Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crystal Kirgiss is Susie's cousin and the gifted author of a growing collection of thoughtful books.

This poem was on the Kirgiss family Christmas card. . . . our family liked it. . . .

The Tree

"whether short or tall
bent or straight
young or old
full or bare-
once chosen and decorated
with tender care
each tree becomes lovely
bathed in lights
wrapped in color
clothed in newness-
a symbol of bent, bare, empty lives
chosen by the Father
bathed in Light
wrapped in Hope
clothed in Forgiveness
because long ago
a tiny babe entered our world
shattered the darkness."

-Crystal Kirgiss

Monday, December 21, 2009

like an ox I'm slow

Here's the C.S. Lewis poem I read at the conclusion of yesterday's message, entitled "Making Space" . . . fodder for my Christmas pondering . . .


Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullness might at length
Give me an ox's strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Savior where I looked for hay;
So may my beastlike folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

angelic visits

Just feeding my own soul on some historic Christmas sermons when I stumbled upon this insightful and thoughtful paragraph from a sermon entitled "The Maiden Mary" by the great reformer Martin Luther. . .

Quite possibly Mary was doing housework when the angel Gabriel came to her. Angels prefer to come to people as they are fulfilling their calling and discharging their office. The angel appeared to the shepherds as they were watching their flocks, to Gideon as he was threshing the grain, to Samson's mother as she sat in the field. Possibly, however, the virgin Mary, was in a corner praying for the redemption of Israel. During prayer, also, the angels are wont to appear.

Martin Luther had a habit of affirming our everyday life callings and offices. Housework is one among a great many of life's worthy callings. . . .and unavoidable for most of us. Don't you think?

Parable Moving

Here's a Trib article about the downtown Parable store moving to the Trader Joe's center.


I know this is a big deal for my friend and Grace congregant, Steve Potratz. Look for a way to encourage Steve and Laurie when you have the opportunity. I'm going to miss the Parable downtown, but I get it. . . .

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

what are you doing for advent?

Our family has enjoyed Christmas using various Advent traditions, practices, and helps the past few years. The last couple of years, we've used Noel Piper's Advent Calendar. Some of you will remember that I integrated this into our Christmas Eve service a few years back.

(Unfortunately, Desiring God Ministries is not selling the calendar this year.)

This year, a new family to the church was kind enough to give us "The Advent Jesse Tree" with a little tree and all the ornaments, too. Our kids were excited to try something new and we began last night on December 1.

One of the things that I liked immediately about this resource was that Christmas did not begin with the birth of Jesus, but with creation. We had a great little discussion about that last night as Haaken got to put the first little ornament, a globe, on the tree. The whole thing took a total of 10 minutes (I've learned the hard way to keep it simple and keep it short!)

The Advent Jesse Tree is going to walk us across the sweep of redemptive history on the way to the birth of Christ. I so desperately want my kids to know that Christmas was God's plan to bring salvation to the world from all eternity. I'll try and post some pictures of our tree once a week or so.

So what do you do for Advent?

It's not too late to go for it this year. Here is the outline of the Advent Jesse Tree devotions I found online. You could use these devotions and then create your own simple ornaments for no money at all.

Maybe another way to start and do something this year, would be a light your own candle's around an Advent Wreath on the four advent Sundays and read a bit of the Christmas story from one of the Gospels.

I'm sure the web has a thousand other ideas to help you celebrate Advent.

Don't make it complicated, but do something. Take yourself and your family to the Christ of Christmas this year. They'll love it and look forward to it next year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Journey of Faith #3: Making Time for Growth Groups

I appreciate all our Growth Group leaders. Our elders have been talking much about the priority of Growth Groups here at Grace. We have got a ton of great stuff going on, but none of these are as effective as Growth Groups as providing a consistent environment of growth.

Stay tuned for a lot more about Growth Groups in the days ahead.

Winter Growth Group enrollment opens in the middle of December.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

struggle of faith

In Sunday's message, (LISTEN HERE!) we looked at Abram's struggle of faith as a means to understanding our own. We all, at times in our lives, experience struggles of faith. We need to normalize faith struggles. We need to learn to more openly talk about faith struggles. We need to be prepared for faith struggles. We need to actively deal with faith struggles. . .

I have been thinking about the many different types and categories of faith struggles. . . here's my growing list of some of things that can be a parts of our struggle of faith. . .

job loss
killing of the unborn
wayward children
porn addiction
homosexual desires
government mismanagement
crisis in your business
health issues
overwhelming personal responsibilities
emotional issues
corporate greed
chemical imbalances that can give rise to health and emotional issues
unresolved childhood issues
substance abuse
a troubled marriage
a desire to be married
broken relationships
personal isolation
senseless crime
feeling overwhelmed by bad news
unrealized, broken dreams
natural disasters
feelings of failure
pervasive uncertainty
unresolved guilt
systemic poverty
starvation of children
aging parents
general discouragement/depression
death of a loved one
home foreclosure
fear of death
fear of the future
fear of failure

All of these and a million more can cause and or contribute to a struggle of faith. Is your "thing" on the list? Why can't we talk about these things and learn to support one another through them?

For God has not destined us for wrath,
but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep,
we will live together with Him.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another,
just as you also are doing.
I Thesalonians 5:9-11

Thursday, November 12, 2009

don't give me any static

Totally random, but fun. . . another parent sent me this crazy shot of Zeke with some outrageously staticy (made up word, one "c" or two?)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

correction & redaction (UPDATED!)

In last Sunday's message, we looked at the strangeness of Melchizedek in his genealogy, titles, offices and greatness and how he points us to Jesus.

I spoke of the 4 offices ordained by God for the leadership of His people, Israel . . . prophet, priest, king and judge. . . and made the argument that Melchizedek is the only figure in the Old Testament to formally occupy more than one office.

I was mistaken and wrong. (Arghhh!)

A couple of people pointed me to Samuel, who according to 1 Samuel 3:20 was a prophet of the Lord . . .

All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.--1 Samuel 3:20

And according to 1 Samuel 7:15, Samuel also served as judge. . . .

Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. --1 Samuel 7:15

Its possible, based on the early part of First Samuel, that Eli, too, occupied the offices of both priest and judge.

I don't like being wrong. That's just my pride. Who likes to be wrong?

But I really don't like being wrong from the pulpit in my preaching and teaching of God's Word. Why? Because I want to represent God accurately and "rightly divide His word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15). These are among my very highest pastoral priorities.

So, not only was I wrong, but I'm sorry to the Lord and to you for mishandling His Word.

In retrospect, I wish I would have limited my explanation to the 3 primary and classic offices. . . prophet, priest and king. The office of judge, from everything I can tell, was provisional and temporary, a sort of "bridge" between the conquest and rule of Joshua (what was he?) and the rule of the kings. It might be argued that all the judges were really prophets in their judging function or, in the case of Eli, a priest. So maybe its best to not think of judge as an "office" at all, but as a function of certain prophets and priests for a time and then a function of the kings later.

Anyway, I'm still thinking this out and I'd love your thoughts.

While this is an important clarification and correction because the details of God's Word matter, I don't think this negates my point in the message that Melchizedek is a singular and unique Old Testament figure in his offices of king and priest (we don't have any others who occupy those two offices!) and in this he points us to Jesus, the" true and better prophet-priest-king."

I'm encouraged by the active, engaged listening of our congregation and always open to your correction. While I don't like to be wrong, I know that I am and will be. Not the first or the last time. I am not, nor do I want to be, "the Bible Answerman" who has all the answers or has to be right all the time. Who wants to live like that? Rather, I'm on a journey, learning and growing and grappling just like the rest of us.

Hope that's alright by you. Hope that's the way you see it, too.

My mistakes are an opportunity for me to "live in the Gospel" and look to my Melchizedek.

How about your mistakes?

UPDATE . . .

I received this great email from my friend Leon Maksoudian in which he shares some great additional insights about the offices from a slightly different angle. I think his perspective is another way to see these distinctions . . . Thanks, friend!

Good morning Tim:

I think you were "primarily" correct in stating that the offices are distinct and separate. This is true if we distinguish that in their "Primariness" the four are different and distinct offices.

Yes, Samuel was a prophet but in the absence of judges he judged. Moses was a prophet primarily but he judged and ruled but not as a king. Solomon was primarily a king, but he judged between disputes that arose, and thus he was a judge in the sense of passing judgments. Deborah was a prophetess, Judges 4:4, but she primarily was acting as a judge because there were no others at the time, and she was in very special way the exception and not the rule. Only the Lord Jesus is fully, Prophet, King, High Priest and Judge. We can agree on that unequivocally.

The application to us today is that each of use are given a "primary" gift but we do exercise other gifts. The primary gift may be teaching but that does not preclude exercising other gifts. I did not think your teaching was in error, but rather no emphasizing the secondary functions that each of the four could do. David was king primarily but he did write many prophetic psalms and thus he was a "prophet" as well. Another example would be that a priest had to judge if the leper had been healed from his leprosy.

Blessings. Leon

Thursday, November 05, 2009

carving it up

our four carving their pumkins. . . . so fun to see them love and help one another

the final product. . . and there are actually four little heads in their too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

around the world

Brandon Woods and Tyler Burns are two young men from our church who are on a missions adventure of a lifetime. . . . . read their blog at


Long posts, but worth the read and a window into their unique journey of faith!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Journey of Faith #2: Twins!

Here is my conversation with Andy & Jeannett Gibson from last Sunday's worship service. . . .

What's going on in your journey of faith? Ready to open up and share with others?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Unreached People Map Initiative

Maybe you missed our worship service on 10.18.09 where we introduced our Adopt-A-People Map initiative designed to help us identify an unreached people to adopt. Here's a clip of my interview with Tim Arlen, who is leading our Adopt-A-People Team. . . .

Here are those 3 questions we're asking you to answer. Think about them before hand and come ready to press those pins, so we can give as many people as possible a chance to participate. . .

  1. Where in the world is the most interesting place you have traveled?

  2. Other than in the US, in which countries do you have a personal friend?

  3. Thinking beyond SLO, which one or two places in the world would you support GraceSLO in reaching those who have no opportunity to hear the Gospel?
So far, in the first week, we've seen 86 people push pins. I'm encouraged by that. I'd like to see us at least triple that. So grab your pins!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

awed, grateful love

Our elders had such a great time together at our annual overnighter a couple weeks back. We always do something a bit different. This year one of the things we did was together read through a good portion of Tim Keller's "The Prodigal God." It was so encouraging to my heart to watch the elders grapple with the Gospel and its implications/applications for their lives and our church.

The Prodigal God is a short, but excellent read, that opens up the heart of the Gospel in fresh and new ways. Grab it and read it with us.

Here's a great section about the transforming power of Gospel motivation in contrast to most religious/guilt/law/fear motivation . . .

All change comes from deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out of the changes that understanding creates in your heart. Faith in the gospel restructures our motivations, our self-understanding, our identity, and our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting.

The gospel is therefore not just the ABCs of the Christian life, but the A to Z of the Christian life. Our problems arise largely because we don't continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out. That is why Martin Luther wrote, "The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine...Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually."

"Wait, " I have heard people object. "You mean that in order to grow in Christ, you keep telling yourself how graciously loved and accepted you are? That doesn't seem to be the best way to make progress. Maybe the motivation of religion was negative, but at least it was effective! You knew you had to obey God because if you didn't he wouldn't answer your prayers or take you to heaven. But if you remove this fear and talk so much about free grace and unmerited acceptance-what incentive will you have to live a good life? It seems like this gospel way of living won't produce people who are as faithful and diligent to obey God's will without question."

But if, when you have lost all fear of punishment you also have lost incentive to live an obedient life, then what was your motivation in the first place? It could only have been fear. What other incentive is there? Awed, grateful love.

So what is the motivational wiring of your own heart? Is it motivated by rule keeping? Is it motivated by fear? Is it motivated at at all? Does it need to be rewired with the Gospel?

How do we rewire our hearts with the Gospel?

It takes time. We must hear the Gospel regularly. . . .the love of God manifested in the person and work of Jesus Christ. . . . we must contemplate our indentity and inheritance in Jesus. . . . . . we have to let the grace of God grip and grab our hearts and imaginations.. . . .we must taste and savor that the Lord is good and His promises are sweet. . . . we must put Christ at the center of our thoughts and affections. . . .

We need others, who are desiring the same, to do this with us. To speak the Gospel into our lives and to pray for us.

We need to pray ourselves.

All of this speaks of reordering our lives around the truth and grace of the Gospel. Rewiring our hearts requires reordering our lives. . . .our time, our energy, our priorities. Eliminating distractions. Laying aside the many things that trip us up. Abandoning trivial pursuits. Fixing our eyes on Jesus. Not in a legalistic fashion or out of guilt or fear, but out of a desire to see, know and experience the Gospel of God's grace and its transforming power.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Journey of Faith #1: Hopeful Grief

It was great to have my friend and fellow elder, Donny Valliere, share what's been going on in his journey of faith in Sunday's worship service. Here's the video if you missed it.. . . .

And a few of my scattered thoughts . . .

  • Loved the first time of including a testimony in our service. We want to do more. What did you think?

  • Loved Donny's vulnerability and honesty. Here's an elder who doesn't have it all together. Feels sad and is grieving, but is also hopeful. All our elders are at different similar places in their unique journeys of faith. . . . most of the congregation doesn't realize it.

  • Love the ability to snag and post this video from our weekly DVD. Quality was surprisingly good. Did you know we have DVD's of every service available for shut-ins and others who desire to watch instead of just listen? So cool. We gotta do more video. Stay tuned.

  • Am I going bald or what? Too much gel or too short a haircut or something?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Haak's Pump

Susie just sent me this . . . is he going to be a dead lifter? Is that a smile or a strain?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baptism x 2

Did your jr high or high school student come home from the student ministries stuff last night talking about baptism? If not, ask them about it.

I had the joy of seeing a few Jr. Highers come popping out of the basement at around 8:45 last night. One told me the focus of the evening was baptism.

I said, "Well girls, what do you think?"
One of the girls said, "I want to the baptized."

I looked over at my Sage and she said, "I'm ready to be baptized, too, but I want to talk to Eden."

The story here is that my girls, Sage and Eden, put their faith in Christ together not long after we moved here 7 years ago. Sage knew that Eden would probably want to be baptized together if possible. They apparently have discussed it and are going to go for it.

Thrilled for my girls and their desire to obey the Lord and make public their faith.

Our next scheduled baptism is Sunday, November 22. A mandatory Instruction & Preparation Class will happen on Sundays, November 8 and 15.

Take the next step in your faith. Join my daughters and myself in the pool.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

God @ Work in you?

In last week's message, we looked at how "faith repents" and "faith wages peace." Abraham is the model, but more importantly, the Gospel of God's grace is the motivation for these faith practices.

While there is always some way we might respond and apply to God's Word, some messages are more immediately applicable than others. I thought this message fell into this "more applicable" category.

So I'm wondering if you can help me out?

Can you email me or post a comment and share what you learned from this passage/message and/or how you are applying this passage/message?

It doesn't have to be long or super detailed. Just real and honest.

(I think we need to develop the practice of sharing what God is doing in our lives with one another. Let's work on this together. We really want to start incorporating some short testimonies of this sort in our worship services for the purpose of encouraging one another.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

09 campout pics

Great weekend of fun and fellowship at the All Church Camp-Out this last weekend. It was pretty cold at night, but just about everyone preferred the cooler weather to last year's September sweat fest. Everyone, I think, but me.

Here are a few pics so far, but we don't have Amy Lynne's yet. As soon as we do, we'll drop them in and the slideshow will update automatically.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the hidden struggle of mental illness

A couple of friends were recently kind enough to come and open their hearts and their lives and give me peek into the world of mental illness in their family and in the church.

Mental illness is real. Mental illness is not usually handled very well by the people of God or by churches. Sadly there are few resources to help those who are dealing with mental illness in their own lives or in the lives of the ones they love. There is so much struggle, hiding, hurt and shame.

Mental illness, like other challenges, is a unique journey of faith.

Here at Grace we want to support families dealing with the challenges of mental illness. We are not exactly sure how to do that. I have asked these friends to stay in dialogue to help us in this area.

In the meantime, these friends have been kind enough to donate some books that they have found helpful over the years. I have briefly reviewed each of them and feel like all offer a helpful and empathetic Biblical perspective. These titles are now available in the church library. . . .

Losing God by Matt Rogers

Grace for the Afflicted by Matthew Stanford

Darkness is My Only Companion by Greene McCreight

Helping Someone with Mental Illness by Rosalyn Carter

When Your Family is Living with Mental Illness by Marcia Lund

Thursday, October 08, 2009

join me, men

March 1st, 2010 will mark 7 years as the lead pastor of GraceSLO. What a blessing those years have been in my life and in the life of our family.

Along the way, there are so many fruitful ministry opportunities that I've resisted and refused, in order to commit myself to first things and especially my family. While it's been hard to say "no", I have no regrets.

One of the things I've longed to do, but have resisted to this point, is a focused men's study. I led a group in So Cal for 7 years that involved the reading of great books, both old and new. I've missed that interaction with and investment in the lives of men. It was a great time.

Its time again. Susie has given her blessing on my leading a men's study beginning in January. I can't wait. At this point the plan is . . .

Thursday Mornings
EARLY for an hour(6:00 AM or maybe in 5:30 if necessary)
with a focus on the knowledge of God and spiritual leadership

Our first book will be John Piper's "The Pleasures of God," one of my "Top 10."

So men, step up, commit, and join me. Let's seek the Lord together. You've got 3 mos to plan, arrange your schedules, and find your mojo.

You can RSVP right here by leaving a comment or email at tim@graceslo.org.

Hope to see you. . . .

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

scandoulous & sturdy Western monotheism

Peter Rynning sent me this intriguing NY Times Book Review of Karen Armstrong's "The Case for God."

I agreed and disagreed with the author, Armstrong. I pretty much agreed with reviewer, Ross Douthat, though he strings you along for awhile until finally tipping his own hand at the end. . . .

Armstrong argues against a propositional theology in favor of a more experiential, mystical, practiced faith. She blames propositional, systematic theology for the decline of the Christian faith in a modern, enlightened, scientific world.

Though Armstrong is essentially arguing for a liberalized version of Christianity that denies a literal interpretation of the text in favor of a symbolic, mystical interpretation, I think she's right that faith in God is an experience, a journey and process. We have lost the mystery and unknowability of God.

But I don't think a recovery of the mystery of God and the practice of faith depends on an abandonment of doctrinal propositions and a serious reading of the Biblical text, as Armstrong suggests. Once again, its not either/or, but both/and.

Douthat is on to Armstrong and insightfully recognizes the necessity of BOTH doctrine AND mystery:

The dogmas tend to sustain the practices, and vice versa. It’s possible to gain some sort of “knack” for a religion without believing that all its dogmas are literally true: a spiritually inclined person can no doubt draw nourishment from the Roman Catholic Mass without believing that the Eucharist literally becomes the body and blood of Christ. But without the doctrine of transubstantiation, the Mass would not exist to provide that nourishment. Not every churchgoer will share Flannery O’Connor’s opinion that if the Eucharist is “a symbol, to hell with it.” But the Catholic faith has endured for 2,000 years because of Flannery O’Connors, not Karen Armstrongs.This explains why liberal religion tends to be parasitic on more dogmatic forms of faith, which create and sustain the practices that the liberal believer picks and chooses from, reads symbolically and reinterprets for a more enlightened age. Such spiritual dilettant­ism has its charms, but it lacks the sturdy appeal of Western monotheism, which has always offered not only myth and ritual and symbolism (the pagans had those bases covered), but also scandalously literal claims — that the Jews really are God’s chosen people; that Christ really did rise from the dead; and that however much the author of the universe may surpass our understanding, we can live in hope that he loves the world enough to save it, and us, from the annihilating power of death. Such literalism can be taken too far, and “The Case for God” argues, convincingly, that it needs to coexist with more mythic, mystic and philosophical forms of faith. Most people, though, are not mystics and philosophers, and they are hungry for myths that are not only resonant but true. Apophatic religion may be the most rigorous way to go in search of an elusive God. But for most believers, it will remain a poor substitute for the idea that God has come in search of us.

I agree with that!

The life of Abraham is not less than historical narrative but a whole lot more. The scriptures tell us what took place in His encounter with God, and in so doing, they inform our own experience of God. We discover, in his story, propositional truths concerning who God is and what it means to be in a faith relationship with Him, but also just how confusing, mysterious and open a relationship with this God really is.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

not done in vain

Read Ezekiel 14:12-23 this morning. . . .

Ezek. 14:12 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,

Ezek. 14:13 “Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast,

Ezek. 14:14 even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord GOD.

Ezek. 14:15 “If I were to cause wild beasts to pass through the land and they depopulated it, and it became desolate so that no one would pass through it because of the beasts,

Ezek. 14:16 though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the country would be desolate.

Ezek. 14:17 “Or if I should bring a sword on that country and say, ‘Let the sword pass through the country and cut off man and beast from it,’

Ezek. 14:18 even though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

Ezek. 14:19 “Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and beast from it,

Ezek. 14:20 even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

Ezek. 14:21 ¶ For thus says the Lord GOD, “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!

Ezek. 14:22 “Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it.

Ezek. 14:23 “Then they will comfort you when you see their conduct and actions, for you will know that I have not done in vain whatever I did to it,” declares the Lord GOD.
A few of my thoughts . . .
  • Who is this otherwise unmentioned Daniel of the ancient world in verse 14?

  • God stretches out His hand against nations. Famine, wild beasts, the sword (attacking nations) and plagues are all tools of His sovereign judgment.

  • The righteousness (faith) of a few cannot necessarily save a city though they will be saved through God's judgment. The Lord sees our individual lives, at the very same time He is watching and orchestrating nations. We stand before Him alone, but also with others.

  • The salvation of a few righteous (those who are living by faith in the Lord) through God's judgment calamity is a comfort, reassuring us that God does not act in vain (capriciously or without design or purpose).

  • All of this reminds me, that God is still sovereign in the world, accomplishing His judging and saving purposes through the movement and acting of nations. The United States is a young nation, and our future is in no way secure or guaranteed. The "conduct and actions" of our land and city can assuredly bring God's judgment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Push Button Spirituality

Stumbled on to this challenging quote by A.W. Tozer. We'll definitely use it in our worship folder down the road, but I thought I'd throw it out here now for your contemplation and response. I'm definitely guilty of push button spirituality. . . how about you?

A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions, and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit; these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.

---A. W. Tozer, in THE PURSUIT OF GOD, Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1948, pp. 69-70.
Lord, take us deep. The life of faith is usually slow business, usually a walk, not a run. What is happening in our souls? Do we even know? Can we even tell?

I think we've been unkowingly shoved into the world's mold in thinking a relationship with God is instant and easy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

If Ever You Worshipped. . .

Danny Oertli is a gifted singer/songwriter we met at Family Camp on Catalina Island this last summer. We bought one of his CDs and threw it in the player as nighttime music for our kids. We've listened to it continually since June, so now the kids know all the songs.

I like them all, but one of my favorites is If Ever You Worshipped It's Now. It's a song for moms about how even the endless mundane tasks of motherhood are really a form of worship. I'd love to have someone learn it and sing it on Mother's Day. Or maybe we can get Danny to come out . . . .

I think about the truth of this song, as I lay and snuggle with my kids at bed time, and struggle with all the things that are not getting done during that time.

I think we need this reminder. We tend to think of the life of faith as only about the big, turning point moments of life, but usually faith in the Lord consists of the small, simple, daily stuff of life.

As we look at Abraham's BIG call and God's BIG promises this coming week, we also need to keep in mind the years of waiting and wandering. The decades when God didn't seem to speak or lead or show up.

Today is an opportunity to worship and trust the Lord in whatever circumstances you find yourself. Don't wait for the big moments. Embrace the daily moments.

Thanks, Danny, for the great reminder!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pics from the 2009 Fall Kick-Off

Here are some fun pics from our day together. Can you find yourself?

Many thanks to all who served and helped us enjoy the day!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

HT: Amy-Lynne. Let's be honest. She sort of bugs us with that ever present camera of hers, but in the end we're glad and thankful for it. . . .she captures these days and events for us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

He is broken with us!

Some have requested the Peter Kreeft quote from the September 13 message entitled "Wisdom & Adversity." I'll do better than that and include not just the quote but a link to the excellent essay online. (I've actually referenced it more than once previously here at life together, but no matter. . . .)

Kreeft is showing us how the cross of Christ provides the way to deal with and process our own suffering/adversity. God has not give us a complete air tight answer, but, in fact, has given us something better than that . . . He's given us a Person. . . He's given us Himself. Once more we see how the Gospel is the center and the answer to all we experience in life.

Here's what was on the slides. . . .

In coming into our world He came also into our suffering…He sits beside us in the lowest places of our lives, like water.

Are we broken? He is broken with us.

Are we rejected? Do people despise us not for our evil but for our good, or attempted good? He was “despised and rejected of men.”

Do we weep? Is grief our familiar spirit, our horrifyingly familiar ghost? Do we ever say, “Oh, no, not again! I can’t take any more!”? He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

Do people misunderstand us, turn away from us? They hid their faces from him as from an outcast, a leper.

Is our love betrayed? Are our tenderest relationships broken? He too loved and was betrayed by the ones he loved. “He came unto his own and his own received him not.”

Does it seem sometimes as if life has passed us by or cast us out, as if we are sinking into uselessness and oblivion? He sinks with us. He too is passed over by the world.

When we feel the hammers of life beating on our heads or on our hearts, we can know-we must know-that he is here with us, taking our blows. Every tear we shed becomes his tear. He may not yet wipe them away, but he makes them his. Would we rather have our own dry eyes, or his tear-filled ones? He came, He is here. That is the salient fact. If he does not heal all our broken bones and loves and lives now, he comes into them and is broken, like bread, and we are nourished.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I meant SEPTEMBER 23rd . . .

Not really . . . . Thanks to the many of you who have asked about the blog. . . . .I don't know what to say, except I guess I needed a break. I've been in a mode of evaluating the place and priority of social networking in my life in light of my other callings as husband, father and pastor. In fact, I've decided to shut down my Twitter experiment, but will return to regular posting here at "life together." We all only have so much time and energy and there is much that pulls at us. We can't do it all. Among all the possible goods, we must consistently refocus and re-prioritize. After blogging consistently for a number of years, I wanted to know how it felt to not blog regularly. . . . it felt good.

Anyway, let me get back to it. . . .

Yesterday was our 2009 Grace Fall Kick Off . . . a great day, though they tell me our numbers were down a bit. . . . didn't seem like it to me, but so they tell me. Sweet spirit of fellowship and lots and lots of new faces. Thanks for inviting your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Here's a great recap vid that my talented friend Jack Hutchinson threw together. . . .

(On a personal note. . . I try and listen and evaluate myself fairly regularly. It's always painful. Watching myself here on the front end was doubly painful!)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

back on the 23rd

Wanted to let all you loyal "life together" readers know our family is heading out on Sunday after church for a couple of weeks to the Grand Canyon and other southwest sites. I will be back in church on Sunday, August 23 and back in the office beginning, Monday August 24.

Have a great week. We'll miss you. Appreciate your prayers for a renewing and fun family time away. . . . Tim

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Serve Day 09 Vid

I had tears in my eyes as I finally watched this Serve Day video. This is what I want our church to be about.

I have a deep and growing conviction that the church's way forward in these crazy days is through service. Here at Grace, our desire is to develop a "culture of service." We have such a long way to go, but Serve Day and the opportunities that are growing out of it, are a great start.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I'm always curious to see who comes out to dance! I think a great time was had by all at our last 09 GSN Tuesday night. As usual Amy-Lynne captured it all on camera for us. . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Divorce=very UNwise

Not only is divorce, in most cases, unbiblical, wrong and damaging to kids . . . . it's also unhealthy according to recent research and this recent CNN article. . .

Divorce Takes a Health Toll

As a pastor, I'm committed to doing whatever I can to preserve and grow marriages and prevent divorce. My experience is that couples tend to seek help too little and too late. Trust has already been broken to the point that it is almost beyond repair. Often one or both spouses have been internally toying with the idea of divorce. I beg and I plead and I try desperately to show them the devastating impact of divorce in every area of life, but more often than not, they keep plowing toward divorce anyway.

I think one of the things that needs to happen is that we need to work to remove the stigma of marital struggles in the Christian community. Because we think we're the only ones struggling, we tend to hide our struggle and present a false picture of reality to those around us. We look great in church together, but then fight all the way home. Somehow we've got to more willing to open up and share our struggles with friends and with church leadership and deeply cares and wants to help.


Susie and I have, do, and will struggle in marriage. Our marriage has been anything but smooth sailing and struggle free. We've had to and are still fighting for our relationship amidst crazy schedules and "pressure cooker" lives, not to mention a culture that cares less about marriage. You are not alone.

If you are married, your marriage is worth fighting for. Beyond a relationship with God through Christ, your marriage the most valuable thing you've got in life. It's worth your time, your money, and whatever else it takes to address your struggles in marriage. Believe me, divorce is going to cost you far, far more than even 5 years of weekly marriage counseling. Do not even let divorce be an option in your mind and heart. I believe the Gospel is the secret to a loving and life-long marriage. (But you're not surprised by that, are you?)

To not fight for your marriage is among the most UNwise things you can do in your life. Just read the first 9 chapters of Proverbs, if you don't believe me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

come dance with us. . .

Our 4th and final Grace Summer Night is tonight. Join us for some chili, strawberry shortcake and fun family dancing.

Here are some pics from last week at Port San Luis.

Monday, July 27, 2009

on the apparent contradiction in Proverbs 26:4-5

A buddy emailed me the following question last evening. . . .


Reading Proverbs 26 tonight, I came across a couple of verses that
confused me.

Four and Five seem to contradict one another, and even after checking the context and consulting a few different translations, I was lost.

When you have a minute, could you clarify.

Thanks brother!
Needless to say, I was just encouraged that he was reading along with me in the Proverbs. . . . but its true. . . . those two verses do seem to contradict one another. Take a look. . .

(26:4) Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

(26:5) Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.
So what do we do with that? Here's my answer followed by a few additional thoughts by commentator Tremper Longman. . .
Great question! Some of the Proverbs do seem to contradict each other reminding us that wisdom is often situational. What is wise in a given situation varies. There are times when answering a fool according to his folly can suck us into his folly, depending on the question that's being asked by the fool or the situation in which he is asking. There are other times, when a fool should be answered according to his folly, to show him his folly and put him in his place and to help him along.

After taking my own shot at your question, I checked to see what commentator Tremper Longman thought. Here's his perspective. . . .

This proverb pair is prime evidence leading toward the proper understanding of the proverb genre. Proverbs are not universally true laws but circumstancially relevant principles. In short, the answer depends on the nature of the fool with whom one is engaged in conversation. In other words, the wise person must assess whether this is a fool who will simply drain one's energy with no positive results or whether an answer will prove fruitful to the fool or perhaps to those who everhear. The wise not only know the proverb, but also can read the circumstances and the people with whom they dialogue.

Hope that helps. Let me know what you think.
So what do you think? Did you catch the apparent contradiction? Did you just rush over it and not even try to reconcile it? Or did you reconcile it in another way?

Are you reading along in Proverbs with me, a proverb a day corresponding to the day of the month? Maybe you've missed a day or two and are on the verge of throwing in the towel. Don't do it!

If you miss a day, don't give up and don't beat yourself up, just start again today reading the chapter that corresponds to that day. (I've even missed a couple of days. . . its not a big deal!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

wisdom vs. science

Here's the C.S. Lewis quote from last week's message entitled "Wisdom & the Heart," since Janice asked. . .

For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality...

For applied science the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men...
--C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Which are we more interested in? Which drives our culture? This week we'll look at Wisdom & Your Friends. Can't wait to worship with you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Things were crazy for our family around graduation time back in June, but I've had so many people mention to me our own Daniel Phillips' SLO High valedictorian graduation speech. Wish I could have been there.

Daniel took full advantage of his public platform to boldly proclaim his faith in Jesus Christ and encourage the same in others. In this he reminds me of another Daniel who did the same. Where is the Lord calling you to be a "Daniel"?

Here is the text of his speech for your own encouragement this week. . . .

Hello class of 2009! It is my distinct pleasure to address you today – a good group of friends, some of whom I have known for 13 years all the way back to kindergarten at Los Ranchos. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time together, and will always treasure the memories we’ve made.

Well, here we are: transitioning from 1 stage of life to the next. It’s an exciting time, but also, I believe, a good time for reflection. I do have some advice to give you that, if you choose to take it, I know will fundamentally impact your lives for the better. But mine is quite different from the advice given last year on this stage, in which the class of 2008 was advised that they love above all themselves. Those words puzzled me when I heard them, because what about us is so worth loving? Take myself, for example. You might not think it, but I’m a wretched, awful failure when it comes to living a moral life. Often I am prideful, covet what I don’t have, judge others before myself, struggle with fleshy desires, and put my wants and needs above others’. I, you, we all fall short of how we’re supposed to live and treat one another.

So how could we love ourselves above all when the almighty God of the universe has not only created and provided for us, but took on human form in the person of Jesus to die a brutal, humiliating death on our behalf as an atoning sacrifice for us? He died in our place so that the numerous sins we’ve committed, only a few of which I just owned up to myself, might be justly paid for and wiped off our slate so that the holy, blameless Lord might see us as holy and blameless and worthy of entering unto His presence should we but return His love.

This is love: that He who deserved all love loved us who did not love Him and deserved no love. Love God above all!!!! I can think of no better advice to give you than this, because following it will not only give you meaning and purpose for the remainder of your earthly lives, but ensure that you do live after your time in this world is finished. Above all love yourselves? No, above all love God, because above all He loves you. Thank you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

GSN #2 Pics Now Posted

Here are some fun pics from GSN #2, the Kodak Klassic Car Rally. GSN #3 will be a beach night at Port San Luis. Hope you can make it. . . .

Created with Admarket's

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mexico Mission Trip

Here are some great pics from the recent Mexico Missions Trip a few weeks back. Praise the Lord for a safe, productive, unified trip . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pray today for our Short Termers (Updated)

Just receive this updated list of Grace short-term missionaries. Let's storm the throne on their behalf today. . . .

  • Rachel Valliere – 06/04/09-08/04/09 - serving with SIM in Ethiopia – orphanage and sports camps
  • Stephanie Johnson – 06/10/09-08/15/09 – serving with Campus Crusade for Christ in Lake Tahoe
  • Rebekah Weeks – 07/13/09-08/01/09 – serving with YWAM in Uganda – orphanage
  • Bethany Donaldson – 07/15/09-08/24/09 – serving with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea – assisting teachers and translators
  • Robin Burns - 7/15/09 - 07/28/09 -- serving with Orpan response in Siping, China (UPDDATE: I didn't have Robin in my list. My apologies!)
  • Ron & Cyndie Hamley – 07/23/09-08/09/09 – serving with Campus Crusade for Christ (ISP) in Guatemala training teachers in Biblical ethics
  • Timothy Steffens – 07/27/09-08/07/09 – serving with Eastern European Outreach in Armenia – children’s youth camp
May God use Grace Church to do a mighty work in order to build His church and bring glory to His name!

Gospel-Driven Sanctification

You gotta read these outstanding thoughts on Gospel-driven sanctification . . . how the "fear of the Lord" (faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ) can keep us away from evil (Proverbs 16:6) . . . . from a post at the Gospel-driven blog entitled. . .

"Gospel Driven vs. Resolution Driven" . . . .

This is not to say we should not seek to pursue holiness or lead disciplined, orderly lives. Rather, it is to say that we should seek to pursue holiness in the proper manner (i.e., we should be Gospel-driven rather than resolution- [law] driven). The Gospel, not resolutions, is what motivates a believer to pursue a life of holiness. The fact is the enemy of our faith will tempt us and encourage us to make resolution after resolution so long as he can keep us from seeing Christ and trusting in Him alone for our righteousness before God.

“The devil will urge you to make a vow, and then break it, so he may frustrate you and torment your conscience all the more.”

Resolutions, if not carefully kept in check, subtly take the place of Christ and His Gospel and begin dictate our thinking and decision-making, they shape our outlook on the Christian life, and begin to distort our understanding of our Heavenly Father, they corrupt our affections and ultimately destroy the peace our souls. As Marshall insightfully pointed out above, “The devil will urge you to make a vow, and then break it, so he may frustrate you and torment your conscience all the more.” Legalism stirs up and enrages the sleeping lion of our sinful flesh. Apart from the mercy and grace of God coming to us in the Gospel, believers will increasingly grow cold toward God because their consciences continually torment them for their failure. Such is the awful effects of legalistic doctrine upon fleshly hearts.

The god of resolutions is a harsh, unyielding, guilt-inducing task master. There is no mercy for failure only a reminder of failure. Their is no wind for the sail only a loud speaker yelling, “Row!” The Lord never intends for any of His people to place themselves under any unlawful expectations or obligations. Rather, the Lord’s invitation is, “28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The whole post is great. I don't know who this guy is (his name is Jon Fonville and his current blog is HERE), but he and I are coming from the same place on this. . . . . The Gospel is not just power of God for justification, but also for sanctification.

Only the love of God in Christ can constrain us and keep us from sin.

In what ways are you seeking to sanctify yourself today?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

let's try this again . . .

Deb Weeks, our Women's Ministry Director, was kind enough to inform me that the article links in yesterday's God is Back post were broken.

Does that mean, the rest of you didn't even try to read those articles?

Come on! You've got to tell me these things, if you see them. I need your help here . . . . . :)

So not only were the links in the original post fixed, but here here are those links again at the top of the stream for your easy access and reading pleasure!

  • Ready to Compete is an interview with two non-believing editors from the Economist
  • The Sixth Wind is a broader survey of the evangelical and athiest landscapes . . .

Sunday Deleted Scenes

I was trimming my message on the fly on Sunday (listen here!), but there were a couple of things more I really wanted to say regarding the fear of the Lord in light of Christ. . . . so I thought I would post them here. . . .

Look again at Proverbs 16:6. . . . look at the second half of the verse. . . . .

That second half of the verse is as curious as the first. . . . . here’s why. . . . Do you remember how Pastor Ken defined the fear of the Lord?

I think that’s a great and a right definition. . . .. but I think the coming of Jesus, enlightens and transforms it. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. . . His final and fullest revelation. . . . .. so now we can, we should, we must say this. . . .

The fear of the Lord is now the fear of the Christ. . . . Now look again at Proverbs 16:6. . . . .

The first half tells how our past sins are dealt with, but the second half tells us how to deal with our future temptations to sin. . . . So let’s take the second half of the verse and tweak it just a bit. . . . what I want to do is just swap the “fear of the Lord” with how we defined it. . . . like this. . .

How do you get forgiveness of past sins? By believing the Gospel.

How can you keep away from temptation and sin tomorrow? How can you gain victory over your besetting and habitual sins that you always fall into? How can you face the daily struggle of sin that we all do?

By believing the Gospel. . . . Not first and foremost by trying harder. . . . not by only trying harder. . . . . .not by beating yourself up or by running off to the monastery. . .. you will take your sins with you. . . .. but by the fear of the Lord. . . . by an active, awareness of, dependence on and humble submission to Jesus Christ . . . . one keeps away from evil.

You need to see His love. . . . you need to take His love and bury it in your own heart. . . .. you need to do whatever it takes so that all that He has done for you, becomes real to you and alive for you. . . . .meditate on it. .. .memorize verses like Proverbs 16:6 and 1 John 4:9-10. . . .. You need others in your life who will remind you and tell you of only the love of Christ can constrain us. . . . only the grace of God and teach us to say no to ungodliness.

What happens if you’ve got a radio and a television on in the same room? Which wins the battle for your attention? Audio or video?

So many of us have the love of Christ, the Gospel, on audio. . . its playing in the background of our lives somewhere, assumed. . . . . sectioned off. . . .we tune in a bit on Sundays.

But the temptations we face come to us in living color video. . . ..

And its video that wins the battle for our attention all the time. . . . Somehow we’ve got to get Christ and His love on video. The Lord's Table is just one way do that.

What we're talking about here is Gospel-driven sanctification. More on that tomorrow. . .

Love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

09 GSN #2: Kodak Klassic Kar Rally

Join us tomorrow evening for a great pasta dinner and a fun family evening. Bring a camera and a big car, $2 / person, and some friends.

Here are some pics that show the fun of last week. . . .

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Life at Grace for the week of 07.09.09

67 of your emails are bouncing so here's last week's all church email. . . .

Celebrating, proclaiming and living the Gospel of Jesus on the Central Coast and beyond . . .

Beloved Family of Grace,

Mexico, VBS, 4th of July Picnic, Hume Lake, Grace Summer Nights . . . . clearly summer is in full swing around here at Grace. I've been fired up to see so many new folks among us. Keep inviting your neighbors, friends and co-workers all summer. Here are a couple of reminders and things you need to know this week. . . .
  1. Dr. Robert Cleath Memorial: The father of Tim Cleath went to be with the Lord on Monday, July 6th. You are invited to join the Cleath Family at a memorial service at 2:00 PM, Saturday, July 11 at Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande.

  2. Worship with us this Sunday, 9:00 & 10:45: Summer is an easy time to sleep in, get lazy, and get out of the rhythm of worship. Don't let it happen. Join us this Sunday as we explore how the Proverbs can and doees lead us to Jesus and His table.

  3. KODAK KLASSIK KAR RALLY, Tuesday, July 14, 5:30 - 8:00 PM: (Can you tell Pastor Ken named this event?) Our second 09 GSN is going to be great. A pasta dinner will be served in the Grace Ministry Center and then we're going to hit the cars.Bring digital camera or phone camera (one per family) and the largest vehicle you've got. ONLY $2/person – those under 2 and friends come FREE!! Use the tab on the worship folder to let us know you're coming.

  4. Dessert with a Purpose, Thursday, July 16, 7:00 PM. Jim & Donna Jeffrey will be sharing about their 4 month mission to the middle east. Jim & Laurie Katekaru will be sharing about their work with international students. Happening at the Donaldson Home.
Finally, I wanted to challenge you to join me in reading Proverbs this summer. There are 31 chapters, so let's read one chapter on each day corresponding with the day of the month. So today jump in and read chapter 9. By October we will have read through the book 3 times. Leave a comment on the blog, twitter me, or fire me an email if you're in!
Have you seen the 09 Mexico Missions Music Video? Classic!
Because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim

  • Listen to last week's message.
  • See pics from GSN #1 at Mustang Water Slides
  • Read the blog
  • Follow on Twitter
  • View the website

God is Back

Is Christianity in sharp decline? What are we to make of these recent neo-athiesm best sellers?

These two must read World Magazine Articles provide some helpful perspective . . .

  • Ready to Compete is an interview with two non-believing editors from the Economist

    On the double standard of neo-athiests. . .

    Two things really annoy me about the neo-atheist position. One is that they write about evangelical Christians in much the same way and in much the same tone as white supremacists used to talk about blacks. And the second thing is that there's a notion of unilateral moral disarmament where the other side is expected to disarm. If you're arguing about gay marriage, people who are liberals and who support gay marriage are allowed to bring their most profound moral beliefs to that argument, as they should be, but then they say, "You can't base your contrary arguments on religious beliefs, because that shouldn't be part of the public square." That's nonsense. Everybody should be allowed to bring their most profound beliefs; for many, many people, their most profound beliefs are based on their faith, and no one should question their right to bring those arguments and to engage in political organization on the basis of those arguments.

  • The Sixth Wind is a broader survey of the evangelical and athiest landscapes . . .

    Loved the admission of recent athiest turned Christian, A.N. Wilson . . . .

    "Like most educated people in Britain and Northern Europe (I was born in 1950), I have grown up in a culture that is overwhelmingly secular and anti-religious. The universities, broadcasters and media generally are not merely non-religious, they are positively anti. To my shame, I believe it was this that made me lose faith and heart in my youth. It felt so uncool to be religious. With the mentality of a child in the playground, I felt at some visceral level that being religious was unsexy."
The links will be good for the next 7 days, so read them soon and let me know what you think. I was encouraged.

Gibson Girls

Got to swing by, see and hold Jillian and Lucy Gibson yesterday after church, born earlier that morning around 6:15. One of the many blessings of pastoral ministry is holding and praying for these little gifts. I don't get to the hospital every time, but I sure try.

Mom is recovering after a long labor, but seems to be doing well. As I picked one up, I immediately saw the challenge of trying to pick the other one up at the same time. So fun, but obviously an aweful lot of work in front of these guys, too.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"a chapter a day keeps the devil away"

That's Brendan Clark's "proverb" of the day in response to my twitter invitation to join me in reading the book of proverbs this summer. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so let's read the chapter that corresponds to the day of the month. (Start today by reading chapter 9) By the time we get to October, we will have read Proverbs almost 3 times.

Let's dip our cups in the stream of God's wisdom together. Who's in?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

09 Mexico Music Video

I missed the Mexico Report Night. Maybe you did, too. Here's a hilarious vid that captures well the joy and spirit of service of our Mexico Missions Team, compliments, once more, of the very talented Josh Ernstrom. . . .

Makes me want to get down there, now that I've got a jr high student (freaking about that just a bit!) . . .

(There's also a longer video and we'll try to get that uploaded in the next couple of days.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Come Slide with Us

Hey Friends. . . . I've enjoyed the blog break, but its time to get back on it. The first of our July 09 Grace Summer Nights is happening tonight at the Mustang Waterslides at Lopez Lake.

Invite some friends, bring the family and come and join our family. The sliding & pizza is only $2 per person, but it costs $7 to get into the park, so carpool if you can.

See you tonight!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life @ Grace for the week of 06.14.09

In case you didn't see this week's Life@Grace email. . . .

Celebrating, proclaiming and living the Gospel of Jesus on the Central Coast and beyond . . .

Beloved Family of Grace,

Let's remember to pray for our Mexico Missions Team this week as they labor for the Lord (safety, energy, unity, attitude).
Can you believe it's the middle of June already? Here are some updates and opportunities you need to be aware of as we head into summer together. . . .

  1. 09 Annual Meeting Stuff Now Online: Did you miss the the June 7 Annual Meeting? So much vital and encouraging information was shared. We want you hear it, so we've put the audio and presentation slides online here. Please take some time to process this information. . . and praise the Lord as you do!

  2. Dessert with a Purpose this Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM at the Phillip's Home: Come and hear from Grace Church missionaries Michael and Tammy Grainger about the exciting work God is doing in Western Africa. Also, Ross Newby will share about his recent mission to share the Gospel as a short-term missionary with Solid Rock Climbers for Christ. Directions to the Phillip's are here.

  3. Wills & Trusts Seminar, Saturday, June 27, 9 -11:30 AM in the Founder's Hall: As a part of their ongoing vision to provide stewardship education here at Grace, the Financial Trustees would like to invite you to join them for this free upcoming seminar hosted by Christian Foundation West, a non-profit ministry that works with churches to educate their congregations on being wise stewards of God’s resources. Contact Todd Talley for more info or questions.

  4. SON ROCK KID's CAMP Vacation Bible School, June 29 - July 3. Your K - 6th grader will have a blast! Email Jenny Nelson to sign up, for more info, or questions.

  5. 4th of July Picnic, 11:30 AM-3:00 PM at Meadow Park: A great tradition here at Grace! And a great event for friends, coworkers, family and neighbors. Invite a friend and they eat free. Use the tab on the worship folder the next 2 Sundays to sign up and let us know your lunch plans. 4th of July will once again serve as the kick-off for our Grace Summer Nights, but we'll tell you more about that next week.
As usual, there's a of ton of fun stuff going on. None of us can do it all, but we want you to be informed and aware so can keep encouraging one another as we live by faith together.
Look to the Lord and have a great week!

Because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim