Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In the Bag

The 75th Anniversary Big Weekend far surpassed my hopes and expecations. From top to bottom, the events of the weekend were God-honoring, excellent and characterized by sweet fellowship.

The Concert on Friday was unbelievable. Pastor Al just labors quietly and then pulls off the big one. Historical, passionate, excellent and Biblical.

The Banquet on Saturday was overwhelming and exciting. Packed house at the Madonna Expo. Food was tasty. Fellowship was flowing. Program was riveting.

Sunday's Worship Services were packed. It was a unique and different "Covenant Renewal Service." A big risk for me, but timely for us as we move ahead from here. (Listen here if you missed it!)

The Picnic on Sunday was rockin'. That ACE Team is amazing. 600+ served.

The Hymn Sing was a fitting and sweet capstone. It was hard to get up and go, but I was so glad I did. If you missed it, you missed out.

I've been thinking about this thing since before I got here, so it feels good to wrap it up and know that we did it well together. Many thanks to each and every one who came together to pull this thing off. The Lord was in it. We did it. Its in the bag and know one can take it away from us. It was a Celebration to remember and will serve as a lasting memorial to our great and faithful God.

Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Share your thoughts.

The Hymn Sing ended with a Men's Chorus singing this great song, called "Find Us Faithful." I thought the lyrics expressed my prayer this weekend well. . . .

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Monday, May 29, 2006

Theule Family Photo of the Week: Memorial Day Messing Around

Hope you had a good Memorial Day!
We just tried to catch up after an amazing, but very full weekend.
More soon . . .

Friday, May 26, 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

what's cookin'?

I had great time this morning gathering with a group of Central Coast pastors. We shared personal needs, what we're preaching on this Sunday and what we're learning from our study of God's Word. We prayed for one another. We laughed. We evaluated the Da Vinci Dialogue CCEPN campaign and agreed that it was our best cooperative project to-date.

It's always a hassle to get there. It's always a joy once I'm there.

I give thanks for our fellowship. I need it. There continues to be a sense among us that God is doing a work here on the Central Coast . . . and He's not done yet.

We've got some great things cookin' for next year. I'd love to tell you, but. . . .

It's a pretty unique thing. I've never seen or heard anything like it.

Many thanks to Steve Potratz for pulling us together and for sacrificially giving of his personal and corporate time, talent and treasure. It simply wouldn't be happening without him.


In case Grace emails are going to the "Junk Folder," here's the email I sent today. . .

Beloved Grace Family,

Are you getting your rest? You're going to need it! The BIG WEEKEND is upon us. . . our labor of love to the Lord in celebration of His faithfulness to Grace these 75 years.

I want to exhort you to get, not only physically ready, but spiritually ready as well. Commit our weekend to prayer. Ask God to manifest His presence in a mighty way. Pray for spiritual protection, as we sense the enemy prowling. Pray that God would prepare your heart and our hearts together for spiritual renewal. SET ASIDE SOME SPECIAL TIME FOR PRAYER. I will be here in the sanctuary tomorrow morning (Friday) from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM seeking the presence of the Lord with any and all who would like to join me.

Also as part of our spiritual preparation for the weekend and our worship on Sunday, I want to urge you to read Joshua 24 where the Lord's people, at that momentous moment in their history, re-commit themselves to the Lord. I believe we stand together at a similar moment . . . a momentous moment in our history together. . . a moment to REMEMBER our CALLING in Jesus Christ . . . a moment to RENEW our COMMITMENT to live for JESUS CHRIST. Get ready!

So here's the rundown for the events of the weekend and their various start times:

Friday Celebration Concert @ 7:30 PM in the Sanctuary
Let's kick things off with praise to our Great God. Our adult and children's choirs and full orchestra will help us lift our voices to the Lord. Childcare will not be provided, but the Family/Cry room will be open. Just bring the kids along. Let's worship together as a family.

Saturday Celebration Banquet @ 5:30 PM at the Madonna Expo
We're expecting a packed house of 650. If you have not paid for your tickets, please plan to do so that evening. If you have purchased tickets, but now are unable to attend, please let us know by phone or email, as we have folks on a waiting list eager to attend. If you're looking for tickets, contact us to get on that waiting list. It would be a shame to see empty seats on Saturday evening.

Some have asked where the Expo is. Getting to the Madonna Expo is a cinch. Just pull into the Madonna Inn off Madonna Road and follow the signs past the Inn. The Expo is located up the hill at the base of Cerro San Luis (Madonna Mountain if you prefer). Looks to me like we can expect about a 3 hour evening together including dinner, a 75 minute program, dessert, and fellowship. Attire is somewhere in the range of dress casual to semi-formal. Let's not put on airs, but make it warm and real.

I want to also encourage you to have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus by regarding one another's interests as more important than your own (Phil. 2:3-8). We've had a few calls from folks making last minute requests (demands?) about seating arrangements on Saturday night. It is no small undertaking to try and coordinate seating for 650! Please be open, flexible and gracious as we do our best.

If you've got some time available on Saturday and want to help with EXPO preparations, REPLY to this email and let us know.

Sunday Worship Services @ 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 AM
A great way to serve others this weekend is to come to the 8:00 AM service to free up some room in those later services. I want to urge you to bring your youth and children with you to one of these important "Covenant Renewal" services. If you normally attend only one service while your kids attend Youth Group or Sunday School, plan to attend two services this Sunday.

Beloved former Youth/College Pastor Corey Melia, will be sharing the Word and his heart in the Ministry Center during the 9:30 and 11:00 AM services. If you missed Paul Anderson last Sunday, you missed out. Don't miss out this week!

Once more, prayerfully prepare your heart! Come expectant and prayed up!

Sunday All-Church Picnic @ 12:15 PM at Mitchell Park
500+ expected. If you haven't RSVP'd, please REPLY to this email now. Lunch will be served at 12:30. I'm wearing shorts and flip-flops. No program, just come and enjoy the food and fellowship. Nametags will be provided. If you've been here at Grace for a year or less, you'll receive a red name tag, so we can get to know and love you. Cost is $5.00 / $25 max per family.

Karen Weaver and the ACE Team are looking for 8 - 10 men who can help with picnic set-up during the 8:00 AM service. If you can help, just hit REPLY now.

Sunday Evening Hymn Sing @ 7:00 PM
I know it's crazy . . . but it seemed fitting to end the weekend as we start it, giving praise, honor and glory to our faithful God. After all, most of us get to sleep in and relax on Monday which is Memorial Day. We'll sing some of the great hymns of the faith, even taking audience requests. We'll also open up the mic so that you can give testimony to the Lord's faithfulness in your life through the ministry at Grace. Be thinking now of a memory that you might share. Remember; let's be God-centered and BRIEF! Again, there will be no childcare for this event, so just bring them along and let them experience God's faithfulness through the years.

I've been much encouraged by the many who've taken the time to add a memory to our 75th Anniversary website. The list is GROWING! It's not too late for you to leave your testimony to God's faithfulness! Here's that link, once more . . .


Many thanks in advance to our 75th Anniversary Committee, our ACE team, our Administrative and Ministry Staff Teams, and the many others who've labored tirelessly to create what I know is going to be an incredible and God-honoring weekend. It's going to be great. Not to us O Lord, but to your name give glory!

I think that's plenty. See you this weekend.

Because of and for the Gospel. . . .Pastor Tim

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


this is an audio post - click to play

Check it out! That's the wind you hear in the background.

Fun and different. Are you open to audio posts once in while?

Pretty slick and easy. Pretty amazing.

Self Serve or Not?

I was having a conversation with our staff about something the other day when we somehow ended up talking about the "self serve check out counter" at Home Depot. I assumed everybody disliked this impersonal experience as much as I did . . . the scanner never seems to work very well. . . . I'm never sure of the procedure . . . I don't dig that computer lady talking at me . . .

But alas. . . I was wrong. Several reported how much they love it. . . . quick, easy and you don't have to talk to anybody.

How about you? Like it or not?

What does all this have to do with "life together" in the church?

I hear it often . . . ."Grace is starting to feel impersonal!" I don't know if it's true or if the church is just a big easy target.

Is it true? How do we fight it? How do we make a big church feel like a small church? The Elders talk about it continually. I'd like to hear some of your thoughts.

Are you doing your part?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Theule Family Photo of the Week: Knight Zeke

Our Ezekiel turns 4 tomorrow. My how the time flys. On Saturday, we had a small "Knights & Maidens" party for him complete with sword training, stick horse riding, slaying the dragon, and "how to treat a lady" instruction.

So the picture is Zeke being "knighted."

Lots of fun. . .

a packed house

Not to bring up a hot topic again or anything, but Bryan Stupar has posted some great photos of the Da Vinci Dialogue evening. . . . a packed house at Grace. Thanks Tom O'Leary. . . uh. . . I mean Bryan. Sorry, you had to be there.

pastor.bryan.stupar: Dialoging the Davinci Code

Lost Finale

The last post has broken the "Life Together" comment record. Quite an interesting dialogue. Check it out when you have a couple of hours to spare!

Speaking of popular culture and issues of conscience. . . . I talked about Lost back on Easter Sunday. The second season finale is tomorrow night. Here's an interesting article from Bill Lindahl . . . .

"Lost" at last

If you watch Lost, why do you like it? Why is this show so popular? What does the popularity of Lost reveal about our culture? What is the relationship between Lost and the Christian worldview? Hostile or friendly?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Da Vinci Dialogue

Last week was a ton of fun having Erwin Lutzer here on the Central Coast helping us with three nights of Da Vinci Dialogue throughout the county. We hosted the SLO city evening on Friday and had 675 or so show up. The Worship Center was packed with 140 in overflow in the Ministry Center. It was neat to see churches/pastors/believers from all over the county come together to be equipped.

Were you there? Were you equipped? If you missed it, we've posted the audio on the website for your listening pleasure.

If you're looking for printed resources, you can find them at

Matt Willams over at K-Life/890AM sent a couple of interesting Da Vinci Code quotes. . . .

"If they put up a sign saying, 'This Wednesday we're discussing the gospel,' 12 people show up. But if a sign says, 'This Wednesday we're discussing The Da Vinci Code,' 800 people show up. I think the movie may end up helping churches do their job." —Tom Hanks, who stars in the big-screen depiction of Dan Brown's heretical novel [Christian Newswire, 5/9/06]

"Let the biblical scholars and historians battle it out." —Dan Brown's response to many Christians' and theologians' criticism of the claims he makes in his novel, The Da Vinci Code. "It's a book about big ideas," he told an audience of 850 at a sold-out writers' conference, "but we're all talking about them, and that's really the point." [AP, 4/24/06]
Any reactions? Will you see the movie which is being released May 19th? Why or why not?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Be Fruitful & Multiply

We often are met with strange stares in public places when we come traipsing with our four kids in tow. To be sure, some have many more than four, but four seems to be "above average" here in SLO city. I sometimes strangely stare myself.

Since Sunday is Mother's Day and also our 75th Anniversary Children's Weekend, I thought these artcles from World Mag would get us thinking about the Creation Mandate in Genesis 1:28. . . .

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
(What does that passage have to do with Mother's Day? What does this passage have to do with our creation stewardship and how we view and treat the environment?)

So here's those articles. . .

The first is called Multiplier Effect: how big families are good for nations and good for the environment and here's an excerpt. . . .
We normally speak of the need to be born again to attain eternal life in heaven, and that is true. But cultures that have been Christian and are now losing population need to be born again through a new Reformation that would once again emphasize God's command to be fruitful and multiplying gardeners. A nation that is not born again will eventually die, and its environment will revert from garden to wilderness."
The second is called The New Baby Boom and here's an exerpt. . . .
In an article in the newest issue of Foreign Policy, Phillip Longman suggests that leaving ideology aside and focusing only on demographics, conservatives are destined to inherit the earth.

The statistics simply don't lie. Mr. Longman says that 'nearly 20 percent of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having had children'—and that such a proportion is nearly twice what it was a generation earlier. This 'greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, will leave no genetic legacy.' The children they might have influenced, Mr. Longman says candidly, were never born." . . . .

Conservatives, meanwhile—typically including lots of evangelical Christians—have gone right on having babies. In doing so, they may be profoundly increasing their influence in the world at large.

So, go ahead and fufill the Creation Mandate. . .

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Attention Grace Mountain Bikers!

