Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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



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