June 26th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming. I have to admit, I do it all the time. I can be busily working on a project… taking a walk… just sitting outside… and my mind starts to go places that’s either I wish I were at, or doing something other than I’m doing. Sometimes I replay old scenes in my life and make them come out the right way with all the things I would have done differently.

And this isn’t something new in my life. I remember being a little boy and my parents having to go to the parent/teacher conference at my school. I always got good grades, but the comments from all my teachers were always the same, “Mark day dreamers a lot.” I remember my parents telling me I needed to pay attention more and stop daydreaming. But the very next day, you know what I was doing, though it wasn’t as if I did it intentionally to make my teacher mad or just to be obstinate. I couldn’t help it. My mind just went into its own little seizure I guess, and before I knew it, I was someplace else, deep in thought. So, if you’ve ever been talking to me and all of a sudden, I’m like gone, now you know why! I haven’t tuned you out, I’ve just stepped out for a moment. Stay with me, I’ll be right back! 🙂

So, let me ask you, what kind of things do you think about? Do you think about past encounters? Or do you think about future appointments? Do you rehash old arguments? Or do you think about things you’d like to say to somebody? Do you re-live all your failures? Or you do dream about the possibilities that could be yours? When your mind isn’t occupied with the present, what do you think about? How you’re going to pay your bills? How you’re going to get healthy again? How come you can’t have a relationship that’s good?

Let me tell you what the Bible says we should be thinking on and about…
“… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It’s easy to think all the negative stuff from our past, the hard things in our present and undesirable in our future. But capture your thoughts and think on the list of things above – the true, the honorable, the right, the pure, the lovely, the good repute, the things worthy of praise. Let those things flood your mind for in them you’ll find the peace you’ve been looking for – the peace of God.

Help me think on You today – all day! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 25th, 2018 IGNITE

So something caught my eye today as I read the Word. Once again I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never seen this before, but today it jumped right off of the page at me. I was reading 2 Kings 20 and 21.

In 2 Kings 20 we read about the prophet Isaiah being sent to King Hezekiah with a word from the Lord. The word: “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1) I’m not sure how you’d respond to that, but King Hezekiah wasn’t very fond of this new information.

Here’s what we know… Hezekiah had a severe boil and so you know, in the days before antibiotics and/or surgery to drain the boil, this was usually the outcome. God was right up front with Hezekiah and told him he was going to die.

But if you remember the account, Hezekiah wept and cried for God to change His plan. And even before Isaiah left the area, God had given him word to tell Hezekiah he was going to live another 15 years.

Sometime after he was all healed up, a delegation from Babylon came to congratulate him on his recovery, and he showed off the wealth of his treasury instead of giving God the glory. He even admitted it to Isaiah when confronted. Because of what he did, he was told by Isaiah that his sons and future generations will be carried in captivity into Babylon. And here’s what the king said…
“‘The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Is it not so, if there shall be peace and truth in my days?’” 2 Kings 20:19

And at the end of those 15 years he died, leaving the kingship to his son Manasseh.

Now, here’s what I noticed. We’re told in 2 Kings 18:2, Hezekiah “was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned 29 years.” So do the math. 14 years into his kingship he was told he was going to die. He was only 39 years old. 39 year olds, generally, are strong and productive. Of course he wanted to live. Nobody expects to die of a infected boil at the age of 39. So God grants him another 15 years, which would make him 54 when he died. And here’s the staggering outcome. “Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king…” 2 Kings 21:1 Of all the bad kings that Judah ever had, Manasseh was the worst. He was probably the most vile king that ruled Judah and he reigned 55 years. He was born in those last 15 years that God had granted his father.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: It’s from Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.”

Thank You for the gift of life today. Help me live it for you. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 22nd, 2018 — IGNITE

We all know what would happen if we didn’t perform our best at our job, right? There’s a strong possibility that we’d might get fired. The same happens in school. You don’t study… you don’t do your best… you get bad grades… you get bad grades, you fail. When you don’t follow advice of the police officer and you continue to speed, we all know, there might come a time that we get a ticket and have to pay a fine.

Things like this make us work harder so that none of these things would actually happen. But I’m wondering today, why don’t we work as hard for God? I know… I  know… we live in grace – so it’s not about working harder, or even trying to earn anything. And on top of that we know that God won’t fire us if our performance lacks luster… and He won’t take away our blessings if we fall a class or two… and He won’t abandon us if we’re breaking the law.

But let’s be honest… if our blessings were based on our work performance, or our grades, or our compliance with His standard, we’d be in sad shape. When our performance review came up, I’m not so sure we’d want to be around! I’ve said on other occasions, but I think it would be a fearful thing if when I was called up before the throne of God and heard the words, “We’ve been waiting for you!”

So aren’t you thankful God isn’t like that? I mean, He still shows up when we call even though when we didn’t respond when He called. God still keeps His promises to us although we break ours with Him all the time. God still forgives us and we’ve still withheld forgiveness from others.

So, why is it that we don’t work as hard for  God as we do for our jobs? Why is it so easy to skip our meditation of the Word and neglect any conversation with Him in prayer? Why is it so hard to pay our tithes but so easy to purchase the things we don’t really need?

Read this from the Word…
“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Let’s put this is the simplest way. No guilt, no shame, but just honest truth. Doesn’t matter if it’s work related… school related… personal or public. Put God first. When you live and work and play for Him and you give your very best, it’s what you’ll get back. What you put into it, is what you’ll get out of it. When you work hard for Him, He’ll make a return on your investment by working hard for us!

I want to praise You for my life today. Jesus in Your name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 21st, 2018 — IGNITE

I was talking to a young man the other day and trying to help him deal with what’s going on in his life – or maybe I should say, what’s not going on in his life. He’s miserable. He’s functioning in a world that he doesn’t want to be in. He’s locked in time and space and is tired and frustrated. He’s been rejected… abandoned… and denied. He didn’t get the break he thought he should get and at that moment he stopped moving forward.

As we talked, he kept telling me about the things that went wrong in his life in the past… or didn’t go as he had planned. Now he’s floundering. Now he’s lonely. Now he’s lost. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. I’ve been in that place where I didn’t have any hope. And when you don’t have any hope, you don’t have any future. When you don’t have any future, you don’t have any hope!

But here’s something I learned and am still learning and I hope this helps you today. I pray that if you’re in that place you can hear me now. You can’t change your today and your tomorrow by looking at yesterday. The only way you’re going to move forward, is by stopping looking back.

Yes, I understand you’ve been through some things that would keep others up at night – but you’re here now – you made it through. The only way you go back to them is if you turn around and intentional go back. Listen to me, you’re going to go through other things- things you haven’t even encountered before. It’s called life. No one said there was a red carpet that you got to walk down. It’s not always an easy walk, with straight, smooth paths with no hills or valleys. But as you walk through life with your head turned looking back, it just makes your situation worse because you can’t see where you’re going and then you wonder why you keep running into stuff. You’re looking back and then question God as to why you keep bumping into things.

Listen to what the Bible says…
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The past is just that – past! Leave it there. Stop turning around checking it out. It’s not going anywhere, but you don’t need it. Live today and make it better… no make it greater than anything you’ve been through. Stop turning around when all you need is right in front of you! Press toward the goal! You’ll find Jesus there!

Help me keep my eyes focused on what You have in front of me instead of what’s behind me. Jesus, in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 20, 2018 — IGNITE

What’s the most valuable thing you possess? When I start thinking of all the stuff I have and what is the most valuable thing I have, my mind starts with all the material things I’ve accumulated over the years.

My cars are valuable to me, but if I tried to sell them, I wouldn’t get very much for them. One has over 200,000 miles and the other is closing in on 200,000 miles. There’s some scratches, and dents, and even some rust on them. But I’ve never really concerned myself much about the outside… I’m on the inside, so who cares what the outside looks like! 🙂

My house is valuable. I’ve been told that it’s value has gone up since I bought it 5 years ago. They tell me it’s a sellers market right now and I could probably get more than I’m actually asking for it. But where would I go? Every other house has gone up in value as well?

I have some items that belonged to my parents. My dad’s pocket watch is close to my heart, but I don’t think it’s worth much to anybody else. I have a number of wood items my dad made, but here again, their value is based on my relationship with my dad.

I’m married to an awesome lady. Her and I have known each other for 38 years and have been married for 35 of them. It’ll be 36 years in August. I’ll do anything to protect our relationship. Our relationship is invaluable and incalculable to me.

I also have my children and my grandchildren. They are all such a blessing. I’m a rich man because of them.

What’s valuable to you? What do you have that stands out amongst everything else, and it’s worth can’t even be measured? Money? Reputation? Fame? Land?

Let me tell you what one man said…
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

For the Apostle Paul, the one thing that had the most value to him, was knowing Jesus. He had all the rest. He lost it all. But none of gave him identity… none of it gave him satisfaction… none of it gave him peace and joy. The only thing he had of value was Jesus.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Take your own personal inventory of all the things you possess and ask yourself which one has the most value and why? Then when you’re all done, compare your most valuable possession to Jesus and see if He doesn’t come out on top. He is priceless!

I thank You today for the opportunity to know Your only Son, my Savior and Lord, King Jesus. It’s in His name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 19th, 2018 — IGNITE

I know you know the answer to this, but let me ask you anyway. What would happen if you took a grape in your hand and you squished it? You’d get a little grape juice and maybe even a seed. Ok, you got that one right, let’s try another. What would happen if you took an egg in your hand and you squeezed it? It would burst and you’d have a mess, right?

You probably get my point, so let me ask you another question… why are you so surprised at what’s coming out of you when God applies some pressure in your life? I mean, just stop and think about it for a moment. When the pressures of this life come upon you, and you know your being crushed under the weight, something’s got to come out, right?

When God took over in your life, there wasn’t room for all the other stuff – the anger… the resentment… the jealousy… the greed… the secrets… the prejudice… the doubt… the fear… the unforgiveness! Something had to give. Something had to come out. So, tell me again why you’re so shocked at what’s not flowing from you? You do know God, in His infinite grace and mercy, has first got to get the old stuff out so He can put the new, good stuff in, right?

Read this…
“No one tears a piece from an new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” Luke 5:36-38

You see, if God puts His anointing into the old you, it wouldn’t take like He needs it to. If God allowed His grace to fill the old you, it may not have as much of an impact. Just think about it. Let’s say you have a bright red wall in your house and you want to paint it white. Now if you just paint white over the red, you know it will just bleed through. But if you clean the wall, maybe even sand the wall, and then prime the wall, the white paint will be perfect.

That’s why God allows us to get squeezed in the pressures of life, the situations and the circumstances. He’s preparing us for the new. Does He have to clean you first? Yes! Does He maybe have to do a little sanding? Maybe, that why you feeling the pain. Does He need to add some primer to you that covers you with His grace… His love… His power… His Spirit… so that keeps the old you from bleeding through? Absolutely! Most definitely!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I know you don’t like it… the process… the pressure… the pain… but it’s part of His process to make the new shade of you.

Do what You need to do in me today. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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