Weekly Devotion

 

30 Days of Prayer: Day 6 – Birth and Death

Prayer Focus: Family Transitions

Ecclesiastes 3:2 – There is a time to be born and a time to die.

I am very blessed as a pastor to be with people at their most intimate moments of life. I am privileged to go to the hospital or to a parent’s home to hold babies when they are born. It is a joy that I am allowed to pray with parents and family members to celebrate life. Sometimes I sit in Children’s Hospital in Intensive Care praying for a child to cling to life. It is never easy for parents regardless of the transition.

Likewise, I get to hold hands of many CROSSROADS family members as they move from the Kingdom of God here on earth to the Kingdom of God in Heaven. I am privileged to mourn and celebrate eternal life with family members and friends. I pray at the bedside, the hospital, the various gatherings, the funeral, and eventually the graveside. A variety of comfort and support is needed at a time of family loss.

Family transitions can bring joy and sorrow. Babies bring joy but also sleepless nights. Losing a loved one to a battle with cancer can bring sorrow, but also relief as the suffering comes to an end. Regardless of the transition, it is important to spend time in prayer. If you are going through a time of transition, be in prayer for God to guide you and support you. If you see someone going through a transition, then offer to pray for them. As a CROSSROADS family sign up to be a part of the prayer small group team or join the prayer Facebook page to help support others through intercessory prayer, (Contact the church office at info@crossroadschurch.org for more information). Allow God to use you as an instrument of love to pray for others going through times of birth and death.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



30 Days Of Prayer – Day 5

Prayer Focus – Seasons of Prayer

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.

Life has its seasons and so does Minnesota. I love living here because of the seasons. Even when I return from Mexico to 30 below wind chills, I still appreciate the change in seasons. I find our faith walk and prayer life also follows seasons. These seasons aren’t necessarily by age, but more by experience and maturity. Each season we explore our prayer relationship with God a little differently.

In spring we experience the warmth melting the snow. Spring is fun and exciting. Everything is new. The rains fall and new life abounds. Growth is all around us. God in the spring of our lives helps us enjoy our new life in Him. We often find our journey is led by those more mature to guide us. We are excited to learn new things and explore new options. We plant seeds of faith and start to see them sprout.

Summer is warm and sometimes uncomfortably hot. In summer our prayer life can run hot and cold. Ever step into air conditioning in July? It can be a drastic change. We learn who we are and we grow in what we can do. We may make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. We may go through extremes in our faith walk and prayer life, but God is never far away.

Autumn finds us reflecting. We spend time enjoying the fall coolness and crunch of the leaves as they fall from the trees. Reflective prayer may take a slower pace. We may spend more time listening to God and appreciating all God has done. We seek God’s guidance and enjoy the harvest season of answered prayers.

Sometimes in winter it is warm and cozy inside and we don’t want to go outside. We wrap our faith around us like an old sweater and we feel comfortable at last. We may become more introspective. At other times we venture out like my three year old grandson and play in the snow. We take advantage of our mature prayer life and pray more frequently for others. We intercede on the behalf of others and also think more about eternity.

No prayer season is better or worse. Each season has its own benefits and God uses the seasons to grow us in prayer. Some of us slip between the seasons of prayer in our lives and experience all four in a short period of time. Prayer has an ebb and flow between the seasons that keeps us dependent upon God. May God use the seasons to draw each of us closer to Him.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



30 Days of Prayer – Day 4

Prayer Focus: Assurance that God hears our prayers

Scripture: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

I know when I was a young child I struggled a lot with talking to the “grey bearded guy in the sky thing.” I had a children’s Bible and it showed pictures of God looking down from the heavens. Kind of like a heavenly grandfather. It was hard for me to imagine how He could first, hear me and everyone else since the world had billions of people. Second, if He did hear, how did He have time to answer them all? (Quantum physics and Star Trek later helped me understand the time/space continuum better). Anyway, I thought I was probably talking to the air and no one was listening. It made my parents happy to pray with them at meal time and before bed, so I did. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my parents, but I figured the bearded guy wasn’t listening.

Then one day I went out to the barn and found one of my sheep had been attacked by wild dogs. I chased the dogs away, but one little lamb named Rachel was severely injured. My parents were not around and the vet wasn’t available so I had to try to clean out the wounds stitch the lamb myself. I prayed and prayed to God for help. I was so scared. I had never done anything like this before. The lamb was lifeless and had stopped bleating for its mother. I felt helpless as I saw her life slip away. Through the prayers and tears I heard from God that she was going to be ok. Rachel would be alright. It was an audible voice and I even felt a warmth come over my body. My crying stopped and my heart stopped racing. Then Rachel got up and started bleating for her mother again. God had answered my prayer. From that day forward I not only believed in God, I had an assurance God was listening. I also realized He cared about me and what I was going through.

Jeremiah, in today’s passage, wanted to remind the Israelites God hears and answers their prayers. That is a staggering thought; God hears our prayers. Think about it. The God of the universe, that brought all things into being, cares about you personally. When we call out to God we are not praying words into the air but to the living and loving God who cares for us. As your prayer life increases so will your faith and trust in God who loves you and can meet your deepest needs.

Let us pray: Gracious and loving God, help me to remember You are listening. This day remind me how much You want to hear from me and how You listen to me personally. Also, help me to understand how You answer me. Allow me to see Your answered prayers in tangible ways so I know You are real. Demonstrate Your love to me this day through answered prayers and through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.



Wesley Covenant Prayer: 30 Days of Prayer – Day 3

John Wesley encouraged Christ followers to say the following “Covenant prayer” every new year. It was a reminder to surrender our will to God’s each year.

As we go through 30 days of prayer at CROSSROADS may this prayer guide you this month and this year.


“I am no longer my own, but thine…
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”



Prayer and Fasting: 30 Days of Prayer – Day 2

Prayer Focus: Growing closer to God through fasting.

“Nothing will be impossible for you. This kind of action only happens through prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21

Fasting has not always been part of my spiritual heritage. I wasn’t taught fasting in my church as I was growing up. I first experienced fasting as part of a fellowship group in college known as “Campus Crusade for Christ.” This group taught me a great deal about the how’s and why’s of fasting. In Seminary, I learned a great deal more by studying John Wesley’s journals on fasting.  He modeled in his ministry the biblical principles of prayer and fasting. He taught the early Methodist movement the following:

Fasting is not to be exalted beyond all scripture and reason and yet is a means ordained by God, and when duly used is surely a source of God’s blessing… Let the fast be done to glorify our Father in heaven; to express our sorrow and shame for our transgressions, to wait for purifying grace; drawing our affection to things above; to add seriousness and earnestness to our prayers; to avert the wrath of God; and to obtain all the precious promises in Christ…With fasting let us always join fervent prayer; this is a season for enlarging our prayers, both on behalf of ourselves and our brethren. (Wesley’s Sermon XXII – Our Lord’s Sermon On The Mount, Mt 6:16-18)

I have witnessed the most powerful transformations in our church when the leadership of our church has humbled themselves through fasting and prayer. Both Deb and I want you to experience the power of God through fasting and prayer. Deb and I are doing a “day fast” for the 30 days of prayer at CROSSROADS. A day fast is not eating during daylight hours. For most of us this means missing our daily lunch and snacks. Pastor Deb and I will spend our noontime in prayer this month rather than eating. Please consider fasting this month as well. Whether for one meal or several days take the time to focus on God through prayer.

Let us pray:

Holy and loving God. Help me to grow closer to you through fasting and prayer. Allow me to be sensitive to the leadings of your Spirit as I focus on You. Encourage me through prayer and fasting to see You at work in my life and the ministry of CROSSROADS.

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

If you would like to learn more I have written down the following 7 keys to help you in your faith journey as you allow God to shape you through fasting. I learned these through the years from a variety of spiritual leaders who have helped me grow in fasting and prayer.

7 Keys to Successful FASTING

How you conduct your fasting will determine your success. Follow these basic steps to make your time with God more meaningful.
 
 

1st Key: MAKE THE COMMITMENT

Jesus implied all His followers should fast. Matthew 6:16-18, 9:14-15. For Jesus it was not a matter of “IF” we should fast, but “WHEN”. Before you fast decide up front:

  1. How long you will fast – one meal, one day, one week, several weeks, thirty days, continuous lifestyle fasting, etc…. Beginners should start slowly building up to longer fasting periods.
  2. What type of fast does God want you to undertake – water only, water and juices; what kind of juices and how often.
  3. Fasting can also mean a discipline of abstaining from something other than food. Ask if God is asking you to stay away from things like alcohol, caffeine, T.V., sexual activity, or other physical craving.
  4. What physical or social activities will you restrict to remain steadfast in your fasting?
  5. How much time will be spent in prayer and devoted to God’s Word while you fast?

Making these commitments ahead of time will help sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.

2nd Key: SET YOUR GOAL OR OBJECTIVE IN FASTING

Pray about the kind of fast you are feeling called to undertake. Answer the question, why am I fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation, or deepening your relationship with God? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. Search the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as to how you are to specifically pray.

Biblical Objectives for Fasting:

  1. To experience Spiritual renewal by seeking God’s forgiveness. Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 1:14-15, Joel 2:11-13.
  2. To seek God’s guidance and direction for a difficult decision. Acts 13, Acts 2:21-23. (Vs. 23) “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
  3. To ask God for healing. Psalm 35:13-14. (Vs. 13) “Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.”
  4. To receive resolution for problems.
  5. To humble ourselves before God and to ask Him to redeem the consequences of our sin. II Samuel 12:15-23. (Vs. 16) “David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of His household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.”
  6. To seek justice on behalf of others. Isaiah 58:1-14. (Vs. 10) “and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday.”
  7. To battle temptation and resist weaknesses in areas of our fleshly desires. Mark 1:12-14, Matthew 4:1-10. (Vs. 10) “Away from me Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’. Then the devil left him.”
  8. To intercede on behalf of our nation or a group of people. 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
  9. To seek God’s protection and support as we take a great step of faith. Ezra 8:22-23. (Vs. 23) “So we fasted and petitioned our God concerning this matter and God listened to our prayer.”
  10. To seek prospering of God’s people for God’s purposes. Nehemiah 1:1-4. (Vs. 4) “Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
  11. To seek God’s deliverance from a difficult situation or power of which we are powerless to control. Psalm 109:22-26, Joel 2:13-19, Esther 4:3-17. (Vs. 16) “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
  12. To build our relationship with God. Matthew 6:16-18. “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (New American Standard)

 

 

3rd Key: PHYSICAL PREPARATION BEFORE FASTING

Before fasting consult your physician and make sure you are taking the necessary precautions. If you have a medical condition or are taking certain medications the type of fasting may need to be modified. Proper physical preparation allows the transition in your eating habits to be less drastic so you can feel free to focus on prayer. Remember to prepare your body by eating smaller meals before the fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods prior to fasting.

 

4th Key: PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE FASTING

While fasting you are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek God’s help to sustain you. It is especially important to care for your body during this time since you will be weak and vulnerable to the Satan’s temptations to break the fast.

  1. Limit your activity – schedule less, pray more.
  2. Exercise only moderately. Walk or do other easier forms of exercise.
  3. Rest as much your schedule permits. Extra sleep will be needed.
  4. Prepare yourself for the fact you will be easily irritable and may experience impatience and anxiety. Don’t take your fasting out on others.
  5. Expect some physical discomforts. If you are doing an extended fast you may experience some hunger pains, dizziness, and lack of energy on the second and third days. Other physical annoyances include weakness, tiredness, and overall fatigue. If you experience fatigue or hunger pains increase your liquid intake. As you continue to fast, you will eventually experience a sense of comfort both physically and spiritually.
  6. Put yourself on a schedule. Begin your day in praise and prayer in lieu of breakfast. Read and meditate on God’s Word. Pray for God’s vision for your life and empowerment to do His will. If other persons are fasting with you, meet together for prayer sometime during the morning or evening. Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your focus. If possible, end the evening on your knees in prayer.

Some possible liquid diet suggestions taken from Dr. Julie C. Ruibal – Nutritionist, Pastor and specialist in fasting and prayer:

  1. Fruit juices – preferably squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Buy juices without sugar or additives.
  2. Herb Tea with a drop of honey. Avoid caffeine at all costs.
  3. Soup broth or bullion cubes.
  4. Dietary protein drinks may be consumed in moderation.
  5. Avoid chewing gums or mints even if your breath is bad.
 

5th Key: SPIRITUAL PREPARATIONS BEFORE FASTING

Remember sin will hinder your prayers. You need to get right with God before fasting. Here are some ways you can get right with God:

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make a list of your sins. Think not only of sins of commission (stuff you have done to hurt others) but also sins of omission (stuff you should have done to help others.) For example, you saw someone discriminated against at work but did nothing to stop it.
  2. 1 John 1:9 – Confess every sin before God and accept God’s complete forgiveness.
  3. Actively seek forgiveness from persons whom you have offended and forgive all who have hurt you.
  4. Make restitution (make peace) with whomever you offended.
  5. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His word in Ephesians 5:18. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
 

6th Key: SPIRITUAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE FASTING

Do not underestimate spiritual opposition to your fasting. Satan often intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit. Galatians 5:16-18 reminds us of this battle between our flesh and our spirit. Fasting (or abstinence from food or other physical cravings) helps bring our body in right alignment with God’s will. God over spirit, spirit over soul (soul = mind & emotions), soul over body/flesh. Too many times our body tells our soul how to think or feel, and then we try to tell God. Take advantage of putting on the “Full Armor of God” while fasting. Ephesians 6:11-17 reminds us how to use the promise of our salvation and the Word of God as primary weapons against the evil one.

 

7th Key: JOURNAL/SHARE YOUR RESULTS

Expect results when you fast! God will respond. Fasting is not twisting God’s arm behind His back and saying “listen to me.” It is the complete opposite. Fasting reminds us God is in control and we need to get rid of some of our worldly desires in order to focus and listen to Him.  Fasting draws us into a closer and deeper relationship with Him. If you sincerely humble yourself before God, repent of your sins, fast, and pray then God will answer. The answer may surprise you. Search throughout the Scriptures and you will see this pattern repeated time and time again. If you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence. Because we become fully aware of how to rely on Him for all our needs, one huge result from fasting is that our faith in God is strengthened. Write down how God has answered your prayers. Next time you are struggling, this journaling will remind you God is listening to you and He cares. Be sure to share your results with others. Do not brag or imply you are more spiritual due to fasting. However, as a testimony to God’s power, encourage others by sharing God’s responses to  your prayers.



30 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 1

Prayer Focus: Prayer that Christ will dwell in our hearts through faith.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:14-17.

Prayer is the way we communicate with God. It is the vehicle for fellowship with Him. In the same way you would foster a relationship with another human through quality time and communication, you can strengthen your relationship with God by communicating frequently with Him through prayer. We can learn of God’s character through prayer. We can learn of God’s plans for our lives and His activity in the world through prayer. It is by prayer that we can play a role in His ushering in God’s Kingdom here on earth. 
Too often we view prayer as transactional. I need something so I talk to God to receive what I want. For example, a loved one becomes ill or we run into financial trouble so we call out to God to help us in that specific situation. While God certainly hears these requests, His deepest desire is to have ongoing fellowship with us through prayer.

The Holy Spirit places prayer requests and petitions on our hearts. We then offer them back to God. What begins in heaven returns to heaven through the mysterious power of prayer. Prayer is not communicating to change our Father’s mind; it is instead helping us discover the mind of God.

Set aside a specific time to pray today. Perhaps your first prayer could be, “Lord, I ask for Your help and Your strength to assist me in faithfully and consistently praying over the next 30 days.”
We will be sending out a prayer reminder daily for the rest of January. Feel free to share these devotionals with others if you feel they may want to grow in prayer. Pastor Deb and I as well as some leaders of the church are fasting for all of January. If you would like to join us for one meal, one day, or some other amount of time please contact the church office. We would love to add you to our prayer and fasting group.

Dear God,

May you richly dwell in our hearts this day. Help us to be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit so we may be filled with Your love. Help us to focus on You these next thirty days as we pray daily. May we grow in our faith as we continue to pray.

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Talking With God – 12-26-2017

Matthew 6: 9-13 “This, then, is how you should pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
‭‭
My friend Pastor Adam Weber in his book Talking With God tells a great story about prayer.

One day a pastor met with a friend in a coffee shop. The friend had a burning issue to talk about but the pastor didn’t know what it was. The pastor was curious & after 10 minutes of small talk the friend said, “Well, I’ll just get to why I wanted to get together. I feel foolish for asking this, since I’m a grown adult. I grew up going to church, and this is something everyone else probably knows but me. It just looks so easy for others. But I just want to ask: How do you pray?” After a pause & a breath, the friend quickly continued, “I should probably know this, right? But I don’t. I feel stupid, and I wasn’t sure who to ask. And again, this probably comes easy for everyone else. But again, how do you pray? Like, what do you say? Do you start with, ‘Hey, God, it’s me’?
Is there a right or wrong way to pray? Can I screw this up?”

Have you ever felt like that? Or asked questions like that? You’re not alone. Jesus’ first followers were just as puzzled as this friend. They struggled like we do. Prayers do not need to be long, and there’s no need to use big words. God isn’t impressed with how we pray or the things we say.​​​​ In fact, he already knows what we need, even before we start.

According to a Pew Research Center survey in 2014, 55% of Americans say they pray every day. Even 20% of those with no religious affiliation pray daily. The same survey found that 45% of Americans & 55% of Christians ​say they rely a lot on prayer when making major life decisions. Yet many of us struggle to pray. We may feel intimidated & awkward ​​​​​​​trying to talk with the Creator of the entire universe.

At CROSSROADS this weekend we will be learning more about prayer. Pastor Bruce Ruggles will be preaching as Pastor Deb and I lead the mission team down at Rio Bravo. This is going to be an awesome series. Don’t miss it.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Unstuffing The Bah Humbug – 12-19-2017

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We all know the Christmas classic by Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. It is a play that depicts a man named “Scrooge” who does not celebrate Christmas and considers the season a “Bah-humbug.” One of my favorite lines from the play is, “darkness is cheap and Scrooge liked it.” Scrooge preferred darkness over light. He focused on money rather than hospitality or even love.

By the end of the play Scrooge has a transformation. The three spirits helped him to see the path he was on. At the end he stated, ”I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” And every one remembers the final quote by Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone!”

Sometimes we can get a Scrooge type attitude around Christmas. We let the Christmas crabiness settle in. Yesterday someone told me to turn off my Christmas music because they were sick and tired of hearing “Joy To The World.” It is sad when we get tired of hearing the Good News. We have to be intentional to not let the the “bah humbugs” around us steal our joy.

Mary in today’s Scripture receives God’s blessing. She is excited to be used by God. She is so overwhelmed with God’s love, she breaks into a song of glory to God. May we be more like Mary and be eager to be used by God. May we see the blessings around us and be quick to give God the glory.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Unstuffing the Stress

“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I do not do well under stress. I often get too much going on and I allow the pressure to get to me. For example, I was at CROSSROADS Trustees work day last Saturday. We had rented a lift to do a number of projects. Various volunteers were fixing projectors, repairing stage lights, installing new lights, running cables, etc… We were on a timeline and I was recruited to clean some lights in our lobby 35 feet up. I had done it before so it was no big deal. As I was cleaning, I looked out and saw lights that had bulbs that were burned out. It’s surprising what you notice at 35 feet taking a selfie. For some reason, I started feeling stressed that I needed to be the one to fix this problem, and fix it immediately. 

Burned out lights were not a priority for anyone else at the time but I was stressing about it. I took it out on others and if you were around me at that point I apologize. Not very mature Christian behavior. I had an EXPECTATION (unrealistic) every project needing a lift could be done in four hours on a Saturday morning so we could save the extra rental charge. I had lost perspective on so many counts. I lost perspective of the hard work of the leadership and how much they had already accomplished. I lost perspective on time and the amount needed to do projects. Most of all I lost perspective on our CROSSROADS Core Value of JOY and PROCESS. Working together should be building up community and not tearing it down. I blew it big time. I let stress steal my Christmas joy and probably let my stress steal the joy of others. I am working hard to give that day to God and move forward to restore my joy and the joy of those around me.

I can imagine the stress Mary and Joseph were under being engaged and planning a wedding. Then they get the news they are pregnant. Not only the pressures of a child before marriage but being told your son is the Messiah who is born to take away the sins of the world. Talk about major stress! Yet they listened to God’s message and messengers and did not give up. They worked through the stressful situation and changed their personal expectations to align with God’s expectations. That is what we are all called to do. No matter what the situation, we are called to align our expectations with God. May your expectations be lowered to help see what is really needed. May God and God’s plan help alleviate your stress this Christmas season. 

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


UNSTUFFED

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
This weekend like many of you I will be getting stuffed. Stuffed with food, stuffed with shopping, and stuffed with decorating. The good news is we are actually cutting back on some things to focus on the things that matter most to us. I will still eat my share of turkey, but will also be working harder this season to serve and share with others.
Thanksgiving to Christmas season can feel “stuffed” with everything except the reason for the season. Are your holidays stuffed beyond what you can bear? Maybe instead of adding more to our lives, we can take this time to simplify Christmas season and get back to the heart behind it all? Think today about what you can “unstuff” to make room for Jesus this Christmas season. Continue to celebrate that Christ has come as Immanuel to remind us God is with us. Join us this Sunday at CROSSROADS as we discuss how to eliminate some of the stresses of the season.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn