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, September 30, 2008

Porn Again Christian


A New E-book is being released by Mark Driscoll. Here are the chapters that are going to be released, right now the introduction is online. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified when new chapters are released.

Introduction
A Tall Glass of Toilet Water
The Fear of the Lord
A Theology of Pornographic Lust
A Practical Theology of Pornographic Lust
Masturbation
Practical and Theological Reasons to Not Masturbate
Practical and Theological Reasons to Masturbate
Manly Men
Answers to Common Questions
Pornography and the Slippery Slope of Ted Bundy

Appendix:
A Final Word to Military Men and Other Men Who Like Prostitutes
Sex Slavery
How Are Women Procured?
“Breaking” the Women
Organized Crime and Corruption
U.S. Military and Prostitution
Most Prostitution is Slavery
Conclusion



Also check into a helpful resource that will provide you Internet Accountability - Covenant Eyes - sign up today and receive 30 days for FREE!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marriage is Hard!


"Marriage is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned on the darkest places of human nature." - Katherine Anne Porter

In an article from Newsweek is from an interview with author Gary Neuman. He did a two-year study of 100 men who had sexual affairs and 100 men who were faithful. He shared his findings in the new book, The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do To Prevent It.

Here is an excerpt from the article.

What did you find was the No. 1 reason men cheat?

I think most people ascribe to the theory that men cheat for sex. Women are being told that unless they are unbelievable sexy and have a Ph.D. in prostitution education then the husband is going to cheat. But when the results came in [from my study] only 8 percent of cheaters said that sexual dissatisfaction was a primary contributor [in cheating] and only 12 percent said the mistress was better looking or in better shape than their wives. It really started to show a completely different pattern than what most expect. In fact, the majority—48 percent—said that the cheating was about an emotional disconnection.

He's right, sex isn't the thermostat (it doesn't regulate the relationship), rather it's the thermometer (it reflects the existing condition of the relationship). In other words, the sexual relationship reflects and is a symptom of the already existing, deeply rooted issues in the marriage.

"We must never be naive enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall...The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the Fall: marriage" - Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III

Here also is an interesting quote on why marriage may be harder today than it was 20 years ago.

Have the marital problems you’ve mentioned in your book always been this bad? Or is sustaining a marriage just more difficult now?

I think [marital problems] have gotten significantly worst because of technology. We had difficulty finding space to be with our spouses before and now in the age of text-messaging, BlackBerrys and e-mail it has become impossible for some to truly have their spouse’s focus for any extended period of time. Vacations are no longer about vacationing. At any moment you could have to respond to an e-mail and people make a mistake to say, “It’s only five minutes.” It’s five minutes, but it has disturbed the whole flow of the relationship. We are never going to be able to microwave a relationship. It’s something that requires time and energy. I don’t think we’re poorer communicators. I think it’s basic. It’s kindness and appreciation and gestures that really do mean a lot and that’s where we need to be putting our focus.

I guess that rebuffs the whole notion of that quality time is better than quantity time. Relationships take time, we can't microwave them!

It is a good interview. I recommend it for your counseling and teaching. You can read the whole thing here.

(ht: SmartPastor)


How Hulu changed my life

Bill and Steven's Excellent Adventure

This is the latest installment of Bill and Steven's Excellent Adventure, as we document the ongoing progress of our new church building at Bethelview.

Desiring God Videos

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Curious Paradox


“The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way.

It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered.

Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly.”

—Mark Driscoll, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 33


(ht: Desiring God Blog)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Song of Solomon

That's right you heard correctly, the book of the Bible that makes people giggle.

Here is a heads up, Mark Driscoll just started a new series at Mars Hill on the Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs). It is definitely worth going to iTunes and downloading. Rarely do pastors preach from it, and that is a shame. Song of Solomon is a rich and beautiful book for the people of God.

And just in case you came to this post expecting to giggle..check out this parody video

The Gift of Cerebral Palsy

I had a chance to see this interview when it was aired live on Hannity & Colmes. It is an interview with Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor with cerebral palsy.

This is an amazing interview with a woman who sees her palsy as a wonderful gift. How can she do this?, perhaps because she has her eyes fixed on her heavenly Papa and not on her circumstances.


Pulpit Freedom Sunday


What is Pulpit Freedom Sunday? It is like taking a stick and beating a hornet's nest and then waiting to get stung.

Ministers from around the country are going to deliberately violate I.R.S. regulations, flaunt their violation by notifying the I.R.S. and then wait to wrangle with the government. All of this is an effort to challenge an existing law by deliberating provoking the I.R.S.

Here is the article by the New York Times, posted by a friend Chris Willard who works with the Leadership Network. What do you think? Good idea or Bad idea? Read the article and tell me what you think.

Ministers to Defy I.R.S. by Endorsing Candidates

Defying a federal tax law they consider unjust, 33 ministers across the country will take to their pulpits this Sunday and publicly endorse a candidate for president.

They plan to then send copies of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service, hoping to provoke a challenge to a law that bars religious organizations and other nonprofits that accept tax-deductible contributions from involvement in partisan political campaigns.

The protest, called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a consortium of Christian lawyers that fights for conservative religious and social causes. When the fund first announced the protest this year, it said it planned to have 50 ministers taking part. As of Thursday it said it had hundreds of volunteers, but had selected only 33 who were fully aware of the risks and benefits.

The fund did not make the list of participants public, saying that it had received phone calls threatening to disrupt the sermons. One participant reached by telephone said he could not talk about it. Another participant, the Rev. Luke Emrich of New Life Church, a small evangelical church in West Bend, Wis. demurred when asked which candidate he planned to endorse on Sunday. “I would say endorsement is a strong word,” he said. “I’m planning to make a recommendation. I’m going to evaluate each candidate’s positions in light of Scripture and make a recommendation to my congregation as to which candidate aligns more so.”

The fund provides legal support for religious conservatives who have long felt aggrieved at what they say are limits on their religious expression. Organizers said they wanted a range of clergy of various faiths and political persuasions to join the protest, but acknowledged that the participants might be “weighted” toward the conservative end of the spectrum and more likely to support the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, than the Democrat, Senator Barack Obama.

Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said: “This is not something these churches want to do in secrecy and hiding. In fact, they don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong. They don’t believe they’re violating the law. “What they’re doing is talking to their congregations about biblical issues related to candidates and elections, and they believe they have the constitutional right to do that.”

The protest is challenging an amendment to the tax code passed by Congress in 1954 saying that charitable organizations known as 501(c)(3)’s, which accept tax-deductible contributions, cannot intervene in political campaigns. The legislation was intended to prevent nonprofit organizations from funneling money and resources to political candidates.

(read the REST of the article HERE)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pastor, You Should Be Blogging!

There are a lot of reasons why I think those involved in ministry should blog, so let me give you 5 reasons for blogging:

1. Make your ministry's vision STICK.

Blogging is not the best venue to communicate the same kind of information that one would find in a bulletin, such as when the next church activity is. That would be a waste of effort. Blogging provides a much better opportunity! Blogging allows you to communicate vision. Blogging allows your readers to get a sense of your heart and passion. You know, vision leaks, therefore you always need to be pouring out the vision to the church. Blogging is a great way to do that.

2. Communicate, Communicate and continue to Communicate

As a pastor you can't just rely on the Sunday sermon to be your only mode and method of communication. In order for your congregation to "get" what you want them to "get", they need to "get" it from all the angles. A blog is just one great way to do that. I always say that communication is like buck shot. For instance, you shoot out of your communication barrel a Sermon, a newsletter, an email, a blog, phone conversations, personal conversations, discipleship conversations, adult Sunday school, etc... and just like buck shot, some of it is bound to hit what it was aiming for. Blogging increases you chances of making your communication stick and have impact.

3. Blogging allows people to interact with the Sunday message

I have used my blog to not only ramp up and warm up the congregation to my upcoming Sunday message, but also, as I post the message so that the congregation can listen to it in order to invite comments and interaction. Because a sermon doesn't allow for feedback, a blog invites that kind of feedback. And even though getting that type of feedback can be tough (especially if it's critical), isn't it important to know how the Word of God is or isn't connecting with the people in your church (or how you are connecting or not connecting with the people in your church).

4. Improve writing skills

This was one of my biggest motivations for blogging. I wanted to learn how to become a better writer. It didn't matter whether or not people were reading, I just needed to continue with the discipline of writing. Therefore, I encourage you to blog in order to learn how to communicate more effectively with the written word.

5. Network with others in ministry

I didn't initially anticipate this benefit when I started blogging, but it has been one of the best reasons to blog. Blogging opens you and your ideas to the world, particularly others in ministry. Through this blog and my other blog, Minstry Best Practices I have met some really cool people, many of whom have taught me a lot. A blog becomes a learning community. You get the opportunity to "share the wealth", learn from each other and become more effective in what God has called you to do.

If I have convinced you to start blogging, then just simply go to www.blogger.com, sign up and within a few short minutes you can begin to blog.

Related Post:

Is your church in the 21st Century?


cross posted from Ministry Best Practices


Shortages

Here is Georgia we have a gasoline shortage, gas stations are closed and it's like a game of roulette to find a station that's open. And as inconvenient as it is, that is nothing compared to THIS shortage.

Ezekiel 3:1-3, "And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in
my mouth.
"

Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

The only problem with us in the States is that we have plenty of "physical" Bibles in our homes and ready to buy in stores, and yet we are extremely malnourished.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Information Overload

Too much stuff, so little time. Here again is a lot of good material throughout the week that I've come across. I feel the need to share some of the good stuff with you since I don't have time to comment on it throughout the blog.

This stuff shows up in my Google RSS Reader throughout the week and I use the widget from my "shared items" in my Google Reader to post the most interesting information that I've gathered from the web. Enjoy some fun, entertaining and provocative reading. (my shared items have their own individual rss feed that you can subscribe to directly)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just plain mean!

(click to enlarge)

The discourse has suck to a new low. This political cartoon appeared in the Washington Post. Regardless what your theological views of "speaking in tongues" are, this cartoon's portrayal of it is just plain mean and ignorant. Not only that, but the cartoonist has God speaking in a coarse and profane manner.

These kind of opinions, whether expressed in cartoons, editorials, or by pundits on cable, are only going to backfire against their intended purpose.

For the next 40+ days until the election, I fear that it's going to get a lot crueler than this.

We've haven't seen anything yet.

Preach the Gospel to Yourself

I needed to hear and believe the gospel today (yes, it was one of those days). This quote by Frederick Buechner punctuates that point.

“Repent and believe in the gospel, Jesus says. Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all the glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all.”

Frederick Buechner

Showing Off My Other Blog


Hey if you haven't had a chance to visit my "sister" blog, Ministry Best Practices, - go over take a look, and perhaps become a subscriber. I just redesigned the site and I'm trying to take the look and the content of the site to the next level.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Be the Church!

http://putyourfaithinaction.org/

Put Your Faith in Action, is a strategy that helps a church serve out into their community. The strategy culminates with the canceling of one of their services in order to serve that morning. Here are some of my thoughts about this opportunity.

On one hand, I like the idea of being the church and worshiping God with our "hands of service" on Sunday morning. It shows to the community that we are willing to put aside our own agendas and programs to serve others in needs. It is a great opportunity to bring the church to the people.

On the other hand, I have some theological reservations about forfeiting the public worship of God with the people of God. Our service of others is derivative of our service of God. Worship is designed by God. God meets with the people of God when they come together. The sacraments, the preaching of the Word and prayer are means of God's grace, and I wouldn't want to easily dismiss them. Our church is participating on October 4 and 5th with Compassion in Action. And although we will be serving on Sunday, it will take place after our Sunday morning service.

What are your thoughts?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where in the world do "Reicharts" live?

This is kind of fun, check it out- it is a World Names Profiler. Put in your last name (surname) and see demographically where people with your last name live throughout the world.

Here are a few interesting statistics about the name, Reichart

The top country where there are Reicharts is Austria (with Germany as second). No surprise there.













This fact is interesting - even though the U.S. is number 4 in ranking for people with the last name Reichart, the U.S. has the top city for Reicharts which happens to be in Pennsylvania.
















