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The Unrepenting Repenter

The believer in Christ is a lifelong repenter.  He begins with repentance and continues in repentance. (Rom. 8:12-13) David sinned giant sins but fell without a stone at the mere finger of the prophet because he was a repenter at heart (2 Sam. 12:7-13). Peter denied Christ three times but suffered three times the remorse until he repented with bitter tears (Mt. 26:75). Every Christian is called a repenter, but he must be a repenting repenter. The Bible assumes the…

Elders’ Meetings that Do Something

Elders’ meetings should not be an exercise in futility. Rather, to be effective for the church and interesting for the elders, some thought must be put into your time together. Some suggestions: 1. Plan for meeting together more often and for a longer period of time.      We find meeting for at least three hours weekly is about right. For us now, we meet from 5:30-8:30 a.m.Even then we find that we want more time. In fact, for quite…

The Gospel and Divine Visitation—An Indivisible Union

It was spring in 1630. A few ladies were traveling through the Scottish countryside near Shotts when their carriage broke down. Thankfully the minister of the Kirk of Shotts, John Home, was able to assist them in their predicament. Struck with the poor condition of his manse, these wealthy Christian ladies determined to build another one for this kind man. Naturally, the grateful Home asked if he could do anything in exchange for their generosity. The ladies asked if they…

Why Churches Lose Members

A church might lose members because its leaders are burdened with a new direction the people are unwilling to travel. Or, it might lose members because of natural calamities or factory closings. Perhaps the demographics of the community have changed, such as in rural areas where land that once used to be teeming with large families is now controlled by farming conglomerates. But often a church will lose members for less noble reasons. Some people will tell you to just…

How Inclusive Should the Local Church Be?

I once attended a Methodist church Bible study in another city. In the study I was verbally accosted in the class by the husband of the teacher for some things that I said. To my knowledge, I was only saying what any true believer ought to say, but he took exception. After the class we talked further about the different way we looked at the issue. At one point I asked him about an even more foundational matter: Do you…

The Heart of Family Reformation

When our children were younger we began the day with the hymn we are currently memorizing. When Laura was five, she sang for all of us the second verse of “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” by the Yale president of the late 1700s, Timothy Dwight. With a determined look, she sang out, I love Thy church, O God. Her walls before Thee stand. Dear as the apple of Thine eye, And gravy on Thy hand. My boys collapsed on the…

God Above All Governments

You may disagree, but I believe biblical history and subsequent Christian history demonstrates that radical internal holiness, godly enthusiasm to follow Christ, and courageous truth-inspired faith in him regardless of the societal externals or the diffidence and even hatred of those around us, do more to accomplish the will of God in the world than the seating of any government over the people. The government may or may not support the Christian viewpoint. It did not in New Testament days…

Above Reproach — But What About the Kids?

The wise Apostle Paul insists that overseers be above reproach. By overseers he means those who not only are called by that title, but also that of pastor or elder. These words are used for the same person. That person, that overseer, that pastor, that elder, MUST be above reproach. Between Paul’s words — “IF ANYONE IS ABOVE REPROACH” — and “AN OVERSEER, AS GOD’S STEWARD, MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH,” he brings the family into our perview. See what I…

Shrunken Heads | A Letter from Jim

I could walk to the museum when I was a boy in Kansas City. Of all the wonders I saw there, the shrunken head was the most alluring. I could envision how it was made to shrink to the size of a hand. It was inset in the wall, darkened, menacing, exotic, jaw-dropping, and . . . fake. It was years later that scientists discovered that 80% of the shrunken heads displayed around the country were not human heads, but…

Order our new book: My Preferred Way to Read the Bible

In this new book, Jim Elliff shares the Bible reading plan that has helped him the most over the last several years. Many have joined him in this approach and have experienced the same joy and discovery that has enriched his life. Jim encourages the believer to read one or two books of the Bible repeatedly as a way to understand the Scriptures on a new level. Practical advice is given, as well as guidance through some subtle distractions from…

Singing to “Another Jesus” | A Letter from Jim

Dear CCW family, Let me remind you of an experience I had before COVID-19, when you could sit very closely together . . . Christmas Tradition: Singing Carols to the One They Don’t Love “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” Jn 15:18 “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds . . .” Col 1:21-22 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and…

Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

Is it useful to critique any person’s or ministry’s method of evangelism? For one thing, there are not enough people calling on others to follow Christ. Should I attempt to cripple anyone’s efforts in the slightest way, even for the few who might listen to me? I hope I will not. I would rather think that I’m improving our evangelism. And it does need improving. The apparent results of the method of evangelistic appeal built upon the verse in question…

Proclaiming Christ in the Communist White House | A Letter from Jim

Ron Owens shares our experiences in Slovakia just after the Velvet Revolution. We had planned the trip when Communists were in charge, but everything changed, and we were privileged to be among the first Christian leaders in 42 years to openly proclaim Christ in theaters and meeting halls wherever we went. Read about our experiences in “The Communist White House.” I still am amazed when I recall those days. Thanks, Ron, for reminding me of that beautiful time. I think…