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, February 29, 2012

What is Leap Year?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do You Have Nomophobia?


Depending on your answers to the following questions, you may have Nomophobia.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Do you feel anxious if your cellphone isn’t nearby?
Does just the thought of losing your phone make your heart pound?
Do you keep an extra phone on hand, just in case your primary phone breaks?
Do you sometimes take it to bed with you?

If you answered, ‘yes,’ you have nomophobia, but you’re not alone!

According to a United Kingdom poll, 66% of 1,000 people surveyed say they fear losing or being without their phone. Four years ago, a similar survey reviled 53% suffered from nomophobia, so the phobia is undoubtably on the rise.

SecurEnvoy’s study found that 70% of female respondents fear losing their phones, compared with 61% of male respondents.

The survey also showed a division among age segments, which is not surprising, considering those 18-24 have literally grown up with them.

People 18-24 tend to be the most nomophobic (77%), followed by people aged 25-34 (68%). The third most nomophobic group is 55 and older.

For those interested in being cured, you can undergo exposure therapy or even consider medication.

27 Million



27 Million – that’s the number of slaves in the world today – more than any other time in human history.

Here are some of the facts about modern day slavery:
  • Human trafficking is an organised criminal activity that affects every nation.
  • There are an estimated 27 million people on the earth today trapped in some form of modern day slavery.
  • There are an estimated 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide.
  • Tragically, only 1-2% of victims are rescued.
  • Remember every number is not just a statistic it represents the life of a victim.
You can find out more about modern day slavery at The A21 Campaign

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blue Like Jazz - The Movie

Did you read the book? Well, now you can see the movie coming out on April 13th.

Don't Get Distracted


There was something fundamentally anomalous about their gazing up into the sky when they had been commissioned to go to the ends of the earth. It was the earth not the sky which was to be their preoccupation. Their calling was to be witnesses not stargazers. The vision they were to cultivate was not upwards in nostalgia to the heaven which had received Jesus, but outwards in compassion to the lost world which needed him. It is the same for us. Curiosity about heaven and its occupants, speculation about prophecy and its fulfillment, and obsession with ‘time and seasons’ – these are aberrations which distract us from our God-given mission. Christ will come personally, visibly, and gloriously. Of that we have been assured. Other details can wait. Meanwhile, we have work to do in the power of the Spirit.
 - John Stott, The Message of Acts, 51.

Fear is the Garden Where Idols Grow



‎"Fear is the weed-infested garden in which all kinds of idols are planted, watered and harvested, but only to yield a bouquet of destruction." - Scotty Smith

The Universal Temptation


Russell Moore:
Pornography is a universal temptation precisely because it does exactly what the satanic powers wish to do. It lashes out at the Trinitarian nature of reality, a loving communion of persons, replacing it with a masturbatory Unitarianism.
And pornography strikes out against the picture of Christ and his church by disrupting the one-flesh union, leaving couples like our prehistoric ancestors, hiding from one another and from God in the darkness of shame.
And pornography rages, as Satan always does, against Incarnation (1 Jn. 4:2-3), replacing flesh-to-flesh intimacy with the illusion of fleshless intimacy.
(ht: Justin)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Overcoming Spiritual Lethargy


Feeling spiritually lethargic? Desiring personal revival?

The Puritan theologian John Owen, in his Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ, discusses the central way to overcome this and to experience revival:
The only way of receiving supplies of spiritual strength and grace from Jesus Christ, on our part, is by faith. Hereby we come unto him, are implanted in him, abide with him, so as to bring forth fruit. He dwells in our hearts by faith, and he acts in us by faith, and we live by faith in or on the Son of God. This, I suppose, will be granted, that if we receive any thing from Christ, it must be by faith, it must be in the exercise of it, or in a way of believing; nor is there any one word in the Scripture that gives the least encouragement to expect either grace or mercy from him in any other way, or by any other means…
This, therefore, is the issue of the whole:— a steady view of the glory of Christ, in his person, grace, and office, through faith, — or a constant, lively exercise of faith on him, according as he is revealed unto us in the Scripture, — is the only effectual way to obtain a revival from under our spiritual decays, and such supplies of grace as shall make us flourishing and fruitful even in old age. He that thus lives by faith in him shall, by his spiritual thriving and growth, “show that the Lord is upright, that he is our rock, and that there is no unrighteousness in him.” 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Most Honest Marriage Proposal Ever!


In 1936, after his first wife had left him, Evelyn Waugh sent a letter to her cousin Laura Herbert, asking whether “you could bear the idea of marrying me.”

“I can’t advise you in my favour because I think it would be beastly for you,” he wrote, “but think how nice it would be for me. I am restless & moody and misanthropic & lazy & have no money except what I earn and if I got ill you would starve. In fact it’s a lousy proposition. On the other hand I think I could do a Grant and reform & become quite strict about not getting drunk and I am pretty sure I should be faithful. Also there is always a fair chance that there will be another bigger economic crash in which case if you had married a nobleman with a great house you might find yourself starving, while I am very clever and could probably earn a living of some sort somewhere.”

He added, “All these are very small advantages compared with the awfulness of my character. I have always tried to be nice to you and you may have got it into your head that I am nice really, but that is all rot. It is only to you & for you. I am jealous & impatient — but there is no point in going into a whole list of my vices. You are a critical girl and I’ve no doubt that you know them all and a great many I don’t know myself.”

They were wed the following spring.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How Porn is Stunting Our Young Men



The following is a portion of a TED talk from well-noted psychologist Philip Zimbardo. In this short clip he unpacks some of the reasons why many men today fear intimacy with women, and why we are becoming more and more socially awkward. He also discusses the role pornography plays in this cultural problem.

And check out this incredible resource that will provide accountability and protect your family.

The Habits of Hope, Faith and Love

Faith Habits focus on Embracing the Cross!
Love Habits focus on Experiencing Community!
Hope Habits focus on Engaging the Culture!

Cross + Community (- Culture) = Missionless Church
Community + Culture (- Cross) = Hopeless Mission
Culture + Cross (- Community) = Churchless Mission

(ht: Missional Challenge: Missional Practices: Habits of Faith, Hope and Love - by Dr. Dave DeVries)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday and Lent in 2 minutes

Friday, February 17, 2012

Survey: Unchurched Do Not Ponder Life's Purpose

"Half of the Americans who do not attend church also do not wonder if there is an ultimate purpose for their lives or the possibility that God has a plan for them, according to a recent survey.

The study by LifeWay Research, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, also found that people with even a slight curiosity about a higher purpose to life are more likely to participate in worship services.

About 75 percent of the adults surveyed indicated that they either agree or strongly agree with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.”"

(ht: Survey: Unchurched Do Not Ponder Life's Purpose, Afterlife, Christian News)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Six Purposes of Prayer


Joel Beeke & Brian Najapfour in Taking Hold of God: Reformed & Puritan Perspectives on Prayer list what John Calvin (Institutes: book 3, chapter 20) sees as the six (at least) purposes of prayer.
  1. To fly to God with every need and gain from Him what is lacking in ourselves to live the Christian life
  2. To learn to desire wholeheartedly only what is right as we place all our petitions before God
  3. To prepare us to receive God's benefits and responses to to our petitions with humble gratitude
  4. To meditate on God's kindness to us as we receive what we have asked for
  5. To instill the proper spirit of delight for God's answers in prayer
  6. To confirm God's faithful providence so that we may glorify Him and trust in His present help more readily as we witness His regularly answering our prayers
"All of these purposes are designed to foster communion with God so that 'the promises of God should have their way with us.'" (quoting Niesel, Theology of Calvin, 157)

From Taking Hold of God, pg 31-32.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Life is Precious

“Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let’s not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.”
 - Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

God is a Missionary God

God is a missionary God and He has sent the Church to participate in His mission of reconciling the world to Himself. That mission is the purpose of the Church on this earth, and the message is the good news of the kingdom. Missional activity encompasses the redemptive mission of Jesus. Just as Jesus was sent to seek and to save what was lost, the Church is sent to seek and to save what was lost. 
-- Dr. David DeVries

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Justin Bieber on Church Attendance


Justin Bieber on Church Attendance:

“A lot of people who are religious, I think they get lost. They go to church just to go to church. I’m not trying to disrespect them . but for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.”

So is it any surprise that those in his generation have trouble seeing the relevancy of going to church.

The Power of Vulnerability



Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.