Monday, January 30, 2006

Let It Snow!

Guess, where I am? Mammoth! Snuck away for a "crash" trip with 6 other guys, 5 from Grace. . . .Mike Van Doren, Mike Allshouse, Sean Cheney, Ted Malley and Joe Pollen. Joe organized the trip. It only took me three months to commit and organize my life to get here. My mom came down to help with the kids. It's been 10 years since I've ridden a lift. But snowboarding is like riding a bike, except I'm 10 years older! Lots of Advil! We had a great day today. It's snowing now. Tomorrow should be awesome. Then we'll power home at the end of the day and be home by midnight. I'll try to post a group pic tomorrow or Wednesday.

Oh yeah, we're sponging from the wireless in the next cabin. Joe's friend from San Francisco brought his laptop. Not quite unplugged.

Lord, no injuries tomorrow, please!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Meet My Brother Chad

Always real and always good for a laugh . . .trying to figure life out. . . just like the rest of us. . . . meet my little brother, Chad.

Chad's a hot shot executive in some recently "gone public" Bay Area company. Chad's a husband and dad of three. Chad's a Poly grad who's trying to get back to SLO. . . someday! Hope it happens. We talk almost daily.

His last post reveals some deep honest struggle in his walk with Jesus. Check it out at The Theule Family Blog

Worship Quote of the Week

Pastor Al subscribes to the Worship Quote of the Week. Often he forwards me quotes he likes. He sent me this one this morning. Expresses well what we are trying to do here at Grace, don't you think?

We must be more Christ-centered in our worship services. When it comes to our songs, we must be concerned about the theology in the lyrics. . . . Our songs need to retell the Jesus story. If you want to see power reenter your worship services, just start singing about Jesus again.

Furthermore, our preaching needs to celebrate Christ. The more I think of my preaching as an act of worship and not merely as an act of exhortation, the more gospel I will have in my messages. Teach the Bible, but for heaven’s sake, preach Christ. The pulpit is not the place to share ideologies and opinions but the place to gossip the gospel. Declare the mighty acts of God."


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More Baptism Reflections

If you missed the baptism, check out Pastor Steve's recap on the college blog. He gets a bit more specific than I did.

the source

Monday, January 23, 2006

What can you tell me?

It's a quiz! What can you tell me about this image? Why have I posted it? Why is it relevant? What should we see here?

What would Dr. King Say?

I was handed this interesting article yesterday from someone brand new at Grace. It's worth a read. It reminded me of a chapter in this funny little book I'm reading called Freakonimics. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

WorldNetDaily: What would Dr. King say?

Sunday 01.22.06

In the morning services yesterday, it was good to jump back into our study of Matthew's Gospel. Matthew 17:1-13, where we see the transfiguration of Jesus, is such a rich passage. There just wasn't enough time to say what I would have liked to have said. All our Growth Groups will have a great chance to dig in and check out some of the many related passages, like 2 Peter 1:16-18 and 2 Corinthians 4. (Are you in a Growth Group yet? I'm hearing some great things about the start of our Winter Quarter!)

Message, outline and questions are posted now HERE!

3rd service was the fullest I've seen. It's about time to open that 4th section.

I was encouraged to see so many hands raise in response to the question, "Who parked in the parking structure?" One couple approached me after 1st hour and confessed, "We drove up and I said, 'Early bird gets the worm.'" At least they were honest! They also left after the first hour.

The best part of the whole day was gathering again for our Evening Baptism Service. We dunked ten folks, a great mix of young people and adults. So encouraging to hear how God has been at work in such different ways in such different people. So neat to see folks going for it and obeying the Lord's command to identify with Him and proclaim their faith.

The attendance was good, but not great. I was a little disappointed about that, only because its such a precious time. The place should have been packed! So where were you?

With three services, it would be really hard to pull this off in the morning. Also, it was nice to relax a little in the evening, take our time and not be so focussed on managing the clock. We'll talk about it as staff, but I think we'll stick with the evening time slot for now.

