One day, Juan Miguel died.
And instantly, he found himself in a beautiful place.
A woman covered in light approached him and said, “Welcome, Juan Miguel. It’s easy to get to know this place. Just walk around. And if you’re hungry, just wish for it. You can wish for anything you want and it’ll be given to you.”
“Wow! Anything?” Miguel said. “For my appetizers, can I have New Zealand baked oysters? For my main meal, I’d like to have Alaskan crabs with lemon buttered dip–plus a side dish of Cebu’s Lechon. For my dessert, I want a tall glass of chocolate parfait drizzled with Belgian truffles. Oh, and please give me a diet Coke. I’m trying to watch my weight.”
The woman said, “In this place, no matter how much you eat, you won’t gain a single pound.”
“This is incredible!” Miguel said. “In that case, can you also add crispy pata, liempo, and pata tim?”
Instantly, all the yummy food he ordered appeared right in front of him in a huge buffet that looked like those served in 5-star hotels. Except that the buffet was only for him.
He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Wait a minute,” the man said. “You mean to tell me that in this place, I can have anything I want?”
The woman said matter-of-factly, “Yes.”
“How about a nice car?” he asked.
“Sure. Just say the brand…”
He decided to be daring. “A top-of-the-line BMW!”
The words had not yet left his lips when a shiny silver blue, brand new, custom-made BMW popped in front of him. It even had a diamond-encrusted emblem of his name on the steering wheel.
“Whoa!” he shouted. As he opened the door to examine the leather seats, he turned to the lady and asked, “Can I also have a 10-bedroom house with a swimming pool and jacuzzi?”
In a wink of an eye, a huge mansion appeared in front of him.
“No,” Miguel said, “I changed my mind. I want a 127-room castle. And I want my backyard to be a forest spanning a thousand hectares!” And viola, his gigantic castle and gigantic forest appeared before him.
He got into his BMW and drove into the gates of his humongous castle, all the while screaming, “Yipeee! I gonna love this place!”
Like a little boy opening his gifts on Christmas day, he was extremely happy, creating things left and right.
After 7 days, something happened: Miguel was no longer happy.
And he couldn’t understand why.
So he searched for the woman who welcomed him 7 days ago.
When he found her, he asked, “Excuse me, but I’m here to complain. I have everything I need, but I’m actually very bored,” he said. “In fact, I’ve never been more miserable in my entire life than now.”
The woman remained silent and just looked at Miguel, her face emotionless.
He began to sob. “How could you call this place Heaven?”
The woman shook her head. “Excuse me Miguel, but who told you this was Heaven?”
When You Don’t Serve,
You’re Not In Heaven
Miguel was taken aback. “What?”
The woman said, “Did I ever once tell you that you were in Heaven?”
He thought back and realized she never did. “Where am I, then?”
“You’re not in Heaven, that’s for sure,” the woman said.
“But everything I want comes true!”
The woman said, “Yes, everything you want comes true. Miguel, haven’t you noticed? In the past 7 days, you never loved anyone. You never served anyone. All you thought about was yourself. What you wanted.”
“So?” Miguel asked. “Isn’t that supposed to be fun?”
The woman said, “Heaven is the perfection of love. Hell is the absence of all love.”
Reality hit Miguel like a giant hammer hitting his head. His lips quivered, “Don’t tell me…”
The lady said, “Juan Miguel, welcome to Hell.”
Miguel collapsed to the ground. “Nooooooooooo! How did I end up here?”
“You chose it.”
He shook his head. “No, I didn’t!”
“We all choose our eternity. Because eternity is a mere continuation of our chosen life on earth. We merely follow its path after our death.”
As the woman walked away, she said to Miguel, “Order a few Lear jets, perhaps some giant yachts. It may take away some pain. At least for a few seconds…”
For a very long, long time.
A Different Ending
In the Philippines, some of our telenovelas have two different endings.
Isn’t that cool? In one version, Judy Ann Santos dies. In the other, Judy Ann Santos misses the bullet and marries her prince.
So allow me to create a different version of our story…
One day, Juan Miguel died.
And instantly, he found himself in a beautiful place.
Immediately, he saw his grandparents and other family members and friends who had already gone there before him. They greeted him with a group hug, shouting, “Welcome, Juan Miguel! We missed you so much!”
“Wow, it’s so wonderful to see you!” Miguel said.
“We love you, Miguel!” they all said in unison.
After many more tears and hugs and I love yous, his grandmother asked, “Miguel, do you want something to eat? In this place, you can eat anything you want.”
“Wow, really? Okay, for my appetizers, can I have some Ceasar’s Salad with Spanish anchovies? For my main meal, I’d like to have Garoupa with capers and olives plus a little Roti breadon the side. For dessert, I want scoops and scoops of Gelato Italian ice cream.”
And in a wink of an eye, a 5-star buffet table filled with food appeared.
“Unbelievable!” he shouted.
“It’s all yours, Miguel,” they said.
“No way!” Miguel said. He got a plate, filled it with food, and gave it to his grandfather. He filled another plate and gave it to his grandmother. “You’re all eating with me,” Miguel said. “Hey grandma, how are you doing?”
She smiled and said, “Miguel, I’m happy here. In this place, we have enormous power. You can wish for anything–and it will come true.”
“Anything? Like cars and houses…”
“Yes!” everyone shouted.
His grandmother said, “Juan Miguel, I have something to give you. Close your eyes…”
Only Love Can Make Anything Beautiful
As he closed his eyes, she snapped her finger and viola–a shiny silver blue, brand new, custom-made BMW popped up in front of him. It even had a diamond-encrusted emblem of Miguel’s name on the steering wheel. Below his name were the words, “Love, Grandma”.
Miguel was speechless. She hugged him tight and said, “I knew you’d like it.”
After wiping a tear, he said, “I like the car, Grandma, but it’s your love that makes it so special. Hey, can I do these things too? You know, snap my finger and give you all some gifts?”
“Not in a million years!” his grandfather said.
“Your grandpa is kidding, Miguel,” Grandma said. “Of course you have the power to do that.”
“But it’s my turn to give Miguel something,” Grandpa said. “Miguel, I’m going to build you a little house. Would a castle do?”
Everyone laughed again.
“If it’s big enough for all of you to live with me, I’ll accept it,” Miguel said.
The old man said, “But it’ll take awhile. You see, I won’t snap my finger and give you a castle.”
“Nope. I’m going to build you one with my bare hands. I want it to be a labor of love. Just to let you know how much I love you.”
“We’ll help,” the others chimed in.
“Besides, it’ll be so much more fun!” Grandpa said.
And you could hear their laughter echo all over Heaven.
The Two Things You Need To Be Successful
You can’t be successful in life without these two essential things:
Giftedness and Godliness.
Let me define them for you.
Giftedness is the ability to turn thought into things;
Godliness is the ability to use that giftedness to serve.
Giftedness is being like God in his skills;
Godliness is being like God in his service.
Giftedness is being like God in his power;
Godliness is being like God in his love.
Giftedness is charisma; Godliness is character.
You can be successful with giftedness alone, but success will be short-lived and isolated in one or two areas of your life. For real success that spans your whole life, you need giftedness and godliness.
Let’s talk about giftedness first.
The most successful people in the world have perfected the craft of turning thoughts into things. Successful people are those who have the skill of making their dreams come true. What they think about becomes reality.
One day, Steve Jobs was in his house when he thought of a little gadget that can contain 10,000 songs and that was tiny enough to put in your pocket. And in a few years, Apple produced the Ipod and it has taken over the music world by storm.
One day, Warren Buffet thought of buying businesses when the values were cheap. It all started with a thought. Today, Warren Buffet is the second richest man in the world because his company owns thousands of companies.
One day, Manny Pacquiao was in a tiny town in General Santos, thinking of becoming a boxing champ. Today, he’s the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Friends, you have that gift. All of us do. God has given you that power to turn thoughts into things. He made His co-creators!
Our problem is that we don’t use this enormous gift that we have.
In my preaching at the Feast and in my writings, I constantly remind people of that power that we have to turn thought into things.
But giftedness alone isn’t enough to create Heaven…
You need godliness too.
Many people imagine Heaven in this way: People floating around in their pajamas and all they do the whole day is sit on fluffy clouds and play their harps.
If that’s Heaven, I’ll be like Juan Miguel in my first story: bored to death.
More than anything else, I believe Heaven is a place of service. We’ll be serving each other more than ever before. If that doesn’t attract you, then you won’t like Heaven. Yes, I really believe we choose our eternity by our way of life on earth. God won’t force Heaven upon us. He’ll respect how we want to live.
The Rewards Of Service:
Heaven On Earth
I’m living the dream life.
One day, a lady interviewed me for a magazine article. She asked, “Bo, if you had an opportunity to live your life all over again, would you live your life in any other way?” I told her, “Except for my sins, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I would still serve God with my life.”
Why? Because I’ve experienced the Rewards of Service. The Bible says, And anyone who gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
Friends, Heaven and Hell starts here.
God promised Rewards. And it will happen.
If you serve, you experience Heaven here.
If you don’t serve, you experience Hell here.
What are the Rewards of Service? I know I could site 2,486 examples, but for lack of space, let me just share three rewards today:
1. I have so much love in my life.
2. I’ve grown in my talents.
3. I’ve protected my spiritual life.
Here they are…
1. I Have So Much Love In My Life
My friends are the greatest.
Just look at the guys who lead Light of Jesus with me. You’ll notice that most of them have been with me for 30 years. Look at the second line of leaders. You’ll notice that they’ve been serving with me for 20 years.
Why do I have these phenomenal friends in my life?
Because we don’t just serve God–we serve each other in personal ways.
I repeat: Service is not a set of activities; Service is a way of life.
Serving each other means calling each other, doing stuff for each other, and praying for each other. We take trips together; We eat together; We laugh together.
We serve each other. That, in one line, is the secret of maintaining the unity of a church or ministry. If you see an organization whose leaders are serving God but not serving each another in personal relationships, mark my word, in won’t be long before you see a major split in that organization. Guaranteed.
If you want to fill your life with love, learn to serve.
2. I Grew In My Talents
Yes, I grew in my giftedness.
I started serving when I was 12 years old.
I sang in the choir. I played the guitar. I wrote the song lyrics on Manila paper. (Kids, this was during a prehistoric era when there was no LCD Projector yet.) I arranged the chairs. I swept the floor. I cleaned the toilets. Even if I was the speaker, I still had to carry the loud speakers.
For 20 years, almost everyday, I would preach to anyone. You name it, I preached to them. I’ve preached to kids, teachers, farmers, executives, prisoners, doctors, judges… The only audience I haven’t preached to are green aliens from outer space. (Perhaps one day.)
Believe me, it was the best public speaking training anyone could ever have!
For 20 years, I served without charge, not knowing that I was being paid in another way…
Because I grew in self-confidence.
I grew in leadership skills.
I grew in relationship skills.
I grew so much in my personal life, that by the time I got married at the age of 32 and needed to earn money and start businesses, it was easy. Why? I had all those fantastic skills under my belt.
Listen carefully: If you want grow your wealth, you’ve got to grow you.
There’s no other way.
3. I Protected My Spiritual Life
My service kept me godly.
When I was 21 years old, I had an experience I’ll never forget. This was a time when I was still young and irresistible. (Now, I’m just irresistible to my wife.)
I was alone in my office when I heard a knock on the door. When I opened, I saw a young beautiful girl crying in front of me. She asked if she could speak to me. She said she was in so much pain. So I let her in. (At that time, I still didn’t know that men shouldn’t counsel attractive young women alone.)
Through much sobbing, she told me about her boyfriend. She told me how he was using her. She told me she had given her body to him and how she regretted it.
As I listened to her story, without warning, she threw herself to me. She knelt in front of me and embraced me. With her head on my chest, her lovely eyes looking at me, she said, “Bo, you’re really the man I want for my life. I love you, Bo!”
Picture this scene. Here was this gorgeous young woman throwing herself at my feet, telling me she loved me. I could feel her supple body and soft skin. I could smell her sweet scent. I could touch her beautiful hair. At that point, she was putty in my hands and I could do anything I wanted to do with her.
I want to be honest with you. At that moment, I almost forgot I was a Christian. But as ridiculous as this may sound, there was one thing I didn’t forget: That I had to give a talk in a prayer meeting in two hours!
That’s what saved me. My thoughts were, “My gosh, how could I face my audience if I did something naughty right now?”
So I pulled her up and led her to the door. She couldn’t understand why I was driving her out. Two times, she tried to embrace me again, begging me to love her.
I had to literally push her out of the door.
Let me tell you how human I was. After I pushed her out and closed the door, I leaned my back on the door and said, “Sayang”.
But twenty years later, all I can say is, “Thank God, nothing happened!”
My service protected me from sin.
Serve In God’s House
Be a world-changer in a new level.
Yes, serve God in your families, in your jobs, in your businesses. Complete the picture and serve God in His House too.
You have a choice.
Every time you come to Church…
You can park in your favorite parking spot, walk to your favorite seat, sing a few songs, listen to a talk, chat with friends, and go home and watch TV.
Or you can roll up your sleeves, serve in a ministry, love people with all your heart, and go home with that sense of satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment that you’re serving God and God’s people in His House.
Friend, do something bigger than yourself: Build the Kingdom of God.
Our organization, Light of Jesus, is run by thousands of selfless volunteers. Without these wonderful people serving as administrators, singers, ushers, musicians, intercessors, programmers, caregivers, counselors, group leaders, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. (If you’re abroad, log on at www.KerygmaFamily.com and be part of our borderless, international, non-physical community.)
Believe that God will lead you to the best way to serve Him.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Hear me “Live” in my How To Be Truly Rich Seminar! On June 6, I know I will again change the financial lives of hundreds of people. I want you to be one of them. Join me! Thousands have already attended my How To Be Truly Rich Seminar and they tell me how blessed they are. (I wish you could read the glowing emails I receive from the participants.) There are very few seats left. Call us right away to reserve your place. For more information, click here. Or call Beckie at Tel. (02) 7229562 (Tuesdays to Fridays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ) or email her at [email protected] now.
PS2. For those who aren’t living in Manila and can’t hear me “live”, I have a great solution for you. I invite you to join my online TrulyRich Club. Each month, I’ll ship my talks in Audio CDs and DVDs to your home–wherever you are in the world. Remember: It’s when you change your thinking that you change your life. Log on at www.TrulyRichClub.com now.
PS3. Attention to all Cebu readers who want to learn how to earn online! Jomar Hilario is giving an Internet Marketing Workshop in Cebu. It’ll be held on June 12 and13, 10:30am to 5:30pm, at SM City Cebu. For more details, log on at http://internetmarketingworkshop.blogspot.com/2009/05/cebu-14-hours-hands-on-internet.html now.
 Matthew 10:42
 What a waste.