Monday, October 31, 2005

Remembering the Reformers, part 1: John Wycliffe

Since yesterday was Reformation Sunday, a day when we remember our evangelical protestant roots and the recovery of the Gospel. . . and since yesterday I talked about the importance of REMEMBERING. . . .I thought I would take some time this week to highlight some key Reformers.

So the first Reformer you've got to know something about is John Wycliffe. Here's a quick summary of his life grabbed from the Wycliffe Bible Translators webite . . .

John Wycliffe lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the "Morning star of the Reformation."

Born in the 1300s, Wycliffe criticized abuses and false teachings in the Church. In 1382 he translated an English Bible--the first European translation done in over 1,000 years. The Lollards, itinerant preachers he sent throughout England, inspired a spiritual revolution.

But the Lollardy movement was short-lived. The Church expelled Wycliffe from his teaching position at Oxford, and 44 years after he died, the Pope ordered his bones exhumed and burned. Intense persecution stamped out his followers and teachings. It would be hundreds of years before men like Martin Luther resurrected the reforms of which Wycliffe dreamed.

10/30/05 Message Now Posted

Sunday we looked at how a Gospel-Centered Community is a Remembering, Reforming, Renewing Community. . . how this is the Biblical pattern and the historical pattern. It needs to be happening personally in us and corportately among us. It needs to be happening continually and at special, designated times. . . like our upcoming 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Sunday's message is available now at Connecting - Grace Church, San Luis Obispo

To learn more about our upcoming 75th Anniversary, check out the special and emerging section of our website at Anniversary - Grace Church, San Luis Obispo

Also yesterday, we had our new children's choirs, His Image and Joyful Noise, join us in worship. They did such a fantastic job. I so appreciated the God-centered songs they sang and the fact that the words were projected on the screens for us to follow along. Many thanks to Solina Lindahl, Grace Van Doren, Missy and David Grant, Children's Ministry Director Dori Iunker and Worship Pastor, Al Streder for all their hard work and excellent coordination and team work.

It was a great Sunday. Any thoughts, comments or feedback?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pray for Diablo Families

I was once told by a guy in our church that if you look down the pews at Grace, in every pew you'd see at least one family who's involved out at Diablo in some way. That's a lot families!

This week Diablo begins one of it's 40 day outages. The longer I'm here, the more I start to grasp what a big deal this is for all these families. Longer work hours, sometimes 7 days a week. A real strain.

We ran into a family after church on Sunday at Panda Express. I happened to ask, "What are you guys doing the rest of the day?" The wife answered, "Well, the Diablo outage starts tonight." I said, "So this is kind of like your Last Supper." She said, "Yea."

Be praying for these families over these next six weeks. One more way we can live "Life Together."

Wierd Factoid: We used to live in San Clemente near San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, the only other functional nuclear power plant in Califormia. Now we live here near Diablo. I'm wondering. . . . is there some meaning or spiritual significance to this?

Rejoicing in the Lord yet?

How's that homework from Sunday coming along?

We explored Philippians 4:4 on Sunday. . . Rejoice in the Lord, always, again, I say rejoice! . . . What it means and how we begin. A Gospel-centered community is a Rejoicing Community.

Sermon audio and outline are posted here. . . . Connecting - Grace Church, San Luis Obispo

I gave the assignment of reading through Philippians start to finish in one sitting and marking or noting every time joy or rejoicing is mentioned. So how's that going? Is it moving you like it did me? Have you been practicing rejoicing in the Lord this week? Why is this so hard?

Let's not be just hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's the deal with the "male only leadership"?

Do you think posting the questions I receive and my responses is spawning more questions? I think that's a good thing, but I'm not always sure. It's pretty time consuming, but I think absolutely necessary to help folks who are coming to Grace figure out who we are and why we do ministry the way we do. I'm thinking about including a "Vital Posts" along the right side where I could deposit some of these questions so they would be easily accessible for future readers. What do you think?

Anyway, the question of the week is in the middle of this encouraging email. . . my response is below. Keep those comments coming. . . they are cracking me up. But let's be forebearing and give one another the benefit of the doubt and recognize humor when it's intended. . . .

Pastor Tim,

First off, I trust you prefer being called "Pastor Tim" (as is the style these days) or just "Tim" to "Pastor Theule". If I've guessed incorrectly, my apologies.

Thanks much for the Welcome lunch just over a week ago. My family enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat with Pastors Scott and Steve. We also appreciate the chance to have you and the staff explain many aspects of the ministry and philosophy of Grace.

Now on to my question which some might view as a comment in the guise of a question.

What's the deal with the male only leadership?

I don't find such a position unusual or even necessarily unbiblical, but I haven't seen any compelling argument for this point of view either. Along those lines, I expect that Grace would only adopt such a model unless the church were convinced this position were Biblical. If you have a position statement on this matter, I would be interested in reading it. Where could I find such a statement?

In any case, my family has felt blessed by attending Grace since mid-August and I would like to say "thank you" to you and your wonderful staff as well as your membership as a whole.

All the best...

So and So

ps - I don't read the blog much, but appreciate that you have one. I also really like the fact that the sermons are available via the web ... it gives me a chance to catch up or to remind myself of one particular point or another.

Dear So and So,

Thanks for the email and great positive feedback. So glad your family has felt welcome at Grace.

Regarding your questions about our "male-only leadership". . . I appreciate the inquiry. You aren't the first to ask these questions. Here are some thoughts. . .

• I'm sorry, there is no position paper on this topic at this time, but perhaps my comments here will form the basis of one down the road.

• I don't think it's quite accurate to say we're committed to a "male-only leadership." We are committed to a strong male leadership AND a strong female leadership. Not either/or but both/and. Our desire is to see men, who's natural tendency is to abdicate, step up into their God-ordained leadership roles in the home and in the church. Likewise, our desire is to see women, fellow-heirs of the grace of life (I Peter 3:7) and essential members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12), actively and passionately leading and serving the Lord and His people here at Grace.

• We believe that women are biblically free to serve and lead in a wide range of positions across the church and encourage them to do so. For example, we have a female business administrator, a chairwoman of our Facility Trustee/Deacon Board and a female Children's Ministry Director. Our goal is affirm the place and role of women in the church and we are doing that in some purposeful ways. I still think we can do more. For example, I am ready to see female ushers and female servers at the Lord's Table. (Not sure if all the Elders are ready for this yet, but I am!)

• We do, however, believe that women are restricted from the office of Pastor/Elder and from roles that place them in a Biblical teaching position over men. Our conviction on this matter is rooted in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, I Corinthians 14:34-36, I Timothy 2:12-15, and I Timothy 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-9.

• As I have tried to grapple with the ENDURING principles of these passages (after all, we don't require women to wear head coverings), I have concluded that the guiding principle in these tricky passages is an appeal to the order of creation and headship. In the Godhead, the Father is the head (authority) of the Son. Though equal in essence, the Son willingly submits to the headship of the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 reminds us that this is not a position of inferiority, but one that leads to honor. In the drama of redemption, Christ is the head (authority) of His bride the church. The church is to willingly submit to the authority of Christ (Ephesians 5:21-32) In the family, God, in His infinite wisdom, has ordained that the male is the head (authority) of the woman. The woman is to willingly submit to the headship of the husband. The woman's position is not a position of inferiority, but of honor. Headship is never a "lording" leadership, but a loving servant leadership.

• In I Corinthians 11 and I Timothy 2, Paul is appealing to this creation headship as he distinguishes between the roles of men and women in the home and in the church. It seems as though God wants this headship principle to be visibly expressed in both the home and the church as a way of pointing to and mirroring the relationships in the Godhead and between Christ and the Church. I believe the teaching of men by women is prohibited because teaching by its very nature is an authoritative exercise, and therefore violates this principle of headship.

• In I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 where we see qualifications for elders spelled out, the clear reference seems to be to men throughout. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13, though, there is what looks like a reference to women serving as deacons. Putting all these passages together has lead us to our position of restricting women from the office of Pastor/Elder and from positions where they would have regular and ongoing teaching authority over men.

So and So, I hope this is helpful in explaining our convictions on these matters. I don't have it all figured out and still have lots of unanswered questions. I have tried to explain my own train of thought on these matters at this point in time, but I think I can safely say that my views are representative of our pastors, elders and ministry staff. Being married to a very strong and capable woman who has more education than I do, I have been challenged in my own home on these issues. (I think we differ less on these matters then we used to!)

I believe these things because, so far as I can tell, this is what the Bible teaches. If I'm honest with myself, I'd much rather believe other things because they might be more attractive/logical to me or more socially acceptable, but my conscience is bound by the Word of God.

I should say this too. . . other Biblical Christians have differing convictions on these matters and we are committed to exercising charity toward those who differ with us. These are important, but not essential issues over which we would not break fellowship with other believers. These are the convictions of the leadership of Grace at this time as we attempt to give oversight to the flock of God before the face of God.

Thanks for the inquiry, So and So. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to raise them. I pray that God leads your family to a church home where you can be excited about the doctrine and direction of the ministry. If and when that's Grace, please let us know! If its somewhere else, then God bless you as you serve Him.

Welcome to Grace!

In Christ. . . Tim

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Heavy Hand of God

In our continuing contemplation of all these "natural disasters," here's another artitcle to throw into the mix, sent to me by Elder Ron Johnston. . . . The Heavy Hand of God

Here are 4 helpful applications at the tail end of the article. . . .

1. Let us not be quick to judge, but, rather, to show mercy. When people are suffering, let us not waste precious time and energy debating the merits of their deserts; let us rather consider how to stimulate one another to love and good works on their behalf (Heb. 10:24).

2. Let us be bold to take every opportunity that God gives us—whether everyday “open doors” or large-scale disasters—to call men to consider His ways and to seek His mercy. God is in the midst of disaster as much as in blessing. If we fail to call people to consider Him, who will do it for us?

3. Let us give thanks and praise to God for the majesty of His might, the mystery of His ways, and the mercy of His steadfast love. God is always revealing something about Himself in the works of creation, and this is always designed to elicit worship from men. Failure to respond in thanks and praise when it is time to do so leads to ingratitude, idolatry, and increasing sin (Romans 1:18-32).

4. Let us not be reluctant to raise the issue of divine judgment, unpopular as that may be. It may be that, by raising the hard questions at such times, we may be able to lead people to their senses, to a path of repentance and faith, that will be the open door to a brighter future, and to eternal hope.

The heavy hand of God still presses down on the children of men. Let us be wise enough to discern it, and to know how to respond when it does.

Any other thoughts?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Eager Shepherds of the Flock

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. --Hebrews 13:17

It's kind of turned into photo week here at Life Together. . . so here's a picture from our Elder/Pastor Retreat last weekend. We really had a good time of prayer, study and fellowship together. Wayne Peterson and Ken Peet were both missing, but are represented by the bald, round, white guy there in the middle.

Hebrews 13:17 is kind of sobering. . . keeping watch over souls and one day having to give an account to God. We talk often about how to do this and how we're doing this. Its a tough task here in the 21st Century. Pray for us!

I give thanks for these Godly men, for their living sacrifice to the Lord and His pepole here at Grace, and for the Gospel unity we share together!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Zeke the Zebra

So a couple weeks back on a Sunday after church, we are all just kicking back as a family trying to enjoy some Sabbath rest, when Eden says she wants to do some face painting. Susie and I are too exhausted to stop her, so she and Zeke disappear for a little while and then Zeke comes back with his face painted like a Zebra. We all just laughed and laughed and he and Eden were both so stoked. Classic! Not bad for a six year old face painter eh? Dori, sign her up!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On a lighter note. . .

Yesterday was heavy. Time for some lighter fare today...

How about that Cal Poly Mustang football team? Ranked #3 in this weeks College 1AA rankings. . . their highest ranking ever. Montana on Saturday. Should be good. . .

Here is Sage holding Haak. . . . Boy, I love these kids!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday Humdinger #2

Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
The thundering of His pavilion?
Behold, He spreads His lightning about Him,
And He covers the depths of the sea.
For by these He judges peoples;
He gives food in abundance.
He covers His hands with the lightning,
And commands it to strike the mark.
Its noise declares His presence;
The cattle also, concerning what is coming up.
At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place.
Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
Under the whole heaven He lets it loose,
And His lightning to the ends of the earth.
After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.
God thunders with His voice wondrously,
Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. --Job 36:29-37:5

The Lord is stirring His people today to ask some very intersting and DIFFICULT questions! Our worship yesterday included the Chris Tomlin song "Indescribable." I received this email this morning asking about the song. . . .


In the first song on Sunday AM were words to the effect that God directs every lightning strike. I immediately was drawn to the event during the summer where a group of boy scouts was struck by lightning with at least one death resulting, and then to this year's string of natural disasters—the earthquake and tsunami in southeast Asia, the hurricanes in the Caribbean, the earthquake in Pakistan, etc. Would you care to address this issue? Did God direct that fatal lightning strike? Or the earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, etc.? Or is the song theologically unsound? Yes, God is powerful, but are these displays of his power? Are they "acts of God?"