Were you there? What did you think? Your feedback is always welcome.

I read every comment though I try and stay out of the fray!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Living the Gospel

Someone took the time to email me and let me know that Choices, the crises pregnancy center here in SLO, received more calls this week from Grace Church folks interested in volunteering than they ever had before. How cool is that?

And then I received this encouraging note from Jim Coles who runs the show over there. . .

Hi Tim,

All I can say is…….Wow! I just finished listening to last week’s message.

Thanks for succinctly sharing God’s heart on so many crucial issues of our time. You said it was only foundational and not comprehensive. After listening and taking two pages of notes, I was energized. It takes me a lot to get fired up…..the Lord used you to encourage a rather “seasoned pro-lifer.”

Also, I truly appreciate your willingness to be transparent. It’s refreshing to see a spiritual leader like yourself not be overly concerned about what those in attendance would think of why you were so compelled to share the hard truth on sensitive issues. It’s certainly appropriate to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Finally, thanks for the decisive endorsement & referral. We consider each appointment a divine appointment. We saw a total of 700 clients (SLO = 226) in 2005 and we were able to share the truth in love with each and every one of them. I believe this is just the tip of the ice-burg and with the support of the body of Christ here on the Central Coast, we can expect many many more in the future.

Congratulations on blessing # 4! (Ps. 127:3-5)

Hope to see you soon. Perhaps we could get together for lunch again? I’ll have my people get a hold of your people.

Keep given ‘m heaven Bro.!

Friend in Christ,

Jim Coles

Choices Pregnancy Resource Center

Thanks Jim!

Check out the Choices website at

I'll add it to my blogroll on the right.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sanctity of Life Sunday 2006

If you missed yesterday's message, will you please take the time to listen? (Click Here to listen!)

Yesterday, we tried to layout the Biblical argument for the Sanctity of Life. We also tried to demonstrate that a Biblical understanding of the Sanctity of Life informs a growing list of contemporary issues and real life scenarios.

I believe strongly that a common understanding of these important Biblical truths is vital as we move forward in our "life together" at Grace. Personally, I believe that was one of the "Top 5" messages I have preached in the past year in terms of importance/significance.

(I think the Family Worship message and 75th Anniversary Vision message are also on that "Top 5" list. I think these three messages are "must listen" messages for those who call Grace their home!)

So let's see how this Bioethics Forum takes shape over the next 3 years. I had a paramedic approach me and say he was eager to help with the idea and eager to share what he's seeing on the front lines of emergency care.

Susie and I were talking afterward and she said, "I think we should start a "Grace Church Adoption Fund" that could be available to help foot some of the costs of adoption for those who might need the help." That lady's got good ideas! If we are really committed to "life together" and if we're really committed to "putting our money where our mouths are," should we not consider such and idea? What do you think?

Most of the emails I received this morning have been overwhelming positive and supportive, but there was one humdinger. I appreciate your prayers as I consider how to respond with care, gentleness and grace.

Here's a precious email from a 13 year old who heard the message yesterday. I'm so glad she was there. . . . this is what its all about!

Dear Pastor Tim,
Your sermon on the Sanctity of Life was enjoyed by my Mom and I. It was not only enjoyed, but we learned the real meaning of the Sanctity of Life. I never really understood what the Sanctity of Life meant, until now. I'm only thirteen, but I know a few girls at school who claim they're pregnant, and whether it's true or not, I don't know. But I know that circumstances like that really happen to regular girls like me. I think that is really sad. I want young mothers to know that their baby is made in the Perfect Image of God and that their baby is a living human child from the very moment God chooses to create it. It's life is sacred, and it deserves to have a chance at life. That's what God wants and I know you want people to know that. Thank you for the inspirational sermon. God really spoke through you today.

This next Sunday we're back in Matthew and this time for a stretch before the 75th Anniversary.

2006 Week of Prayer in Review

So I had a few people exhort me to post more in yesterday's services. One guy asked why I hadn't posted about the other Week of Prayer days, #2, #3 etc. . . . I had every intention of posting daily about the week of prayer, but I've just been slammed. Lots of good stuff, but just not enough time to do it all.

So how did the rest of the week go for you and your family? Were you able to make one of the prayer gatherings? Did you keep your covenant before the Lord? I'd love to hear more.

Our family really enjoyed it. My little girls were so faithful in pulling out that sheet everynight and praying that day's requests. We did "pop corn" requests together. Precious times. Like the McShea's, I think we'll use the pattern more throughout the year.

Let's not stop praying just because the week is over!

I meant to mention the 2006 Week of Prayer in yesterday's services to sort of "close the loop" but I had a few other things on my mind. . . . sanctity of life, parking, powerpoint slides, welcome lunch, etc, etc, etc.

Monday, January 09, 2006

2006 Week of Prayer, Day #1

Sunday we introduced our 2006 Week of Prayer here at Grace. To prepare ourselves we look at the Word of the Lord in Acts 4:23-33 where we discovered the Fuel, the Focus and the Fruit of the Early Church's Prayer. We ended our time by coming together to the Lord's Table. It was a sweet time of worship!

Message is now posted here.

As a part of our outline, we included a Prayer Guide for the week. We begin personally with ourselves on Monday and move toward praying for the world on Saturday.

So how's it going? Did you make a covenant and are you keeping it? It was neat to see folks gathering to pray at the church during the lunchtime hour.

We're having some precious times of prayer and discussion in our home.

If you don't attend Grace you can still join us in prayer this week. Download the guide for yourself and consecrate the rest of the week together with us. And let us know that you're "lifting up your voice in one accord" with us.

Read Share

Thanks for sharing what books you enjoyed in 2005! I'm impressed! So many are reading and some interesting stuff, too. Who knew that would be such a hot topic. . . .it even flushed out an elder. I'm encouraged! Turn off the tube and make a commitment to read in 2006.

Unfortunately, 2005 was a relatively light reading year for me. I'm betting 2006 will be the same. Season of life thing. But like I said on Sunday, I'm really fortunate that a significant amount of reading is built into the pastor gig. And thankfully, we're at the stage where we're reading some great stuff as a family.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Great Books in 2005

So let's keep the two way dialogue going here. How about sharing some of the best books you read in 2005? They don't necessarily have to be Christian books, as I'm interested in other stuff you're all reading too.

I've shared some of the stuff I've read this year along the way, but I'll share a favorite or two after I hear from some of you.

Web-Based Apps for 2006, part 2

So, I'm curious now. . . Josh Mock, in a comment on the last post, mentioned the value of using an RSS aggregator to read blogs. If you're a Life Together reader and you use an aggregator, let us know which one you use.

Thanks for the feedback on the last post. I'm eager to check out some of the web tools mentioned. Keep them coming. . .

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Web-Based Apps for 2006

I'm always trying to work smarter, not longer and I'm always looking for tools that will help. Susie and I work on 3 different computers and staying "synced" is a real challenge. We've recently discovered two new web-based applications that are helping.

The first is called Ta-DaLists ('s an application that allows you to access your life lists from anywhere. I think Susie and I have 20 or so lists going. She can access them and I can access them . . . from anywhere. We're into it.

The second is called BackPackIt ( This is like TaDaLists, but more "project" oriented allowing you to keep notes and other stuff together. I'm using Backpackit for online sermon prep and other projects for which I am collecting and managing information.

Both applications are free. Check them out. Anybody else have any other organization tools to recommend for the new year?

Back Online

I've been seriously "off line" for the last week. . . spending time with the family, shutting down 2005, preparing for 2006. Rejuvenating. Renewing. I'm back. Did you miss me?