Wednesday, November 22, 2006

go see it

The Parable Group arranged a special advanced screening of The Nativity Story on Tuesday afternoon. I took all four kids while Susie packed for our Thanksgiving getaway.

I'm skeptical of visual representations of Biblical truth, but liked this one a bunch.

The Biblical details surrounding the birth of our Lord are skeleton. The film does a great job filling in the missing details in a way that makes the events come to life in a plausible and, for the most part, Biblically accurate way.

The film opens on December 1st. I think it's going to be big. It does not deal with the "Why" questions and so I think it will provide opportunities to give "a reason for the hope within." So go see it and be ready. And then come back and share your own impressions.

family feuds

As we gather with our families to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, many of us face relationships strained and even broken by sin . . . . our own and others.

Homosexuality is becoming more socially acceptable and more and more common in many of our extended families. So many have shared with me their struggle with a family member involved in the homosexual lifestyle. What is the proper Biblical/Gospel response to these loved ones?

Here is one perspective from John Piper that I think provides some helpful guidance in these challenging relationships. . .

Letter About How to Relate to a Relative Who Is Homosexual

Saturday, November 18, 2006

running through the house with scissors

My mother-in-law sent this to me. It made me think again, as I often do, about a risk management class I took back in college. It made me laugh. I hope it makes you laugh, too. Laughing is good.

This is dedicated to those Born 1930-1979! TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down
the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound, CD's or Ipods, no cell! phones!, no personal computers , no Internet or chat rooms.......
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang
the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.

They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them . . CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as
kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

join us at Campus by the Sea

It's official. The Theule Family is returning to Campus by the Sea on Catalina Island, June 24 - 30, 2007. We'd love to have you join us. Chances are you might hear some material I will have already taught here at Grace, but it would be fun to share the week with you. If you don't want to hear me again (which I totally understand!) pick another week and go. You won't regret it.

Our kids are amped to go again.

If you're looking for a second opinion, ask the Kardels or the Lyons families who joined us last year. I think they're hoping to go back.

Here's the website . . .

Campus by the Sea

I don't think they've posted any info about next summer, but you can check out the facilities and history.

I think I've shared before. . . when we first got there, I was pretty unimpressed. . . it seemed a bit "down home", slow and low tech. (For example, no electricity in the cabins!) I couldn't at first understand why families came back year after year after year. By mid week, I realized that it was all very, very intentional and we were all hooked. Paul and Virginia Friesen, (2 of their daughters live in SLO and attend Grace) have been running the camp for over 30 years. They have put together a very family integrative camp experience. They know exactly what they're doing. And there's something very powerful about leaving the mainland and getting away to the island.

Anyway, check it out!

Oh yea, the picture is of me and the kiddos in our cabin last summer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

join us Sunday evening

Hope you're planning on making it 6:30 Sunday night for our Fall Vision Forum. We'll talk about where we're going as we look ahead to the next 25 years. . .

Thursday, November 09, 2006

get the kleenex

Both Jenny Grasseschi and Jack Gould sent me this today. Get the kleenex. I wept.

[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay For their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was Anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the School organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the Time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

And the video is below....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

melting pot or tossed salad?

The election is over, but while the politics stuff is still warm I wanted to share this interesting article on immigration.

Cougars Among the Flock

Immigration is one of those issues that I'm not always sure what to do with. How does the Gospel apply to immigration? What does a Gospel-centered perspective on immigration look like?

I'd like to read Dykstra's book entitled "Yearning to be Free." (That's a good Dutch name!) I'm intrigued by this guy's ideas. . . . here are a couple of excerpts. . .

The law of God also made a clear distinction between the foreigner willing to assimilate and the one who refused to do so. Isaiah 56:3-8 is a good example of the assurances and encouragements given to the foreigner who embraced Israel's culture. Ezekiel 44:6-9 is a good example too of the restrictions placed on the foreigner who refused to assimilate. These distinctions between the one willing to assimilate and the one who refused to do so are good and wise, and we put our future in peril by refusing to apply them to the current immigration debate.

WORLD: Why did we move from a "melting pot" emphasis to our current "tossed salad" thinking?

DYKSTRA: The jettisoning of our historic melting pot concept, (E Pluribus Unum—"out of many one"), has taken place because of our uncritical acceptance of multiculturalism. George Will recently wrote of "the sacramental nature of multiculturalism." The belief that no culture is superior to another is an assertion that needs to be challenged and not merely accepted. The roots of multiculturalism are Marxist, and the degree to which it has been accepted is frightening. The current "tossed salad" alternative to the "melting pot" will only lead to more and more fragmentation of society.

WORLD: When countries don't require immigrants to assimilate, what is likely to happen?

DYKSTRA: I guess that depends on the immigrants. If they are peaceful and law-abiding, then assimilation is bound to take place over time. If they arrive determined not to assimilate and determined to overthrow their host country, then that is a grave danger. This is precisely what we are facing with Islamists, and they are open and frank in admitting it. The clear goal of Islamists is the establishment of totalitarian theocracies. Their ultimate goal is the establishment of a borderless Islamic caliphate. Our policies in the West should be toward requiring assimilation into our common culture and opposing the dangerous policies of allowing immigrants to live in host countries separate from the overarching culture. We should begin by challenging the assumptions of multiculturalism.
What are your thoughts? How might these principles apply to hispanic immigration?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gordon MacDonald on Haggard

This is an excellent and insightful commentary on the Haggard thing. . . .worth the read.

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: The Haggard Truth

Monday, November 06, 2006


Tomorrow is election day and I wanted to again encourage you to get out there and vote. This is one way we can "not be overcome by evil, but work to overcome evil with good."

Nate Moss sent me the following email. I agree that it's very difficult to find accurate information. I confess that I have not yet had a chance to check out the resources that Nate recommends, but hope to do so in preparation for tomorrow. I like and trust Nate. I told him I would pass on the info to Life Together readers. Take it or leave it.

(Incidentally, I feel more comfortable offering this information via this blog than I do on Sunday mornings at church. For me, at least, when we gather for worship we are about other business . . . . business of another kingdom. I have the personal conviction that while the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God intersect with one another, we should also maintain a distinction between them. I know not everyone agrees with me on this one and you are free to share your own view here.)

Dear Tim,

I know you've been stressing elections and voting responsibilities for Christians. I think most Christians are not ignorant of this responsibility, but our system has made it very difficult to find accurate information on many people (particularly judges) and issues.

After doing much research, there is a conservative pro-life woman from Orange County who has put together one of the most comprehensive election pages I've seen. I thought I'd give this to you in case you want to put it on your blog or use it some other way.

Particularly good was her take on the judges. After doing some in-depth research many of the judges are pro-homosexual agenda or are anti-family. This lady summarized what I had already discovered about each candidate.




Sad story. Looks like legitimate brokenness. We're all capable of secret lives.

'I am Guilty of Sexual Immorality ... a Deceiver and a Liar,' Haggard Confesses

What makes a guy throw his whole ministry away to indulge himself? What makes a guy think he won't get caught? What makes a guy live such split lives?

How does his wife really stick it out? How do his 5 children process this? What will this guy do today, the Monday after? What does his life look like 5 years from now?

How easy it is in the wake of stories like this to get cynical, but think of the thousands of ministry leaders who are laboring faithfully with integrity. Let's not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Theule Family Pic of the Week: our tribe

No pumpkins carved this year. Just too crazy. But Susie did manage to throw together this Indian get up and go. I wasn't really into it, but the kids insisted.

(I'm thinking it's politically incorrect to dress up as Indians. What do you think?)

Harvest Festival was awesome. Kids went nuts. Thanks to Dori, her team and all the youth and college folks who stepped up to help. Lots of fun, but lots of work. A great outreach to our community.