Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tiny Tot MMA Fight in Church Nursery

Watching kids in a church nursery can be insightful look into the heart of human beings.  This past weekend, I witnessed one very cute little one who as bold as they could possibly be toddle up to another quite cute little one and just RIP a toy right out of their tiny hand.  The ripped off one was stunned.  They stood there for a moment in awkward silence and then screamed at the top of little lungs.

This wasn't the end of the story.  The next time the little perpetrator saw that the other cute little one had another toy in their tiny hand, they, AGAIN, waddled over and stripped them of this one.  Only this time, the one who was twice violated, went over and tried to grab their prized possession and take it back, at which point an all out "tiny tot" MMA fight resulted.

I hope it's okay to say it was quite humorous, really, it was, of course neither of them were my children.  However, in that very brief moment, these little ones represented us all.  James 4:1 & following says, "What causes the fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from the desires that battle within you?"

The reality is, these little ones haven't yet learned to filter their sinfulness and their selfishness or at the very least they haven't become socially adept at making their selfishness look societally appropriate, right?

God wants us to come to Him.  He wants us to ask Him.  However, sometimes, we ask with all kinds of fouled up junk in our hearts.

Today is a good day to look at what it is we say we want.  Today is a good day to assess, the "why" we want what it is we want, I mean, to really assess the reasoning behind it all.  Today let's use God's Word as a mirror for our motives.  Quite possibly God is silent in our asking cause He knows what will become of us if we get what we want.

I know this, my prayer for today is to continue to ask for the empowerment of God's Holy Spirit in my life to assist me in monitoring my motives, as well as to provide for me the graciousness and gratitude to be truly thankful for what I already do have.  I know that when I live in a state of humble gratitude, I don't find myself quarreling and fighting with others or with God.  Plus, my prayer life is different, too!!!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Friday, January 20, 2012

Missed a day, don't judge me!

God's Word is powerful and convicting and life changing.  It cuts to the core of our being.  Today's reading is one of those passages of the Bible that is not easily dismissible.  James says...

"Whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point of it, is guilt of breaking all of it..."  James 2:10

This is one of those places in Scripture where I get stopped in my tracks, like a deer caught in the headlights.  God how often do I justify, rationalize, modify, dismiss my sinfulness.  God how often do I tend to think, as well as display in my actions or conversations, "...that, at least I'm better than so and so or better than those people over there..."

God, thank you for your Word, but most importantly for today's reading.  Thank you for showing me just who "I" am.  I think I'm all that and then some, but how stupid am I.  How deluded?

I'm making a commitment to live each day looking in mirror.  Instead of pointing the finger at someone or at others, I'm going to take a serious look at the fingers pointing right back at me.  I'd ask you to join me, but then I maybe I'd be judging you, which is not my intent.  So I guess I'll ask God Spirit to keep the spotlight on me.

Seriously flawed,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do People See Jesus in Me?

It's incredible how easy it is, to say one thing and do another.  Politics and politicians have almost conditioned us to the folly of speaking, but not doing.  Some of us had parents or coaches or pastors or teachers...whose de facto slogan for life might as well have, "Do as I say, but not as I do!"

The word, "hypocrisy" came to mind as I read James 1:25-27.  Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, morals or religious beliefs, that one doesn't actually have.  James directly gets at our proclivity as people for "talking" a good game, but not actually playing the game.  Unfortunately, we do this to our own demise, we're not "blessed" (James 1:25) and God's most excellent way of life, as a result of our two faced behavior, is thrashed and trashed, making our "religion worthless." (James 1:26)

No wonder many leave our churches!!!  The peeps proudly carrying those big bibles in, aren't living by it on their way out.  Or for that matter, many never, ever show up, cause if it's true that the only bible some people will ever read is our lives, well then we're not all that compelling of a novel.  Sad, huh!

First and foremost, I pray that what I say and what I do would be compelling congruent with God's Word.  I pray that in my speech, in my actions, in my thoughts, God's Word is at all times on display.  I pray that today and tomorrow and forever, I will consciously seek through God's Holy Spirit's power to be more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more good, more gentle, more faithful, more self controlled.

This is my prayer for you, as well.  Let us all really live so people see Jesus in us!!!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Kick in the Butt!

Most everyone has heard the Nike slogan, "Just Do It" right?  Well, God thought of it first.  God is pretty clear, very direct, not a whole lot of wiggle room, James 1:22, "Do what it (He) says..."

How many times have I read something like...

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you..."  Luke 6:27

"Give thanks in all circumstances..." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her..."  Ephesians 5:25

"Don't just pretend to love others, really love them..."  Romans 12:9

"Love is not rude and does not demand its own way..."  1 Corinthians 13:5

And I think to myself, "I think I'll pass on that one and that one and that one and that one, thank you very much," as if they are negotiable.  God is VERY clear!  Do what He says!  Ouch!

I guess I don't have a whole lot of excuses.  God, thanks for the clarity, for the kick in the butt!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Ears, ONE Mouth!

God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason.  I'm supposed to listen twice as much as I speak which can be extremely challenging.  The reality is I don't do very well at this one.  James 1:19 is quite convicting.

Why?  Cause I want to be heard!  My opinion is supposed to matter, not that it does, but I want it to.  So, I will often assert myself, at times even interrupting someone.  All it takes is looking into the eyes of the one I've cut off to see that don't you care about me, about what I have to say, about what I feel.

At that point my actions (words) are speaking so freakishly LOUD!  Sometimes, I might even realize how much of a jerk I'm being and I will apologize, but unfortunately most times I don't.

So today, it was humbling,yet thrilling to read this portion of God's Word.  My prayer is not only for this day, but my prayer is for the entire week, that I will string together a series of conversations where I simply listen, mouth shut, ears open.

Pray for me, I will be praying for you!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Temptation, My Sin!

Today's reading is intensely personal.  Why?  Cause, temptation seems to camp at my door.

What James says is so true, I know it's NOT God!  It's the evil one for sure.  He is cruel.  He knows something in me will die if I give into the temptation.

It's not a sin to be tempted.  Even Jesus was tempted, yet He did not sin.  So being tempted is part of life.  It's not "if" I will be tempted, it's "when."  The big question is..."What will I do with the temptation?"

The Bible says in James, "...after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it's fully grown, gives birth to death."  The progression is what I observe...

...desire, give into (do) sin, something in me dies...
...desire, give into (do) sin, something in me dies...
...desire, give into (do) sin, something in me dies...

For example, I've shared at church, I have struggled with the sin of gluttony.  I love food.  So do you right?  Well, I love it too much.  See, most folks eat to live, for me, in my stupidity and in my sinfulness, I'd live to eat.  I had to finally come to the point in my life, where I admitted my sin.

The same is true in the realm of pornography.  As a result of seeds that were sown in my life when in Junior High and High School, where I gave into allure and the enticement of looking and viewing porn.  It, like food, had a hold on me.  Satan knew it.  The truth is, participating in the sinfulness of porn causes portions of your marriage to die.  So I had to come to point in my life and in my marriage where I admitted my sin.

The application of these verses for me is...yep, I'm tempted.  Yep, I've fallen into temptation's trap.  Yep, I don't desire to walk down those paths anymore.  And yep, Satan, knows I don't desire to...but he knows parts of me still want because I want a GREAT marriage more than I want porn, because I want to physically be fit, not fat.  I have to...

First:  Admit I've got a problem.
Second:  Give the control of my will and my life over to Jesus
Third: Allow others to hold me accountable (even Sue), put boundaries in place,
Fourth:  Stay away from situations and circumstances
Fifth: Continuously remember, that the allure and the enticement is NOT BIGGER than Jesus in me
Sixth:  Know that in Jesus, I have the discipline, the victory, so live in it! (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)

Where are choosing to give into Satan's temptations?  Well, I'm here to tell, too, can be free.  I'm praying for you.

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Thursday, January 12, 2012

They get all the breaks!

Ever felt like like everyone else has it together?  Or has a bit more?  Or doesn't ever seem to encounter the hardships you endure?  Throughout my youth, I'd find myself frequently wishing I was someone else.

Don't get me wrong, I love my folks and have come to be incredibly appreciative of all that was showered upon me, however, it doesn't negate the fact there were times I was prone to escapist dreaming.  Wishing I could live there, eat there, shop there, drive that, buy that, have that...

Now as I watch folks age, myself included, I realize the playing field over time is leveled.  It's like God is saying to me, "Hang in there!  Tim, there's something WAY more important than what you see, here and now, it's what's coming after..."

As I read James 1:9-12...I sense that God is trying to communicate to folks on both ends of the "blessing" spectrum.  God's reminding those who are looking at life up from the pit, not to forget He's there.  But if you're tempted to think as you're viewing your world from some high peak, that somehow you got there because of you, well, watch out, cause you just might be on your way down.

As I ended my time today in God's Word, this was my prayer, "God, I genuinely sense all the indicators in my life and my world are upward and to the right.  I thank you for my marriage.  I thank you for my kids.  I thank you for the people I get to work around.  I thank you for the church I pastor.  I thank for the incredible place I live.  Life is good, thank you...but God I want you to know if its all taken away tomorrow...I'm still yours and I commit myself to staying true to YOU!"

This is my prayer for you as well.  In the good times, rejoice...cause God's there!  In the bad times, rejoice, cause God's there, too!

Have a super day!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

James 1:5 is a GAME CHANGER!

It's always been interesting to me that we generally associate "wisdom" with older age.  Like somewhere between...what...60-75 years of age, all of a sudden something special strikes and you're wise.

I get it, generally after swinging wildly at a few of life's curve balls, somewhere along the continuum you are supposed to learn to wait for the right pitch.  Yah, I would hope to think that after a few really bad decisions, you finally figure out how to make some pretty good choices so as to make solid contact with the ball.

But that's not what James tells me in what I read for today, he says through the Holy Spirit's guidance as he writes, "if you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you..." (James 1:5)  I guess I've been misled all this time, wisdom is right there for the asking.  God, thank you that I don't have to wait until I grow up.

Please, please remember, a definition of wisdom, God's wisdom, is the ability to view life, from His (God's) vantage point.  This means, in each and every circumstance of life, God invites me to sit next to Him in the lifeguard stand or in the pressbox high above the field of play to see what He sees.  I would get to see not only the incredible good stuff but also the horribly bad junk (James 1:2).

Imagine how different my choices and decisions would be if I made them based on observing what God observes and then doing what God would do.  The verse is a GAME CHANGER!

Thank you Lord that you not only want me to see what you see, but you want me to ask you to guide all that I do and then you promise to stand next to me facilitating my every move.  Wow, what an opportunity!!!  All I have to do is ask.  Thanks for this very amazing gift!!!

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Tebowing Today!

Most people see a headline like, "I'm Tebowing today" and if they've kept up at all with the images and news posts, they might think I'm kneeling or praying.  Actually, the dude, Tim Tebow made me think of Day 2's reading,, from James 1:2-4.  I read from The Message version of the Bible where it says in verse 2, "Consider it a sheer gift, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides..."

My initial reaction is, "You've got to be kidding, right? A gift? Come on, be serious!  Who considers tests, trials, difficulties, challenges as a potential "blessing" or opportunity."  Most of the time, it can be an reason to whine or complain or at the very least ask, "Why me?"

Yet, what God reminded me of this day is, who I am inside is revealed by how I respond on the outside, not just in good times, but in times that really stink.  So I today, I thought of Tebow.  He's been maligned and bad mouthed by everyone, yet He continues to sincerely smile.  He seems to always be thinking, here's a chance to represent my Lord, Jesus Christ.

See God wants to use the "sucky" times of life to shape me in my character.  The Good News is God is consistent, Romans 5:1-5 says the same thing in a bit different way.

Therefore, God, I'm making a commitment to you this walk out life knowing that every circumstance and situation, good or bad, is a chance to represent you.  I'm looking forward to the value added possibility of developing more maturity as my character is shaped like yours.

It's a bit scary but I'll say it anyway, "Bring it on!!!"

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Monday, January 9, 2012

Way Excited, Day 1, Bible Reading Plan

I woke up excited, amped actually, why? Our entire church is reading God's Word. You can, too!!!

Join me, join us, we're reading through the book of James, all you've got to do is follow this link, select day 1 and begin the journey of growing in God's Word.

I would love it, if you would share with me what God is teaching you as you read or share with all your friends and post it on Facebook, just push the Facebook icon and type a message to your wall.

Have a super day!  I trust you will be like James, "a servant of Jesus Christ."

Lead Pastor
The Crossing

Friday, January 6, 2012

You're invited, New Series at The Crossing

Happy New Year! Still committed? Still on track? Still resolved? I am cheering for you. You CAN do it!

This past weekend I asked everyone, "How will you be different 365 days from today?" Most were excited about the possibilities of change and we should be. Many desire to be different, want areas altered, and sadly give up too soon. My prayer for you in this New Year is the change you desire would be realized.

I believe the best way to continue in the journey to newness of character is through God's Word. This year, more than ever, I strongly urge you to attend the NEW series we're launching at The Crossing called Mii Fit. Here is what God has to say, in 1 Timothy 4:8, "Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." (The Message)

I know not everyone in the New Year sets goals to be fit physically, but this principle holds true across ALL areas. A disciplined life in God ought to be our focus. Therefore, DO NOT MISS one weekend (Sat. 5:30 pm & Sun. 9:15 & 11:15 am) of this new series. I guarantee you, that's right, guarantee you, if you give yourself to what will be communicated you WILL be different. What you will hear WILL help you both for "today and forever."

I look forward to seeing you at The Crossing this weekend,

Tim Celek
Lead Pastor
The Crossing