Monthly Archives: January 2011

Important News from ACT 3

In our ACT 3 Year-End Report we announced a series of forums for the first Thursday each month. The next meeting was set for this Thursday evening, February 3. Please note that the Forum Series has been discontinued for the remainder of this year.

In place of these forums we are embarking upon what we believe to be a more effective strategy for reaching a wider community of church leaders. We plan to:

  1. Utilize video conferencing and webinars in 2011. This allows John to teach effectively at less cost. Also, friends will not have to travel long distances. Watch our web site and this blog for information.
  1. We will more intentionally partner with personal and ministry friends to come to you to teach and serve with you. We want to maximize our partnerships for mission purpose.

If you would like to host an ACT 3 meeting/event then please contact us via our Web site. If you would like to be invited to share in a video conference or webinar please let us know this as well. We believe this method better uses our

By |January 31st, 2011|Categories: ACT 3|

The Church is for the World

Warrenton-Baptist-Church-1-[Credit---Peyton-Knight]-728499 It seems to me that multitudes of Christians have missed the simple idea that the church exists for others. We are called to be the incarnate presence of Jesus, by the Spirit working in us as God’s people (John 20:31). This is at the very center of what it means to be missional. The church exists not for itself but for others.

A missional church is not the same as a church doing missions or programs for mission. This is one reason why the term missional is such an important theological and practical development in the 21st century. The church is made up of “sent ones” that God has designed to carry out his mission of gospel mercy and compassion in community, through shared presence. Mission is God’s before it is ever ours. The whole Bible makes this abundantly clear from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22. God is a missional God and the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth is mission in human form. The very purpose of creation

The Best Mascot in College Sports?

Big Al No. 42 I know, I know, I am biased to my toes. But how could columnist Todd Kaufmann rate Big Al No. 42 in the Top 50 best college mascots? Here is what Kaufmann wrote about my favorite elephant:

Big Al is a stud and we don't want to mess with elephants. They'll trample you.

That's where the elephant came from in the first place. A 1930s sportswriter heard the roar and rumble of the team taking the field and coined the term “here come the elephants.”

I mean really, which animal would you fear in a stampede? A Longhorn? A War Eagle? A Gator? I’ll take elephants and run the table. Roll Tide Roll!

And on top of that if these elephants were all decked out in bright crimson on a glorious fall day who would you fear?

Just for the record I have a signed photo of the “real Big Al” near my desk. I know it is real because I sat with Big Al’s grandma

By |January 29th, 2011|Categories: College Football|

50 Millions Lives Wasted

The National Right to Life calculates that 50 million abortions have been performed in America since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. 38 years and 50 millions deaths. That is staggering to me. 50 millions human fetuses have been denied their most basic right, “the right to life.”

For those who do not know the history of this decision the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that something like the “right to privacy” meant the right of a mother to choose to kill her unborn child. But what is even more striking is that this right still allows unborn children to be killed who are viable outside the womb. How anyone with a moral conscience can support that kind of reasoning is still beyond me. I realize the debate comes down to the issue of when human life begins. At the same time how can anyone with a conscience not protest that a life that could survive outside the womb is being taken in the late second trimester (and all the third trimester) thus clearly a viable human person is being killed?

Congressman Paul Broun, a medical doctor from

By |January 28th, 2011|Categories: Abortion|

Pope John XXIII: “Let Us Simply Follow Day by Day Whatever the Holy Spirit Asks of Us”

pope john xxiii portrait When Pope John received the observers at Vatican II he spoke to those gathered, including both cardinals and observers from many different churches, in very plain, simple words. He said:

We do not intend to conduct a trial of the past; we do not want to prove who was right or who was wrong; the faults were on both sides. All we want to say is: Let us come together. Let us put an end to our divisions. Some people want to complicate simple matters. I want to simplify complicated ones. I don’t know where we are going. Let us simply follow day by day whatever the Holy Spirit asks of us.

Like other Christians who love the holy, catholic church and confess their faith in the whole people of God (cf. Eph. 1:19-22) I long to see the unity of his body, the church, which is “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” I dream about this quite often. Some

Catholics and Evangelicals in Canada to Pursue Unity


The Catholic Church in Canada has agreed to begin a formal theological dialogue with Evangelicals.

"It's a new thing in Canada," said Margaret O'Gara, a theology professor at Toronto's University of St. Michael's College who has been involved in Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox dialogue for the past 35 years. She will be among the Catholic participants.

"We all have the expectation that this will be a personally enriching experience and that, hopefully, we will contribute to the strength of the Church in Canada," said David Freeman, who is strategic interface vice president for the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.

Freeman will be the Evangelical co-chair of the dialogue, with Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan as the Catholic co-chair. You can read more about this encouraging news at this ecumenical site. Let us pray that Christ is at the center and this process opens new doors for unity and mission in Canada.

Pope Benedict’s Prayer: “The Restoration of Full, Visible Unity” Among Christians

VATICAN POPE The present Pope made it clear long ago, and has stated this very clearly during his years in the Holy See, that he desires “the restoration of full, visible unity” among Christians. Those are his words, not mine. He has pledged his commitment to this end and he continues to work for this reality.

The last two days I cited two quotations from Pope Benedict XVI from the book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times (Ignatius, 2010). This book is conversational and follows a Q & A format that makes it easy to read and understand. I encourage everyone interested in this subject to read the book.

Pope Benedict XVI answers a question about his ecumenism, and in particular his interest in talks with the Orthodox, by saying:

Ecumenism is a multilayered, multifaceted phenomenon. It involves the whole of global Orthodoxy, which is already quite varied in itself, but also global Protestantism, whose classical confessions are quite different from the

Pope Benedict on Missional-Ecumenism and Our Diverse Understandings of the Church

16111_LightOfTheWorld Yesterday, I quoted Pope Benedict XVI on mission and ecumenism. I believe this Pope, as was his predecessor, is a real advocate of the central thesis of my book, Your Church Is Too Small.  I am not suggesting that he would agree with everything I write, not by any stretch of imagination. I am a Protestant so I understand this cannot be true even in Protestant circles. But my central thesis is not re-union but relational unity. This unity begins with mutual recognition of our oneness in Christ as Lord. It also stresses what we can, and should, do together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

In the recently published interview with Benedict XVI, Light of the World, Peter Seewald asks the pontiff a question about the church that we should pay careful attention to if we love unity.

Q. Is it really true that the Pope does not regard Protestants as a Church, but, unlike the Eastern Church, only as an ecclesial community? This distinction strikes many as

The Pope on Missional-Ecumenism

When Peter Seewald’s book Light of the World, based upon extensive interviews of Pope Benedict XVI, was released a few months ago it was met with consider fanfare in the media. The reason was Pope Benedict’s response to the question about using condoms to help save lives and stop the spread of HIV. When I read Light of the World I looked first for further insights into Pope Benedict’s views of ecumenism. I was not disappointed.

God & the World As I was reading Light of the World I recalled an earlier Seewald book, God and the World (2002). In this book he interviewed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (obviously before he became the pope). In this much larger book Cardinal Ratzinger has a great answer to a question about ecumenism that needs to be understood by Catholic and Protestant alike. Here is Seewald’s question and the pope’s answer:

Q. The Church prays for Christians to be united.  But who ought to join up with whom? 

A. The formula

Knox Theological Seminary: A Small Gem in a Sea of Huge Change

I had the unique privilege of teaching my course, “Unity in Christ’s Mission,” January 10-14 at Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I had been to Knox many years ago to speak at a commencement service. It was a day-in and day-out experience so I got very little flavor for the faculty or the students. I remember arriving at the last minute, because of weather problems in Chicago. I also remember speaking to Dr. Kennedy after I preached, but only briefly. And I had breakfast with a few members of the faculty on Saturday morning before I flew to the West Coast. Other than this brief encounter I did not know much about Knox, nor do I recall knowing a single graduate from the seminary over the years. (Most Knox students have been from South Florida.) instructor_allen This all began to change in June, 2010, when I was introduced to President Ronald Kovack and Dean Warren Gage, along with their new theologian, Michael Allen (photo right).

By |January 23rd, 2011|Categories: Education, Leadership, The Church|

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