The Story Of Jim Sepulveda, USA
‘Jim, if you own anything of value, please made out a will,’ my doctor told me after severe pains in my chest sent me to the hospital. Tests revealed an enlarged heart, a damaged main valve, and two main arteries blocked by cholesterol. I would need double bypass surgery, and a valve replacement.
I was thirty-five years old. I was terrified, and far too young to die! I came from a very large, but poor family and was the youngest. I spent time with my older brothers, and one in particular who worked in an auto-wrecking business. When I was five years old, I went on my bicycle to this company, and asked if they would give me a job. They guy laughed and told me to come back next year. I did, and he told me to come back the next year. Finally, when I was eight years old they employed me.
I wanted to be a businessman. I did not really know what one was, but I did know kids from the other side of town who had fancy clothes and toys and big cars. They told me that their fathers were businessmen, so that’s when I decided I would be one too! I worked in the wreckers’ yard until one day, when I was about 12, I found a box of panel beating tools. I began to work on these old cars, knocking out the dents. I soon became an expert, and I would ride my bicycle round the neighbourhood looking for cars that had dents in their fenders (wings), and then ask the owner if I could fix it for them. A lot said no way, because I was too young, but others were happy to let me have a go. I would go home on a Saturday and give my mother the money. She would get mad at me because she thought I had stolen it.
By the time I was 15, I was an expert paint sprayer. Again, I had found an old compressor, and began mixing colours and spraying the cars. It did not seem to matter what colours I mixed, they always came out lime green! I then began my own business in my father’s garage. By the time I was 16 I had pictures of my customised cars on the front covers of magazines such as Hot Rod, and many others. At 17, whilst still at high school, I was employing three grown men.
One day a young Jewish boy brought me his new convertible, and asked me to paint it a colour that no other car had ever been. He did not mind how much it cost. It was so successful that I won lots of custom car shows with it, and it was on the cover of lots of magazines. Eventually this led to my being taken into his uncle’s company, and working my way to the top by the time I was 32. I was then invited to join a new company, and to make it profitable within four years. I did it in six months. I was still working for them, having become very successful, when I reached the age of thirty-five and I collapsed.
Six weeks before surgery, God began intervening in my life. I did not know my wife, my mother-in-law, and their church were praying for me! I was at home watching television one evening, when suddenly a warm feeling came over me. I wondered if I was getting a fever as beads of sweat came from my forehead. Then, very clearly into my mind came the name of a local town about thirty five miles from where we live. I asked my wife, Sharon, if she knew of anything going on there that night. She told me there was nothing going on there. She went out of the room, but again these feeling came over me. Sharon came back three times, and each time I asked her whether she was sure there was nothing going on that night. She was getting upset with me, and was walking out of the room when she stopped, and a big smile came over her face. She said there was something going on but it was unlikely I would want to go. Evidently there was a healing service where they prayed for the sick.
My wife had a church background, but had not been to church for years. As for me, I had been raised a Catholic, and thought people who went to healing services were a bunch of holy rollers whom I would not go near for anything, not even money. In fact I laughed to myself at even the hint of any idea that I would go to such a service. But, even as I did so, I found myself saying to Sharon, ‘Would you like to go?’ I am not sure who was the most surprised between us. Had I really suggested that?
We drove to the auditorium where the service was to be held. There was a large crowd of people going towards the front entrance. I insisted we sit up in the balcony, at the back, just in case there was anyone there who might recognise us. To say I felt uncomfortable would be an understatement. I kept looking at my watch, fidgeting a bit, looking at my watch again, and not believing how slowly the time was going. In the end I turned to Sharon and said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’
What seemed to be a simple thing to do proved impossible. As I tried to get up, a warm feeling came over me again, and I could not move. My legs were paralysed, and I thought I might be having a heart attack. Then I began to sweat, especially as the man on the stage called people forward. As he touched them they fell onto the floor. This was something weird, and again I tried to get up to go, but my legs just would not move. Suddenly the speaker at the front stopped, and looked up. ‘The Holy Spirit is telling me there is a man here who is scheduled for open-heart surgery. If you will come down now, I believe the Lord is going to heal you.’
He looked around, waiting for someone to respond. He surely could not mean me, and anyway, I still could not move. No one came forward and so he spoke again. ‘The Holy Spirit is telling me that He has a work for this man. Everyone bow their heads with me. Let us pray and see if the Holy Spirit might reveal the man’s name to me.’ He, and almost everyone else, bowed their heads, whilst I kept looking round. After about a minute, he slowly raised his hand and pointed his finger until it seemed to be aimed right between my eyes. ‘All right … Jim, come down now,’ he said.
At that moment it seemed like a breath of fresh air hit me, and I could move my legs. I turned to Sharon and told her I was getting out of the place, and that I would meet her in the parking lot. I walked out to the main aisle and up the stars, towards the exit sign at the top of the balcony. As I opened the door that warm feeling came around me again. A very clear thought entered my mind: What have you to lose?
