Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fresh Start: Fresh Relationships

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”                                                  Genesis? ?12:1-3?
 
As we walk through the Hebrew Scriptures at CROSSROADS CHURCH, we continue to find God seeking a relationship with God’s creation. Just as God developed a relationship with Adam and Eve, Noah and others, God now chooses Abram and Sarai for a special covenantal relationship. God changes their names from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah to live out a new calling. They are called to move to a new location, a new promise and also a new hope. God’s promises they will be blessed and that blessing will spread to all of humanity.

I heard growing up by my pastors and my parents that “we are blessed to be a blessing.” Paul talks about this 2 Corinthians 9:8-12 that we are “enriched in every way to be generous in every way.” God calls us just like Abraham to follow God’s will for our life. As we follow God’s will the blessings follow. This blessing is not a “prosperity gospel” blessing which means God gives me lots of stuff personally. It is a principle that allows me to overflow with the love of God to others. God’s love becomes such a blessing we seek to share that love so others may experience the blessing. May you experience God’s rich blessings this week as you continue to engage with God in worship, your devotional life and in Bible Study.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul and Deb Marzahn



Fresh Start: Making A Fresh Start

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
                                                                                        Genesis 9:12-13

During the new year we often have opportunities to make a fresh start. We can make changes anytime during the year, but there is something about a new year and a new start. If we look back at our past year we often see areas of our lives that we would like to change. For myself, I seem to have seasons of success around certain habits of fitness, finances, family time, etc… I often review these areas of my life and realize I need a fresh start.

God saw changes needed with humanity. He made a fresh start through Noah and his family. As part of this fresh start God created a covenant with Noah and with us. God promised he would never flood the earth again. God gave humanity a second chance for redemption. What a blessing that we worship a God of second chances. Where do you need a second chance? Where do you need a fresh start?
 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Fresh Start: Fresh Image

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
??                                                                                             Genesis? ?1:27? ?

As I was working out this morning. I was surprised to hear the two women behind me talking about their church. As they were huffing and puffing on the elliptical machine they were discussing whether they wanted to take their kids to Wednesday night activities at the church. They acknowledged it would “be good for the kids to learn stuff about God.” It was interesting as they discussed balance of sports and dance and other family priorities. One seemed to lean towards signing her kids up and the other one thought Sunday was “enough hassle already.” I loved the comeback of the first woman. “I know getting kids to church can be a hassle but when I get them there they come home changed. They act better and the week goes smoother.”

I thought about their conversation for quite awhile. Her kids were “changed” and “acting better” because her church was teaching them to be more like the image of God. Pastor Jeremiah said it well last Sunday. We are created in the image of God so we can become the likeness of God. My prayer is that CROSSROADS continues to be a place where faith and life meets so we can form people into the image of Jesus.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Fresh Start: Fresh Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
                                                                                                  Genesis? ?1:1?

A new year is a good time for a fresh start. Some will make “resolutions” and others will create goals for changes in the new year. Last year some of us in the CROSSROADS family took the Daniel Plan challenge and worked hard to eat right and work out more in 2015. Some of us set goals around our finances last year. Over 100 individuals took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace seminar and have radically altered their spending, savings and giving. A lot of people are making a fresh start with their fitness and finances at CROSSROADS. In 2016, we are challenging our CROSSROADS family make some goals around our faith.

As part of our FRESH START series, we are challenging people to read the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi. Each week we will walk through another part of the Scriptures together in both worship and small groups. Join us as we kick off this new series with a “Walk Through The Bible Seminar” on Wednesday, January 6th.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Come Home For Christmas: Cleaning Up

Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.
                                                                                                    Matthew? ?2:2?

I love Christmas and I love all the gatherings. I am not quite as excited by all the clean up afterwards. Cleaning up after Christmas is a challenge. The leftovers need to boxed and stored in the fridge. Extra chairs and tables need to be put away. Decorations need to be taken down and the tree disposed of. Not to mention all the wrapping paper and boxes for recycling. That is all stuff inside, then you have to go outside and take down the lights. Cleaning up is never easy.

The Wise Men were wise for a reason. They didn’t visit Jesus until after the cleanup was done. The shepherds were gone and so was the heavenly choir. The Magi traveled to Jesus and his parents where they brought gifts to share with him. Because he was God’s son, they worshipped him. The focus was on Jesus and not the presents. The presents were to honor him as king. As we clean up after Christmas let us also remember to worship Jesus as well.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Come Home for Christmas: Chaotic Christmas

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.                     Luke 2:6-7
 
 
I don’t know about your life, but my life is quite chaotic around Christmas. I feel stressed because of all the commitments and expectations. There are increased social gatherings that are fun, but stretch my waistband and my time. Finances are stretched thin as we pay for extra meals out, and extra shopping excursions. I love the extra worship gatherings for the Children’s Program, Rotary Christmas party, Blue Christmas worship and Christmas eve gatherings. But each of the extra services require special planning and practices. I love celebrating the Savior’s birth, but sometimes the focus can be less on Jesus and more on activities.
 
 
For Mary and Joseph it was not much different. Their simple life was also filled with chaos. They had to uproot their life and travel across the country to participate in a census; Not to mention they were not able find adequate accommodations so they had to sleep in a stable. Somehow in the midst of having a baby, they also had to come up with extra money to pay taxes. Yet, in spite of all these competing stresses Mary and Joseph welcomed the “Prince of Peace” into the world. May we experience peace this Christmas instead of chaos. May we embrace the love of Jesus in its fullness so we can enjoy this sacred time of year. May we exchange chaos for Christ so we can proclaim the good news.
 
 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


Come Home For Christmas: Christmas Cards

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
                                                                                      Matthew? ?1:22-23?

I don’t know about you, but I love getting Christmas Cards. In this age of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook it is always great to receive something tangible. An electronic meme does not replace the feeling of opening a Christmas card. It is also hard to put an electronic greeting on my refrigerator.

In today’s Scripture Joseph receives a message from an angel that let’s him know God is coming. Joseph had a crucial part to play in the unfolding drama of God’s reaching out to us. Jesus coming to earth was God’s way of demonstrating his love for us. It was his Christmas Card in a way. He was letting us know in a tangible way that he wants to be in a relationship with us. Immanuel. God with us. This Christmas season come home to God’s love. Experience his forgiveness and grace. Receive the gift God is extending to you which is a relationship with him now and for eternity.
 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Come Home For Christmas: Company’s Coming

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.                                                                                      Luke? ?1:28?

Christmas is the season of gatherings and celebrations. We put up the Christmas lights and decorate. We clean the house and prepare special foods. We invite guests and celebrate when company comes over. Company coming becomes our focus as we celebrate with family and friends.

In today’s passage, Mary has a special guest come visit. An angel stops by the house. How would you feel about a guest like that? No wonder she was afraid. Then, on top of that, she is also told another guest will be coming- The son of God. It is one thing to entertain an expected guest but it usually stressful to entertain an unexpected one. Yet Mary is gracious and later claims her “soul glorifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoices in God.” May we also glorify God as we share God’s love this Christmas season.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Come Home For Christmas- Company’s Coming

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.                                                                                       Luke? ?1:28?

Christmas is the season of gatherings and celebrations. We put up the Christmas lights and decorate. We clean the house and prepare special foods. We invite guests and celebrate when company comes over. Company coming becomes our focus as we celebrate with family and friends.

In today’s passage, Mary has a special guest come visit. An angel stops by the house. How would you feel about a guest like that? No wonder she was afraid. Then, on top of that, she is also told another guest will be coming- The son of God. It is one thing to entertain an expected guest but it usually stressful to entertain an unexpected one. Yet Mary is gracious and later claims her “soul glorifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoices in God.” May we also glorify God as we share God’s love this Christmas season.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Financial Well-Being: Give Until It Helps

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.                                                                       Proverbs 11:24
 

I loved growing up on a farm because I learned a lot of basic facts on life. For example, I learned that the more you plant, the more of a harvest you will get back. I also learned that if you do not intentionally plant, you will still get a crop. It will just be a crop of weeds. The same is true in giving generously. If I sow generosity, it’s going to come back to me, and I’m going to reap generosity. Every farmer knows this. A farmer has sacks of seed in his barn and he looks at his empty field. He doesn’t complain, “There’s no crop! I wish there was a crop!” He just goes out and starts planting seed.

Our God is generous and our God gives generously. God is the most generous giver in the universe, and God wants us to learn to be like Him. God wants to build character in us through our giving. Whenever we give we draw closer to God. The Bible says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT). This is the principle of tithing. It’s the principle that says every time I make $100 — the first $10 goes back to God. Tithing is an act of worship. We’re giving to God. We are generous to God and the CROSSROADS family because God has been generous to us. Share your love and generosity by making a commitment to God through a pledge to CROSSROADS. May that pledge be a seed that grows into a mighty harvest.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn