Welcome to Provocative Church

As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.

Worship

We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

The Church

The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.

Ancient Future

Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.

Freedom

There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Allow the Spirit freedom...

Great quote by Stott that I am going to use this Sunday!

"For the Holy Spirit did come on the day of Pentecost, and has never left his church. Our responsibility is to humble ourselves before his sovereign authority to determine not to quench him, but to allow him his freedom. For then our churches will again manifest those marks of the Spirit's presence, which many young people are specially looking for, namely biblical teaching, loving fellowship, living worship, and an ongoing, outgoing evangelism."-John Stott

I forgot who said this, but we don't need more of the Spirit (we have it all!), the Spirit needs more of us.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Walking in the Spirit

As I have been thinking and praying through this sermon, the biggest challenge that I have is being clear with application. Just some thoughts...Walking in the Spirit is a life yielded and submitted to Christ. It is a life where a person is abiding with Christ and availing themselves to the means of God's grace - prayer, the Word and sacraments. It is a life lived within the fellowship and community of the body of Christ. Is is a life of worship. Worship that entails offering one's self as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1,2). Walking in the Spirit cultivates and develops the fruit of the Spirit. It is a life not perfected (we still sin and need to confess and repent) but infected with the presence and power of God. These issues don't provide a nice, tidy, clean formulae but rather describe the dance that is a life lived in the Spirit. Walking and living in the Spirit is more of an art than a science.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What challenges do you face in building relationships with others?

In a couple of weeks we are going to look at the community of the Kingdom. In preparing for that sermon, I wan't to ask you to participate in an "unscientific" poll on what are the biggest challenges that you face concerning building relationships and friendships, especially in light of the previous post on the Washington Post article about "Social Isolation".

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Making Sausage

If you are from Big Creek and have been visiting my blog to see the process of how I develop my sermons, I fear that that it is not a pretty sight. It may look a lot like making sausage. Like sausage, you appreciate the end product, but you don't want to see how it is made - or you'll never eat another sausage again. Well I have seen sausage made - and I eat all the time (in fact I like Scrapple - if you are from Pennsylvania you'll know what I am talking about.) The process begins with properly understanding and studying the text. This week's sermon on the Power of the Kingdom, I will be examining Ezekiel 36:26,27. It is the packaging and delivering the sermon that is a non-linear process that takes thought, imagination and creativity.

Monday, June 26, 2006

How do we build community?

When a pastor is preaching a series, they can't just be focused on the immediate goal of only preparing for the next sermon. A pastor has to be thinking and praying about the entire series. That is why when I came across this article by the Washington Post, - I thought this speaks to my sermon in a couple of weeks. How this will work into my sermon overall is still to early to tell, but I've put it into my file and will come back to it next week when I preach on the community of the Kingdom.

This article talks about how people in our culture are isolated and lack any sense of community or intimate relationships...

Social Isolation Growing in the U.S.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

That Saturday challenge

I am need of a heart check. It is always amazing how I get challenged with my own life and junk, right before I am about to preach. I was forced earlier today to look at the proverty of my own heart and realized that I was responding to my wife and some life circumstances 180 degrees from what I am going to exhort the congregation tomorrow morning. I have to preach the sermon to myself before I preach it to my church. It wasn't too soon after I responded in the way I did, that the Lord brought to mind all that I had been studying this past week. I immediatly went to the cross and to the feet of Jesus, and repented of my unbelief. I repented to my wife and asked her to forgive me. Preaching isn't merely an exercise of studying some text and expounding on it, but more than that- preaching is a means that God uses to bring about santification for the pastor. If you are reading this on Saturday - pray for me tomorrow morning.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Big Creek Church - please comment

Hey church! :-)

As I interact with my sermon series here on my blog, please comment. I would like to hear your feedback, thoughts as I post my work on this Sermon series concerning the kingdom. Thanx.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

PCA General Assembly

For most of the day I was at our denomination's General Assembly. It is in downtown Atlanta, right in my backyard - which was good and bad. Good that there was little effort and expense to get to it, bad that I felt too tethered to big and little issues at the church and therefore I felt like I was trying to juggle my focus.

I am working on bringing together all my spade work together and put the sermon into an understandable and clear outline.

Came across this quote which is the heart of what I want to accomplish...

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." Antoine de Saint Exupery

I want us at Big Creek to yearn and hunger for Christ's Kingdom. My prayer and hope is that I paint a picture of the kingdom that we hunger for it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Setting the table....


This first sermon on this series of the "Real Life of the Kingdom" I want to begin to set the table for the upcoming sermons. The struggle that I am having is that because people are going to be on vacation, they will be in and out throughout the next month, and to some degree these sermons do build on one another. But even though there is continuity between them, they each need to stand alone to some degree. I will have to think hard and be smart on how I work through this series so that no one ever is lost if they simply hear only the 2nd, 4th and 5th sermon. Please pray for me!

Eugene Peterson has been a big help in crystallizing my thoughts on this sermon and I want to share with you a quote that I am going to refer to often....

"The story of Jesus doesn't begin with Jesus. God had been at work for a long time. Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world. Matthew opens the New Testament by setting the local story of Jesus in its world historical context. He makes sure that as we read his account of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see the connections with everything that has gone before. Fulfilled is one of Matthew's characteristic verbs: such and such happened "that it might be fulfilled". Jesus is unique, but he is not odd. Better yet, Matthew tells the story in such a way that not only is everything previous to us completed in Jesus, we are completed in Jesus. Every day we wake up in the middle of something that is already going on, that has been going on for a long time, genealogy and geology, history and culture, the cosmos-God. We are neither accidental nor incidental to the story. We get orientation, briefing, background, reassurance. Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God'’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives-work, family, friends, memories, dreams-also completed in Jesus. Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sermon Series

I am preaching this summer, and beginning a new series...


More information to follow....

Growing Church

Big is the word for Africa's Christians -The Washington Times

This is a great article on the church in Africa. I posted this because it demonstrated to me that the kingdom of God transcends cultures and continents. God is at work building His kingdom, and this is an exciting example of His dynamic work!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pascal was Correct...

There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart, try to fill it with anything else - it leaves a person unsatisfied, here is a quote by Ed Stetzer from Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox that makes that point.

"Almost one in three people wonder daily, "How can I find more meaning and purpose in my life?" Another 13 percent ask themselves this weekly and 10 percent do so yearly. Only 26 percent of those interviewed for a recent survey by Zogby International never wonder about this." - Source: Ed Stetzer, North American Mission Board, S.B.C.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Article about Rob Bell.

The next Billy Graham?

This article talks about the impact Rob Bell is having, particular with the Nooma videos. We have used the Nooma videos at church, and they are engaging and provocative. It is exciting to see someone using this medium in a creative and fresh way that truly speaks to the heart of people.