Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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


Get Fit: Fitness – Strengthening Your Body

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

When I was growing up I was coached in football, basketball, baseball, wrestling and track. I loved sports and loved the feeling of being active. The first sport I tried that was not a team sport was Tae Kwon Do. It was all about me learning and performing on my own.  I struggled to succeed in Tae Kwon Do because it seemed too hard. The forms were difficult, I was far from flexible, and sparring was becoming painful. My instructor saw me trying to change so many things at once. He kept me after class and told me to focus on one thing at time. He let me know that over time  “one small thing improved can equal big results.” He was right. It took a lot of time and patience but I eventually achieved my Black Belt after 8 years.

 

What is important as you go through changes to becoming more healthy is to make small changes that will lead to big results. A gradual approach often can lead to success. Start with one thing at a time that can make a big impact. Trying to make too many changes at once can often lead to disappointment.  Take a daily walk, stretch regularly, try a new aerobic activity, or join a workout class. Make one change that will help you get more fit.  When you see results then add another change. Simple changes lead to big changes.  Start today.

 

Overcoming barriers to becoming more healthy:

Why does this health barrier continue to challenge me?
What excuses am I mentally telling myself about why I can’t do this?
Who has overcome this challenge and what can I learn from them?
What are the consequences in my life if I don’t succeed?
What are the incredible rewards in my life when I do succeed?
 
In Christ’s Love and Service,
 
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Get Fit | Food is About Abundance, Not Deprivation

So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So many times when we think of a diet, we think deprivation. We often hear the message that we need to eat less or starve ourselves healthy.  The truth is the complete opposite. God has provided an abundance of food for us to eat. If God made it, eat it. If it is processed by human hands, eat sparingly. God provided all the food necessary in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve and said it was good.  Their was fruit but no “Fruit Loops.” We often over eat unhealthy foods and that is the main source of why our bodies feel fatigued and why we experience illness. Dr. Mark Hyman states that “Food is medicine.” What we eat either makes us healthy or it can poison us.  How are you doing glorifying God with your food choices?

ACTION STEPS:

  1. Stock your pantry and shelves with food that loves you back.
  2. Focus on love for God, yourself and others as your motivation for health.
  3. Thank God for good food and your body.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

P.S. Pastor Deb and Pastor Paul are starting a new Wednesday night small group at 6:30 in their home focusing on Getting Fit. We are using the Daniel Plan curriculum. Other CROSSROADS Small groups are using the study as well so check our website at https://www.crossroadschurch.org/small-groups-2/ for more details of times and locations.

 



Get Fit | Rely in God’s Power, Not Willpower

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

   We all have a different starting point to becoming more healthy. But for most of us it will require change. We often believe that change requires deprivation. We focus on things we can’t have instead of the abundance of things God wants us to enjoy.  When we focus on enjoying God’s abundance then our mind, body and spirit becomes stronger. Things like exercising and eating healthy are not a chore but a joy.  God made our bodies and God knows that healthy food and being active restores us. When we are empowered by God, we start taking care of ourselves not because we “have to” but because we “want to.” This change of perspective shifts our body and mind into a different place.  Willpower to stop eating or take care of our bodies is not needed. We naturally crave for what makes us feel good rather than destroy what God gave us. God’s power instead of willpower will begin to drive our thoughts and actions once we make this shift.

ACTION STEPS

Start treating your body like God’s Temple.

Set some goals for the new year that include healthy food and fitness.

Find a friend with whom you can share your goals. Ask them to help hold you accountable.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Get Fit | Stress

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each should build with care. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11

I went to visit a friend recently near Tampa, Florida. We drove by a corner lot where the house had literally been swallowed up. Floridians call these large depressions “sinkholes.”  Scientists say sinkholes occur when underground streams drain away during the seasons of drought causing the ground at the surface to lose its support.  Suddenly everything caves in leaving people with a frightening feeling that everything is collapsing around them.   There are many people’s lives like a Florida sinkhole. Our bodies, minds and spirits need support. When we feel drained it can feel like the world around us is collapsing. Some refer to this as “stress” others call it “anxiety.”  It is likely that at one time or another we have all pereceived ourselves to be on the verge of a sinkhole.

The Florida Sinkhole is word picture of the spiritual and physical problems that we must deal with as Christians. As the pressure of life grows, we must learn how to undergird our foundation.  Using Christ as our firm foundation, we can develop the strength and resilience.  Our faith can help us when we feel that we are suffering from a spiritual drought. It is through our faith in Jesus Christ that we can keep the sinkholes of life from dragging us under.  Join us as we begin our 40 DAYS TO A HEALTHIER YOU  as we start our series discussing the problem of stress.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn


Simply Christmas | Angels

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Luke 2:9-10

According to a CBS news poll done in 2013, 77% of Americans believe in angels. Other research has indicated 1 out of 10 have actually had angel encounters.  Most likely you have never experienced an angel personally, but believe they exist.  That is probably the case with our Shepherds in today’s Scripture.  They believed that angels spoke to important people and they did not qualify.  The Shepherds were not at Temple or synagogue and never expected an angel encounter in the wilderness. Now they are confronted by not just one but by a host of angels.  They were afraid just like Mary was when she heard the good news.  Yet, they overcame their fear and listened to the message.   We also can be fearful in the presence of God. God is perfect and we are not.  God’s holiness can be intimidating. Yet, like the Shepherds we need to continue to put aside our fears and focus on the message God has for us. God has a message for you and me. That message is not always an easy one but it is always the right one. Embrace the message God has for you this day.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

 



Simply Christmas | Story of the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
Luke? ?2?:?8? NIV

As many of you know, I grew up on a farm in Waterville, Minnesota.  On our farm we raised horses, cattle and sheep. In some ways you could say I was a Shepherd. I not only raised sheep but I showed or demonstrated sheep at the county fair just like my dad and grampa had done years before.  Sheep were a part of the family.  As part of being a shepherd each day you would feed and count the sheep. This was fun during the summer but not so fun in cold December like this week. I remember one day counting the sheep as they came into the barn to be fed. I noticed I was two short of the total count. As a shepherd, you know your sheep by name. Each are unique and they have personalities just like people. Martha was missing and so was one of her little lambs called Elisha.  I searched around the pasture and out in the woods I could hear Martha “baaing.”  She was crying out for help. She was stuck in a thicket of briar bushes.  She was struggling to get set free but could not move.  Her little lamb Elisha was only a few feet away. I noticed Elisha was not moving. She had a branch around her throat and she was frozen to it.  Elisha wanted to be by her mother she strained against the branch to get to her and ended up choking herself to death.  She was then frozen to the branch in the cold. Her last breath straining to be by her mother who was stuck only a few feet away.

In today’s reading we encounter Shepherds. They are a motley crew doing their best to take care of their sheep on the hillside. Shepherds had to fend off wolves and mountain lions. They even had to be diligent to keep them safe from their own stupidity. Sheep are stupid animals and without the protection of the Shepherd they are easily hurt or destroyed. It is no wonder that Jesus called himself the Great Shepherd who came to take care of his sheep.  When we believe in Jesus we come under the protection of the Great Shepherd. It is no wonder that God shared the good news of his son’s birth with the Shepherds first on the hillside. Who else would understand better the responsibility of the savior of the world.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn