Thursday, April 29, 2010

Difficult People

I have been accused from time to time of being a “difficult” person. I know it’s probably hard for you to believe, right? After all, my middle name is Tim “Huggable” Celek, well maybe not :-).

This weekend is a CAN’T miss weekend! The topic is “Dealing with Difficult People.” Be here! In fact, invite people in your workplace, invite those in your friendship circles because this weekend promises to be REALLY good. Together we will learn how you work with, live with, or relate to someone who can be “difficult” from time to time.

Also, please take note, this weekend is the Orange County Marathon and many of the streets surrounding The Crossing are highly impacted. Therefore, give yourself PLENTY of time to get to church this weekend. Your advanced planning will allow you to come relaxed instead of frustrated and uptight.

See you this weekend,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Need some Fuel? by Patrick Detken

The Crossing Family!

As we kick off our SPRING season we are so excited about the classes, retreats and groups available. Our mission is to foster spiritual environments and foster spiritual growth. And we believe each of these environments will rock your world and draw you closer to God!

FUEL classes begin on Tuesday, May 11th: FUEL registration
• 6:30-8pm at The Crossing for 5 Tuesdays.
• Classes include discussions about the book, practical skills, biblical understanding and opportunities to learn from one another. (Book is not included in cost and can be purchased on the weekend)
• Childcare is available but must rsvp. ($5 a night)
• $10 for the class and 6 classes to choose from, descriptions below.

 Parenting - How do you teach your children about spiritual topics including spiritual disciplines? Taught by Jaime and Rebecca Huff and discussing the book Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines by Valerie E. Hess and Marti Watson Garlett

 Women – When was the last time you stopped and thought about the fact that you are not your own but you are a personal treasure of the Almighty? Taught by Cyndi Clark and discussing the book DEEPER; Living in the Reality of God's Love by Debbie Alsdorf

 Couples – How do you build a Godly marriage? Taught by Patrick Detken and discussing the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

 Men – How do you become a spiritual warrior in the workplace, in a home or as a parent? Taught by Randy Moraitis and discussing the book Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby

 Fatherhood – How do you leave a legacy for your kids as a dad and what are the pitfalls along this amazing journey? Taught by Jim Schwarz and Randy Clark

 Singles – What’s the difference between courting and dating from God’s perspective? Taught by Patrick Detken and Vicki Holland discussing the book Choosing Gods Best by Don Raunikar (This class begins May 27th for 5 Thursdays)

Marriage Retreat (April 30th 6:30pm – May 2nd noon) Final week to sign up!
Need a time to recharge with your spouse? Need some time to laugh together and learn together? Need God’s perspective in your relationship? This year’s theme is ‘Transforming Intimacy’ where we will look at what intimacy is in the context of marriage. Dr. Bill Dogterom will teach on God’s perspective and give us great tools on strengthening our marriages. There will be tons of time with your spouse, time to laugh and enjoy some much needed time together. Ever thought about being baptized together or renewing your vows? We’ll even have some time for that as an option and a Saturday night dance! Not sure you can afford it? There are 3 different packages. $350 for the entire weekend OR $215 includes entire weekend but only one night lodging (Enter 1 Day on the Promo code) OR $100 (Enter Speaker Only on the Promo code) includes the entire weekend programming but excludes lodging and food. Retreat location: Radisson Hotel Newport Beach

Solid Rock Retreat (May 21st – My 23rd)
Ever wanted to learn God’s perspective on dating or find a community that understands what you are going through in your life? Need some fun, friends and a time to laugh? Need some rest and time alone with God? Come to this year’s Solid Rock Retreat in Murrieta Hot Springs will give you just that! Cost is $180 for entire weekend, lodging and meals.
Click here to sign up for Couple's Retreat or the Singles Retreat

Small Groups
We have new community groups that meet in homes studying various books of the Bible or other topical studies for men, women and couples. There is a place for YOU! All you have to do is go online to find the best group for YOU and get connected. More information on small groups: Click Here

In His Hands,
Patrick Detken
Pastor of Grow Ministries

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newport Pizza Man and wife love on kids all the way in Vietnam

I can’t really remember the first time I met Robert Kalatschan, my host while in Vietnam. It may have been in his restaurant, Original Pizza, down near the Newport Pier or it might have been in the small group I led a few years back. But I do remember the circumstances surrounding one of those first interactions.

See, I love to memorize the word of God. There are a number of scriptures I feel are foundational for a believer. I won’t share those particular scriptures at this time, however, what I do remember is Robert “complaining” with a capital “C”...maybe more like whining :-). I think he said, “I can’t do it. I can’t memorize. I don’t understand why we have to do this, etc., etc., etc....” It took me aback...

Yet over the next weeks, the REAL character of this man was on display. He ALWAYS came with them memorized. He knew them word for word. His discipline and his determination drew me in...relationally. Personally, I get energized by someone who is willing to go ALL OUT...even though it may be hard or difficult or challenging, but they give it their ALL.

Over the course of that year in that small group, I learned that Robert is one of those kinds of people and I love that about Robert.

Well, following that group, not necessarily because of that group, God ambushed Robert and his wife, Dorothea, following the adoption of their second Vietnamese child, Christina. I use the word ambushed intentionally because Robert and Dorothea strongly feel the tug of God’s Spirit on their lives. Christina, through adoption, found a “way” out, but what about the kids left behind?

All because of paying attention to God’s tap on their shoulders, Robert and Dorothea founded Giving It Back To Kids, an organization that is strategically, relationally and lovingly caring for the kids in Vietnam who are “left behind.”

The good news is that the same determination, discipline and focus that Robert applied to hiding God’s Word in his heart years ago in that small group, he applies to the kids and people of Vietnam. I can’t thank Robert enough for hanging out with me for these past 10 days. Also, a BIG thanks goes out to Dorothea, Tommy and Christina for allowing me to monopolize their dad/husband’s time while they were off for Easter break!

Make sure you watch the video of Robert sharing his heart for the kids of Vietnam!!!

See you this weekend at The Crossing...thanks for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Vietnamese partner, Pastor to transform

Good relationships take effort, time, energy, and communication. You know the drill. You’ve been there. And then try relating to someone from another culture and language, it takes everything previously said and then’s like relationship on steroids.

These relationships can be highly challenging or incredibly frustrating, but I like to view them as supernaturally invigorating. I love meeting people from other cultures. I get energized hearing and watching them speak. I just enjoy learning about people.

The way I see it, ALL people matter to God. And heaven is going to be a WONDERFUL place, because at that time, EVERY tribe, tongue, and nation will be represented...all worshipping our Mighty God.

I felt highly privileged to be able to spend time with multiple numbers of Vietnamese men and women over the 10 days I was there. I totally engaged in a powerful way with one person in particular, a Christian leader named Vu. We spent time just riding on scooters in and around Saigon. When we’d stop, I had the opportunity to hear his story, an amazing one for sure! I was also able to get a sense of his heart for God and his love for the people of his country.

I hope you take the time to watch this video, it’s brief, but you get a sense of this man of God through his language, his eyes!

With as much as the time in Vietnam has been spectacular, I really look forward to seeing you this weekend at The Crossing!

Thanks for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reflections...God IS at work in Vietnam

It's Monday in Saigon...and for whatever, reason, I woke up to the slogan, "Good morning Vietnam." And it is a GOOD morning...over the past two days, I felt like I got to experience first hand what the people experience. I logged about 7 hours riding a scooter all over Saigon, this photo has someone on the back but 99% of the time, it was just me. Fun stuff...

Anyway, as I sit and look out my hotel window, seeing, hearing, watching, listening to the movement and buzz of Vietnam, I'm realizing just how much ground I've covered over the past 9 days.

In many ways it feels like a month ago when I landed at Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) International Airport, yet in reality it's only been a few days. These trips, El Salvador, India and now, Vietnam, have very little down time. So the space to think and reflect is appreciated and needed.

As I've gone back over all the photos and video, I've taken, it's astonishing to think about all my eyes, mind, heart and emotions have taken in over these days. People often ask, when I return, "Tim, what was your favorite part of the trip?"

And again, I'd have to say, the people! Yet, it's not just a face or a name, it's ALWAYS so much more than's the culture, the interactions, the laughter, the van rides, the prayers, the singing, the honking, the tears, the joy, the questions, the irritations, the caring, the eating...all this and so much more is embodied in the people.

Sometimes, I get irritated, cause we United States folks, think that somehow God smiles on us and we get to thinking that we're all that and then some. We can be prideful and arrogant...believing that God favors us.

What is SO noticeable as I peruse the photos and videos shot...God is ALIVE and WELL in Vietnam. He is at work among its people! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, in both the United States AND Vietnam.

He's working through the "underground" church, house to house, door to door. It's fascinating...people are putting their faith in Jesus and growing up to be like Him, right smack in the midst of a communist country.

God's working through a Pastor who is giving himself to training leaders, 87 of them now. Leaders who have gone back to their towns, villages and communities...a vital part of their church making a difference.

He's working through, who I refer to as the "Pizza Man" and a Non-Proft called Giving It Back To Kids, that channels life altering activity...stuff like The Father's House (Unwed Mom's home), through 24 "street" kids in a home in Danang, as well as in the community of 14 "street" kids at Grace House in Saigon. Then there is what I call the "covert" God stuff of heart surgeries and home building and 45,000 wheelchairs distributed.

God is working in launching a brand new church through the simple tool of a well for water...and the list could go on and on...

The Crossing...this only scratches the surface of what I've seen of the supernatural surge of God's Spirit in Vietnam! Thanks for coming "with" me on the trip. Keep praying, please!

Thanks for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pictures and Video from Vietnam

Internet service has been very sketchy, but I have been able to get some of my pictures and videos through.

I got to experience firsthand riding a scooter in Vietnam. This is what it looked like. Check it out!

This picture is from a house church where I got to preach on Sunday. 98% of churches in Vietnam are "house churches".

These were two people who received wheel chairs from Free Wheelchair Mission that I had the opportunity to interview.

This is a boy in the 3rd grade who had his leg amputated when he was 9 weeks old.

This one is of a young man who had polio...until this chair he crawled on his hands and belly everywhere he went. He was SO excited and had such a big smile!

These are only a few of the incredible things that I have seen and taken part in here in Vietnam. Thank you so much for following my trip and for praying for my time here!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can Tim eat durian without getting sick?!?!!

Watch Tim Celek as he attempts to eat durian...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Living Water

When my internet connection is improved I'm hoping to post a number of videos of my excursion yesterday. It was quite fascinating. I was in Can Tho which is approximately a 5 hour drive south of Saigon. Can Tho is the 4 largest city in Vietnam. It sits on the Mekong Delta, which is a series of interconnected rivers, streams and canals that reach FAR out into the countryside. There are rice paddies everywhere the eye can see.

After driving about 1 hour west of the city, we got into a narrow river boat. By narrow I mean wide enough to sit down, well wide enough for one LARGE American like me. The river is fairly narrow, enough for two boats to pass. Each side of the channel is dotted periodically with homes, some right on the river.

It doesn't take to long to realize the river is their source of life. It's where they bathe, clean clothes, catch fish to eat, raise ducks to sell or eat. It moves goods to the market. Water from the river is crudely pumped to irrigate the rice fields. (Please check back to see pictures and video in the next days)

After about 30 minute ride on what had to be the original jungle cruise, we stopped at another source of life, a local church. Just a couple of years ago, this church didn't exist. Through the linkage of Giving It Back To Kids and Pastor named, Vu and $200 for a well for water for the community, this church has quite literally skyrocketed. 80 people now call this church home.

By US standards we'd call that small, however, when you stop and think that there is only 60 families in the immediate community...this means the power of the Good News of "Living Water" has spread more than an HOUR away. People ARE so thirsty for something bigger, greater and lasting...something only Jesus can provide, they now drive more than hour by boat to get there.

As I pulled away in our tiny, narrow river boat, I was EXTREMELY thankful for, Pastor Vu, GIBTKs, The Crossing Church and the people of the Promise Land Church of the Mekong Delta. You see, God has used us ALL...across borders, cultures, languages to bring something life changing, both on earth (water), as well for all eternity (Jesus Christ). Gang, that's something that ONLY God can do, YEA GOD!

Here is a video that shows the church:

Thanks so much for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This will date me...

This will date me, but I remember during my elementary years and early teens sitting in the dining room eating breakfast before school, watching the Today show. I even recall the name of the newscaster, Frank Blair. I watched daily as he broadcast the reports regarding the Vietnam War.

What was both captivating and disturbing to me wasn't so much the black and white raw reporting from the fields of Vietnam, but at the end of his report, he would always in a matter of fact manner, give the numbers of the dead and the wounded from both sides. I'm not sure why listing the "numbers" of dead seemed odd to me, but it did.

I was thinking about that all day today as we drove around the outskirts of Danang. My thoughts kept going to, "I wonder how many died in these hills. Did they find bodies near this river?" For whatever reason, I kept thinking about the dead...that was until I went to the Father's House which is supported and funded by Giving It Back To Kids.

The Father's House is a home for unwed mothers. At this present time there are 7 moms and their children. The local governmental agencies wanted to call it a home for "unwanted" moms and children. Robert Kalatschan, the founder of GIBTK, wisely said, "Nope, there is no such thing as an unwanted mom or child in God's eyes."

However, let me cycle back to my thoughts today about see, it was at the Father's house where I experienced a geological shift of sorts toward focusing on LIFE. Many of the kids at the Father's House were going to be aborted, killed...for numbers of different reasons. Yet because there is a home where the "unwanted" are WANTED (yea!), the kids you see in the above video, are full of life. They are among the living.

So today, I end my newscast reporting live to you from Vietnam. 7 children are ALIVE...and that's a good thing, because it's a God thing.

Thanks for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

P. S. Make sure you watch the video, I hope you notice the "bubbles." No matter the culture, kids squeal with excitement and joy over the simplest of things.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Couldn’t get these faces out of my mind

After flying out of Saigon to Danang, my focus today was seeing the extensive ministry of Giving It Back To Kids. Robert and Dorothea Kalatschan, who attend The Crossing, are the founders of this ministry in Vietnam. God gripped their hearts a number of years ago after adopting a little Vietnamese girl named Christina. Their concern wasn’t so much for the kids who were fortunate enough to get adopted, it was more for those left behind.

Today, Christina is this beautiful and growing girl who lives with her mom and dad (Robert & Dorothea) and brother, Tommy in Huntington Beach, but her legacy continues here in Vietnam. I had the incredible privilege of spending this day with the AMAZING staff of Giving It Back To Kids.

However, what wrecked me was the man who you see in the photo. The young girl in the photo is his 13 year old daughter. She had heart surgery a number of years ago, but she needs to go in for a second operation. Robert and his team were assessing their ability to assist in the funding of the heart surgery for this beautiful young woman. In the photo, it may be hard to tell, but she NEEDS surgery. She isn’t doing well.

I prayed for her. I even put my hand to her heart, it was like it was pounding out of her chest. I felt incredibly helpless...right then and there I wished I had the gift of healing. I so much wanted this girl to be all right. I have two daughters. I was thinking the entire time, what if this was my Emily and/or Lauren...I’d be screaming, “DO something, please HELP her!”

Which leads me to her dad, his eyes said what my spirit was yelling, “Please do something, please help her!” You can see that in the photo, it doesn’t take any imagination. Sure he tried to hide it with nervous smiles and nonverbal humble gestures. But I could see what he felt, cause I was feeling it myself, in fact, I don’t mind admitting, my eyes are tearing up as I type (I’m acting like my friend, Robert, now).

I am a dad. If my kids’ health was rocked to the core of their being, my eyes would be saying the same thing. The GOOD NEWS is...the funds are in place, this girl was approved for surgery in May...they are going to try to move up the date...I hope this can be accomplished.

What was even more telling to me of this man’s character is...he said, “Thanks so much for helping my daughter”, but he didn’t just say thank you for himself, he went on to say, “thank you on behalf of all the families that were in the room that day!”

I’m not sure this man knows Jesus, but on this day, he pointed me to Jesus. You see, in Philippians 2 it says, “Don’t look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.” This man wasn’t there for himself! It wasn’t about him. No, he was a real dad. Real dads don’t just think about theirs kid(s), but they look out for others’ kids as well. I want to be like that...

Thanks for reading,
Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Monday, April 5, 2010

You're "finally" coming here!!!

Easter weekend was AWESOME! From the 2 Good Friday services and then the 8 services for Easter, God was honored! Jesus' death and resurrection were proclaimed. I love talking about Jesus. He forgives sins and sets us doesn't get much better!

Due to Easter weekend, I wasn't able to share with everyone at The Crossing that on Easter Sunday night I was hopping on a plane and making my way to Vietnam. I'm actually writing this on a layover while in Taiwan. Someone asked me this weekend, "So Tim, why are you going to Vietnam, weren't you just in India?"

Great question! We have 5 Global Ministry Partnerships at The Crossing; El Salvador, India, Vietnam, Uganda, and Mexico. In most cases, we have been developing these partnership for close to 6 years. Over the course of these years, we have sent teams of various sizes and the resulting relationships have been nothing short of INCREDIBLE!

However, one of the questions that often gets asked is, "When is your Senior Pastor going to visit?" Or as was said to me in well spoken English today, "You're finally coming to see us!"

Please understand, these cultures are quite different from ours in the US in terms of how they view the position of the Senior Pastor. I like to joke that in the US, a pastor is similar to used car sales folks and/or lawyers as far as being esteemed (BTW, I like use car sales people and lawyers).

In most cultures outside the US, Senior Pastors are looked up to and have high standing. Even though our partners have been fine without my visiting presence, there is a unique sense of encouragement one gets in another culture when the "head" pastor shows up, participates and engages in genuine and sincere relationship.

So, this year before the new auditorium and campus are complete, the window of opportunity to see God's work and meet our partners in these five areas of our world seemed best.

Having said all that, God has already done a BIG work in my heart. I've found myself ambushed by God's Spirit in ways I've never before witnessed in the two countries I've visited thus far, El Salvador and India.

I know God has something in store for me in Vietnam. Vietnam will be the first openly Communist country I have ever experienced. I am traveling with Robert Kalatschan, the founder of one of our ministry partners in Vietnam, Giving It Back To Kids. While here I get to see the church that The Crossing built in Can Tho and I will be spending time with Pastor Vu, who trains pastors to go throughout all of Vietnam with the Good News of Jesus.

I ask for your prayers...hey, thanks for reading,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing