Monthly Archives: November 2010


One Hit From Home: My Bit Role in a Film

I mentioned to a few of you late last year that two good friends asked me to play the role of a minister in a movie they were making. Most of you know how much I love movies and film-making. I have led seminars and discussion with Christians in the industry and now get to have a small role in a new film to be released in a few days. My friends, Dave Stone and Johnny Meier, are co-stars and co-directors of the new movie: “One Hit From Home.” (Yes, it has a baseball theme. Are you really that surprised?)

This film is ready for public release. An exclusive one-time screening will take place in suburban Chicago on Wednesday, December 8, at 7 p.m. I will be there with Dave and Johnny and other friends for this one-time premier in Chicago. I would love to see some of you attend. The cost is $5 at the door.

This screening will be at:

Ogden 6 Movie Theater

1227 E. Ogden Ave

Naperville, IL



For group rates or for more information contact

Film Synopsis –

"Baseball superstar Jimmy Easton returns home after a

By |November 30th, 2010|Categories: Baseball, Film, Personal|

Illustrations of Missional-Ecumenism at Work

When I wrote Your Church Is Too Small I wanted to make sure the reader got some sense of what missional-ecumenism actually looks like in practice. While this vision is fresh it is not new. Churches, ministerial association, missions and leaders of all types have come together to experience and practice this vision of the church in mission. I devote chapter eighteen in my book to this subject and provide ten illustrations. Since the book was published, in April, I have discovered at least a dozen more illustrations of this vision in action.

ACT 3 exists to “equip leaders for unity in Christ’s mission.” Let us help you, where you are, to grasp this vision and put it into practice. If you’ve read the book then you will better understand how we can serve you as a partner in mission.


Little Town of Bethlehem

Opinions range from one extreme to the other on how to find “peace in the Middle East.” Many Christians actually think peace is impossible since the great prophetic clock is ticking down day-by-day to the return of Christ. Others, especially among some liberal critics, think the single solution is for Israel to stop its unjust practices and cease to be a state at all. Still others see the political solution in a “two-state” formula that recognizes a Palestinian State. I share this view politically but I think this process is far more complex than any single political solution.

large_poster A recently released DVD, Little Town of Bethlehem, brings forward a different approach, that of a growing non-violent movement modeled on the approach of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the leaders of the non-violent approach is Palestinian Christian Sami Awad, whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today Sami Awad is the executive director of the Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promote Palestinian independence through

By |November 28th, 2010|Categories: Film, Islam, Israel|

A Common Mistake Made in the Pursuit of Holiness

Popular Catholic author Fr. Joseph F. Girzone, in his first non-fiction book Never Alone (1994,) wrote:

14497251 The mistake many people make when they start trying to be holy is they multiply religious practices and burden themselves with a host of activities, attending endless religious services, thinking that the more good things they do, the more spiritual they will become. Spirituality doesn't work that way. The spiritual life is something that grows slowly, imperceptibly, way beneath the surface of our lives. Pressuring ourselves to do all kinds of nice things for people and performing a multitude of good works does not make us holy. It can, if we are not careful, make us extremely nervous and pressure us into commitments that can overload our already overburdened lives (14).

I do not think this is, somehow or the other, a Catholic problem. This is a universal problem among all Christians, myself very much included. Over the course of my life I have added this activity and that new thing thinking that

By |November 27th, 2010|Categories: Spirituality|

The Iron Bowl

Only big-time college football fans understand rivalry games. People in Ohio and Michigan, at least a lot of them, understand Ohio State vs. Michigan in their annual battle. Texas and Texas A & M fans understand the same. So do those who went to West Point and Annapolis when Army plays Navy.

But no game has more emotion, more lasting joy and bitterness, than Alabama vs. Auburn. In this rivalry the state legislature had to force the schools to play in the 1940s after a long lull in the series because of events surrounding the game that made it difficult to play it without danger to the fans.

374350263_6c565fc8f3_z This game even has a special name: The Iron Bowl. The reason for this is because the game was annually played in Birmingham, until about twenty years ago, and Birmingham was the iron city. The name stuck even though the game is play home and away now. Today’s crowd, because of Alabama’s stadium addition, will be the largest to ever witness

By |November 26th, 2010|Categories: College Football|


Happy-Thanksgiving Today millions of Americans celebrate what we call Thanksgiving Day. My friend Steve Brown wrote in his recent Key Life publication that he’s a little bothered by devoting one day to this or that. “It’s as if the point is: You are a dolt and can’t pull this off all the time, but try hard for just one day.” He says this is something like Pastor Appreciation Day or Brotherhood Week. You can love your pastor for one day and then abuse him the rest of the time. (He is being humorous folks, if you do not know Steve.)

Steve Brown relates that when he is going through a season of complaining God reminds him that he is a lot bigger than he ever thought. He says that this Thanksgiving he will be thankful because he knows that Someone who loves us and who is in “large and in charge.” He relates the story of an atheist friend who was so thankful about the birth of a

By |November 25th, 2010|Categories: Divine Providence, Personal|

The Sermon on the Mount: Indicative or Imperative?

One of those oft discussed books which has enough weight about it to remain important twenty years after publication is Resident Aliens, by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon. Even if you have read it I encourage you to read it again. It is that kind of book. I do not share the neo-Anabaptist vision of the authors yet a great deal of their appeal still rings true with much of what I have come to understand about culture and the church.

1591_1_ftc_dp The authors root Christians ethics in the Christian church, not in moral commands for the culture. They argue that ethically speaking when Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes something very significant is happening that we all too easily miss. Jesus does not ask us to do anything, rather he gives us a vision of what we are before we are given any instruction about what we should do. This means the indicative comes before the imperative, a common New Testament appeal to

By |November 24th, 2010|Categories: Ethics, Spirituality|

A Visit to Grand Rapids: Acton on Tap & Calvin Seminary

acton-on-tap I will be in West Michigan November 29-December 1. I will  speak at several different venues as well as meet with the staff of several organizations. There are two public events. The first, and most accessible to most of our friends, will be Acton on Tap. This meeting takes place Wednesday evening, December 1. There is information available at Acton Institute on this event.

The discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. but I will arrive for conversation and meeting folks by 6:00 p.m. The place is Derby Station (formerly Graydon's Crossing), 2237 Wealthy St. SE, East Grand Rapids 49506. Check here for directions: There is no need to register and there are no registration fees. Seating is limited so arrive early!

I will share my vision of the unity that is possible for Christians across social, cultural, racial, and denominational lines. When Jesus’ followers seek relational unity through participation in the kingdom of God and the mission of Christ, they demonstrate God’s character to a watching

By |November 23rd, 2010|Categories: ACT 3, Missional-Ecumenism|

How Are Unity and Mission Related?

In my book, Your Church Is Too Small, I make a link between unity and mission based upon John 13:34-35; 17:20-23 and 20:21. It is clear that the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17 was intended to lead the world to understand that the Father had sent the Son (17:21). My discovery of this principle was rather simple but totally life-transforming. One does not need a theological education to see it in the text. Our relationships with Christians are meant to model the Father and Son relationship in the incarnation in such a way that the world will see the reality of God’s love.

The New Commandment, given in John 13:34-35, underscores the same point in the clearest words possible. When we love one another Jesus says that “everyone will know that you are my disciples” (13:35). Francis Schaeffer was right when he said this “love” was “the mark” of the Christian. Yet far too few of us really believe this and even fewer of us make it our actual practice. No matter what the situation is you can never go wrong if you

The Passing of the Peace

When I began to understand ancient liturgical practice some years ago one of the more beautiful discoveries was “The Passing of the Peace.” I had never heard the term until I was introduced to the practice in a liturgical context. Like everything else I encounter in the practice of worship I wanted to know what this term really meant and where the practice came from.

First, for those who do not know the term, it is used in many liturgical services after the reading of biblical texts, the sermon and The Lord’s Prayer. It always comes before the Eucharist or communion. The church will be led in prayer as a congregation and various ways of responding and praying are used. Following this the “passing of the peace” generally occurs. The leader says, “The peace of Christ be with you.” The congregation responds, “And also with you.” And then the leader urges the people to share the peace with one another.

Best Second, the “passing of the peace” occurs just before

By |November 21st, 2010|Categories: Liturgy, Sacraments, Unity of the Church|

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