In my seventh decade of life (b. 1949) I now see that my entire life has been a journey, a pathway that I’ve followed by God’s grace, a road that leads home. But home is not in some far off place that we commonly call heaven. I get ahead of myself a bit here but this is important to grasp. “In the sweet by-and-by” is not my understanding of the final end of this journey. Because Jesus is Lord over all creation, and because he has redeemed it all “by sacrificing his blood on the cross . . . all things in heaven and on earth” I/we will be brought back (home) to God. I am not denying that at death I will be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ! I am simply saying what Paul says again and again about the realities that have come about because Jesus is “above all others” (Colossians 1:18). The ultimate destiny of all the saints is to be in his presence and raised in a glorified body to live in “the new heavens and new earth.” This,
The host pastor for our Chicago ACT 3 Cohort is Rev. Dr. George Byron Koch, pastor of Resurrection Anglican Church in West Chicago. George and I have begun to share this missional-ecumenical journey very deeply. George is the author of a fantastic book on doctrine and unity that I highly recommend, What We Believe and Why. This is the best theology book I have come across in years. George understands what is genuinely essential, and why, and then keeps his eye on the goal – Jesus Christ and his mission! Order a copy and you will thank me.
This is the terrific new book I mentioned above. It is $24.99 retail (it is a substantial book), but George gave me a discount code for my friends and readers. Get the book and read it, and then review it for your friends and readers! I wrote about the book in my blog, here:
The discount code is CGLS8DA7. It’s worth ten dollars. No one’s received such a discount before. Just you.
Christians are often tossed back and forth by the biblical idea of physical healing, the role of prayer and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Confusion abounds. Few churches actually equip people to pray for healing and fewer still encourage the practice. I have openly embraced balanced and faithful healing ministry for a long time. Why? Well, put very simply, I believe it is biblical. At the same time I have witnessed, like so many of you, the rampant imbalance and dangerous practices of some healers and their obviously over-hyped claims. So what should we do about this oft controversial subject?
My friend, Rev. Dr. George Koch, pastor of Resurrection Anglican Church in West Chicago, Illinois, is hosting a ministry training school for learning and practicing healing prayer. I heartily encourage you to check out this unique opportunity if you are interested. Some of you may actually be gifted and called to serve in such a ministry and thus this training would be immensely valuable to you. Others may just want to learn a more balanced approach to healing that is holistic and healthy. Below is a
My good friend Tom Tollet lives in Memphis (TN) and was one of the very best friends my late mom and dad had in the final years in Memphis, before retiring to Huntsville (AL). Tom has been a friend since the 1970s and is a solid Christian leader and elder in his local Baptist church in Memphis. He worked for FedEx for many years and now operates his own small family business. When he recently sent me his reflections on recent Christian debates in public I asked for, and received, permission to publish this as a blog.
As I prepare to teach from Tim Keller’s “The Reason for God” I meditate on how the Lord was a friend of sinners while preaching an uncompromising Sermon on the Mount. How do I do that today? I suspect it won’t exactly look like August 1st.
I understand the call to defend marriage and oppose the power plays of certain city mayors, but doesn’t it seem like we simply respond in kind to the opposition ….power for power, rhetoric for rhetoric, manipulation for
Jamie Stober describes himself as a newly confessional Lutheran theologian of the armchair variety who is looking forward for the opportunities coming up ahead on the pilgrimage that is the Christian life. He loves Jesus Christ and wants to serve him with his whole being. But his life is profoundly challenged by a rare disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy that worsens more quickly than other forms of this crippling illness. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by a defective gene for dystrophin (a protein in the muscles).
Through a mutual friendship Jamie and I met online and then we met a few months ago by telephone. Jamie is a young man who knows that his days are limited but he is filled with a deep determination to make every second count. I asked him to contribute a guest blog to my site. He is, himself, a regular blogger, thus I encourage you to visit his site and to pray for him as a brother in Christ. He is truly a “great soul.”
The last two days I have written blogs about science and creation. I published a review of Brendan Purcell’s new book, From Big Bang to Big Mystery, written by Irish scholar, Dr. Joe McCarroll. I also mentioned that I have invited Dr. Brendan Purcell to speak in the Chicago area on his book at an ACT 3 Luncheon. This event will begin at noon (ending by 1:45 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 12, at Alberto’s, the restaurant of the Holiday Inn located at 150 South Gary Avenue, Carol Stream IL 60188. You can register for this event at our web site. Everyone is invited who is interested in the topic and the event. The cost, which includes the meal, a beverage and the gratuity, is $25.00. Registration is required because of seating limitations.
Dr. Brendan Purcell is a former professor of philosophy at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, from where he retired in 2008. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in philosophy at Notre Dame University, Sydney, Australia. He is also a Catholic priest, having been ordained in
Yesterday, I published the first part of Dr. Joe McCarroll’s review of Brendan Purcell’s important new book, From Big Bang to Big Mystery. Today I publish the second part of his review. I believe this portion of the review explains clearly why this is an important book for thinking, serious Christian readers who want to engage the question of origins in a biblically honest and insightful way while properly giving due to what we’ve learned from science over the last several centuries.
From Big Bang to Big Mystery
A Review, Part Two
Apart from those engaged by the issues around evolution I’d say that From Big Bang to Big Mystery – Human Origins in the Light of Creation and Evolution has most to offer those working on the theme of creation.
The book is studded with stunning exclamatory and discursive statements on the contingency and sheer existence of aspects of the finite universe and ourselves, moving back and forth between the pneumatic and noetic dimensions of our experience of groundedness in a transfinite Origin so profoundly explored in Chapter 1, with remarkable quotations from Parmenides (41f.), Aristotle (47), Les Murray
I grew up in an ecclesial context that had positively no regard for insights we might gain from evolution. During my student years at Wheaton College I learned to think of creation differently and began to open my mind to broader thought patterns on the questions of origins. Then I wandered into “strict (literal) creationism” for a sojourn of about ten years. This came about while I was preaching through Genesis in the late 1970s. I was always uncomfortable with creationists, for reasons that I will not elaborate at this point, but I felt Genesis plainly taught that creation was completed in six 24-hour days. Almost out of necessity I then agreed that this work of creation was likely finished only 12,000-15,000 years ago. (This was much harder to accept and I never fully embraced the idea!) These views continued to sit very uneasily within my mind. Later they deeply troubled my heart as well. The reason was that they required me to deny some things that I saw very clearly. But much more importantly, they forced me to interpret Scripture in a way that I
The ACT 3 Missional-Ecumenical Cohort group might be the very kind of leadership training experience that you need to jump start your journey into a new stage of growth.
The ACT 3 Cohort is an eight-month learning process than involves various educational styles, small groups, intense discussions and intentional accountability. The group includes clergy and non-clergy, men and women. Members come from many church backgrounds and denominations, which provides a unique opportunity for learning.
These all-day sessions meet from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Attendance is mandatory to share in a Cohort group. Dr. Armstrong will personally be present to lead each meeting. Specific locations will be chosen (in most cases) when the group size is determined.
Cohort members will read approximately 300-plus pages of material before each meeting. They will discuss these readings and interact with guest presenters on related content.
These sessions are not formal lectures but a dynamic, life-changing process that encourages learning through active participation. Friendships will be established and grow. This is a continuing education experience designed with no academic pre-requisites, only a profound commitment to learn and grow in Christ’s love and mission.
Do you long to be a Christ-like peacemaker, a bridge-builder, and a servant-leader?
Do you believe that Christ’s kingdom is not about a program but rather about being one with God’s people in a relational unity that leads to deeply shared mission?
I have recently shared with many of you how God has been pleased to give me a fourth quarter life-vision for ACT 3’s purpose of “equipping leaders for unity in Christ’s mission.” This new vision is to mentor leaders, both lay and ministerial, through a series of missional-ecumenical cohort groups gathered around the country. These groups are intentional small groups focused on mission, joined across traditional denominational boundaries, for the kingdom of Christ.
These training sessions are four day-long meetings, spread over the course of eight months, shared with other Christians committed to understanding and pursuing these same goals together. If you are interested, then please read on, and register online. It is imperative that you sign up and begin this process soon. Please feel free to contact me directly. These cohort groups include 1,200 pages of carefully selected reading, personal interaction with