John Markum

Book Review: “It”

No, not the one by Stephen King! This It is by pastor and church leader, Craig Groeschel about the quality that some churches (and organizations) have that makes them succeed, grow, expand, thrive and have obvious momentum. It’s as if God blesses everything some churches do and they can’t ever mess it up. We don’t know what it is. But we know it when we see it, and we want it too. We also know when we don’t see it. We say things like, “This place just doesn’t have it.”

It’s God’s hand of favor and blessing that, aside from the Holy Spirit, we don’t know how to quantify it. But we want to understand it, because we want it! It talks about “it“, literally. I was most pleased with how much time in the book Groeschel takes to stand upon Biblical principles. He does not take the time to try explaining something that we’re all familiar with, yet cannot articulate. Rather, he talks about where God seems to give it the most, and how we can stand upon solid principle and find ourselves in a position to receive it, use it for the Kingdom, and keep receiving it.

I wanted to pick a favorite page or chapter, but the truth is, this book is full of it! That was a compliment, I swear… Anyone in ministry, or considering going into ministry, should get It, read It, and practice It. I loved It



The Questions You Asked… Part 7

  1. Question: “What did Lucifer do that upset God so much?” Answer: He tried to be God. Isaiah 14:12-14.
  2. Question: “Why did God place the ‘evil tree of doom’ in the garden?” Answer: The tree represented choice. Don’t eat = Be with God. Eat = Be separated from God. Love is not love, if it has no choice. You wouldn’t accept a “love” like that. Neither would God.
  3. Question: What does Heaven look like?” Answer: Words fail to describe it. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things here on earth. Heaven will blows those things away! For a very limited description see Rev. 21-22:5.
  4. Question: “Are Christians justified by faith or by works?” Answer: We are justified by faith through grace (Ephesians 2). Faith is not a work, as some teachers would imply. Our works, however, are an outward expression of our inward faith. You can do good works without faith, but if you have faith, you will do good works. James makes it clear in James 2:14-18.
  5. Question: “Are deathbed confessions legit?” Answer: It was for the thief on the cross, so yes, they can be. I choose not to wait til then, though!
  6. Question: “How is evolution not fact?” Answer: You’re asking me to prove a negative. But I’ll do my best by giving you a few examples, 1) Human population growth rate; by the math of human population growth, we all have a common mother/father within “thousands” of years not millions. If our first parents were millions of years ago, the current population of earth would be well into the trillions – not billions. 2) The life cycle of the sun. A “star” consumes it’s resources over thousands/millions of years getting smaller and smaller. Eventually it gets to a point where it goes from small to massive in size, and then implodes often creating a nova, supernova, or even a blackhole. For earth to be revolving around the sun for billions of years, the sun would have been so massive its size would extend well past earth’s position. 3) Living “fossils” that have been dead for “millions of years”. 4) A distinct lack of missing links – Neanderthal man was an old man who died about in a cave in France and had a severe case of rickets and arthritis. See this interesting article for more possible explanations.
  7. Question: “What is salvation?” Answer: Salvation is putting your trust in the work of Jesus as your only chance of getting to Heaven. It requires you to deny your own self and embrace God’s grace toward you. It’s like dying to yourself to be given the life that Christ gives to all those who call on Him to be saved. If anyone reading this wants to talk to me more about this, nothing would mean more to me than to help you. Email me at: [email protected]

The Questions You Asked… Part 4

  1. Question: “Is it true that there are spirits among us?” Answer: Yes: Angels. Both good and bad (demons). Are there actually dead people’s ghosts walking among us? No. At best, they are demonic impersonations of people who once lived. The Bible refers to people with “familiar spirits” (meaning the demon) and “mediums” who would do this. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, the Bible does talk about it (Leviticus 19:31).
  2. Question: “Exorcism?” Answer: Like, is it a real thing? Oh, yes. I know people who’ve been part of casting a demon from a woman. Horror movies don’t do justice from what eye witnesses tell me. Just know that as a follower of Christ, we are already possessed by the Holy Spirit of God (1 John 4:4). According to Matthew 7:21-23, just because a person casts out a demon from someone in the name of Jesus, doesn’t mean they have a relationship with Jesus.
  3. Question: “Why are there so many religions?” Answer: Because religion is man’s attempt to reach God. It is based on man’s attempts to please deity/deities. Because of that, there are more religious perspectives than there are people on the planet. Jesus did not come to start a religion – He came to replace religion with Himself.
  4. Question: “Why can I not always hear from God?” Answer: Because the teacher is always silent during the test. Your relationship with God is not based on how you feel. Feelings are fickle. Our faith is not in ourselves. Our faith is not even in our faith! Our faith is in the faithfulness of God to love us and guide us even when it feels as though He’s absent.
  5. Question: “What race was Jesus” Answer: Jewish. Thanks for an easy one.
  6. Question: “Where does our sin nature come from?” Answer: James 1:13-15. The real “enemy” is “in-me”. All sin can be narrowed down to one word: “selfishness.” In other words, I sin when I am more interested in what I want rather than what is right, what is good, or what God wants.
  7. Question: “Why do some people struggle with things that others do not (stealing, addictions, homosexuality…)?” Answer: Great question. I suppose the easiest answer is that we are all different. So we all have different strengths and weaknesses. What I struggle with might be no big deal to you, and vice-versa. Notably, most of us struggle over the same 2 or 3 things over and over again. Satan is not extremely creative, he’s just persistent.
  8. Question: “Who was your favorite Power Ranger?” Answer: Green Ranger! He was like this rogue ranger that the other rangers sort of ran into. His Zord was the coolest! It reminded me of Godzilla. Yes, I was a nerd as a kid too…
  9. Question: “How old is the earth?” Answer: By extrapolating the ages of the first humans recorded in the Bible to the point of a known point in time, we estimate the actual age of the earth to be as young as 6,000 years old up to approximately 10,000 years old. “What about carbon dating and stuff?!?” So what? God made a mature earth. He didn’t plant seeds and wait 200 years for it to grow into a massive Sequoia, He just created big, awesome trees. Science strongly favors a young earth concept of creation.
  10. Question: “What happens to your body during the rapture?” Answer: According to 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, we shall be changed into an immortal body like that of Jesus after He rose from the dead.

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