Thursday, April 27, 2006

75th Anniversary Update #3

Here's the all-church email that was sent this afternoon. If you didn't get it and you want to, email me.

Beloved Grace Church Family,

It's that time again! Time for this week's 75th Anniversary Weekly Email Update. I hope you're taking the time to read these essential emails. Communication in the Family is such a challenge. Before I tell you what YOU need to know, let me tell you what WE need to know. . .

ACTION; Are you coming to the Mexico/Missions Dinner this Sunday Night at 5:30 PM? The cost for this event is $5/ head for adults, $3/head for kids 9 and under, or a maximum of $20 per family. So far we've heard from 300 who are planning to be there. If you are planning to come and you haven't RSVP'd, we need to hear from you ASAP. The simplest and quickest way for you to communicate with us is to reply to this email RIGHT NOW and tell us how many from your family are planning to be there!

ACTION: Are you planning to attend the 75th Anniversary Banquet at the Madonna Expo on Saturday, May 27th? Tickets for this once-in-75 years event are $35 per head. Because of the unique nature of this event, we are trying to get a head count by May 14, which is only a couple of weeks away. If you're planning to come, we'd like to hear from you NOW by email (Hit the REPLY BUTTON, and tell us THE NAMES of those coming) and then have you purchase your tickets at the 75th Anniversary Table in the Courtyard in one of the coming Sundays. (We don't want money to keep you from coming. If you have a financial need, please share it. There are those who are eager to help!)

Now here's what YOU need to know. . . .

THIS COMING WEEK, April 30 - May 4: 75th Anniversary Missions Conference (See the attached Missions Conference Brochure)
Last weekend we thought and acted LOCALLY. This coming week we think and act GLOBALLY. Like Pastor Scott's rabbit, we've got to look multiple directions as we live by faith in time and space before the face of God. Here's what's happening. . . .

In the Worship Services . . .
All of our visiting missionaries will be introduced in the Worship Services. Our keynote speaker for the morning will be former Senior Pastor, Deane Keller, who served Grace Church for 17 years! Deane will be taking us to that great and classic missionary passage in Isaiah 6. I'm looking forward to it!

Grace Beyond . . . 9:30 & 11:00 AM
What is Grace Beyond? Grace Beyond is something we occasionally put on when we have short term missionaries return from their trips or when we have long-term missionaries who are in-town for a visit. On Sunday, April 30, during the 9:30 and 11:00 hours, all of our Adult Bible Fellowships, Youth Groups and College Ministry will come together for a special Grace Beyond forum for all of our visiting missionaries. Pastor Steve will be MCing the time. He'll ask the missionaries some fun and different questions and you, too, will have an opportunity to ask some questions. If you don't normally attend an ABF or other class, you're invited too.

Sunday Evening Missions Dinner . . . 5:30 PM
This year we're trying something different . . . we're combining our Missions Dinner and Mexico Dinner. This makes sense since both are part of our missions outreach. Gary Peterson, one of our beloved missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators will be opening God's Word for us. This is your opportunity to sit down with one of our vocational missionaries and tell them you care about them. Come out for this great evening of food and fellowship. (Childcare will be provided for little ones 0-5 years old.)

Midweek Opportunities . . .
While on Sunday we're doing the BIG GROUP thing, all through the week, we'll do the SMALL GROUP thing. Individual missionaries will be dropping into Growth Groups and other small groups throughout the week. You don't attend a Growth Group? No problem. . . on this particular week, our Growth Groups are throwing the doors wide open to any and all who want to take advantage of this special opportunity to hear what God is doing around the world.

NEXT SUNDAY, May 7th: College Ministry Focus
On this day, we'll be celebrating God's faithfulness in transforming the lives of college students through the ministry of Grace for 75 years. Pastor Steve and I will trade places for the morning. He'll preach in the Worship Services and I'll have the privilege to teach in our College Ministry at 11:00 AM. I know Pastor Steve is putting together some neat historical slides and also has a video message from past College Pastor, Corey Melia, up his sleeve for the worship services. Should be great!

After the services, we'll host a special COLLEGE REUNION PIZZA IN THE PARK for any and all who have come through the college ministry throughout the years. (RSVP for this fun get-together on the worship folder TAB this Sunday!)

Declare the Lord's Faithfulness!
Psalm 92:1-2 says. . . It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night. Have you taken the time yet to leave a memory/reflection to declare the Lord's faithfulness in your own life on the 75th Anniversary section of the website? Why not take a few minutes now? How can I get you to do this? Here's the link. . .

I'll leave you this week with this memory from a Jill Moulton, who was here for a just a short time during the Deane Keller years. . .

After having visited Grace many times with my sister Lee Moulton, I finally gave up trying to control my own life and handed the reigns over to the Lord. I moved to San Luis Obispo because I knew Grace would be a place that would help me grow. Pastor Keller's teaching, Bible study with my roommates, Evangelism Explosion, Sunday School with "Careers in Christ" group, conferences at Hume, singing in Dave Krumpe's group - I felt I was at a banquet of God's Word. At the end of a year and a half in SLO, Craig and Cindy Stoner helped me realize that I should finish my degree, and I returned to UCLA. God opened so many doors for me through the Stoners! Instead of going to an exotic misssion location, my mission was teaching high school English in inner city L.A. I had many opportunities to share there, and I sponsored the school's first Bible Club. Now my mission field is in my home trying to train my children to be godly in the midst of the OC. Looking forward to catching up with old friends!!"

It is good to be reminded that God is at work among us, now and always!

Yours because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim

The Golfing Preacher

Easter Sunday I was talking about how good a golfer I would be if the resurrection of Jesus didn't happen. . .


So James Borland, our Youth Administrative Assistant, sent me this joke a few days later. . .

A preacher woke up one Sunday morning and looked outside and saw it was a beautiful day. He decided to skip church and go play golf. So he called the junior pastor at his church and told him he was sick and couldn't give the sermon. The junior pastor told him not to worry, he would deliver the sermon.

The pastor drove about 40 miles away from town to avoid being spotted. As he was setting up his first drive on the first hole, Jesus leaned over to God in heaven and asked him, "Are You going to let him get away with this?" God told Jesus not to worry, he would handle it. Right as God said that, the preacher hit the drive of his life. The ball traveled all 450 feet to the green, bounced once, and rolled in the hole. The preacher was ecstatic. Jesus asked God,"Why would you let him do that?"
God said, "Because, who is he gonna tell?"

There are Sundays when pastors would rather go golfing. Don't tell anybody.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Community Ministry Weekend

Here's a copy of the Tribune article about Mike Yankoski, who was with us on Sunday. Mike was great. We're trying to get the cassette tape recording converted to digital. Stay tuned. Community BBQ was awesome, too. I understand that Pastor Scott and others showed up on KSBY on Saturday night. Anyone have a copy of that?

Homeless, but still a human being

Santa Barbara student wanted to know what destitution was like; he tells his story Sunday
By Larissa Van Beurden-Doust

Pictures of Mike Yankoski in 2003 show a stereotypical homeless man: shaggy hair, scruffy beard, dirty clothes and ratty sleeping bag.

It was quite a change from what he looked like a few months before, as a sophomore at Westmont College, a private Christian university in one of the poshest areas of Santa Barbara.

But Yankoski, now 23, wanted to live just like the estimated 600,000 Americans who do not have a house to go to at night. For five months, Yankoski voluntarily lived on the streets of six American cities. He will share his experiences Sunday at Grace Church in San Luis Obispo.

"People literally pretended we didn't exist," Yankoski said Thursday of his experience. One time in San Francisco, Yankoski said, he just asked a man the time -- and got a scowl in return. Yankoski decided to become homeless after sitting in a church service his freshman year at Westmont.

He realized, he said, that while he and many other churchgoers profess their faith, they often don't help those who don't look like typical churchgoers -- those who may be down on their luck. "It's completely hypocritical," he said.

Just a hello or a smile from a stranger made such a difference in his day when living on the streets, Yankoski said. He said a small gesture makes people feel human. Yankoski suggests that those who can, give gift certificates to local coffee shops or restaurants to those in need.

During his talk Sunday, Yankoski will share his experiences and answer questions. He will speak at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Pastor Scott Peterson decided to invite Yankoski to speak after reading his book, "Under the Overpass."

"I was blown away by the insights a young man of 23 would make," Peterson said, "what living on the streets does to someone's dignity, and how someone is treated less than human."

The book is available online at;; or Christian

Grace Church will also hold a free barbecue for the poor at noon Saturday.
For more information, call 543-2358.

A visit from the Mystery Worshipper

Someone placed a card in the offering bag on Sunday that said. . .

You have been blessed by a visit from "The Mystery Worshipper." Read about your church soon on Ship of

So I clicked over and checked it out. The whole site is pretty classic. Grace isn't evaluated yet in the Mystery Worship section, but I'll keep checking back.

The Born Twice section is a riot. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Friday, April 14, 2006

this is the Lord's doing

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.

This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

Psalm 118:22 • Matthew 21:42

(photo was taken by our own Judi Peet)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Tale of Two Articles

I got a call on Monday from the Tribune asking if I'd be willing to write a 550 word piece for the Opinion/Letters page for Easter Sunday.

I used to run FROM these opportunities. Now I'm forcing myself to run TO them.. . .

Tribune Gal told me that just submitting something from an Easter sermon would be fine. So that's what I did. I wrote my little article, proofed and reproofed it and got it down to 630 words or so and emailed it off.

Tribune Gal thanked me and then promptly rejected my submission asking if I could do something a bit more "relevant" to the wars and terrorism of our modern day.

I refused.

No, I'm just kidding. I responded by telling her the Resurrection wasn't relevant if it wasn't true. . . if it didn't happen . . . and so that was my starting point. But I agreed to give it another shot.

With a few slight changes, Tribune Gal accepted Version 2.0.

A couple of thoughts. . .

  • It's hard to say anything of significance or depth in 550 words. (or maybe its just me!)
  • It's hard to walk the line of engaging culture while at the same time not compromising or watering down what you believe. No wonder so many well-intentioned politicians fall into corruption. The Gospel is not politically correct.
  • I'm really glad that our local paper includes stuff like this on occasion. They do seem to see issues of faith as relevant issues in our community conversation. I know this is not the case in other communities. We haven't been completely marginalized. . . yet. I've been pleased to see the stories about the soon to be built Youth Ministry Centers at New Life & Atascadero Bible Church.
. . . even if Tribune Gal wanted me to be a more "relevant." Whatever that means! I'm grateful for the opportunity and my one aim and desire is to be pleasing to our Risen Lord.

What oportunities have you had or are you having to engage culture with the Gospel of Christ in your neighborhood or in your workplace?

I thought I'd let you take a gander at both versions. . .

Version 1.0

On this Easter morn, as Grace Church, SLO kicks off its seven week 75th Anniversary Celebration, we recognize the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of the church’s belief, practice and life. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in space and time is also the cornerstone of the Christian worldview. Biblical Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus did not rise, then Christianity isn’t true and it doesn’t work.

The Apostle Paul puts it bluntly in his letter to the church at Corinth:

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. . . if we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. –I Corinthians 15:17, 19

The Apostle Paul, like those at Grace Church, bet his life and eternity, not on the merits of his own life, but on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But is that a reasonable bet for an intelligent person of the 21st Century?

Consider these two lines of evidence, just a portion of the mounds of evidence that convince me and others that the resurrection of Jesus is an intelligent, and reasonable cornerstone to build your life upon. . . .

1. The Eyewitness Testimony of the Apostles. The Apostle John says, “what we have heard, what we have seen, with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands. . . . . we testify and proclaim to you (I John 1:1-3). The Apostles Paul and Peter say similar things. Within 1st Century Judaism there was no concept of individual resurrection, only of a mass resurrection of humankind at judgment. In other words, the Apostles were not hoping for, or expecting, Jesus to rise. Which is why they are so shocked, doubting and, disbelieving when they meet the Risen Jesus (Luke 24:36-43). In fact, the Apostles had every reason not to believe, since believing the resurrection meant being ostracized from the intense social and religious structures of their own Jewish culture. The Apostles and many others, not only believed, but died martyrs’ deaths for their steadfast commitment to the resurrection of Jesus. They believed because they saw Him and touched Him.

2. The Presence of Women at the Tomb of Jesus. In 1st Century Jewish culture, women did not occupy a very high place in society. . . to put it mildly. Women, for example, could not serve as witnesses in a court of law. Jesus, in contrast, treated women with respect and had women as some of His closest friends. It is surprising that women are the first witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus and are initially disbelieved by the Apostles (Luke 24:1-12). If the Gospel writers were carefully fabricating “a resurrection myth”, why would they insert women as the very first witnesses to the empty tomb? The answer is, they wouldn’t—unless women were really there! The Apostles are simply reporting the rather “embarrassing” facts as they happened. The most important question facing each one of us is this:

Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead? If He did, then that fact changes everything. Have you taken the time to honestly examine the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus yourself? We believe that the Christian worldview is intelligent and reasonable--the very best hypothesis to explain the world as we experience it. We all bet our lives on something. Where are you placing your bet?

Version 2.0 (should run on Easter Sunday)

On this Easter morn, as Grace Church, SLO kicks off its seven week 75th Anniversary Celebration, we recognize the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of the church’s belief, practice and life. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in space and time is also the cornerstone of the Christian worldview.

In these bleak days filled with wars and rumors of war, terrorism, and natural disasters. . . so many things we don’t understand, cannot control and do not know how to fix. . . . how badly we need this “resurrection perspective”! The universe is not an accident. The world is not out of control. Life is not meaningless. Death is not the end. All hope is not lost.

Biblical Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus did not rise, then Christianity isn’t true and it doesn’t work. The Apostle Paul puts it bluntly in his letter to the church at Corinth:

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. . . if we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. –I Corinthians 15:17, 19

The Apostle Paul, like those at Grace Church, bet his life and eternity, not on the merits of his own life, but on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But is that a reasonable bet for an intelligent person of the 21st Century?

Millions today and millions more throughout history have come to the shocking conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is indeed an intelligent and reasonable cornerstone to bet our lives on and build our lives upon. These believe that the Christian worldview is the very best hypothesis to explain the world as we experience it.

So what if Jesus Christ did actually rise from the dead? What if that tomb was really empty? What if Jesus really did go into the grave and come out the other side? What does the resurrection mean?

It means that God is really out there and He cares. It means that God is in the business of bringing triumph out of tragedy; healing out of brokenness; victory out of seeming defeat; grace out of wrath; forgiveness out of judgment. It means that nothing is impossible with God who brings life out of the grave. It means that redemption has been realized, the great rescue has been accomplished. It means that what looked so much like “Bad Friday” to the friends and followers of Jesus, was really “Good Friday” for us all.

C.S. Lewis, the author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia, put it this way. . . .

Jesus has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because He has done so.

Out of the darkness of the tomb, shines a bright morning of hope. Jesus Christ has risen, He has risen indeed

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

how in the world did that happen?

Did you get the all-church email we sent out yesterday? (If not, email the church office at and let us know you want to get our emails!) Did you notice the glaring mistake on the banquet date that said "April 27" but should have been "May 27"? How in the world does that happen?

I wrote the email, then my assistant proofed it. Then we sent it to our whole ministry staff. . . . Steve, Scott, Al, Ken, Dori and Debbi. . . and asked them to proof it and sign-off on it. They all did! Then I proofed their suggested changes. And in all this process, none of us caught the error. But I bet some of you did on the very first read.

We see things from our own perspecitve. We see what we see. We know what we know. We don't know what we don't know. We need to work hard to get out of our little box and see the world through the eyes of another. What other areas of life together does all this apply to beyond all-church emails? You tell me.

Anyway, here's the email, in case you missed it . . . with the corrected banquet date.

Beloved Grace Family,

It’s Holy Week and I hope you're making time and space to reflect on both the Crown and the Cross of our Lord. As we enter into our 75th Anniversary Celebration, I thought I'd use the convenience of email to keep you updated on upcoming anniversary activities and happenings as they unfold via a weekly email during this period. There is so much to communicate and we don't want you to miss anything. So here goes. . . .

Good Friday Communion Service @ 7:00 PM
We begin our Easter Weekend together this Friday with our Good Friday Service at 7:00 PM. Childcare will be provided for Nursery thru 4 years. This year's service will be markedly different than the last few years as we will be partaking of the Lord's Supper together. We hope you and your family will set aside this time to join us as we contemplate the Cross. I also hope we'll see a bunch of our college students join us. Our text will be Matthew 21:42. Take a look at it before Friday, if you have a chance. The service could be quite packed (we're never sure!), so you might want to try and arrive early. See you there!

Easter Sunday @ 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 AM
Easter Sunday, we are meeting at our normal times. . . .8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 AM. Our 9:30 service is always the most full and popular, so once again we're asking those of you who can come at 11:00 AM and especially 8:00 AM to please do so. This is a great way to live the Gospel, by considering the needs/interests of others as more important than your own (à la Philippians 2!). On that note, please consider parking in the nearby city parking structure on the corner of Pacific and Morro Streets to leave nearby street and lot parking for visitors and our elderly brothers and sisters. Remember these are "Family Worship Services" and so Children's Sunday School will be provided for Nursery thru Kindergarten only. Please note: our Youth Groups, College Ministry and Adult Bible Fellowships will not be meeting on Easter Sunday.

It’s definitely not too late to invite a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker or perfect stranger to worship with us on Easter Sunday, since Easter is one of the rare times when people are open and eager to darken the doors of the church. Pray and invite! So many in our community still need the life-changing power of the Resurrection in their lives! This year we'll not be talking about proof for the Resurrection, but the meaning of the Resurrection under the title, "What Does the Resurrection of Jesus Mean?" As usual, I'll do my best to present the Gospel in a winsome and engaging way. Pray Ephesians 6:19 for me. Let's prepare ourselves to proclaim with gladness, "Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Community Ministry Weekend, April 22-23
75th Anniversary events really get going on the weekend of the April 22 & 23, our Community Ministry Weekend. On Saturday, April 22 at 12:00 noon, Grace is hosting a BBQ for the poor and needy in our community as a practical way to serve them and demonstrate the Gospel. Pastor Scott is looking for servers and others to help. . . youth, college students and families. Contact Pastor Scott at if you can help out. Go ahead, step out of your comfort zone!

On Sunday, April 23, in our Worship Services we'll be looking at what it means to "Seek the Welfare of the City" from Jeremiah 29:7. We'll look back on our history of involvement in a wide-variety of community ministries. We'll look at what's happening today and what opportunities God might provide to serve our community in the future.

In addition on Sunday, April 23rd, all of our Adult Bible Fellowships, Youth Groups and College Ministry will come together as Mike Yankoski will be our special guest in the Ministry Center during the 9:30 and 11:00 AM hours. Mike is a former Westmont student who lived on the streets as a homeless man to discover what life on the streets was really like. He’s written a book, Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America which chronicles his unique experience. Mike's passionate desire is to equip God's people to better love and reach out to these needy people of our community. Even if you don't attend an Adult Bible Fellowship or other classes, you're encouraged to join us for this very special event which is wide open to all. Prepare to be challenged and informed!

75th Anniversary Banquet
Saturday Evening, May 27th @ the Madonna Expo
Starting this Sunday, we begin selling tickets for our 75th Anniversary Banquet on Saturday evening, May 27th at the Madonna Expo. We have received RSVPs from most of our past staff and many others who are now living beyond the area. We have some special elements planned for this once-in-75 years event. . . things that really are beyond what's possible in a worship service, yet are still an important part of our life together. Each family will also receive a copy of "A Tree of the Lord's Planting: The Heritage of Grace Church, San Luis Obispo," a very special 12 chapter book that commemorates the early years of God's faithfulness to Grace. Tickets for this one-time event are $35 per head. If you wish to sponsor others for whom this amount might be a problem, please let us know. If you would like to attend, but need financial assistance, please let us know. We are prayerfully and carefully making every attempt to be good stewards of the Lord's resources, while at the same time insuring that all who wish to be there can be.

After much prayer and planning, our 75th Anniversary is finally here. We hope that you and your family will take full advantage of the many growing opportunities we're putting together as we look back on God's faithfulness and look forward in bold faith. We hope and expect that this will be a time of growth and unity for us all. Your questions and feedback are always welcome. Feel free to call or email anyone of our staff, elders or the 75th Anniversary Committee. (

If you haven't checked out the church website lately, give it a look at You'll find a whole lot of history and other good stuff. Just this morning, I was interviewed by our own Ben Greenaway on the KVEC morning news program and we've already posted the audio on the website for your listening enjoyment, since most of you were probably "sawing logs" during the 6:00 AM hour!

I think that’s plenty for now! We'll let you know more as these weeks unfold. See you this weekend!

Yours because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim

bright & early this morning. . .

Thanks to Jill Talley, I had an opportunity to be interviewed this morning on 920 KVEC by our own Ben Greenaway about Easter and our upcoming 75th Anniversary Celebration. We've posted it on the website. Check it out. . .

KVEC Interview - 75th Anniversary.mp3

So later in the day, I get a call from some guy who heard me on the radio and who happened to live next to Ruth Persson, wife of founding pastor Leroy Persson, up in Santa Margarita somewhere. He says he has some sort of stone step or rock or something that might have some historical value to the church and do I want to come and see it? I say, "Let me pass on your number to our 75th Anniversary Committee." Who knew?

And here's a weird piece of trivia: The Sunday Worship Service was broadcast on 920 KVEC for years. I bet Ben doesn't even know that. I'm not exactly sure which years, but I bet Tim Weaver knows! Tim?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Women Balancing Work & Family Life

Women working outside the home is a reality for many in our Central Coast community. It's not easy.

Did you see Amy Kardel who attends Grace in the article about women business executives? Here it is. . .

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 04/09/2006 | How far we've come: 10 top female executives in SLO County

It was kind of roundtable discussion with a bunch of these bright women. Amy's answers to the questions where "standouts." Here's a question and answer that I just loved. . . .

Many women leave corporate life to care for children or elderly parents. Is this a setback for women seeking to reach the top of their fields?

Kardel: Those women who make the choice to care for others are the real heroes in our society. It is underappreciated and undercompensated work in relation to its huge value for our culture's future.

I appreciate the way Amy balances her passion for her work and her passion for her family. I love seeing those Kardel kids in our worship services.

Good job, Amy!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On this day in 1942 . . .

In addition to a rough cut of the commemorative video I mentioned on Sunday, I've also had a chance to take a gander at a retrospective 75th Anniversary book that's being put together by Lorraine Maksoudian and Ruthie Peterson. It's an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness.

It was on this day, April 5th, 1942 that the Lord's people at Grace first met in the newly constructed building in downtown SLO. World War II was still raging. Here's the notice that appeared in the Telegram-Tribune on Saturday, the day before. . . .

This Easter, in spite of widespread confusion and trouble in the world at large, we have much to be thankful for. Not the least of the good things we can offer our thanks for is the completion of our new tabernacle — which we are opening for our first services this sacred Day. You are cordially invited to attend our Easter Day Services, Sunday April 5th at — The New Grace Tabernacle, Corner of Osos and Pismo Streets, San Luis Obispo. Undenominational. — Leroy Persson, Pastor.
And here are a couple of classic Leroy quotes. . . .

Nearly every outstanding movement for God has begun with one or two men and then has grown under God’s blessing. We are so prone to feel that we need a large backing, humanly speaking, when we are about to undertake something that is staggering in its “bigness” but let us remember that one with God is a majority.

Many times we feel our littleness and unworthiness to such an extent that we bury our talent and do nothing. But the Master’s touch changes it all. Greatest things happen to all… even the most humble in surprising ways when our lives are under the Master’s touch. It is His touch that counts, not our lives. Prayer is the blessed secret of the mighty touch… Our master will not only give us His wonderful touch but directs us in marvelous ways so that our lives will count beyond our fondest dreams.

Pretty neat, huh?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Immense Task of Biblical Parenting

Sunday we dedicated 7 children and their parents to the Lord as they embark on the adventure of Biblical parenting. The family is God's thing! The Church's role is to partner with parents as they take responsibility to raise the children in the ways and Word of the Lord.

For those who don't attend Grace (I know you're out there!) and for those who are so captivated by those cute babies that you don't hear a word I say on those mornings, I thought it might be valuable to post my dedicatory thoughts, my charge to the parents and to the church family. So here they are . . .

Purpose of Dedication. . .

In the dedication of children, we are acknowledging these three things:

  1. We acknowledge that Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3 Behold children are a gift from the Lord.)
  2. We acknowledge that salvation is by God’s Grace alone through faith alone. If our children are to be saved, they must be saved by God. Child dedication is not the impartation of God's grace, but the plea for God's grace in the life of these children. (Psalm 139:17-18 The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children. To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them.)
  3. We acknowledge our role and responsibility as parents to be continually bringing our children to the feet of Jesus through biblical instruction and discipline and by modeling God’s grace in the home. (Mark 10:13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them; but when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.)
Charge to the Parents. . .
  • Do you acknowledge that your child has been born in sin, is a member of Adam's race, and in desperate need of the saving Grace of God?
  • Do you believe that this saving grace is found only through the righteous life and perfect death of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived, died and rose again on our behalf?
  • Do you accept your responsibility as parents to raise your children in the ways and Word of the Lord, teaching and modeling His Grace in your home and as you raise your child? And do you commit yourself to pray that the Lord would draw your child to Himself, lovingly becoming a Savior to your children, even as He has promised?
Charge to the Church. . .

Do you, the family of Grace, recognize that these children have been placed in our community by God, and do you covenant together with these parents to live godly lives before our children, asking God to use our lives to bring them to salvation?

Child Dedication Sundays are special days for me as a pastor. I love holding those little ones. I love it that God is bringing new young families and new life to His Church. May we be faithful in our task to bringing them to the feet of Jesus.

Our next Child Dedication will be Father's Day, June 18th. Contact the church office to arrange to dedicate your child and yourself today.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Two Promotions

Pastor Ken's father entered the presence of the Lord early last week. In all the madness yesterday, we forgot to mention it. Ken's dad was a really neat guy, from what I understand. Give Ken a hug when you see him.

Our dear Rossye Wiles was also promoted to heaven yesterday afternoon. Memorial Services are still pending and are planned for the end of April. We'll keep you posted.

Rossye was our passionate pencil sharpener and pew rack maintainer. For countless years, she showed up each Monday morning to fulfill her unique and valued of ministry of making sure our worship space was neat, tidy and re-stocked. She never missed a Monday unless she was flat on her back.

Rossye was one of "the Leroy Persson generation" folks I mentioned yesterday. I had a chance to see her in the hospital a week or so ago. She couldn't stop talking or smiling. She was ready to go!

Someone reflected accurately. . . "Rossye gets to celebrate Easter in heaven." Lucky Lady!

04.02.06 Message: Stones at Gilgal

Yesterday, I took one more crack at trying to get us ready for our upcoming 75th Anniversary. We looked at this amazing passage in Joshua 3-5.

This "must-hear" message is posted in all the usual places and HERE!

We saw that God commands His people, on this occasion, to remember using three means, each of them dripping with Gospel type and shadow:

1. Two Stone Monuments: to remind the people of His PRESENCE with them, symbolized by the Ark, in front of which the people passed safely from the wilderdess of God's punishment to the Land of Promise and life. Christ is our ARK, the one who fulfills the Law for us and sheds his blood on the Mercy Seat as the "once-for-all-time" Atonement Sacrifice. (By the way, the stone monument built by the 3rd service was by far the tallest and most impressive! Hopefully we'll remember this one!)

2. Circumcision: the sign of the Covenant, to remind the people of His PROMISE to send the Seed of Abraham. Christ is that Seed, according to Genesis 3:16.

3. Passover: to remind the people of God's graceful PROVISION of a substitute sacrifice, even though, they, like the Egyptians, deserved God's judgment. All passover sacrifices look forward to the True Passover, Jesus, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I Cor. 5:7 tells us that "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed."

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures . . . the Amen to all God's promises. The Bible comes alive when you read it this way!

The message closed with 10 reasons why God commands our remembrance. I put them in front of us again as approach our 75th Annivesary. May they happen among us over these 7 weeks. . .

1. To encourage reflection on God’s faithfulness.
2. To illicit praise, honor,glory and the worship of God.
3. To bring reformation and covenant renewal.
4. To unite their little story to God’s “BIG STORY.”
5. To showcase the Gospel of God’s Grace.
6. To expose their dependence: The battle belongs to the Lord!
7. To build their unity.
8. To testify to the next generation of children.
9. To encourage evangelism of the surrounding peoples.
10. To inspire steadfast faithfulness and courageous faith.

Finally, here's a funny cartoon that someone sent me last week as I was preparing for Sunday. I was going to show it in services, but a few questioned whether it was appropriate. (We're so straight-laced!) Time was tight, so I opted to scrap it. Anything goes here at "life together." Well, almost anything. . .

I think that's pretty funny!

Yesterday was nuts, but a sweet nuts!