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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

9/11 Attacks show no lasting influence on Americans' Faith

August 28, 2006

(Ventura, CA) – As the United States nears the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Americans are looking back at how their lives have changed in the half decade since that tumultuous day. How have their spiritual lives been affected? A new study by The Barna Group examined data from nine national surveys, involving interviews with more than 8,600 adults, conducted right before the attacks and at regular intervals since then.

The study shows that despite an intense surge in religious activity and expression in the weeks immediately following 9/11 the faith of Americans is virtually indistinguishable today compared to pre-attack conditions...

More of this fascinating report at www.barna.org

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pastor - Chief of Sinners


Posted on the MMI Weblog, but nevertheless a quote from one of Eugene Peterson's books that I am currently reading. I appreciate (and often am convicted) by Peterson's prophetic voice.

'American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names remain on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn't the remotest connection with what the church's pastors have done for most of twenty centuries...'

A few of us are angry about it. We are angry because we have been deserted.... It is bitterly disappointing to enter a room full of people whom you have every reason to expect share the quest and commitments of pastoral work and find within ten minutes that they most definitely do not. They talk of images and statistics. They drop names. They discuss influence and status. Matters of God and the soul and Scripture are not grist for their mills.

The pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are preoccupied with shopkeeper'’s concerns--how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money.

Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast-food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists.

The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor'’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.

From the introduction of 'Working the Angles' written by Eugene Peterson. "

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why is Wright Misrepresented and Misunderstood by so many of his Reformed Critics?

alastair.adversaria » Why is Wright Misrepresented and Misunderstood by so many of his Reformed Critics?

Here is a sobered analysis of why there has been so much backlash against N.T. Wright by Alastair Roberts.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Pastor and Plagiarism


From Jesus Creed:

There has been some recent news of pastors losing there pulpit over plagiarism. The post over at Jesus Creed has some helpful thoughts and comments to understand what plagiarism is and what it isn't. Here is a quote.."So, the sermon is highly biblical, highly personal, highly local, and highly temporal: it is the individual preacher engaging God and Bible and congregation, in that specific location, for that time.

...which brings up the philosophical issue: Is there not nothing new under the sun? Well said. To be sure, nearly every sermon emerges from books and sermons and ideas and all sorts of things that were used. But it is bricolage, it is quilting, it is convergence — it is precisely those things and not simple usage of others. It brings together other people’s ideas and says so if it is substantial; but it is a uniquely personal, local, and temporal bringing of those things together. Taking someone’s sermon destroys the bricolage and turns it into a canned, deceitful act of creating a false image in front of God’s people.

Now let’s be honest: sermons don’t have footnotes and need not. You need not end each separable idea with a “I got this point from Ortberg and this one from Niebuhr and that one from Bonhoeffer.” We all use things from others in sermons, and when we use a lot from someone about some point, we say so. By and large the congregation doesn’t care about that. But, I think they expect the preacher to be preaching his or her own sermon and not someone else’s"

This is a helpful thought. Plagiarism is when we rip off an entirre sermon or large portion of one, with out credit. But it is more than not giving credit. It robs both the pastor and the congregation from a sermon that has passed through the pastor's heart and soul. But it is unreasonable and downright silly to assume that a sermon is merely an exposition of entirely original thoughts. A pastor of course is using commentaries, illustrations and thoughts from their reading and study. I think Spurgeon said it best,
"You ought to graze on everybody’s pasture, but give your own milk."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We are a movement not spectators

Eclectic Itchings: The Bum of Christ

Matt Stone says in his blog, Eclectic Itchings, this pithy statement, "Audiences do not change the world. Audiences do not start revolutions"

Watch any revolution on T.V. and you don't see people sitting on their "bums" in a meeting hall, they are usually on the street. God has called the church to be missional and a movement of people sent out into the streets, the office buildings and the cul-de-sacs, or to quote from Bill Hybels new book, "Just walk across the room".

Welcome to all who are like us....



This picture from Gary Lamb's blog, taken of a church up in Canton, GA (merely just up the road from Cumming and our church).

The church is meant to be for those who are hungry, the weary and the needy. God invites us to come to Him, not because of what we've done or haven't done. He invites us not because we've cleaned up, straightened up and dressed up. He invites us not based on our works, efforts or accomplishments. He invites us to worship Him because of Christ. Wrapped in His righteousness, God delights in us. What an unfortunate sign to put up in front of any church. It doesn't reflect the heart of the Gospel, nor of Christ.