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Viewpoint Volume 10 No 6

Viewpoint Volume 10 No 6

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Published by act3online
Mission in Christ
Mission in Christ

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Published by: act3online on Dec 02, 2009
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All my lie I have listened to Christians talk about the great Commission. I grew up onthe words o the Great Commission, evenmemorizing the words o our Lord in Mat-thew 28:19–20 at the age o eight. I lovethe Great Commission. In act, when I wasa boy o ten I went out on Saturdays withmy Sunday school teacher to talk to peersabout Christ and our class. In high school Isought to share my aith, sometimes withgreat rustration. As a college reshman Ifnally became deeply involved in personalevangelism through Campus Crusade orChrist. Nothing so thrilled me as to person-ally introduce people to Christ. I have prac-ticed evangelism, studied evangelism andnow ormally teach evangelism. I the wordevangelist is correctly understood then I aman evangelist, a person who equips othersto do this work o missional ministry (c.Ephesians 4:11–12). But I believe somethingis prooundly wrong with the way we gen-erally understand the Great Commission.Let me explain.In John 20:21 we read that Jesus sent hisown disciples into their mission with thewords: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.”Lesslie Newbigin was right when he said,“This must determine the way we think about and carry out the mission: it must
 ACT 3 is a ministry to equip leaders for unity in Christ’s mission.
www.act3online.com • www.johnharmstrong.com
Equipping Leaders for Unity in Christ’s Mission
Nv/D 2009Vlu 10, N. 6
Mission In Christ
John H. Armstrong
Continued on
page 2
 Th tis and latins f ths vaiusvnts an  fund at www.at3nlin.and gistatin f ths vnts akd withan astisk (*) an  pltd nlin  yalling 630-221-1817 duing usinss hus.ocTober 28
ACT 3 Luncheon Forum*
“Homosexual Practice in Christian Perspective” Dr. Stanton JonesHoliday Inn • Carol Stream, IL
ocTober 30–31
ACT 3 Biblical Forum*
Dr. Peter EnnsHoliday Inn • Carol Stream, IL
NoVember 8
American Reformed Church (RCA)
Sunday Worship: 9:30 a.m.DeMotte, IN 
NoVember 14
Fellowship of theHoly Cross (Men)
Lutheran Church of the Master 8:30–10:00 a.m.Carol Stream, IL
Plas nt th dat hang f th Fllwshipf th Hly css. It was iginally shduld fNv 21 ut is nw ting n Nv14. Th ti and pla a unhangd.
Upcoming Events
Photo to right: John with Rich McDaniel. Rich is helpingour leadership team understand our vision and develop a strategic plan.
be ounded and modeled upon his. Weare not authorized to do it any other way”
(Mission In Christ’s Way, 1)
. The question thistext must press upon the modern churchis clear: How did the Father send the Son?What was, and is, his way o doing mission/ evangelism?To answer this question we must go back to the beginning, to “the beginning o thegospel” in Mark’s account.
 Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gos- pel o God, and saying, “The time is ulflled and the kingdom o God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And passingalong by the Sea o Galilee, he saw Simonand Andrew . . . And Jesus said to them: “Fol-low me, and I will make you become fsherso men.” And immediately they let their netsand ollowed him
(Mark 1:14–18)
 There are six points to be made hereregarding Christ’s way in mission. I believewe miss these to our great peril. In act, Ibelieve the modern church has missedthese in a way that greatly distorts what wedo and how we do it.
It is not the begin-ning o a program. It is not even a newdoctrine or a call to moral change. As New-bigin astutely noted: “It is, strictly speaking,a news-ash.”
(Mission in Christ’s Way, 1)
.Something has happened. A new act mustbe heard and received—the kingdom o God, the reign o Christ, has come near.
 This announcement is not a categoryor one part o our lives. It is about God’sreign and thus it is about our whole lie.“One might call it ‘cosmic aairs’”
(Mission inChrist’s Way, 2).
MIssion In Christ 
continued rom page 1
Viewpoint • Nobember/December 2009
It is about rightnow, right here. It is a present reality. This iswhat is truly new here. It conronts you andsays, “Do something and do it now!”
You are acing the wrong way. Youmust do a U-turn. This is the meaning o theword repent. The frst word o the gospelo the kingdom is not “peace” but “repent.”I you read this text careully there is nomention here o turning rom your sins. Ido not doubt that we must turn rom sinbut this is not the real point and to miss thereal point here is quite tragic in its conse-quences. The point here is rather straight-orward:
The reign o God has drawn near.
Tosee it and enter into it you must undergo acomplete (ongoing) transormation processthat Newbigin rightly calls “a total mentalrevolution”
(Mission in Christ’s Way, 3)
. I youdo not change your mind, thoroughly andcompletely, the kingdom o God will behidden rom you.
God’s reign is near but you cannot seeit unless you believe the good news. Thegood news is not primarily about yourpersonal sins but about the reign o Christ.When it is reduced to a message about get-ting your sins orgiven then the messageis reduced to a private message or innerstruggles with sin and peace. This missesChrist’s way o mission and the conse-quences, I am convinced, are huge.
It is not some-thing I can do on my own. It is the work o Christ and he accomplishes it in meand you by his Spirit. He called men o hischoice—Andrew, Peter, James and John.John 15:14 says, “You did not choose me;I chose you and appointed you to go andbear ruit.” They are chosen and called tocall others to aith in the present reign o Christ, a reign that is hidden to the eyeso the world but present to all who arecalled by God in his grace. This is the beginning o the gospel. Thisis HOW the Father sent the Son. When thisexciting news was frst announced manywere prooundly drawn to Jesus andbecame his disciples. But in time, as thecross loomed on the near horizon, thingsbegan to change. The reign o God didnot make sense to many o these people.It seemed hidden, not revealed. Their zealor Jesus began to ade, much as the zealo many religious people ades over timein our world. It is precisely here that wemust truly “learn what is mission in Christ’sway”
(Mission in Christ’s Way, 5)
. I we donot we will never learn how to make realdisciples.In the Gospels the message and themessenger were moving toward thecross. It was at Calvary, and on the frstday o the new week, that the kingdomwon its decisive victory. But the worldonly saw deeat. The world always seesdeeat when the gospel o the kingdom isproperly preached and lived. It seems tome that this takes us right to the heart o our modern problem. We have preacheda gospel that is
this gospel. Our goodnews is about private sins, private opin-ions, private joys and private reedom. Thepublic scandal o the cross has been lost.We want to be victors but true victory isalways ound in a message that the worldwill always see as deeat.I you want to understand the missiono ACT 3 it is imperative that you beginwith this question: “How should we un-derstand mission in Christ’s way?” I live tohelp Christians understand this questionso that we might preach the gospel o thekingdom with power.
Equipping Leaders for Unity in Christ’s Mission
A Financial Update
We do not oten make special appealsor your nancial support but we needyour help now more than ever. Therecession has had a signicant impact onour operational budget. We are presentlyrunning about 25–30% below budgetor 2009. Our budget is about $240,000and we are running at about $180,000 atthe present time. (This budget includesrepayment o debt incurred when therecession hit us last summer.) In the latesummer o 2008 we cut spending by25–30% and have retained those cuts andadded a ew new ones. These cuts includesalary payments. Our present budgetreects the 2008 budget plus the debt we Time and time again we ask riends to pray or ACT 3. I you would like to receive ACT 3 prayer notesyou can sign up or our regular prayer news email. You should go to www.act3online.com and sign upor this regular correspondence. Then, please pray when these emails are sent. Your help is vital.must retire. We have not increased salaryor nearly ve years.Please prayerully consider helpingus reach this conservative budget
 retire our debt, especially through year-end gits. Some trips and ministries havenot been undertaken this year becausewe do not have the unding to do them.Our prayerul desire is to create a majorlaunch efort or the book 
Your Church IsToo Small 
. This will be hindered by a losso unding.You may send tax-deductible gitsto ACT 3, P. O. Box 88216, Carol Stream,IL 60188. You may also give at our secureWeb site: www.act3online.com.
 John recently met author Eric Metaxas.Eric’s new biography o Dietrich Bonhoefer will be released in early 2010.He will speak or ACT 3 in the uture.
Now and then we need our partnersto help us with
projects. Onespecial need now is to purchase amodern video camera that we can usein recording events or the Web. Wealso need a really high quality cameraor photographs o people and ACT 3events. These items, with the necessaryperipherals (tripod, microphones, etc.)will cost us about $1,400. I you wouldlike to become a special partner with usin expanding this mission on the Webplease designate a git or “New CameraEquipment” so that we can purchasethese items as soon as possible.We also need speciic prayer or ourboard as we work together on strategicplanning through the end o 2009. Thephoto o Rich McDaniel, on page one
Special Opportunities for Partnership
o this
, was taken at a recentmeeting o several board memberswith Rich. Rich met John many yearsago in Trumansburg, New York. He hasserved at Cornell University in strategicplanning or many years. Rich, and hiswie Gretchen, have been riends o ACT 3 or more than a decade. He isnow helping us develop a
strategic plan
 or ACT 3. We believe that God honorssuch planning and that true wisdomrequires us to put in place a plan sothat we can
pursue ourmission purpose: “To equip leaders orunity in Christ’s mission.” This planningphase is uniquely connected to therelease o the new book,
Your ChurchIs Too Small.
The book is to be releasedon April 1, 2010.

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