Saturday, August 30, 2008

an encouraging week

The Lord has seen fit to encourage my heart through His people this week by means of several significant notes and emails. Here's one from the parents of a pair of college students who have found a home at Grace . . .

Two of our kids have been going to Grace, 1 for 3 years, 1 for 1 year. Last Sunday we were visiting Grace when I realized that since Grace is where our kids have been getting their spiritual growth, it would only be proper to "tithe" there (1 Thess 5:12). This summer we have actually heard 3 of your sermons in Galatians (2 in Gal 3, 1 in Gal 5), and have found them to be very enlightening and encouraging. Our kids have also been involved in small groups, retreats, and a mission trip to Philippines. In fact, we feel that the Biblical education and spiritual application they are learning there is worth their room & board. What they learn at Cuesta and SLO may help determine their occupations, but what they learn at Grace (if all your sermons are as good as the ones we have heard) will help in all areas of their life and beyond.

Thank you for your commitment to God's Word and walking in the Spirit (see Galatians :)) and being there for our kids.

I agree . . . what God was doing in my life during my college years had very little to do with my business econ major.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things You Need to Know

Here's the all-church email that was sent this afternoon. . . .

Beloved Grace SLO Family,

As promised at the beginning of last week's message, here is a rundown of dates, events and information you need to know about the next month here at Grace as we kick off the fall and prepare to move into our renewed Early Childhood Center and Founder's Hall. This list is not comprehensive as I have tried to focus on all-church happenings that affect the majority of us. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO CAREFULLY READ THIS EMAIL! Here goes . . .

Sunday, August 31
- This is Labor Day Weekend -- expect a slightly lighter attendance
- Nursery - 4s/5s meet in their normal classes, all services
- Student Ministries & College meet as usual
- Combined Adult Bible Fellowship meets as usual
- Fall Growth Group enrollment begins
- Sign up on the TAB to help with the Moving Day (Mon, Sept. 15) and Fall Kick-Off (Sept. 21)
- Sign up in the Courtyard for POW, Women's Bible Study

Thursday, September 4
- POW, Women's Bible Study begins

Sunday, September 7
- This is All-Church Camp-Out Weekend -- expect a lighter attendance
- Nursery - 4s/5s meet in their normal classes, all services
- Student Ministries & College meet as usual
- Combined Adult Bible Fellowship meets as usual
- Fall Growth Group enrollment continues
- Sign up on the TAB to help with the Moving Day (Mon, Sept. 15) and Fall Kick-Off (Sept. 21)

Tuesday, September 9
- AWANA Round-Up
- Your chance to enroll your children in AWANA

Sunday, September 14
- Close out of our Galatians Series
- Look for and welcome Parents dropping off their college students at Poly and visiting church
- Nursery - 4s/5s meet in their normal classes, all services
- Student Ministries & College meet as usual
- Combined Adult Bible Fellowship meets as usual
- Sign up on the TAB to help with the Moving Day (Mon, Sept. 15) and Fall Kick-Off (Sept. 21)

Monday, September 15, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
- Moving Day for the Early Childhood Center
- Pizza provided for the family. Movie in the ministry center provided for the kids
- Get a sneak peak of the Early Childhood Center and serve, all at the same time.
- Experience the joy of God's faithfulness
- Sign up on the TAB the Sundays before, so we know you are coming.

Sunday, September 21
- Fall Kick-Off Sunday - 10:00 AM
- One combined Family Worship Service in Mitchell Park at with lunch and fun into the afternoon
- Launch of a new fall series entitled, &quotThe Gospel for Real Life"
- Look for and welcome hundreds of new college students who will be visiting our church on that Sunday
- Pray and invite your friends, neighbors, family, roommates and co-workers
- Pastor Ken's return from sabbatical
- Fall Growth Group enrollment continues

Tuesday, September 23
- First Night of AWANA

Sunday, September 28
- Founder's Hall & Early Childhood Center Dedication Sunday
- Return to 3 service schedule, 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 AM
- Move-Up Sunday for all Sunday School Classes (see new class locations in Life@Grace)
- Adult Bible Fellowships separate and move to new locations (see new class locations in Life@Grace)
- Student Ministries and College meet as usual
- Fall Growth Groups launch, last day for enrollment

Monday, September 29
- Ladies Salad Supper in the Ministry Center

Sunday, October 5
- College Pizza in the Park
- Hopefully things are beginning to settle down into a &quotnew normal"

Fall is the busiest time of our ministry year here at Grace. This is the time, not only when college students return to our community, but also a time when families are exploring churches. It's an excellent time to invite friends to church and an important time for us to be welcoming and really reaching out to those who darken our doors. This fall, let's not let anyone fall through the cracks or leave our campus without a warm, real welcome.

