Our Sovereign
King Is Always
on His Throne
There's No
More Important
Question Than
Who Jesus Is
4 Reasons God's
People Ought
to Be Gentle
9 Ways to Make
Social Media
More Christian
This magazine is a publication of Eternal Perspective Ministries, a Christ-
centered nonprot organization founded and directed by author Randy
Alcorn. It can be read online at
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Our Sovereign King Is Always
on His rone
Randy Alcorn
News from EPM
What Is God Teaching You in
is Season?
EPM Staff and Board
ere's No More Important
Question an Who Jesus Is
Randy Alcorn
e Name of Jesus
Kevin DeYoung
4 Reasons God's People
Ought to Be Gentle
Dane Ortlund
Is It Judgmental and Unloving
to Believe at Abortion Is
Randy Alcorn
7 Ways to Befriend Your
Neighbor During COVID-19
Danny Franks
9 Ways to Make Social Media
More Christian
Karen Swallow Prior
Heaven's Admission Price
Greg Laurie
Copyright © 2020 by Eternal Perspective Ministries. Produced and designed by Stephanie Anderson, EPM sta.
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Is Always on
His Throne
y the time you receive this magazine,
the 2020 election will have come and
gone. Whether you are encouraged
or distressed by the results, there is
great comfort in acknowledging and embracing
Scripture’s teaching that God is sovereign over
human events, including the outcome of elections.
In Isaiah 46:10, God says, “I make known the
end from the beginning, from ancient times, what
is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I
will do all that I please” (NIV). Those who believe
in a God who knows “the end from the beginning”
can relax because even though they don’t know
what lies ahead, their sovereign God does.“For
dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over
the nations” (Psalm 22:28, BSB). Because God has
absolute power, no one—including demons and
humans who choose to violate His moral will—can
thwart His ultimate purpose. “The king’s heart is a
stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it
wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).
The Lord “works out everything in conformity
with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11,
NIV). Our fates do not rest in the hands of fallen
humankind: politicians, lawyers, military ocers,
employers, or even spouses and children. If we
believe this, our reaction to current events and
to many of the diculties we face will change.
Problems will seem smaller, for although we can’t
control them, we know God can—and
that everything will work out for His glory
and our good.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Cheer up, Christian!
Things are not left to chance: no blind fate rules the
world. God hath purposes, and those purposes are
fullled. God hath plans, and those plans are wise,
and never can be dislocated.”
Ultimately our hope must be in Jesus, this
Sovereign over the nations: “O LORD, God of our
fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over
all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are
power and might, so that none is able to withstand
you” (2 Chronicles 20:6).
Let these truths about God’s sovereignty,
purposes, and trustworthiness bring you
perspective and peace:
“The LORD has established His throne in the
heavens, His sovereignty rules over all.” (Psalm
103:19, NASB)
Note from a Reader Who Is a "Travel Agent for Heaven"
"Thank you, Randy Alcorn, for writing that little
booklet, and for providing
so many materials so that I can be a great "travel agent" in showing others the
glories of Heaven! I started a cancer support group on Facebook for wives with
husbands who have cancer. We are up to maybe 2,500 members from all over the
world. Purely a God thing! It is not specically a 'Christian' group because I wanted
it to minister to those out there who may not know Jesus.
"When a friend in the group tells that their husband/boyfriend/ancé has died, I
try my best to research and nd some address where I can send a sympathy card
and Randy's
booklet. So far I have been able to mail out about 300 of
those—and responses I get back are purely amazing! If they show an interest and continue the Heaven
conversation with me, then I send out
50 Days of Heaven
"Oh my, what a ministry this has become as there are friends in this group from all over the world,
including the Middle East. Randy Alcorn's writings have provided to me some excellent materials as a
'travel agent for Heaven.'" —C.L.
booklets are available in 20-packs from and
50 Days of Heaven
available from
Those who
believe in a God
who knows “the
end from the
beginning” can
relax because
even though
theydon’t know
what lies ahead,
their sovereign
God does.
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; ... the
Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets
over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 2:21; 4:17)
“It is beer to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is beer to
take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)
“…you are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in your hand, and
it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles
29:12, CSB)
“He stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.”
(Job 23:13, NIV)
“The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the
plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of
his heart to all generations.” (Psalms 33:10-11)
“Do not trust in nobles, in a son of man, who cannot save. When his
breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in
the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in
them. He remains faithful forever…” (Psalm 146:3-6, CSB)
“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his
kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14, CSB)
Two New Books from Randy
We're excited to introduce two books
that are now available: It's All About
Jesus: A Treasury of Insights on Our
Savior, Lord, and Friend and Pro-Choice
or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice
Claims—What Do Facts & Common
Sense Tell Us?
You'll see excerpts from both books
featured in this issue. Find these
books and more at
An Easy Way to Support Our Ministry
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A Big Change for EPM
Like many businesses and ministries, COVID-19 has
aorded us at EPM the opportunity to reevaluate and
do things dierently in light of current and ongoing
circumstances. One big change is that our board has
decided to allow our employees to continue working
from home long-term, since we have discovered this
works well and is more cost eective. This means
closing our oce, though we will continue storing and
shipping books from the same building.
This isn’t about winding down EPM and shrinking
our ministry impact. Rather, it’s about guring how best to serve God’s kingdom while eectively managing
the resources He’s entrusted to us. We’ll continue to assist those who contact us. Our goal is to maintain the
same Christ-centered and high-quality services we’ve been oering for 30 years.
Please note our new address: 39065 Pioneer Blvd, Suite 100, Sandy Oregon 97055
Help Us Finish Reaching Our Goal to Fund the Esimbi Scripture Translation
For the last two years, we've been working towards our goal of funding a
translation of Scripture for the Esimbi people in Cameroon in memory of our
EPM coworker Karen Stout Coleman, who spent 23 years as a missionary
in Cameroon. The Seed Company translation team is eager to complete the
full New Testament for their communities, and plan to do so by fall 2021.
To date, $70,200 has been contributed toward the $120,000 goal. We are excited to reach 100%! To partner
with us, go to and select the fund “Esimbi Translation Project” or send a check to Eternal
Perspective Ministries, 39065 Pioneer Blvd, Suite 100, Sandy, Oregon 97055, with “Esimbi translation” in the
memo line. 100% of donations will go directly to The Seed Company.
Earlier this year we asked our staff and board, “What has
God been teaching you in this challenging season?”We
think you’ll be encouraged by their responses, and
especially by the Scripture they included.
Anna Wright, ministry assistant:
This season has challenged me to
really believe that Jesus is King
over all the crazy things happening
around the world. My eyes have
been opened to see how much I
need Jesus and His grace. This world is
uncertain, and people are chaotic and broken. But
Jesus isn’t, and He is the only solution to all the
fear and pain. His truth is greater than any social
media post or news article. He isn’t surprised by
any of the things that are happening, nor is any of it
out of His hand. These verses have challenged me
during this season: “Lead me in the path of your
commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart
to your testimonies, and not to selsh gain! Turn
my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give
me life in your ways” (Psalm 119:35-37).
Amy Woodard, ministry assistant:
Trusting the Lord in the face of
uncertainty, questions, distrust
(of the media), and fear is an area
the Lord has grown me these past
months. I do not have any answers,
do not trust all the information we’ve
been given, and have struggled with fear in many
ways. I have read and memorized so many verses
to help keep my mind and heart looking in the right
direction, like these: “I sought the Lord, and he
answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are
never covered with shame. ...Taste and see that the
Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge
in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who
fear him lack nothing” (Psalm 34:4-5, 8-9).
Brenda Abelein, ministry assistant:
In early January, a friend shared
this verse: “For I am about to do
something new. See, I have already
begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah
43:19, NLT). She felt God prompting
her to claim this verse as her aitude
toward the new year, watching expectantly for God’s
direction, and encouraged us to do the same. Which of
us would have chosen a pandemic to be a “something
new” from the Lord?! But if we look for what God
might be doing through it (instead of complaining
about frustrations), we can see there is good! Families
are spending more time together, we have simplied
our schedules, we’re taking more walks, we’ve
reached out more to those in need, and we’ve learned
to communicate more creatively.
Kress Drew, board member:
He is teaching me about grace: how
to receive it, and how to give it to
others. Back in March, my friend
looked at me and said, “People just
need more grace right now. Everyone
What Is God
You in This
is overwhelmed. Everyone is trying to gure this
all out.” His words hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m
a high school teacher, and yes, the good work we
were doing to transition from in-person to online
learning was important, yet people are always
more important than systems and processes. As
his words seled in my heart, I made a choice to
give grace to people, students and sta alike, as we
walked this road together.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the
knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing
that His divine power has granted to us everything
pertaining to life and godliness through the true
knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory
and excellence” (2 Peter 1:2-3 NASB).
As a math guy, I love how He says multiplied and
not merely added, as things can increase a lot more
when you multiply versus just adding; and it comes
by His power—through knowing Him.
Doreen Button, editor:
God has used this time to quiet me.
Since I was very young, I’ve been
consistent with reading the Bible.
Church has been a huge part of
my life. Prayer is a big deal. Yet this
prolonged period of quiet was necessary for
God to really get my aention. Psalm 131:1-2 depicts
how I now feel: “Lord, I have given up my pride
and turned away from my arrogance. I am not
concerned with great maers or with subjects too
dicult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my
heart is quiet within me” (GNT).
Linda Jeffries, ofce manager:
I wrote this in my journal on April
12: This year Easter was celebrated
in a way far dierent than any
other. Because we were staying
home due to this virus, my husband
Kerry and I watched many church
services online. Max Lucado spoke words that
moved my heart. We look at Good Friday as “The
Beginning” and Celebration Sunday as “The
end,” but there’s a forgoen day in the middle:
“Silent Saturday.” There’s purpose in the Silent
Saturday. It’s a time of reection. Silent Saturday
was confusing, lled with fear and loneliness, a very
dicult time, much like today. However, Silent
Saturday allows us to watch for and appreciate the
miracle to come. Lord, I don’t know what you are doing,
but I know what you have done in the past and I accept
today as it is, even though it’s not the way I want it to be.
Kathy Norquist, board member:
Two things come to mind: God’s
sovereignty and my aitude. Proverbs
21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the
hands of the Lord; he directs it like
a watercourse wherever he pleases.”
This gives me assurance that He is sovereign over all,
especially those in governmental authority over us. I
may not like what is happening, but I can be condent
God is in complete control.
Philippians 2:14 convicts me: “Do everything
without complaining or arguing, so that you may
become blameless and pure, children of God…”
Of course, I have an opinion as does everyone. But
there's a ne line between having an opinion and
grumbling and complaining.
Stephanie Anderson, communications and
graphics specialist:
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know
that for those who love God all
things work together for good, for
those who are called according to
his purpose.” This has been a precious
truth through personal trials over the years, but
for some reason it has felt harder to believe in this
COVID season, perhaps because there are so many
decisions made by people in positions of authority
that aect my life and those I love. But I’ve been
convicted lately that those decisions in no way negate
the truth of this verse. Even though it’s painful and
hard to see sometimes, I can trust that He is using
this season to bring eternal good in my life and in the
lives of those I love.
We invite our readers to respond to this question,
too. Email your response to
ere’s No More
Important Question an
Who Jesus Really Is
f you’re told you’re going
to meet someone important
whom your friends know, you
naturally ask them, “Who is he?
What’s he like? Where did he
come from? What does he do? Is
he the real deal? Does he live up
to expectations?”
Because no other historical gure is as
widely known, multitudes live with the
illusion that they really know Jesus, when in
reality they simply have various impressions
about Him. Impressions are not knowledge.
They are a random collection of data picked
up from family, friends, books, movies,
articles, social media, and in some cases,
experiences with churches or professing
Christians. Many of these sources are either
completely wrong, mostly wrong, or mostly
right but with signicant errors.
As a result, it is hard to imagine any subject
more fraught with confusion, misinformation,
and deception than the subject of who Jesus
really is. And what a quandary! The most
important person who has ever lived is also the
most misunderstood. People often quote Him—
“Judge not,” or “Whatever you ask in my
name, this I will do,” for instance—without
understanding the context of His words,
thereby entirely “missing” His meaning.
Thoughts ow the moment we hear the
name Jesus Christ. The question is, which
thoughts are true, and which are false? Even
more important than His teachings on life
and ethics is who Jesus actually claimed to
be. As Kevin DeYoung has said, “Just about
everybody in America likes Jesus, but few
like him for who he truly is.”
The doctrines of the deity and humanity of
Christ, with all their implications, are vitally
important not only to sound doctrine but to
loving our Savior and Lord by seeing Him
more accurately. We are all theologians. The
only issue is whether we’re good ones or bad
ones. Wouldn’t you rather be a good one—
especially when it comes to believing what’s
true about Jesus?
Sadly, many religious professionals deny
Christ’s deity, miracles, atonement, and/or
resurrection and view the Gospel accounts as
myth and distortion. To them, “the historical
Jesus” was merely a moral teacher and
example that the church turned into a god,
falsely claiming that he performed miracles
and was superhuman. These skeptical
scholars suppose the Gospel accounts and
the New Testament leers to be a human
invention and argue that the church elevated
Jesus to a divine status He never claimed.
(This raises the question of why all the
apostles were tortured, and every one of
them but John died for what they believed.
No one endures that kind of suering for
what they know to be a lie.)
Scripture itself, however, presents Christ
not as myth, but history. It emphasizes the
role of eyewitnesses. Seeking the historical
Jesus while denying the Bible is like seeking
to know what happened at Geysburg
while denying the historical records from
Our faith in Christ is only as good as the
authentic reality of the Christ we believe in.
It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that Satan will
aack us by promoting false and unworthy
views of the person and work of Jesus.
Peter wrote sobering warnings about those
who give false portrayals of Jesus (2 Peter
2:1-3). The worst and most dangerous
heresies misrepresent Jesus Christ, denying
the truths about Him and making Him out to
be less than He really is.
The apostle John also warned about
misrepresentations of the Jesus he knew so well:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test
the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out into
the world. This is how you can recognize the
Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges
that Jesus Christ has come in the esh is from
God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge
Jesus is not from God (1 John 4:1-3 NIV).
Since nothing is more important than who Jesus
is and what He has done, naturally there are no
greater truths—and in turn, no more pernicious and
destructive heresies—than those concerning Jesus. If
Jesus did not live, if He was not God, if He was not
the Creator but merely one of the created, or if Jesus
was not really a man, the consequences would be
devastating in the lives of literally billions of people
who have believed the words He spoke and the
Bible’s teachings about Him.
Biblical Christianity is not simply a religion about
Christ but a relationship with Christ. If we get it
right about Jesus, we can aord to get some minor
things wrong. But if we get it wrong about Jesus, in
the end it won’t maer what else we get right.
This is why I started section one of my book It’s All
About Jesus with the greatest question Jesus ever asked
anyone: “Who do you say I am?” Because our answer
to that question, whether silent or spoken, is the single
most important answer we will ever give.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say
the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others,
Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are
you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by esh and blood, but by my Father in
heaven.” Matthew 16:13-17NIV
If you nd it hard to believe in God, I strongly advise you to begin your search not with
philosophical questions… but with Jesus of Nazareth. John Stott
Who is Jesus Christ? You’ve never met him in person, and you don’t know anyone who has. But
there is a way to know who he is. How? Jesus Christ—the divine Person revealed in the Bible—
has a unique excellence and a spiritual beauty that speaks directly to our souls and says, “Yes, this
is truth.” It’s like seeing the sun and knowing that it is light, or tasting honey and knowing that it is
sweet. John Piper
Among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God… Among
Pantheists anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing
very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of god. God, in their
language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was innitely different from
anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite
simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips. C.S. Lewis
The claims of Jesus are so startling that they… challenge us to make up our minds about this most
remarkable person. Was he just a great teacher or was he much more? Michael Green
Everyone who comes in contact with Jesus has rendered a
judgment on him. Even ignoring him is a decision about his
identity. Kevin DeYoung
Reared in a carpenter shop… this young man gathered disciples
about Him, and proclaimed Himself the Messiah. He taught
and performed miracles for a few brief months and then was
crucied; His disciples were scattered and many of them put to
death; His claims were disputed, His resurrection denied and His
followers persecuted; and yet from this beginning His religion
spread until hundreds of millions have taken His name with
reverence upon their lips and millions have been willing to die
rather than surrender the faith which He put into their hearts.
How shall we account for Him? “What think ye of Christ?” It is
easier to believe Him divine than to explain in any other way
what He said and did and was. William Jennings Bryan
The real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but
what is He to make of us? The picture of a y sitting deciding
what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements
about it. C.S. Lewis
It takes a fantastic will to unbelief to suppose that Jesus never
really “happened,” and more to suppose that he did not say the
things recorded of him—so incapable of being “invented” by
anyone in the world at that time… We must therefore either
believe in Him and in what He said and take the consequences; or
reject Him and take the consequences. J.R.R. Tolkien
The most important question in anyone’s life is the question
asked by poor Pilate in Matthew 27:22: “What shall I do, then,
with Jesus who is called Christ?” No other question in the whole
sweep of human experience is as important as this. It is the
choice between life and death, between meaningless existence
and life abundant. Dale Evans Rogers
After six years given to the impartial investigation of Christianity,
as to its truth or falsity, I have come to the deliberate conclusion
that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of the Jews, the Saviour of the
world, and my personal Saviour. Lew Wallace
The battle for human souls pivots on the issue of Christ’s identity.
He’s the watershed, the dividing line between Hell and Heaven.
Who do you believe, in your mind and deep in your heart, that
he really is? Every person must give an answer—and whether
our answer is right could not be more consequential or eternally
signicant. Randy Alcorn
Learn more about Randy's books
All About Jesus: A Treasury of Insights
on Our Savior, Lord, and Friend
Face to Face with Jesus: Seeing Him as
He Really Is
ver the past two thousand
years, more people on
planet earth have known
the name of Jesus than any
other name. Since AD 33,
over eight billion people, by
one estimate, have claimed to be followers of this
Jesus—or Jésus or Isus or whatever the Christ is
called in your language. Billions more have heard
of His name. Today, the name of Jesus can be found
in more than six thousand languages, and more are
being added every year.
On the one hand, it’s strange that this single
name has dominated the past two thousand years
of world history, especially Western history. For
most of us, the name Jesus has a sacred ring to
it; it sounds holy and divine. But this wasn’t the
case when Mary and Joseph followed the angel’s
instructions and gave their baby His name. Granted,
it had a special meaning, but it was not an unusual
name. The rst-century Jewish historian Josephus
mentions at least twelve dierent people he knew
with the name Jesus, including four high priests.
In Acts 9, we read of the Jewish false prophet,
Bar-Jesus. In Colossians 4, Paul mentions one of
his fellow workers, Jesus, called Justus. And some
ancient manuscripts of the gospel of Mahew refer
to the robber released by Pilate as Jesus Barabbas,
which can be translated, ironically enough, “Jesus,
son of the father.”
Jesus was a common name, like Jim, John, or Jerry.
When Mary and Joseph called their son Jesus, there
were no prayers in His name. No one used it as a
swear word. No one sang songs about this name, just
as there is no religion I am aware of that sings songs
to Jim (except for fans of Jim Croce, who know that
he’s not to be messed around with). We don’t name
our sons John with the expectation that eight billion
people will pray in that name over the next two
thousand years. We don’t croon, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry,
there’s just something about that name.”
But common as the name was, Jesus was named
“Jesus” by design. In Greek, it is Iēsous; in Aramaic,
the language Jesus spoke, Yesu. Both are derived
from the Hebrew, in which the name is Yeshua or
Joshua. Joshua is made up of two parts: Ya, which
is short for Yahweh, and hoshea, which means
“salvation.” Hence, Mary and Joseph gave their
lile baby the name Jesus — “Yahweh saves.”
That He does. Ever since the rst Christmas, Jesus
has been more than just a name. It’s been our only
comfort in life and in death, our only hope in a
hopeless world. When you believe in Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, you have life in His name (John
20:31). There is, in fact, no other name under heaven
given among men whereby we can be saved (Acts
4:12). So, naturally, whatever we do, in word or
deed, we ought to do in the name of the Lord Jesus
(Colossians 3:17). “God has highly exalted him and
bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and
every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
But let’s be clear: the name of Jesus is not a magic
wand. Chanting it does not give one special powers.
The power in the name is the person behind the
name. In biblical times, names meant something.
They were more than badges of identication.
They often told others who you were and what
purpose God had for your life. Thus, Adam was the
rst man. Eve was the mother of all living things.
Abraham was the father of many nations. Benjamin
was the son of his father’s right hand. Moses
was drawn out of the water. Peter was the rock.
Barnabas was the son of encouragement.
What about Jesus? “And you shall call his name
Jesus,” the angel told Joseph, “for he will save
his people from their sins”
(Mahew 1:21). More than a
great teacher, more than an
enlightened man, more than
a worker of miracles, more
than a source of meaning in
life, more than a self-help
guru, more than a self-
esteem builder, more than a
political liberator, more than
a caring friend, more than
a transformer of cultures,
more than a purpose for
the purposeless, Jesus is the
Savior of sinners.
“Jesus the name that charms our fears and bids
our sorrows cease; ’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.” That’ll sing. “All hail
the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord
of all.” That’ll work, too.
I guess there really is just something about
that name. No, not just something; make
that everything.
Kevin DeYoung is the author of several
books and an Assistant Professor of
Systematic Theology at RTS Charloe.
In addition, he serves as the senior pastor
at Christ Covenant Church in Mahews,
North Carolina.
This article was rst published in Tabletalk Magazine.
Printed by permission from Ligonier Ministries, Inc.
Ever since the
rst Christmas,
has been more than
just a name. It’s been
our only comfort
in life and in death,
our only hope in a
hopeless world.
s God’s people, we all long to make a
dierence for Christ. We don’t want
to be unfruitful. We want our lives to
maer. We see the clock ticking and
know that we’ll be dead soon, our one opportunity
to make an impact gone forever.
And so it is easy to let zeal and ardor and
intensity and hurry color our lives and ministries.
Lessons in Gentleness
What may get overlooked in this is the pursuit of
a gentle spirit. Consider what the Bible says about
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life...” (Proverbs 15:4).
“Blessed are the meek...” (Mahew 5:5).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is...gentleness...”
(Galatians 5:22–23).
“With all humility and gentleness...” (Ephesians 4:2).
“Pursue...gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11).
“The wisdom from above is...gentle...” (James 3:17).
In this short article, I’d like to ask believers to
consider cultivating gentleness. Let me give you four
reasons why, and then propose a road to get there.
Four Reasons to Be Gentle
1. Gentleness surprises people.
In this angry, irritated world, gentleness sticks out.
It catches us o-guard. Amid the clamor, above the
din, a gentle voice arrests us.
Gentleness, then, may be considered a powerful
apologetic. Not that we wish to be gentle in order
to get aention, but as we follow Scripture’s
call to gentleness, we can be calmed by the
knowledge that this will surprise others. It may feel
counterproductive, but that is only because we live
in a culture (sometimes even a church culture) of
loudness and aggression.
2. Gentleness woos people.
Like a sea anemone slowly being coaxed to open
up again, gentleness coaxes people to open up.
Gentleness makes people feel safe.
When we are harsh or needlessly assertive toward
4 Reasons
God’s People Ought to Be Gentle
others, they may not show it, but they are puing
up defenses. They are on their guard. We may win
the argument, but we have not won the person.
Gentleness wins the person, whatever happens at
the level of rational argumentation.
3. Gentleness dignies people.
The subtext of hasty aggressiveness is superiority.
We get impatient and harsh and raise our voices
because, deep down, we think we are superior.
The subtext of gentleness, on the other hand, is:
You maer. You have signicance, and I dare not
neglect that. God made you in his own image.
Not only is everyone made in God’s image,
everyone is a suerer. Every human being is walking
around loaded down with a heavy backpack
of disappointments, rejections, and anxieties.
Gentleness treats people according to their inherent
glory, however, not according to the adversities of
life that may cause them to be dicult people.
4. Gentleness gives people a living picture of Jesus
Outside of word and sacrament, the closest thing
to Jesus himself that people will get in this fallen
world is Christ-like Christians. Christians are
walking vessels of the gentle love of Christ. Your
treatment of others tells them what you really think
Jesus is like, whatever you may say you believe
Jesus is like.
The Source of Gentleness
But where will we nd this elusive gentleness?
It does not come naturally. But the call in Scripture
to be gentle is a call toward godlikeness. We may
conclude from the tsunami and the elephant that
God is anything but gentle, but the Bible says:
He will tend his ock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
(Isaiah 40:11)
This is who God is.
And gentleness is not only godlike in general,
but Christlike in specic. The one place in all four
Gospels where Jesus tells us what his heart is,
he says it is “gentle and lowly” (Mahew 11:29).
This does not contradict Jesus’ wrath or righteous
anger—as C. S. Lewis put it in a leer late in life,
“Gentle Jesus”, my elbow! The most striking
thing about our Lord is the union of great
ferocity with extreme tenderness. . . . Add to this
that he is also a supreme ironist, dialectician, and
(occasionally) humorist. So go on! You are on the
right track now: geing to the real man behind
all the plaster dolls that have been substituted
for him. This is the appearance in human form
of the God who made the tiger and the lamb,
the avalanche and the rose. He’ll frighten and
puzzle you: but the real Christ can be loved and
admired as the doll can’t.
But we tend to imitate Christ’s zeal out ahead of
our imitation of his tender gentleness. I am asking
you to consider stepping into a gentleness your life
and ministry have, perhaps, never known.
And I am suggesting that you will only do that as
you ponder Christ’s gentle ways toward you. How
many sins does he alone know? How many times
have you failed him, sidelined him, taken him for
granted? And in how many of those instances has
he come to you in harshness? Does he not deal with
you tenderly, gently? Have you not found in your
own case that “a bruised reed he
will not break” (Mahew 12:20)?
Trust God enough to soak
you in gentleness. Let the
Spirit do the work that our
aggressiveness cannot. Pass on
through your own gentle and
lowly heart the gentle and lowly
heart of Jesus himself.
Dane Ortlund serves as senior pastor
of Naperville Presbyterian Church in
Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of
several books, including Gentle and
Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners
and Suerers, which this article is excerpted from.
espite the clear teaching of Scripture
that the preborn are fully human and
created by God, the Bible’s message of
love is often misused when it comes
to abortion. This comment on my Facebook page
expresses a common sentiment: “God wants union,
understanding, compassion, love, no judgment.
…people saying that women shouldn’t have
abortions is like saying, ‘I’m judging you and
criticizing you.’”
To many people, Jesus’ words “Do not judge”
mean never questioning someone’s choice of
abortion, and love and compassion mean never
trying to deter someone from considering abortion.
In fact, many consider it “judgmental” even to
say abortion is wrong. But is it judgmental and
unloving to say slapping or abandoning a baby is
wrong? When people hear of infants found in trash
cans, are they being judgmental and unloving to
believe that was a terrible thing for someone to do?
True, God is love (1 John 4:16), and His followers
are to love their neighbors as themselves (Mark
12:31). They are to be full of compassion and
humility (1 Peter 3:8), and not be self-righteous or
unfairly or hypocritically judge or condemn others
(Luke 6:37).
But believers are also called to speak the truth
in love (Ephesians 4:15, 25). Love does not mean
saying all choices are valid. (If it did, a God of love
would never condemn sin, which He repeatedly
does in Scripture, nor would there be such a thing
as sin or any need to be forgiven.) If abortion truly
does harm women and kill children, then we owe it
to women to gently and lovingly point out the truth,
while oering grace and help.
A young woman who said she believed that
abortion takes the life of an innocent child told me
that because she loved her friend, she was going to
drive her to the clinic to get an abortion. She said,
“That’s what you do when you love someone, even
if you disagree.”
I asked, “If your friend wanted to kill her parents or
brother or sister and had a shotgun in hand, and asked
you to drive her to their house, would you do it?”
“Of course not!”
But other than legality, what’s the dierence? It
is never loving to help others kill, not only because
of the harm to the victims, but also because of the
harm to themselves. It’s never in a mother’s best
interest to kill her child, so we should never tell her
it’s ne to do so, and never assist her in taking a life
and thereby heaping guilt and a lifetime of regret
upon her. Real compassion is full of both grace and
truth, like Jesus (John 1:14).
This article is excerpted from the PDF of Randy's book
Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice
Claims—What Do Facts & Common Sense Tell Us?
Is It Judgmental and Unloving to
Believe That Abortion Is Child-Killing?
What makes
Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?
provides rational responses to the 15 major pro-choice claims
focuses on facts and logic, and encourages readers to weigh
the evidence on its own merit
thoroughly researched and sensitive to the newer expressions
of pro-choice arguments
highly readable and welcoming (148 pages, plus 14 pages of
its small size makes it ideal to hand someone you’re talking to
or use in a small group setting
low cost makes it affordable for groups and ministries, and
perfect for outreach ($1.00 per single copy; 90 cents per copy
on orders of 100 or more; 80 cents per copy on orders of 1,000 or
more, plus shipping).
Download the free PDF, order print copies,
and access free study questions at
Interested in translating Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?
Our prayer is that people around the world
with a rm pro-life understanding and signicant translation skills would be involved in
rendering this book into other languages. There are no royalties or licensing fees. Groups can
print and give it away or sell it as they wish. Our goal is simply to get the truth out. Contact us
for more details at
A New Pro-Life book from Randy Alcorn
ur culture didn’t need any
assistance in further isolating
ourselves, and yet a global
pandemic has managed to do just
that. Each day we hear stories of
people who yearn for community and friendship.
Singles and shut-ins are just two examples of the
loneliness epidemic. So how do we combat that
both in normal times and in times of COVID?
The Problem with Back Porch Living
I’m no expert on American housing, but it seems
that the last few decades have seen a migration to the
homeowner’s backyard. Gated neighborhoods, two-car
garages that seal us o at the push of a buon, privacy
fences, and even re pits have conspired to remove the
front porch in favor of the back porch. Add the threat
of a highly-contagious virus, and it’s the perfect mix for
boxing ourselves o from the world.
What we gain in comfort, we lose in
community. Gone are the days of front porch
swings and rocking chairs, sipping lemonade while
waving a friendly hello or having an impromptu
conversation with a neighbor who stops by. Locked
in our living rooms or sequestered on the back deck,
we miss natural, easy opportunities to connect.
I recognize that this is a rst-world problem
that not even everyone in the rst-world has. I
realize that COVID is a real threat to our health
and that of our neighbor. That said, I’ve discovered
that many of us will take any excuse to stay in
the backyard. While I believe that hospitality is
the new apologetic, I’ll be the rst to admit I’m
not always quick to live it out. So how does an
introverted, unintentional, comfort-loving guy like
me nudge himself to neighbor well in lockdown
time or anytime?
“Love Thy What?”
7 Ways to Befriend Your Neighbor
Seven Ways to Be a Good Neighbor
Don’t stuff your schedule.When we redline our
lives, we leave no room for life. Include enough
margin that you have time to get to know your
Hold high the hello. Wave. Speak. Yell across
the street if that’s what it takes. Don’t reject an
opportunity to connect. Even surface contact can
lead to deeper conversations later.
Beware your banners. Political signs, social
statements, and pandemic opinions have their
place, but prominently displaying them in your
front yard or Facebook page could be a way to
alienate half of your neighborhood before you get
a chance to know them.
Participate in parties. When the coolers come
out on the cul-de-sac, be the rst to reply to the
Evite. Beer yet, maybe you can be the one to
organize and host a block party. Maintain a safe
distance and follow local guidelines, but don’t ditch
the chance to gather responsibly.
Know what you’re known for. My in-laws are
the “pineapple people.” Every time a new neighbor
moves in, they hand-deliver a symbol of hospitality
as well as a card with their contact information.
The schtick works: they know almost every single
person in their neighborhood.
Serve without strings.Provide a meal. Help
with virtual learning. Make a grocery run for
someone who can’t leave their house. And do it
all not because your neighbors are a project, but
because they’re people Jesus loves.
Make the gospel your gravitational
pull. We’re reminded of the words of the apostle
Paul: without love, all of this is clanging cymbals.
The gospel should be our driving force and giving
them the hope of the gospel should be our primary
aim. No, we don’t befriend our neighbors only to
share the gospel. But it’s hard to share the gospel
without rst befriending our neighbors.
Rosaria Buereld says, “Practicing radically
ordinary hospitality is your street credibility to your
post-Christian neighbors.” Christian friends, let’s
get intentional about building street cred with those
on our street.
Danny Franks is the Pastor of Guest
Services at The Summit Church
(Durham, NC), a regular blogger at, and the author of People
Are the Mission: How Churches Can
Welcome Guests Without Compromising the Gospel.
This article originally appeared on
Ideas to Share the Gospel During COVID-19 and Beyond
Post your written or video testimony on social media.
Use FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to have gospel conversations.
Check in on your neighbors (while respecting social distancing). Ask how you can pray for them, and if
there is anything they need help with.
Share a tract or booklet (like Randy’s
If God Is Good
booklet) with someone at the pick-up
window of a restaurant or grocery store.
Send a letter or card to someone who is isolated. Consider including a gospel-centered book or booklet.
Invite friends and family to attend an online church service.
If you’re able, volunteer with a local food bank or ministry.
For more ideas, see
emember Emily Post? Her famous
rules of etiquee served generations
of people needing to know the right
way to set a table, proper decorum for
houseguests, or the correct titles to use in an invitation.
Alas, there is no Emily Post for social media.
Those of us who are non-digital natives and nd
ourselves immersed in this new social media
frontier are thus left to gure out for ourselves the
rules of conduct, best manners, and innite varieties
of faux pas to avoid.
I’m no expert on social media (or etiquee), but
as a heavy user for years, I’ve observed countless
examples of good manners and bad—from both
others and myself. Over time, I have begun to
develop some of my own rules of conduct and
principles of politeness.
Please note that I know lile to nothing about
the technical side of social media or the tips and
strategies that marketing experts suggest as ways to
maximize “platform” and “exposure.”
I’m just a person who loves ideas and dialogue—
the things that are most human about social
media—and who wants to see Christians do more to
make social media more human and more Christian.
These aren’t hard and fast rules, and I’m sure
I’ve failed to adhere to them myself at some point.
Nevertheless, they are, I suggest, good principles to
follow and to deviate from only for good reason and
deliberate intent.
For the Christian, even more principles must
come into play because believers have an even
higher standard to meet beyond basic human
decency. This standard should be foremost in
engaging with others on social media.
So rst, here are nine manners for social media—
ve general and four specically for Christians—
that might make the internet a more human—and
Treat people on social media like
actual people. Because they are.
All the subsequent guidelines follow from this one.
In many ways, social media is like a dinner party.
When it’s not, it’s usually because people don’t
treat others the way they would if those others
were standing next to them in the same room. Our
interactions on social media should be no dierent
than they would be in person.
At a large social gathering, people mix and mingle.
Chaing with strangers is not only allowed but
also welcome. Yet even in a large gathering, one
doesn’t enter into a circle of people, shout something
obnoxious, and then dart out the nearest door.
9 Ways
to Make Social
Media More
If you choose to break into an ongoing
conversation (which is certainly encouraged at
parties and on social media), begin courteously and
end courteously. Don’t tweet and run.
Of course, even the pleasantest parties can
aract rude guests. Sometimes the politest way
to deal with a boor is to ignore him and steer the
conversation elsewhere with other guests. The same
is true on social media. Don’t, as the saying goes,
feed the trolls. It only encourages their boorishness.
Speaking of boorishness, don’t say anything on
social media or say anything in any other way than
you would face-to-face.
Be yourself.
Your Twier personality should reect your
real-life personality. A few of my favorite people on
twier are curmudgeonly on Twier. But they are
among my favorites because I know them in real life
and they are real-life curmudgeons, too!
On the other hand, some of the most obnoxious
interactions I’ve had on Twier are with those who
list “pastor” on their bios. I nd it hard to believe that
they behave the same way among their ock as they
do with strangers on the internet. This should not be.
No one likes a fake in real life or on social media.
So, if you come to the social media party wearing a
mask (with an anonymous account), don’t expect to
be taken seriously.
Likewise, don’t take anonymous accounts seriously.
Unless they are light-hearted or good-natured
accounts (and there are plenty of those), you probably
should not even respond to them. Most anonymous
accounts are the digital equivalent of men in white
hoods, and any response only fuels their re.
Ignore what experts tell you about
using social media to build “platform.”
Instead, use social media to serve people.
What I serve is an eclectic variety of news stories,
art, poetry, snark, and lively interaction (because
that reects who I really am). What you serve should
reect your own interests and personality. This will
aract people with an anity for your interests.
What you serve may develop into a platform, but
gaining a certain number of people who follow you
but who aren’t interested in or engaged with what
you serve is no use to anyone.
This also means that you shouldn’t treat accounts
as platform builders and manipulate them by
following someone only in hopes that the person
will follow you back.
Even more importantly, don’t follow a bunch
of people to get a bunch of followers and then
drop most of them in order to achieve a follower/
following ratio that you think will make you look
more popular. This is shallow and rude.
By all means, share things you’ve wrien or
thoughts you have, but be generous enough to
share the ideas, thoughts, and accomplishments of
others far more than your own.
Talk to people, not at or about them.
For example, consider the quote tweet. A quote
tweet occurs when a Twier user quotes someone
else’s tweet with added commentary above it. It’s
common, for example, to share an article and place a
quote from it or your own commentary above it. This
is one of the most productive and best uses of Twier.
However, when quote tweeting another person’s
original tweet, it’s important to understand that
you are now talking about, not an article or idea,
but a person. This is a polite and nice thing to
do when you are oering praise or agreement.
However, when quote tweeting in order to
disagree, mock, or denounce, the quote tweet is
akin to talking behind someone’s back or pointing
at them from across the room.
Instead, reply to the person’s tweet. Politely. Your
reply will show up in your followers’ feeds just as
your own tweets do. The only thing the quote tweet
does is add a level of grandstanding that is usually
Believers have an even higher standard to meet beyond basic human decency.
This standard should be foremost in engaging with others on social media.
unnecessary and unbecoming.
In the same vein, keep in mind that tweets, posts,
and comments function more like verbal speech
than published works. The internet is an ephemeral
place in both its form and its content. It’s a place
where most people try out ideas that are in process,
where feedback shapes that thought in return.
Don’t treat every tweet by a well-known pastor
or leader as though it’s carved in stone (or even
published in a book) because it’s not.
Don’t exist in an echo chamber.
Don’t follow or interact only with people who
think as you do. Likewise, when responding to others,
unless you know the person, do not assume that they
hold the same religious or political views you do.
Many of us on social media are engaging with friends
and family members with whom we don’t agree.
Well-meaning people who jump in to the
conversation to make Jesus-y remarks that make no
sense to those outside the community of faith can
do real damage to carefully cultivated or even tense
relationships that you know nothing about.
The neat thing about reading and engaging with
people whose politics, theology, education, and
interests dier from your own is that you can learn
a lile—and so can they.
Be mindful of the fact that believers
will give an account to God for
every idle word.
The Bible tells us this in Mahew 12:36. Social media
beckons our idle words every hour of every day. This
may be the most pervasive temptation of our age.
We must recognize this temptation for what it is and
counter it with intentional stewardship of every word—
not to mention minute—that we spend online that we
might be spending elsewhere or with other people.
Be known more for what you are for
than what (or who) you are against.
There is a time to point out error. But even more
eective than pointing out error is proclaiming—or
beer yet—modeling truth.
If you’ve spent more than three minutes on social
media, you have likely seen the coage industry
some Christians have created in making a name for
themselves (or even a prot) not by advancing the
truth of the gospel but by scoring points by showing
how someone else may have goen it wrong.
It’s much easier, of course, to rant and rail
against the errors of others than it is to declare and
demonstrate truth. But Scripture calls us to model
right teaching and thinking as much as—if not more
than—pointing out error. Even on social media, our
thoughts and words should dwell on whatever is
true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent,
and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
“Do nothing out of selsh ambition or
vain conceit. Rather, in humility value
others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Even the right messages can be shared for the
wrong reasons. Christians will be held to account
for this as well. The world is watching, too. And
there is likely nothing more representative of the
spirit of Christ in this narcissistic world than a
genuine spirit of humility. Sadly, this spirit is too
rare on social media, even among Christians.
Finally, be sure that the fruit of the
Spirit is identiable and manifest in
your social media interactions.
If this fruit is not visible in your interactions, then
it is time to step away until time with the Lord and
in the Word makes the fruit of the Spirit evident
once again: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
(Galatians 5:22-23).
Karen Swallow Prior is a professor
at Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary and author of numerous books,
including On Reading Well: Finding
the Good Life Through Great Books.
This article rst appeared on and is
used with permission.
magine if someone were
to say, “I believe in
Disneyland, but I don’t
agree with the admission
price, and I don’t believe the
location is accurate. So, I’m
going to go where I think
Disneyland is, and I’ll enter the way I want to.”
Well, okay. Whatever. They’ll probably end up at
a miniature golf course somewhere. But if they do
happen to make it to Disneyland when it’s open,
they’ll still have to enter the Disney way and pay
the Disney price. Otherwise, they won’t be going to
Disneyland at all.
In the same way, there are people who say they
believe in Heaven, yet they refuse to read what the
Bible has to say about it.
The Pew Research Center polled people on their
beliefs about Heaven and Hell. About 72 percent
dened Heaven as a place “where people who have
led good lives are eternally rewarded.” And 58
percent dened Hell as a place “where people who
have led bad lives and die without being sorry are
eternally punished.”
But that isn’t what Heaven is, and that isn’t what
Hell is. If you say you believe in Heaven, then
you need to read what the Bible says about it. The
idea of Heaven uniquely comes from the Bible. We
would not believe in Heaven if it weren’t for the
teaching of Scripture.
The Bible tells us there is a Heaven. And to go
there, we must do it God’s way.
What is God’s admission price?
We can’t aord it. No one
can, no maer how much
money they have. That’s the
bad news. But here’s the good
news: The price has been paid.
Colossians 1:20 tells us, “[God]
made peace with everything in
heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood
on the cross” (NLT).
Admission is free through Jesus Christ. That’s
how we get into Heaven. It’s because of His death
for us on the cross.
Greg Laurie is an author, evangelist, and
the senior pastor of Harvest Christian
Fellowship with campuses in California
and Hawaii. In 1990, he began holding
large-scale public evangelistic events called
Harvest Crusades. Since then, more than 7.9 million
people have participated in Harvest Crusades events in
person or online around the United States.
This article originally appeared on
e Bible tells
us there is a
Heaven. And
to go there,
we must do it
God’s way.
eternal perspective ministries
39065 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 100
Sandy, OR 97055
A new pro-life
book from
Randy Alcorn