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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus



There is Kingdom power when the body of Christ comes together to show the love of Jesus in practical ways to it's neighbors.  Movements like this one in the video with Engage Atlanta and even others with whom I've worked with such as Unite Atlanta are making a significant impact for the Kingdom of God.

A couple of thoughts I had as I watched this video:

This demonstration of Atlanta churches working together isn't a result of some initiative, top-down from some organization.  Rather these endeavors often come as a movement of the Spirit, and grow from the bottom-up.

Also, it is important to ask the community what they need, rather than assume you know.  Too often we come to serve others with presumption and perceiving what we think is best...rather we need to ask in humility and discover how to serve their real needs.

No one person, or church or organization is flying their banner - rather it is the banner of Christ that is being flown- which means God gets the glory, not us.

(ht: Tony)

Friday, January 28, 2011

What is TRUE Repentance?


In a recent post (HERE), I discussed Haggard's recent media blitz on ABC and his special on TLC.  Well, the media full court press isn't yet over.  Ted Haggard recently granted an interview with GQ.  It is a surprisingly candid article, but at times falls short - especially when the interviewer presses whether Ted is still viewing pornography.

Here is a line from the article which particularly caught my interest:

Ted may be telling the truth, but his peculiar brand of self-victimization and protestation—in which every "I messed up" is followed by a "but... "—makes it hard for people in Colorado Springs to believe that he's actually sorry for what he did. One former New Life member expressed what seems to be the general sentiment surrounding his resurgence: "I think Ted genuinely loves God, and I think he has a sincere interest in helping people, but I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth."
Anytime you stick the word "but" after a statement of confession or repentance, it negates the act of repentance.

Feeling compelled to explain away or "blame shift" one's sin and transgression isn't true repentance.  It may sound sincere to some and to one's own ears, but it is an unfortunate counterfeit to true repentance. Paul tells this to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 7:10). He says, “I perceive that you have worldly sorrow,”.  What is "worldly sorrow"?  It is a sorrow that focuses on ourself, feeling bad about our behavior or having gotten caught and justifying our sin and blaming others.

True repentance isn't about us, our failure and feeling bad.  Rather true repentance focuses on God and His holiness.  It acknowledges that our sin is an affront to God. True repentance reflects itself in the words of David in his confession and repentance concerning his adultery and murder when he said, "Against you Lord, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" Psalm 51  

Notice there are NO BUTs, excuses or justifications.

No one, is beyond the grace of God, and God desires to heal Ted Haggard's soul, his marriage and family, but true healing can't be fully realized until there is true repentance - and there's no BUTs about it!

(read the full GQ article HERE)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Perfect Pastor??


Often unknowingly, some people can demean a pastor for not having a “real world” job while at the same time expecting their pastor to be Superman, to be perfect. Here is one humorous expression of the expectations that can be placed on pastors:
The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes. He condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 AM until midnight and is also the church janitor. The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church. He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience. He never forgets a name and spends most of his time praying to God. Above all, he is handsome.
He also knows when somebody is sick and needs visitation even without anyone telling him about it. He loves to spend time with his family and the perfect pastor has no problem with you dropping in unexpectedly. And he also spends most of his time in preparation to speak God’s Word. He remembers everyone’s birthdate and of course, their anniversary dates as well. Before and after services, he never fails to speak to each person present and will also take the time to listen to you for 15 minutes and pray for each person no less than 10 minutes after listening to them. 
The perfect pastor always smiles and tells you what you want to hear. He also goes out to eat after church with each individual family, spreading his time evenly between all, and he also pays for all their meals. The perfect pastor eats nutritiously, gets his rest, exercises daily, and is always there to listen to you night or day. The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed. 
The perfect pastor always has time for church council and all of its committees. He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched. He meets with the all the other pastors in town because they all have so much time on their hands. He also stays focused on the vision of the house. And he attends all the town meetings for PR’s sake. He takes family vacations and attends all the latest church and ministers conferences and listens to your favorite TV preachers and is completely up to date on each prominent TV preacher’s messages. He spends all day each Saturday preparing the Sunday sermon, and he focuses on his family too. He also doesn’t overburden the church finances, so he holds down a full time secular job as well. He never spends your tithes on his children’s Baskin Robins Ice Cream cones. 

(ht: Buzzard)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jesus Hates Obama

The Fox Network recently rejected this ad from a website called JesusHatesObama.com



I don't think they ever wanted to show the commercial...the cost of the ad would break the bank for such a small company. Rather they assumed that they would be denied, and then perhaps get more "free" mileage and viewings out of being a banned Super Bowl ad.

But regardless of the advertising stunt...I have a real problem with any website that boasts that Jesus hates Obama. Regardless of what you may think of him as a President, I don't think you can say Jesus hates Obama or in fact anyone for that matter. How can Jesus hate us when he willingly and lovingly went to the cross for each and every one of us. Jesus' desire is that no one should perish, but all come to repentance and have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9

Friday, January 14, 2011

Is Evangelicalism On the Decline?


On Sunday, January 16, TLC will air a new documentary about Ted Haggard called Scandalous. As the media spotlight hit Haggard again, it is interesting to view this clip from an interview with ABC News in which Haggard shares his new thoughts about the evangelical church.


Do you agree with his perspective?

According to Haggard, the evangelical church has lost the heart of the gospel?  Do you think that's true? Do you think evangelicalism has lost it's heart and is on the decline?  Some do. According to Robert Putnam and David Campbell in their latest book, American Grace, the growth of evangelicalism ended nearly two decades ago.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti - One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.

Last year I took a medical team to Haiti in June (and will be returning this June 18-26, 2011 - more information go HERE).

When I went, it was six months after the earthquake and it looked as if the earthquake was yesterday.  Now, it's a year later and I am afraid the same is true - with a couple of rare exceptions.  Here are some current photos from Haiti - a year after the earthquake:






Stop and Pray for Haiti and the Haitians today:

(See more pictures at Boston.com)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Are You Offended?

An entry in a Super Bowl Doritos ad contest is causing a stir. (update: the ad has since been pulled by Frito-Lay)



The spot, called "Feed the Flock," shows a priest seeking spiritual guidance from God in how to attract more people to his church. The answer comes to him in prayer: He will offer Doritos (in two flavors!) and Pepsi MAX in place of the traditional sacramental bread and wine of the Eucharist. The idea is successful and soon parishioners are lining up to receive the new and improved "Communion."

In seeking to be funny, this ad is completely ignorant and insensitive to what communion represents for all believers. (yes, certainly this ad features Catholics, but Protestants should be just as offended by this ad).  Communion is a time of reverence and reflection as we encounter the spiritual presence of Christ and remembering His atoning work of the cross. (see relevant posts: part 1; part 2; part 3.)

Plus, based simply on being funny - I feel as if there is very little satire available with the subject of communion and personally I didn't find the ad particularly funny or clever.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Unbroken

I just recently finished the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It was an incredible read, and what gives the story even more impact, is that is a TRUE STORY.  It is the true story of Olympic athlete, WWII hero and POW, and Christian evangelist, Louie Zamperini.  I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy HERE. I've included a video showcasing the life of Louie Zamperini that was broadcast during the Nagano Winter Olympics.  The video is divided in 4 parts, and it will wet your appetite for buying and reading the book.