Jason Evangelista has started rallying the mountain bikers at Grace for Saturday 8:00 AM rides. And now he's started a blog to track their exploits. Email Jason if you're interested in riding. . .

Grace Mt. bikers

Back Away from the Test Tube

When I preached on the Sanctity of Life back in January, I had several people recommend the movie, The Island. Susie and I just recently had an opportunity to watch it.

The movie centers on two clones who don't know they're clones, but soon discover it when they escape their habitrail existence and find themselves in the real world. Cloning in the movie is big business and portrayed as a new kind of insurance for the wealthy who tap their clones when needed for spare body parts and in the event of accidents. I think the movie is worth seeing to consider where this stuff can go.

If you saw it, what were your impressions?

If you think the movie was far fetched, read this short article from World Magazine entitled, "The End of Humanism," about a University of Texas biologist Eric Pianka, who was recently given the 2006 Texas Scientist of the Year Award.

Here's a shocking excerpt about a speech he gave to the Texas Academy of Science. . .

Mr. Pianka began by condemning "anthropocentrism," the idea that human beings have a privileged place in the universe. He told about a neighbor who once asked him what good are the lizards that he studies. Mr. Pianka replied, "What good are you?"

Mr. Pianka believes, in his words, "We're no better than bacteria!" and he has proposed an anti-bacterial course of hygiene. He said that, in order to save the planet, the human population should be reduced by 90 percent. War and famine are not efficient enough, he said, to kill the billions of people necessary. Disease would be the best population reducer. AIDS, though, works much too slowly.

What would be best, he said, is Ebola, a Central African virus that liquifies the internal organs. An airborne variety of Ebola, he calculated, would produce 90 percent mortality.

Yikes! The media was banned from the event. He got a standing ovation from the attendees. Our tax dollars at work. Slowly back away from the test tube, Pianka.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Strange Community . . . (in a good sort of way)

Yesterday KSBY came by and interviewed me for a short story on the DaVinci Dialogue event with Erwin Lutzer. I guess it ran last evening and this morning.

Not to be outdone by KSBY, today a crew from KCOY came by did their own story. They said it should run on this evenings news.

Thursday, I have the privilege of sitting next to Erwin Lutzer on the Dave Congalton Show on 920 KVEC in the 5:00 - 6:30 PM slot.

How cool is it that we live in a community that still covers stories like this?

(Any tech savy people out there who can capture this stuff, so we can put it on our website? Help!)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pinata Accidents

It's Cinco de Mayo and Bill Lindahl sent me this funny video called . . .

Pinata Accidents

It's hilarious. Seems to me we've had some of our own Pinata Accidents over the years.

Check it out.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Heldt Family: Fitting in

Great post by Brianna Heldt over on their blog. Check it out at

Fitting in

I resonate with this. Let's be an explicable, peculiar, winsome, gospel-centered people who defy the categories.

. . . and then the end shall come

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. --Matt. 24:14

We had a great kick-off to our 75th Anniversary Missions Conference yesterday. Former pastor Deane Keller opened God's Word from Isaiah 6 in the morning services. He challlenged us to look upward, inward and outward. The guy is smooth!

In the 9:30 & 11:00 AM services, Pastor Steve MC'd Grace Beyond, a panel discussion with all our visiting missionaries. I popped in for part of it. It looked like everyone was having great time, laughing and learning together.

And then 400 gathered again in the evening for our annual Missions Dinner. International food was incredible. Wycliffe missionary, Gary Peterson shared his heart and life at Grace with us and reminded us that God is doing some great things around the world. He challenged us to "Give Prego" . . . .that is "give, pray, go." We'll all remember that one! We ended the evening by singing "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Bob Johnson" who turned 81 yesterday. It seemed a fitting cap since Dr. Bob has been here for the entire 75 year history of Grace.

It truly was a sweet time together. When I hear all these visiting missionaries reflect on their time at Grace, I'm reminded of God's faithfulness in transforming lives and raising up workers. God wants to use us! He is using us. And I look around and wonder "Whom shall He send" next?

What were your thoughts, experience, challenge from the day?

Many thanks to Allie Cleath and our ACE Kitchen Crew, to our youth servers and especially Tom Phillips and the whole Missions Board for their excellent planning and execution.