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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Prayer of Humility

Humility

Lord Jesus Christ,
I pray that you may fortify me with the grace of your Holy Spirit,
and give your peace to my soul,
that I may be free from all needless anxiety and worry.
Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to you,
so that your will may be my will.

Grant that I may be free from unholy desires,
and that, for your love,
I may remain obscure and unknown in this world,
to be known only to you.

Do not permit me to attribute to myself
the good that you perform in me and through me,
but rather, referring all honor to you,
may I admit only to my infirmities,
so that renouncing sincerely all vainglory which comes from the world,
I may aspire to that true and lasting glory that comes from you. Amen

- Frances Cabrini


My prayer for the day and every day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reasons (why people don't go to church)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ouch!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cheer up!


I always appreciate this quote from Jack Miller,
The Bible is summed up in two sentences: First, cheer up; you are a lot worse than you think you are. And second, cheer up; God’s grace is a lot bigger than you think it is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"I'm going to kill you!"


Al Hsu just quoted this from Bart Campolo's April newsletter. This is definitely worth the time to read!

Dear Friends,

I often tell people not to ask me for statistics, because in this work all the statistics are bad. Ask me for stories instead, I say, because even in the worst of times I always have a good story. Whether it is one of my own or comes from someone else doesn’t really matter to me anymore. What matters is that it rings true. Like this one I picked up on a visit to Philadelphia last week, which was first told to psychologist Jack Kornfield by the director of a nearby rehabilitation program for violent juvenile offenders:

One fourteen-year-old boy in the program had shot and killed an innocent teenager to prove himself to his gang. At the trial, the victim’s mother sat impassively silent until the end, when the youth was convicted of the killing. After the verdict was announced, she stood up slowly and stared directly at him and stated, “I’m going to kill you.” Then the youth was taken away to serve several years in the juvenile facility.

After the first half year the mother of the slain child went to visit his killer. He had been living on the streets before the killing, and she was the only visitor (in jail) he’d had. For a time they talked, and when she left she gave him some money for cigarettes. Then she started step-by-step to visit him more regularly, bringing food and small gifts.

Near the end of his three-year sentence, she asked him what he would be doing when he got out. He was confused and very uncertain, so she offered to help set him up with a job at a friend’s company. Then she inquired about where he would live, and since he had no family to return to, she offered him temporary use of the spare room in her home. For eight months he lived there, ate her food, and worked at the job.

Then one evening she called him into the living room to talk. She sat down opposite him and waited. Then she started, “Do you remember in the courtroom when I said I was going to kill you?”

“I sure do,” he replied. “I’ll never forget that moment.”

“Well, I did it,” she went on. “I did not want the boy who could kill my son for no reason to remain alive on this earth. I wanted him to die. That’s why I started to visit you and bring you things. That’s why I got you the job and let you live here in my house. That’s how I set about changing you. And that old boy, he’s gone. So now I want to ask you, since my son is gone, and that killer is gone, if you’ll stay here. I’ve got room and I’d like to adopt you if you let me.” And she became the mother he never had.
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"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17

To love...is to give one's time

"To love is to give one's time. We never give the impression that we care when we are in a hurry. Too many social and pastoral counselors are people in a hurry. Hence, people admire their devotion and doubt their love. I am ever struck by the tranquility in which Christ walked along, always having time to speak with a poor woman beside a well, or replying to the stupid questions of his disciples the very eve of His passion. To exercise a spiritual ministry means to take time. If we want to save our time for more important matters than a soul, we are but tradesmen."
- Paul Tournier, Escape from Loneliness
"More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them."
- Henri Nouwen, Gracias

Nouwen's words and desire truly resonates with me. As a pastor, the best and most memorable moments weren't doing, but rather being. Being with people. Hanging out. No agenda. No pre-designed purpose. No structure. Just being present.

Too often we use the catch phrase in the church that we want to "Do Life Together". That is our definition of community. Although, we believe that if we repeat, Do Life Together, often enough, somehow it will come true.

Doing Life Together happens in the margins of our life. Doing Life Together isn't splashy, it's ordinary. It happens during the simple and during the all too common moments of our life.

Doing Life Together isn't rushed and you can't microwave it. It takes time and investment. Like farming land, relationship talks cultivation and care.

Doing Life Together often comes at unexpected moments. Doing Life Together may inconvenience us and our schedule. It doesn't happen on our terms. We can't organize it, control it and manage it.

Doing Life Together is a value, not a program. You can't compel it. It doesn't flourish motivated by duty or obligation.

I seen too often, that the church wants people to share their lives with one another...and too often I have seen those in the church living lives of obscene busyness, isolation and disconnection.

Who are we to blame? Pastors like me and others, who measure their worth and success by their busyness and activity at the expense of just loving and "being" with God's people.

People will follow our cues, model our behavior and assimilate our values.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

100 Days of Rememberance



Only 12 years ago. 800,000 people butchered to death (mainly with machetes) in 100 days from April to July of 1994. That's 8,000 people a day. Men, women and children. Unfortunately, the country that most of us live in, looked on and in light of what had recently taken place in Somalia (Black Hawk Down) was unwilling to intervene or label it what it was: Genocide.

We must not forget.

Resurrection Power is ours!


"The same power that brought Christ back from the dead is operative withinthose who are Christ's. The resurrection is an ongoing thing!" Leon Morris



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ has Risen!


You must listen to N.T. Wright's take on Easter and how it is an Outrageous party!

Download Mp3 here

You will be blessed.

(ht: Raffi)