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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Brokenness embraces

Some of you asked if I could make available those 4 realities of brokenness from Dan Allender's book that I quoted and had up on powerpoint from last Sunday's service.

Here it is:

To be broken embraces 4 realities:


  1. I am never sufficiently good, wise or gifted to make things work.

  2. My failures will harm others, the process, and myself, no matter how hard I try to avoid failure.

  3. The greatest harm I can do is to try to limit the damage I cause by withdrawing, fleeing or by pushing for control.

  4. Calling out for help form God and others is the deepest confession of humility.

Happy Reformation Day

"October 31st is Reformation Day--the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg"

One of the calls from the reformation is that the church is reformed and always reforming.

This day always reminds me of the courage of men like Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Melanchthon and others and their courage and vision. I am humbled by the enormity of the challenges they faced and the sacrifices they made. The church is deeply indebted to them and even though I look to their contributions as foundational, I am constantly challenged by the unique demands of our age and culture. The Reformation did not finish the story for the church. There are many more chapters to be written. We have new things to learn, new conversations to contribute and new challenges to face as the church. So although I look back to the reformation for inspiration, I look forward with humility that the church is called to always "reforming" - that means me! What this means is the reality that I don't have it all figured out, I have a lot to learn and God has a lot more to teach. I pray that I would walk with the strength of conviction and the posture of humility and brokenness.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Burt's Pumpkin Farm


Oh, I love to be in the outdoors, especially when the sun is bright and the air is crisp. This is one of my favorite days.
Every fall we make sure our family makes it to a pumpkin farm, and since we have been in Georgia we have been trying different pumpkin farms, in order to experience different places throughout the area.

Burt's was a nice farm, but it was the drive in particular that was most enjoyable.

The fall and the trees and weather are some of the things that I am most thankful about coming back north and leaving Florida.

Being out in the country cleans the mind and refreshes the soul - it was a wonderful afternoon in God's creation, after a wonderful morning worshipping the Creator of it all.
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Death by Caffeine

Death by Caffeine

This website will tell you how much of your favorite Caffeinated drink you can consume before it kills you. It is good to know that I can put down 120 cups and still cheat death.

I will have to restrain myself at our Tuesday morning elder meetings at Starbucks.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Warm up the TiVo

Here is an extended preview of the NEW season 6 of 24, I can't wait, it starts in January 2007!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

byFaith magazine, one of the best things from the PCA

I got alerted about this from my friend John Ottinger, this is a copy from his post.

"I'm about to write a shameless plug, but only because I truly believe in the magazine.

byFaith Magazine, the magazine of the PCA, is in need of subscribers. In the interest of full disclosure, my wife works as their subscription editor.

byFaith does not have the roster of subscribers that it originally planned to have at this time, and it needs them in order to keep it's doors open.

If you already a subscriber, please promote the magazine in your church and among your Christian friends. Subscribers are not limited to PCA members and the articles are applicable to anyone who is of the Reformed tradition. Your recommendation would go a long way to increasing subscribership.

Please help us keep this magazine going. I enjoyed it for its own sake long before my wife went to work there (in fact, that's why she went to work there) and want to see it continue.

Their are two ways to subscribe. You can do so online for the price of $19.95 for 6 issues (1 year). Follow this link.

The second way you can sign up is to get a group of folks together from your church (as few as 5) and sign up at the church subscription rate of $14 for six issues. Call my wife at (678) 825-1000 or email editor@byfaithonline.com to subscribe your church group.

You can also donate. The Maclellan Foundation has promised to give byFaith $75,000 if byFaith can match that amount in donations of $1,000 or less from individuals. I have already given as much as I can this year, but this money must be raised by the end of the year. They are already over halfway there but still need to raise almost $45,000.

Please consider subscribing. It's cheap (the cost of a pizza night) and a fun and interesting read. Give a gift subscription to a poor college friend or seminary student. It's the subscriptions that count, not the money raised. Click on any of the pictures in this document and you'll be taken right to the website.

Below you will find a description of the magazine and you can see more at byFaith.

ByFaith is the bi-monthly magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America. In every issue readers will find departments and features that are interesting, and applicable to their everyday lives, including:

News reported primarily from PCA churches, presbyteries, and ministries. But also other news of interest to those who view the world from a Christian and Reformed perspective.

In the World brings a Reformed perspective to the social and theological issues that influence our society, business, science, education, law, technology...

Theology for Ordinary Life deals with the ministry of life at home, at work, at church, and in the community discussing how, in our day-to-day tasks, we become a part of God's redemptive plan.

Art & Culture presents a biblical perspective on art, music, books, television, movies enabling us to engage others naturally, and from a Christian point of view.

In the Church/PCA People provides profiles and stories from our congregations, committees, and agencies. In these areas of the magazine we hope to create connections within the PCA: names, phone numbers, email addresses where readers follow-up and learn more."

I have always been proud to recommend our denomination's magazine to friends and members of Big Creek.  It would be a terrible shame to have this wonderful magazine disappear.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween approaching..

Here is a long quote from Tim Challies blog, and I think that it has some great merit.

"I am guessing my neighbourhood is all-too-typical in that people typically arrive home from work and immediately drive their cars into the garage. More often than not they do not emerge again until the next morning when they leave for work once more. We are private, reclusive people who delight in our privacy. We rarely see our neighbors and rarely communicate with them. It would be a terrible breach of Canadian social etiquette for me to knock on a person's door and ask them for a small gift or even just to say "hello" to them. In the six years we have been living in this area, we have never once had a neighbor come to the door to ask for anything (except for this time). Yet on Halloween these barriers all come down. I have the opportunity to greet every person in the neighbourhood. I have the opportunity to introduce myself to the family who moved in just down the row a few weeks ago and to greet some other people I have not seen for weeks or months. At the same time, those people's children will come knocking on my door. We have two possible responses. We can turn the lights out and sit inside, seeking to shelter ourselves from the pagan influence of the little Harry Potters, Batmans and ballerinas, or we can greet them, gush over them, and make them feel welcome. We can prove ourselves to be the family who genuinely cares about our neighbours, or we can be the family who shows that we want to interact with them only on our terms. Most of our neighbors know of our faith and of our supposed concern for them. This is a chance to prove our love for them. The same contributor to the email list concluded his defense of participating in Halloween with these words: "One night does not a neighbor make (and one night does not a pagan make), but Halloween is the one night of the year where the good neighborliness that flows from being in Christ is communicated and reinforced. We are citizens of another Kingdom where The Light is always on." The truth is that I have several convictions regarding Halloween. I despise the pagan aspects of it. I am convicted that my children should not dress as little devils or ghosts or monsters. But I am also convicted that there could be no worse witness to the neighbours than having a dark house, especially in a neighbourhood like ours which is small and where every person and every home is highly-visible. We know that, if we choose not to participate, the neighbors will notice and will smile knowingly, supposing that we feel too good to participate. We have nothing to fear from our neighbours or from their children. So my children will dress up (my son as a police officer and my daughter as a princess) and we will visit each of our neighbours, knocking on their doors and accepting their fistfuls of candy. Either my wife or I will remain at home, greeting people at our door with a smile and a handful of something tasty. If the kids are deemed too old to trick-or-treat, they'll be forced to sing a song to merit any handouts. Our door will be open and the light will be on. And we trust that the Light will shine brightly. My encouragement to you today is to think and pray about this issue. I do not see Halloween as a great evangelistic occasion. I do not foresee it as a time when the people coming to your door are likely to be saved. But I do think it is a time that you can prove to your neighbors that you care about them, that you care about their children, and that you are glad to be in this world and this culture, even if you are not of this world or this culture. Halloween may serve as a bridge to the hearts of those who live around you who so desperately need a Savior."
As God has called us, His Church, to be a missional people, I am convinced that we need to be smart and intentional in how we go into our community. Halloween is an example where people open their doors, invite people to come. Can it not be seen as a natural opportunity to get to know a neighbor and be known by our neighbors?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online

The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online

This has been a labor of love at Yale for many years, now we get to benefit from the fruit of their labor. If you don't know, Edwards is considered the greatest Theological thinker of America. But not only was he a tremendous intellect, he had a deep, abiding affection for the Lord.

This site is definitely worth bookmarking.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Nativity Story

Christmas can never come too early...



This looks like a quality film. Although I am not willing to buy into the hype that this will be the next biggest evangelistic opportunity. I have already seen that kind of hype and expectation fall short with the Davinci Code, and even with the Passion (a lot of hype and buzz, but no apparent, long lasting fruit). I do think it can provide an opportunity to create conversation though, and certainly remind us and our neighbors of the true focal point of Christmas - Immanuel, God with US!

Monday, October 16, 2006

A day I am looking forward toward...

Last week was a busy week and as I go through my planning for the week, I still have a lot on my plate. But I can't think of a week in ministry that hasn't been busy and challenging. But this Wednesday, I am taking a day of prayer. And I am definitely looking forward to it. I need it. My soul needs it. About every other month, I take a full day of prayer. It never comes at a convenient time. But of course prayer never does. But this is my opportunity to choose a "Mary" and not a "Martha", and as Jesus said, it is a better choice.

What is Real?

I saw this at Trendhunter (make sure to view the video)

"The Dove Real Beauty campaign has released a new video which is absolutely awesome. It fast forwards through the evolution of beauty by starting with a real woman and transforming her into a billboard. If you'’ve ever wondered how much work goes into preparing a model for a photoshoot, and then how much photoshop happens after, this video displays it all. This is video is required watching."



Of course this video reminds every woman in the world, as well as every man, that what we see in the media is totally skewed when it comes to the perception of beauty. But as I viewed the video, I thought through all the messages that I receive from the world and culture around me, and how they skew my sense of reality. The world tells me that I am unhappy, "until I buy this or that". The world tells me that this is all there is, so I might as well live for the moment. The world tells me that my own personal peace and pleasure is the most important, so if something is too hard or difficult, like a marriage, than I should just give up and move on. Since you and I are constantly inundated with tons and tons of messages which skew reality and truth, how much more important that we feed on and digest God's truth.