California Christmas | A Letter From Jim

California Christmas | A Letter From Jim

California Christmas! We just returned from sunny California, where the Christmas season is, frankly, a whole lot more like Israel than Kansas City.

Years ago, I pastored a church in Orlando, Florida. Warm Decembers were part of the mystique, yet I never quite got used to it. But now it seems VERY appealing to live in such a place. We’ve already had a couple of snows here in KC and will see much more than that, I’m sure.

We arrived back from our California visit with Bryan and Joey and the kids around 1 a.m. To our surprise, the furnace would not turn on—and it was cold to the bone in the house. We discovered that the thermostat needed new batteries. We tried what we had, but they were dead also. So, in the “wee hours of the morn” we left for the store. Pam simultaneously discovered that the sales at the store were fantastic, so we decided to add a little shopping to the trip, getting us back home a slightly before 4 o’clock a.m.  By 4:01 we were tucked in bed for a long winter’s nap.

The Heavenly Beings

I sometimes forget that nothing we do is private. There is always someone observing. God is seeing all that we do, to start with, but in varying numbers both angels and demons. Can you imagine how your behavior might change if you realized there were several beings looking at you at all times?

Hiddenness is an illusion. This reality not only has negative ramifications, but also positive ones. Those things that are godly and sacrificial even though done in secret are not missed by God (Matthew 5:4,6,18). Jesus said that the God who sees in secret will reward you openly!

We are on display, according to the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:10). Someone once said, “The church is God’s way of showing off.” Angels and demons in the heavenly realms are taking it all in and are in amazement (or chagrin) at the grace of God given to humans. As we trust and obey, we shame and thwart the enemy, engaging in the true warfare, not with flesh and blood, but “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

I’m working on understanding all this much better as I go into this next year. For the Apostle Paul, the idea of heavenly beings engaging with us and against us is a big deal and I think I need better sight concerning that very real interactivity.

SURPLUS: Fearless Generosity in 2 Corinthians 8-9

Our new book written by Bryan Elliff is at the printers and will be ready for launch sometime in the middle of January, just a little over three weeks from now. Please pray for its reach in the States and overseas. This is the first of several short books coming out through the next few years called the Bristol Series. Here is a word about that from the book:

CCW’s Bristol Series is for thinking Christians. We aim to provide readable, exegetically careful, and background-rich treatments of single texts of Scripture designed to speak strongly to critical issues in the life of believers. They are accompanied by discussion questions for study groups and mentoring.

I think you are going to really appreciate this book for your own understanding and stimulation, but also for lively biblical discussions with others. We’re working on ways for you to not only obtain the book on Amazon, but also through our site. On our site we’ll be able to offer significantly reduced prices for bulk orders so that mentors, churches, and ministries can comfortably order what they need. Please pray and help us get this out.

Ahead in 2019

The CCW team is preparing now for several trips during the year, beginning with Steve Burchett to India, and followed by me to South Africa. We also have planned several stateside engagements. We are open for more if we can work them in, so please contact us.

Thanks so much for your love for us and involvement in this ministry. If you can slow down a bit during the Christmas and New Year season, take time to read some of the hundreds of challenging articles on our websites: and

Have a blessed, wonderful, Christ-honoring Christmas and New Year!

With Joy,

Jim Elliff, along with Steve Burchett and Kole Farney