John Markum

Jesus died for Bin Laden

I know everyone is excited about the news this week, and certainly that is understandable. The death of a evil man responsible for countless terrorist attacks against our country specifically, is – at the least – cause for major relief. As a pastor, I have already had several people from my church family ask me how we should respond to the news of the death of America’s #1 terrorist.

On one hand, Bin Laden has killed thousands of American lives. Many of whom did not have a relationship with Christ were sent to an untimely appointment before their Creator. The Bible certainly seems to condone the use of deadly force when required, and is the foundation for capital punishment. (Exodus 21:12)

But on the other hand, Jesus tells us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you…” He says that “By your love for one another, the world will know that you are my disciples.” And the apostle John writes concerning Jesus that He, “died, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.”(1 John 2:1-2)

We must understand that the role of government is first and foremost to protect it’s people. Part of that means holding criminals to the standard of justice for their crimes. Romans 13 even tells us that God has placed authority over us to deliver justice against injustices, and that authority does not “bare the sword in vain.”

Yet as individuals, we are commanded to be a people of love. God restores the old and makes it new. He cleanses dirty, broken lives, and turns them into beautiful works of art, perfect to be used of Him. We must remember that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance.”

So as a nation, it is appropriate for us to rejoice in the ridding of a very dangerous man to the livelihood of our children and neighbors. But as followers of Jesus, we must also remember that He died for every act of terrorism, white lie, lustful thought, pride, greed, selfishness, rape, dishonor, etc… And as terrible as all of that sounds – that God would be willing to extend mercy to someone that badHe also died for me And I know me better than anyone. If God could sacrificially forgive me from my sin, then I must love whomever He loves.

Someone asked, “So are we just suppose to be pacifists in all of this?” the answer: no. Radical love is never passive. Let’s celebrate more about the rising of a Savior than the death of another sinner! We are the church! And we will be known by how we love!



Why you shouldn’t commit suicide

I recently preached at one of our services at Edgewood where I shared with our church that I was once on the brink of taking my life. God brought me through some intense and painful moments in my life to allow me to speak life into someone else who may be considering following through with the last and worst decision of their life. I acknowledge that, statistically, many of my readers here on the blog either have considered or attempted suicide, or have been affected by it through someone close to them who has. If that’s you or someone close to you, I want to give you 4 reasons to put down your selected instrument of death and never go back to that thought again:

  1. It’s Selfish: Suicide is easily the most selfish thing that you can do. If you take your own life, you are saying to the world that you care more about the way you feel right now than how you are going to make everyone you know feel for the rest of their lives. Perhaps you even want to make some of them hurt, but consider all of the collateral damage you would cause. For the rest of their lives these people will have to hurt at the thought of what you did – your parents, siblings, friends, classmates, coworkers, girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, children, church, youth group, pastor, etc…
  2. It’s Permanent: Unlike most of the actual reasons people commit suicide, this is not fixable. It can’t be undone. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Whatever you’re going through right now that is causing you to consider ending it all, there are alternatives to escaping this. Perhaps you’re stuck in an abusive situation… then get out. Go anywhere else. Heck! Hitch-hike to Canada before you just quit! Perhaps you’re experiencing a profound loss. The pain does wear off. New relationships bring comfort and healing. Maybe you were broken up with, or divorced, or abandoned, or lost someone close to you to death. My heart genuinely goes out to you. But just because this is the end of a part of your life, does not mean it is the end of your entire life.
  3. It’s Faithless: God’s faithfulness is the most consistent theme throughout the entire Bible. Not that bad stuff didn’t happen. But God proves His faithfulness even in life’s darkest hours. The Psalmist once wrote, “I wait for You more than they who wait for the morning.” What he means is,“God, I am so sure that You will come through for me that I have even more confidence in You showing up, than the watchmen who are waiting for morning light to show up.” Faith in these moment looks like this – God, this hurts right now, and I want out so bad. But I know that somehow,  this is not where my story ends. And since You haven’t called me home to You yet, I will wait and see how You show up in the middle of this current anguish.
  4. You’ll Miss Out: I was 18 when I almost took my life. If I had ended it all there, I would have missed out on the following: 4 amazing, life-transforming years of college – building several friendships that would last a lifetime – meeting and marrying the most beautiful, compassionate woman in the world –  seeing God show up in miraculous ways – raising 3 (almost 4) incredible kids – finding a loving, empowering church family – playing catch with my little boy – dancing with my little “princesses” in the living room – having tickle parties with my kids – watching my kids give their lives to Christ – seeing them fall in love – walking my girls down the aisle – growing old with my wife – helping countless dozens who have almost taken their lives. Don’t you get it?!? Every great story has moments of doubt, confusion, trial, hopelessness, and darkness. Don’t quit before you get to see your story finish the right way with victory and overcoming the odds.

Don’t put a period in your life, where God has only put a comma. You are worth it. Your story is going to be empowering to someone else. Your greatest moments are still ahead. Pain doesn’t have to just hurt. Make it through this! Trust me! It IS worth it… I would know.



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