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.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

2 year thoughts from a church planter....

Mad Babble From A Church Planter...: 2 year thoughts....

I was reading this list from Gary Lamb(lessons learned after being a church planter for 2 years), and there were a couple of Gary's thoughts that really resonated with me.

Here are a couple that clicked for me...(my thoughts are in parenthesis)

1.) If you truly believe in your vision then 99% of decisions are already decided. Saves you a lot of trouble. (otherwise you will be tempted to second guess yourself)
4.) You can lead your people by doing life WITH them instead of being ABOVE them.
5.) People want a pastor who is the same Monday-Saturday as he is on Sunday.
6.) You can't grow as a leader without having mentors who are ahead of you in the game. I thank God for those people in my life. (I need and am greatful to have a 'Paul' in my life, it is also important for me to have peers who are in ministry that I share my life with.)
7.) I have the greateast wife in the world. She is the greatest pastor's wife in the world because her ministry is our family. (I am so blessed to be part of a church that doesn't put undo pressure on my own wife and lets her be herself, she truly has been a partner in ministry for the past 17 years.)
11.) There will be critics. Only insecure leaders feel the need to defend themselves. (This is why the Gospel is so key. When I am secure and know that my righteousness comes from Christ, I won't go after the approval of men)
12.) You must grow ahead of your church's growth
14.) Preach vision AT LEAST every two months. You think your people are sick of it, but they don't live with it like you do and will forget it. (Andy Stanley said it correctly, 'Vision leaks')
17.) If you aren't friends with your staff, then why are they around? (True team is so important!)
19.) RUN to confrontation.
20.) Love your people no matter what.
21.) It's ALL about two things: Jesus and People

Good word

Think Christian -The Passion of the Press

"...Our passion should always be for Christ rather than those in the spotlight who claim his name."

Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East

Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East

A great word by John Piper on the nature of the Israel, Palestinian and Arab conflict.

Friday, July 28, 2006

To ease our conscience...

A unique challenge from someone outside our Christian community...

The Henry Institute: Commentary:

"Guest-hosting the 'Albert Mohler Program' today, I interviewed Alan Wolfe of Boston College about the shape of contemporary Christian retailing. Wolfe, an unbeliever, told me he finds the kind of 'stuff' he sees at venues such as the International Christian Retail show to be indicative of an anemic American evangelical subculture.

Wolfe said in no certain terms that he does not want Christians to 'witness' to him about the gospel, but, nonetheless, he sees in Christian T-shirts, breath-mints, and boy bands the reality that Christians don't want to witness to him anyway. Wolfe said that he cannot imagine an unbeliever coming to faith through, say, a Christian bumper-sticker on the car in front of him. Buying the stuff gives Christians an easy conscience that they are carrying the Great Commission without ever having to verbally and relationally engage their unbelieving neighbors."

It will be an incarnational witness, our life and conversations, that will truly impact our communities with the Gospel.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Worm Food

I am using this video as an introduction of my sermon this Sunday (just click on video to play - and thanx to Sermonspice for this video)...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Satisfied with Church Shopping...

A point relevant to the sermon two weeks ago about the consumer mentality that we fall pray to.

There is a website called Churchshoppers.com

From the website..."With one-third of all worshippers in America changing churches in five years or less and twenty percent looking for a church right now├é…

What if there was a place on the Internet that church seekers could go to search for options available to them?

What if your church could be showcased on-line for potentially thousands of people looking for a church in your area?"

Certainly research on churches is available on the internet without the help of sites such as this. But I must be honest with you, I was upset and angry at the unapologetic nature of our consumer mentality from this website. There seems to be an acceptance of it with no sense of embarrassment that 1/3 of worshippers change churches more frequently than they change brands of toothpaste.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Kingdom of God grows.

I am going to use this in my sermon this Sunday, I trust this will be provocative...

A post by Mark Wilson at Revitalize Your Church:

* Percentage of McDonald's franchises that did not sell a hamburger last year: 0%
* Percentage of Ace Hardware stores that did not sell a hammer last year: 0%
* Percentage of Salvation Army outlets that did not help a needy person last year: 0%
* Percentage of state universities that did not educate a student last year: 0%
* Percentage of airlines that did not fly a plane last year: 0%
* Percentage of WalMarts that did not sell merchandise last year: 0%

* Percentage of that did not receive a member by profession of faith last year: 43%

I choose to remove the name of the denomination, because truth is we could fill in the blank with many kinds of churches, and perhaps even the church you or I are attending. The issue isn't about numbers, it is about the expectation that the Kingdom of God lived out is a Kingdom of God that provokes transformation.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The first sermon in the series

This may seem a bit backward, but a couple a weeks ago I started my preaching series on the Kingdom of God and here it is:


"Real Life of the Kingdom"

P.S. The second sermon in the series is MIA due to recording problems.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wish I had included this...

Just after finishing a sermon on community, I was reading a Barna report on Pastors and community, and I thought to myself -"I wish I had this a week ago!"

Oh well, that will always happen, I need to put this in the file and pull it out at a later time when I may need it.

From George Barna:

July 10, 2006

(Ventura, CA) – Pastors may be employed in one of society’s most demanding professions and many churchgoers may place unrealistic expectations on their leaders. But today’s pastors are surprisingly similar to people from other walks of life – with doubts and insecurities of their own. Pastors brim with self-confidence in many areas of their ministry, but admit it is a challenge to maintain genuine connections with other people.

A new study conducted by The Barna Group among a nationwide sample of Protestant pastors shows seven intriguing insights about how pastors think of themselves and the churches they lead.

Like other adults, many pastors struggle with personal relationships. Being a spiritual leader of other people creates unusual relational dynamics and expectations. One of those areas is often a lost sense of connection with others: a majority of pastors (61%) admit that they “have few close friends.” Also, one-sixth of today’s pastors feel under-appreciated. Pastors also deal with family problems: one in every five contends that they are currently “dealing with a very difficult family situation.”

Monday, July 10, 2006

Last Sunday's sermon...


Here is last Sunday's sermon in MP3 - "Community of the Kingdom"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Get rid of Sunday morning service??

A comment from a book I read this year that I came across in preparing my sermon...

"When you image the amount of resources, energy and time invested in a service held only one day a week, it is remarkable. With all the importance placed on this event, you would expect there to be a lot of scriptural directives to make sure people get it right. But if you search all of the New Testament looking for the command or injunctions having to do with this important weekly event, you will find them sadly missing. Instead you will find verses, chapters, and entire books that speak to how we are to live together as a spiritual family." - Neil Cole, “Organic Church”

What do you think of this comment?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Got Milk?

Here is my Man - Cal. I know that the Braves beat the O's last night, but I am still a Baltimore fan at heart. One of the challenges when preaching on Family Worship Sunday, is making sure my sermon is accessible to younger ears. And although I should be thinking about this during Family Worship - it makes sense to have this in my mind no matter who I am preaching toward. Am I communicating in a way that needs to engage both young and old, adult and children, mature and new believer alike. I always need to consider my audience and communicate clearly and effectively. At seminary they teach you to exegete (to know and explain) the text of Scripture. But just as important is to exegete my listeners. What are their fears and passions? What are their struggles and joys? And so on...
This Sunday I am going to use a milk illustration (hence the Got Milk pic of Cal) to engage and connect with my younger listeners, but if the adults are anything like me - a good visual illustration engages my mind and imagination as well.