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, May 30, 2011

Christ Died for the Ungodly


“The one thing that the poor strengthless sinner has to fix his mind upon, and firmly retain, as his one ground of hope, is the divine assurance that ‘in due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ Believe this, and all inability will disappear. As it is fabled of Midas that he turned everything into gold by his touch, so it is true of faith that it turns everything it touches into good. Our very needs and weaknesses become blessings when faith deals with them.”
- C. H. Spurgeon, All of Grace (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, n.d.), 66.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Being Faithful to our Witness

“We believe that we are the church, that is, we are a community of God’s people called and set apart for witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to be a blessing. As the Father has sent Christ, so Christ sends us. Jesus Christ has defined us as his witnesses where we are. We believe therefore that the Holy Spirit not only calls us but also enables and gifts us for that mission. Our task is to determine the particular focus and direction of our mission. We are to identify the charisms given by the Spirit for mission. We have the responsibility and the capacity, through the Holy Spirit, to shape ourselves for faithful witness. Our purpose defines our organizational structures - which means that our mission challenges us to re-form our structures so that we can be faithful in our witness.”
Darrell Guder in Missional Church

Friday, May 27, 2011

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)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture Roundup

Well, May 21st came and went, and none of Harold Camping's dire predictions came true.

Certainly this not-so prophetic voice captured a lot of attention...some fascination, but most of it ridicule.

Below are just some of the pictures and sites that popped up on the internet this past week in response.

But before we get to the silly and the satire...there are real concerns and emotions about what (or what didn't happen) this weekend.

Sadness: That people are lost without Jesus. Because even though we may ridicule the foolishness of one man predicting the date and time of the rapture...Christ's second coming is real and one day there will be a time of judgement (Hebrews 9:27)
Anger: That Christ's church was made a laughing stock and now more people are led to believe that the Christians are silly, foolish and gullible.
Compassion:  For all those disillusioned followers of Harold Camping who are now questioning their faith and feeling betrayed.

Bad Art of the Rapture
























DOH!


























The Rapture

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Safety vs. Bravery?


Given my work with medical missions and being in situations where I've served in the midst of political unrest and a coup as well as in the wake of natural disasters, there has always been the necessary consideration of the balance between safety and serving..so I thought this thought by Gary Haugen over at  ChurchRelevance we of interest:

At Catalyst Dallas, Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission discussed choosing bravery over safety.

When did it begin to occur to the twelve disciples that following Jesus was going to be dangerous?
When did it occur to you that following Jesus is going to be dangerous?

There are two ways to respond to fear: (1) seek to be safer or (2) seek to be braver.

Jesus is in the business of making people who are braver. Jesus is not in the business of making situations safer because he uses unsafe situations to make people braver.

You must make a choice between being safe or brave. Jesus tells us we will suffer for him.

1 Peter 4:19 (NIV)
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

There are two things that are always God’s will and dangerous:

Telling the truth.
Loving people in need.
If my life in following Jesus, doesn’t feel dangerous I might want to check if I’m actually following Jesus. 1 John tells us that if we see people in need but do not help them then the love of God isn’t even in us.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

God is calling all of us to the work of justice, but it is not safe. Do you want to experience your power safely? Or do you want to experience God’s power dangerously?

The Bible says God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Addiction to Technology


Yes, it's true that we are a generation addicted to technology...the internet, our smartphones, cable..etc.

But addictions to technology aren't just applicable to this generation.  Every generation has it's own temptation to be preoccupied to the technology of their age.  For instance, Abraham Lincoln’s technology addiction:
At City Point on April 1 [1865], Lincoln received reports and sent messages. He haunted the army telegraph office for news of the battles raging in Virginia. He was addicted to this technology.
It was an impatient habit he had formed in Washington. He did not like to wait for important news. To his delight, the War Department telegraph office was a short walk from the Executive Mansion. He became a habitué of the office, befriending the men employed there, to whom he often made surprise visits at any time of the day or night.
Now he was standing over the telegraph operators at City Point, and as soon as they transcribed the reports as they came off the wire, the president snatched the hurried scribblings from their hands.
—James Swanson, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2010), pp. 18-19.
(ht: Justin)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

History of an Island Divided

I am headed with a medical team to Haiti in less than a month. We are going with a Dominican church and will fly into Santo Domingo and cross the border into Haiti.

This video is an excellent overview of these two countries,  two countries that occupy the same island - yet two countries that couldn't be more different...and for years completely DIVIDED.

But praise be to God for the movement of the Spirit that has been bringing about repentance and reconciliation between the people of God within the DR and Haiti.  And it's been the earthquake that has brought about this new spirit of reconciliation.



Evangelism Fail


Meet Robert Norton Kennedy.

The South Carolina man, 51, was arrested last week for assault and battery. He is being held in the Horry County jail on lieu of $5000 bail.

According to the suspect’s forehead, which quotes Matthew 19:26, “With God All Things Are Possible.” Noting that “God Loves You,” Kennedy’s melon also seeks forgiveness in the event he says or does anything stupid.


(ht: Bag of Nothing)

Jesus is the True and Better


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Quote That Makes You Go Hmmmm....

"MISSIONAL": The word when it describes everything, describes nothing. If we lose this word, where do we go? What other words do we use to look at the future of the church and how do we recalibrate it?

– Alan Hirsch
(Source: google.com)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shallow Small Groups



Why worry about theology, service or "doing life together"? Try the Shallow Small Groups Method and you won't have to worry about being uncomfortable again!