A Gospel Shotgun | A Letter from Jim

A Gospel Shotgun | A Letter from Jim

My grandmother Elliff was a presenter of the gospel. Are you? She looks harmless, but in the case in this photo was a sawed off gospel shotgun!

One day a tramp came to her screen door asking for food. Grandmother and her pastor husband lived close to the train tracks and this was not an uncommon experience during those days. Always accommodating, she asked the man to remain at the front door while she went back to get him something to eat.

In the kitchen my grandmother found some cheese in the ice box, took it out, and sliced off a large piece with her butcher knife. She then remembered how important it would be to speak of Christ to this man. So, carrying the cheese in one hand and the butcher knife in the other, she made her way across the living room to the screen door. Wasting no time, she shook the butcher knife eye level in front of him as she said, “Are you prepared to meet the Lord?”

I guess he wasn’t—at least not then. He turned and ran away from her as fast as he could, without the cheese!  

All of us thought of grandmother as a lover of all people who needed Christ. The gospel was primary in her life and scores of people came to know Christ through her persistent ministry. I remember the lists of unconverted neighbors and friends pinned on the wall she faithfully prayed for.

My brother-in-law, Bailey Smith, just passed away. He had achieved many things. We had very different styles but had a mutual love. One thing was important to him—evangelism. He thought of this as the only thing, which to some seemed to be an imbalance. But through his life so many were converted. We read their stories during these precious days.

I feel so privileged to be in a family and in a church and ministry where so many care about preaching the gospel. The meaning of “to preach” is essentially, “to evangelize.” I love the phrase that described those who left Jerusalem because of persecution just after the stoning of Stephen. It appears to be said of both men and women: “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Let’s all be about this wonderful ministry. Pam and I had several experiences of evangelism today and yesterday. Stay alert, the opportunities are there. When we stand before God, we won’t regret any efforts spent on preaching the good news.

Our New Book is Ready!

SURPLUS: FEARLESS GENEROSITY IN 2 CORINTHIANS 8-9 by Bryan Elliff is ready for you to order. You may purchase the book on Amazon or from our site, where you may also make bulk orders. There are deep discounts and there is low, flat-rate shipping. It’s not about making money to us, but about getting the message out. Please order several to give to friends, to use for small groups, and to share with leaders who may wish to order even more copies for groups. We would sincerely encourage you, our dearest associates in this ministry, to help us in this project so that this powerful encouragement to action may be shared. If some of you would write reviews on Amazon, it would be so helpful. Click here to buy on our site and here to purchase via Amazon.


Kole and Steve have just returned from Montana having completed a full schedule of speaking. Pam and I have been planning a longer trip throughout May to South Africa where we will be in numerous venues both in the Johannesburg and Cape Town area. This is perhaps my 9th trip there since 1985. Of course, we’re spending some extra time to be with our daughter Laura and Marco (she’s pregnant!). Steve will be in Austria and Beirut during part of May as well. Other stateside trips are being planned. Your prayers are so appreciated.

Yes, please pray for us!

Jim (with Steve Burchett and Kole Farney)