Monday, September 29, 2008

Open for Ministry

Great Grand Opening Sunday for our Founder's Hall and Early Childhood Center. If you missed the morning, listen here to hear what this building is for . . . What were your reactions?

Busy weekend for me. . . the Lighthouse Century on Saturday, the Grand Opening and then a Sunday afternoon memorial service in the L.A.. area for an uncle who unexpectedly passed away in his sleep last week. Trying to get going this morning. . . .

Growth Groups start this week. . . . in case you've signed up, but are now entertaining second thoughts because of your own busy schedule, here's that Growth Group promo video to encourage you to show up this first week. . .

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Finally, there are just 21 hours left on our "Greeting" survey. . . .let's push that thing to 80 before it ends.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Ingenious Little Old Man

Zeke popped out his fall poem with me the morning. . . .I just had to get it on video.


Coaching Zeke's soccer team with Donny Valliere has been so much fun this year. We have a great little team. Its amazing to see the motor development and focus growth year over year.

It kills me, but tomorrow I am missing our 3rd game to ride the Lighthouse Century with Scott Morton, which should be a blast, too. I'm expecting a very beautiful day.

Here's our route . . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grand Opening

Its been a full week, between these two Fall Kick Off Weekends. Last Sunday was out of the building, this Sunday we're dedicating a building.

I am told that attendance was up last Sunday over previous year's Kick Offs. 60 something college kids rode the bus from Cal Poly. We served 249 free meals to guests that were with us. In addition, we were excited to take lots and lots of leftover chicken to the Prado Day Center to feed those in need. I've received several emails from visitors who kindly took the time to write and say how much they enjoyed the day.

Here's a slideshow of pics from last week . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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

Beloved Family of Grace,

Last Sunday's Fall Kick Off was amazing! Thanks for your part in inviting friends and serving. A special thanks to our Karen Weaver and Darrell Daniels who rallied our ACE and BBQ teams to provide lunch. The day was everything our Ministry Staff hoped and prayed it would be . . . and more.

So let's do it again, but differently, this Sunday. . . . We want to keep the spirit and energy of the Fall Kick Off going as we throw open the doors of the newly remodeled Founder's Hall and Early Childhood Center. Our aim on this special morning is to celebrate God's faithfulness and provision and remind ourselves what church buildings are for, remembering along the way that we will have a bunch of new college students and families with us for the first and second time. We want these visitors to feel welcome and a part of the celebration.

Remember, this Sunday begins our fall 3 Service Schedule. Services happen at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00. Once again we want to encourage all of you to consider attending the 8:00 hour if at all possible to make room for newcomers. Also, this fall is another great time to make a commitment to park in the parking structure to enable our seasoned citizens, those with special needs and visitors to park upfront and close. These are two great ways to live the Gospel with one another this fall!

I can't wait for you to see the beautiful and functional new space that God has provided, through your faithful and joyful giving to Grace, for the exaltation of His name and extension of His kingdom. You're going to love it! I'll see you at the door!

Because of and for the Gospel . . . Pastor Tim

Friday, September 19, 2008

Walt Fuller

I mentioned in last week's message that Walt Fuller, the father of one of our beloved college students, Kristi Fuller, was tragically killed in that train wreck in Simi Valley last weekend.

While the family no doubt is grieving their loss, at the same time, they are looking to the Lord and seeking to exalt Him in the midst of their trial . . .

Check out a video of Kristi with her mom and brother talking about her dad,

Here is a section from an article on the NBC website,

"A Starbucks just a block from the Metrolink's Simi Valley station was frequented by many of the dead, who grabbed their coffee there before boarding the train.On Sunday, the daughter of one victim sat in an overstuffed armchair in the coffee shop and remembered her father, Walter Fuller.

Kristi Fuller said her family learned Saturday morning that her 58-year-old father was sitting in the front passenger car of the train in a forward-facing chair. Other family friends who were riding in backward-facing chairs walked away from the crash, she said.The 22-year-old said her father was in charge of the control tower at Burbank Airport, north of Los Angeles, and worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. Calls to the FAA were not immediately returned Sunday.

"It was very sad, we miss him and we miss him in our home -- but we know that he went to a better place," said Fuller, who described her family as devout Christians.Fuller said her father, who was nicknamed "Grandpa" for his premature gray hair, loved practical jokes and kept a jar of candy on his desk."He was serious when he needed to be," she said, "but he loved to joke around and give everybody a hard time."

Take a look at what others have written about Walt Fuller at

Keep praying for the Kristi and the entire Fuller family. Memorial services are to held tomorrow, Saturday, September 20 at 10AM at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley. The church web site has directions available if you need them

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Kick Off

Dear Family of Grace,

Thanks much for all your prayers during my sabbatical. Judi and I had a GREAT time! I’m looking forward to sharing with you in the days to come how our great God met us, blessed us, encouraged us and challenged us. We are excited to jump back into our Grace family and continue to serve together with you.

And talking about jumping in... our 2008 Fall Kick-Off is just a few days away. If you have not yet let us know that you want our BBQ’d chicken lunch with all the fixins for you and your family, we'd like to hear from you RIGHT NOW, as this will help us in our planning! You can respond to this email or call the church office (543.2358) and let us know you're coming. You can pay for lunch at the Kick-Off.

Here are some details that you need to know as we approach Sunday.

Who are you inviting? It’s not too late. . . in fact, now is the perfect time to invite those friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and classmates. Pray first and then go for it. Leave the results to God. Invite them to sit and eat with you. We've attached an invite card that you can print or email.

What to Wear and Bring: Dress for the day is very casual. Chair seating and lots of shade will be provided. If your family would prefer to sit on the grass under the trees, bring your own beach chairs and/or blankets. As in past years, we will have the slip-and-slide going, so bring those swimsuits for the kids. Also, again this year, we will have a tie-dye activity center as part of our fun zone. If your children wish to participate, please bring $2 or a plain white t-shirt for them to tie-dye.

Parking & Arrival: Plan to be early for our 10:00 AM Worship Service. We really want to encourage you to park in the Pacific Street Parking Structure in order to free up street parking for visitors, guests, the elderly and those with special needs. Our Welcome Team will fill out a name tag (red for guests less than one year, blue for regulars) and they will hand you a worship folder. Find a place to sit and greet those around you, looking specifically for those red name tags. A baby changing station will be located in the shade near Osos St. New moms, feel free to hang out there. To minimize distractions, we ask that you keep your kids away from the playground during the worship service. They will have the remainder of the day to have fun and enjoy the park.

Worship Service: Worshipping outdoors is a blast, but can also be quite a challenge. Be praying for this crucial time. Pastor Tim will be starting a new series on The Gospel for Real Life. It should be sweet!!!

Lunch: If you haven't pre-purchased your lunch ticket, you will do that first. Tickets are $5 with a $25 max. per family. Then you will proceed through the food line. Use the lines to chat with others and welcome those visitors and guests around you. We want to make sure that no red name tags eat alone, so if you meet them in line invite them to sit with you.

Fun Zone and Afternoon Activities: After lunch, we encourage you to stick around, wander the park and have a good time, even if you don't have children in the fun zone. There will be fun activities for all ages to watch and play throughout the day. The afternoon is also a great time to deepen relationships with those you don’t know as well and to meet someone new. My guess is that there will be a lot of people joining us that you don’t know that well.

Thanks also to the many of you who are helping serve on this special day! I’m looking forward to celebrating the Gospel with you this Sunday at 10am. Pray that all feel welcomed, included, encouraged and challenged. Most of all, let’s pray that the Lord is lifted high.

To our great God’s glory, Pastor Ken

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

did you notice?

Hmmmmmmm, something is different? At least 2 people noticed last Sunday. Did you notice?

Survey #2 Results : frequency of readership

Since when I change the survey, the results disappear, I've included this screen shot. Last week's survey saw half as many respondents as the week before, which may simply be in line with the results of the survey. . . that many read life together on a more infrequent basis. With that reality in mind, I will extend each survey from 1 week to 2.

So this week's survey sprung forth from yesterday's post about greeting in church. Some have been brave enough to leave comments, but the survey is intended for those of you who are not so brave and yet have an opinion on this matter and would prefer to leave it quick and anonymously. Its intended to broaden our sample size and give me a snapshot of how we experience this regular practice in our worship services.

I appreciate your participation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

felt like fall

Yesterday felt like the fall, didn't it? Lots of new and returning college students, a crowded Courtyard and a buzz in the air. We wrapped up our Galatians series with message #24. What a great study. It was a communion Sunday, which also means a name tag Sunday, which reminded me of a recent dear Abby post that appeared in the Tribune last week.

Betty Cunningham handed this to me on Sunday. But Robbin Mote got it to me first and also shared her very honest thoughts on her blog. Here it is . . .

DEAR ABBY: I am writing about a change I have seen in church. I accept the loud guitar music and informal settings, although I do miss the traditional hymns and formal altars.What I cannot get used to is the forced "friendly" greeting and handshaking. I attend church to meditate and worship with my family. I do not go to shake hands with strangers and give them a greeting dictated by a pastor.
I like people. I am naturally caring, outgoing and friendly. However, I believe that a greeting or handshake should come from my own heart. I have mentioned this to friends and family from all faiths, ages and walks of life. None of them like this scheduled "greeting" either. Many say they head for the restroom at that time, turn their backs or just shake hands with the people they came with, come to church late to avoid it, or don't come at all. Others feel the practice is unsanitary. I suggest that church leaders take an anonymous poll and ask how many in their congregations agree with me. What do you think, Abby? -- MINISTER'S DAUGHTER, CAYUCOS, CALIF.

DEAR DAUGHTER: Thank you for asking my opinion. Here it is: Something is wrong in our fragmented society if, for one moment in a house of God, people cannot find it in their hearts to reach out and make sure that everyone feels included and welcome. And for those who fear it is unsanitary -- bring small bottles of hand sanitizer.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

It's a crack-up that it's from a minister's daughter in Cayucos. Do you feel like this about the greeting time at Grace? I loved Abby's straight-up response. Obviously, the greeting time in church is not the "end-all, be-all," but it's intended to be a small way to break the ice and extend a welcome. Personally, I need to be reminded that I have to come to worship with others, not alone. We together are part of the "communion of saints" throughout the ages, brothers and sisters in Christ, the family of God. Seems to me, we've got to do all we can to keep embracing and experiencing that.

I think those of us who have been around for awhile forget what it's like to walk into an unfamiliar church for the first time. It can be a very uncomfortable experience. A smile, a welcome, a good morning, the touch of a handshake can go a long way in putting someone at ease. Don't underestimate the power of that time.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Two More

Here's another two:

Robbin Mote at has worked in our office, I think, twice as long as I've been at the church and she's attended Grace for something like 30 years. She and Dan are actively involved in Student Ministries. I've been encouraged reading Robbin's recent posts.

Heather Kelley at Heather is another long time Gracer, also involved in Student Ministries, but she recently set out for Texas. Why Texas? You'll have to read her blog to follow her story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Week's New Blogs

Found 2 more. . .

The Martin Family at Jeff and Jenn are good friends and actively involved in leading one of our South County Growth Groups. They're both into cycling. Jeff is into fishing. Jeff is one of the most encouraging guys I know. He wasn't sure about going public with the blog, but I encouraged him to let his light shine. He finally gave me permission to share his address.

The Badger Family at involved here at Grace for years and most recently as Growth Group leaders. Many of you know that Cara is now battling cancer, just after the birth of their second little girl. They're sharing their journey on their blog. I loved the post after the worship service last Sunday. We're committed to loving this family through this horrendous trial.

I've added them to the sidebar. It's getting to be quite a list. Am I missing any? Let me know.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Camp-Out Photos Now Posted

I've been waiting for the pics to be uploaded. . . last weekend's All-Church Campout was a blast. A bit hot, but a sweet time of fellowship and fun. Amy Lynne again has taken so many great pictures. Here's a hundred or so . . . more will be uploaded in the couple days and will show up in this same slideshow.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Don't forget . . . if you roll over the slideshow, show adjustments will appear.

Speaking of pics, there are so many more over on the Grace Flickr Site. More are uploaded after almost every event.

Finally, you've got to check out Not sure how it all works, but Cool Iris allows you to scroll through photos in full screen 3D. . . . Its just about the coolest thing I've ever seen and definitely the best way to quickly browse all our Grace photos. (HT: Todd Roughton)

Did you know . . . .

. . . . that there were 826 items checked out from the Grace library between May 4th and August 31st?

Do you use the church library? What resources do you check out? What would make the library more useful for you?

Next time you're in there, give one of our faithful librarians a big, giant hug and tell them you appreciate them!

Tell them I sent you!

Haak turns 3

Our Haaken turned 3 yesterday.

Haaken is our little farmer. He loves chickens, cows, horses, barns and fences.

Haaken is our little organizer. He loves to line his stuff up in neat little patterns.

Haaken is our little Italian. Expressive and emotional. Known to throw huge fits when he doesn't get his way. Stubborn as all get out. Able to melt your heart with his cute little voice.

Haaken is our little brute. Our biggest kid yet. Big feet, big belly, crazy hair.

I love Haaken and I love the way our other 3 love Haaken.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Survey says. . .

Last weeks poll is officially closed and here are the results:

How many blogs do you actively keep up with? (Total respondents = 78)

• Only life together 10 (12%)
• 1-5 30 (38%)
• 6-10 10 (12%)
• 11-20 13 (16%)
• 20-50 15 (19%)

Do you use a reader to read blogs? Total Respondents = 63)

• I use a reader 11 (17%)
• I go to the blog page 26 (41%)
• I don't know what you're talking about 26 (41%)

Not sure what exactly it means, but here are a couple of thoughts:

1. There are at least 78 readers of life together, not just the 10 who regularly comment. This is encouraging to me.

2. Life Together readers span the spectrum in terms of blog savvy. 26 respondents don't know what a blog reader is. 10 identify life together as the only blog they read. Yet at the same time there are 15 respondents who say they actively keep up with more than 20 blogs. (How do they do that?) Most of us can only handle keeping up with 1-5 blogs. I love it that there are a wide variety of folks who read life together.

Any additional reflections . . . .

So, this weeks survey is now posted in the right margin. Thanks for sharing. . .

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

the survey

If you've responded to my first little sidebar survey, thanks! I didn't say anything about in a post, but you found it and the results so far have been curious and fun.

If you use a reader to read Life Together, can you click in to the site and take the two question little survey? Come on, humor me and play along. Time runs out in just a couple of days.

I don't know about you, but it was rough coming back to the office after the long Labor Day weekend. Our staff jumped right into a 9:00 AM staff meeting. We were all struggling . . .

Short week for many of us as we are heading toward the All Church Camp-Out up at Lake San Antonio this weekend. I am trying desperately to get our boat cleaned up and running. If the Lord wills, "Pastor Tim's Wild Ride" will return! Get ready for "The Taco!"