Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I Love My Church – I Love How We Give

“I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” – ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I love CROSSROADS CHURCH! I love how people have generous hearts and give generously. When we give generously to God three blessings happen. The first blessing is that we make God smile. Imagine God with a big grin! The Bible says our gifts, given freely, “are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” God loves a cheerful giver and it pleases God to see His children be generous.

A second blessing is we gain a deep sense of personal satisfaction. We are designed for worship, and worshiping with your wallet is perhaps the most sincere form of all. A generous spirit is a good personal indicator of whether or not our faith is real. When a believer is mature in their faith, giving is actually fun! Giving produces joy as a byproduct of living in God’s will.

A final blessing of giving to the Lord is resources are reinvested and make ministry happen. At CROSSROADS we invest money to change lives. Our gifts of money make it possible for the Word of God to touch the more hearts and lives of people both locally and those who live on the other side of the globe. Through relevant worship, discipleship of our youth & children, and impactful outreach we are able to make a difference. Giving makes a real world difference in ushering in the Kingdom of God.

When we give to CROSSROADS, it is our prayer that we will experience the blessings of giving. We pray each of us will realize the joy of giving and see the fruits of life transformation. We pray all of us will give with “glad and sincere hearts” like the believers in the Acts 2 Church.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



I Love My Church – All Saints Day

“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 ‭NIV‬

Each of us who are part of CROSSROADS CHURCH didn’t end up here by chance. Our parents, grandparents, friends, pastors, spouses, and others have helped to shape our understanding of who God is and helped us to become Christians. I know in my own life I’m usually so busy, I never take time to thank God for working through those “saints of the church” to create and maintain faith in me. Today on “All Saints Day”, I invite you to do just that.

Imagine there are a number of these saints standing around you. Close your eyes for a moment, and put faces on those saints. Remember the ones who “dragged you” to church or youth group. Remember the ones who first opened your eyes to the beauty of reading Scriptures. Think about the ones who took time to listen to you, even when what you had to say wasn’t all that interesting. What pastor first touched your head and your heart? Who first shared what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Reflect on the ones who were there for you when tragedy struck your life or family. What “saints” of the church came alongside you when you needed them most?

Prayer – We give thanks today on this All Saints Day for the Saints of old like Peter, James, John, and Paul. We also give thanks for the modern Saints and in particular for those people who have shaped our own faith. May each of these saints and the many others we lift up in prayer rest in Your eternal loving arms now and forever. Amen.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



I Love My Church – I Love How We Serve

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John‬ ‭13:12, 14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Whoever wants to be a leader among you,” Jesus said, “must be your servant.” The Greek original of this reads more literally, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.” The word translated here as servant is “diakonos” (the word sometimes used to refer to a table waiter). A “diakonos” cared for the needs of others rather than his or her own needs. It denotes a person who serves in some subservient and humble role. Jesus’s vision of a servant heart must have shocked His disciples. Most people tend to seek position and power rather than opportunities for humble service. We prefer to remain comfortable rather than sacrifice. Servanthood is as countercultural today as it was in the time of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t just talk about it, but demonstrates it by washing their feet. He humbled Himself to show His love.
 
This past week I had someone demonstrate servanthood to me. Some of us were volunteering at our Inver Grove Heights Campus of CROSSROADS to do some carpentry work. A lot of the work was actually on our knees putting in wood trim. One of the men working could see I was struggling with being on the hard tile with my knees. He had come prepared and had worn protective knee pads. Before I could say “no” he had taken them off and given them to me so I could be more comfortable on the floor. I told him that my knees should be tougher as a pastor since I spend time on them praying. We laughed together, but it really humbled me that he shared his knee pads so I could work more comfortably. I love how CROSSROADS serves together!
 

All around us we have so many opportunities to demonstrate a servant heart. We can serve our families and friends. We can approach our work with a humble servant attitude. We can also volunteer time at church and other organizations to tangibly demonstrate God’s love. My prayer this week is for the Holy Spirit to transform our thinking and our attitudes. May we all receive help to see the needs of those around us and reach out to care for them.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



I Love My Church – Go Public

Secret relationships are usually not healthy. When a married person is having an affair, the person they are seeing on the side has to remain a secret. They can never take that person anywhere publicly, and never say anything publicly about them. They often set up a situation where the relationship is non-existent except between the two of them.

I wonder if sometimes God feels like a secret relationship. People want a personal relationship with Him, but they’re not proud of Him in public. Nobody else knows they’re Christians. If you look at their twitter feed, Instagram or Facebook page, God is never mentioned. God is not honored publicly. The body of Christ – the church – is never discussed.

The Bible encourages us to be proud of our relationship with God and to go public with it. Churches provide a public place to worship and acknowledge our love for the Lord with an audience. When you worship and praise God with your friends, they know how you feel. Your friends also see you are proud enough of God to claim Him publicly. They also become encouraged by your attendance and participation in worship.

Here are a few words of inspiration from Psalm 96:7-8, “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his house.” God wants us to share how much we love Him. Go public and show the world you are proud of God and grateful to Him for what He’s done for you. Tweet a Scripture on Twitter, post a picture from Sunday morning worship on Instagram, write a review on Yelp, or do all three on Facebook. Go public with your faith and let others know you love CROSSROADS CHURCH. Don’t keep God a secret. Let others know about this incredible relationship so they can experience it as well.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn

I LOVE MY CHURCH CELEBRATION – November 11th – 9:30 AM

We are working hard to put together an amazing CELEBRATION where we can enjoy great worship and fantastic fellowship. We want you to be a part of this day. Please fill out the response link here to let us know your menu selection (beef, chicken, or vegetarian) for the meal. You may also fill out a paper copy on Sunday mornings and place it in the offering plate. Even if you do not plan to attend please return a response of “Regretful Absentee” so you will not be called by our follow up team. We want 100 percent participation and as many people as possible for our group photo that day. Please sign up now!



I Love My Church – I Love How We Worship

“For me it is good to be near God.” – Psalm 73:28

Worshiping Jesus together may be the single most important thing we do. It plays an indispensable role in rekindling our spiritual fire and allowing us to feel God’s presence. Corporate worship brings together praise, prayer, and preaching. It also provides fellowship and opportunities to respond to God’s Word. Worship is one of the greatest reminders of God’s ongoing grace in our lives.

According to Don Whitney, “There’s an element of worship and Christianity that cannot be experienced in private worship or by watching worship online. There are some graces and blessings that God gives only in the ‘meeting together’ with other believers.” During the stresses of the week, the hard knocks of real life can disorient us to what’s truly important. We need to clear our head, recalibrate our spirit, and jump-start our heart. This can happen best through group worship. Martin Luther found corporate worship powerful in awakening his spiritual fire, “at home, in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.” Luther was embattled. His spiritual haze was thick. But his breakthrough came in the context of worship.

How many times have we found this to be true for us as well? When we need God most we end up staying away from Sunday worship. When our hearts feel it least is when we need most to remind our souls, “For me it is good to be near God.” (Psalm 73:28) May you experience God’s presence this week in worship. May you draw near to God and allow God to draw near to you.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



I Love My Church – Events

I love CROSSROADS CHURCH. It is an amazing place with amazing people. Many have had their lives transformed through the community of CROSSROADS. Some people in society ask: “What’s the church good for? Why would anyone love the church?”
 
Organized religion (and in particular churches) get very little respect anymore. Sometimes Christians haven’t made the church look all that appealing. Some have committed great sins and used the organization as cover. And some believers simply haven’t shown much Christ-like love. However, just because some believers have failed does not mean the concept of “organized religion” or the church as a whole is fatally flawed and should be rejected.
 
There are great blessings that come from being attached to a spiritual family, and I’m excited during the next four weeks to talk about some of those blessings with you. The main reason I love the church is because of Jesus. It’s because Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her. God apparently loves “organized religion.”
 
The body of Christ – the Church – is amazing when the Church lives how Jesus calls us to live. God created us to be in community. When you are part of a church community, you have a chance to pass on the hope you have to the sufferers and strugglers around you. But you can’t do that if your spirituality is bottled up into a silent, personal thing. We were built for interaction with one another. There is no mention of solo Christians in Scripture. We’re made to be puzzle pieces – beautiful, colorful, with only part of the overall divine design. Together we become God’s masterpiece. I love my church. My prayer as pastor is you love it too.
 
Some key events in our “I LOVE MY CHURCH” series.
  1. Worship Series and Small Group Series on: Fellowship, Worship, Service and Giving.

 

  1. I Love My Church information meetings – Hear about the future plans at CROSSROADS and have an opportunity to ask questions regarding the church budget and directions for ministry. This will be at all small groups the week following October 21st. Then a larger meeting will be taking place following service on October 28th.

 

  1. I Love My Church Celebration Service with luncheon and combined campuses on November 11th at 9:30. Guest preacher Rev. Don Eslinger.

 

  1. I Love My Church Youth Sunday – November 18th – Hear the new youth band lead worship and participate in special confirmation service and renewal of baptisms.

 

Fall Finance Campaign

October 14th – Message series begins (pledge cards are available)

October 24th – Info gathering at small groups (in homes)

October 28th – Info gathering at the church following service

November 11th – Celebration Sunday- Meal, collect pledges, guest speaker: Don Eslinger, all-church photo

November 12-17 – Follow up from Celebration Service



I Love My Church

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-44

A lot of people don’t realize fellowship is a spiritual discipline. It’s not just something helpful, but something commanded. And one of the surest barometers of the quality of your Christian life is the quality of your Christian relationships. Acts 2:42-44 summarizes the life of the early church by saying, “They devoted (or they continued steadfastly) in the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship.” Now what is fellowship? Fellowship basically means, “our common life together.” The Greek word for fellowship is “KOINONIA”. Koinonia is translated in the New Testament as partnership or sharing. Sometimes it’s translated “communion” or “fellowship”. Fellowship is a relationship between individuals which involves, and this is key, ACTIVE participation in a common interest. As a result of our participation in the common interest, we have a residual interest in one another.

I grew up thinking fellowship was something that happened after the worship service down in the church basement, with lemonade, coffee, and superficial conversations. That’s not what made the early church so powerful. They took fellowship to a new level—the level we want to be at. They showed love to each other, because they loved each other! We are one church who does ministry in many locations bound together by a common purpose. As we engage in that common purpose, the relationships that are the result of that engagement produce fellowship. What holds all of this together is the Spirit of God working through the Word of God, and our service to God binds us together in love toward one another. That is what fellowship really is; our common life together. And it deepens as we persist in our common life together.
 
Prayer – Gracious and loving God, You included fellowship as a key component of the church. Forgive us for trivializing fellowship. Help us not to be satisfied with counterfeit fellowship, but to seek You together. Lord, we want the world to see our love for one another, and the genuine common life You intend for Your people. May we all share in the kind of fellowship that brings glory to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Like Glue – Stinking With Context

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.” – ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭37:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

A young mother felt challenged year after year to keep her two children’s birthdays “fair.” Although the kids were born two years apart, they were born on the same day of the year. When they were little, they enjoyed sharing a birthday party. However, as they got older, each child wanted their own special party. And inevitably, every year, one party always seemed to turn out better than the other. One child always felt like they had the bad party, while their sibling enjoyed the awesome party.

 

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can learn to keep our hearts and minds so full of joy for one another that there’s no room left for jealousy! Model for your kids an attitude of gratitude for all of the blessings that God bestows on us as a family. Tear down petty jealousies between members of your own family. Demonstrate how we can keep our words positive and uplifting. Create a family atmosphere that constantly cheers on the blessings that others receive, both in your family and outside your family.
 
 
Understanding context is important for interpreting our relationships. It is the lens we view things through. Joseph was given a special coat and was loved by his father very much. This jealousy affected the relationships with his siblings. From the outside we can see why they treated Joseph poorly. The context was one of jealousy. As we work to strengthen our relationships we need look at the context so we can make our relationships stick. May you work through any issues of misunderstanding context in your relationships this week. May you fully engage how God’s love can heal any of the hurts in your life.
 
 

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Like Glue – Sticking With Communication

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,”  Matthew‬ ‭12:36‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“WATCH YOUR MOUTH!” is a phrase I heard from my mom sometimes growing up. “WATCH YOUR MOUTH!” was used as a reminder for my siblings and I to stay within the communication boundaries of respect and honesty. I remember my dad correcting men on his construction crew if they cursed. He even fired one man who could not keep his mouth under control.

There have probably been times in your life when you’ve said things that were hurtful towards yourself or others. In an age of social media we can do it with pictures, memes, or hateful speech. We all need to watch our mouths because the words we speak (or post) have long lasting impact. “Bullying” use to mean a kid who physically beat someone up. Now we see bullying behavior more frequently through words. The term “cyber bully” is now well known for people who use technology to be mean and abusive on the internet or even through texting. We may all be surprised how much our words affect others.
 
Scripture warns us against carelessly using words. We are shown the effect of the tongue’s power. Words can teach, encourage, and uplift. They also can discourage, reject, and demean. Words can express gratitude, love, and joy. They also can express selfishness, hate, and despondency. Our aim is to speak what God says about our situations and not what our inconsistent emotions force out of our mouths. My prayer for you this week is to allow God’s words of love to flow through you. May we all use words that heal rather than hurt.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Like Glue – Stick With Love

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
 
I am asked by the youth of our church and sometimes even adults how I would define LOVE. Many in our culture answer this differently than I think God defines love.
 
Some experts in our society say it is romance. Some say it is bliss. It is one of those words in our English language that have so many meanings to choose from. Dictionary.com defines it as: “A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend”. The experts define love as mere emotions or feeling, but isn’t love something more real? Though those definitions are nice and apply in some circumstances I believe love is so much more.
 
I was checking out at the grocery store last night and saw a popular magazine cover. It stated “3 Ways To Demonstrate To A Man You Love Him.” I didn’t read the story, but from what I could tell it was focusing on “making love” and demonstrating physical affection to “get a man.” Although physical attraction is a part of love there is still so much more to a love that helps a relationship stick.
 
To be honest with you, I have yet to find any better definition of what love is than in the following verses:
 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  – Romans 5:8
 
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
 
In Colossians 3 the Apostle Paul reminds us that Love binds everything together. Love makes our emotions and physical attraction stick. Love is more than emotions Love is so much more beautiful than momentary bliss. It is so much more powerful than physical passion. There is not a word to describe what love truly is. All I can say is that Jesus loves you, and it is not the kind of love the world knows. It is a love of self sacrifice. May we live a life of love that meets the needs of others more than our own. May we move beyond emotions to a life of true love.

 

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn