Weekly Devotion

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

Financial Well-Being: Live Like No One Else

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’                                                                       Matthew 25:21

People often go through life looking for fulfillment or purpose. We may seek it by buying stuff or pursue out certain experiences. Some may even think a large savings account will provide meaning and security. A wise man by the name of Solomon wrote it was all “meaningless”’unless we have a relationship with God. Our relationship with God calls us to be generous. It is through generosity we experience a sense of fulfillment like no other.

Dave Ramsey in Financial Peace University Reminds us: “The more you give, the more you are fulfilled and the more you want to give. It’s a great cycle to be on. Giving is not a matter of moving money from your wallet to a charity or collection plate; it is a matter of realizing that there are others less fortunate than you and you have a genuine desire to help them. Money is just one way to do that.”

This week we will be discussing how to build up our resources so and we can experience the joy of sharing with others. Remember to “live like no one else so you can live and give like no one else”

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Financial Well-Being: Understanding Investments

Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.                                                                         Ecclesiastes 11:2


Despite being the most affluent generation the world has ever seen, 54% of Americans have saved less than $25,000 for retirement. We’re sacrificing our retirement to support our lifestyles by buying big houses, cars, boats, flat screens, and other things we cannot afford. Few people can embrace the idea of cutting back their lifestyle and settling for the basics. Dave Ramsey states: “If you’re going to do what rich people do, forget about impressing your neighbors. Instead of seeking satisfaction in what you buy, why not consider gaining satisfaction from a simpler lifestyle?”

Dr. Thomas J. Stanley has studied the habits of wealthy people, revealing his findings in several books, including “Stop Acting Rich” and “The Millionaire Mind”. His groundbreaking research has uncovered the truth about the lifestyles of the wealthiest Americans. Dr. Stanley demonstrates that those with simplest lifestyles invest the most. If you want to live and give like no one else, it starts with living a simpler lifestyle that prioritizes saving.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Financial Well-Being: Role of Insurance

Joseph interprets the dream, comes up with the plan, “so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” Genesis 41:36

Life is risky business. The purpose of Insurance is a transfer of risk. Insurance is basically sharing in a community pool where everyone contributes. When a person is in need, a person can withdraw from the pool of resources.

Some types of Insurance include:
Homeowners/Renters, Auto, Health, Disability, Long-Term Care, Identity Theft Protection and Life Insurance. Insurance as we practice it in modern culture is relatively new. Yet, the concept of community sharing with those in need is centuries old.

In today’s Scripture, Joseph is practicing a form of insurance. He interpreted a dream from God that a famine was coming. The nation would need to save during the good years to provide for the bad years. This plan insured for the bad times. God wants us to feel secure. God wants us to save or pool resources together to help each other in times of need. It is always important to remember that our ultimate insurance is our relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s love provides the best security and there are no premiums.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Financial Well-Being: Buyer Beware

                                             Buyer Beware

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
                                                                                               Proverbs 1:5

The book AFFLUENZA is a good read when you have the time. It points out a lot of concerns about our consumer society. One concern mentioned is that the average consumer is struck with more than 3,000 commercial messages each day. Our kids will see over one million commercials by the time they are twenty years old. If you string together all the ads the average person will watch, it totals two years of viewing. That is just video advertising. Think about radio, magazines, billboards, Google ads and Facebook promotions. We are bombarded to buy. It is easy to overspend.

Our Scripture from Proverbs reminds us that we are wise when we get guidance in our purchases. Talk to your spouse. Get advice from a friend. Read Consumer Reports. Don’t jump into major purchases or even little ones. Stick to a budget. Make sure you are managing your money, and your money is not managing you. As a buyer be aware and beware.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Financial Well-Being: Cash Flow Planning

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

                                                                                                      Luke? ?14:28?

I love my wife Deb for so many reasons. She is beautiful, intelligent and best of all she is a planner. I love big picture thinking planning and she loves detailed planning. That is why when we married we sat down together and worked on budgets for our household. I was concerned about our IRA, insurance and giving. She was worried about paying the bills and having enough food to eat. Together we developed a plan that included giving, saving and spending.

In today’s Scripture Jesus reminds his followers about the importance of planning. Only a fool starts something he cannot complete. How are you doing at planning so you can not only pay your bills but plan for your future as well. Dave Ramsey says: “You will either learn to manage your money or the lack of it will always manage you.” 

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

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
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