Weekly Devotion

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?


  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.


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

Simply Christmas | Mary

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” ?
Luke? ?1?:?29-30? NIV

My daughter Rebekah had our grandson last year a little after Christmas. While Deb and I went to a hospital for the delivery of our three children, she went to a “birthing center.” Here is the description of one such birthing center: “Each room feels more like a resort spa than a hospital. You can relax in a whirlpool tub or stretch out in a queen size bed…Because every woman’s pregnancy and personal preferences are unique, we offer a variety of childbirth experiences. Whichever path you choose, your care will be provided by highly experienced physicians and a certified nurse midwife.”

I can just see Mary coming to the birthing center. Yes, my personal preference is to have my child without a doctor or nurse-midwife. I want it outside in a stable and I only want my husband present. I don’t want any drugs to mitigate the pain, and can I travel right up to the time of delivery so that I can remain uncomfortable right up until childbirth. No crib or bassinet please. I want to use a feed trough. It is more quaint.

Mary’s story is our story. Childbirth is hard and messy. Life is hard and messy. In our world there is adversity. There is a lot of pain and suffering. There is darkness and discouragement. The good news is that Jesus came over 2000 years ago and is still present today to bring light and encouragement. His birth brought hope and love to a hurting world and still does today.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Simply Christmas | Joseph

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”    
Matthew? ?1?:?20-21? NIV

Christmas is on December 25th but for many Americans, the celebration begins the day after Thanksgiving. The day has been called “Black Friday” and is now creeping into Thursday.  Newspapers and websites boast of glad tidings with great joy at all the sales. You can celebrate Christmas with a big screen television, or an entire shelf of clothing at 50% off.  Unbelievable deals and the bonus of losing a night of sleep while shopping away.  I used to get up at 7:00am, then it became 5:00am, and then 3:00am, and then not going to sleep at all.  I remember waiting in line with my daughter’s Bekah and Rachel with a cup of coffee and a pocketful of coupons. I would make my list including times, stores, and the deals were best. Sometimes we would divide and conquer, where Deb would go with Bekah and I would take Rachel so we could hit two different parts of the store at the same time. It was fun and adventurous. But one year I remember it was almost dangerous. We were pushed and shoved. Someone started a fight in the store. The lines were so long I finally left my “treasures” in the store and just went home.

Somehow through the years I have come to appreciate the more simple things.  Maybe it is because I was raised on the farm. Maybe it is because I am getting older. But lately, I have liked things more simple. When it comes to Christmas, the story is quite simple. It is about God becoming a part of humanity to share the Good News that He wants to be in relationship with us. I love that God chose a simple carpenter to be the father of God. I envision Joseph teaching Jesus about all the important things he needed to know. He took him to synagogue and to the Temple in Jerusalem. He shared with Jesus the Scriptures. He also probably taught him the tools of his trade and what it meant to be a man. Jesus was fully God but also fully human. That fully human part was shaped by this simple man. Not a king. Not a priest. Not a politician. Not a Rabbi. Joseph is the one chosen to raise Emmanuel – God with us.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Next Step | Dancing With Passion

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith… mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
2 Peter? ?1?:?5-7? NIV

If you watch football or played football you are quite aware of the evolution of dance in the end zone. It use to be a simple spike of the ball. Then flips and gyrations and “in your face” antagonisms erupted. To calm things down, the NCAA has banned the passionate dance antics in the end zone. As cited on Wikipedia regarding end-zone celebrations: “A signature feature of many televised football games is the end-zone dance, by which a touchdown-scoring player cavorts for a few moments before his adoring fans. According to the NCAA rules, such displays are illegal and can result in a 15-yard penalty against the dancer’s team: Prohibited behaviors include ‘Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves).’”

It is hard not to dance when you are passionate about something or someone. When you truly love someone you want to join in the dance. Join us this week at CROSSROADS as Pastor Deb and Pastor Paul talk about bringing passion into your love life with God.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn

Next Step | Dancing With the Stars

And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
?2 Peter? ?1?:?6? NIV

I don’t know if you have ever watched the program “Dancing with the Stars” but the format is quite intriguing. They take a celebrity figure (Star) and pair them up with a professional ballroom dancer. Then the two work together to come up with a routine to perform in front of millions. Each week the  couples compete against each other to impress a panel of judges and the viewing public in order to survive potential elimination. Through a telephone poll, viewers vote for those couples who should stay. 50% of the public votes and the average score given by the panel of judges goes towards deciding who should leave.

As I was reflecting on our dance with God, I realize we are a lot like those unskilled but willing participants thrust onto the dance floor. God takes us as we are and by working together we begin to come up with a routine that works. Like our Scripture passage from 2 Peter states, we need to add “perseverance” to our list of character traits in order to be successful. Those couples who practice and persevere seem to do well. When the stars let go of their ego and listen to the dance professional they thrive. The costumes…..well that is for another devo time.

This week join us as we dance with God at CROSSROADS and take that NEXT STEP. We will have a live Ballerina’s join us at the Lakeville Campus to demonstrate for us how to move together in God’s Grace.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn