John Markum

Discerning God’s Will: Part 2



This is one of the most misunderstood subjects among Christians. We talk about “God’s will for our life” as though it were this big mystical enigma that only a few people get lucky enough to get right while the rest of us flounder around hoping that we end up tripping over some kind of “destiny”. Sadly, many people don’t ever seem to grasp it, and end up spending their lives trying to figure out how to live their life.

They don’t lack for praying any. Many people in this position have prayed and prayed and prayed… hoping that their future would unfold before them with some kind of supernatural certainty and Divine blessing of promised success. And when they don’t get it, they feel lonely, as if God has kind of left them hanging, or has refused to show them anything. So, spiritually speaking, they conclude that the reason for this is because of a personal sin issue. “I’m just not trusting God enough, when I believe in Him enough, then He’ll show me.”And the cycle continues until the person either makes some big decisions for themselves or, often times, walks away from their faith – entirely frustrated.

Any of that sound like things that have happened in your heart or life? Then maybe these questions can help you get traction in discovering and following God’s will for your life:

  1. What is in your hand?: God asked Moses this when He revealed His purpose for Moses life in Exodus 4, and at the time all Moses had was a staff. Nothing fancy, it was basically a good walking stick. But this “walking stick” showed up almost everywhere through the rest of Moses’ life. God used his staff as a means of showing Moses His will. So what is in your hand? What talents, gifts, resources, connections has God given you that He may want to leverage for your good and His glory? Don’t overlook what you think of as “ordinary”; Moses had a stick, for crying out loud!
  2. Who has God put in my life?: Throughout Scripture, we see God calling people into His will together. You were meant to live in community. You are a part of a whole, just like me. we need each other to be all that God has called us to. Who are the people that are unmistakeably placed in your life by God?
  3. What are you doing now?: It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. There’s a good chance that you’re closer to God’s will than you know, yet you are trying so hard to look far into your future that you didn’t realize that you were standing on it all along. God isn’t waiting to use you “someday,” He desires a purpose for you right here – right now! So how could the things you are doing now fit into God’s design for you?
  4. What is my plan?: Form your dreams and desires into a functioning plan. Leave some flexibility room, because plans do change. But if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. What are the steps that need to take place in order for you to get where God is leading you? This is the part where most people quit. Whether it’s due to the fear of asking themselves the tough questions of “how?” or just laziness, many people with all of the potential never get to see it materialize for lack of a plan.
  5. What’s it going to take?: Too many well-intentioned people are stationary for fear of the unknown. At some point, despite the things you are unsure of, you have to begin to make some decisions and acting on those decisions. How much certainty do you need to have before you act? That is a legitimate question. Are you waiting for the finances before you enroll for college? How much of the money do you need to see first before you trust God for the rest? Create if/then decisions and take action. And if you wait for absolute 100% certainty, you’ll never do what God wants for you. Period.

Certainly, more could be said. But I hope this helps you chew over the big questions and that you will refuse to settle for less than God’s best for your life.



Discerning the Will of God: Part 1

I constantly know of people who are struggling to grasp the will of God. This is such a needed and important subject to talk about that I felt it necessary to split into 2 parts regarding individual choices and your life’s direction. To be sure, I believe the two are intertwined. Yet I’m going to deal with them separately as one feeds into the other.


For example:

  • Which college should I go to?
  • Should I ask out that girl?
  • Do I buy that new car?
  • Should I take this job?
  • Should I look for a new church home?
  • Should I vote for this person or that person?

So here are a few things to consider as you discern God’s will for single choices you make:

  1. What does Scripture say? Too many times we are looking for God to speak to us through some kind of sign, when we haven’t even looked to see what He says in His Word. It has been said that 95% of God’s will regarding choices we make are spelled out in His word. If not directly stated, what principles does the Bible talk about regarding, debt, relationships, influence, putting God first, work ethic, etc…
  2. What are the long-term rewards/consequences? every choice bears intended and unintended consequences. For instance, you may be aware that buying that new car will give you a $350/month car payment, but you didn’t realize until after you bought it, that your insurance would go up another$50/month! Think through the obstacles you’ll have to face, whether intentionally or not.
  3. What are the pro’s and con’s? Not just a list. Weigh each one. Any time I make a list of pro’s and con’s, I weigh the pro’s on a scale of 1 to 10, and the con’s on a scale of -1 to -10. This helps me see more than a long list and short list, but how much do those things actually weigh in my decision making.
  4. Have you prayed about it? Now I saved this one for last because of something that often frustrates me regarding people’s prayer life… There are some things that you just don’t need to pray about. Such as, “Do I wear the brown or black belt?” Who cares? Wear the one that matches! Or, “should I sleep with my girlfriend?” God already spoke in His word concerning that, you don’t need to pray about it. But when you have a major decision, yes, you should spend some time praying about it. How much time? That depends on the decision. You may need to spend several days praying about it… and fasting. More on fasting later, though.
  5. What do the people I trust think? Outside of my wife (which should be obvious), I have a handful of people that I go to when making a big choice. Not so that they can tell me what to do, but so that I gain their perspective. We have a saying on our staff when it comes to collaborative thought: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” The people I go to often help me see things that I had not thought about… or that I was trying to ignore. But I’m still responsible for my decision.

I’ll come back later with a slightly different take on the subject of finding God’s will for your life. Til then…




Traffic Rock-Out

I got stared down in traffic the other day while rocking out to some Skillet on my iPod. Awake, good CD! Anyway… I’m certain that I looked ridiculous in traffic playing a crazy air guitar and drum solo. The truck next to me in traffic had two little girls and their Dad getting a good laugh at me rocking out in our minivan.

I’m sure you don’t look nearly as bizarre as me in traffic, but have you ever felt the same way? Like you were excited and passionate about something you felt God wanted you to do, but others were just getting a laugh at your enthusiasm? Or maybe you have something compelling that God has put on your heart, but you’re apprehensive of sharing it with someone else because you don’t think they would get it?

Truth is, you’re probably right. The reason? The same reason I look like a moron in traffic. The people in the other car can’t hear what I hear. And the people critical of your calling don’t hear what God is telling you to do either. If the people in traffic could hear what I was hearing, then maybe they would be moving like I was moving.

If God was telling other people the same thing He was telling you, then maybe they would share your enthusiasm.

But God didn’t tell them. He told you. It doesn’t have to get others excited. Just you. Don’t wait for other people to approve of God’s calling on your life before you obey. And pay no attention to those who don’t get it.

My response to the other people in the other lane, laughing at my traffic time rock-out? I smiled, waved, and kept jamming out.

The music was just too good to stop for the sake of the opinion of someone else.



The phrase no pain, no gain has been a mantra for athletes and fitness junkies for years. And what they understand about physical pain needs to be broadened to a much more general use in all of our lives. Pain hurts. That's the whole problem. No one enjoys it, and if someone does, we rightfully

The Premium of Pain