This last statistic I found the most disturbing. Adolf is in the top 5 for the most popular first names associated with the last name Reichart. Who is their right mind would name their child, Adolf Reichart?! You might has well pronounce his life over before it's even begun.

24 is back baby!



This two hour event is probably going to be used as a story arc for the new season.

What is amazing is how they are touching on the child soldier epidemic that spreading throughout the world - if 24 draws more attention to this world crisis -all the better!

This is Gold!

Listen to 35-session team-taught class at RTS is now available for free at iTunes.

(ht: Tony Reinke)

Monday, September 15, 2008

This one wasn't hard to call!

From my previous post, YOU WANNA BET!


Click HERE for the Video from this past Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Core of My Identity is Community

If God-as-Trinity is the core reality of the universe, that means that the core of reality is community.

This is not easy for someone like me to accept. I have been suckled since infancy on the metaphor of the social contract: we are individuals first who then band together when it serves our self-interest. The community exists to help me self-actualize. I take it or leave it depending on whether it helps me do that. So, I never really commit to community.

My lifelong participation in the church seems to belie that, but I’ve learned the fine art of participating without being fully present, of doing a flurry of work for the church but hiding my deeper self from others. I never get deeply involved in the lives of others, because, well, that just complicates my life. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living community…

But the truth is that the core of my identity lies not in my individuality. Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau notwithstanding, it is not “I think, therefore I am.”… The deeper truth is this: “God speaks, therefore we are.”

- Mark Galli, Beyond Smells and Bells, 31-32.


(ht: Trevin)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Preview of Neue Quarterly

Neue is a publication from the Relevant group for leaders...take a look.
Neue (pronounced “new”) is a lot of things—a creative, forward-thinking ministry resource, a collaborative community of emerging leaders, a fresh and innovative quarterly magazine with engaging articles and practical tools for impassioned leaders.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Deep Consolation and Strength from the Cross

If we again ask the question: ‘Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?’ and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition. God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself. … So, if we embrace the Christian teaching that Jesus is God and that he went to the Cross, then we have deep consolation and strength to face the brutal realities of life on earth.”

-Timothy Keller, The Reason For God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Christ and Pop Culture


If you haven't had an opportunity to check out Christ and Pop Culture, you'll want to do so.

This is one of several blogs that I contribute to, and it has just gone through a re-design.

Make sure to visit, look around and become a subscriber!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Worldview Church

My friend and spiritual mentor while in seminary, T.M. Moore, has launched (along with Jimmy Davis) a new bi-monthly e-magazine from Breakpoint called Worldview Church.

This is the Table of Contents:

FEATURES
The Cruciform Life
by Jimmy Davis

Created To Be Cruciform
by Jimmy Davis

Working Hard for Greater Unity
by T.M. Moore

Praying the Imprecatory Psalms
by Stanley Gale

A Growing Movement for Biblical Worldview
interview with Martha Anderson

CONFERENCE REPORT
Sounding the Alarm
by Jesse Slusher

BOOK REVIEWS
Secret Believers
reviewed by Chuck Huckaby

This Republic of Suffering
reviewed by David Sincerbox

This new magazine promises to be a great resource. I would encourage you to subscribe to Worldview Church so that you don't miss an issue.

You got BENCHED!

Check out this video created by Jeff and his friends.  It was an opportunity of showing God's love in a practical way to the people of  East Atlanta Village.

More about the use of "words" at the conventions

Apparently I wasn't done with this previous post.

Wired Magazine took the speeches from both conventions and put them into Wordle to generate a "word cloud"

Here is an example from Hillary Clinton's speech:


To see all the Wordle's from the speeches at both conventions, go HERE to Wired.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Information Overload

Too much stuff, so little time. Here again is a lot of good material throughout the week that I've come across. I feel the need to share some of the good stuff with you since I don't have time to comment on it throughout the blog.

This stuff shows up in my Google RSS Reader throughout the week and I use the widget from my "shared items" in my Google Reader to post the most interesting information that I've gathered from the web. Enjoy some fun, entertaining and provocative reading. (my shared items have their own individual rss feed that you can subscribe to directly)

I ain't afriad of no ghosts!

Sing along!

If there's something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

One of my favorite movies is coming back for another sequel, Ghostbusters!

According to Variety: Hollywood knew exactly who they were gonna call. And Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd look like they're stepping back into their Ghostbusting gear alongside costars Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson for a third Ghostbusters movie.

Columbia Pictures is planning to reunite the stars and revive the 1980s story of Manhattan's valiant exterminators of supernatural foes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Generation Gap


This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990.... However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college....as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.

The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware.

These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.


Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

Here are a couple of samples from the list of 60:

Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.

Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.

Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.

Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.

Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.

Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.

Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.

WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.

Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.

The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.

Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.

Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.

IBM has never made typewriters.

There has always been Pearl Jam.

The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.

They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.

Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.

Caller ID has always been available on phones.

Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.

The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.

They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”

Soft drink refills have always been free.

They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”

Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.

The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.

(Read the WHOLE LIST HERE)

(ht: Beloit College)

Got to clean out the POOP!

From Rusty Pritchard....

There's kind of a global taboo on talking about poop.....The reluctance to talk about sewage, latrines, and toilets has put the cause of improving sanitation in the world's poorest countries years behind where it should be.

2008 is the UN's International Year of Sanitation (did you know?), and in Stockholm last month leaders described the challenges ahead in improving sanitation systems for the world's poor. In contrast to clean water provision, sanitation has lagged behind. This year, the number of people without access to clean(ish) water is down to less than a billion (the number was 1.4 billion last year). Half the world's population now has a pipe with improved water coming into their house.

However, 2.5 billion people still lack adequate sanitation systems for their families, resulting in millions of premature deaths every year from diarrhea and other related diseases. Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands reminded the Stockholm gathering that "it is hard for [people with fancy flush toilets] to imagine how unsafe -- not to mention embarrassing -- it is to relieve oneself in public, in the middle of the street, or for women in rural areas waiting for sunset to find a bush or faraway field, with high risks of physical assault or rape."

Christian ministries like Tearfund have taken up the challenge of providing such systems and in advocating for increased aid funding. You can read their report on the global issue, called "Sanitation Scandal" at their website.

Read the rest HERE


(ht: Rusty)

You wanna bet!?

You wanna bet that SNL Alum Tina Fey comes back in the fall to lampoon Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin?!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Words Used During the Two Conventions

Here is an interesting article from the The New York Times. The below graphic, similar to an internet "word cloud", is from the speeches at the Democratic and Republican Conventions.

The words that speakers used at the two political conventions show the various themes that the two parties highlighted during their 4-day conventions.

Republican speakers talked more about reform, God and character far more frequently than the Democrats. And Republicans were more likely to talk about businesses and taxes, while Democrats were more likely to mention jobs, health care or the economy. What trends do you notice from this study of these "words"?


(click image to see details)
(ht: John)

True Worship Subverted

“We have turned churches into “vendors of religious services and goods” where people shop for worship, instead of “a body of people on a mission.” People choose a church by what makes them feel good, instead of belonging to a community in which God will kill us, and then raise us up into the new life of obedience!”
Marva J. Dawn, Living in the Lamblight ed. by Hans Boersma

Thanks Tony for posting this quote over at SetsnService. Major conviction. Dying to self, mortifying sin, giving our life away and decreasing so that Christ may increase in us are not the things that most churches are willing to but on their website. We sell our ministries like products to be consumed. There is a church in our area that proudly proclaims that it as 160+ ministries to serve YOU. We are cultural consumers and that consumerism transfers into our religious experience.

How do we reverse this trend? How do we resist the temptation to flow within the cultural streams and become a people on a mission? Let me know what you think.

(ht: SetsnService)

Tabletalk online


I didn't realize this until Joe Thorn posted this, but you can read Tabletalk online at Issuu.

This August issue is about the New Atheism. Read it HERE.

Being Missional involves doing so in Community with one another

Chris Gensheer, posting about being missional, found this quote from a puritan fellow:
Being “missional” doesn’t mean just dropping the word in sermons hoping people will figure out what it means. It takes talking about specific issues of the church’s mission, grounding them in scripture exposition, and trying to engage your church into thinking about, planning, and pursuing missional goals communally; not merely planting ideas in people head’s that they will individually pursue once they leave the four walls of the church building. That kind of individualism is what is plaguing the church already, we don’t need to blindly continue in it.
I think one of the great issues facing the church in the next few years will be to understand what it truly means to be "missional."

Related Posts:
History of the Word
Missional Being Missional Made Easy
12 Marks of a Missional Church
2 Missional Diagnostic Questions
4 Missional Movements of the Suburbs
Being Missional Where You Live, Work and Play

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Q Talks


The Q vault is being opened and we the masses get the opportunity to experience them.

Listen to them HERE!

(ht: Ben Arment)

Seminary is humbling


The card above is what seminary does to you! When a student goes to seminary, they usually go thinking they got it all figured out. But by the time a student leaves and graduates seminary, they usually have more questions than answers. That was my experience. Seminary is humbling. God's and His Word is humbling. God doesn't fit and won't be contained within the boxes of our making.

(ht: indexed)

Coffee with Jesus

I fear that too many of my prayer times look like this.



Be still and know that I am God - Ps. 46:10

Being with Jesus, is to be quiet and listen. Let Him speak.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Memoirs from a Sci-fi geek


(excerpt from my post over at Christ and Pop Culture)

This past weekend I was getting my geek on by spending my Labor Day holiday at DragonCon in downtown Atlanta.  If you’ve never heard of DragonCon, it is one of the largest sci-fi, fantasy, gaming conventions in the U.S.  Just over 30,000 fans of comic books, anime, sci-fi/fantasy and gaming converged at this 4-day conference.  My own personal niche of interest was sci-fi and fantasy.  During DragonCon, I had the chance to meet the stars of my favorite shows and movies such as Battlestar Galactica, StarTrek, Babylon 5, Lord of the Rings, and Firefly.  

Also, I got to participate in several fan seminars to talk about the shows and hear directly from the cast members.  The one thing that surprised me the most about my experience was the costuming.  It was incredible!  People were dressed up as Stormtroopers, Sauron from Lord of Rings, Hellboy, Ironman, Batman and just about every imaginable character  from anime, comics, tv or movies.  (if you want to follow my Twitter feed from the event which includes pictures, goto: http://twitter.com/bigcreekbill )


Read the rest HERE at Christ and Pop Culture

Related Posts:

Have you heard of "Muni"?


Muni is short for mountain unicycling. This is insane. Just when you've thought extreme sports has been pushed to limit - the envelope has expanded even more.

Muni riders use unicycles with mountain bike wheels, choose downhill mountain bike paths, and challenge themselves to make it down without falling. they often take the same path multiple times, trying to improve their
performance.

“We fall more often than mountain bikers, but we’re going slower so it’s not as bad,” Van Koppen said. “The same cliffs are out there.”

Here’s an article about muni, with some photos and a video.

You can definitely count on not seeing me engaged in this sport!

(ht: ymarko)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome


I downloaded Google Chrome today. This is Google’s new web browser and my first impression is good and yet is won't be a replacement of my dearly loved Firefox. Although it seems faster than Firefox and uses it's computer resources well - it still lacks all of my favorite add-ins. For the time being, I will keep the Chrome browser open and play around with it, but it has a long way to go to be replacement for Firefox.

It is still a beta, so there are bugs. But if you want to play around with Chrome, you can learn more here and download it here.

How to be Happy!


In a recent podcast interview with Joe Gallo from the Ernest and Julio Gallo wine-making family Joe said that in order to be happy in life you need two things:

  • Work that you enjoy doing
  • A happy marriage

He said that some people have one or the other and they usually aren't happy (and the ones with neither are not happy as well), but that most people with a good career and a good mate are pretty happy.

When I think of these two things through a Christian grid, they both have one thing in common, CALLING. It is a calling from God.

For instance, believing that you are called to marry your spouse and living in that call brings happiness. And being called to a vocation, gives that work satisfaction and meaning.

What do you think?

(ht: FMF)