my surrender to give my life completely to God as I knew that there was nothing I could go back to that could possibly construct a life that would fulfill me. This was just the beginning of  living a life in the spirit and it’s wasn’t magically all different and I made mistakes, surrender is an ongoing process. However,  God has given me a radically different experience than I ever had before. Some things have happened over the past few years have put my life into focus in an amazing way.

Also and most important, I needed healing at a deep level far beyond the counselors or group therapy I had attempted in the past. I needed a real relationship with the life giving  Jesus.

In terms of what I witnessed, I have to say that within a few suspended moments, a time period that could have been seconds…. minutes or hours, who knows, (who cares) but just stripped away all the noise of life, and for the first time I knew what it was to “BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD” ..t took a flatline to shut my head up!

This instilled a childlike faith into me and it changed the way I approach everything…I have to say there is no experience on earth like a living relationship with Jesus, and comforted by the Holy Spirit, it has transformed me and blown me away!

Today, I live with the full armor of God and I’m more than a conqueror, and how I dealt with the medical challenges that followed all this shows that….. I have life through Jesus who saved me and I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. 

experienced something so very very holy that I can’t describe so I won’t make conclusions , but I sure didn’t see some impersonal “god of the universe” or “great force” what I witnessed was so very personal.

While this experience held no “secret revelation” not found in the bible, what it did for me was to made the word of God absolutely literal that I know when I read scripture like this that heaven is a literal place existing right now as I write this, and that since I am not a poet I wont try to describe how this felt, Revelation gives us the literal view of what’s to come and when I read scripture like this now I long to go back there!

“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.””

I believe in Jesus and he same spirit that raised him from the dead now lives in every believer, so stop and think about that carefully for a minute…….What hope, joy  and empowerment it gives a believer to walk as more than an over-comer in life. Before this experience Jesus was a concept but after just getting a glimpse of his glory and love, and it is my certainty that I will be with him throughout eternity. I am ready to die anytime, I have no fear. 

life after death

It is also that if I had died that night I am not sure where I would have gone. Could it be that I would have experienced that perfection and love and then been torn away from it forever because of my rejecting Jesus as Lord of my life up to that point?

Could I have fallen into an abyss of darkness after having experienced such perfection?

Seeing him falling down into total darkness, I couldn’t imagine being lost forever in that, besides what a waste anyway to be separated from such indescribable glory…..

I’ve spent the past years pondering this, and recently I have come to believe that since I was a church going,  intellectual “christian” at best ( if there is such a thing), not really committed to letting Jesus be Lord of my life, I’m not sure I would have heard Jesus say “come in, I know you”…who knows… but now I care and so should you……. so is it possible I might have descended into darkness?…. I don’t know for sure but this is the most important issue any human can face, the question of eternal destiny…

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” – John 3:16 ( The Message)

Accepting Christ is so simple and I have found that having him as my first love and making him Lord of my life, I find the issues of my powerlessness, drop away by his power. It’s amazing, I don’t have to “try hard” anymore or struggle not to be caught in perpetual ongoing failure. When I take my eyes off him though the train can go off the tracks real easy.

What I Believe

I believe that Jesus Christ is perfect theology. I believe that Jesus modeled the God the father perfectly. I believe that Jesus brought a superior spiritual kingdom to earth and people gladly leave the inferior kingdom of darkness and confusion and become the light of the world.

I believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and in glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all and governs all.

I believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired without error in the original manuscripts and infallible rule of faith and practice.

Today, what is important is the opportunity that I might in a small way help do God’s work here and now. That keeps me excited, engaged and full of life, hope and purpose.

And that is what God always wanted me to experience anyway, wouldn’t you agree?


The bulk of the post was written on November 4th, 2014 and updated 7 years later on November 18, 2021 with the passion of adoption!

Homecoming 10/3/2021