Giving Tuesday – How Much Should I Give?

Today is #GivingTuesday and I am thankful for all the people who have given towards the vision of 217church to help rebuild lives in Mercer County, NJ over these past seven years!  All gifts today will go towards helping us buy a piece of land to build a church for the glory of God in Mercer County, NJ.   Click here to GIVE an online gift.  Read more about our Accelerate land vision here.

Do you remember getting your first ever paycheck?  Man what a rush!  Then, sudden frustration towards a guy named FICA taking 7% of my paycheck!  I was a bus boy at a local restaurant and at 14 years of age I felt like I was on top of the world.  Money changes you.  In my family growing up I had watched both my parents and my brother practice giving to my local church.  10% first to God’s work, no questions asked.  It was just what we did, and man am I thankful my family taught me the foundations of a lifestyle of giving.  I think most ALL of us reading this post would agree that we should all be GIVERS.  I mean c’mon!  Especially if you claim to follow the teachings of Jesus there is almost no possible way to claim the lifestyle of a disciple and not be a financial giver.  Now let me be clear, I am not just talking about giving to a local church.  But for anyone who wants to fully follow Jesus, the money under your care MUST point to a acknowledgement and dependance on Jesus.  How you handle money is a way you prove your faith in God.

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

There have been so many incredible stories I have experienced both personally and church wide, of people listening to God and giving.  They are too numerous to list here.  Last year over 400 families gave a financial gift to our church.  Easily, that is over 5,000 acts of worship through financial giving.  This is the church in action fulfilling the vision!  Your giving and your handling of the money God has entrusted you with IS a spiritual issue.  But many of us have lived with guilt, frustration and even abstaining from talking about giving habits because of pain, debt, mistrust and let’s be honest, a hard heart.  If this is you the enemy is ripping you off!  So what do I do?

How MUCH Should I Give?

1.  Start Somewhere – Maybe the one “thing” holding back your faith is a reliance on things.  Once you think you rely on things and more of them, your trust in God goes down.  Giving proves you aren’t self sufficient.  If you have never made a gift or it has been a very long time.  It is time to take the first step and make and offering to God.  Ask him to bless it, use it.  be bold and ask God to show you more fully his plan for His money, remember it’s not really yours, you cant take it with you.  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20   

WHAT YOU GIVE THE ENEMY CAN’T STEAL.

2.  What God Tells You – What?  Am I listening for the audible voice of God?  Maybe, but for most of us, it won’t happen that way.  The above verse frees us from guilt and compulsion motivations.  Does this mean if someone is tithing it’s wrong?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  What matters is the heart of the giver, not the percentage of the gift.  Our motivation should be to give AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!  Now, that’s probably not something you have prayed lately.  Once we reduce giving to a check box or a legalistic matter, our heart will become corrupted.  We may even think we are better than someone else because we give and they don’t. Be careful though, comparison is NEVER the pathway to spiritual maturity.  Also, don’t let this one be an excuse to rationalize giving less and don’t let the enemy sneak into your budget and steal your blessings with material things!  

WHEN YOU GIVE THERE IS GREAT JOY AND ANTICIPATION.

3.  In Rhythm  –  Often giving in rhythm helps you determine the amount to give.  Did you get paid this week, there is your answer.  Now, talk to God, your wife, your kids, and  give first.  Is 10% your percentage?  I would suggest you are never going to go wrong with that. In Malachi 3 God says “test me.” However often you get paid there should be a moment of reverence when you set aside your gift before the Lord to acknowledge his provision in your life.  You see, every time you get paid is an opportunity for spiritual growth.  Give by cash, Give by check, Give online, Give by text, It really doesn’t matter how, but give in rhythm.  Give as a BOLD declaration of your trust in God to give you more.  You should love getting paid because it means you can NOW give!  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

WHEN YOUR GIVING IS CONSISTENT IT IS A SOURCE OF CLARITY IN YOUR LIFE.

4.  In Faith – Some of us have been tithing for a very long time.  This is a very commendable thing.  Continue to excel in this discipline! Keep going!  It’s incredible what you have done by faith.  Over $4 Million over the life of 217church in the past 7 years!  Now, I have heard of Christ followers upset at others for not “doing their part” You may even feel this way in your heart.  Never make your giving based on what others have given.  Tithing 10% is like training wheels on a bike.  It’s there to teach us the discipline and we weren’t meant to stop there but simply start there.  Once you ride on training wheels you will want to take them off and ride like a big boy, of course!  So let me ask you a question…Who feels like Barnabas today?  

Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”  Acts 4:36-37  I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a tithe but a gift of faith.  When you give, something wonderful happens, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

DON’T JUST GIVE WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN, BUT GIVE WHAT CHALLENGES YOUR FAITH.

There is a little known verse in Proverbs that may be the best wisdom on giving you will ever here.  Try praying this and let me know how this changes you.  You won’t be the same if you implement this…

“give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.”

Proverbs 30:8-9

Click here to give an online gift today

MORE ABOUT OUR ACCELERATE VISION HERE:  (Please note: If you are viewing video on a Mobile Device you must scroll to bottom and enable “DESKTOP MODE”)

Josh

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Thanksgiving – Your Father is Filthy Rich

10 Things that Accelerate Vision:  Principle #5 – Acceptance

Many of you know last Friday was a landmark day for our family.  We finalized the adoption of our three new sons, Eddy, Godfrey, and William.  I wish you could have been in the courtroom as the judge made the final ruling that the Conn family was officially EIGHT!  Eight New Jersey Conn’s!  This experience has profoundly changed my heart.  Each one of my children holds a place of love in my heart and these three new children are no different.  The longer I live, the more I understand the power of love and acceptance.  We are God’s children and we are to love as He first has loved us.

Principle #5 – Acceptance exemplifies love which communicates the Gospel louder than anything.

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“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will… In him we have obtained an inheritance”   Ephesians 1:5,11

So here we are at another Thanksgiving season.  This simple verse above has so much to say about the human condition and the need for us to know we are acceptable to God and therefore are to accept others.  Acceptance is at the core of human decency.  Every day we have the opportunity to communicate love in its simplest form through kindness, giving, sharing and perhaps most difficult sometimes, forgiveness, even when someone doesn’t deserve it.  Because Jesus accepts us, we get an inheritance.  I have a VERY RICH FATHER and so do you.

Your Inheritance From Your Filthy Rich Father…

#1  You Were Planned – “He predestined us…”  You are not an accident, period.  Everything else is a lie.  No matter who has rejected you, humiliated, or demeaned you, your life was planned.  This inherently means you have value.  No matter if your biological family provides for you and loves you, You have been accepted by Jesus.  The whole idea of being predestined blows my mind.  It simply means Jesus knew us and knows us. #acceptance

#2 You Are Protected and Provided for – “…for adoption to himself…”  You are a part of the family of God.  Now, for many of us the idea of family is painful, but the way Jesus does family is breathtaking.  He protects us as our Father.  At the adoption hearing, the judge proclaimed that my new children had “rights to my inheritance.” Beautiful!  This means as a child of God, you have an inheritance. Here is what you need to remember:  An inheritance is a gift of grace not earned.  Your inheritance includes eternal life starting NOW.  The inheritance includes the privilege to be the church now and then walk in heaven in your new spiritual body. #acceptance

#3 You Have Power – “…as sons through Jesus Christ…”  It is through Jesus and his resurrection power that your eternal life has been sealed.  The strength that dwells within you is of monumental significance.  Because of Jesus in us, we have the power of spoken word, authority over demonic forces, love that is greater, and the power in us to live in a way that is other worldly.  At Thanksgiving, we even see the image of God revealing himself through people who were created in His image who haven’t acknowledged it yet.  Show His power through #acceptance this Thanksgiving.

#4 You Have Purpose – “…according to the purpose of his will.”  Once you start living for the will of God, everything changes.  It transforms how you treat your spouse, how you talk to your kids, how you treat those you work with, even how you choose to spend your money and how much you give away.  Open hands are to define our revelation of God to the world through #acceptance.  Many times we search for a BIG PURPOSE.  However, you will only find the BIG PURPOSE if you start with the small things. Your purpose is to show love and forgiveness in the small things.  And here is the hard part…It starts with those who live under your roof and also share your last name.  Forgive, accept and thrive with your family this Thanksgiving.

Thank you so much for the countless people who have prayed and journeyed with us during this season.  

May you sense the love of God and extend acceptance to people this day.

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Join us at 217church for our SERIES #Unstoppable – This Sunday at 10:30am is a special Thanksgiving service.

November 27 – Unstoppable Miracles – Romans 4:17-25, Matthew 6:9-12

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we moved out of the Theater Click HERE 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Sacrifice – It’s Worth It

10 Things that Accelerate Vision:  Principle #4 – Sacrifice

Veteran’s Day was this Friday – Anything worth pursuing is worth sacrificing for!  Meet my Dad and Mom, Don and Lori Conn.  My father a USMC Vietnam veteran and faithful husband of 47, yes that is Forty-Seven years.  I have parents who love and understand the principles of sacrifice.  I am blessed to have their example and their legacy to live through.  I was raised in the family context of two people who understand what it means to sacrifice for Jesus, their family, and yes their fellow countrymen.

Principle #4 – Sacrifice communicates the priority of what is truly Important

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Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas, a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”  Acts 4:36

The beginnings of the church are marked with deep sacrifice.  The church first started with Jesus setting the example, laying down His life for all humanity.  Then eventually the seeds and culture of sacrifice became evident.  In one scripture above we see a man named Barnabas sold a field and gave it to the church to advance the Gospel.  Obviously, Barnabas was using this land to make money for himself, BUT he decided he wanted it to be used for a greater purpose than just personal profit.  The church is supposed to model this ALL THE TIME in EVERY area of our lives.

Our church, 217church, JUST made an offer on a piece of land.  After seven years, the elders unanimously sense God calling us to pursue a permanent place in Robbinsville, NJ.  This ride is going to be fun, but one thing is for sure, it WILL require sacrifice.

Why Sacrifice is WORTH IT…

#1  Perspective – Sacrifice helps you to take a step back and determine what you really NEED and WHO you trust to provide for you.  Making a sacrifice will require you to have faith.  #Faith always changes your perspective.

#2 Prioritization – Once you start to sacrifice it reorganizes your priorities.  Too many times our priorities get out of balance.  Making a sacrifice helps us reorder our life.

#3 Power –  Show me a group of people willing to sacrifice for a common goal and I will show you the undeniable power in a group.  Our church is no different.  When EVERYONE participates in the sacrifice, it changes everyone.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the next steps as we sacrifice together.

Come together and we will accelerate the vision!

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Join us at 217church and our SERIES #Unstoppable, as we study through the book of Romans together.

November 13 – Unstoppable Faith – Romans 3:21-31

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we moved out of the Theater Click HERE 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Unity – Without it You’re Toast

10 Things that Accelerate Vision:  Principle #3 – Unity

Meet Mel and Pat!  Over the next 10 weeks I will be sharing one attribute every week that is proven to accelerate vision.  This week is #3 Unity.  Seven years ago when we first started 217church Mel and Pat were there.  They came from our mother church faithful and willing to do whatever was needed to plant the church.  For seven years now they have graced the entryways of 217church, with their warmth, smiles and welcoming demeanor.  They have greeted thousands of people over the past seven years.  When I found out they were leaving for North Carolina, I was sad, but have marveled at their ability to serve quietly and promote unity.

Principle #3 – We Must Serve in Unity

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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace..”  Ephesians 4:1-3

Unity requires steadfastness.  You see, I have never heard either of these amazing people complain once in seven years.  NOT ONCE.  I never heard them say something should be different. and never did I EVER feel like they had an agenda for our church.  Maybe it’s because Mel is a retired Lt. Colonel in the Army and understands loyalty at it’s deepest level.  They are faithful, loyal and the best of the best.  They understand what #UNITY means.  This Wednesday as they came to their final 217group in Bordentown, I watched as a small group family celebrated the ministry and faithfulness of a dynamic couple.  What an incredible legacy they are leaving here in New Jersey.  They remember being a part of our mother church BEFORE THEY had a building.  If we are going to go forward, purchase land, build a building and do all God desires for us to do, WE MUST HAVE UNITY!

How To Maintain Unity…

#1 No Complainers – I love it when I meet people who always just find a way to make something better instead of complain about it.  This is Mel and Pat.  I’m sure our hospitality ministry could be “better”,  but I never heard it from them.  They just MADE IT BETTER!  Next time you think about COMPLAINING about your team, COMPLEMENT someone on your team.

#2 No Doubt – You gotta believe!  They have always promoted and spoken positively about their church.  We are going in this direction together and it is certain.  There is nothing like being a part of a group of people who don’t doubt your leadership, our calling together and the possibility of what God could do.  Confidence inspires commitment and I love it when doubt is removed.  THE VISION WILL HAPPEN!  I never have doubted their belief in the vision.

#3 Disagreement without Disunity –  If we all agreed about everything that would be unrealistic!  Processing disagreement in God honoring, peaceful ways is the ONLY way to operate.  Our team disagrees about things all the time, but when we walk out of the room, we are one.

#4 Mutual Yielding –  No one person gets their way all the time, and learning to subject ourselves to others in ministry is powerful.  This is how the church works.  I see this on our church staff and leadership all the time.  As one body, one church, one powerful church, we are moving forward!

Come together and we will accelerate the vision!

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Join us at 217church and our SERIES #Unstoppable, as we study through the book of Romans together.

October 30 – Unstoppable Jesus – Romans 2:17-29

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we moved out of the Theater Click HERE 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Expectation – You Need Some

10 Things that Accelerate Vision:  Principle #2 – Expectation

I love the moment right before take off – It’s a total rush!  Over the next 10 weeks I will be sharing one attribute every week that is proven to accelerate vision.  This week is #2 Expectation.  These are essential if we are to take our vision further faster.  These lessons don’t just apply to our church, but to every area of our lives. What will it take to #accelerate the vision of our lives and our church?

Principle #2 We must believe with EXPECTATION

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“Without fatih it is impossible to please God.”  Hebrews 11:6

Expectation inspires commitment.  I’ll never forget leaving for Marine Corps boot camp on a plane as an 18 year old boy.  I say boy because boot camp was part of my essential journey of becoming a man.  Everything in me wanted to be a United States Marine.  My father was a Marine and there was something about the experience that for some reason was alluring.  I wanted to serve my country.  I wanted to challenge myself.  Everything from the motto, “The few the proud the Marines,” to the sharpness of the uniform and challenge of serving my country.  I never went in doubting I could be a Marine.  After all my dad did it, My Grandfather did it, My uncles did it.  And I was EXPECTED TO DO IT.  I was committed to the process without wavering and without compromise

Why Expectation is Important

#1 Increasing Faith – No doubt there will be things we are called to do as a church and in our lives that will challenge us.  We can’t do it, but God will do it for us.  Our faith will increase.

#2 Community – The group of people I graduated boot camp with were incredible young men.  We will always have that shared experience.  To this day, whenever I meet a Marine, any Marine, there is a brotherhood that can’t be broken.

#3 Hope –  You need hope.  No matter what you are hoping for:  Paying off your debt, graduating from college or high school, a different place to live, a wife or husband, a son or daughter to forgive you; No matter what it is, you must hold out hope!

Expect it and you will accelerate the vision!

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Join us at 217church and our SERIES #Accelerate – Let’s celebrate what God has done through 217church this Sunday!

 

October 16 – Courageous Sacrifice – Sharon School in Robbinsville 10:30 am Combined service

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we are moving out of the Theater Click HERE 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

10 Things That Accelerate Vision

Over the next 10 days I will be sharing one attribute a day that is proven to #accelerate vision.  These are essential if we are to take our vision further faster.  These lessons don’t just apply to our church, but to every area of our lives. What will it take to #accelerate the vision of our lives and our church?

Principle #1 We must lead from a place of HUMILITY –

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“The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”  Proverbs 22:4

I am tired of people who have all the answers, aren’t you? What blesses a ministry, a work place, a home, and a life is humility.  I’ll gladly take a person who is humble and who has integrity over a know it all friend or co-worker any day.  Show me unconditional loyalty with no entitlement and I will naturally want to walk alongside you.  A lot of people have vision based on ego, this is corrupt and evil.  If we depend on Jesus we get His vision and we then develop our trust in him.  This has to be done with humility.  Before I release and call someone a leader, I want to see if they can serve someone else’s vision.  Here is the BIG IDEA: I must follow, then maybe I can lead.

The Three Phases of Humility 

#1 Testing – This is where you find out how humble you really are.  You probably won’t have it your way and you won’t be in control. When things don’t go your way and circumstances seem dire, you find out how humble you really are and how comfortable you are with being “less than” perfect.

#2 Tenacity – Facing your own inadequacy is humbling and sobering.  If you are to develop a clear picture of humility, you will need to depend on God and others in ways you never thought possible.  If you think you are always right, you don’t get it.

#3 Triumph – You WIN!  That’s right, he who is last becomes first.  Now be careful, the moment you claim humility is the moment your pride rises up and crushes it.  Be weary of your pride, place others in front of you and seek always to give and advance others.  A truly humble person ALWAYS sees the larger purpose and the win for EVERYONE ELSE.

Humility will accelerate your spiritual growth and your proper visionary capacity faster than anything I know. Is this as hard for you as it is for me?

 

Join us at 217church and our NEW SERIES #Accelerate – Let’s celebrate what God has done through 7 years of 217church in our final Sunday at the theater!

October 2 – Looking Back – Hamilton AMC 24 10:30 am Combined service.

October 9 – Looking Forward – Sharon School in Robbinsville  10:30 am Combined service

October 16 – Courageous Sacrifice – Sharon School in Robbinsville 10:30 am Combined service

For more on our NEW SEASON and Why we are moving out of the Theater Click HERE 

Let’s Buy Some Land 217church!

I am so excited about the next season of 217church as we plan to purchase land!  In case you missed it, We have transitioned into combining into ONE CAMPUS at the Robbinsville Sharon School on Sundays.  Watch video below to hear the news from Sunday.  I’m looking forward to all God has for us…Every life counts!  Just this last Sunday I spoke with a first time family that said,  “We have never experienced anything quite like 217church!  We felt the presence of God and are definitely coming back and our kids loved it!”

UPDATE 11-29-16:  We have put an offer on a piece of land and have already received pledges and gifts of $175,000!  We need $75,000 more in order to have the necessary funds to close on the property.  Our December 31, 2016 goal is $250,000.  

 

Help complete the $250K vision:  GIVE HERE to the Accelerate Building Fund

(Please note: If you are viewing video on a Mobile Device you must scroll to bottom and enable “DESKTOP MODE”)

4 Reasons We Have Combined Our 2 Campuses –

#1 Land Purchase –  We feel called to move towards a more permanant location and purchase a piece of property in order that we can build.  We have been a mobile church for seven years and we are ready to take the next step in our development.  We have identified a piece of land and are planning on making an offer as soon as we have the required resources.

Key Prayer:  Favor with the township and people of Robbinsville as we continue to serve

#2 Unity   As we streamline our ministry, we will continue to do incredible work through our 217groups in Hamilton and other townships.  Both of our weekend ministry teams will be combining and the process has started to leverage these teams.  Meeting together in One Service will allow us all to worship and pray together during this season.

Key Prayer:  For unity and increased relationships in our church family

#3 Saving Resources – As we transition, we will be saving $70,000 in rental space costs per year.  This just makes sense for us right now as we simplify and gather our resources in order to make sacrifices going forward.

Key Prayer:  Provision of $200-$250K in resources to make this offer on the land

#4 Urgency –  The time is now – God is calling us forward and we must move swiftly to capitalize on this momentum.

Key Prayer:  For energy and open doors going forward

Listen to our Sunday PODCAST on the Go HERE

Watch the full message “Our Strategic Advantage” Here:

As Joshua is commissioned as the new leader of the Hebrew nation, his vision is clear and so is his advantage.  God is with Him.  If we are to walk into this new season where we have strategic advantage, we must have these four attitudes: No turning back, no limits, no doubts, and no excuses.

 

5 Marks of an Incredible Team

We HAVE HUGE NEWS at 217church today. It just so happens today is the Day many as well have been waiting for – the kickoff of the NFL Sunday season.  The preparation, the anticipation and the signal of a NEW SEASON.  I can guarantee you one thing, the overarching quality that makes for an incredible team that will be in the next Superbowl is…CHEMISTRY.  The qualities listed below create attractive, effusive chemistry.  Incredible teams don’t have perfect people but everyone understands their role and what the goal is…WIN.  This is Exhilarating!

It’s not personal ego or accomplishment that matters, but in the end it’s what is on the SCOREBOARD. 

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In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”  Nehemiah 4:20

Teams rally together and in the case of a church, if God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Our scoreboard is lives rebuilt, small groups living sent on mission, and disciples made.  All of these things happen through teams.  From the beginning, everything we have done has been around the idea of teams.  It exciting to be a part of an INCREDIBLE team.  

5 Marks Of An Incredible Team…

#1 Unselfishness –  When one person gets all the credit, the team is dysfunctional.  Unselfishness seeks to advance others for the betterment of the team and the advancement of the cause.  When one person makes decisions based on what is best for them rather than the team, it all falls apart.  Unselfish people are constantly early for the meeting.

QUESTION:  Do you look out more for yourself or others?

#2 Reliability   Not just when things are good but even more so when things aren’t looking good.  If you disappear when things get rough, your hurting the team.  It’s easy to be a part of a team when things are great, but your true commitment is tested when you don’t see a solution. Reliable people are present through ALL circumstances and they KEEP their word.

QUESTION:  Do you support or subvert the vision when things get tough?

#3 Clarity – The greatest teams I have been about are clear and concise about what the common goal is.  This happens when people understand how what they do fits with the overarching vision.  Where there is clarity there has already been great conviction.  WE MUST do this, WE WILL do this, NO MATTER WHAT, THIS IS HAPPENING!  The vision is razor sharp, easy for people to see and experience.

QUESTION:  Is your team clear about what your team is about?

#4 Urgency –  Look, there is limited time to complete the vision.  Working diligently to accomplish something that has a noble purpose should not be intentionally delayed.  For our church, the urgency is critical.  If we don’t work quickly, people go hungry, kids don’t find Jesus, parents lose direction, people lose hope, the enemy temporarily wins.  Now is the time!

QUESTION:  Are you complacent or compelled when it comes to your team’s vision?

#5 Honor – This may be the most important of all the qualities.  When honor is present there is a deep respect of the people you are working with and for.  People matter to God and their gifts are to be encouraged.  No gossiping, no side conversations, not a critical spirit.  But encouragement, direct communication and love for one another.

QUESTION:  Are you a complainer or a champion of unity?

Wear your favorite team jersey this Sunday and get ready to be a part of an incredible TEAM!  Go 217church!  What else would you add to this list?  Can’t wait to share the HUGE NEWS with you!

Josh

Our Next Series study of the Book of Romans Starts September 18

Unstoppable Banner

September 18 – Unstoppable Gospel

September 25 – Unstoppable Grace

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Courage For a New Season

Next Tuesday I am sending my six children BACK TO SCHOOL!  Mostly there is excitement for my kids, but I’m sure underneath the surface it isn’t all anticipation and joy.  Do you remember the first day of school?  So much anticipation every year with new friends, new teachers, and many times a new school.  Inevitably something creeps into our mind though…FEAR.   What will happen?  Fear makes cowards of us all and makes us want to give up, sometimes even before we start.  That’s right, the most debilitating four letter word known to man is FEAR.  It will destroy you.  But what does it take to have courage in this new season of your life?

“Courage isn’t having all the answers, but believing God has them.”

road-sign-courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Growing up this verse above was on my wall.  I would read it every day.  Eventually it stuck in my brain and somewhere along the way it made its way into my heart.  What am I trying to say?  DON’T GIVE UP!

What It Takes To Have Courage 

#1 No Turning Back –  “Let go of your past and embrace today.

Life will NEVER be the same.  There I said it.  This may be hard news, but fear of stepping forward many times has to do with the debilitating effects of past experiences.  This pain can cripple us, but we must use our pain as a powerful motivator of what is to come.  The Israelites knew pain.  A whole generation died, the people were in slavery.  You can’t go back, things will NEVER be the same, and you have to let go.  The past will either paralyze you, Preoccupy you, or prostrate you before God.

#2 No Limits –  “Vision makes some people nervous, but it inspires others.”

There really are no limits to what God can do.  This doesn’t mean God WILL do it, it means he CAN do it.  This is the dilemma of the Christian life.  Our frustration comes when we disagree with God on what HE DOES.  However, our belief and prayers have to be that God has our best interest in mind, and His limits and possibility are unrestrained.

#3 No Doubt – “Courage doesn’t mean careless, it means careful dependence.”

Doubting God is like arguing the sunrise.  Will it happen? Inevitably, but is it hard to wait and it seems like the night is dragging on forever.  One thing you can be sure of though, God’s timing is NOT our timing.  The more we listen to God the more we understand His timing and the less we tend to doubt.  The younger we are, the harder this is because we simply don’t have the experiences built up helping us understand the faithfulness of God.  Dependence on Him is His aim. Believe.

#4 No Excuses – “Life is short, just take the step.”

I have met so many people who have so many excuses of why they aren’t doing what they feel God is calling them to.  Here is a question to end all questions:  Did you do the LAST thing you felt God told you to do?  I’m not talking about the warm fuzzies.  I am talking about the absolute clarity you had to take a step, confirmed by wise counsel, but you JUST – COULDN’T – TAKE – THE – STEP.  Today is the day, now is the time, MAKE IT HAPPEN

 

Josh

September 11th is VISION SUNDAY at 217church – We have HUGE NEWS for you about the future of the church!

Our Next Series study of the Book of Romans Starts September 18

Unstoppable Banner

September 18 – Unstoppable Gospel

September 25 – Unstoppable Grace

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Are You Spiritually Sick?

The American Cancer society spent over $45 Million on cancer awareness last year. Here is why…People don’t like to go to the doctor, but EARLY DETECTION IS VITAL to surviving the disease!

Now – How spiritually healthy are you?  What can you see from your perspective?  Want your health to get better?  What you put your identity in can propel you forward or prevent you from growing in your spiritual health.  Knowing who you are and where you come from leads to transformational perspectives in the heart of a leader and eventually it flows to behaviors.  But too often leaders – get – sick.  Really – sick.  The greatest distraction in our spiritual health is PRIDE.  Left to our own pride, our identity begins to come from the wrong things, like an inflated sense of self worth or obtaining more things.  Sometimes our pride lead us to the point where we lose credibility, family, marriage, ministry, and even our very sanity.  Spiritual health and vitality is at the center of who we are as humans and our spiritual health guides and directs every other area of life.

“Strength happens intentionally not accidentally.”

eagle perched

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

The spiritually healthy person understands balance, focus and intentionality.  Balance between being around people and being alone.  Focus on why we do what we do and not just what we are doing, and intentionality in action so we can reach our ideal health plan.

What Does a Spiritually Healthy Person Look Like? 

#1 They Soar –  they shall mount up with wings like eagles;”

Everyone needs time to dream dreams and see the big picture where we soar.  The above scripture says, when we WAIT on the Lord we rise above the action allowing God to show us things we didn’t see before.  Soaring means gaining clarity and perspective in action in where you are going.  When you soar you gain better understanding of what has happened and where God is calling you.  Soaring helps you see what is MOST IMPORTANT.  Each one of us needs to learn to soar in our spiritual health.  We each need a spiritual health vision statement.  Mine is simply this… “to be with Jesus.” Casting a strong empowering vision statement for your spiritual health will give you clarity.

Action Plan:  Plan a 1 day spiritual getaway to cast a vision for your spiritual health.

#2 They Stride –  “they shall run and not be weary;”

While running the Marine Corps Marathon a few years back I “hit the wall!”  Mile 19 was the worst mile I have ever ran in my life.  I was weary.  My legs were tired, my breath was shallow and my resolve was pathetically weak.  I wanted to quit and I didn’t feel like I could complete the race.  But then I remembered my motivating factor, If my father a Marine endured through Vietnam, then I can do this.  Let your why define your what.  

When you are striding you need the right motivation for your action.  If you are striding and are weary you probably need to soar more.  You are living an imbalanced race.

#3 They Slow Down – they shall walk and not faint.”

I have met with and coached with so many people who refuse to, and don’t want to slow down.  Do you work from your rest or do you rest from your work?  This is an important distinction.  We were created for God and His purpose and asking His direction seems pretty important to a balanced life.  Waiting on the Lord is a primary necessary behavior in the life of a leader and we must excel in this if we are to achieve excellence in our health.  “no fainting allowed.”  He won’t allow it.

Do you have a vision for your spiritual health with tangible action plans?  Can you see clearly the next steps God has for you?  Soar, stride, and slow down in your leadership.  Live in balance and rediscover your originally intended identity.

Are you striving to be a high capacity leader?  Are you a Pastor and need a coach?  contact me at josh@activatecoaching.com – Let’s craft your health plan together.

   logo-activate_FINAL

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here