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, September 23, 2009

The Necessity of Being Part of the Church



“By becoming a Christian, I belong to God and I belong to my brothers and sisters. It is not that I belong to God and then make a decision to join a local church. My being in Christ means being in Christ with those others who are in Christ. This is my identity. This is our identity. . . . If the church is the body of Christ, then we should not live as disembodied Christians.”

- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church

(ht: Of First Importance)

Friday, September 18, 2009

It isn't what you have...it is what you waste!


"There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use." – Mother Theresa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Testament to the Heroism and Sacrifice of the Greatest Generation

Following in the footsteps of Band of Brothers (one of the best mini-series made for television that makes all men cry!) is a new series called The Pacific, showcasing the lives, sacrifice and heroism of the Greatest Generation.  I cried just watching the trailer.





Saturday, September 12, 2009

Prayer for the times

 
O Lord, grant me the skill to sing your praise, for the bustle of this world is perilous.

  - Anonymous, Early Welsh

Passing from Grief to Joy

 

"Observe the sorrow of our discipline, understand that we do not pass from joy to joy nor from security to security, but from grief to joy and from trial to security."

  - Columbanus, Sermon IV, Irish, 7th century

Friday, September 11, 2009

Overcoming Suffering


 “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

(Hands of a man suffering from leprosy at the Ben San Leprosy Treatment Center in Ben San, Vietnam. The center was founded by a French and a Vietnamese Catholic sisters in 1959, and taken over by Communist government in 1975.)

Remembering



Eight years have passed, but we must not let our memories grow faded.  Today we remember and honor those who lost their lives and to those they left behind.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I don't want to go to church anymore!



"Church as I know it usually leaves deep parts of me dormant, unawakened and untouched. Maybe it's familiarly, the predictability of pattern and content that I find boring, superficially exciting at best, where emotions sometimes get stirred that get unstirred by the time I reach my car. ... I think [this] is rather a widespread thing among people in my generation. ... [But] I hope people get away from the idea that God is a genie that you rub a lamp and call it a prayer and you get everything you want. That is not how it works at all. I just hope people would see this is an incredible privilege that there is a vision for the church that is so high and lofty that it is only possible only through people who are fully dedicated to Christ. Hopefully we will get people moving in that direction."
-Larry Crabb, who after 65 years of attending church, admits in his latest book, Real Church, that he doesn't want to go anymore—at least not if things remain status quo. While spending months querying people about their thoughts on today's church, Crabb says his "disappointment, frustration and concern with church" seems to be a consensus. Rather than just presenting a list of problems, he hopes his latest book offers a vision of the kind of church God desires.

Like Larry Crabb, I certainly don't want to be satisfied with the status quo - the church needs to be always reforming and renewing. But where I can't and won't go is throwing out the "baby with the bathwater". This is Christ's church filled with God's people - and no matter how messed up and imperfect it may be - we are called to be among His people.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Campfire Tales of our Faith

When you think of church history, what thoughts or images come to mind? Boring? The Crusades. A lot of names and dates you know you'll never remember? Schisms?

Too often we view church history, according to author Diana Butler Bass, as "Big-C" Christianity - Christ, Constantine, Christendom, Calvin and Christian America.

This narrow, "Big-C" view ends up portraying our historic faith as merely militant or meaningless to our modern setting.

Diana Butler Bass, in her new book, A People's History of Christianity, brings the history of the church alive by illustrating and illuminating it's living tradition, and the community of people who practiced love and mercy throughout the centuries.

Throughout the book, Bass shares our history of faith as being less of a magisterial narrative and more like a collection of campfire tales, that is, discrete stories that embody Christian character, virtue, suffering and a commitment to justice and mercy. In A People's History of Christianity, it divides church history into it's major sweeping epochs and then within each of them Bass artfully illustrates the devotional and ethical challenges and transformation by the people of God.

I highly recommend Bass' book for both the student of church history as well as any person who desires to read the "other side of the story". I found this book not only a breath of fresh air but also encouraged as I witnessed throughout the pages, God's faithful providential hand to protect and preserve His church, all the while, doing so through faulty yet faithful people.