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Chula Vista Presbyterian: to know Christ and make him known

“Wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to be helping me?”

Emily McColl
Emily McColl

Chula Vista Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 940 Hilltop Dr., Chula Vista 619-426-2211 www.chulavistapres.org
  • Membership: 145
  • Pastor: Emily McColl
  • Age: 64
  • Born: Boulder, CO
  • Formation: Stanford University; Princeton Theological Seminary-Princeton University, NJ
  • Years Ordained: 25

San Diego Reader: What is the mission of your church?

Pastor Emily McColl: To know Christ and make him known. That’s our formal mission, but perhaps it should be “To know Christ and make him known through friendship and service,” because that’s what I see them doing here.

SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

PM: How completely reliable and dependable God is for us in all things. Even being through what I’ve been through and even after seeing what I’ve seen, I know God loves us so much he does everything he can to save us. He can be counted on.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PM: My son was killed in a car accident…When I knew my son would die and it could blow apart our family, God spoke to me and said, “Trust me — and tell others to trust me.” Within five minutes the social worker at the hospital came to me and said, “I’m sorry, your life is going to be ruined…and you need to prepare for the worst.” I looked at her and said, “Do you have any good news?” I knew she meant well, and it was very clear that God had asked me to trust him. I said, “I’ve elected to trust in God, and God sees more than any other person can see.” She began to ask me why I thought that, and why there is a God. I thought, “Wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to be helping me?” It was very clear to me that in my suffering, God was present and gave me a clear example of how someone else – the social worker – had gone through a very painful time, and I was able to help her. “Well, this stinks,” I thought. “This is not what I really expected, but I’m so grateful.” That sort of experience has been repeated over and over. I can say I came through the worst of it; God was faithful to me and provided a different and better future.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: If we’re living more like the Lord would have us live now, heaven is not going to be a surprise. For those who don’t choose God, that’s between those individuals and God. There used to be these “Choose Your Own Ending” stories. We choose. C.S. Lewis wrote about it in The Great Divorce. Who we are now we will more fully become. If we choose to turn our backs on God, we will more fully be turned away from God. If we choose to turn toward God, we will see more fully. In I Corinthians it says we see now in a mirror, and then face to face. For those who reject God, I can’t see what they see, but I wish they could see what I see. It goes back to Pascal’s Wager: If there is no God and you don’t believe – no loss. If there is no God and you believe – no loss. If there is a God and you believe – no loss, only gain. But if there is a God and you don’t believe – all is lost. I can decide for me how I’m going to take that wager, but I don’t get to decide for anyone else what their bet is.

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Emily McColl
Emily McColl

Chula Vista Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 940 Hilltop Dr., Chula Vista 619-426-2211 www.chulavistapres.org
  • Membership: 145
  • Pastor: Emily McColl
  • Age: 64
  • Born: Boulder, CO
  • Formation: Stanford University; Princeton Theological Seminary-Princeton University, NJ
  • Years Ordained: 25

San Diego Reader: What is the mission of your church?

Pastor Emily McColl: To know Christ and make him known. That’s our formal mission, but perhaps it should be “To know Christ and make him known through friendship and service,” because that’s what I see them doing here.

SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

PM: How completely reliable and dependable God is for us in all things. Even being through what I’ve been through and even after seeing what I’ve seen, I know God loves us so much he does everything he can to save us. He can be counted on.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PM: My son was killed in a car accident…When I knew my son would die and it could blow apart our family, God spoke to me and said, “Trust me — and tell others to trust me.” Within five minutes the social worker at the hospital came to me and said, “I’m sorry, your life is going to be ruined…and you need to prepare for the worst.” I looked at her and said, “Do you have any good news?” I knew she meant well, and it was very clear that God had asked me to trust him. I said, “I’ve elected to trust in God, and God sees more than any other person can see.” She began to ask me why I thought that, and why there is a God. I thought, “Wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to be helping me?” It was very clear to me that in my suffering, God was present and gave me a clear example of how someone else – the social worker – had gone through a very painful time, and I was able to help her. “Well, this stinks,” I thought. “This is not what I really expected, but I’m so grateful.” That sort of experience has been repeated over and over. I can say I came through the worst of it; God was faithful to me and provided a different and better future.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: If we’re living more like the Lord would have us live now, heaven is not going to be a surprise. For those who don’t choose God, that’s between those individuals and God. There used to be these “Choose Your Own Ending” stories. We choose. C.S. Lewis wrote about it in The Great Divorce. Who we are now we will more fully become. If we choose to turn our backs on God, we will more fully be turned away from God. If we choose to turn toward God, we will see more fully. In I Corinthians it says we see now in a mirror, and then face to face. For those who reject God, I can’t see what they see, but I wish they could see what I see. It goes back to Pascal’s Wager: If there is no God and you don’t believe – no loss. If there is no God and you believe – no loss. If there is a God and you believe – no loss, only gain. But if there is a God and you don’t believe – all is lost. I can decide for me how I’m going to take that wager, but I don’t get to decide for anyone else what their bet is.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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