Thursday, October 26, 2006


Great little article here about strength through weakness, a poor husband named John Wesley and a depressed preacher named Charles Spurgeon.

This is what it's all about...

Plucked out of the Burning

Ethiopians in SLO

I've been a bit more atuned to Ethiopia in the news now that we have three adopted Ethiopian children in our church family. Here's a disturbing article about some stuff brewing over there . . .

WORLD Magazine | Weekly News, Christian Views

Incidentally, I've had the wild hare idea that the families of Grace should just keep adopting Ethiopian children. How cool would it be to have 20, 30 or 50 Ethiopian kids in our church who could all grow up together?

Who's in?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

living well, dying well

Did anybody catch this Newsweek article on Billy Graham?

Billy Graham's New Thinking on Politics, the Bible - Newsweek National News -

It's worth reading. The photo album on the right side is really worth viewing.

Do any of his statements trouble you like they trouble me? Which ones? Do we chalk these up to the Parkinsons or inaccurate quotes or what?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

new bike rack

Thanks to some passionate bikers and a grant from the city, we've got a new bike rack coming. I'm all for bikin' to church. . . here's a cool retro looking picture of the Kardel family. . . some of our bikin' friends. . .

Monday, October 23, 2006

Grace Folks in the News

After being down in Escondido last week for Susie's Dad's 70th B-day party last Monday, I never recovered enough to find time to post last week, but I'm back.

(There is never enough time to do all we'd like to do!)

I always am encouraged when folks from the family of Grace make the news. I caught a couple in the last few weeks. . .

Steve Frank, Senior Civil Engineer for the county of San Luis Obispo, who also suffers from adrenomyeloneurapathy, a rare nervous disease, was profiled in the Trib's Work Spaces. Steve is confined to a wheel chair, but refuses to let that slow him down. . . A great example to me of perseverence and hope. Christ is being exalted in his body.

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 10/17/2006 | Work Spaces

Jonathan Kelly and Tom Severson, who also both attend Grace, were profiled in the Trib's business section on October 14 for their creation of Omnispense. a web-based bill paying site for college students. Two great guys with a great idea who want to make a difference in this world. Jon and Tom are both eight o-clockers. Tom and I mountainbike once in a while.

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 10/14/2006 | Call it a computerized 'running tab'

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

on the air

We are pleased to announce that "same day" messages at Grace can now be heard all over the Central Coast on 890 AM at 11:00 Sunday mornings. These messages will be rebroadcast at 6:00 PM the following Saturday evenings.

We hope this will serve as an outreach to unbelievers in our community and also a resource to the family at Grace. Susie listened last Saturday since she was at home with sick Haaken the previous Sunday.

Just one more way for us to hold forth God's transforming Word of God.

Paul, in I Thessalonians 1:8, commends the church at Thessalonica because the Word of the Lord was "sounding forth" from them. May it do so from Grace as well.

Many thanks to the Fuglers for their sacrifice and service in making it all possible.

sweet sovereignty

Last Sunday, we looked at how gospel transformation is a sovereign work of God. I came across several quotes this week relating to the topic of God's sovereignty in Ken Sande's The Peacemaker, the I've been reading in preparation for our retreat this weekend. Great stuff.

One from J.I. Packer...

He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters. This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good.

One from Elizabeth Elliott...

God is God. If he is God, he is worthy of my worship, and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in his will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakable beyond my largest notions of what he is up to. God is the God of human history, and he is at work continuously, mysteriously, accomplishing his eternal purposes in us, through us, for us, and in spite of us...Cause and effect are in God's hands. Is it not the part of faith simply to let them rest there? God is God. I dethrone him in my heart if I demand that he act in ways that satisfy my idea of justice...The one who laid the earth's foundations and settled its dimensions knows where the lines are drawn. He gives all the light we need for trust and obedience.

Two from Joni Erickson Tada...

Nothing is a surprise to God; and nothing is beyond his control. His sovereignty is absolute. Everything that happens is uniquely ordained of God. Sovereignty is a weighty thing to ascribe to the nature and character of God. Yet if he were not sovereign, he would not be God. The Bible is clear that God is in control of everything that happens.

If examining the sovereignty of God teaches us anything, it teaches us that real satisfaction comes not in understanding God's motives, but in understanding his character, in trusting in his promises, and in leaning on him and resting in him as the Sovereign who knows what he is doing and does all things well.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

In yesterday's message, we jumped into Philippians 1:1-11 where we discovered Paul's joy in the gospel transformation. (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)

Together we noted that in his joyful prayer for gospel transformation Paul does not ask FIRST that the Philipppians would "approve the things that are excllent." No! Rather Paul prays first that their "love would abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment" SO THAT they would "approve the things that are excellent."

Why does Paul pray first for their loves/affections before their choices? Because our choices follow our loves. We choose what we love! Love the right things and you will make the right choices. The ramifications for both Gospel parenting and Gospel ministry are immense.

As I was thinking about all this, my mind went back to a famous sermon that I read a while back by the Scottish Pastor, Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847). The sermon is entitled. . .

The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

In my preparation, I did not have a chance to go back and read it, so I went back this morning. What a great encouragement! This is an amazing and deep message that says much about:

1. The operations and desires of the heart.
2. The transforming power of the gospel on the heart.
3. The contrast between love and the law.
4. The purpose and object of Biblical preaching.

So, how can I get you to sit down and read this sermon? Please read it!

Warning: It's deep and it's long and you won't get through it at the office. You're going to need about an hour to do it. Take a pencil and highlighter in hand and go slow. If you take the time, you will gain great insights into your own heart.

If you take the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Here's one paragraph to wet your whistle. . . .

The object of the gospel is both to pacify the sinner's conscience and to purify his heart; and it is of importance to observe, that what mars the one of these objects mars the other also. The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good to expel the love of what is evil. Thus it is, that the freer gospel, the more sanctifying is the gospel; and the more it is received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness. This is one of the secrets of the Christian life, that the more a man holds of God as a pensioner, the greater is the payment of service that He renders back again. On the venture of “Do this and live,” a spirit of fearfulness is sure to enter; and the jealousies of a legal bargain chase away all confidence from the intercourse between God and man; and the creature striving to be square and even with his creator is, in fact, pursuing all the while his own selfishness instead of God's glory; and with all the conformities which he labors to accomplish, the soul of obedience is not there, the mind is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed under such an economy ever can be. It is only when, as in the gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the reach of disturbance, or that he can repose in Him as one friend reposes in another; or that any liberal and generous understanding can be established betwixt them, the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good, the other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude by which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence. Salvation by grace—salvation by free grace—salvation not of works, but according to the mercy of God, salvation on such a footing is not more indispensable to the deliverance of our persons from the hand of justice than it is to the deliverance of our hearts from the chill and the weight of ungodliness. Retain a single shred or fragment of legality with the gospel, and you raise a topic of distrust between man and God. You take away from the power of the gospel to melt and to conciliate. For this purpose the freer it is the better it is. That very peculiarity which so many dread as the germ of Antinomianism, is, in fact, the germ of a new spirit and a new inclination against it. Along with the lights of a free gospel does there enter the love of the gospel, which, in proportion as you impair the freeness, you are sure to chase away. And never does the sinner find within himself so mighty a moral transformation as when, under the belief that he is saved by grace, he feels constrained thereby to offer his heart a devoted thing, and to deny ungodliness.

Do you feel this way?

Our kids were watching the Incredibles on my laptop yesterday, but stopped midway through. Last evening, Susie and I were having a "Sunday Sit-Down" to plan for the week ahead. We were realizing what a crazy week it's going to be. I opened my laptop and this was the frame where the movie was paused. I turned to her and said, "This is how you feel." She said, "Exactly."

Do you ever feel this way? It's a Monday!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Clueless Christian

Check out this fresh testimony by Moby. . .

I've never heard Moby's music (so culturally irrelevant, huh?), but I agree with him. . .

"The world is a complicated and nuanced place."

Let's not act like it isn't.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, October 02, 2006

A great church or a great city?

Great and challenging quote I ran across this morning. . .

If the aim of your church is for a great church--you will only feather your own nest. But if the main aim of your church is to build a better city--then in the end you'll also have a vibrant church. --Ray Baake
1. Do we believe this?
2. How do we do this?