Almost before I realised what I was doing, I had let go of the door, and was walking down the stairway towards the front of the auditorium.
‘Jim?’ was the man’s question as I came and stood in front of him. He asked if I believed in Jesus and I had to think. I had not been in church for 13 years, but I said I kind of did. The next question was whether I believed Jesus has died on the cross for me. I said,’ Yes’. After a few more questions, the speaker raised his arms and pointed at me. ‘Jim I believe the Lord is going to heal you now.’
Yet again, that same warmth went through me. My knees buckled and I fell on the platform. I felt wrapped in a warm blanket of peace and love. Then I began to see a red light appear toward the ceiling. It came down and touched my head. A pure warm heat poured down my neck and chest, right down to my feet. An even warmer heat came up my left side and stopped in the area of my chest. Then it felt as if two little fingers moved things around inside my heart. I felt physical movement inside me for about two minutes, then it stopped. Without conscious thought the words came out of my mouth, ‘Jesus, I love You. I know that You have healed me. I love You.’
My doctor was not convinced when I went back to see him, and told him about my experience in the auditorium. He was very concerned about me, and advised me to have open-heart surgery. We discussed the situation at some length, and then a thought came into my mind. ‘Catheterisation. Do it for the glory of God.’ I knew that this was a procedure in which the doctors made an incision in a main artery, then fed a catheter into the heart to take pictures, so that they could ascertain the exact condition of the heart. I put it to him, ‘Doc, listen. I don’t want that open-heart surgery. I want a catheterisation. I want more tests.’ Finally he agreed, and several days later I was on the operating table.
It was one of those tests they do whilst you are conscious, so I was awake the whole time. Everything seemed to go well. However, I suddenly felt a searing pain in the middle of my heart. This pain ran across my shoulders, down my chest and side, and my heart began leaping inside my chest. As I began to lose consciousness, I could feel the doctors pounding on my chest.
‘Jesus, if it’s my time to come home, I’m ready,’ I thought. ‘I love You.’ I was engulfed in complete peace with no fear of death.
I opened my eyes, and I was standing in a field, surrounded by acres of green grass. Every blade glowed as if backlit by a tiny spotlight. To my right stretched a dazzling expanse of vibrant flowers, with colours I had never seen before. Above me the endless sky was a deep and pure blue. The air around me was permeated with love.
I walked over a hill, a short distance away, then stopped beside the base of a large tree. A light began to appear beside the tree. The blinding aura was too bright to look at directly. I squinted down toward the ground, and then saw a pair of sandals beginning to appear at the bottom edge of the light. As my eyes moved upward, I glimpsed the hem of a seamless white gown. Higher, I could make out the form of a Man’s body. Around His head shone an even brighter brilliance, obscuring a direct view of His face. Even though I could not see clearly, because of the dazzling splendour, I knew immediately the identity of this Man. I was standing in the presence of Jesus Christ.
‘Jim, I love you.’ His voice washed over me, indescribably gentle, tender and peaceful. ‘But it is not your time yet. You must go back, for I have many works to do in you.’ I stood in awe, unable to utter a sound. Within me I was protesting that I was never going back. I wanted to stay right there beside Him. Almost with the hint of a chuckle, He spoke again: ‘Jim, I love you but it is not your time yet.’
Then the brilliance surrounding Him reached out and engulfed me, immersing me in a total sense of love and peace. I do not know how long I stood transfixed, but finally I turned away and began walking over the hill. Then a blue mist of light began to come around me like a fog. It turned into a dark shadow, and everything went black.
Suddenly I opened my eyes, and realised I was lying on the operating table, covered with a sheet. I did not know until later that I had been dead for eight minutes. Everyone had left the operating room except for the main surgeon, and one of his assistants. They were at the back of the room, filling out a report on my death. After a few seconds, I sat up. The sheet slid down my lap, and I saw the two men at the far side of the room with their backs to me.
‘Gentlemen,’ I announced, ‘I am ready to proceed if you are!’ They turned and looked at me, their faces white. ‘Get the rest of them in here quick,’ the surgeon then said to his assistant.
They ran test after test on me. Early the next morning, the surgeon came to my room and announced he was releasing me from the hospital. ‘Come back this evening at 8:30 to my office, and we will go over all the results of your new tests.’
That evening I told my doctor what I had experienced during those eight minutes I ‘died’ on the operating table. ‘Jim,’ he said after I was done, ‘I am going to show you something you will not believe.’ Together we looked at the new pictures of my heart. Rather than being enlarged, it was now the normal size. Where there had been eighty-five percent blockage in two arteries, there was now no arteriosclerosis. The main valve was functioning normally.
‘We ran test after test on you, Jim! He looked at me and winked. ‘This is off the record.’ I saw a tear form at the corner of his eye, but he had a smile on his face. ‘According to these pictures, this Jesus you have been talking about has either replaced or repaired your heart.’
Jim Sepulveda travelled the world sharing his testimony and preaching, a man who really knew God. In March 1994 God decided it was his time, and at the age of 54 he died in Canada, on his way home from a preaching tour.
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