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06-15-2021 THE CHURCH IS... Servants
3And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” Acts 6:3-4
CROSSROADS CHURCH has nine Core Values and one of our nine is “INTERDEPENDENCE.” It is a reminder that we rely on God and one another to accomplish our ministry. We all depend on one another’s work. This interdependence is not a weakness, but a gift from God. The Trinitarian aspect of God reminds us that the Godhead is interdependent as well.
In today’s text, the Apostles were stretched thin in their ministry, so they recruited other leaders. They had to rely on others so the message of the good news could be spread. They called these ministry leaders deacons or “servants” to remind them they are called to serve the needs of the community. The Greek word translated here as “servant” is diakonos (the word is sometimes used to refer to a table waiter). A diakonos cares for the needs of others rather than his or her own needs. It denotes a person who serves in some subservient and humble role.
We are not all called to be pastors or teachers, but we are all called to be ministers. As fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to a “ministry.” Our primary ministry is our family. We are also called to minister to our church family and in our community. We are not called to be spectators as Christians but engaged to help others as servants representing Jesus Christ. May you fully engage in ministry this week. May you be called to rely on others just as others are called to rely on you.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul J. Marzahn
Questions for Reflection:
1. How does the world define the word servant? How does the Bible define it? How are the definitions different?
2. Have you ever served in the church on a team or ministry? Have you ever served in the community on behalf of the church? Why or why not?
3. Have you ever been engaged in outreach or mission work financially by giving or by donating your time or talents? In what ways?
4. What is one way God is calling you personally to be a servant
06-08-2021 THE CHURCH IS... Authentic
Have you ever encountered someone who was less than authentic with you? I remember when I first moved to Pasadena CA to attend Fuller Seminary. I met a girl (before I met Marsha) at the bank where I worked as a teller. She presented herself as a Christian, so I asked her out. As I got to know her better, it turned out that her faith was mostly words. None of us like interacting with an inauthentic person!
Did you know that God doesn’t like inauthentic people either? The Biblical definition of “Authentic” is “not false or copied. It is something genuine, real, trustworthy, reliable; being accurate in representation of the facts. God wants us to be authentic in our interactions with Him and others. In Acts 5:1-5 we read about a married couple who were not authentic with God and the Apostles. “But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. 3Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” 5As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified” (NLT).
As you can see from Ananias and Sapphira, God takes authenticity very seriously. We also take authenticity seriously at CROSSROADS Church. Authenticity is one of our core values and God wants to challenge us to live out this core value of authenticity every day. Ask God in prayer to reveal to you when you have been less than authentic then listen to Him for His answer. Ask for forgiveness from God and if possible, the person(s) with whom you have been inauthentic. Then make a commitment to act in an authentic manner with God and others!
- Pastor Dan
Questions for Reflection:
1. When was the last time someone was less than authentic with you? How did that make you feel?
2. From our passage, how important is it to God that we are authentic with each other?
3. What are some steps I can take today to be more authentic in my faith and life?
06-01-2021 THE CHURCH IS...Bold
Acts 4:29-31 29And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. (NLT)
This past weekend, I was having an interesting conversation with someone about movement. How and when is something or someone really moving. We discussed a hypothetical situation of someone on a conveyor belt wearing roller skates. The track is moving, and the person appears to be in motion. Yet, without traction they are really going nowhere. Their wheels are spinning but they are making no progress (I won’t get into the discussion we had about whether an airplane is able to take off if it was on a giant treadmill).
Motion without movement gets us nowhere fast. Like a person wearing roller skates on a conveyor belt, our wheels are spinning without moving us forward. My YouVersion Bible app devotion discussed bold faith today. “Going from merely having faith to living with bold faith requires movement. True and real faith cannot be stagnant or stuck. For example, it is one thing to say that you believe a bridge could support your car as you drive across it, but to really prove your faith is real, you have to drive your car across the bridge. Faith requires movement and action. If God really is who He says and can really do what He has promised and we believe Him, then it should change the way we live our lives.”
In today’s Scripture, Peter and John ask for BOLDNESS in sharing their faith. They don’t want to be like the other religious leaders and just go through the motions. They want to experience true change through the Holy Spirit. God answers their prayers, and these two uneducated fishermen start a movement that continues to this day. Their BOLD faith moves belief into action. May our faith also move us to action. May we get beyond our comfort zone to share and demonstrate our faith this week.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn
Questions to Consider:
1.How would you describe the word BOLD?
2.Where have you seen examples of BOLDNESS that you have admired?
3.Where is God calling you to be BOLD? What holds us back from being more BOLD?
4.What is one place you could share or demonstrate your faith this week?
05-25-2021 THE CHURCH IS...Community
What are some fond memories you have of belonging to a community? Maybe it was the friends you grew up with? Maybe it was a sports team, band, or theater in your school? Maybe it was a fraternity or group you belonged to in college? Maybe it was a team of co-workers at your place of employment? Some of our best memories are of belonging to a close-knit community. Why? Because God created each person to be in community.
This Sunday May 30, we start a new sermon series called, “The Church is…”. We’ll be looking at the different aspects of what Jesus intends the church to be. We start with “Community”. Jesus designed the church to work together as the Body of Christ in genuine community to change our world. We get a glimpse of the community the early church experienced in Act 2:42-44 “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had” (NLT).
Notice how the early disciples were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, sharing meals, and prayer. Because of this devotion, they were filled with awe. God performed miraculous signs among them. They couldn’t help but be together and share with one another all they had. As a result of their genuine Biblical community, they changed the world for Jesus!
Did you know Jesus wants CROSSROADS Church to be a church of community like the early church in Acts? He wants us to be devoted to the Bible and to fellowship with each other. He wants us to share meals and intimacy together. He wants to do miracles among us like healing people and transforming lives. May we experience a deep sense of awe as we are united in community to carry out Jesus’ purpose for our church!
- Pastor Dan
Questions for Reflection:
1. Where do people in our culture tend to turn to find community?
2. Why is the Church often low on their list as a source of genuine community?
3. Evaluate CROSSROADS Church on genuine Biblical community. What are we doing well and where could we improve?
4. What role is God challenging you to play in providing genuine community at CROSSROADS Church?