John Markum

“Over-The-Top” Love


“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overtake you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
Isaiah 43:1-3

So my youngest daughter learned quite awhile ago that a “million” was the biggest number she could think of. So anything she perceived as much more than she could count was simply labeled as “a whole million!” So we get to use this on her in fun ways that make since to her rough means of estimation. Even now, my favorite way to tell her how much she means to me is to say, “Kali, Daddy loves you a whole million!”

God consistently speaks to His people with the same kind of over-the-top language. Clearly, God understands our insecurities and doubts! And yet, more often than not, He doesn’t seem as frustrated with us as He does reassuring. You see, God understands our fears and longs to replace them with confidence in Himself – we refer to that confidence in God simply as faith.
Because of that, God tends to use these over-the-top descriptions such as this one in Isaiah 43 to make one thing clear: God doesn’t break His promises.

I know that as you read this, many of you may feel like you have been drowning, figuratively speaking, or like you have been burned by some circumstance you had to go through. Heck, you might be going through such events in your life right now. “Where was God then?!” I know the feeling, and quite frankly, I’ve been there too, trust me. As a pastor, I often am required to carry burdens that I must bear in silence. Things that were not right for me to share, or that I would be unable to receive outside help for anyway. I’m certain that many of you know just what that’s like.
But God did not promise that we’d never go through a storm, fire, or flood. His promise was not that life would be easy, but that He would see us through the circumstances of life’s difficulties. Always.
In some ways, the trials and struggles we endure are the best part of our stories – they give us milestones to mark God’s presence in our lives. I’d rather experience God delivering me through unbelievable odds, than to have a care-free life. Because we all know there will be trials, this promise motivates us to lean hard into God’s grace, the only thing we possess that consistently sees us through each mess life throws at us.
And God makes it clear that in the face of impossible obstacles, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us and gave Himself for us.”

By the way, that comes from another place where we see God’s over-the-top promises. Romans 8:38, 39 tells us that,

nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Kali Markum translation? “God loves us A WHOLE MILLION!”

Rest in God’s promise to love you no matter what! If you’ve never opened yourself up to God’s love, consider beginning a relationship with Jesus today. You can trust Him. He’ll never leave you. Put your full faith and confidence in His over-the-top love.

Pastor John

12 Reasons to Attend Edgewood on Saturday Nights

Edgewood is an awesome church with 3 great worship services for adults, and a first-class youth service for our students every weekend. I lead the Saturday night service, sometimes known as The Awakening. Regardless of whether you attend one of these services now, have been thinking about getting back in church, or haven’t set foot in a church in forever, here are a few reasons why you might consider making Saturday nights at Edgewood your regular weekly worship experience:

  1. Sleep in on Sundays, guilt free.
  2. Awesome children’s ministry.
  3. Be part of a newer, growing service.
  4. More parking available than Sundays.
  5. You like this blog and want to hear me preach.
  6. You’ve been meaning to get back in church anyway.
  7. Create more seating for others on Sundays.
  8. Upbeat, passionate worship.
  9. Relaxed, friendly, come-as-you-are atmosphere.
  10. Exciting teaching series on practical issues.
  11. Still part of Edgewood.
  12. Much more…

See you Saturday at 6 pm. For more about our Saturday night worship experience, go to



Of Heaven and Hell

It seems as if there are times in everyone’s life that are marked with concentrated periods of stress, trouble, and tough times. It always seems to come in waves:

  • First you fight with your spouse over finances and the lack of time you’ve spent together.
  • You get to work and find out that your hours are getting cut in half.
  • Because you’ve been moved from full-time to part-time you realize you now lose your company-paid benefits as well.
  • On the way home the car starts overheating.
  • You check the mail on your way in to see the familiar stack of bills, that seem to be constantly rising.
  • You share all of this info with your spouse who starts to cry.
  • She then tells you all of the problems in her day: house, kids, depleted savings account, etc…
  • A family member called her because her mother (5 states away) is in critical care at the hospital.
  • To top it off, she suspects that she’s also pregnant.

Sound familiar? This story is not entirely hypothetical. More than likely, you have your own lyrics to the same song. There’s an entire message I could preach here about God’s grace through life’s difficulties, and His faithfulness to see us through. Or I could talk about the fact that God is not putting us through the fires of life to burn us, but to forge our faith and promote us to another level of His blessings. All of that would be true.

Instead I want to share a story and a simple thought that I got once from an amazing man, pastor, father, and mentor in my life from years back when I was in high school. His name is Norwood Tadlock. I went to school with all three of his kids. I knew him as my Bible teacher at my Christian high school. His wife passed away while I was still a teenager. Making similar observations as I have above, he once pointed out to me:

For those of us who know Christ, this is as close as we will ever get to Hell.

That’s a relief. The Bible even tells us that compared to Heaven, our present sufferings are but “a light affliction that is working for us a far greater weight in glory!” God is not minimizing our pain. He is simply encouraging us that one day, all of this will seem very small in comparison to Heaven. But “brother Tadlock” didn’t stop there. He quickly made the opposite observation:

For those who do not know Christ, this is as close as they will ever get to Heaven.

Frightening. And not what God wants for them, either. These thoughts coming on the back of a week full of natural disasters, false prophets, hurting people within my church, hurting people outside of church, and trying to pastor others through this messy thing called life, make me think 2 things:

1)   Heaven must be unimaginably amazing. I want everyone to go there.

2)   Hell must be unimaginably terrible. I don’t want anyone to go there – not even my worst enemy.

Let’s stop trying to guess at the day that Jesus is coming for us since He said that “no one knows the day, nor the hour of the coming of the Son of man,” and let’s get passionate about seeing people far from God awakened with life in Christ. We have a world to change. Let’s “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” and make a difference.



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