Tag Archives: Randy Alcorn

The Chasm by Randy Alcorn

Alcorn, Randy. The Chasm: A Journey to the Edge of Life. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2011. 124 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $10.12.

Introduction

Randy Alcorn is founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. He is a believer in Christ first and foremost, a husband, father and grandfather secondly and then an author. He has written over thirty books and each one stands alone as a best seller.  The Chasm is a continuation of the life of Nick Seagrave in another of Alcorn’s books entitled Edge of Eternity.

Summary

We join Nick on a trek through the wilderness when he comes upon the deepest, darkest Chasm he has ever seen. Across that Chasm is the beautiful city of Charis. He wants to go there but realizes that he needs to cross the Chasm and the only apparent way to do that is to go through it which is obviously impossible.

While seeking to journey to Charis, a guide comes and promises to lead him wherever he wants to go. Nick then follows this new guide and travels down many different paths all the while longing to go to Charis. What happens next is the thing of fantasy….or is it? You will have to read the book to find out.

Review

Obviously, this is a Christian book with a Christian message. What sets this book apart is the vivid description and the wonderful sketches interspersed throughout the book. The journey to the edge of the Chasm is exhilarating enough and one we can all identify with. The journey through (or over?) the Chasm is beyond description. The discussion questions at the end are designed for the reader alone or for group discussion.

The story is familiar to all. The description is other worldly. The thoughts that spring to the reader’s mind are much needed. The questions on the dust jacket—Do I really understand this world I live in? Do I really understand myself? Is there more to all this than I’ve ever dared hope?— will be answered.

Recommendation

One might be quick to suggest this book for the unbeliever, but I hesitate to do that. The message of this book is Christocentric and evangelistic, however, I think the value of the book lies in the hands of a believer for two reasons. First, there are many who profess faith but do not know the Lord (Mt. 7:21). This book can be an instrument to show this. Second, many believers do not think about the battles raging around them that are unseen. The Chasm will get you thinking about those battles.

In the end, I found The Chasm to be as enjoyable as Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress though not as complete and in depth as such. The Chasm will be one of those works of Christian fiction that you will want to read again and again…just as a reminder. Pick up a copy today and prepare to think and worship.

Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn

Alcorn, Randy. Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2011. 256 pp. $5.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Randy Alcorn has written a book on money that every child of God ought to read. It is called The Treasure Principle. Now, he has compiled a topical guide to understanding money from a biblical perspective.

Summary

The book is divided into six sections. Each section lays a foundation for the next. Inside each section are a chapters that consist of various questions about money and finances that are fairly common. While it is true that each section builds on the previous, it is important to note that each question within each chapter of each section can stand alone. The sections are:

  • Money and Possessions
  • Perspectives That Impeded Faithful Money Management
  • Our Stewardship in Eternity’s Light
  • Giving and Sharing God’s Money and Possessions
  • Wisely Handling God’s Money and Possessions
  • Passing the Baton of Wise Stewardship.

Each of the more than one hundred questions is answered from the Scripture. Randy offers his insight and pastoral thought, but allows the Bible to speak for itself.

Review

I appreciate the pastoral heart underlying the content of Managing God’s Money. You never get the feeling that Randy wants to beat you over the head with the Bible while chastising you for not being a tither or something. Instead, you have a man dealing straight with valid questions from those who are seeking to follow the Lord in every area of their life.

Each question is answered in a short, pithy manner without missing the main point of what the Bible says.

Recommendation

Finally, a book on money that will not break the bank!!! Alcorn has compiled an excellent topical guide to finances that should be on every pastor’s shelf and in the home of every Christian family looking to honor God with their money. This is not a resource that you will read once and never read again. As a matter of fact, it is a book that you may never read cover to cover though you will often reference it when discussing your finances with your spouse or others. At only $5.99, you can afford to get this book. It will pay for itself almost immediately and, if you follow the principles set forth, for all eternity.

90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn

Alcorn, Randy. 90 Days of God’s Goodness. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2011. 208 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $9.97 or less.

Introduction

Randy Alcorn is founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. He has authored numerous books both fiction and non-fiction. Perhaps his most influential book on my life has been his “Principle” books: The Treasure Principle and The Purity Principle.

90 Days was written to show the reader that the Lord allows suffering in most cases to grow the Christian spiritually and to trust more in the Lord than before. In many ways, this is an introduction to his much larger work, If God is Good.

Summary/Review

Each devotional begins with Scripture—and not just a verse or two. Rather, Alcorn has offered “chunks” to chew on (my statement). Most passages are 5+ verses thought there are a few with less. Drawing from each passage, Randy offers some insight—usually an illustration or story—of how this passage applies to our life during the ever present seasons of struggle. He concludes each day with a written prayer to guide the reader in going before the Lord.

Each chapter, while independent of the others, will provide many “mountain-top” experiences as the reader will begin to see the glory of God in the suffering. As always, however, it is important that the heart of the prayers not be allowed to replace your heart in prayer. It is easy to repeat the prayer and never actually mean what you are saying. Sadly, this what many do and then believe they had just communed with God when in all reality, they sent a message through someone else that was lost in translation.

I loved particularly day 12 when he took to task a young lady who was singing Amazing Grace and changed the word ‘wretch’ to ‘soul.’ That is such an overlooked problem today. The flesh wants to make everything sound so great and spiritual but forget that we are what we are: sinners in rebellion to an all holy God.

Recommendation

At the risk of telling readers to read more devotionals instead of the Bible, I do recommend 90 Days to the Christian wanting to better understand the age old conundrum why evil exists when God does. This book would be a perfect resource to offer a friend who is experiencing much pain and suffering. I think to those who have lost a spouse or a child first, but then move to those who are just struggling with daily trials in life. I believe the Lord will use the pen of Randy Alcorn to minister to many through this book just as He has already done through his other books.

Tell Me About Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven For Kids Randy Alcorn BookAlcorn, Randy. Tell Me About Heaven. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007. 59pp. $19.99. Purchase at Amazon

Introduction

Randy Alcorn was a pastor before founding Eternal Perspective Ministries in 1990. His ministry is dedicated to teaching Biblical truths. According to their website, www.epm.org, the ministry exists “to meet the needs of the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled and unsupported people around the world.” Randy has and his wife, Nanci, are the parents to two grown daughters, Karina and Angela. They have four grandsons, Jake, Matthew, Ty, and Jack.

Tell Me About Heaven is a children’s book by Randy Alcorn and illustrated throughout with the paintings of Ron DiCianni. This book can be read to your children or can be read by your children. It is designed to explain the doctrine of heaven in such a way that even the smallest of minds will be able to capture the grandeur and awe of God’s home.

Summary of Tell Me About Heaven

Jake’s Grammy has recently passed away and now he is on his way to spend two weeks with his Papa like he does every summer. This time, though, it will be different because Grammy will not be there. Immediately, we see Jake struggling with what happened to Grammy as well as how this particular visit is going to go with Grammy not around.

Over the course of the two week visit to Papa’s house, Jake asks a lot of questions about heaven and Grammy. Jake begins with hesitation as he first states that he doesn’t think he would like heaven. However, as Papa explains from the Bible what heaven is all about, Jake begins to understand that life in heaven is going to be so much better than life here on earth.

The book concludes with Jake confessing to Papa that he does not want him to ever die, but is now looking forward to learning more about heaven and can’t wait until his whole family is reunited there-Grammy and Papa and everyone.

Critique of Tell Me About Heaven

I must confess that I was skeptical about a children’s book that would attempt to explain what heaven is like. Given all the recent discussions of how much a kid can learn and should know about Jesus, his crucifixion, and other biblical truths, I was afraid that this book was going to be a disappointment even though it is authored by Randy Alcorn. I was extremely impressed with what I read in the pages of Tell Me About Heaven.

In this children’s book, the reader (or hearer) is introduced to the doctrine of inherited sin, the Incarnation, Penal Substitution, Hell, resurrected bodies, and more. The central theme of the book is that heaven and earth will pass away and God will replace them with a New Heaven and New Earth. Papa quotes scripture heavily (especially Rev. 21 and 22) in explaining what heaven is like to his grandson, Jake.

The story is very believable and at one point, I began wondering if this was a rehearsal for Randy Alcorn as he may have this discussion with his grandsons. The story line is pretty forthright and does not dance around the issues. Nowhere does Papa state something as truth if it is not based in the Bible. At one point, he corrects Jake and says that he is to always pray to Jesus and not Grammy. It is subtle, but significant in that many young children are told to pray to their loved one. However, that is not in the Bible and therefore, Papa (Alcorn) explicitly says that this should not happen.

The greatest aspect of this book is that the gospel message is presented clearly and concisely in the story itself. However, at the end of the book is a page devoted to the Roman Road along with a brief explanation of the gospel. It is very clear that the goal of this book is to be used as a tool for evangelizing children (and perhaps the adult reading to the child) as well as explaining what awaits them in the life to come.

If there is a negative to be found in this book, it is of no significant value. There are some assumptions made that I do not personally agree with, but nothing that causes any concern. For example, in a discussion about pets and animals in heaven, Papa tells Jake that he thought Moses (the dog) would be in heaven because animals were in Eden. I don’t see that as biblical precedent, but I also do not see that as a bad thing. On page 32 of the book it is said, “It’s always about God, isn’t it?” That is perhaps the best way in which to explain the book: It is always about God, isn’t it.

Conclusion

In asking my pastor and some other men in the church I attend about how much their children know about heaven, they said not much. I admit that I have not told my son much about heaven, either. That is, until now. I have already told a these men I talked with to pick up this book and am telling you that if you have children or are involved in children’s ministry, this book is a must own. It explains the doctrine of heaven in a way that a child can understand and a parent can be interested in. The book is solidly rooted in the Scriptures.

Also, throughout the book, there are hints (I say ‘hints’ because certain phrases like “penal substitution” and “inherited sin” do not appear) of other doctrines as mentioned above that will help to lay a foundation for biblical doctrine to be learned as the child grows. As a seminary student, I appreciated Alcorn’s ability to break down systematic theology into easily understood doctrines that do not require a degree to understand.

The conversational tone makes for a good story time book to be read at night, as part of family worship, or during story hour at church or a daycare. I would also highly recommend this book for a young child grieving the loss of a grandparent or parent. It would be a great resource for those who council children after the death of a loved one. This book is worth owning multiple copies of to give away during these times.