Financial Well-Being: Relating to Money

                     For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
                                                                                                  Matthew 6:21

A lot of people love Benjamin Franklin. Admit it. You’re probably pretty fond of Benjamin Franklin, too. He’s the guy on the front of the $100 bill, and you’re not going to say you don’t love $100 bills, are you? If we’re honest, most of us love money. Our culture loves money so much that we have television shows dedicated to showing off people’s million-dollar houses and garages full of luxury cars! Every day, we see thousands of ads that promote the dollar as the end-all-be-all ticket to a happy life. But we know better than that…don’t we?

Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University talk about developing a healthy view of money. The foundation of Dave’s ideas of wealth building are that you get out of debt and build wealth so you can help your family and others … and leave a legacy after you’re gone. It’s also okay to want to make a lot of money and to enjoy spending it! But what’s the end goal? Is it to own stuff, or is it to help others and to change your family tree? A lot of us have an unhealthy way of relating to money. It can drive a wedge between spouses and teach kids that stuff is more important then anything else. It can lead to divorce and broken families. When our heart focuses on the love of God and others than our finances follow. Think of money as a tool. You can use it to help yourself and others, or you can use it to tear all of that down. You can use it to save for your kids’ college fund, help your church or favorite charity, or you can use it to buy a bunch of stuff that will be collecting dust two years from now. 

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn



Financial Well-Being: Super Saving

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                              Philippians 4:7

For the next nine weeks in our CROSSROADS family we will be discussing how to live a more peaceful life. One of the best ways we can feel at peace is when our finances are in order. When we are unsure of our financial future there is a sense of unrest in who we are and all we do. Dave Ramsey’s Course – Financial Peace University – teaches that we cannot accomplish all our financial goals overnight. It takes time, patience and discipline. He states we need to take baby steps toward one goal at a time. The first goal we must learn to accomplish is how to save. Saving helps us feel a sense of security. If something goes wrong we have a fund to fall back on to help us out. This week in worship we will begin to discuss how savings can bring peace.

7 Baby Steps Of Financial University
1. Save $1000 cash in the bank
2. Pay off all debt (except the house).
3. Put 3-6 months of expenses in savings.
4. Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRA and pre-tax retirement plans.
5. Save for your children’s college education.
6. Pay off the house early.
7. Build wealth and give it away.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Love Does: Come Follow Me

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
                                                                                                    Matthew 4:18­-20
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Jesus asking the disciples to follow him was a radical invitation. A Rabbi did not go out and approach a common tradesman to apply for Rabbinical school. It would be like a Harvard Professor coming to you and saying, “Don’t worry about your grades, or the fact that you failed your ACT or SAT, or the fact you do not have money for tuition. I want you to come learn from me.” We would be blown away. His invitation to is to follow him us just as radical for us today. The God of the Universe wants to spend time with you. This crazy, loving creator wants to guide you in life so you can live it to the fullest. God does not invite you into a journey to give you a list of do’s and don’ts. God invites you to a loving relationship that starts today and goes on through eternity.

Bob Goff in Love Does says it well: “I used to think knowing God was like going on a business trip with Him, but now I know He’s Inviting me on an adventure instead.”

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


Love Does: Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid
      Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Take courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
                                                                                                  Mark 6:50

I am not scared of a lot of things but I spill my popcorn easily at most scary movies. I think the things that scare me most in movies are the things I cannot see. The ominous music is playing, shadows are everywhere, and you know behind one of those shadows is a villain or a monster. Waiting for the monster to step out into the light is terrifying. Once the monster is revealed it does not seem nearly as scary. Sometimes the villain seems almost funny. I remember laughing at the villain Freddy Krueger when he was revealed in full light.

Bob Goff in his book LOVE DOES states: “Our fears have power over us only when they are kept in the dark. When we name our fears and speak them aloud-especially to someone else-the God of the universe can dispel them with the light of his love.” Things are a lot less scary when they are out in the open. God says frequently “be not afraid” in the Bible. Yet, in spite of this admonition those hearing the words are often terrified and confused. When we stand before the presence of God we become aware of God’s power. Yet in spite of God’s power, we also have to be aware of God’s love and grace. God’s love is what gives us the courage to “be not afraid.”

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Love Does: Audacious Love

Love Does: Audacious Love

 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10

What is the biggest favor anyone has asked of you? I get requests for favors a lot and I am slow to respond. My wife Deb however, is extraordinary at being sharing and caring. She says yes, and then tells me, so I can’t say no.  People have asked to borrow our cars, our trailer, our house, and even our kids. Our kids have babysat, mowed lawns, washed cars and even house sat for free. Now that they are adults, they are no longer ours to loan out. Now they are often the ones asking for favors.

 

I remember one time we were asked if we would take in a pregnant teen who was kicked out of her house by her parents. We took her in and it was not easy. She was a typical teen who ate all the time, left dishes everywhere and never washed or picked up her clothes. When cooking once, she almost started the house on fire. The stress was almost too much. What made it worth the effort was the day the baby finally came. Then this incredible teenager made the ultimate sacrifice. She gave up her baby for adoption so her daughter could have a better life.

 

Jesus came and did the ultimate favor for you and me. He gave up his life so our mistakes (sin) could be forgiven. He sacrificed himself for us because he loves us so much. His audacious love is a reminder that we believe in a God of big favors. He loves you and He loves me and we are called to live a life of sharing God’s audacious love.

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Love Does: Free to Fail ­

                                              Love Does: Free to Fail ­

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
                                                                                                                 John? ?21:17?

I had a friend Billy growing up who was few years older than me and lived down the street. I thought he was awesome I hung out with him and got into all kinds of adventures together. I am not sure how he got the nickname “Billy Too Dumb” but I can make an educated guess. It could be from the time we built a super cool go-kart, but forgot to install brakes, so my shoes caught on fire trying to stop it. It could be from the time we threw crab apples at girls walking by and thought doing it in front of the police station was a good idea. Perhaps climbing on top of the church steeple to catch bats got Billy the nickname. Thinking back on it, I should probably be called “too dumb” for hanging out with him. Did you ever have a nickname that was probably accurate but not exactly complimentary?

Jesus had a follower named Simon who had a nickname. Jesus could have called him the “questioner” because he seemed curious about a lot of things. He could have called him the “doubter” for lacking faith as he stepped out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus could have called him “the denier” because he denied him three times after he was arrested. Instead Jesus called him “Rocky” because Jesus saw him solid as a rock. Petra or Peter became his new name to remind him he was not a failure but the future. Jesus told Peter that he would be part of the foundation of this new movement of God. Bob Goff wrote a book called LOVE DOES where he reminds the reader that Jesus does not focus on what we do wrong but rather who we are. Bob states: “We are not defined by our failures. We are defined by Christ.” ­ My prayer for you this week is that you live out Christ’s definition for your life. May your nickname reflect your true character in Jesus.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Party-Party-Party!

                                              Party-Party-Party

“When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”” Luke? ?14:15-24? ?

Have you ever made an excuse to avoid a party? I love parties and I will usually rearrange my schedule so I won’t miss one I am invited to. I love food, meeting new people and music. Everything about a party seems enjoyable to me. Yet, I have a friend who literally hates parties. He doesn’t like crowds. He is suspicious of food prepared by others and will literally eat before going. He likes peace and quiet and finds loud music annoying. To him, two or three people is a crowd and anything more is obnoxious. When I can drag him to parties, he is always looking for the door. Yet, in spite of this I continue to invite him because I enjoy his company. Every now and then he surprises me and joins me in coming to a celebration event without twisting his arm. You just never know who will respond to an invitation.

Jesus describes eternity as the ultimate party. He states that the Kingdom of God is an invitation to everyone. The sadness is some will turn away God’s amazing invitation. They will make an excuse and miss the opportunity to party at the heavenly banquet. How does it feel to know that God has invited you to the party? Have you ever felt like you were not welcome at church or around other Christians? At CROSSROADS we want to remind you that you are a part of God’s family and you are always welcome at CROSSROADS. 

In Christ’s Love and Service,


Pastor Paul Marzahn
 
 


Artisan: Craftsmanship

                                              Artisan: Craftsmanship

 

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” 1 Chronicles? ?28:20

When we started CROSSROADS CHURCH, we started as a portable church that moved to several locations before we built a ministry center at Cedar and Dodd in Lakeville. I often preached from a music stand in those days and thought nothing of it. When we moved into our more permanent setting, a skilled craftsman came and asked if he could build me a pulpit. He used meticulous detail to make it the right height, size and wood color. He made it so a computer could be used in the pulpit or a traditional Bible. He even ran a hole down the center so a cord could be hidden and a special place to hold my water. He had an Artisan Soul and wanted to build it to honor God.

In today’s Scripture David had an idea of what he wanted for the Temple he was building. David needed skilled artisans to complete the project. God did not allow David to build the Temple so he entrusted the work to his son Solomon and craftsman that could complete the project with excellence. That is why Solomon’s Temple built for God was known throughout the world. The craftsman built it as a tribute to the Creator and Craftsman of all things. How are you using your Artisan Soul this week? What is God calling you to create in His honor.
 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn

 



Artisan: Interpretation- Translation of Life

                                       Artisan-Soul: The Essence Of Art 
 
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
                                                                                                         Job? ?42:3-5? ?

 

When I preach in other countries I often use an interpreter. I will preach one line and pause while they interpret it. It is interesting to tell a joke and then wait 15 seconds for everyone to laugh. I was preaching in Colombia a few summers ago and Pastor Nehil Bejarano from CROSSROADS IGH Campus was interpreting in Spanish for me. I was telling a story about a duck, eagle, squirrel and rabbit. I was acting out the animals having a race and teaching at the same time. At one point I was explaining how a rabbit was hopping up a tree and Pastor Nehil started laughing. He was struggling to interpret it. So I acted it out and from the laughs I could tell they got the idea. The group was able to interpret the image regardless of the language barrier.

“Truth is not as powerful as interpretation….interpretation is more important than all truth in that all truth, all human experience, every narrative and every story, in the end changes us only after we have engaged it and interpreted it through our own story.” -Erwin McManus.

Interpreting the message of God’s love is best seen through the eyes of our own story. Job is doing just that in today’s Scripture text. Job has experienced severe physical and emotional hardship. Yet in spite of the hardship, Job has interpreted the situation in a way that affirms his relationship with God. Instead of blaming God, Job draws closer to God. His friends interpret the story differently. They think Job is being punished for sin. Fortunately, Job rises above his predicament. God restores Job and interprets the situation to Job’s friends. May you interpret your story through the love and grace of Jesus the Messiah.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Artisan-Soul: The Essence Of Art

                                   Artisan-Soul: The Essence Of Art
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself an artist. My daughter was an Art History major at Hamline and worked for the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She is what I would consider an artist. She even hand painted signs on canvas for her wedding. I remember coloring as a kid and barely painting in junior high. But at some point I stopped creating things and I am not sure why.

 

Erwin Manus wrote the book “Artisan Soul” and he argues that we are all artists, somehow we have convinced ourselves that we are not. He states: “The great divide is not between those who are artists and those who are not, but between those who understand that they are creative and those who have become convinced that they are not. The great divide is between those who understand that their very nature is that of an artist and those who remain unaware or in denial of their artisan soul.” May we all get in touch with our creative, God-given talents. May we all discover the artisan spirit in our lives again.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn