Artisan

                                                         Artisan

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



Finish Strong

Finish Strong

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
                                                                                                                   2 Timothy? ?4?:?7?
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
                                                                                                                   Acts? ?20?:?24?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
                                                                                                                   Hebrews? ?12?:?1?

This past week I have been reading Scripture related to racing. I see a common theme. It is important to finish strong. The Apostle Paul reminds his young pastor and friend Timothy the importance of keeping the faith in the midst of persecution. In the book of Acts, Paul reminds the believers again, it will not be easy but it is important to finish strong. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that perseverance is key to running the race to completion. We often start strong but struggle to finish strong. God’s Word reminds us that finishing the race is crucial. Too many negative interruptions along the way and we discontinue. May God step into your life this week to help you finish strong in your struggles of faith and relationships.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn



Qualifying For The Race

Qualifying For The Race

 

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts? ?2?:?38?

 

If you ever go to a race track you know there is a process they go through to see who will race the big event. They eliminate those who are not yet driver ready or car ready for the race. Some are disqualified because their car does not pass inspection. Some try to cheat their way into the race by making illegal modifications to the car so they are eliminated. Others have not taken care of the car so they have mechanical defects that pull them from competing. Many have perfectly good cars but just cannot drive at the professional speeds needed to compete. Before the race even starts, they are watching from the spectator stands.

 

Peter, in today’s Scripture, is sharing his first full length public sermon since Jesus ascended to heaven. In this message he makes very clear what qualifies one to be a follower of Jesus, “Repent and be baptized.” He keeps it simple. To qualify is not a list of do’s and don’ts, it’s is a faith relationship with Jesus Christ that means confessing our mistakes and believing Jesus will forgive us of our sins. It is about a relationship with God and not a religion that stipulates who is in and who is out. Join us at CROSSROADS this week to hear live testimonies of drivers of help us understand what it means to “qualify for the race.”
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Overtime

Overtime
 
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
                                                                                                Psalm 121:1-2

 

In sports, overtime is always intense. It means the regular playing time is being extended. Overtime means the score is tied and no clear victory is established. Overtime demands the highest level of physical endurance since both teams are exhausted. Overtime means the crowd is on edge and the athletes are pushed to perform one final burst.

Once when I was quarterback in high school, we played overtime. The first team to score would win. We lost the toss so we were on defense first. We had to stop them four times as they approached the end zone. They pushed us right to the brink, but we held the line. Finally, we got our turn to advance the ball. Our fullback Fred said, “Give me the ball and make me a hole.” He carried four defenders into the end zone with him! The final push is never easy. In today’s Scripture, the Psalmist reminds us that we are not alone. Our help comes from God. If you are exhausted, tired or overwhelmed, remember you are not alone. God the maker of heaven and earth will help you through your struggles.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pasto Paul Marzahn



At The 11th Hour

At The 11th Hour

 

And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Matthew? ?20?:?6

 

My dad was an employer of laborers so I can really relate to the story of the workers in the field. He often hired my friends to help pick rock, detassel corn, pull weeds, lay drainage tile, bale hay, and do maintenance. Some could work all day and some of us had summer sports commitments. I remember when fall football kicked off, we had twice a day practices for two weeks. One practice early morning and another later in the day, it was brutal. I came to work tired, worked slower than normal and then had to leave work early. We were shocked when we got our checks from my dad after two weeks and the pay was the same as before. My football friends and I had expected much lower paycheck for those two weeks because we worked so much less. It was one of many lessons I learned from my dad about grace. (I bet my mom Gladys had something to say about it as well.)

 

Jesus, in this story talks about an employer who agrees to pay a day’s wages for workers. Some come early in the morning, some later in the day, and some later in the afternoon. The 11th hour refers to 11 hours after sunrise, or about 5:00 in the afternoon. They basically have only about an hour of work left before sunset. Some of the workers complain when they see the employer giving them all the same pay or same reward. Jesus through the parable helps those listening understand that God’s grace and love is available up to the 11th hour. It is never too late to receive God’s heavenly reward and enter into a relationship with a living and loving God.  Remember today that God loves you and is always willing to receive you into the Reign of God today and forever.

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul



The Time Is Now

The Time Is Now
 
                               Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
                                                                                                                                 Psalm 90:12

 

CROSSROADS in Minneapolis has an incredible Saturday night worship experience where we do music and conversation. We host conversations called, “Open Table” where we discuss different topics each week. We also continue the conversation online. A recent topic of conversation at our OpenTable was about what it means to number our days. One man wanted to know how we make our life count. He wanted to know if his life had meaning and if he was making a difference. Those are great questions to deliberate upon for each of us.

If we take the time we have in years, and quantify it according to days of activities, we have an average 28,835 days. When you subtract work, transportation, and sleep those days dwindle down considerably. One interesting statistic is how much time we spend in the bathroom. The average person spends 671 days grooming and performing bathroom related activities. (I’m going to start taking shorter showers.) That is only a little less than the average person spends in time with God and/or civic duties which is 720 days. How many days does that leave us for free time or time that we can do things we think are important? 2740 days is the average time a person has left. Make your days count today and for eternity. Now is the time to decide how you will spend your time.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


Take A Break

                                             Take A Break

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
                                                                                                Psalm 131:2

With the world’s all-pervading notion we live under that “Life is Short -Stay Awake For it” (thank you Caribou Coffee) or “I Can Do It All In My Lifetime” (Lifetime Fitness), we seem to be pushed into such a chaotic frenzy in thinking that a lifetime is not enough time to do everything we want to. There is so much to do, so much to experience, so much to complete. There is an ever-increasing number of time-management books and tools available to help us learn to multitask better, move faster, get more done, be it all, do it all. Even if everything we were involved in – everything we said, “yes” to – was all great stuff, there is still only so many hours in a day and so many years in a life. I know as a mom, grandma, wife, Executive Pastor of a multisite church, Chaplain for the Lakeville Police and Fire Departments, there is so much to do, and so many good things to be done. I feel most days like it is impossible to get caught up. So, each day I get up a little earlier and squeeze a few more “To-Do’s” on my list. I check on each family member and read a short devotional from my YouVersion Bible app. Next, I attempt to accomplish 2-4 household chores and a quick workout at the gym, all before heading to the office. Can you relate?

Is it in God’s plan that we should be this busy? How does God feel when we are so busy that we don’t take care of ourselves? Are we too busy to see the homeless person living in the car in the parking lot? Do we stop to notice a loved one who is hurting or a tiny tug at our pant leg? Are we so busy making a living that we don’t make a life? God’s Word is very clear that we are to take a break. That is why God created the Sabbath. Together this week we will explore God’s Word and some ideas of how to put some “Me time” and “God time” into all our lives- me included!

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Deb Marzahn 


Time Heals All Wounds

Time Heals All Wounds

God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
?Psalm? ?147?:?3?

I was at a training event recently and we discussed the purpose of the church. As a movement known as United Methodists in Minnesota, we claim three “Gospel Imperatives”: Grow in Love of God and Neighbor (the Great Commandment, Matthew 22:37-40), Reach New People (the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20), and Heal a Broken World (the Great Proclamation, Luke 4:16-21).

Part of healing a broken world is understanding our concept of healing. One person at our training stated: “You can be broken down and stay that way. Or you can be broken open, and move through the intermediate stages of healing, learning about yourself and others, growing in compassion, and emerge stronger in the broken places.” When we recognize our own brokenness, we are able to better move toward healing. This week we will continue the conversation about how we find healing in the midst of pain.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



In the Course of Time

In the Course of Time

The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees. Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust you.
                                                                                                                                                                            Psalm 119:33-34

These past two weeks the Marzahn family has been in Japan. Our son Joshua Paul Marzahn is a Rotary Exchange student studying in Osaka. As part of the trip, we visited Josh’s school. We met with his school principal and two of his teachers. We were apprised of Josh’s progress in school and how pleased they were with his attitude. One of his teachers spoke favorably of Josh by saying, “Josh learns quickly because he is not afraid to ask questions. He also learns well because he listens well to his teachers.” I could tell that Josh has great teachers at this school. They have a heart to help students grow in knowledge as well as in character. I don’t know about you, but I had some great teachers growing up that also poured their knowledge into me, and because of that I am blessed.

The greatest of all teachers was the Rabbi known as Jesus of Nazareth. His teaching was great because it was grounded in interpreting God’s Word. The Psalmist was looking for a teacher that would impart knowledge and good judgement. Jesus did just that. He did not flaunt his knowledge like many of the Rabbis and Pharisees of his day. Instead, Jesus shared Scripture and applied it to everyday living. In the course of three short years he shared enough with his disciples to change the world.

This weekend at CROSSROADS we will recognize teachers. As part of the worship service we will pray for teachers of all kinds. School teachers, Bible study leaders, CROSSROADS youth and children’s teachers and all who help others grow and learn. If you know a teacher invite them to CROSSROADS. If you have kids, send their teachers a “Thank you” and let them know how much you appreciate them. Pray this week as a family for teachers and lift them before God, that they may live out the calling God has for them.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


In the Course of Time

 

The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees. Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust you.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Psalm 119:33-34

 

These past two weeks the Marzahn family has been in Japan. Our son Joshua Paul Marzahn is a Rotary Exchange student studying in Osaka.  As part of the trip, we visited Josh’s school.  We  met with his school principal and two of his teachers. We were appraised of Josh’s progress in school and how pleased they were with his attitude. One of his teachers spoke favorably of Josh by saying, “Josh learns quickly because he is not afraid to ask questions. He also learns well because he listens well to his teachers.” I could tell that Josh has great teachers at this school. They have a heart to help students grow in knowledge as well as in character. I don’t know about you, but I had some great teachers growing up that also poured their knowledge into me, and because of that I am blessed.

The greatest of all teachers was the Rabbi known as Jesus of Nazareth. His teaching was great because it was grounded in interpreting God’s Word. The Psalmist was looking for a teacher that would impart knowledge and good judgement. Jesus did just that. He did not flaunt his knowledge like many of the Rabbis and Pharisees of his day. Instead, Jesus shared Scripture and applied it to everyday living. In the course of three short years he shared enough with his disciples to change the world.

This weekend at CROSSROADS we will recognize teachers. As part of the worship service we will pray for teachers of all kinds. School teachers, Bible study leaders, CROSSROADS youth and children’s teachers and all who help others grow and learn. If you know a teacher invite them to CROSSROADS. If you have kids, send their teachers a “Thank you” and let them know how much you appreciate them. Pray this week as a family for teachers and lift them before God, that they may live out the calling God has for them.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn