John Markum

Closer Than You Think

CloserI’ve done some thinking lately over Heaven as part of a new series that we’re doing at LifeCity Church. And in the process of going through Scripture, I’ve noticed a somewhat unrelated pattern about Jesus, and God in general.

Nearly every page of the Gospels is filled with language describing God in very practical, everyday ways.

Jesus specifically tells us that He is:

There are literally hundreds of other titles, and descriptors for Him, but one of my favorites encapsulates my sentiment toward all of them: Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23) – meaning, “God with us.” He really came here. To Earth. To humanity. To us… to me. To you.
The pattern I observe with the specific handful of names and title I shared, is that they are consistent, visible, every-day reminders that He is with us.

Every day when I drink my obligatory water intake for the day, I’m reminded that “He is with me.” And as I need literal water to survive physically, my soul demands the spiritual “living water” to sustain my inner self.
Every meal when I pray to thank Him for another chance to eat, I’m reminded that He is the “Bread of Life” and the true source of my strength and nourishment.
Every entrance, every exit, and every gate I walk through is a reminder that He is not only “The Door,” but “the way, the truth, and the life,” and my one hope of Heaven.
When the suns rays touch my skin, when every other foundation seems shaky but Him – wherever I go, and whatever I do – He. is. THERE!

I’m completely convinced that Jesus used such language to communicate to each of us that very message “I am with you. I will never leave you, or forsake you.” As close as the air in your lungs, and more certain than the rising sun, He’s much closer than we can imagine.

So may we stop looking to the clouds for the sure-to-return Savior, and get back to living in Him right here and now. May we fully experience the life He has for us, as we walk with Him in these “ordinary” moments. And may the day we actually see Him face-to-face feel more like a grand, long awaited reunion from a life of such experiences with Him, and less like a first time introduction.

Pastor John

What I’m Currently Learning


The current season of my life is one of flux and transition. I’m preparing for the biggest step of faith in my life: starting a church and relocating my family to a new area thousands of miles away. I’ve been busy traveling, honing and sharing our vision, preparing my family for the move, raising funds, building our Launch Team, and working hard to finish strong with my sending church. Getting stretched in such definitive ways has been an incredible education! Here are a few of the things that God has been teaching me lately:

  • You can never out-give God. Ever. God has never once asked for more from me than He planned on giving back. We measure our generosity to God in hand-fulls – God measures His generosity to us in ocean-fulls.He’s proven that to me repeatedly over the last year.
  • Trials are opportunities to see God show up. There has never been a trial I’ve experienced that God has not come through for me faithfully as always. But I also get to know Him in more intimate ways than before as I endure hardship and lean into His grace.
  • My wife is the epitome of grace under pressure. Her confidence in me and God’s calling on my life is both inspiring, and gut-check. She honestly has more faith than me sometimes, and I genuinely look up to her more often than she can know. I’m so blessed!
  • I have the best friends in the world. Anything that creates high tension in a persons’ life reveals who their truest friends are. This is true of a death in the family, job loss, or other major life change. And I’ve come to realize that I have been greatly blessed with friends who are willing to stand with us. I’m grateful beyond words for each of you. You know who you are.
  • When you trust God, He blesses in secondary ways. The benefits to submitting to God are seen in the obedience itself. However, God also seems to consistently bless my life in peripheral areas to my obedience to Him.
  • Be confident. The most repeated command in all of Scripture is “fear not.” I constantly remind myself of the promises I alone have heard from God.
  • Stay teachable. I’ve discovered a tension between presenting myself as “I’m confident and thorough,” and “I’m arrogant and full of myself – you couldn’t possibly teach me anything.” But the truth is, I am acutely aware of my deficiencies and want to learn everything I can from those whom I can learn from. I’ve read more in the last six months than the previous two years. I’ve joined a coaching network. I’ve been to multiple conferences. And I regularly connect with other leaders who know me and have access to speak over my life and ministry.

That’s a little of what God is teaching me very directly right now. There’s nothing like learning on the job!

Pastor John

It’s Time!

I’ve talked a lot lately about a momentum I feel here at Edgewood. As we experience God’s hand of favor we have seen more and more people getting connected to our church family, more individuals giving their lives to Christ in faith, going public with their faith through baptism, inviting friends to church with them, watching their friend’s life get changed by the Gospel, plugging into a ministry and serving, and on we could go. Regardless of how you slice it, there is something powerful taking place in our church!

Some critic out there is thinking, “It’s not all about the numbers, you know!” And they would be right (kinda). So why do we make such a big deal about the numbers? Why do we geek out over 1,880 people coming to our Easter weekend services, and a baptism rate that is on pace for 100+ new baptisms in 2011? Because they are not just numbers. Each number represents a life that is being changed. A marriage being restored. A teenager coming back home. A person far from God being awakened with life in Christ. A casual attender becoming a committed member. A shy, insecure woman boldly proclaiming to the world her faith in Jesus through baptism. And when we look at those statistics, make no mistake: we are all about the numbers!

And it’s when I look at the way God has been blessing us and moving in our people, that I’m overwhelmed with the thought that this is just the beginning. It is time for each of us to get serious about the calling that God has placed on our lives and on our church. This is not the time for the church to grow complacent about the impact God is bringing us. This is not the time to back down. We can not take this for granted! Instead, this is the time for each of us to rise into the holy anointing God has for all of His people, and for this church specifically.

  • If you are a committed member, stay faithful! Your commitment to the ministry of this church is producing a great impact for the Kingdom of God. Thank you for your faithfulness!
  • If you have been observing Edgewood from the sidelines, it’s time to get in the game! You were created to have a part in this move of God. Join us in turning the QC upside down with the Gospel!
  • If you have never shared what God is doing here with anyone else, step out of your comfort zone and invite someone to see it for themselves. We have 4 services every weekend, so there’s room for everyone!
  • If you are far from God, out of church, or burnt-out on church, I’m not saying we’re perfect, or even that we are the only thing God is doing in our city. What I am saying, is that God is doing some amazing things here and you have GOT to see this for yourself! We happen to be a little excited about it…



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