Was it a display of God's power when lightning struck a church steeple, and the church burned down? Was this a display of judgment against the congregation? Or the pastor? Did Benjamin Franklin's invention of the lightning rod somehow thwart God's use of lightning against church steeples?

God permits bad things to happen. We live in a fallen world. He knows bad things will happen. He knows the future. Does he cause bad things to happen?

So how would you respond to these questions? Here's my response. . .

Dear Friend,

Funny you should ask these very difficult questions today. I was just reading in Lamentations 3:25-28 on Saturday at our elder retreat. . . .

Lam. 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.
Lam. 3:26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.
Lam. 3:27 It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth.
Lam. 3:28 Let him sit alone and be silent Since He has laid it on him.
Lam. 3:29 Let him put his mouth in the dust, Perhaps there is hope.
Lam. 3:30 Let him give his cheek to the smiter, Let him be filled with reproach.
Lam. 3:31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
Lam. 3:32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness.
Lam. 3:33 For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men.
Lam. 3:34 To crush under His feet All the prisoners of the land,
Lam. 3:35 To deprive a man of justice In the presence of the Most High,
Lam. 3:36 To defraud a man in his lawsuit — Of these things the Lord does not approve.
Lam. 3:37 Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it?
Lam. 3:38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?

From this text it appears that God causes grief, not willingly or arbitrarily to crush us under His feed, but so that He might show compassion. Both good and ill go forth from the Most High.

These verses lead me to Isaiah 45:7-9. . . .

Is. 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.
Is. 45:8 “Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.
Is. 45:9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker — An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?

And then to Amos 3:6. . .

Amos 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

Job said in the midst of all that was happening to Him which included some natural disasters (the fire of God in Job 1:16) "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." In other words, Job attributes all that is happening to Him to God!

I believe that these Scriptures and others teach that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, good and bad, blessing and calamity, woe and weal, mercy and judgment. He sends the rain to water the earth, does he not also send forth the lightning bolts? In many acts of God, we see a mingling of His mercy and judgement. What to some is mercy, to others is judgement. Oftentimes, Satan and other evil men are also at work in these happenings. . . . but God is still sovereignly overseeing, ordaining and even directing their actions to accomplish His and our ultimate good. (Joseph, Job and the crucifixion of Jesus all come to mind here!)

In all this, God remains free from guilt, sin and evil. How? Because according to Ephesians 2:1-3, we are all under God's just judgment and deserving of His wrath. God is not unjust in wiping out all but one family in Noah's flood or allowing thousands to die in the latest Tsunami or earthquake. God is merciful in giving us the breath we breath today and so very much more. This is not just my perspective, this is Jesus' perspective when He was asked about a "natural disaster" of His own day. . . .

Luke 13:1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
Luke 13:2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?
Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Luke 13:4 “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?
Luke 13:5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus is saying that we all deserve judgement and, unless we repent, we'll receive it!

So, what are we to make of lightning that kills "innocent" Boy Scouts? We are to say as Paul did in Romans 11:33, "How unsearchable are His judgments and how unfathomable are His ways!" If lightening destroys a church, we ought to refrain from saying that God was judging the pastor or the congregation. It's impossible and improper for us to assign a one-to-one correspondence to these things. "His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable."

I don't always like the answers I find in Scripture, but then I look again at the Gospel, where there, too, I see the mingling of God's mercy and judgement. God forsakes His own Son in judgement in order to accomplish His mercy. He causes (Acts 2:42: "according to the predetermined plan of God") this calamity to bring about my eternal good. I don't know what God is doing with hurricanes and other natural disasters, but I do know that He is doing something. It's not my role question Him or to explain Him or to redefine Him, but to trust Him.

All that to say, I believe that the song "Indescribable" is biblically sound and a good reminder to us that God is God and we are His creatures. God is in the heaven, doing whatever He pleases and working all things after the counsel of His own will to accomplish His glory and our good (Ephesians. 1:11).

Finally, I want to be clear that this is my humble perspective based on my study and understanding of the Scriptures at this point in my life. Other Biblical Christians have differing views on these matters. I have read and think I understand these differing views, but just can't stomach them. There's a part of me that would like to embrace these differing views that blame natural disasters solely on a broken universe because, quite frankly, they make me feel better about God, but I believe Scripture teaches the "harder" view I've outlined here. I recognize in myself always the desire and temptation to believe things that I want to believe because they make me feel good or because they put my mind at ease. The more I study the Scriptures the more mysterious and wonderful and terrible God becomes. (I have been comforted by the fact that C.S. Lewis presents Aslan, the Christ figure in the Chronicles of Narnia in this same way: wonderful and terrible.)

