John Markum

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…




Unplanned Day Off

This week in the Quad Cities, almost everyone was graciously given a free day off of work, school, etc. courtesy of the snow. But for myself, many of our readers, and perhaps yourself, taking an extra day off just puts you behind. And some things must get done every week regardless of what the weather did, who got sick, or what kind of family crisis broke out. I couldn’t show up this Saturday for The Awakening and apologize for not having a message to preach since I couldn’t get into my office because of the snow. That’s just not good enough, and chances are that you have your own high demands that don’t take vacation days, sick days, or snow days. So to stay on target, you and I must have a plan for these unplanned days off. Most likely, your plan will consist of answering a few of the following questions:

  • What can I do from home? Obviously this depends on your resources since you’re not in your typical work place. You also have to manage distractions, and the fact that you should take some of the time to recuperate (especially if your unplanned day off is because you’re sick).
  • What can wait? Maybe some things can get postponed this week.
  • When can I make it up? Perhaps you go in early the next day. Or stay late. Or both.
  • Where can I cram? Maybe you take 2 hours preparing a certain report. This week you can get it done in 1 hour. Maybe not your most careful work, but it will pass this week.
  • What can I delegate? Your friend covers your shift this week and you get him back next time.
  • What can get skipped? Some things may be possible and necessary to skip altogether. If that’s the case though, you kind of have to ask, “Why do I do this any week?!?”

Hope you had a fun snow day and that no one got hurt out on the roads.



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