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busysidewalk

We fail to remember the walking that Christ and the apostles did. In our frenzied lives, failing to remember that these men walked every place they went may fix in us a very wrong view of Christian ministry, Jesus and … Continue reading

wreckedcar

We never should have been passing that big truck. Our driver knows that, now. We were traveling north of Addis Ababa, on an incline, and a sharp right curve was ahead. As we approached the curve, our driver moved out … Continue reading

selamab2014

“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds … Continue reading

gravestone

The pain has been excruciating, the hours and weeks arduous. The cost to the spouse and family who love her has been gladly expended, but jobs and daily responsibilities will necessarily decrease the hours for the daily vigil now. Added … Continue reading

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Dear CCW Family, Years ago in what was then called a “Colored Township” in Capetown, South Africa, I wondered at the hatred that caused that circular black burn mark on the street close to the front door of the gentle … Continue reading

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Dear CCW Family, When I was ten, I wore the proud uniform of the Bethany Tigers, representing Bethany Baptist Church on Kansas City’s church league . . . black top, white shorts, white legs, skinny hairless arms. We contested in … Continue reading

bjoeycoleseum

This month, God gave us the incredible opportunity of spending a month in Rome in order to take a 3-week intensive (and by intensive we mean very intensive!) spoken biblical Greek class. Everyone gives us funny looks when we say … Continue reading

slicedbread

Jesus denies that the children of Israel were given bread or manna from heaven by Moses. Jesus also does not attribute bread or manna from heaven as coming from his own Father. In John 6, Jesus makes this abundantly clear, … Continue reading

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Dear CCW Family, I was in seminary during the days of the flower children. We wore tattered bell-bottom jeans and blue work shirts with embroidered flowers and sewn-in messages about peace. On mine, those messages were also about Christ. My … Continue reading

stoneface

“The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:7-8). This is the One everyone else rejected, even when they saw Him in person and … Continue reading

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Dear CCW Family, The commanding statue of Lenin in front of the Communist Headquarters building towered over us as we walked by. We entered this imposing building in what was then called Kosice, Czechoslovakia. In a short time, the building … Continue reading

bandjjezreel

Congratulations. You are now reading the very last of our updates from Jerusalem. Why? You guessed it! We are leaving Jerusalem. I’ve finished my studies here at JUC and we’ve decided to set sail for home. For a long time, … Continue reading

fatherdaughter1

If you are a child, read this to your parents so that you can train them well. If you are an adult, then you may wish to read this together with your child. First of all, kids, it is YOUR … Continue reading

lonelyroad

Christ came first to take away sin but when He comes next He will take away men—some to eternal darkness and some to life—some to healing and some to strife. What have you done with His sacrifice? Is it tucked … Continue reading

desk

“But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may … Continue reading

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Since arriving nearly nine months ago, never has the reality of living at the crossroads of three major world religions been so evident as it has this past month, the first time in years that Passover, Western Christian Easter, and … Continue reading

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Below are a few points from life here. But, the most important comes first: Beautiful, sunny, 70 degree weather. With flowers included. That means more picnics, more studying outside, more walks with friends, just all around more goodness. Other than … Continue reading

clock2

I haven’t always liked “reminders.” Inherently, a reminder occurs because we forgot the first time—or the last 10 times—what we were told. Nobody likes to think he is so incapable of remembering. More than once as a boy who loved … Continue reading

frustration

“Dadgumit,” my dad used to say. I have no idea what it meant, except that it was an indicator of frustration over something not working right. “Dingbusted” might also be heard. My father didn’t curse, but these might well be … Continue reading

bwoldtree

There are plenty of pastors with generous smiles on their faces each Sunday who, deep down, are very disheartened. Pastoring a church is hard work. For one thing, it is usually thankless. I know there are some churches that seem … Continue reading

coffeetablecup

I occasionally travel around the country in order to teach the Bible in various settings, typically staying in the home of a pastor or church members. Looking back over several years now of these experiences, I can confidently say that … Continue reading

jimfirstchurch

This was the first church I pastored, though I had served as an assistant in a LR church prior to this. The gracious people of this church allowed me to pastor them while I was in Ouachita University in the … Continue reading

calanderplan

You may have reason to fear the year now upon us. What is on the other side of the door? Every person has their allotment of trouble, even among believers. Will there be loss, illness, death, aggravation, perplexity? Will those … Continue reading

friendstalking

I once heard a professor say, “Tragedy is anything that happens to an unbeliever.” Believers have it better. In fact, all that happens to believers works out for good (Rom 8:28). The unbeliever’s supposed good times, the mercies that he … Continue reading

emptychair

Sometimes the hope of Christmas is, “Next year all our troubles will be miles away.” That’s what the song says anyway, but many will not have a merry Christmas just because of that. They know it is not true. Many … Continue reading

sandyroad

When the forlorn disciples met up with Jesus following His resurrection, it made the short trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus much more pleasant. Before revealing who He was and that indeed the Christ was alive from the dead, Jesus talked … Continue reading

globe

(For reading aloud) What did it mean for the eternal Son to descend and enter into the history of men? The human brain cannot completely conceive the nature of His humility. Glory to dust, eternal to earth, all the while … Continue reading

bryanjoeysnow

We walked to church last night, with plastic bags over our shoes. When we arrived, we found something missing from the picture. People. Well, there were two people. They also had plastic bags over their shoes. Aside from these two, … Continue reading

statueofliberty

Consider the formula: Giving up rights = Gospel advancement Paul’s main method of evangelistic ministry included giving up his rights. He did not fight for his liberty, but purposed to live and speak so as to give no offense to … Continue reading

bookstack

It’s always difficult to choose what books will receive my attention in a big way for the year ahead. There are dozens to choose from. Here is my list. I plan to read these books multiple times throughout the year … Continue reading

truckdownhill

Was your church meeting disappointing this week? Do you find that there seems to be little life in the church? Are there troubles stirring? Are there way too many parking lot conversations? What can you do as a member to … Continue reading

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S______, I believe that former homosexuals may go to heaven following repentance and faith in Christ. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do … Continue reading

puttyknife

The “innards” are being redone. We had a problem in our home with a fireplace. The repair costs close to the same price as the purchase of a new direct gas unit, so we opted for that, and planned to … Continue reading

sunblind

Paul saw Christ. There, on the road to Damascus in Syria the future apostle met up with a vision of Christ that shaped his entire future, the future of the Christian world, and of the world in general. Later, in … Continue reading

adobechurch

I have often heard through the years that those who have been disciplined out of a church should nonetheless be allowed to attend as non-members. I want to submit my view on the matter. The passage about the man who … Continue reading

closeddoor

You may think you can be a little bit into Christ, but this is impossible. You are either in Him or not in Him. If you are “in Him,” you are “complete in Him” and “members of His body.” And … Continue reading

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“You know what I love about living here?” These were the first words I heard from Bryan’s mouth this morning. I peeked my head into our tiny bathroom area where Bryan was carrying out his morning bug massacre to hear … Continue reading

motherchildE

I just finished an outstanding lunch at the missionary guesthouse—mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, dressing, chicken, and a unique salad that included bananas. It was like Thanksgiving in Ethiopia! Not surprisingly, the attendance at this lunch was higher than most days. … Continue reading

Selamab Preaching

While driving back from a weekend of ministry in a town called Goha Tsion, we learned from a church planter with us that just yesterday (Sunday) a mini-bus crashed into another vehicle on the same route we were taking. 13 … Continue reading

mountain

After Moses encounters the preincarnate Christ on the mountain called Horeb seven times, the glory of the Lord comes on the newly erected Tabernacle, the new meeting place. It is a holy place because God is there. Later this glory … Continue reading

Bryan and Joey

Elliff October Update You know the feeling. You stop paying much attention to the paths you walk (or drive) every day, you go to the same stores and buy the same foods, you see the same people and grow to … Continue reading

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If God works all things according to the good of those who love Him, why do some believers suffer and die? It is helpful to remember when answering hard questions like this that it is always gain for a Christian … Continue reading

One, water to blood; Two, toads in mud; Three, thriving gnats; Four, flies that splat; Five, flocks that drop; Six, sores that pop; Seven, stones and storming; Eight, eaters swarming; Nine, nighttime bumbling; Ten, tykes are tumbling.

When Abram had a vision of the word of the Lord speaking to him, he envisioned the preincarnate Christ (Gen 15:1). Abram then discussed the problem of having no child for the fulfillment of the promise of a heritage and … Continue reading

jerusalemupdate2013

“Hello, hello.” “Excuse me, please come in.” To the thousands of tourists swarming through Old City Jerusalem every day, these words, spoken in heavy accents by every Arab shopkeeper lining the narrow streets, may seem endearing and inviting. But now … Continue reading

spider

Spider! It’s early in the morning, still dark, and I’m sitting at my kitchen table unable to sleep. Just outside my window and clinging to the corner of that window is a spider’s web. He has provided entertainment for several … Continue reading

Bible Intensive Retreat in Romania 2013

Studying hard with pastors in Romania on our last trip. We’re holding Bible Intensive retreats like this all over the USA also with eager leaders these days. These three day experiences are reminding us all about the amazing power of … Continue reading

Here’s a reality that never changes: there is always another church that does something better than your church. You can never find the perfect church any more than you can marry the perfect mate or be employed at the perfect … Continue reading

By meditating on Scripture you are transformed into the person God intends you to be. Meditation is a blend of your words to God and His Word to you; it is loving conversation between you and God through the pages … Continue reading

John was filled with the Spirit in the womb, and would drink no wine (Lk 2:15), a Nazirite vow. Shadows of this Nazirite vow show up in Eph 5:18 (“And do not be drunk with wine…but be filled with the … Continue reading

David’s tryst with Bathsheba illustrates how one sin brings another. A look led to lust; lust in the heart led to adultery; adultery led to an attempt to cover up by David calling her husband in from battle so he … Continue reading

Speak to them, whether they listen or not, “Thus says the Lord God”(Ez 3). We shouldn’t be so arrogant as to think we’re prophets like Ezekiel, hearing direct words from God. Rather, we humbly speak what the prophets spoke. We … Continue reading

I was asked, “What should be the primary motivation for evangelism and missions: Love for Christ or love for the lost? The question is an impossible one to answer because it offers a false dichotomy. In the NT, love for … Continue reading

I hope it’s a sign of becoming more heavenly-minded to find myself uninterested in labels among true believers any more. When we’re the next world, what possible difference could they make? What good are they now, except to create division, … Continue reading

In the Sermon on the Mount, the broad way that leads to destruction is the external religious way. The narrow way is the way Jesus taught. This is seen particularly in the “antitheses” section in Mt. 5. For instance, the … Continue reading

Went to a friendly mainline church this morning (ours meets in the afternoon), where I witnessed a baby sprinkling. The minister announced that in this experience the baby received the Spirit and was reborn. The child was then displayed as … Continue reading

Are you poor in spirit, mourning over sin everywhere you find it, gentle and approachable in your relationships, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful to others, pure and unmixed in your devotion to Christ? Are you a peacemaker? Are you … Continue reading

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