I welcome your thoughts and hope that my response spurs your own study of the Scriptures. I appreciate the inquiry.

Humbly. . .. Tim

P.S. : John Piper recently addressed some these same issues in a recent issue of World Magazine. Here's the link. . . . Who Answers to Whom?

The Glory of God
the Salvation of Men & Women

In our worship services together yesterday, CCC Missionary, Dan Krull, reminded us that a Gospel-Centered Community is a Misisonal Community. Dan not only gave a great Scriptural challenge, but also shared how he and his family have been working out the gospel in their own lives.

The Big Idea of Dan's message was that God's chief end or purpose and our chief end or purpose is the same: To Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I had someone from the congregation email me this morning and ask if I agreed that God's chief/end is to glorify Himself or if I believed that the salvation of men and women was God's chief end/purpose. They thought that they had heard me make some past statements indicating the latter. They seemed to associate this emphasis on God's glory as reflective of dispensational theology. To clear up any confusion, here's an edited excerpt from my response. . . .

I'm not sure what I've said or what you've heard in the past, but I'm right with Dan on the glory of God thing. Dan's view is hardly a dispensational perspective, but rather a historical Reformed perspective emerging from SOLA #5, Sola De Gloria, (For the glory of God alone!) Thus, Dan was quoting from question #1 of the W. Catechism, considered the standard Reformed catechism.

But here's the thing. . . . I believe that God is glorifying Himself in the salvation of men and women. The two are not mutually exclusive, though if pressed I would argue that the salvation of men and women is subsumed to the glory of God. Ephesians 1:1-14 comes to mind here. . .

1:5-6 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the beloved.

1:11-12 also we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

1:13-14 . . .You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory.

God is all about His own glory and therefore for our good. John Piper says it this way. . "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." God's glory and our good meet in God's redemptive purposes. The Gospel makes it possible for God to be glorified and us to be satisfied in Him. A study of God's Glory throughout the Scriptures bears this out as well. It is a dominant theme in both Old and New Testaments.

Speaking of John Piper, there is an excellent article at the back of his book, "Desiring God" that addresses this whole theme of God's Glory. I would be happy to copy and send it to you if that would be helpful. I also have the complete works of Jonathan Edwards which contains the essay Dan referenced, "The End for Which God Created World," or just go to to read it.

I'm sorry if I created confusion regarding my own convictions on these matters. It sure wasn't intended.

--Sola De Gloria!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

10/13/05 Thursday Thoughts

• I've been sucked into the baby zone, where everything slows down, all goals and life tasks are suspended and subsumed to the task of integrating a new infant to the family. I am trying to enter into these fleeting days and take time to just hold little Haaken while at the same time give appropriate attention to the three others. One of the many seasons of life. Can't fight it, have got to go with it. Blogging has taken a back seat to baby. . . for a time.

• Who is sufficient for these things? I take great comfort that Paul asked that question, too. I can be a pretty good Pastor OR I can be a pretty good husband/father. The challenge is being both at the same time. Both roles seem to require more than I have to give to them. Anybody else feel that way regarding your multiple callings? Please say, "Yes!" (Remember: Weak is the new strong!)

• Struggling with a pretty bad cold this week. Sleeping on the couch. Tickle on Sunday turned ugly. Appreciate your prayers!

• Elders and Pastors are getting away for a Friday evening/all day Saturday retreat to seek the Lord and His vision for Grace in the coming years. I'm trying hard not to overscript and overprogram, but leave room for the Spirit to move. Appreciate your prayers for our time.

• Dan Krull, a friend and CCC missionary to Krygistan will be filling the pulpit this week. We'll be continuing our series, "Gospel Centered Community" and remembering together that a Gospel-centered community is a "Missional Community." Having Dan preach has allowed me to focus on our retreat. Some at Grace know Dan and Dina well from past days serving on Cal Poly's Campus.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pizza in the Park

Here's a picture that captures the vibe of our College Pizza in the Park these last two Sundays. There's one more this coming Sunday. . . .

Click over to the College Blog and check out Pastor Steve's perspective of what God is doing in the College Ministry this Fall!

Grace Seminars Start This Sunday

It's been a crazy busy season of change here at Grace this Fall. If you're like me, you've probably had a hard time getting your head around all the growth opportunities that have been popping up from Growth Groups to new kid's choirs. Well here's one more that I want to make sure you haven't missed. . . . Grace Seminars. . . which kick-off this Sunday, October 9!

