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. ACT 3 could not have come to this place without you. There are several things you can pray about doing to help the mission of ACT 3 in 2011: 1. 2. 3. 4. Continue to give as generously as you feel led. Give now if the Lord places our vision on your heart. Pray for us by reading Viewpoint online at www.act3online.com. Introduce us to pastors, leaders of organizations, city leaders and business leaders. 5. Sign up for the ACT 3 Weekly and encourage others to do the same. 6. Check out John’s daily blogs at: www.johnharmstrong.com. 7. Return the enclosed card so our information is current and accurate. We do not share this information with others. Remember, you can give online at www.act3online.com. You can give one time or set up recurring regular gifts. This feature has been greatly improved and is completely safe to use. I am so grateful for your help!
Viewpoint IS Bac k Viewpoint is now available online. Sign up online to be notified of each issue. The next issue will be out in January. Anita’s Perspective, loved by so many, will return. If you do not use the Internet we will print one for you if you request a special copy. 2011 MOnthly f Or u M S A new ACT 3 Forum series begins in 2011. Each month we will conduct a special forum on the first Thursday evening of each month. You won’t want to miss these evenings! The dates for 2011 are: January 3, February 3, March 3, April 7, May 5, June 2, July 7, August 4, September 1, October 6, November 3, December 1. These meetings will all be at 7:00 p.m. at: St. Paul Evangelical United Church of Christ 118 S. First Street Bloomingdale, IL 60108 Speakers and topics are to be determined, but John Armstrong will speak at six or more and guests will be announced and featured at other gatherings. Watch Viewpoint and our Web site for information. There is no charge, but signing up online helps us plan for your attendance since space is limited. This series provides a regular way for you to benefit from our ministry and a place to meet others and introduce your friends to ACT 3.
tanding with John in supporting ACT 3 this year has been like having a front row seat in God’s
cosmic theater. In the face of severe financial penury, He has guided John in the successful launch of his seminal book, You Church Is Too Small, provided significant “free” administrative and technical support and now brought in Tom Burns, a man uniquely prepared and commissioned by God to complement and expand this special work. It has been a joy to witness at close hand John’s love for Jesus and His people and to watch our Lord creatively provide for His own. – Richard McDaniel
Vice-President (Retired), Cornell University
act 3 year-end update 2010
Gr e at IS t h y faIthfulne SS Thomas Chisholm’s 1923 hymn text, with its memorable refrain, has moved me since I was a child. Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. Providence is the continuing, and often unseen, activity of God whereby he sustains his universe and provides for all things, particularly his own people. Jesus said: “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7) God’s providence, in the words of the Belgic Confession (1561), “affords us an unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance.” In 1991 ACT 3 began in my living room with three other Christians as the first board. In 1992 I left a sixteen-year pastorate to become full-time president of ACT 3. In the 1990s we grew beyond my wildest dreams. In 1999 God led me to publicly share a vision he had given me many years before. (This vision is in my book, Your Church Is Too Small.) I had a deep sense that some supporters would reject this vision,
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eQuIpp In G leaderS fOr unIty I n chrISt’S MISSIO n
John and his brother, Tom, enjoying a baseball game last summer.
Great IS GOd’ S prOvISIO n Jesus clearly promised that if we “seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). This is one of those promises we can take to the bank of heaven and it will never lack in sufficient funds. This promise doesn’t mean you can count on affluence. It means what it says, and what it says is astounding. Make God’s kingdom your priority, your whole life. Live as he commands you (“righteously,” or purposefully for him) AND “he will give you everything you need.” Anita and I want you to know that we have tried this promise and God does provide. Since 2008 we have had a greatly reduced salary. God has taught us how to save money, spend a lot less and enjoy life in a wholly different way. He has given us clarity about the kingdom in our lives and shown us how to live with more godly purpose. And he has provided everything we need. A few months ago a dear friend, who passed through a
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Great Is Thy Faithfulness Continued but I also had a calm assurance that I had heard God’s word and could proceed knowing that “nothing [would] befall us by chance.” ACT 3’s vision to “equip leaders for unity in Christ’s mission” began to take clear shape after 2001. We lost donors, either because I failed to make our message clear or they simply disagreed with it. But God sustained us. We learned to trust, wait and pray. Recently we have all been touched by the Great Recession. ACT 3’s budget was deeply cut, our salaries were significantly reduced and our lives were directly altered in new ways. But God’s faithfulness has been amazing. As we come to the end of 2010 I want you to know what God has done and why we are filled with hope. In Thomas Chisholm’s words, we have “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
ACT 3 has been an invaluable resource to me and my work. My own thinking and faith have been stretched and profoundly shaped by John’s wisdom and insight into the deficiencies plaguing the contemporary church– I am convinced that without John’s prophetic voice, my ministry would be less than the Lord intended. John Armstrong is a gift to both me and the church! – S. Michael Craven
Great I S GOd ’S MISSIOn God used many of you this year to help advance his mission through ACT 3. At the May 2009 board meeting we earnestly prayed and planned for the future. There was one problem. I needed two people to help me and ACT 3 didn’t have a dollar to spare. The first need was for someone with skills to help me launch the release of Your Church Is Too Small. God supplied Dan Jones, a former student. Dan offered me regular assistance and hundreds of hours from January through July. His service was an incredible blessing. The second surprise was the addition of a full-time executive director with all the requisite skills to begin helping immediately. Tom Burns, who had spent three decades in the business world, left his business career several years ago to complete an MDiv degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Tom never intended to become a pastor but felt a strong call to missional ministry. He discovered that he could still do what he had done before seminary: coaching and menTom Burns toring− but this time for the kingdom of God. His passion and experience involved him in coaching leaders, engaging in mission and facilitating church unity. God had provided Tom to help ACT 3: “Equip leaders for unity in Christ’s mission!” Tom first heard about me on a radio interview. He read my book and came to hear me speak at a Moody Church ministerial meeting. A friendship was formed and a job offered (without pay since we had no money to hire)! ACT 3 has been given a wide open door, and a strategic person to walk through it. Plus, I will have the time I need to write and teach. On top of all this I have a partner and true friend to share in this unique calling. And guess who gets the credit (glory) for all of this? God alone!
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President Center for Christ & Culture
a p e e k at 2 0 1 1 Tom and I have a general idea of what we will do in 2011. Over the last three months we met with over 50 people. We shared our story, asked questions and listened. We believe the Spirit is showing us what comes next. As 2010 comes to an end we are moving forward with great flexibility so the Spirit can continue to lead us as we sail forward. Indeed, the image of a sailboat is the one we’ve adopted. We believe our task is to hoist the sail and the Spirit will lead us. ACT 3 is not a centralized organization with a management team and development staff. We are a de-centralized team with two deeply passionate leaders. I am a visionary catalyst and Tom is the coach and champion for my vision. Whatever else we need God will make clear to us as we make the next turn in the road. We expect God will give us more partners, both in organizations and people. These partners will use our resources to envision what the church can be when God restores her mission in real unity. We will nudge people, coach leaders and step out of the way. A catalyzing agent disappears once it has brought other agents together. We desire no recognition but ask for big opportunities to do great good for as many leaders as possible. We believe the church in America is in the midst of a major spiritual and cultural crisis. We believe the key is found not in new programs. It is found in our greatest resource, Spirit-filled people clearly committed to three great truths: 1. We have a new commandment. This should radically guide all Christian relationships (cf. John 13:34–35). 2. Our Lord prayed that our relational oneness would be so evident that the world would see the Father sent the Son ( John 17:20–23). 3. The way the church does mission should be incarnational. This means people in community serving and loving the world as Jesus did ( John 20:21). If you believe we are living through a unique moment of cultural and religious transformation, and you love us, please pray for us and help us in 2011.
Great Is God’s Provision Continued life-threatening tragedy and is now paralyzed, sent us an unexpected check for support. The irony was that this check was about half of what we needed. The next day another check, dated two months prior, arrived. This brother had not been able to give for more than a year and now he sent two checks, but two months apart. They arrived a day apart. It just happened to be perfect timing. Our provision is not usually that dramatic but God reminds us of his providence daily. We get right down to the day that we need something and it arrives. The source is almost never the same person. Some donors give like clockwork, which is a huge blessing. We couldn’t make it without you. Others give occasionally so we have no idea in advance. But our father in heaven knows and he provides. “Great is thy faithfulness.”
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God is to be trusted when his providences seem to run contrary to his promises.
– Thomas Watson
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