Join us for our annual Fall Kick Off

When: 9/28/2014 10:00 AM-2:30 PM 
Where: Mitchell Park 

Join us for a fun-filled day at Mitchell Park. The day begins with a service at 10:00, followed by a delicious BBQ lunch, games and fun! Don't miss out on a great opportunity to invite your friends. See you there!

Q & A about the August 2014 Reel Grace series

Our August 2014 series will be titled "Reel Grace: Gospel Shadows in Today's Movies."  

If you're considering visiting GraceSLO, August is a great time to jump in.  We hope to see you here.  The "Reel Grace" movie list is near the bottom of the post.  Feel free to scroll down there.  

If you're a current attender, you may have some questions about this series, since it's a bit different from our normal flow.  If that's you, keep reading . . . 


What’s the purpose of the “Reel Grace” series? 

Movies are a primary storytelling medium in our culture.  As such, like all stories, movies tell us about ourselves, our culture and point us to God’s Gospel story. . . sometimes explicitly, but more often indirectly . . . sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.  Movies tell us about our brokenness, our longings and the things and people we look to for redemption/salvation.  I thought it would be fun to dive in and demonstrate how this works and the ways movies point us to Biblical/Gospel themes.  We as Christians need to get better at cultural engagement without Biblical compromise.  You better believe we’ll be opening the Bible in the Reel Grace series, but in a fun and different way.  

Our vision at GraceSLO is to preach the Gospel at all times to all people, because we all need it!  My goal in these 5 August Sundays is to show the glorious riches of the Gospel to those who might be exploring or curious about Christianity as we connect the cultural stories they know and watch at the movies to God’s Gospel Story in the Scriptures.  Think of these Sundays as outreach Sundays (much like you might think of Easter Sunday) and think about who you might invite to join us for the series.  You’ve got roughly 4 weeks to invite some friends.  

Does this "Reel Grace" series represent a direction change for GraceSLO? 

Yes and no.  

Yes, in the sense that we’re trying something new to connect with those curious about and exploring Christianity.  

No, in the sense that we’re more committed than ever to passionate, relevant, systematic Bible teaching.  We see the summer as an opportunity to try some things, experiment just a bit, and have some fun.  "Reel Grace" is just another example of how we mix in a topical series once in a while.  I’m looking forward to picking up our Route 66 series in October, after Fall Kick Off.  


Is the "Reel Grace" series really just a series of movie reviews from a Christian perspective?  

No, not at all.  My aim is to connect themes in these movies to Gospel themes.  There are great movie review sites and services out there, but we're not trying to be one of them.  We're trying to do some reflective Gospel thinking and some relevant Gospel sharing through a discussion of movie themes.  

How were the "Reel Grace" movies chosen?  

4 criteria were used to select these movies . . . 

1.  I chose recent movies, yet movies available via DVD/download.  I chose movies that were released in theaters in the last 12 months and yet are available on DVD now.  There’s a whole bunch of great classic movies we might have looked at, but remember, we’re trying to reach out to those curious about the Christian faith.  Current movies are the best way to do that.  

2.  I tried to choose movies that are entertaining, yet familiar, meaningful, thought-provoking, worth talking about.  Some movies are banal and empty.  Some movies are filled with big blasts and fun.  Some movies no one sees.  I tried to pick movies that were more.   

3.  I tried to choose movies that are clean and family friendly.  All of us have different sensibilities and standards regarding the entertainment we enjoy.  We ought to respect and give grace to one another in these matters.  I am not recommending you watch all these movies!  Let your own sensibilities and standards guide whether you watch each of these movies or not.  And parental discretion is advised.  We will not let our under teen kids watch all these movies.  3 of the 5 movies I chose are rated PG-13 for various reasons.  (Sadly, it's just not easy to find 5 G rated or PG rated movies people will recognize and that are worth talking about.)   Even if you or your kids do not see these movies before the message, the message will be relevant, Biblical and worth hearing. . . I guarantee it!  

4.  I tried to choose movies that are varied.  I choose an animated movie, a romantic comedy, a comedic drama, and a couple different serious dramas.  

Should I watch each movie ahead of each "Reel Grace" message? 

That’s up to you!  Personal and parental discretion is advised.  (See point #3 in the question just above.)  If you do choose to watch each movie, consider inviting some friends from the community over to watch the movie with you. Start the conversation ahead of the message and continue the conversation afterward!  

So . . . what are the "Reel Grace" movies?   

I thought you’d never ask.  Here they are with the dates I will talk about them and their trailers . . . 


Sunday , August 3:   Frozen


Sunday, August 10:  Gravity 


August 17:  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


August 24:  The Book Thief


August 31:  Saving Mr. Banks 


Any more questions?  Throw them in a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.  

Music & Worship: my way or the highway

My stepfather, Dale Barrett, will teach a two week seminar during the 9:30 hour on June 22 and June 29 on the delicate, but vital topic of worship in the church.  How do we live together as a church family, when we enjoy such a diversity of worship styles?  This is an important ongoing question for both young and old at GraceSLO.  

Come think and explore and discuss together with others in the GraceSLO family.  

The other night my folks joined us for dinner, as they normally do on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I asked Dale a couple questions to promo his seminar.  Check it out . . . 

Let's help Justin Hooper make his album

Hey . . . our friend, Justin Hooper, who leads worship at GraceSLO every few weeks, just released a new single with his new band called Simple Parade. It's a great song and a super fun video with a bunch of GraceSLO folks in it.

Check it out...


Justin is doing a bit of crowdfunding to raise money to go make an album in Colorado this summer and we have an opportunity to support him.  As a small thank you for leading us in worship and go drop a few bucks in his guitar case by CLICKING HERE, where you can learn a bunch more about his project.  


If you like Confetti, come hear Justin and Simple Parade play locally on Saturday, June 21st at SLO Classical Academy from 5:00 PM to 6:30 at 165 Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo,  right next to Cal Poly.   Let's pack the place out!  

Here's Justin sharing a bit about the album. . . .


GO JUSTIN and may GraceSLO be a place where God raises up many more artists and creatives who will use their talents to point to Him.  



Last week in our Route 66 Road Trip Across the Bible, we looked at the book of Ezra.    I didn't have time to include a chart for the book on the outline, so we builit it together in the message.  I heard from a few that I went a little fast and it was not realistic to get it all done.  Makes sense.  Sorry about that.  So here it is. . . 



By the way, we are collecting all these charts (I've made a lot of charts for this series!) and braistorming away to bundle them all together in a PDF or some other format.   So stay tuned for that. . . 

This week we're moving on to Nehemiah. 

Route 66 Road Trip across the Bible . . . so far

In the introduction to last week's message in 2 Chronicles (LISTEN HERE!) , I gave a 5 minute summary of the 14 books we've covered so far in our Route 66 Road Trip across the Bible.  I promised I'd post online the chart we built.  So here it is . . .

I also recommended the 27 minute podcast I listen to daily called "The World and Everything in it.   You will hear news from a Christian worldview perspective.   I don't think there's anything else out there that's quite like it.  I can't recommend it more highly.  My great hope is that many in our GraceSLO family will give it a listen and get hooked like our family!  

To give "The World and Everything In It"a listen, click the image below. . . . 


Look Up

This week, our family has been talking about this viral video.  Have you seen it yet?  

It's challenged us again to keep intentionally and purposefully limiting our "screen time.”   As I’ve said before, I believe this is one of the "Top 5 issues" facing those who follow Jesus today!  

CLICK HERE  to my message "The Gospel & Your Smart Phone" where I address this vital topic.  

It's getting harder and harder to "look up."  Don't you think?  


Friday Fun: Hand Raising in Worship

Last Sunday in the close of the service I made some brief light hearted comments about hand raising in worship.  It's obviously a delicate and personal topic.   My visits to other churches this past summer got me thinking about how every church has a unique culture.  GraceSLO is no exception.  Our 80+ year history, our congregational make-up and our more formal/traditional church building are all factors which feed and influence our GraceSLO culture.  

While I think we're becoming more free and expressive in our worship together, we're still stiff and staid compared to most other churches in our community.   My comments were intended to nudge us just a bit and to give permission for a bit more freedom, emotion and expression.  

Of course there's a danger that hand raising becomes a measure of spirituality and something people feel pressured to do. We don't want that!  But our current situation is such that for many it feels odd and inappropriate to raise their hands in worship.  We're aiming for a grace-drenched freedom for all.  I don't think we're there yet.  

To continue our light-hearted contemplation of these issues, enjoy this hilarious bit by commedian Tim Hawkins . . . 


Sanctity of Human Life: Have you heard of Lila Rose?

The Gospel Transformation Bible


In yesterday's message entitled, "What's the Bible About? (Listen HERE), I mentioned the Gospel Transformation Bible as an excellent resource to help you read and understand the Bible as God's Gospel Story with Jesus front and center stage.  

Here's a link to the introduction and sample, as well as the article I referenced by Bryan Chapell.  Well worth your time and attention. . .


Here's a video introducing the Gospel Transformation Bible . . . 




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  • Life Together is the ongoing contemplation of our life together at Grace Church, San Luis Obispo, through the eyes of current Lead Pastor Tim Theule. 
  • Tim and his wife, Susie, are the delighted parents of four great kids, Sage (17), Eden (16), Zeke (12) and Haaken (9).  They have lived here on the Central Coast of California since early 2003. 

  • The title "Life Together" is borrowed from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's excellent little book concerning the joys and challenges of real Christian community, which bears the same title.

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