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!



“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…



What I want to say to The Awakening this morning:

Good morning church!

I want to share just a few things with you that were on my heart this morning…

  1. First of all, you are amazingly gifted, loved, and equipped to accomplish everything that God has called you to today. Walk in victory! You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you! Romans 8:37
  2. We are continuing our series, “Relationships: Mothers, Brothers, and Others” this Saturday by talking about love – just in time for Valentine’s Day. Make it a point to be there this week, and bring a guest with you! We have special gifts for each of our first time guests.
  3. We are having Connecting Point next week, Feb. 19th, immediately after our worship time. Connecting Point is about 30 minutes long, and we provide some food and drinks, and give you an opportunity to learn more about our church family and how you can be a part of what God is doing here.
  4. Take the time to get connected to a ministry! Serve somewhere. Be a part of what God is doing here so that people far from God may be awakened with life in Christ! Mark “Serve somewhere” on the back of your connection card this Saturday and we’ll talk to you about finding a place to serve.
  5. Our website is changing and is a work in progress. It is almost complete, but please be patient as it is under some development. We do still encourage you to check it out, and direct others to the website to learn more about our Saturday night service in the meantime.
  6. We still have opportunities for some of you to go on a Missions Trip to Wichita, KS with us this summer (June 5-10). If you would like to consider going on this trip, be sure to grab an information packet this Saturday, and ask me any questions about the trip after the service in the foyer. We will need commitments soon!
  7. Be in prayer for what God is doing in our church! This Saturday, I will take a little bit of time to share with you how God has been leading our senior pastor, staff, and myself, and how that affects our church. I’m very excited to bring this to you, and I am praying now that you will be there to hear it first hand.

Your pastor loves you! I pray for you everyday. I hope that today includes God’s greatest blessings, and opportunities for you to experience His faithfulness like never before. I can’t wait to worship with you again on Saturday!


Pastor John

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