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 19, 2010

Driscoll Calls Christians to ‘Go and Die’


 "At some point, to be a Christian you have to transition from ‘come and see’ to ‘go and die.’ That is, you just can’t watch people walk with Jesus; you have to walk with them. You can’t just allow other people to serve you; you need to serve as well… When people start giving their lives to the cause of the gospel, all of those who were playing church stop playing."
—Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, preaching from Luke 6:12-19 on Sunday. Driscoll used examples from the lives of 11 of the disciples, who all suffered intensely or were martyred for their faiths.

(ht: marshillchurch.org)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

7,500 Shoppers Unknowingly Sell Their Soul


Thousands of shoppers unknowingly signed their souls over to a computer-game store after failing to read the terms and conditions on their website. GameStation added the “immortal soul clause” to online purchases earlier this month stating customers granted them the right to claim their soul. While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did this, which would have also rewarded them with a £5 voucher. The store claims this shows 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a website before they make a purchase. Bosses also say they will not be enforcing their rights and will now email customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

Link to the original story

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How To Become Joyful

I believe that the real difference in the American church is not between conservatives and liberals, fundamentalists and charismatics, nor between Republicans and Democrats. The real difference is between the aware and the unaware. When somebody is aware of that love-the same love that the Father has for Jesus-that person is just spontaneously grateful. Cries of thankfulness become the dominant characteristic of the interior life, and the byproduct of gratitude is joy. We're not joyful and then become grateful-we're grateful, and that makes us joyful.
-Brennan Manning

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Your Church Abusive?



It light of the latest Barna research, came this quote:
Based on past studies of those who avoid Christian churches, one of the driving forces behind such behavior is the painful experiences endured within the local church context. In fact, one Barna study among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.
Read the whole report from Barna.org

So this begs the question, how do you know whether or not you are in an abusive or destructive church?

Here are a couple of diagnostic questions to ask in order to find out- so that your faith doesn't become another statistical casualty.

1. Does a member’s personality generally become stronger, happier, more confident as a result of contact with the group?  In an abusive church, the use of guilt, fear, and intimidation to control members is likely to produce members who have a low self-image, who feel beaten down by legalism, who have been taught that asserting oneself is not spiritual. One of the first disturbing characteristics to be reported by relatives and friends of members of these churches is a noticeable change in personality, usually in a negative direction.

2. Do members of the group seek to strengthen their family commitments?  Nearly all unhealthy churches attempt to minimize the commitments of their members to their family, especially parents. Young people may be told that they now have a new “spiritual” family, complete with leaders who will “re-parent” them. Church loyalty is seen as paramount, and family commitments are discouraged or viewed as impediments to spiritual advancement. (particularly during the holidays, it may seem imperative that not one day of work can be missed, and schedules can be very rigid, even lunch hours must be run by the lead pastor. Pastor's wives working outside the home may be frowned upon, as it discourages full commitment from the husband who is on staff if he has to take care of the children and miss any work time)

3. Does the group encourage independent thinking and the development of discernment skills?  Control-oriented leaders attempt to dictate what members think, although the process is so spiritualized that members usually do not realize what is going on.  A pastor or leader is viewed as God’s mouth piece, and in varying degrees a member’s decision making and ability to think for oneself are swallowed up by the group.
Pressure to conform and low tolerence for questioning make it difficult to be truly discerning. (members and staff may be criticized for not dressing like the others , speaking the right "lingo", and ideas may not be considered valid unless the lead pastor likes it and makes it his own. If the other staff wives are not fully involved and committed in the church, or miss a service, this may be seen as "disrespecting" the lead pastor)

Keeping Your Eyes Fixed On Jesus


“Getting the glory of Christ before your eyes and keeping it there — is the greatest work of the Spirit that I can imagine.”
- Jack Miller, The Heart of a Servant Leader

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The A-Team is Back Baby!

I was such a big fan of this show growing up...I can't wait for this re-imagining of the original series. I pity the fool who doesn't go see this movie.