Francis Chan wants to know: Do you think about death?
Chan, at this week's Identity Unleashed Conference with basketball super star Jeremy Lin in San Francisco, does. He gave a powerful message about the God in Heaven who's looking down on Earth and desires our worship and gives followers of Christ certain eternal security in Heaven with Him.
So few people think about dying, Chan said, but he thinks about it all the time.
"I think about dying more than anyone I know," Chan said. "I have friends that while they were preaching, they fell over and died. And I think, how intense that must have been."
Chan's preoccupation with death has roots in three deaths when he was young. He was born in San Francisco's Chinatown, but his mother died as she was giving birth to him. His dad remarried, but when he Chan was 8 his step mother died in a car accident. Then, his dad died of cancer when he was 12.
"By the time I was in junior high I was thinking, 'Man, life is short,'" Chan said. "I have to know for sure what's coming afterward."
While his middle school classmates did everything middle school kids do, Chan was focused on the theology of death, since he never knew what was coming tomorrow.
"I never took a day for granted," he said. "Before that, I didn't really care"
Then, Chan began suffering from a bad case of people-pleasing. When he was a kid, much of what he cared about was what everyone thought of him, he said. It was hard to fit in and he desperately wanted people to like him. In the third grade, when Chan got sent to the back of a line and banned from dodge ball, he realized he had "fear of man" when he flipped off a teacher because he wanted the acceptance of man over God.
When Chan read the Bible, he began desiring the acceptance of God more than man. And after all the death he'd experienced, no one told him how to get to Heaven. Then, he learned Jesus Christ died for our sins - including our fear of man. Chan's most important question: Do you believe that?
"My whole identity is wrapped up in Him," Chan said. "Right now, in Heaven, there's a being who decides whether we live through the night."
Francis Chan is the best-selling author of books, Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell and the host of the BASIC.series (Who is God & We Are Church). He has also written the children's books Halfway Herbert, The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village and Ronnie Wilson's Gift.
Francis is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He also sits on the board of directors of Children's Hunger Fund and World Impact, according to francischan.com.
Currently, Francis is working to start a church planting movement in the inner city of San Francisco and also working to launch a countrywide discipleship movement. Francis now lives in Northern California with his wife, Lisa, and their five children.