Grace Seminars are Pastor Steve's brainchild to fill an important and valuable niche for topical teaching on relevant theological and practical Biblical topics. Grace Seminars are user-friendly in that they only meet for 4-8 weeks! They're convenient in that they are on Sunday mornings (this Fall during the 3rd service) when we're already here and perhaps looking for something to do while our kids are in choir. (What's another hour?)

Here are this Fall's Grace Seminar Topics. . . .

1. The Christian Family Seminar—Paul Evangelista (Rm C14)
10/09/05 A Balanced & Directed Day
10/16/05 Love Languages
10/23/05 Dating Your Spouse
10/30/05 Spending One-On-One Time with your Child
11/06/05 Family Traditions

2. Bible Basics—Dave McShea (Rm B207)
In this seminar we will look at the development of the Bible from author to us. If you’ve ever had questions about who decided these books should be in the Bible, how it’s been preserved for thousands of years, or how we ended up with so many translations, then you’ll want to jump in to this seminar October 9! History of the Bible

3. Equipping Families for Congregational Worship—Bob Eckman (Rm C213)
10/09/05 Preparing Your Family for Worship
10/16/05 Making the Most of the Worship Experience Before, During and After
10/23/05 Preparing Your Family for Baptism
10/30/05 Preparing Your Family for The Lord's Supper

4. Apologetics & the Problem of Evil—Mark Case (Rm C11)
Have you ever been challenged by the question "How can an all powerful all loving God allow evil in the world?" Or has anyone ever asked you "Can a loving God send people to hell?" And what about the atheist who says he can believe in God if His existence were more obvious? In this seminar we will take up the question Christian philosophical response to the problem of evil hell, divine hiddeness.

This all looks like great stuff and it all kicks off this Sunday. So jump in and get involved. I so wish I could, but I am a bit tied up during the 3rd hour.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Great Weekend

It was a great week of grace for Grace. . . .

• I had an opportunity to crash the Grace Campout at Lake San Antonio Friday and Saturday. Such a sweet spirit of fellowship among the truly multi-generational gathering. The Team (Iunkers, Dostals, Gibsons and Joyces) just did a fantastic job planning and organizing. It was great to see some new folks jump in. The weather was great, the lake was desserted. It could not have been a better weekend. Andy and Jeanette were a huge help and blessing to me as I had Sage, Eden and Zeke with me, but no Susie and Haaken. I couldn't have done it without them! I'll try and post some pictures when I find them.

• Our second 3 service Sunday also went well, even though we were missing 150+ who were away camping. All three services had great energy fueled by a multi-generational worship team including some enthusiastic and gifted high school students. 1st and 3rd felt a bit lighter, but 2nd was cranking with lots and lots of college students. There were 168 college students in the 3rd hour College Fellowship! College Pizza in the Park was so much fun!

• After a long process and much debate, we all enjoyed a new coat and color of paint in the Sanctuary. It warms the place up a bit and provides a bit more contrast. It's a pleasant change. Hope you like it. If you don't, don't let me know. It's done!

• Our Fall round of Growth Groups began last week and I have heard encouraging reports from our groups meeting all over SLO county from Santa Maria to Templeton. May God richly bless His people as they gather for prayer, care and Bible study!

Never a dull moment! I told Pastor Al that I thought things might settle down by the 1st of the year. He said, "I don't think so." Maybe he's right!

New & Improved!

Up until now, if you've tried to listen to a message on Monday that you missed on Sunday to prepare for your Growth Group, you've probably discovered that messages are not normally posted until Tuesday afternoon. All that has now changed. Messages are now being posted on Sundays immediately after services. Normally it's the 2nd service that is posted, so I'd venture to guess that it may even be posted during the 3rd service!

This is especially relevant this week with 150+ of our folks away at the Grace Family Campout. If you missed Sunday, catch up! Our Fall series, "A Gospel-Centered Community" is so very vital for us as we look in the mirror and look down the road together. This week we discovered in 1 Corinthians 12 that a Gospel-Centered Community is a Diverse United Community!

You can listen now at

The podcast should be updated by tomorrow. Many thanks to Mike Borland and the Tech Team for implementing this valuable change!

Enough is Enough!

What's up with Blog Spam? People who leave comments but only to promote their business or product! That's just lame in my opinion. Many thanks to Kevin who informed me of a setting which aims to eliminate blog spam by requiring commentors to identify and type a word for verification. Leave a comment to see how it works. We'll see if this helps!