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Bishop T.D. Jakes has been thinking about heaven a lot lately.

He’s imagining what it looks like, sounds like, smells like. Does it hold our loved ones in the form we know them? Does it have dogs and cats and other pets?

Since the success of Jumping The Broom, the recent feature film he co-produced, Jakes’ schedule has gotten even busier. The Potter’s House pastor was in Houston last weekend to preach three sermons at Lakewood Church, but he first took time to talk about the movie, music and what comes next.

On his way from the airport to his hotel, Jakes was reading scripts for what will be his next couple of projects, co-producing a made-for-TV movie titled On the Seventh Day and, later, a movie based on the Todd Burpo-Lynn Vincent book, Heaven is for Real, a true story about 4-year-old Colton Burpo, who claims to have experienced the afterlife during emergency surgery.

There’s still no script for Heaven, but during this development phase Jakes and his team will figure out how heaven will be physically presented in the film, he said.

“(The afterlife) is tied to many people’s belief systems, not just Christians,” said Jakes. “I can’t wait for us to talk about it. Every mother who has lost a baby, every child who has lost a mother, every lover who has lost a spouse will want to see that person there. The movie will have to fill in a lot of blanks.”

In the meantime, he’s still smiling widely about the good reviews and strong audience for Jumping the Broom, in which he accepted a small role as the wedding’s minister when evangelist Joyce Meyer turned down the role.

“I had fun doing it, I cannot deny that. It’s very organic to who I am to do it,” said Jakes.

In his early years in West Virginia, Jakes was a preacher and choir director, so his first love professionally was music. His Dallas-area megachurch ministry includes a record label, Dexterity Sounds, that just issued Sacred Love Songs 2, a CD with music inspired by Jumping The Broom.

Moviegoers heard El Debarge’s song How Can You Love Me during the film’s proposal scene. That song will be on the CD, along with songs by artists such as Fred Hammond, Micah Stampley and Karen Clark Sheard.

Jakes said praise and worship music has moved way past the hymns of his youth, when traditional music dominated churches and gospel songs “didn’t have more than five chords.”

“The emphasis then was on lyrics, the words, they were more opulent and important,” said Jakes. “Songs like Amazing Grace had lyrics that were very Biblical and thought out.”

Certainly music changes with each generation, but Jakes longs for song lyrics driven more by love than by sex, and that’s what you’ll find on the new CD, he said.

Change doesn’t just touch music and sermons. It also affects the way he interacts with people — especially young people – whether they’re in his congregation or simply know him through his books, faith conferences or TV appearances.

Jakes said that to be relevant to young people he has to think and talk they way they do, and he has to embrace their technology, too. You’ll find him on Twitter and Facebook, though he bristles a bit at the limitations of short Tweets.

“I sleep very little, and I’m up late hours but then up at the crack of dawn,” Jakes laughed. “When I’m online, I try to give words of wisdom, but I avoid debates because it’s hard to express your thoughts in 140 characters.”

He said he’s amazed at the location of his Twitter audience and the intense connections you can make through social networking.

“I’m very much a people person and having a compact with an individual and not a crowd is rare. I like it,” he said. “They’ll Tweet that they’re going into the movie theater. Then they’ll tell me how many people are there. Or they’ll tell me they went to the movie but it’s sold out and they have to go to a different movie time.”

Before Jakes returns to his hotel room to finish prepping for his weekend sermons, he mentions that he and his wife Serita will return Oct. 20-22 to host a Woman Thou Are Loosed conference at Lakewood. The conference was last here in 2003, when up to 43,000 people – mostly women – filled Reliant Stadium for speakers and music that encourage women to overcome issues ranging from poverty and abuse to career and workplace hurdles.

“We’re looking forward to the conference coming here,” said Jakes. “We think Houston will be a wonderful place to host it for a lot of reasons.”

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