Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Story from The Crossing...

We want to hear your story! Tell us your testimony in 1000 characters or less. We'll post it here for others to read.

 Click here to submit your story

Please note that all stories must be approved before being posted.  We reserve the right to remove inappropriate content.

Here is another story we have received:

Scott says:

I've always noticed that in my life most of the people I meet that are
drawn to God have had a rough road that has driven them in that
direction. Which also seems true in the stories I've read on this web
site. Which may be the reason that I struggle somewhat with my faith
since my life has been pretty smooth sailing.

I was introduced to The Crossing via my girlfriend just under 2 years
ago and my first experience was the night that Tim received his Harley
Davidson. As I sat there taking all this activity in my emotions got
the best of me and I could no longer hold back the tightness in my
throat and the tears. I lost a grip on myself for almost 10 minutes.
To this day I can't explain why and there are many days now that when
I attend church I feel strong emotions that rise to the surface
without warning, with no certain thoughts in my head. It's as though
the weight of life is somehow being lifted off my shoulders for the
time being and it feels good. I leave the service feeling
revitalized and ready to handle the pressures of this world.

What I love about The Crossing is that all the pastors are very down
to earth. They call it like they see it and if there's something
wrong with the way fellow Christians are presenting themselves then
they put it on the table. They don't sugarcoat. And though I still
struggle with my faith I never feel unwelcome at The Crossing. It's
the one place I know where goodness surrounds me and helps me face
another day.

I've never taken part in evangelism on any level but recently I've
reached a point where I feel that the messages The Crossing has to
offer and their approach to getting the messages out needs to be heard
by others close to me. Starting with my 19 year old son who though we
sent him to a private Christian school has his own idea's regarding
faith. The Crossing is our "feel good" place and the more people that
I can make feel better by bringing them to the The Crossing the better.

The Crossing isn't just for the firm believers, but also for those of
us on another level. Any level. We ALL feel welcome here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Did we ever experience summer?

Labor Day is that mythical “line in the sand” when the summer season ceases and fall begins. However, there was what...maybe 5 days where it FELT like summer.

Of course for most of you, it’s been a couple of years since you last frequented a school classroom, so summer is more a state of mind. In fact, take it from this transplanted, Midwestern-raised boy, most EVERYDAY feels like summer in So. Cal. Life is SO good here! I mean, none of us have to suffer under extreme humidity or slap at mosquitoes that have homing systems better than any fighter jet.

My summer was great. Not as much Harley riding or sailboating as I would have hoped, but I did have the opportunity to visit nearly 15 churches in Orange County. Given my position and normal weekend responsibilities, visiting other churches isn’t something easily achieved.

However, this summer I made it a point to see the most excellent manner of how God is moving in our area. I’ve come away from these weekend glimpses so appreciative for the uniqueness of styles and methods expressed from church to church. God is ALIVE!

I also came away from these experiences excited that I get to serve and pastor a truly AWESOME church. It is so true that there is no one right way to do church AND it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Therefore, I’m thankful for the multiple houses of worship in our county, but I’m exceedingly grateful for THIS house of worship at The Crossing.

We ALL are a very special people with a unique call as a church! I THANK GOD for YOU!!! I look forward to sharing God’s word with you this weekend as we continue our series, Unstoppable!

Can’t wait to see you,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Building Update 9/4/2010 from The Crossing on Vimeo.

More Stories from The Crossing...

We want to hear your story! Tell us your testimony in 1000 characters or less. We'll post it here for others to read.

 Click here to submit your story

Please note that all stories must be approved before being posted.  We reserve the right to remove inappropriate content.

Here are 3 new stories we have received:

Jeff says:

Before coming to The Crossing my life was a mess. I had a 20 yr addiction to drugs. In 1997 my wife started attending CCNM (The Crossing) and she was asking me every Sunday morning “Are you coming to church with me?" Most of the time I would be just coming in from partying from the night before so my answer was no. One morning I got up to go with her to see what this church she was attending was all about. Of course she sat front row so I was like, "Man what did I get my self into?" I met Ian that day and I thought to myself that she probably told him everything about me and what I was going through, but hey I made it to church and she was happy and I won’t have to come back for a while now. She asked, I came and that was that.

Well a few months went by and I didn’t go back and then 1 day I was arrested for drugs and put in jail for the night. That night God was tugging at me and made me realize I didn’t want to do this anymore. My life was a mess and the only thing that was going to get my life back was God. So after I was released and I was on my way home, I stopped at Fairview Park and prayed to God that if you’re real, take this addiction from me and I will do anything for you. It was a miracle because he released me from the addiction and I gave my life to him on April 9th, 1999. I have never looked back to that life since then. If it wasn’t for my wife’s prayers and prayers from the people she had met from CCNM (The Crossing) I would not be where I am today.

The Crossing has been a major part of our lives. In many many ways I think the way it has influenced my life the most is through my men’s groups and the couple's groups that I have been a part of. There’s something about accountability that keeps me focused and on track and knowing I have someone, or a group of brothers and sisters, I can come to when I have a problem or situation in my life that I can rely on and share with makes all the difference.

Pamela says:

We all have a story. Those experiences in life that make us who we are today. Some of us are just now beginning to understand this. I understood this on Easter of 2002 when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and heart. This was the end of a long journey and the beginning of my new life in Christ.

I was born on August 5, 1954 in Rapid City, South Dakota. We moved when I was a year old which was the beginning of many moves since my Dad was in the Air Force. I grew up in a home filled with love and a Dad who did not know the meaning of a stranger. He talked to everyone and was one of those people that you never forgot. My Dad also enjoyed parties and what I now see was a social alcoholic. I never remember him drinking unless he was around other people. However, we always had liquor in the house.

I probably took my first drink at a young age at one of these parties. I do know that I got drunk for the first time when I was fourteen and did not take my last drink until June 18th, 1981 when I was 26. During this time I also experimented with marijuana and LSD. I was arrested when I was 18 for disturbing the peace and assaulting a police officer. It was also at this age that I lost my virginity during a black out. At 23 I was arrested for a DUI. My DUI landed me in a court required AA meeting for the first time. I still had not yet admitted that I had a problem though and just got my cards signed and counted the days when I didn’t have to go anymore. I was sure that I could control my drinking.

During this time I also got married and after a couple of years we decided that it was time to have a baby. After nine months of trying I was beginning to think that I would never be able to get pregnant. On June 18th I went to a party and someone that I spoke with that night told me that if I continued to live the way I was living I would not get pregnant. For some reason that was when I accepted that I was an alcoholic and made the decision to stop drinking and three months later got the wonderful news that I was pregnant. A year later on June 22nd, 1982 my son Robert was born.

Although I had quit drinking, I had never returned to those AA meetings and I never dealt with the reasons for my addiction. I still wanted to party and found another addiction in the attention of other men. My marriage ended in divorce and I was a single mother at the age of 30.

My mother-in-law asked me when I met her at 19 “Are you a Christian?” I said yes, after all I grew up celebrating Christmas and Easter so what else would I be. I did not understand what she was trying to share with me. This beautiful woman continued to pray for my salvation for 29 years.

I was taught by Mom and Dad about doing ‘good’ things and about being ‘good’. I also learned somehow about Heaven and Hell and that when we die we go to one or the other. Whenever someone died I would hear “At least they are in a better place”. It was when my Dad died in early 2000 that I started questioning this because I had never talked to my Dad about who gets into Heaven and who goes to Hell. I wondered where my Dad was because I know he was not always good and who decided what was good and what was bad anyway? I sure knew that I had not always been good and that I probably never would be.

In October 2001 I made a half-hearted attempt to take my life by swallowing some pills and ended up in College Hospital for three days. I was ordered to go to counseling and through this was led to a grief support group. A friend of my sons was struggling with alcohol and asked for my help. He and I started going to Recovery at The Crossing. Thus began my journey to find out just what Christianity was all about. It was there on Easter 2002 that I learned about who Jesus is and why he was born human (Christmas). That it was so he could die for my sins and rise again (Easter). I learned that I was not a Christian unless I chose to be. I was not a Christian just because my family celebrated Christmas and Easter. So I started studying the Bible and made my choice.

I know now without a doubt in my mind that I will be going to Heaven when I die and my son will never have to question that. He and I took classes and attended The Crossing together. We learned about Christianity and we both made the decision to accept Christ into our hearts and were baptized.
I began attending a women’s small group and living a life in accordance with God’s will not my own. Each woman accepted me even after learning about my past. I was able to open up and share without any condemnation because they all understand that through there is no condemnation.

My life today is still not perfect however it is filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit. And that beautiful woman Ruth who prayed for me all these years is now in Heaven with our Father. In 2002 she was still with us and I called her the night that I accepted Jesus as my Savior and thanked her for her prayers and told her that I know understood and that “Yes, I am a Christian”.

Michelle says:

I have gone to church what seems like all my life and was raised in a Christian home, but certainly have not had the picture perfect life or one you will ever read about in fairy tales. Sometimes I think my life should be made into a "Lifetime Movie of the Week". My parents got divorced at age 7, and although my mother continued to take me to church, I strayed and went my own way around age 15 or so.

I was distant from God and didn't care much. I was hurting inside looking for love and acceptance thru friends, partying, relationships, you name it. Nothing filled the void; I always came up empty no matter what. I kept God only in my back pocket in case of emergencies. I ended up having my first child, my daughter, at age 20 and got married to her father about a year later. Shortly after, I realized I was with a very abusive man who was an alcoholic. I attempted to leave him a couple years into it when I realized I was pregnant with my first son. I stayed hoping things would change. When it didn't and I found myself in a situation involving the police and a terrible incident which led to me having to file a restraining order against the father of my two small children, I finally fell on my face and turned to God.

He was there waiting ever so patiently and picked me up off the ground and it wasn't until then at around age 25 that I surrendered my life over to God. I actually reconciled with their father who had given his life to Christ after a short stint in jail and rehab and we renewed our vows and had two more beautiful children. Our marriage was a testimony to share with other couples in crisis and we were able to offer them the same hope that God gave to us.

After about 5 years, my husband what seemed like out of no where, left me. I knew we had problems but him wanting a divorce was shocking. I then thought my life was a joke and that I was no good. I was humiliated, hurt, confused and thought I was an embarrassment and I went into about a year or so of deep, dark depression. I managed to pull myself out of it with a good church and support group but mostly it was my quiet time just reading my Bible and praying to God, my Healer, my Husband and my Best Friend.

After several years of healing, I met someone at my church in a Divorce Recovery Group, whom I ended up quickly falling in love with. For the first time I felt I had met someone with the same desires spiritually and that I had found my soul mate. We moved very fast, eager to get our lives started but realized that with all the excitement we we're getting ahead of God's plans and made a lot of mistakes while dating. We didn't do things according to God's will and it caused problems.

He moved to Costa Mesa while we were dating and decided to go to this "cool church" down the street from him. It was on a Saturday night the first week of January ‘08 that he went. He had me and my kids come the next Sunday and we have been attending every Sunday since. We got involved right away knowing we had found our "home church" and that there was something special about this church and what God wanted to do in and thru our lives like we had always dreamed. We got married on Valentines Day in 2009 and I thank God everyday for leading me to The Crossing.

I may still have plenty of problems and issues as God continues to shape and mold me from poor choices and as I work on a still stubborn will, but to have the love and support from my church family and the amazing worship and teaching, I know God will continue to write my story and the ending will be perfected in Heaven when I am face to face with my One and Only- My God. I can say with all confidence no matter what my circumstances are at the time that He is Greater, Stronger, Higher than any other...My God is a Healer, Awesome in Power... My God is the author of my story and works in mysterious ways and I’m ever so grateful that someday it will in fact end with Him, happily ever after...