Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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


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