June 18th, 2018 — IGNITE

Nobody likes a whiner! Ever heard that before? Hopefully and prayerfully not lately and never again. I’ll be the first to admit, there are times I still find myself whining. And it doesn’t matter how you say it, it all comes out the same: bellyaching… grumbling… moaning… groaning… griping. None of them sound good. They shouldn’t be attached to us.

Here’s what the Word says…
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:14-15

See, here’s just the truth… You and I… we ought to be at a point in our life where whining and complaining aren’t even a choice anymore, or at least running out of business. Yup, we both know that things are going to happen in life, but whining? When has whining, grumbling, complaining, etc. gotten us anywhere? And who wants to listen to it? When has throwing ourselves a pity party ever resulted in anything good? When has blaming everybody else for our situation ever benefited us? When has blaming God for all our problems ever solved our problems?

I know, I know, there are more bills than money… more sickness than healing… more death than deliverance… more killings than kindness… more situations than solutions… more problems than patience… and more things than time… but complaining won’t solve any of them.

Yes, I know you’ve crafted your art and your good at it – some am I, but it’s no good for either one of us. Yes, I know nobody tells you that you’re doing way too much of it, so let me be the first… YOU’RE DOING WAY TO MUCH OF IT!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You’re not in this alone – we’ll do this together, ok? Stop focusing on the door that closed, you’re missing the one that’s open. Stop being concerned about the people who’ve left when God is sending you a group of people to push you into your next level. Stop leaning on your past, your missing the present. Stop worrying about the few things that didn’t work when there are numerous ones that did and still plenty more that will that you haven’t even seen yet. Stop looking at what you’ve lost when God knows exactly what you lost, where it is, and why you can’t find it.

I know all you see is the storm coming, but go seek the advice of the Meteorologist who’s never wrong. I know it looks dark and dreary but you need to go talk with the One who created the light. Stop whining! As long as you go through with God, you’ll come out with God. So for today… Shine! Shine bright? Shine big! Shine On!

Thank You for the light You put in me. Let my little light shine for You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 15th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever taken a wrong turn and heard words like these… “Rerouting!” Or “Make a U-turn!” Those are pretty common words in my car, and they’re not coming from any passengers, but from my GPS. I hate it when I hear those words!

Well, I thought of that as I was reading 2 Kings 5 and the story of Naaman. You remember the story, right? Here was this great commander… this valiant warrior… but he has a situation – he had leprosy. And then one day, a little servant girl in his house informs his wife that he could get healed from his leprosy, if he just went and saw the prophet Elisha. Interestingly, he takes the advice and seeks permission from his king to make the journey. However he makes a number of wrong turns before he actually gets his healing.

The first wrong turn he took was going to the wrong person. He was supposed to go find Elisha, but instead he went to the king of Israel, who had very little faith in God and couldn’t even heal a scratch. The Bible says, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8

A another wrong turn Naaman made was in trying the wrong method. Naaman and his king thought they could buy their way through this situation. If they just paid out enough money then God would bring the healing. But God doesn’t work that way. It’s not about money… it’s about faith!

A third wrong turn found Naaman actually on the the wrong road. As I just said, he should have headed to Elisha’s house, but instead went to the king of Israel.

A fourth wrong turn Naaman made was when he received, in his mind, the wrong answer. When he eventually got to Elisha’s house, Elisha sent his messenger to answer the door. That already put Naaman in a bad attitude. He actually said…
“I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper.” 2 Kings 5:11

He didn’t like lack of attention he got, nor did he like the remedy given. There was no way he was going to wash in the dirty Jordan river. That was out of the question.

Probably a last wrong turn he made was making an rash decision based on his emotions. Ever done that? The Bible says… “He turned and went away in a rage.” 2 Kings 5:12

He did make one right turn. He listened to the counsel on some of his men… went to the Jordan river… washed seven times like Elisha said… received his healing!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: How many wrong turns are you willing to make until to get to the right place? We don’t always have to take the long way. And by the way, thank God for U-turns!

Set me on the path You have for me and keep me on that path. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 14th, 2018 — IGNITE

I wish I could tell you that I always act in faith. That no matter what comes my way, I stand in faith and I am never moved or waver – but that’s just not true. I wish that all the friends I’ve ever had through the years would all be able to tell you that I was totally committed and sold out for Jesus Christ everyday of my life – but that’s just not true.

Now, some of those friends could possibly tell you of times that my faith wasn’t moved in trials or temptations and that my commitment to the Gospel of my Savior was unflappable and resolute. But there are others who wouldn’t be able to do so because they saw me fall into sin and act pridefully and shamefully.

In fact, though I’m not a betting man, I’d wager to say that many of you have the same exact story. We wish we could have another opportunity at past situations because we would handle them differently.

Not necessarily the most inspiring, encouraging words, are they? But here is what I got from the Word today as I thought of my past. God’s answer to my self-disappointment is this: “I’m not done with you yet!” How can I say that? Because here’s what the Word says…
“For am I confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:11

I don’t know about you, but that’s good news to my ears. Here’s what He’s telling us: God is at work in us so therefore, I’m not finished, because God’s not finished. He started something in me and He’s going to keep molding it and shaping it and conforming it, until it looks like His Son, my Savior, Jesus. And the same is true for you!

God’s not done with you. He’s still inviting you into a deeper relationship with Him. He’s still speaking to you through His Spirit to bring you comfort, power and peace. He’s still allowing you to see the difference you can make in someone’s else’s life if you take your eyes off of yourself for a moment.

What He’s really doing is turning our focus from ourselves towards Jesus. It may be simple to say, but it’s a monumental gift of changed and transformation. When our hearts are focused on Jesus we see His servanthood… His selflessness… His love… His compassion… and we see what we’re supposed to look like.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: No matter where or when you’ve fallen through the cracks and messed up, remember this: God has a grand design, purpose and intention for you and He’s not done yet. Don’t let past failures dictate who you are today or who God’s making you to be tomorrow. He isn’t done with us yet!

Mold me… shape me… transform me today as You wish. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 13th, 2018 — IGNITE

I played a lot of sports in my younger years. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of some very good winning teams and also know the sting of being defeated. Through the years though, I don’t watch or follow many sporting events anymore, but this I know – before any team takes the field… the court… the track… the ring… they study the opposition. They watch the video over and over again to learn their opponent's strengths and weaknesses… to see what moves they make… to determine how they are going to react in different situations so that they can have an upper hand when it comes times to compete.

Where am I going with all of this sports talk? Well, I think there’s a good lesson for all of us Christians need to learn. We’re been pretty melancholy when it comes to the fight. We’ve been allowing the enemy to knock us down and count us out because we don’t know who we’re up against. We’re seeing more suicides… more family breakups… more financial ruin, because we haven’t taken the time to study our opponent, the devil and he’s taking advantage of it all.

Listen to me… how can you defeat someone if you don’t know who they are… what they do… or how they compete? How can you defeat someone if you don’t even know what he looks like? The Bible tells us Satan…
“… disguises himself as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14

The Bible says the devil…
“… prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Jesus told us Satan…
“… comes and takes away the word which has been sown…” Mark 4:15

Jesus also said…
“… he is liar, and the father of lies.” John 8:44

One more! Jesus said…
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.” John 10:10

But how would you know this, if you never studied it? This is why you need to get to know who your enemy is in order to properly defeat him. Once you know who he is, James 4:7 says, “… resist him!” Ephesians 6:11 says to “put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day.”

You want to defeat the enemy? Forgive those people who hurt you. Don’t believe me? Read this…
“But whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Our enemy has already been defeated by Jesus, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to back off. He wants to make you a loser just like him. Resist him! Put on the full armor and fight back. With Jesus by your side, you’ll win every time.

I stand in the victory of my Savior today. Jesus, it’s in your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 12th, 2018 — IGNITE

So, I’m going to be right up front with you today: the word today is a word of encouragement, but it is going to be a tough, soul-searching kind of word. It’s not meant to make you feel guilty or worthless, but a word, that if needed, will jolt you back into your calling, destiny and purpose. Here goes…

You know, sometimes we think we’re irreplaceable. We are the only one who has our act together… we are the only one who can do the job right… we are the only one who hears from the Lord. And that probably isn’t even a deliberate thought. It’s more like something that happens to us over time as our self-centered man/woman rises. We begin to think that we are God’s one and only and without us, God would be at a great loss. But that’s not true and here’s why I say that.

Elijah was a great prophet of God (1 Kings 17). He walked in power and wisdom. God used him in miraculous ways. He prophesied there would be a famine in the land until he said it would rain. He provided the flour and oil for the widow and then when her son died, he brought him back to life. He competed against the prophets of Baal one day and defeated 450 of them with one prayer (1 Kings 18).

But even though he did all those things in the power of the LORD God, he became deathly afraid of one lady, the king’s wife, Jezebel, who hated him and was out to kill him. So he ran away (1 Kings 19), believing she had more power and authority over his life than God did. He even prayed that God would just take his life (1 Kings 19:4).

It was then Elijah had an encounter with God. God wasn’t in the strong wind, the earthquake or the fire, but Elijah recognized God in the “sound of a gentle blowing.” (1 Kings 19:12)

Twice God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9, 13). Both times Elijah answered the question with the same answer…
“I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts… and I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:10,14)

I believe God asked him the same question twice because He was looking for a different answer the second time. After hearing God in the “gentle blowing,” He wanted Elijah to regain his sight… his calling… his purpose… his destiny. But he didn’t. He was too inner focused. Too consumed with his fear of Jezebel.

It was then God told him this…
“You shall anoint… Elisha… as prophet in your place.” 1 Kings 19:16

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God wants to use you. God will use you. But understand, He wants you to walk in faith, relying totally on Him. You’re never alone.

Keep me focused on You. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen 

June 11th, 2018 — IGNITE

How much can you trust God? Or maybe I should ask, how much do you trust God? Seems like a pretty simple question and one that I’m sure if you asked me, I would tell you in no uncertain terms that I trust Him unequivocally. But the truth is, there are times my unequivocalness is challenged and my trust is not as strong as I first thought. I waver… I hesitate… I balk.

Today, I was reading 1 Kings 17. There’s this prophet, whose name is Elijah, who is directed by God to go to this village and stay there. Here’s what God told him…
“I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 1 Kings 17:9

Elijah shows up in this village, sees a lady who’s picking up sticks, and without even knowing her or what’s happening in her life, he asked her for a drink of water. As she’s going to get him water, he tells her, doesn’t ask her, he tells her to also bring a piece of bread.

However, there’s a problem with his request. There has been a famine in the land for going on three years, which means, no water; no water – no harvest; no harvest – no flour; no flour – no bread. And that’s exactly what she tells him…
“I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar… I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 1 Kings 17:12

She is making their last meal. She knows the outcome. She has been frugal… she has been faithful… she has been trusting, but in reality, there is nothing left.

At first Elijah’s remark may startle us. He almost sounds uncaring. In essence he tells her… “That’s good to know. Thanks for telling me, but now go make me a loaf of bread first, and then feed you and your son.”

He also tells her this…
“The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain of the face of the earth.” 1 Kings 17:14

So let me ask you, what would you do? How much do you trust God? Would you listen to the growling in your stomach, and then make a decision? Would you look at your son who’s been withering away right before your eyes? Or would you obey the voice of the prophet? Can he be trusted? Can God really be trusted to provide my daily bread? Will God really supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God supplied for this lady and her boy, and He’ll supply your needs as well. Trust Him! Always trust Him!

Thank You for my daily bread today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 8th, 2018 — IGNITE

So what would you rather hear, the truth or what’s easy? Would you rather hear good godly counsel… good spiritual advice, no matter how hard, or what makes you feel good? There’s a big difference you know. Sometimes we don’t want to hear the right thing to do – we want to react… blurt out… attack, when we know we should just walk away. Sometimes, when our emotions are high, we just want to engage, when we know what we should do is just be silent. Sometimes the voices of reason are silenced by the voices of stupidity and we end up paying for it later. That’s what happened in 1 Kings 12.

King Solomon had died and his son Rehoboam took his place. He is addressed one day but another young man named Jeroboam, and others from Israel, about lightening the load of hard labor and taxation that his father, King Solomon had put on them. The new king, Rehoboam, told them he would think about it and give them an answer three days later.

First, he went and ask the senior statesmen who served King Solomon and sat under his wisdom and discernment for years, what they thought he should do. Here’s what they told him…
“If you will be a servant to this people today, will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.” 1 Kings 12:7

Sounds like good advice, right? Take care of the people. Minister to the people. You’re in a position of service, even as a king, so be good at it. Evidently that’s not what Rehoboam wanted to hear because the next verse tells us Rehoboam, “forsook the counsel of the elders…” (1 Kings 12:8)

Instead he went and talked to his old gang that he grew up with. His old school buddies, who didn’t have any diplomacy, any experience in kingly ways, any knowledge of kingdom business, who proposed some foolish guidance. They told him to tell the people that if they thought his dad was tough, they hadn’t seen anything yet. He would be tougher in every sense of the word. He liked the sound of that and that’s what he did.

When the people came back three days later, Rehoboam took the advice of the young, un-experienced men, and told them what he decided. I’m not sure what he thought was going to happen, but what happened next was devastating – they walked! They all walked away. At that moment, the kingdom divided. Rehoboam was left with 2 nations, while the other young man, Jeroboam, became king of the other 10.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Who’s speaking into your life? Who’s helping you make life decisions? Make sure you have people who are telling you good godly truth – not just what you want to hear… what makes you feel good… or what’s easiest. Seek good godly, Holy Spirit, counsel. There’s a big difference.

Thank You for putting people in my life who speak Your truth to me. Help me appreciate them more. Jesus in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 7th, 2018 — IGNITE

Remember way back in the day when there were no cell phones? Almost sounds weird to say, as if we were living in a different dimension now. But the only phone we had was the one mounted to the wall or sitting on a desk, attached to a cord. Now do you remember what you said to your family member when you answered the phone, but the person on the other end of the line didn’t want to talk to you, but your mom or dad, or brother or sister? You said something like, “It’s for you!”

Well, that’s exactly what I want to talk to you about today. The Call – it’s for you! Here’s what the Word says…
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” Ephesians 4:1

So, just in case you didn’t catch that – you’ve already been called. You don’t have to wait for the phone to ring.You don’t have to sit around and wait to see it what I’m telling you is true. You’ve already been called and it wasn’t for anybody else… It’s for you! The word means you’ve been invited. You’ve been invited to the kingdom of God and all its privileges. They’re all yours. Every last one of them.

Now, please understand me. You’re called just like everyone else in the body of Christ. You’re called into the family… you’re called into ministry… you’re called for purpose and by design. This is a high calling. Not your ordinary, everyday, run of the mill, hum drum, average, calling. This is the high calling of God to you. It’s nothing easy or light, and don’t let anybody tell you differently. It doesn’t mean that everybody is supposed to be a preacher, as if preachers are the only ones who get called of God. Untwist that in your mind. No, He call us all into ministry. That’s why it’s called the “priesthood of all believers.” We are all priest… We are all kingdom builders… We are all history makers… We are all world changers.. We are all gifted according to His Spirit… We are all called!

God has plans for all of us and although we don’t always know how His plans are going to end, let Him finish it, before you hang up on Him. What you need to do is be willing to listen and then obey His prompting. Being called doesn’t mean you stop being who you are; it simply means you are blessed at what you’re doing.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: He’s called you. Yes, you! He has plans for you. He wants to use you. He wants to use the gifts He’s invested in you. And He wants you to know this calling, this invitation is for you. Answer it!

You’ve called me by the Gospel. Help me to respond to Your calling and live it out in my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 6th, 2018 — IGNITE

Maybe you do something similar. My bride and I have this ongoing debate. We’ve had it for all the years we’ve been married and it’s never truly been settled. There have been times she has thought she has won the debate, but then I usually trump her trump with a deciding, clinching, yet seemingly victory, only for the debate to continue until the next appointed moment.

The debate goes something like this. She will say, “I love you.” To which I will respond, “I love you more.” (You know where this is going, right?) Then, not wanting to be outdone, she shoots back, “I love you most.” To which I reply, “I loved you first!” (That for me is the deciding factor, the end of the debate.) If she attempts to come back one more time, I have the ace in the hole… “I love you a little bit more than you could ever love me.” There it is! That locks it up. The victory is mine. No matter what she says after that is moot, because my love will always be more than hers, even if it’s just by a tad bit more.

Well, that’s what came to my mind as I read the Word today. God’s not much into the debating scene however. Actually, He never debates. He always says what it is… He means every word of it… and His Word is truth! Here’s what I read…
“… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17b-19

Now that’s deep! And wide! And high! And very, very long. When I stop to ponder the love that my heavenly Father has for me, my mind is boggled. It’s immeasurable. Limitless. Unfathomable. Inexhaustible. Incomprehensible. There are not enough words for me to try to explain it to you. Even as Paul said, His love “surpasses knowledge.”

I don’t get it. Well, actually I do get it. I receive it, though I don’t deserve it. I am the beneficiary of the immensity of His love, though I should not be the recipient because of my waywardness. But yet His love… His grace… His mercy… His forgiveness… His power… His joy… His peace… are all mine because of His Son, Jesus. He does love me more than I could ever love Him. He loves you more than you will ever know.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Consider His love for you. You didn’t deserve it. You didn’t earn it. It’s His free gift for you. It’s all yours. It will never run out… grow dim… fade away. Every morning His mercies are brand new. Live in His love today. Let it ooze out of you touching the lives of others.

I love You because You first loved me. Thank You Jesus, It’s in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 5th, 2018 — IGNITE

So my heart was really struck by a prayer I read today for the Word. The imagery was beautiful. Let me set the scene.

Solomon has replaced his father David as king of Israel and built the temple. It has taken seven long years to complete the construction of the temple and now we read in 1 Kings 8, they brought the Ark of the Covenant, the presence of God, into the temple. When the Ark was in place, Solomon spoke to the people and reminded them to be true to God for all His love, mercy and compassion. He told them why he built this temple and what it represented for them.

Then he stood before the altar of the Lord, lifted his hands toward heaven and started praying (1 Kings 8:22). By the time he finished praying, he’s on his knees with his hands still lifted towards heaven (1 Kings 8:54). This is the king before the King of kings.

This is a place we should want to be. When you’re tired of being tired and you have no more options to choose from… go kneel before the King. When your prayers aren’t seemingly working and life isn’t changing… go kneel before the King.  When there isn’t a dime left in the cookie jar… go kneel before the King. When all you have is broken pieces, a broken heart, broken relationships… go kneel before the King. The Bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

This King can restore your joy even when it looks like all the joy is gone. This King can renew your strength even after is seems like your strength has withered and failed. This King doesn’t mind making house calls even in the pitch darkness of the night. This King will never leave you or forsake you.

You see, one touch from this King will get you back up on your feet again. One look from this King will put confidence back in your heart. One Word from this King will put all the pieces of your broken, confused life back in order again.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: When you get to the point where you feel like giving up and you’re thinking it’s your only option… your last option… the easy option… go kneel before the King. When looking up is your only choice because you’ve fallen to the lowest part possible, lift your arms up in surrender and… go kneel before the King. When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, reach out for the only One who won’t push you away and… go kneel before the King. When you have nothing left to give and nothing more to offer… go kneel before the King.

I come before You today because You have invited me. I come because You are the King of my life. Rule and reign in me. In Jesus name I pray this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen