Time Flies When Having Fun
 
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Psalm 19:12-13

 

People point to the problem of pain and suffering in this world as their reason for not believing in God. A Barna research poll asked, “If you could ask God one question what would you ask?” The most common response was, “Why is there pain and suffering in this world?” The idea of a God that allows suffering is frustrating for some people. Corrie Ten Boom is a famous writer who survived the Holocaust of Nazi Germany in a concentration camp where she and others were tortured. When asked what allowed her to endure the concentration camp where her beloved sister died, Corrie Ten Boom responded, “Not what, but Who.” God is the “who” that helps us to endure the suffering.

In order to make sense of suffering one has to understand the concept of “free will.” In the book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Why, then did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating.” In worship this weekend we will be examine the idea of God’s will in regards to suffering.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


Life Is Short – Eternity Is Forever

 

Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Luke? ?24?:?13-35?

Recently Bishop Ough invited all clergy to a special retreat. We discussed a passage of scripture known as the “Walk to Emmaus.” We looked at how Jesus walked alongside two disciples and listened to their story. They discussed all the events that happened during that week in Jerusalem. Then Jesus explained all the details of who the Messiah was as described by Moses and the prophets.  The Bishop reminded us that despite all this conversation together the two disciples walking alongside Jesus never recognized him.  They invited Jesus over to where they were staying so they may eat together. Then when Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it, their eyes were opened.

What are some of the reasons we do not recognize the Risen Christ? What barriers or distractions keep us from celebrating his love?

This Sunday, we will close the worship service with communion. Like the early disciples, we remember the Risen Christ in the breaking and blessing of the bread. Join us this Easter Sunday to share in this special service of remembrance.

 

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

 

Pastor Paul Marzahn



 

Barbed Wire Relationship

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                     2 Corinthians 10:5

 

When I was growing up on the farm, fencing the pastures was a major chore. We had to clear areas in the woods to run fence posts and wire. I was constantly repairing fence holes where animals would get out. I realized soon into my animal husbandry career that animals do not respect woven wire as much as barbed wire.

I had some cattle that would often reach over the top of the woven wire fence and try to eat grass in another pasture. If they pushed hard enough they could bend the fence and get to the “greener grass” on the other side.  Over time if left unchecked,  they would damage the fence to the point where they would leave the pasture and wander off. My dad had me go put a string of barbed wire on top of the fence line. The cattle had to only prick their nose or scratch their neck to realize they did not want to risk injury.

The same is true in relationships. We need to secure and protect them. We need to be be reminded when we think the grass is greener on the other side it leads to pain and anguish. We too need barbed wire to remind us that Gods love keeps us secure and safe in our relationships.

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



 
Relationshops: The Chemistry of Romance
 
Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or boastful. Love is not arrogant or rude.
                                                                                                                                                                   1 Corinthians 13:4

 

According to modern science and psychology, sex changes the chemistry of our physical body. It’s powerful because it is both a binding and addictive experience. It’s physically binding in that as we engage in sex, our bodies release a powerful neurochemical that neuroscientists call, the “bonding chemical,” that triggers feelings of connection. It is emotionally addicting because of the feelings of intimacy (even false intimacy) that it facilitates between two people. Those feelings have the power to trump logic and keep us in relationships for all the wrong reasons. Sex in the context of temporary relationships can leave us with heartbreak, pain, trauma and wounds that can be very hard to heal.

God’s Word discusses various types of love just like neuroscience chronicles various forms of chemical connections. Romantic love, sacrificial love, friendship love and brotherly love are a few of the scriptural “loves” mentioned. Explore how to live a life based on God’s plan for love rather than being fooled by our chemical responses.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



 Relationshops: One Flesh
 
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 
                                                                                                                                                                                           Genesis 2:24

 

The philosopher Plato is often credited with coming up with the term “soulmate.” He espoused the philosophy that prior to birth, a perfect soul was in heaven and was divided into male and female and then sent to earth. To be complete, a man or woman had to find their soulmate and reunite their souls by being married. That philosophy started the understanding that there was only one person that could make us complete or become our soulmate. If we married someone else, then that wasn’t our soulmate and we would never be truly happy.

In Genesis 2, we find a different understanding of relationships. We find God reminding Adam that, “it is not good for man to be alone.” God created us to be in relationship but not to find a soulmate. God created a solution to Adam’s lonely feelings by creating a partner that would complement Adam. God knew that Adam needed someone similar but not identical. “For this reason, man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, that they shall become one flesh.” One flesh means for us to be intimate not just sexually, but emotionally and spiritually. I believe if a person has a relationship with Jesus Christ and is lovable, they can become an ideal life partner. A soulmate is not something you find, it is something you become. Join us as we explore the new math of 1 + 1 = 1.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,

 

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Relationshops: The Curse of Conflict

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it’, Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.”                                                                                                                                                                                                         Genesis 3:17

I do a lot of pre-marriage counseling as well as train other pastors on how to do counseling. One of the exercises I ask every couple to do is put together a list of “rules for fighting fair”. Young couples coming for counseling are often looking at each other through rose-colored glasses. They will tell me that they don’t need to waste time putting together such a document because they will never have conflict.  I have them do it anyway. It is amazing how many times the first real conflict comes when they have to put together the wedding guest list. The romantic love breaks down as they argue about whether they can afford to pay for Great Aunt Edna to attend the reception.

Conflict in any relationship is inevitable. I would suggest that conflict is actually a healthy part of a relationship. When a person lifts weights they break down the muscle tissue. As it heals the muscle tissue then repairs itself even stronger than it was before. The same is true in relationships. When we have healthy conflict we tear apart our relationship temporarily, but when we put it back together it’s even stronger than before. Conflict is actually problem solving. When we begin to problem solve together, we begin to strengthen our bond to one another. The only problem with conflict is when we give up on the relationship and allow the conflict to destroy our connection with one another.  That is why learning how to work through relationship struggles is a key to building a healthy relationship.

 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Relationshops 101

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14

 

I am not always the greatest handy-man but I try. I grew up on a farm so I learned a little bit about everything. Usually when it broke, I had to fix it. Occasionally, my dad had a project we would start from the ground up. We built a shed together and I remember all the work drawing up the plans, pouring the foundation, constructing the frame and eventually putting up the walls. When we put the final roof sheets on I was so ecstatic to see the end result. We had worked hard but built something that would stand the test of time. That building still stands 35 years later.
Building a relationship takes hard work and planning. Many couples I counsel are surprised how much work it takes to have a healthy relationship. It takes more than feeligns to keep connected. The storms of life will try to tear your marriage or friendships apart. You need to construct your relationships with a firm foundation that will last. Join us this week at CROSSROADS as we work together to build stronger relationships.

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Get Fit: Making Lasting Changes

 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians? ?4?:?22-24?
 

In 2010 I weighed 215 pounds, had high cholesterol and was not in shape. My family wanted to do a mountain climbing trip in Montana. I was not in physical condition to make the climb. I had to face the reality that I needed to make some lifestyle changes. I needed to not just lose weight, but get in shape. It was not easy but I developed more healthy habits to get back in shape. I lost 30 pounds and kept it off.

 

Making lasting changes in our lives is never easy. Whether it is changes in the way we relate to others, the way we manage our time, the way we use our money, or the way we treat our bodies we need to be intentional about lasting change. Whenever we want to change something, we usually start out with great enthusiasm, but over time, those feelings fade, and so does our resolve. That is why the key to long-lasting success is to develop new, positive habits that replace our self-defeating behaviors. The Bible speaks of “putting off our old self and putting on a new self,” which includes our habits. In order to make lifestyle changes we need to put on our new self that reflects the image of Christ.

 

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn


Get Fit: Friends Encourage Each Other

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.                                                                                        Hebrews? ?10?:?24-25? 

I confess, I love watching kid movies. I am glad I had kids and now a grandson so I can watch a Disney film and have a good excuse. One of my favorite films is Toy Story. You have to love the scene where the cowboy known as “Woody” is hanging out with his playmate friend and the music is playing in the background – “You Got a Friend in Me.” They are having fun, making messes and doing everything together. That’s what true friendship is about.

This week I want you to reflect on the friendships in your life. Are your friends helping you or hurting you as you work toward healthy living? The benefits of healthy living are accelerated when done alongside friends that are encouraging. God designed us to thrive in relationships. With the support of God and your friends, you have far more than willpower helping you to make positive changes. FRIENDS help you so you can be consistent and sustain your new healthy lifestyle. Dr Mark Hymen states: “Our social circles influence our health even more than our DNA. If our friends have healthy habits we will too.” Surround yourself with healthy friends and encourage one another.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Get Fit: Focus – Renewing Your Mind

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2I have failed at a lot of things in my life journey. I have made plans, set goals and then got distracted. I knew in my head what needed to get done, but somehow my daily schedule became so full, I lost focus. I remember when I was trying to achieve my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I was supposed to stretch every day and do intense workouts three times a week. The time came for my test and I was not prepared. Sometimes I can “cram” for a test and study last minute and do okay. However, one cannot “cram” the flexibility test. I payed for it dearly. The instructor asked for me to do the splits. I did more than the splits. I did the splits, scream and sprawl. I had to have my son help me off the mat because I could barely walk. I had lost focus and the pain reminded me for weeks the importance of daily disciplines.

To keep on the path of healthy living, one needs a renewed mind and a sustained focus. It is easy to get distracted with so many things pulling at us for attention. One has to focus on God’s plan and priorities. Our pleasure centers of the brain are always looking for a good time. We have to use our prefrontal cortex or the executive part of our brain to keep us from going down the unhealthy path. The executive part of our mind can help us with forethought, focus and judgement. Instead of having me think about indulging in a Wendy’s Baconator with fries, it helps me to think about smaller medical bills and it gives me the ability to say “no.” We all need to change our brain, to change our health. We need to renew our minds through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn