Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks…More Than A Day's Worth

Am I the only one? If I counted the "number" of words that come out of my mouth on a given day or during the course of a week that fall in the category of whining, complaining, moaning, grumbling, muttering, bellyaching, or protesting, they unfortunately add up QUICKLY!

This week is Thanksgiving. Sadly, the day seems to be an afterthought to Black Friday and the rush to the Christmas season. Join me in turning the tide back toward GIVING THANKS! I have so much to be grateful for, specifically YOU! I get to pastor such a super church. My feelings are in line with the Apostle Paul's…

"I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly."  Ephesians 1:16

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."  Philippians 1:3

"We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:2

Thank you for your partnership in ministry and furthering the Good News of Jesus Christ. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, however, don't stop with only one day of giving thanks.

Thankful for you,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More Stories from The Crossing...

From Kimber:
On Tuesday night we went down to the ocean to walk. Eli came with us to boogie board. We only stay between the two jetties so we can see Eli. This is the first time he was “alone”. There were a lot of surfers out there, but Eli wasn’t really near any of them. He was riding in a couple of times, I told him he has to stay where I can see him and not go out too far… blah blah blah… So I’m walking and I noticed that he started getting out to where the surfers were lined up… kind of far for my comfort level.

I started walking backwards so I didn’t lose sight of where he was. Then he was “in line with the surfers” and then a little past them… I started walking back kind of fast, calling Brian. Brian was like “where is he?” and I yell “he’s out too far, I’m gonna make him come back in.” I walked a little further and a big wave went by and I lost sight of him… then it got past and he was out PAST the surfers and out past the jetty – by like 20 or 30 yards…I could see him trying to paddle and kick but still going out even further… I started running and yelling to Brian “he’s out too far, he’s out too far” and Brian couldn’t even see him – I’m yelling “that’s his little head out there”… he was so far away he looked small. Brian handed me his phone and wallet and stuff and started into the water when a surfer started toward Eli… he was going to help him. He got him and pulled him in. Eli got caught in the under tow and was far out there… WAY far!

When he got to where he could stand up, the surfer told him “you should be able to touch bottom here, I’m going to give you a good push on this next wave and you can ride it in”… Eli got in and of course we were right there by then – Eli was crying and couldn’t catch his breath…. Then he told me “Mom, it was God, it was God…” He knew he was in trouble – he was trying to swim parallel to the beach, but was in a bit of a panic (as was I)… so, God love him, he thought to pray. He prayed “God, please let me keep my life and send someone to help me.” He said, laughing and crying at the same time, “IMMEDIATELY, I smelled Angel Food Cake”… it was so strong of a smell that he said OUT LOUD in the middle of the salt water thru his tears – “why do I smell Angel Food Cake??” And right then, the surfer was reaching toward him telling him to grab onto the strap on his board.

Needless to say HE was very shaken, I was very shaken, and I think the surfer might’ve been too. He never came up to us, but he did get his buddy and leave the beach as we were leaving too… - He didn’t come near us, but I did try to catch his eye to tell him thank you, but he wouldn’t even look at us… unless it was a different surfer, I don’t know… I was messed up at the time. Eli said the guy who came out of the water was NOT the guy who helped him… he couldn’t find that guy…

I would’ve just chalked this all up to “experience” – except Eli was ADAMANT that God saved him… (you know how you just KNOW…) He didn’t stop crying for about an hour (I still haven’t stopped…lol). All I could see was my son, my Eli, drifting farther and farther away in a big hurry… and I couldn’t get to him… I was still trying to remain calm and didn’t even THINK to pray at that point… and Eli was already praying. Yesterday morning, I got this email…

Who Can We Trust
Posted: 12 Oct 2010 11:01 PM PDT

We can come before God’s throne where…we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:16

Don’t we need someone to trust who is bigger than we are? Aren’t we tired of trusting the people of this earth for understanding? Aren’t we weary of trusting the things of this earth for strength? A drowning sailor doesn’t call on another drowning sailor for help… He knows he needs someone who is stronger than he is. Jesus’ message is this: I am that person. Trust Me.

From Shel:

Having never gone to church in my life & lived with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in my family about my religious beliefs, I can say I've always believed in God--or at least some sort of intelligent design. It's been Jesus as his son that's given me pause. I've been going to The Crossing for almost 5 years, but, I remained unconvinced. One day I had the opportunity to hear Lee Strobel speak & decided to read "The Case for Christ." I read all but the last 2 chapters, still unconvinced and put it away.

(This is God at work--or maybe only my subconscious at work) One morning about a week after putting the book away, I got up & saw the book on the floor of my bedroom door. I thought to myself as I was stepping over top of it, "weird, I thought I stacked that with the other books. Huh. I should really finish that book." And started my morning routine. Later, I decided to pick it up & read it. It was right where I thought I'd left it--with the other books. Not in my bedroom doorway.

I read the last (and critical as it turned out to be) chapters & the book spoke to me. I was so emotional when I realized everything I thought I knew was wrong. I wish words could explain how I felt. It's kind of like how you know that your family & friends love you--mentally in your head. If you have children, you can feel that love almost physically inside you. That day, I felt something a little bit like that. I FELT His love. In me. Like with my son, but MORE.

Now I believe. And every time I try to logic myself out of it, I just can't. You can't make up that feeling of overwhelming love. He showed himself to me & I am so blessed to have had that experience.
I am blessed & excited to be baptized Sunday the 21st! It will be my way of showing the world how I feel--the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is over.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Extra Sleep & Politicians

Sometimes the cynicism level rises in me. Is that ever true of you? The elections were held yesterday. No matter your party affiliation, the thing you can always count on in any election are negative ads and constant chatter about change. Politicians are good at talking smack about change. However it’s just that, talk. It’s probably just my jaded viewpoint, but there doesn’t seem to be much action.

As Christ followers, many times we’re no different. We talk a good game, particularly when we’re caucusing with other Christians. Unfortunately our actions as believers are dubious at best or damaging at their worst. We don’t have the best track record. For the past couple of days I’ve been playing this game. I’ve begun each day imagining there’s a film crew recording my every move, each non-verbal, as well as everything uttered from my mouth. I’ve been picturing my day getting reviewed like the post game analysis on ESPN or Fox Sports.

Believe me, the commentary is quite humbling, particularly when it’s assessed in light of the grid of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control... Regrettably there are vast portions of my day where I’m not exhibiting these traits or character qualities. How about you?

The series we’re tackling at the moment, Two Faced: Saying You’re a Believer, but Acting Like You’re Not, gets at the very heart of this issue. If you’d like to improve your game, then make it a point to be at The Crossing this weekend. Plus, DON’T FORGET, this weekend is Time Change Weekend, clocks FALL BACK!!! Set your clocks back on Saturday night before your head hits the pillow. The good news is for all you Sunday attenders, you get an extra hour of sleep! YEA!!

Seeking to live a God honoring life,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing