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Christian, Rethink Your Public Speech

Believer, if you truly relish a life of turmoil, public anger, boiling arguments, caustic debates and throwing out verbal darts like porcupine quills, you will genuinely help the cause of Christ by not identifying publicly as a Christian. I’m serious. We are in desperate need of Christian wisdom, but not barbaric untamed and undignified rhetoric. It’s doing us no good. Try this test of your speech first: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of…

Giving Up Our Rights

Consider the formula: Giving up rights = Gospel advancement. Rights are those preferences and freedoms we enjoy as Christians related to what we eat, drink and enjoy and even some things that we are owed or deserve. To us in the West, willingly giving these up is an uncomfortable concept. However, in 1 Corinthians 9 we discover that Paul’s main method of evangelistic ministry was focused upon giving up his rights. Three are mentioned explicitly: the right to get married…

A Letter from Jim | April 2018

I’ve just been 12 feet from a very loud business consultant, whose confident speech was nearly deafening. He had made money and was pushy and totally sure of himself as he told his subordinate just how to do it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone so brash as this man. Frankly it turned my stomach. I realize that most people of the world live for themselves, but at least many of them try to “appear” humble. This man had…

Questions for a Prospective Pastor

It is not uncommon for a pastor to be opposed by the very people who at first enthusiastically promoted him. Why? Often it is because only surface communication took place between the potential pastor and the congregation before he assumed his position in the church. In our day it is possible for a pastor to be chosen for a church with almost no serious questions being asked, much less any doctrinal questions. This should never be the case. We suggest…

Taxes and the Day of Salvation

That dreaded day is upon us again, April 15th. When our American fathers stormed the Boston docks, threw out the British tea, and cried, “No taxation without representation,” they could not possibly have imagined what freedom from our mother country would bring. Untold treasure and opportunity, true. But we also have incurred the privilege of paying now over 50% of our income in taxes of an alarming variety. You work half of the year just to do that. Many of…

A Letter from Jim | March 2018

First, A Story to Ponder There were thirteen trumpets in a row on the porch. The lady came alone. She still had the choice to keep the two small copper coins in her hand. She slowly walked across the Court of the Women. Then she paused close to the colonnade watching certain religious leaders step around and past her to make their offering. She felt pensive but determined. She had so little to give compared to them; she only had…

Burrus the Deacon and the Meaning of Diakonia in the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch

As Ignatius of Antioch made his sunset journey from Antioch to Rome, he passed through the city of Smyrna, stopped in Troas, and continued his journey through Neapolis to Rome. The first four of Ignatius’ letters are the product of the Antiochan overseer’s stay in Smyrna (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, and Romans). The remaining letters were penned in Troas (Philadelphians, Smyrneans, and probably the Letter to Polycarp). Unable to write to all the churches from Troas because of his sudden evacuation…

As It Is In All the World

“. . .the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf. . .”  Colossians 1:5-7 This describes how the gospel came to the people of the city of Colossae. They…

A Letter From Jim | February 2018

I just got off Skype with a pastor in Colorado who has been studying Galatians with me. We’ve had several weeks of study, marking the text in our notebooks, reading and re-reading together and separately, sectioning the book, and discussing the major themes and minor conundrums. We tried to understand everything. We worked about an hour and a half today, and it was pure joy! God is unveiling potent truths in this amazing book. That pastor assured me that he…

Why do Some Pastors Deliberately Avoid Teaching Doctrine?

I have been involved in leading churches for four decades, with an emphasis on church planting in the last few years. I’ve also visited and addressed hundreds of churches around the world and have had the privilege of meeting thousands of Christian leaders. Through this time I’ve watched an unintentional doctrinal imprecision on the part of many pastors become intentional. In other words, I have witnessed a new “conventional wisdom” emerge. Simply stated it is the “wisdom” of attempting to…

A Letter from Jim | January 2018

Dear CCW family, I hope you will take some time to look over the collage of photos in this letter. We can’t begin to show even one photo from each of our ministry experiences this last year, but we wanted you to see some. What a year!  Our team spoke hundreds of times in the US and several venues overseas, such as Canada, India, South Africa, Zambia, Colombia (2x), Ethiopia, and Peru. Now we are working on 2018, filling in…

Culture is the Backdrop for the Real Story

Christians, God is infinitely more concerned about the heart, faith, behavior and unity of true believers in our country than the politics, economics, social trends, racial tensions, sexual downgrade, and international relations of the country. But that does not mean these things have no meaning or present no concern at all. We learn about this priority of God for the true church above culture from examining the emphasis of the New Testament during the time when Christianity was not conjoined…