Lent Newsletter – March 2017


Hope at the Beach Lenten Newsletter – March 2017

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7

In the midst of Lent, we find ourselves wondering whether or not this Christian life is worth all the pain, hassle, and at times, sorrow. I believe that Jesus had these times too. As he drew nearer to his death, those who followed him also felt that things were going sideways, but didn’t know why.

It is here in this very moment that Jesus comes to us and brings us hope. Calling us not to be troubled in the very moment of catastrophe. Calling us to look not backward, not forward, not even in the “now”. But calling us to look to him; ‘the way, the truth and the life’. It is IN him we will find healing, calm, and joy. It is in HIM we find purpose and calling. It is in him WE find rest!

This is what I have been preaching at Hope at the Beach for the past eight years. Hope is a commodity sorely needed in this time. It is because of your prayers and financial sacrifice that we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, continue to help people know Jesus. And in knowing Jesus, know the Father and have people see God in and through us.

As always, go in peace and surf the Lord!

Pastor Chuck and Lin

Advent Newsletter, December 2015

Hope at the Beach - A Surfer's Chapel

We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, this endless knowing and understanding—all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.       John 1:17 the Message

This morning as I sit and listen to “What Child Is This,” I am reminded of why we are drawn to our Lord and Savior; our Messiah, Jesus, the Christ of God.  For the first time since the fall of humanity we are given full fellowship with God the father with endless knowing and understanding through the sacrifice of his son, this “child”, Jesus Christ.

Does this happen all at once? No! It takes place year after year, growth like rings in a tree, until the day we all rest in the blessed arms of our Lord.

In 2016 I will be 70 years old. I realize that not only am I still alive, but my relationship with Christ, the living Lord of all life, is so much greater than when I was 30. What I mean by that is that my i.e. “knowing,” the works and ways of God, and the “understanding,” (how God works in my life through the  good and the bad times), spiritual life continues to grow and get stronger. I cannot imagine how much more God will bring as his final Advent comes closer.

I had a glimpse of what God can do within the Christian’s life with my relationship with Chaplain Elling Ramsey, who was well into his second 100 years when he went to stand with our Lord. This man was so wise and his understanding was so clear that each time I sat and spoke to him I felt closer to our living Lord.

And I think that is what Advent is all about, drawing closer to the Living Triune God.

May your Advent and Christmas be amazing and may our prayer together resound with “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Love, joy, peace, and hope in Him,

Chuck and Lin

We invite you to join us – Christmas Eve: 6:00 PM
Come as you are!



December Advent 2015

Lin and Chuck Merry Christmas

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September Update, 2015

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise.

We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives.

 I’m writing this to you now so that when I come I won’t have to say another word on the subject. The authority the Master gave me is for putting people together, not taking them apart. I want to get on with it, and not have to spend time on reprimands.

2 Corinthians 13:5-10


It is hard to believe that the summer is over. Surf Camp for M&M Surf School has had its last class and school has begun. Now is not the time to lay back and take it all in, now is the time for IMG_4478examination. “He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:8-9 NRSV

The fellowship down in Seal Beach continues to build, through the power of Christ, a people of God. Each day many gather between 6-7:30 am to pray not only for their day but for those who are sick or far away from our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12036784_1055847771094090_1958026573715088246_nAfter nearly seven years this small gathering of Saints reach far and wide. From Alaska to South America; from the shores of the Pacific to Europe (Germany). Each year folks travel from all over the world and worship Christ here on this humble beach, then travel back home with stories and pictures sharing the Good News with their neighbors. The Word, alive and well within their hearts.  News of this does not disappoint but build us up.

We still have new folks dropping by each Sunday some hurt and heavy laden, yet, God provides and healing happens. Some bring baggage from years of righteous abuse given to them by well meaning brothers and sisters who, in my opinion, have lost their way. Here they find a healing and safe heaven.

Thank you for your prayers and support without them we would not be able to bring the help so needed in this time.

July Update, 2015

Storms? Learn to Lie Down in the Boat With Jesus

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mk. 4:35-31
We have been experiencing some challenging tests among the fellowship at Hope at the Beach. Tests that cause us to wonder where are we, where is God, and is there anything we can do about all this ‘stuff’? Some have expressed that they feel ‘cut off’ by all this ‘stuff’. This is more than the usual drama of life; this is life and death, pain and sorrow, and division of families kind of ‘stuff.’

Number 1: We are where God wants us to be.
God brings us into all types of waves/storms, big or little, loud or quiet, yet, God does bring us through. Good words to embrace, yet difficult when you are the one caught on the ocean in the storms, right?

Number 2: God is in, with, and under us in all circumstances, gently leading, guiding, and caring for us along our journeys.

Number 3: So what do we do? Pray and “lie down in the back of the boat with Jesus”
i.e. trust in the Lord and let God do the work.

Just as the serpent deceived Eve in Genesis, the evil one tempts us into believing a lie: that God is far away. However, the truth is that we are never far away or cut off from the One who gave his all that we might be one. God, in Jesus is not a liar. He is the truth and that truth does and will set us free.

Along with the promises of God that He will never abandon us nor forsake us, God has and does equip us to not just survive these ‘tests’ but to thrive.

A great wisdom I have found concerning these situations is found in the words of Oswald Chamber’s;
“Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some extraordinary thing happens to a (person) who holds on to the love of God when the odds are all against God’s character. Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it-the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Out of the wreck I rise every time.”

Promises to cling to as you lie down with Jesus:

  • Romans 8:28-39
  • Deuteronomy 4:31
  • James 1:2-8.

In His joy, Go in Peace…Surf the Lord!
Pastor Chuck


In Memory of Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson

A Celebration of Life

and Paddle Out
in memory of Bob Johnson

A memorial service was held on September 27, 2014
Seal Beach Pier at 5:30pm
Photos of the service and paddle out can be found on
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me
will never die.” John 11:25-26

August – September 2012 Update

Hope at the Beach  – A Surfer’s Chapel

 It is He Who Holds it All Together!

Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words! (The Message)

Wow, did I really need these words from Hebrews 1:1-3 two weeks ago. Our daughter Casey married Drew Cross, (great last name, no?). On that same weekend our youngest grandson, Henry had his 2nd birthday. The week before our oldest grandson, Caden, turned 7. Added to this our son and daughter-in-law, PJ and Lauren, recently returned from Africa, were celebrating their anniversary. Caleb had to leave at four a.m. that Sunday and fly to Montreal where he assisted in coaching the US Olympics team in water polo. All the family were together, coming and going to this and that, and as many of you know when the Carlson family gathers there is joy, loudness, celebrating, loudness, laughing, loudness, and at times a bit of stress. Believe it or not everything went great, really…great. Family bridal showers were held; ice cream cakes were ordered, planes were caught and the parties were awesome. We laughed and cried, danced, and sat to eat. Pastor Annette Warner shared a fabulous wedding message. As PJ called everyone forward to bless the couple (it was a very small gathering  of immediate family), I thought to myself, “Look how wonderfully God is blessing this family.”

Every family goes through ups and downs. Some survive and some don’t. This happens with our Church families too, and all relationships. But what makes a family is not just the people, but the One who holds it all together, God through Jesus Christ. It is God’s “powerful words” as Eugene Peterson puts it in the Message, that bind us together. Through the joys and tears, the peace and angst it is God the Holy Spirit that calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and I would like to add, binds us all together as one in the One. This has been God’s never wavering promise to humanity since creation. As Christ is one with God and one with us, we are the one body of Christ.

Last Sunday we began to look at the promises found in the book of Hebrews. I would ask you not only to pray for us as we study this section of scripture, but to break open that book and take another look for yourself. As I said last week you will need a knife and fork because this is meat and like in eating meat – you will be stronger for it. We need the meat of the Word to survive.

Remember the One who holds it all together.

God bless you, Pastor Chuck



June 2012 – Update

Hope at the BeachWater polo team visits

June, 2012 Update

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. Luke 5:4-7.

June worship

A week or so ago I was down at the beach reading, praying and meeting folks who might Michael Plessneed a word of encouragement, when Mike Sr. (of M&M Surfing School) got into my car. We began to talk and I took his hand and said, “Mike I want to pray two things for you, is that OK?” Of course, with a big smile on his face, he said, “Yes!!!” I prayed, “Lord I thank you for how you have sent so many students to M & M surf school and I pray that you would continue to send them this summer. So Jesus as you told Peter, let us be obedient to you as we cast our nets on the other side. Amen.”  We talked a bit longer and Mike went to work.

As the time past we forgot about our talk and prayers and continued to marvel as more and more folks came both to the school and to church on Sunday morning. Then Mike got into my car last Monday and said, “Chuck do you know what I dreamed last night?” and of course I said, “No, Mike I don’t.” He went on very excited, “I dreamed that we started a ministry and surf school in Nicaragua. What do you think?”
“Ahhhh, lets pray!” And we did. I had never thought of expanding the Hope at the Beach ministry, but now Mike was getting some very interesting messages from the Lord.
I realize what a pipe dream this may seem, but when the Lord calls on us and we answer “Here we are Lord send me.” we’d better be ready to be on the move, no matter where it is. Mike went home and talked to his wife and she was very excited about the possibility of starting this new ministry.

So what do you think? I can just hear some of you saying, “Huh, what do I think?” Yes, I mean it, what do you think? Will you pray with us to get confirmation about this direction? Will you seek God’s counsel in this? It is all good and dandy for us to have dreams, but we must remember that scripture tells us that wisdom is found in good counsel and prayer. Meanwhile, we have no other direction, except the peace of God.
There is no other surf school nor beach ministry in Nicaragua but there are awesome waves. (Mike found one left break that goes on for fifteen minutes.) I don’t know who will go with him but I do know that at this time my focus is here at Seal Beach. However, I too have a great excitement and peace about this possibility. Please pray about this and I will keep you informed as the months go on.

Church on the Beach

Thanks be to God that the last two months we have been having well over forty folks a Sunday at beach worship. Some out of town friends bless us with a visit once and a while, like Bonnie and Hal Weber and their daughter Jessica (who actually surfed after service) and Patti and Melissa Roberts from Sacramento, and the Valley Christian Water Polo team from San Jose. On June the 24th we will have a special baptism.
We continue to pray for and give thanks for the ongoing healing of our friend Bary Schlieder, and we are encouraged and strengthened by the promises of God and the filling of His Spirit.

May God continue to bless you all with his HOPE and direction,

Pastor Chuck

May 2012 – Update

Hope at the Beach

May 2012 Update

His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Song of Solomon 5:16

On April 8th Hope at the Beach began its fourth year. On April the 15th, Chuck and Lin Carlson began their fortieth year as a married couple. To be a part of God’s living Word is most sweet and desirable above all else. Have the years been easy? Not always, but how wonderfully rewarding it has been is beyond human words. But a close rendering of the above verse found in the Message helps me, “His words are kisses, his kisses words. Everything about him delights me, thrills me through and through! That’s my lover, that’s my man, dear Jerusalem sisters.” We, who celebrate the resurrection, think of God the Father as our lover, YES, our lover. He is the most ‘desirable’ to us all. We crave God’s presence.

During Worship this year we have begun singing a familiar song that at first glance would not be thought of as a worship song. Its title is “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” In this wonderful song the singer asks, “Do you know there is no one else above you?” When I first began to sing this, I thought of Lin… then I began to sing it to God. God is my “all in all.” God is my every desire. When we sit on the sand, whether it is sunny or cloudy, God’s beauty and love shines through. It is as if our Lord and Savior is kissing us, loving us, and forgiving us. This is the GOOD NEWS that draws. This is the LIGHT that brightens the world. This is the HEALING MESSAGE that gives the lost, HOPE.

You are a part of this wonderful, living, message of God’s love. You have been faithful by your prayers, encouraging words, messages, and monetary gifts. Over 80 people were on the beach Easter morning celebrating together the resurrection of the Christ. The following week was our (Chuck and Lin’s) 40th anniversary and we had over 40, including our entire family, for worship and to witness the renewal of our marriage vows.

In 1972 Lin and I processed out of Loving Shepherd Lutheran Church to the hymn, “On Our Way Rejoicing.” We invite you to continue with us…in joy… praising God for the memories and miracles, the people (His Body) and unity of the Spirit, the love, comfort and strength He gives us, the saints that have gone on before us and the future children of God that will carry His message.

It is an abundant life He fills us with “… we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves 2 Corinthians 4:7.

We are the bride of Christ. We celebrate each time we meet. I wish that we could all be together Sundays on the beach, but soon we all will be together at the great banquet, lifting up our voices and hands to our great lover, the God of the universe.

In the Resurrection,

Thank you for your continued support in this ministry and our lives.
We love you!

February 2012 – Update

Hope at the Beach

Worshiping Christ on the sand, North side of Seal Beach Pier

February Update

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven. Deuteronomy 10:17-22

Wow what a great scripture. It is very appropriate for us this month because Seal Beach finally had the second of two surf contests. I say finally because they had postponed it four times. On Super Bowl Saturday and Sunday around two hundred folks gathered near the Seal Beach pier for the contest. It was great. Of course we had our two worship services during the first two qualifying heats at 7:15 a.m. and 8 a.m. One of our group was surfing in the first heat and we lost one or two while the service was going on but it was good.

Why I wanted to tell you about this Sunday was that many new folks, both surfers and spectators, worshiped with us. One incident really caught my attention. While I was serving communion an older surfer who I did not know came up, took communion and knelt at the table and prayed. As always we just kept on going. After the service I got a chance to ask how he did in the contest. He told me that he hadn’t made it through to the heat that morning but had just wanted to come down and see who won. He was unaware of our worship service and when he saw us he said that he knew that God was compelling him to worship with us. Now that would have been great in any case but he told me that he had been far from God for so long that he felt like a stranger until he saw/heard us. I invited him back and said, “See you are no longer a stranger but part of the Hope at the Beach family.” He smiled and answered, “Even if I don’t make it every Sunday?” “Yes of course,” I answered.

You too are part of God’s family even though you might think of yourselves as strangers. You are one of us because of what Christ is doing, has done and will continue to do in his Kingdom. Please pray for the Lenten Season that had begun and for the people that God will lead to worship him, and for His ministry and outreach at Seal Beach.

Rejoicing in Him,

Chuck and Lin Carlson