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What About Your Relatives?

For many of us, the Christmas/New Year season is a time not only to think about Jesus’ incarnation but also to enjoy our relatives and friends. Perhaps we see them only at this time of the year. Some time ago I wrote this short article to guide us about speaking the gospel to those relatives we love. Take a few moments to ponder these ideas: What About Your Relatives? In the New Testament, we find new believers confronting their own…

The Guarantee of Holiness

“Say not that thou hast royal blood in thy veins and art born of God,” said puritan William Gurnall, “unless thou canst prove thy pedigree by daring to be holy.” There is no such thing as an unholy Christian (at least in any ongoing sense.) Can Christians commit any sort of sin? Yes. Can Christians repeatedly commit sin? Yes. Can Christians commit the worst of sins? Yes. But it is inconceivable that a person could be a Christian without holiness…

The Old Ways

The old ways. Do we want them? Some of you are older (though I’m glad that hasn’t happened to me). And all of you are older this year than you were last. Was it better before? Do we have the right perspective about the way it used to be? There is something charming about what things were like before smartphones and social media and so much public anger…..the pace of life, the emphasis on relationships, the steadiness of it all. …

An Amazing Promise NOT for You (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek Me and…

Christ is Building His Church: Reports from South Africa, Austria, and Lebanon

Here are a couple of reports from recent trips by Steve and Patty, and Pam and me. Christ is Building His Church: Steve Burchett’s Report from Austria and Lebanon It’s one thing to think “in theory” about Jesus’ promise to build his church (Matthew 16:18), but it’s another thing entirely to actually hear first-hand accounts and to see that promise being fulfilled. On a recent ministry trip with Patty to Salzburg, Austria, and then Beirut, Lebanon, I got to hear…

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…

God’s Supply: A Letter from Jim

Do you realize what an amazing thing it is that God has supplied everything we have needed for our ministry and our personal needs and the needs of our team for over 32 years? He has an ocean-like supply to meet all our needs. This means that many tens of thousands of dollars have come in to this ministry every year without solicitation to anybody but God alone. He did it again this year, providing over $210,000 for our living…

Stop Talking So Much…And Other Tips for Leading a Small Group Bible Study

I meet with a small group of men once a week early in the morning primarily to study the Bible. We read and dialogue about a portion of Scripture. Typically, we walk through one Bible book at a time, examining a section each week. Though I am the leader, I almost never prepare for this meeting. I am a firm believer in preparation; it’s just that this meeting is different. I arrive ready to open our Bibles, to read the…

A Letter From Jim | August 2018

Greetings! We’re working hard on completing Bryan Elliff’s book called SURPLUS: FEARLESS GENEROSITY IN 2 CORINTHIANS 8-9. Here’s a portion of the introduction: I can remember when I first took seriously the Bible’s teaching on money and possessions. I was a college student at home for the summer and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was a topic of vigorous discussion among my friends. As I read and talked about those fascinating and memorable words of Christ, I realized just how…

A Letter From Jim | July 2018

We are in a new day of hatred and demeaning language. I’m sure you see it. One US senator said that he had just come off a seven month fast from social media and realized that he had forgotten that people were supposed to hate each other. Believers must do better. I have often been shocked by spiritual leaders, along with otherwise faithful Christians, spending so much of their public speech in vitriolic, accusative language about political issues, at the…

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…

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…