March 6th, 2018 — IGNITE

Does majority always rule? I mean, when you’re outnumbered, even though you know you’re right, do you give in or give up? Do you cave under the pressure of what everyone else thinks? Going along with the flow… not making any waves… upsetting the crowd? Because I can tell you with all certainty, there are times the majority is dead wrong. Not that I wanted to or needed to be right, but I remember the times I stood before the opposition and got out voted, because of popular consensus… because of limited vision… because of lack of faith… because of ease and expediency.

If you were to read the 13th and 14th chapters of the the book of Numbers you would read about twelve men who were commissioned to spy out the land God had promised the people of Israel. First, understand that! God had already promised the land to them – it was already theirs. When God gave the order to Moses to send these men out to spy the land, He didn’t send them out to see if they could capture it – it didn’t need capturing. It was theirs. When the twelve were selected and Moses sent them out, he assigned them the task of finding out what the land was like – good or bad? What were the people like – strong or weak? What were the cities like – open camps or fortified? Never once were they to determine if they could take the land. It was theirs already.

Even when they went out, they found the abundance and fatness of the land overwhelming. Yet, when they returned, all that was good was presented as unreachable, unattainable, unworkable. When they gave the report they told everybody the land was all that it was said to be – flowing with milk and honey. BUT, there was just too much to overcome – the people were giants.

Two men, Caleb and Joshua, understood the land was already theirs and encouraged the people just to go take it. However, the other ten kept giving the bad report and even told the people…
“… we became like grasshoppers in our own sight…” Numbers 13:33

What bad report have you listened to and believed? That you’re not good enough – never have been… never will be? That you blew it last time and can never be trusted to make a decision again? That you failed miserably and therefore have no right to speak up? You’re a loser? A failure?

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Joshua and Caleb knew the Word of the LORD. They knew the land was theirs because God said so. Do you know what He’s said about you? “Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1). Yes, the majority might have the louder voice and more votes. It still doesn’t make them right. Know who you are! Know Who you believe! Know the battle has already been won!

Strengthen me today to believe even when the masses are against me. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

March 5th, 2018 — IGNITE

There have been many times over the years that my wife has caught me making up words. After preaching on a Sunday morning, she would inform me that that one word I used, wasn’t really a word at all. I just made it up.

It’s kind of like my new word, “compraining.” It’s a combination of complaining and praying, but though I didn’t mean to be complaining before my God when I was praying, when I really thought of what I was saying, it really was a complaint. I was moaning and groaning, griping and whining, for who knows what reason. I’m sure God was asking the same question.

I sometimes wonder how we, as Christians, can be so ungrateful when we are already receiving things we don’t deserve. I mean, some of you are ungrateful for the spouse you have when, if the truth were told, you didn’t deserve them anyway, yet God blessed you with them and they’ve made your life better, but you can’t see it. Some of you are so ungrateful for the job you have when you could be at some street light begging for pocket change. Some are not grateful for the home they have when they could be standing in line every night trying to get a room at the local mission.

We complain so much about everything that it’s starting to overshadow everything! We spiritualize our complaining as lifting our concerns before God – but let’s be honest, we know better. When will we be thankful for what we have?

I’ve come to realize that God won’t give me anything else if I’m not grateful for what He’s already done, and truthfully He’s done everything and I’ve done nothing. It would be like if I were to give you a gift every day and you never even took the time to open it – you just throw it into your closet where all the other gifts are. What sense would it make for me to continue to take the time to give you something you’re not even going to be thankful for? Now, if it were up to me, I’d just stop giving you gifts.

But God’s not like us because even though we take His many blessings for granted, He still gives us a fresh anointing of His power each and every day. He still makes the sun rise and the sunset for us. He still provides oxygen for us to breath. He still pours out wisdom enabling us to make life’s decisions.

I thought of that as I read these words today…
‘Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD…” Numbers 11:1

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Join me today! Let’s start a new habit. A good habit. No more compraining. Start fresh… start new. Ask the Holy Spirit to put a guard on your mouth and stop you each time you start compraining. I’m sure our God would love to hear our praise and thanks instead.

Forgive me for my compraining. Holy Spirit, fill my mouth with words of praise and thanks. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

March 2nd, 2018 — IGNITE

“What’s in your wallet” is the question asked by the Capital One commercial. Whether it’s Alec Baldwin or Samuel L. Jackson, makes very little difference. You see they ask the question to plant doubt in your mind about whether or not you have the right stuff to get all the satisfaction you’re looking for in life. The question prompts you to wonder if you’re getting everything that you deserve. Is there more out there that you don’t already have? Do you have what it takes to be successful? Of course, the intent of the ad campaign is make you think that only this particular credit card will make you satisfied, secure and significant.

But I want to ask you a more important question today… “What’s in your words?” Here’s what the Bible says…
“My mouth will speak wisdom; and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.” Psalm 49:3

You see, it’s Friday today. Many of you have survived another week of work. You’re tired and worn out from investing so much of yourself this week. You’re truly looking forward to having the weekend off and are already complaining about having to go back to work next Monday.

You opened your eyes this morning in a messy mood. Even before you threw the covers off of you, you started cursing the day and the sound of your alarm clock. Your feet barely touched the floor and you were already complaining. You didn’t even make it to the bathroom before you started dreading what the day would bring.

Friend, can I tell you something? You may not be able to change the outcome of your day, but you sure can change how you approach it. The Bible says we are jars of clay who hold the light of God within us and although, “… we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Absolutely, we live in a world that sees more evil every day. The darkness around us keeps keeping darker, if that were possible. Yes, our bodies are being attacked by sickness and disease. Yes, our children are under attack. Yes, marriages are disintegrating. Yes, the Bible is not being taken seriously. Yes, there are worship places that have no glory of the Lord. Yes, there are false prophets, teachers and preachers. Yes, some people of God are totally silent. Yes, there’s a form of godliness, but a denial of power.

BUT, the Bible says…
“But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,’  we also believe, therefore also we speak…” 2 Corinthians 4:13

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: What’s in your words? Speak up, speak out, speak forth the greatness and glory of our God. Let His praise be on your lips, morning till night. Let your words of hope, joy and strength in the Lord change how you approach each day.

Hear the sound of praise coming from my lips today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

March 1st, 2018 — IGNITE

For those of you who may not know, I officiate wrestling. I officiate from the real little boys and girls to High School varsity, so I see some really good wrestling and some not so good wrestling. I just finished my eighth year of officiating. I got into it because I used to wrestle in High School and in college. I loved wrestling and still do.

There’s not too many events that I go to that I don’t have someone questioning a call I’ve made. It’s not that I’m a bad ref or don’t know the rules, I just experience most coaches and many parents who see something else or want me to make a different call. So they think it is in their realm to question my authority or my judgement and they let me know it.

Now, so that you know, there is a proper way to make this happen. The correct way would be for a coach to call me over to the scorer’s table to have a discussion with me. He can ask me any question he wants about what he believes to be a misapplication of a rule, but he can never question my judgement on a call. Most coaches forget that part. Most parents don’t know that part. If there is no misapplication of a rule, it is my job to remind them that I am the ref, I wear the striped shirt and I have the whistle. Since it is my job to call the rules fairly and keep these young wrestlers safe, I have the authority.

I bring that up because of what I read in the Bible today. Here it is…
“By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” Matthew 21:23

That was the question some religious leaders asked Jesus. They didn’t like the things He was saying – though they were true. And they didn’t like the things He was doing – though they were helpful and right. So they thought they had the right to question Jesus.

Don’t suppose you’ve ever done that, right? You didn’t like something that was happening in your life, so you started questioning God. It was somewhat innocent at first, but as things worsened in your life, your turned your anger on the One who gave you life. You started sharing your real feelings because someone told you that you could say whatever you wanted to God, venting all your anger, because He was a big God and He could take it. I’m not sure our disrespect for who He is and what He all does, deserves our snotty little responses.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God is still sitting on His throne. He’s not going to step down or abandon His authority in your life because you don’t like it. He has your best in mind even when you think it’s the worst. Trust Him.

Today I will stop compraining (complaining + praying) and trust You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

February 28th, 2018 — IGNITE

So the other day, one of my little granddaughters wanted to play the card game Uno. She’s only three years old, so I thought to myself, “How hard can this be?” Now please understand, I have a very high competitive spirit, so being three years old has little to no effect on me. This is a game… it’s real life… get ready to go down. I pretty much figured she would have little to no strategy in playing this game, so I was very confident in winning. I told myself before we even started to be gentle and remember to help her.

At the end of the first game I knew I was in trouble. She had gone out and stuck me with a draw four as her last card. Same with the second game and the third game. The real problem was her childlike attitude at the end of each game though. After sitting there so gleefully telling me she had her last card, blurting out “Uno”, and then laying her last card, she couldn’t wait to say, “Let’s play again!” What a poor sport! 🙂

Little did she know that she had played right into my hands, because though she might not have a strategy, I did. I would let her win a few games so as not to discourage her so she would want to keep on playing. Her little three year old mind was no match for me. This game wasn’t over until… Supper! It was time to eat! Thank you, Lord!

All kidding aside, where am I going with this? Have you ever noticed that the book of Acts ends abruptly. One chapter we’re traveling with Paul from city to city, reading of people being converted to Christianity. Then we’re going to Rome with him in the last chapters where he will stand trial. And then it stops. Nothing more. We turn the page to read the rest, but the pages are all gone. It’s as if the writer deliberately stopped telling the story of the founding of the New Testament Church, leaving us to figure it out for ourselves. The last verses say…
“And he (that would be Paul) stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” Acts 28:30-31

The truth is, though there is no Acts 29, there really is. You’re it! I’m it. We are the continuation of the book of Acts. The New Testament Church is still alive – it’s alive in you. It’s still being written. What’s being written through you might be an interesting story, but it’s still being written and it won’t be done being written until Jesus comes back.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: You are the church! I am the church! We are the church together. Let’s continue to write Acts 29!

Build Your Church through me! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen