2:28 PM Almost ten years ago I attended my first Christian booksellers convention at the invitation of Moody Press. One night they had a banquet for all their authors in attendance. I ended up sitting next to man named John Armstrong. As we talked, we learned that we had a lot in common. John comes from Tennessee, I come from Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama and loves SEC football. That gave us a lot to talk about. It turned out that John lived in Carol Stream, a suburb on the far west side of Chicago. Since I lived in Oak Park, it was easy for us to get together for lunch. In the decade since then, John and I met many times at Alexander's in Oak Brook for lunch. For several years John led a pastor's group that included Erwin Lutzer, Colin Smith, Wilbur Ellsworth, Mateen Elass, Pat Peglow, and several others from time to time. We met quarterly, ostensibly to discuss some book we had all read, but mostly to tell stories, get caught up and laugh a lot.
John is a prolific author, a widely-respected speaker, and the editor of the Reformation and Revival Journal. In recent years the Lord has led him on a journey that has broadened his horizons and opened doors for ministry to believers in many different denominational settings. Often I have heard him share his vision for deep renewal of the whole body of Christ, not of just a small subset, but for renewal that leads to deep love between believers, a new appreciation of the history of the Christian church, and a desire to impact 21st-century culture with the story of Jesus Christ. To borrow a phrase made famous by J. B. Phillips, because our God is too small, our vision of God's church is too small. God has his people in so many different places. I've often said that God blesses people I wouldn't bless if I were God. Which is why he is God and I'm not.
In yesterday's weblog I mentioned the Barbara Walters special on heaven. It reminded of the enormous spiritual hunger of this generation. Just last week I listened to the director of the Trends Research Institute discuss the top trends of 2006. The first involved convergence of media through the Internet. The second described the Millennial Generation (those born between 1980-1995) and how this generation has no heroes of its own. Unlike earlier generations, they are looking to the past to find people they can follow and ideas they can believe in. What an amazing open door this offers for the church of Jesus Christ, if only we can take advantage of it.
Because this is John's burden also, he has renamed his ministry Act 3, which stands for "Advancing the Christian Tradition in the 3rd Millennium." In this article John explains the reason for the name change and his vision for the future. As one who has known him personally for a decade and has benfitted from his ministry, I am happy to commend John Armstrong and the work of Act 3 to you. As you consider your year-end giving, this is a ministry worthy of your support.
2:26 PM I guess I was a little excited when I typed the intro for the weekly email sermon this morning. When I said Josh and Mark were driving down from Chicago to Tupelo today, I meant Josh and Nick. Mark is in China and won't be back in the States until next July.
2:25 PM Dudley comes in three days.