Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Potter's Clay: Family Worship

Precious post today over at Kate Hasson's blog about her Family Worship time with little Susanna. . . . moving and challenging! Keep it up, Kate!

The Potter's Clay: Family Worship

taking suggestions

In May, we explored the stories of 4 Women of Grace. . . Leah, Hannah, Abigail, and Rebekah. I've been encouraged by my own study and by the response of the people to the series. Any take-away thoughts on your end? Which woman's story did you connect with best?

Beginning this Sunday, and going through June, we'll look at 4 Men of Grace. Not surprisingly I've got way more than 4 men in mind, just as I had many more than 4 women. I'm having a hard time choosing, so I'm inviting suggestions. Are there any slightly more obscure men that you like to see me tackle?

Any bets on who who we'll look at this week?

Monday, May 28, 2007


Did you see this article about the local couple pregnant with quadruplets in Sunday's Tribune? 05/27/2007 A, B, C, D. . . gee!

I had a chance to meet them as they visited our church yesterday, the same day of the article. How cool is that?

Don Maas, one of our faithful ushers brought them to me to introduce them, as he often does. I said, "You were the couple on the front page of paper this morning." They said, "That's us."

How cool is that?

The article says they just moved to SLO. If they choose to make Grace their church home, we will have a wonderful opportunity to affirm the sanctity of life and also reach out and love this family and their 4 new little girls.

These are crucial days . . . be praying for Isaac, Carmen, big sister, Leonor, and baby girls, A, B, C and D!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

this makes it sound so easy. . . . let's do it

The SLO Food Bank claims that if every one us here on the Central Coast gives $1 or more, then we can feed the 25,000 hungry people in SLO County for a year.

Sounds simple enough. Let's do it.

Check out the website for more info and to donate.

500 and counting

I just realized that I have crossed the 500 post marker. . . .that's got to be worth something. From my own experience, Life Together, has been a wonderful and expressive discipline, an outlet for thoughts and musings beyond which can be expressed on Sunday mornings. Hopefully, its let you see some other dimensions of who I am, what I value and what God is doing in my life and in our family.

I love what I do. I hope that's evident. I often feel overwhelmed by what I do. I feel so very blessed to pastor this great church in this great community. I've said it often privately, but not publically, "I'm the luckiest (blessed!) guy in the country to be called to such an exciting and thriving place of ministry." I'm fired up about what God is doing in us and through us. I see an exciting future ahead, full of impact, potential and blessing, as we trust the Lord together.

Enough of my reflective blubbering. . . how about some feedback from you?

  1. What has been the value or impact of Life Together for you?
  2. What difference do you think the medium of blogging is making in the world?
  3. Has Life Together made any difference in your life or in our life together at Grace?
  4. What are some subjects you'd like to see me tackle here at Life Together?
  5. Do you think Life Together (blogging!) is worth my time and effort as your pastor?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Lucifer Effect

I stumbled upon this on Guy Kawasaki's blog. . .

The Lucifer Effect

Incredible and captivating experiment about the sin in us all and what each us is capable of. Despite the evidence the author and conductor of the experiment comes to this faulty conclusion when asked this question. . . .

Question: Are people inherently and consistently good or bad?

Answer: I begin my book with John Milton’s classic statement about the power of the human mind, that it is its own place, and can “make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” I follow with a psychological celebration of the mind’s infinite capacity to make any of us villains or heroes by enabling us to be caring or indifferent, selfless of selfish, creative or destructive.

People are not born evil, but rather with survival talents, and remarkable mental templates to be anything imaginable — just as infants readily learn to speak and understand any of a thousand languages in an instant in their development. We get a push from nature in various directions, such as being more inhibited or bold, but who we become is ultimately a complex process of cultural, historical, religious, economic and political experiences in familial and other institutional settings.

Situational settings only bring out what already lurks inside and what lies beneath. The Bible is clear. "There is none righteous, no not one."

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen what you're capable of?

The degree to which you see your sin and sinfulness, to that degree will you love and get the grace of God in the Gospel.

Monday, May 21, 2007

becoming peacemakers

I mentioned Ken Sande's The Peacemaker in yesterday's message, "Abigail: A Woman who Pursued Peace."

Below is just one of the helpful paradigms for thinking about conflict and the varied way's we respond to it.

For more information on understanding this diagram, go to the Peacemaker's website.

Honestly now, how do you normally respond to conflict? Do you escape or attack or make peace?

Music Musings

I stumbled across this neat video in my YouTube exploring. . . . I think I recognized at least a couple Grace kids in here. . . Lauren MacGregor and Sarah Garcia.

As someone who had no musical training growing up, but who loves music, I love it that our community is still fighting for music education in the public schools.

Susie and I have been thinking again about the power of classical music in the life of our family after listening to this very thought provoking and captivating lecture by Andrew Pudewa:

Perhaps this is a topic you haven't thought much about. This lecture is definitely worth a listen. Make some time for it.

Finally, if these resources grab you and you want to take some action, I wanted to make sure you parents knew that our own Tanya Streder, wife of our Worship Pastor Al, is now taking students for violin instruction. Tanya and Al are very involved in the classical music scene here on the Central Coast. I know of one second grader in our church family that is greatly enjoying her new lessons with Tanya.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Central Coast Bible Institute

I mentioned just before the benediction this morning that Grace is delighted to begin hosting classes this Fall in partnership with the Central Coast Bible Institute, an extension program of The Master's College.

This Fall we will kick things off with New Testament Survey I.

For more information, check out the CCBI website or contact Elder Jim Jeffrey who is pointing the program on our end.

Let's see where this goes. . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

I made Susie read this article in the latest issue of World Mag on Mother's Day. . . .

WORLD Magazine | Weekly News, Christian Views

this paragraph jumped out. . .

I remember my mother telling me something she had heard from her mother: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."

I would guess that most American children have never heard that. Where would they hear it today? Not in public schools and certainly not on television. The last time I checked, women on television seemed in no mood to rock cradles. They were too busy rocking mattresses and throwing karate chops.

Be not ashamed, Moms. It is the noblest of callings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Lord Our Provider


= total pledged by 309 families over the next 3 years to our Building on the Legacy Vision. (That number is $14k or so higher than the number announced on Sunday because a few more families have pledged!) That's a lot of money and well exceeds our goal of $2,000,000.

We take this as the Lord's strong confirmation of our vision and direction. It's been a wonderful and challenging process. I've learned so much and been so blessed by the Lord's people and their generous giving. My vision and faith as a Pastor has been greatly stretched.

So where are we at on the implementation of the vision:

Our Annex Renewal Plans have been submitted to the city for approval. Please join us prayer for a quick approval process. Pray for wisdom as we plan for the loss of that vital space during the construction phase.

We are currently in the process of contacting adjacent property owners to see if they are interested in possibly selling now or down the road. Pray that the Lord grants us favor and good neighbor relations in the process. Pray for a miracle provision of a nearby property.

We are actively exploring parking possibilities as we better define city parking requirements and congregational needs. Pray for creativity and wisdom in this process.

We will do our best to keep the congregation informed as things develop and unfold.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Amy-Lynne, one of our resident photogs here at Grace, sent me this great pic of 8 of our expectant mothers at the Women's Conference this last weekend.

From left in order of soonest expected birth date. . . Jessica Wornardt, Jeannett Gibson, Kristen Jones, Lindsey Cheney, Cynde Kasperovich, Jen Collins, Grace Van Doren, & Serena Abdelaziz.

I love it. That's one sign of a healthy growing church. That's what I call "Building on the Legacy."

BTW, how was the Women's Conference? I haven't heard much?


One of my great joys is working with our great staff here at Grace. For over four years I've had the great privilege of working with Kathy Borland, who has served as our Business Administrator. Kathy has been a loyal friend and confidant to me in these early years at Grace. She's helped bring "order out of chaos" in our administrative area. Her service to the Lord and His people at Grace and to me has been invaluable.

At the end of May we will reluctantly release Kathy to pursue other callings.

Kathy has recently been appointed as the Director of Nursing at Cuesta College. This bit appeared in Friday's Tribune. . . .

Cuesta College

Former General Hospital nursing director Kathy Borland is the new director of Cuesta College’s nursing and allied health programs.

Borland, a San Luis Obispo resident, held the General Hospital position from 1993 until her resignation in March 2001. She began working for the hospital in 1986.

She is replacing Mary Parker, who directed the Cuesta program for 35 years.

Cuesta has registered nursing and licensed vocational nursing programs, in addition to nine allied health programs, including those for nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians.

Fifty-six new RNs graduate each year from Cuesta, but the program has more than 200 students on its waiting list. The college recently stopped adding names to the list so it could discuss possibly expanding the program. Cuesta is the top source of local nurses.

If we have to lose Kathy to another opportunity, I'm glad its a BIG one like this one. I have great confidence that Kathy will be used of God to take the nursing program at Cuesta College to new and higher places. Congratulations, Kathy!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

why not?

As we sift through the growing parade of presidential candidates, perhaps there is one that will unite instead of divide, be free from the influence of special interests and really fight for justice with integrity!

Join the movement. . . .check out his site.

Friday, May 04, 2007

hospitality on a friday

A great contrasting thought to yesterday's TV post. . .

Last night at our Elder Meeting, Chairman Jim Jeffrey brought us this outstanding article from 9Marks on Christian hospitality to read and discuss. . .

A Meal Says More than You Think - 9Marks

With hospitality, we proclaim to the world the incarnation of Christ, God’s grace in salvation, the unity of the church, and a Christian’s participation in the life of Christ. And to Christ himself we say, "I love you, because you have identified yourself with the least of these brothers." We must preach the words of Christ’s gospel, otherwise we draw attention and glory only to ourselves. But we must also preach with our lives so that those both inside and outside the church see that the power of God for salvation begins today, as Christ’s people begin to image him from one degree of glory to the next.
I loved the broad thinking about hospitality. Hospitality doesn't mean just having someone over to dinner, though it surely includes that. Broadly speaking, it means welcoming and connecting with people where ever we meet them, opening our lives to one another and to outsiders.

Where is hospitality practiced and happening at Grace?

• Sunday Mornings
• Growth Groups
• Adult Bible Fellowships
• home to home, brother to brother, sister to sister, family to family
• Our meal ministry.
• Our All Church Events ministry

Where else? Corportately and individually? How can we get better at hospitality? What makes us inhospitable?

I've thought for a long time that hospitality is one of the strange and powerful backdoor ways to live the Gospel. They may not, at first, listen to truth, but they will receive our cookies, come to our homes, and eat our meals.

(Bonus points for anyone who can identify the pic and its significance without peeking!)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

we were made for HIM

There are very few places more strategic for ministry than a university town. That's one of the many reasons I'm here in SLO. . . .to invest my life in faithful men and women who will influence others for Christ.

Here's an encouraging article about the spiritual openness and interest of college students today. When this stuff is making headlines in the New York Times, that's a pretty neat thing. God is still on the throne. . . Augustine was right. . . we were made for Him and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him.

Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus - New York Times

HT: Russ Berg

thursday thoughts on television

You all know of my LOST vice. (Awesome season, BTW) We download from iTunes. . . commercial free.

For the nearly 14 years of our marriage, we've had a television and enjoyed selective videos, but we have never had cable or had continual access to network television. Its made me a bit culturally irrelevant. Our kids don't really understand commercials and think you should be able to rewind tv shows, when they see them. Its one of our grand parenting experiments. Seems like so many families I know are making a similar choice.

I ran across these several quotes on the World Magazine Blog this morning:

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.

Television is called a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.

The television business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs for no good reason.

If you spend all your time watching TV, then you deserve what you get. You don't get much by simply sitting and staring. The drooling fool in the corner can do that. (Might apply to our computer screens, too!)
What do you think? If you've "shut it off and shut it out," what's been your experience? Do you miss it? What has been the impact on your life, marriage and family?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

yet another

I just discovered the Hasson Family Blog at

They're taking it to the next level with the youtube thing.

Check it out. . . .

Sooner or later, I'll find yours. . . .

Fruit of Grace: Tim Borland

Tim Borland, one of the seven children of Jim & Kathy, grew up at Grace and is now making a difference and living the Gospel in the world. . . totally inspiring! You go Tim!

For updates check out Tim's blog at