You should also know that it's frustrating to me that we are not offering any K - 6th grade Sunday School between now and September 28. It is not ideal during this important time. We have talked this issue extensively as a staff and don't see anyway around this during this BIG transition time with both teachers and facilities. So, let's see this as one more opportunity to FLEX together and WORSHIP together. Parents, this is an excellent opportunity to lean into Family Worship, one of our core values here at Grace. When you bring your kids to worship with you, you'll find that you are not alone. As a primer for you and to help you get prepared for worshiping together, you might find it helpful to listen to a message I preached on the value of Family Worship. You can listen by clicking this link:

If you have questions about any of these fall happenings, please feel free to contact any of our Ministry Staff. If they can't answer your specific question, they will find the answer for you.

It's going to be an exciting fall. God is so good and faithful. Let's love and look to Him together.

Because of and for the Gospel . . . Pastor Tim

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

newly discovered blogs . . .

I found 4 new GraceSLO blogs without even looking . . .

Here they are:

the Peek Family at . . . the Peeks are a really neat relatively new family at Grace . . . . they live in South County (Grover Beach, me thinks), but working hard to get involved at Grace.

Penny Malley at . . . Penny is married to Ted, one of our Grace elders, and the busy mother of 4. The Malleys live out in Los Osos and are quite involved at Grace!

Anna Lyons at . . . Anna is a recently graduated college student and recently engaged to Jason Evangelista (You didn't know?) . . . . and actively involved in our ministry here at Grace. She's a cyclist, too!

The all new Grace Student Ministries Blog at . . Looks to me like Ben Collins is leading the charge, but I'd like to see Todd Roughton also do some posting, so let's all bug him about it. (BTW, these guys are both on Facebook, but don't tell them I told you.) If you've got students, you're going to to want to hook into this blog to stay up to date with the very latest Student Ministries happenings.

All four have been added to the sidebar. Click over and check them out, leave a comment and encourage their authors.

Also, I noticed that the recent vids from last weekend's Fall Forward are now posted at I haven't watched them myself yet, but I'm sure they are "Ernstrom Hilarious" and well done. My kids are going to be bugging me to see them. The question is, "Can they play on my iphone?" If not, I make a motion that they be uploaded to youtube. Do I have a second?

Finally, I'm thinking about changing the address of life together to simply I've had the address reserved for a while, but I'm scared to death make the switch. Does anyone know if I can move all my history and posts over to the new URL? That would be optimum.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sorry, me no Facebook

Not long ago, I had a friend from my early college years contact me out of the blue. As we interacted a bit, he invited me to check out his Facebook page to learn more about what was going on his life.

I took the bait and went to the site, only to discover I had to create an account to see his profile.

Again, I took the bait, entered the bare minimum info to create a profile, but never even checked out my own page. Looked at my buddies page and was done.

It wasn't too long before I started receiving friend invitations from people I don't think I even know. I let them sit.

So today I was shocked when the last person I imagined would ever be on Facebook, told me that he had fallen into "the rabbit hole."

That led to a funny conversation with some of our Student Ministries Staff (the young, hip guys). "Do I have to Facebook? Am I ok if I don't Facebook? I have a Facebook page, but don't want one. How do I get rid of my Facebook page?" They all got a good kick out my angst and pretty soon I started getting invitations from them and others in their network. Very funny!

Facebook and how it works is crazy. Very viral.

I have decided, yet again, that I simply do not have time for Facebook. Everyone of us draws our own line on our use and engagement with technology. I like my iphone. A lot. It is a management tool. I like to blog . . . for now. I think it's a shepherding/communication tool.

I can't do Facebook. . . I've got more going on the real world than I can handle . . . a God I want to network with, a wife with her own set of callings, 4 children, friends to see, too much email, so many books I want to read, a staff to manage, elders to connect with, congregants to shepherd and care for, blogs to post to, blogs to read, a soccer team to coach, bikes to ride and a whole lot more.

I need more real life face to face contact with people I care about and with the people who care about me.

And yet it is so seductive. I feel like I should be on Facebook. What am I missing out on if I'm not on Facebook?

I am pretty into technology, but I want to control it, not let it control me. I want to use it, not be used up by it. I want to push the power button to "off" more than I do. I want to have better and more clear technology boundaries than I do. I want to choose my rabbit holes and jump rather than be sucked down into them.

I want to sow in different places.

This is my line for now. What's yours? What technology are you limiting in your life? What are you saying "no" to?

Anybody want to try and talk me into Facebook?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Get in a Growth Group this Fall

We recently had a fantastic Growth Group Vision Gathering with some of our Growth Group Leaders as we look toward the Fall together.

Growth Group enrollment begins this Sunday and continues through September. Whether you are brand new to Grace or have been here for many years, we want to urge you to commit yourself to a Growth Group this Fall. We thought these videos from the time with our leaders would would give you a sense of our vision and perhaps motivate you to jump in. . .

1. Me sharing of my heart for Growth Groups in the overall "Big Picture" of Grace:

Pastor Steve sharing about the priorities of Growth Groups:

Frequently Asked Questions with Pastor Tim and Pastor Steve:

Holler if you have any questions and let us know what you think. Many thanks to Jack Hutchinson for making the vids happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

how sweet it is

I know, I know, it's been awhile. . . .

Our move about killed us, but we are recovering. We finished up and then ran away from the boxes and up to Hume for a week. So hard to walk away from the madness, but so glad we did. Much need pace change and great family time. Back now. Our new home is a funky rental in Shell Beach. We plan to be here for a year or two and then move to a little piece of property that we are in the process of purchasing in east A.G.. More on that later . . .

Anyway, Shell Beach is awesome...less than a block to the water. Feels like we're on vacation. Though we're still digging out, we're trying to enjoy it NOW. We had dinner on the beach tonight.

Here's a few pics...

sun in their faces
my boyz

ball of fire

"that's what I'm talking about"

stairs and beautiful eyes

There is something about the sea. . . its immensity . . . its unpredictability. . . it alters my perspective. It points me to my and its Maker. I need it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

moving sale

Heads up. . . . as we move into a slightly smaller home, we're having a furniture sale this Friday morning. We've advertised on Craig's List and set the time as 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, but you Grace folks are free to show for the 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM "Friends & Family" slot. Your friends are welcome, too. Pass the word. We've tried to price the stuff to sell, because we'd rather not store it.

Not surprisingly, we've set up a blog so you can see some pics of what's going on the sale bloc . . .

Monday, August 04, 2008

08.03.08 Financial Update

Todd Talley, our beloved Grace treasurer, gave an important financial update in our services yesterday. In the first hour, the summary slide didn't come up. I thought I'd post it here for your review . ..

The summer months are always a little lighter on the giving side, with folks coming and going on vacations. However, as you can see, the situation is a little bit more dramatic this year. In light of the larger national and local economic issues, the Financial Trustees are keeping a close watch on this issue. We are already running tight on our ministry expenditures, but cutting our budget or reducing our staff may, at some point, be necessary. Our goal is to communicate along the way, so that you the congregation are adequately informed, given an opportunity to respond, and there are no surprises.

We believe the Lord is faithful to provide what we need to accomplish what He's called us to do. He is Lord of the feast and Lord of the famine.

In the meantime, our challenge is to be faithful, consistent and cheerful in our giving to the work of God at Grace. Let's pray together for our ministry and for those struggling financially in our church family.

Drop myself ( or the Financial Trustees ( an email if you have questions or comments.

Friday, August 01, 2008


moving all weekend (and probably next weekend, too), if anyone wants to swing by and pitch a hand for an hour or two. We're paying high school and college students. No pressure.


Reread Galatians to get ready for Sunday. Its been a while. . . .