John Markum

7 Valentine Ideas for Men

If you’re a dude, you know that you can’t neglect to do “something” for your wife for Valentine’s day. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not be sure what to do. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking in the right direction. By all means, adapt as necessary to woo your woman’s heart…

  1. Come home early. There’s hardly a worse way to begin a night of romancing your wife like trying to hurry her out the door so that you don’t miss a reservation. Take your time.
  2. Flowers. Simple. Easy. And (almost) every woman loves them.
  3. Dinner. Either somewhere decent, or home cooked, but only if you have more in your cooking repertoire past grilling meat.
  4. Dress nicer. Please tell me you have at least one good button-down collar shirt? Tie not required. You’re dating your wife, not taking her back to the wedding altar.
  5. Personal touch. Do at least one thing that is special and unique to the two of you. This shows that you actually planned something. This could be in the form of a gift.
  6. Talk! Don’t go to a movie or anywhere that you are expected to sit quietly. Instead, go for a walk somewhere decent where you can connect.
  7. Memories. Bring up a favorite time the two of you had together, and tell her why you liked that time. Use details.

Be a real man: romance your wife.



Earth Day vs. Good Friday

Earth Day: A day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural resources.

Good Friday: A religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.

This year, Earth Day falls on the same day as Good Friday. An interesting coincidence to be sure. Some who maybe be prone to believing in a general conspiracy might assume that this was done on purpose to somehow attack the Easter season. Frankly, that just isn’t true. Earth Day happens to always fall on April 22, and has been since it was started in 1970. It just so happens that this year, April 22 landed on Good Friday, which is unusually later in the spring than normal. So no conspiracy.

The coincidence of this year’s dual holiday does, however, cause us to consider some points. While Earth Day is focused on saving the planet, Good Friday reminds us that God saved us. Clearly, what Good Friday stands for is far more significant than that of Earth Day. God cares far more about people than planets, and more about souls than recycling. And I long to see the media reflect that, as opposed to the barrage of commercials and spotlights on saving the Earth, to the complete, politically-correct, exclusion of the death of our Savior for the sins of all mankind.

With that one statement, I know many of you are cheering and some of you are about to find a new blog to follow. Before you go though, at least acknowledge that I did not say Earth Day was unimportant, or that taking care of our planet is a waste of time. Because quite fairly, God gave us this planet. He charged us to have dominion over it. He instructed Adam in Genesis 2 to “keep” the garden of Eden. In other words, maintain, conserve, and cultivate. God did create this earth. And God never gives resources without responsibility, and He never gives responsibility without resources. So God expects us to make the best of the natural resources He’s given us.

We should be concerned about oil dependency, pollution, sustainable food sources, smog, eroding farm lands,  and deforestation. We are called to be good stewards of the planet God has given us.

In the big picture, it’s all about Jesus. Jesus dying for us on the cross and rising again the third day. Jesus living a sin-less life in our sinful place. Jesus dying to redeem a broken and dying planet. Jesus rising again to bring us new life. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you know the significance of what today is all about. But taking care of our planet is not in contradiction to anything we believe. In fact, quite the opposite.



P.S. – “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” I Corinthians 10:26 ~ Thanks, Andy! 😉

“Love Wins” Controversy

“I can’t believe in a God that would send someone to a place like Hell.”

“What kind of loving God would send people to Hell?”

“Who gets to decide who gets into Heaven and who has to go to Hell?”

Rob Bell addresses these common questions in his upcoming book, Love Wins, which has already stirred massive controversy by his implications that no one will go to Hell. Below is the video trailer that he himself has released, which is largely responsible for the widespread controversy. I’ll attempt to address the questions he raises as concisely as possible…

  1. “Gandhi’s in Hell? He is?!? And someone knows this for sure?” My Answer: I don’t know. And no human could possibly know for sure.
  2. “Will only a few select people make it to Heaven?” My Answer: As far as the Bible is concerned, yes. Matthew 7:13,14
  3. “And will billions, and billions of people burn forever in Hell?” My Answer: I have no idea how many it will be, but yes, many, many people will go to a real place called Hell. Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:15
  4. “And if that is the case, how do you become one of the few?” My Answer: Turn away from your man-made attempts at pleasing God and pleasing yourself, and give your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus, who lived a sinless life, died as a substitution for humanity, and rose again on the third day proving to be God. John 3:16-19, Romans 3:23-28, Romans 10:9-13
  5. “And then there is the question behind the question. Like: What is God like?” My Answer: This a great question. A loaded question, but a great one. I’ll answer this in a separate blog post this week.
  6. “So what gets subtly caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God.” My Answer: Jesus is God. Jesus dying for humanity is God taking upon Himself His own righteous judgment for man’s rebellion. His holiness demands that wickedness be eliminated. His love demands that mankind be pardoned. The cross is the greatest evidence of God’s holiness and love.
  7. “How can that God ever be good?” My Answer: Bell is defining “good” based on getting what we want (Heaven) without the consequences (Hell). The real question would be, “How could a pure, perfect and holy God allow wicked humanity into His heaven?” But to answer the question, God is good in every sense by virtue of His willingness to die for sinful man, allowing us the opportunity to experience both His love and holiness. Romans 5:6-11, 1 John 4:7-12

I sense that we are no where near done talking about this, and that I a likely to hear from many of you in emails and through the comments. I welcome your interaction, but let’s keep it civil, please. More posts WILL follow about these issues…



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