What role did Glenn play in the story behind the hit film Heaven is for Real?

Heaven Is for Real finished a remarkable third at the box office this weekend, raking in an estimated $21.5 million. In fact, since opening last Wednesday, the film, based on the 2010 best-selling book about then 4-year-old Colton Burpo’s near-death experience that resulted in him saying he met Jesus and deceased loved ones in heaven, has earned $28.5 million. That tally more than doubles the $12 million spent on the film’s production.

“I don’t know if you have seen the movie Heaven Is for Real, but it came out this weekend, and I would imagine this is going to be one of these movies that will grow. Once you have seen it, you will want to tell your friend about it. It was Number 3 at the box office,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “If you like the book Heaven Is For Real, you will love the movie… Truly, a remarkable story.”

Glenn explained that he saw a screening of the film a couple of weeks ago – just days after his own father’s death – and the story had a profound impact on him.

“I saw it right after my father died, and it is exactly the same message that I got from my father’s death. My father’s last words a few weeks ago were, ‘Okay, I understand. I’m ready. Take me with you,’” Glenn explained. “And I saw just a couple days later Heaven Is for Real, and I thought: The Lord is sending us a message. He is telling people, ‘I am here. I am real. And I’m not going any place.’”

On radio this morning, Colton’s father Todd Burpo joined Glenn to discuss how his son’s experience a decade ago changed their family forever and how Glenn actually played a role in the family being able to make sense of Colton’s experience.

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For anyone unfamiliar with the story, Heaven is for Real is the story of Colton Burpo, who awoke from an emergency surgery when he was four-years-old claiming to have visited heaven. Colton remembers being able to look down and see the doctor operating on him and his dad praying in the waiting room. Furthermore, Colton said he met his miscarried sister in heaven even though no one had ever told him about her and his great grandfather who had died 30 years before Colton was born. The boy also said he saw Jesus.

While the entire Burpo family struggled to understand what Colton had experienced, Todd faced an added pressure as a pastor. People in the community and parish were skeptical of the story, and the family faced an interesting conundrum.

“How true to the real life is the pushback from your own faithful and your own church,” Glenn asked.

“We have experienced all that,” Todd said. “It comes at us a little faster in the movie, just because they have to compress time more than real life… But we have gone through all those stages and all those people represented in the movie are composites of real issues we have dealt with in real life.”

One little known fact about the story is the round-about role Glenn and his CNN show played in shedding light on the situation for the family.

“You have a big part in the story,” Todd said. “[Your] CNN show is how we found the ‘Prince of Peace’… When we were looking for pictures of Jesus Christ my son would always say nothing was right. You were the one that did the documentary that helped us find the ‘Prince of Peace.’”

The family spent years trying to find an image that would reverberate with Colton but consistently came up empty handed. In 2006, however, Glenn featured a young painter and a poet, named Akiane Kramarik on his CNN show and the family found what they had been looking for.

As TheBlaze reported, Kramarik believes God began speaking to her through vivid visions when she was just four years old. She began drawing and painting complex images of Jesus and the heavens — renditions of what she apparently saw during first-hand, and one of those paintings, titled “Prince of Peace,” was included in a video package that aired on Glenn’s program.

Below is a photo of the painting:

prince-620x323Image Source: Akiane.com

Todd explained that when Colton saw the painting he was stopped dead in his tracks.

“He just froze. I remember pulling your documentary up on the screen. I said, ‘Colton, what do you think of this one?’ I was expecting him to say, ‘This is wrong,’” Todd explained. “He just kind of spaced out. It wasn’t like he was even in the room anymore. I had to get his attention… He was like, ‘Dad, that’s right. That’s what he looks like.’ That’s the only one that he’s ever said is right.”

While many may have been apprehensive about turing over such a personal and faith-filled experience to Hollywood, Todd explained that his family is happy with the film and grateful for the opportunity to share the story with a wider audience.

“That was the very thing we focused on the from the beginning. We weren’t going to agree to work with anyone if they didn’t make a commitment to tell Colton’s story his way,” Todd said. “This is a movie that if you read the book, you will like it. That was huge to us… They have kept their word and they are thrilled about that.”

Watch the Heaven is for Real trailer below:

  • Anonymous

    Why will people believe this boy….and not believe Joseph?

  • Wax

    This boy and his daddy sound like they want to make a lot of money…Sorry I’m not buying it. Hannity asked him what God looks like and he said he couldn’t tell because God was huge, he was holding gut earth in his hand…that sounded kind of funky to me.

  • Wax

    Because Joseph wasn’t lying…that’s why.

  • http://truthofg.blogspot.com/ Connor Davenport

    I want to see this movie. It sounds real good.

  • Anonymous

    The boy did not say God was holding the earth in his hand. He said He was large enough to do so. Go back and watch again.

  • Wax

    Okay he said God was big enough to hold the world in his hands…That sounds bizarre…Christ came back to earth in his own body only it was immortal. The comment doesn’t wash. There have been many who have died and came back to life, I’ve never heard this description. I highly question it, and why the Lord would pick this person to reveal himself. I’m not ruling anything out, I just need to learn more.

  • Anonymous

    my Aunty Arianna got a nearly new silver Chevrolet Colorado
    Crew Cab by working part time off of a macbook air. try this F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Jared

    I’d like to know which Bible characters Colton met.

  • Anonymous

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt when my son died I told him its ok Bobby go to the light later he went to my friend told her tell my mom its ok that is the word I told him its ok says a lot. There is a lot more to the story but that says it.

  • Anonymous

    What the heck are you saying?????

  • RedMeatState

    so why haven’t you?

  • texastruthtweet

    I do, too. Thinking about going this Sunday.

  • tony

    and this throws the doctrine of the Trinity out the window.

  • Steven Hunt

    yes, colton clearly at 4 years old had this idea to make money by making up stories of Jesus and heaven. You are a cynical person who doesn’t believe anything you cant prove. Colton is telling the truth and i absolutely believe it!

  • Equis

    And why wouldn’t He pick this person. Who are you to determine who The Lord chooses to show himself to? That he would choose an innocent seems logical to me.

  • Equis

    Didn’t Jesus say if you have seen me you have seen the father.

  • cathy smedley

    It is so interesting that you call yourself wax. In the scriptures there are people who have waxed cold, and are referred to as nonbelievers. They end up being sorry or destroyed. Don’t you find that interesting as it just might be a warning and a message to you.

  • cathy smedley

    Blessed are the children!

  • cathy smedley

    When my husbands grandpa was dying he held up his hand and called out “mother”, which is what he called his wife as well during their marriage. She “his wife” woke up and said “What do you want?” He said I am not talking to you, I am talking to my mother. He also spoke with his children who died before he did and actually carried on conversations with them, coming in and out, coming back and telling us they were there, and they were happy. It scared Grandma, because she was never around anyone who died and spoke to those who passed earlier. It was amazing for us however, and peaceful to watch.

  • http://truthofg.blogspot.com/ Connor Davenport

    A friend of mine seen it and he loved the movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leslie-Ward/1774790282 Leslie Ward

    Read the book – but I remember John the Baptist and Gabriel, in addition to God and Jesus, his sister, Pop and the animals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leslie-Ward/1774790282 Leslie Ward

    When I was seven years old, I had a patent ductus arteriosus surgery – this was in 1962 – hospital stays for children were much, much different. And so was the care – even though I was in the best hospital in America for the surgery, my Dad (a Dr with degrees in both Internal Medicine (his practice) and Cardiology) chose it because it had the heart-lung machine needed for the long surgery. After the surgery I was in an oxygen tent which was ‘state of the art’ back then, rather than being on a respirator and it shut down. Being a Doctor, my Dad was allowed to visit whenever he chose (not so with other parents, including my Mom) and he realized that machine was off. I had an ‘out-of-body’ experience and to this day remember looking down at the scene of my Dad at the end of the bed, the nurse and Doctor working on me and another person working on the machine. Btw, I went into the hospital on Sunday, they did the cardiac catheterization on Monday, did the surgery on Wednesday and because of a mumps outbreak on the floor (and my Dad being a Doctor) I was released the following Sunday. I tend to take most Doctor’s ‘prognosis from on high’ with a grain of salt since then. And another trivial fact – the surgery (PDA) that fixed my heart problem was first done on a human the year I was born. I agree with Glenn – we need to talk about these experiences and religion or they become meaningless and forgotten.

  • Anonymous

    Connor, do you have any interest in genealogy? We must be related. We share the same last name.

  • Tina Goforth

    Joseph Smith? Maybe because this boy hasn’t changed the Bible with his own perverted views. Do not add or take away from the word of God.

  • Tina Goforth

    My great grandma talked to many who had passed the 2 weeks before she died. it was crazy but comforting at the same time. They are there waiting for us to come home.

  • Anonymous

    Equis, if you’ve seen me you’ve seen my father!!!!
    Does this make me a nut, or might it indicate that I look a lot like my father, in addition to the fact that I share many of his other traits, characteristics, philosophies, beliefs, and goals.

  • Wax

    For you to call me a non believer is one, incorrect, and two, We should questions all things and then take the matter to the Lord. We don’t learn by the claims of others Cathy, we learn by our own spiritual experiences. We read in Matthew 16:

    ¶When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

    14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

    15 He saith unto them, But whom say aye that I am?

    16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

    17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

    All things come from the Father and then through Christ. I apologize if I offended you as I sincerely didn’t mean too.

  • Wax

    Can children be coached into believing something until it becomes their reality? There are others who have claimed to have seen God the Father and his son Jesus Christ…Glenn Beck actually is a member of a church who claims such…do you believe Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son, and if not, why, you believe this young boy? Joseph Smith didn’t gain money over his claims, he was viscously murdered over his claims. Just an observation I wanted to make you aware of before throwing additional barbs at me.

  • mealive4ever

    Why?

  • Wax

    Did I determine who the Lord chooses to reveal himself too?NO I simply made an observation and you’re questioning me. As I said to Cathy, Glenn Beck’s church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints claims a young 14 year old boy had a visitation from God the Father and Jesus Christ. Do you believe that?

  • mealive4ever

    deadeye, you are only human. He is wholly human and wholly God. He explained it as well as we are able to conceive but we aren’t there yet. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. You seem to equate earthly with heavenly. Gets confusing without allowing for faith. Now, faith is the substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for.

  • Anonymous

    Really, Tina, you’re going to quote the end of Revelations, which was not even the last book written in the Bible, and which was obviously only referring to the Book of Revelations and not the Bible which was not even compiled for several hundred years after the Book of Revelations was written.

    If you think that the Book of Mormon diminishes or takes away from the Bible in any way, you obviously have not read it. If and when you do, please let us know how it in any way does this. It certainly does add to it (as God has said, “….line upon line, precept upon precept…”), but it in no way contradicts it or diminishes it.

    And, if the Bible was all of God’s word that the world needs, just how many Christian religions would there be? Or are you and the few, if any, who believe exactly as you do the only Christians that are devoted and intent on knowing the truth and that everyone else is just going through the motions and not serious about knowing the truth, ergo the hundreds of Christian churches?

    As the scriptures say, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has provided Prophets throughout history to lead, guide, exhort, teach, and clarify his gospel THROUGH REVELATION. If there has ever been a time in history where this is more necessary than now, please let us know when it was (OK, the Dark Ages and the time of the Inquisition, but the U.S. did not exist at that time, which was in 1830 the only country on the face of the earth in which the true Gospel of Jesus Christ could have been restored).

  • http://truthofg.blogspot.com/ Connor Davenport

    Not my real name but I am interested. My family has been a part of American history all the way back to the Revolution and I would find it rather interesting to see who else I been related to.

  • Equis

    deadeye10, I can see by your questioning that there is a lack of faith. All I can say is that with faith comes much knowledge if you truly seek it. However, you have to want to educate yourself by reading the word.

  • Equis

    Its your judgmental attitude that is the problem because unless it happens to you you’re not going to believe anything anyway. Now whether I believe this 14 year old boy or not at least I can say I don’t have enough first hand knowledge to make that determination because its not my place to judge. Discernment on the other hand is another story but that’s not what we are talking about here. Furthermore, an event of our Lord’s appearance would not be witnessed by those who were unworthy or directly involved with the message.

  • Anonymous

    Why? God the Father, Jesus, his son, and the Holy spirit which is Jesus in us. You are finding something that isn’t there.

  • Anonymous

    And he told his disciples He would send the Holy Spirit to them which He did at Pentecost.

  • Lou Ann Beck

    We’v read the book “Heaven is for Real” and now have seen the movie. Wonderful! There is no reason to make a fuss that it detracts from the Bible in any way. It is so comforting and peaceful . To you who are having a fit about this, I say ” Grow up. Believe, ” God Bless !

  • Derrick Rows

    In fact, today’s notions of democratic socialism in Europe are mostly the result of French conceptions of human social relations introduced by Saint-Simon over ten generations ago.

  • Anonymous

    Revelation. No “s”