July 9th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever had that time when you knew that you knew, that you knew that what you were doing was so right… but it turned out all so wrong? You remember, right?

You had all your ducks in a row… you figured everything out to the minutes detail… there was no margin for loss. As matter of fact, if you were a betting person, you would have bet your last dollar on this decision, because you knew it was going to work. Good thing you didn’t have a dollar to waste, huh?

Even as I write this, my mind is flooded with all kinds of crazy ideas I had in my head that I knew with a little extra time and money and some elbow grease, I could make it work. But today, I thank God He intervened and stopped me.

I also think of the many things I actually did follow through on, though someone pointed out to me all the problems with my flawed idea, but I wouldn’t listen. In the end it ended up costing me.

Well, that’s what I thought about today as I read 1 Chronicles 21. It starts like this…
“Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

Satan always tries to put crazy ideas in our head. This one, though it doesn’t seem all that bad – you know, just finding out how many soldiers you have to defend your country – would bring a great cost in the end. You see, this was about pride… this was about insecurity… this was about a lack of trust –  more specifically – King David’s lack of trusting God. Did he have enough soldiers? Enough fighting men to protect what was his?

His right hand man, Joab, asked him why he wanted to take this census and even went so far as to tell the King he thought it was a bad idea. But David didn’t listen. The Bible says, “Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab.” 1 Chronicles 21:4

Joab, against his better judgement, did exactly what the king wanted him to do. His report showed that there were 1,570,000 fighting soldiers in the land. David may have been happy to hear the report, but God was displeased with his lack of trust and 70,000 men lost their lives because of the King’s bad decision. One bad decision… a decision made without first asking God… can have enormous ramifications.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Everyday we make all kinds of decisions. Some are just routine, everyday decisions that we make all the time. Others are huge, life-changing decisions. What should I do? Where should I work? Should I move? Should I marry? Should I start over? When we don’t know, we should first ask. Ask God – He’ll always answer. Ask our trusted family and friends who God has put in our lives for times just like this. And then instead of being so bullheaded and pushing through with our plan, maybe what we need to do is listen to what God is telling us through others and trust Him.

Help me trust You today with my life. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

June 29th, 2018 — IGNITE

Can I just tell you, something was bound to happen. I mean, they should have seen it coming. They should have recognized that what they were facing was about to be met by the complete opposite and there was going to be a collision of sorts, and everything they knew to be true was going to be changed in the blink of an eye. Let me explain what I’m talking about.

One day, Jesus, and His disciples, and a whole bunch of people who were following Jesus, were travelling from town to town, and they came to this little drop in the bucket, tiny town, called Nain.

Right before they got to the gate going into the city, they were met by another sizable group of people who were coming out. This group of people, were filled with sadness, doubt, confusion, lack of hope and uncertainty of future. They were carrying the coffin of a young man who had died. His mom was in the crowd and now she was all alone. This was her only child and her husband had already died.

When the two crowds met, Jesus eyes were fixed right on her and He knew the problem with her husband gone and now her son, that she would have no support – financial, emotional, physical. She was all alone. And when Jesus saw that, His heart was moved.

When the two met, He said to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13). He then went over to the coffin and put His hand on it. Those who were carrying the coffin stopped. Jesus then ruined a perfectly good funeral. He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:13).

Immediately the young man came back to life, sat up, and the Bible says, “… began to speak.” (Luke 7:15). I’d probably start talking too – asking somebody to explain why I was in that coffin and would somebody please help me get out!

Like I said, something was bound to happen. When Jesus comes to town… when Jesus steps into the room… when Jesus shows up… you can guarantee something is going to happen. Anything and everything you previously knew will never be the same again. You’ll go from dark to light… from death to life. You’ll go from pointless to future bound… from hopeless to hope filled. All the doubt, uncertainty, and fear will be carried away in that empty coffin.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You don’t have to worry about tomorrow.  You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to remain silent. This young man couldn’t talk, think or move – he was dead! But when Jesus came into his life – he experienced the fullness of life and so can you! While you still have life and breath, ask Jesus to come into your life and stay. Invite Him to your funeral and allow Him to bring you back to life.

Thank you for life. Fill me with Your life today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thoughts; June 28th, 2018 — IGNITE

Have you ever read Psalm 124? I’m sure you probably have, but for today, sit down and read it again. It’s just eight short verses. Let its words fill you heart and mind with awe and wonder. When you’re done reading it, answer this question…

“What if God ________?” You fill in the blank!

When King David wrote this psalm you can tell he was full of thanks and praise for God stepping into their situation. I mean, it’s pretty obvious when he starts by saying…
“Had it not been the LORD who was on our side…” Psalm 124:1

Now, I pretty sure, there have been many times in our lives when we were totally unaware of God’s hand in our lives, oblivious to His presence, peace and provision.  But there are others times when we knew without a doubt that had it not been for God, we would have lost… we may even had died.

What if God had decided to look the other way when we were driving our life down the wrong road?

What if God had decided to step out of our lives when we decided to walk out of His?

What if God decided our relationship was just too much work and so He stopped loving us?

What if God decided turn a deaf ear when we called to Him?

Today take some time to think about the things you have accomplished during your lifetime. Then when you’ve made your list, ask yourself how many of those do you think you did on your own? Hopefully… prayerfully, that will give us a reason to pause in our fast paced times. We need to have a heart of thanksgiving and praise for our God who has never left us alone… He has never withheld His mercy… He has never stopped being all knowing… He has never cancelled His kindness and compassion… He has never kept His forgiveness from us.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: If you find your heart overflowing with amazement and gratitude, take a moment to give up a word of thanks – give a shout of praise to God. And while you’re doing that, let me throw out at you one more “What if…”

What if you had never heard of the love of God through His Son, Jesus?

What if you didn’t believe that Jesus lived, died and rose again for you?

Now imagine all that you’d be missing out on if you weren’t in a relationship with the very One who created you… provides for you… listens to you?

Can I tell you – there are still many all around us who fall into that category. One last “What if..”

“What if we told them?”

Forgive me for not always recognizing Your presence in my life and Your hand of provision. Holy Spirit help me to be a better version of me today than I was yesterday. And open my mouth to speak a word of hope in the lives of others. Jesus in Your name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

thoughts; June 27th, 2018 — IGNITE

I hope you do know that there is a huge difference between facts and truth. There have been many times when somebody was standing in front of me, rattling off all the facts about their life – what was wrong… what was hard… what the doctor said… what happened at home. Here’s what I know… Facts are facts – but truth is truth. Which one do you live by, because I’m sure you can’t have both. How or why can I say that?

Well, we all go through stuff. Some stuff we keep a secret. Some stuff we deal with, but quietly, even though its haunting us. Some stuff we just fake our way through but deep down inside it’s killing us. I’ve met many a pastor who can’t tell you about the hell they’re going through out of fear as to who might be listening to them. I’ve listened to a good number of spouses who can’t open up because they think they’ll be judged. Men won’t say anything because then they’ll be looked at as less than a man. We say things like, “God knows what I’m going through,” and then we stop. We’ve listed all the facts about our life… and they’re all true… but we don’t speak truth.

Truth says this:
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

The facts are, we’re sick, but truth says:
“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

The facts are we’re lacking, but truth says:
“… my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

The facts are we’re lost and wandering, our faith is weak and we know it, but truth tells me…
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-9

The facts are we feel fruitless and unproductive, but the truth says…
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.” John 15:16

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I know I could keep going on with scripture passages, but what I want to know is: are you going to tell me the facts or the truth? Facts are facts – there’s no doubt about it and we can list all the facts about what’s wrong with our lives. But truth is truth and God’s Word will never fail!

Let Your truth guide and correct me today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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