Here’s Why WE WIN – Easter

This past week I received a note from a hospital for a medical bill from almost three years ago.  Dumbfounded, I called them back and asked them why I was just now three years later receiving a bill in the mail?  I talked to the most polite woman named Wanda.  She said, “can you hold on for a minute?”  After about 4 minutes of waiting, she came back on the line and said.  “We failed to send you the bill in a timely manner and it has passed the statute of limitations, Therefore your DEBT IS CANCELLED!”  That was a great feeling and a great moment!  Thank you Wanda!

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12

Here is the good news… You have a zero balance!  No interest is accruing, no worry needs to own your thoughts, Jesus has removed the sin, cancelled the debt and you now can have the gift of eternal life.  But let me ask you a question. Are you still living like the sin owns you?

Three Essentials of Easter

  • Built on Forgiveness – What Jesus came to establish was not an earthly kingdom, but one that would be built on humble principles, a way of living that redefines culture and sets a new standard for the way that we love God and love others. Are you willing to extend the same grace to others that you desire for yourself?  We didn’t deserve forgiveness but Jesus extends it anyway.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”  Matthew 18:35

Question – Who do you need to forgive today?

  • Understood Through Preparation – Life is hard but remember, you have been purchased with a price so persevere with power.  Jesus prepared his whole life to die on the cross.  Our life will be full of pain and suffering, but the Holy Spirit and the church walk with us in our pain.  You are not alone.  God is preparing you for something great and he is preparing a place in heaven for you.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

Question – What do you need to persevere through today?  How can I pray?

  • Advanced Through Serving – What Jesus did was incredibly upside down.  Jesus came into the world as the son of God and made himself a man and became obedient to death.  It was his ultimate act of service to die for us and take on the sin of the whole world.  But from the grave emerged greatness as he defeated death and conquered sin once and for all.  It’s not about what you can get but what you can give.

“…So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”   Matthew 20:16

Question – Who do you need to serve today?

I trust this Easter you join your local church in worship and live in victory!

Josh

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  Join us for Good Friday Service Friday March 30th at 6:30 PM and Easter Sunday Services at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

3 Physical Health Strategies

Did you know that more people will die from heart disease this year than any other cause? Why? We eat a lot of junk! The truth of the matter is most of us treat our bodies like a human dumping ground as opposed to a temple of the Holy Spirit. We “calorie up” with sugar saturated drinks, eat way too much fast food, and exercise for some of us consists of going for a run…from the couch to the refrigerator. This is not God’s best for us. God cares about our bodies and he wants us to take care of what He has given to us. Tired of those extra few pounds you are carrying around? Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?  As we continue in our expectation series I want to take time to introduce you to another key area of health we will be tackling.

What does Physical Health look like?

“whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…” (Proverbs 12:1 ESV)

Most of us eat what we want, when we want and we use the argument, “it’s my body, so I will do what I want with it.” This is not true, it’s a lie from the culture.  It’s not your body, your body belongs to God and he desires for you to use it to glorify Him.  Discipline can create a marvelous dependance on God as long as your motivations are correct.  but most of us struggle with the nasty ‘D’ word, DISCIPLINE. Here are a few things that helped me as I have started new habits and increased my own discipline factor.

  • Don’t Compare – Nothing will discourage you more if you try and compare yourself to other people.  Some people are gifted to be vegans.  Some people are genetically predisposed to be thin.  Stop worrying about everyone else and what the magazine adds tell you to be and seek God for his plan for your health and nutrition.  What worked for someone else may not necessarily work for you.  Seek God!
  • Take it Slow- One mistake we usually make is we pull the plug and make drastic changes all at once.  Then we fail miserably and pile on the guilt later and claim, “we tried.”  Unfortunately, most of us want instant results and instant gratification.  It didn’t take you a week to gain that extra fifty pounds or have high blood pressure so it is going to take more than a week to remedy the problem.
  • You Need A Buddy – Seriously, don’t even try and change a major habit on your own.  You need the support and accountability of a friend who will let you succeed and sometimes fail without piling on the guilt.  You need someone who you can model your health after and someone who will celebrate with you.  Isolation = failure.

I urge you therefore brothers in view of God’s mercy to present your bodies a living sacrifice, this is your spiritual act of worship.”        Romans 12:1-2

We can do this, together!  Josh

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

Love Conquers All – Easter

There are some experiences in our life that mark us for the rest of our lives. These experiences can be full of pain and anguish but can guide us to our understanding of our redemptive God. If you look at your scars they tell a story of a broken world: A physical illness, a story of abuse, a divorce, a fatherless child, an orphan, a life of poverty, a death of a close friend. If you look closely at your life, these experiences are calling out to you to see the great power of the resurrection of Jesus to set you FREE!  The moment dawn broke on that day – YOU BECAME FREE!  Love Conquers All!
 

 

“…Death no longer has any power over Him,” Romans 6:9

4 Ways To Break Free This EASTER

  • Resurrection Power – Do you believe? This is the question. Belief that Jesus that has forgiven you gives you access to the resurrection power, and it is no JOKE! We see Jesus raise someone from the dead in Luke 8. But are you living like you are dead or alive? What have you given the enemy power over in your life. God wants to give you Resurrection power in EVERY area in your life. To overcome sin, addiction, failure, you now have access!
  • Invitational Lifestyle – Are you taking anyone with you? Literally, who are you bringing along with you to be your rock? Who prays for you, believes with you, cares for you? Better yet, who are you praying for, believing in and caring for? Individualism is overrated. The world says be great, Jesus says to make Him Great and then make others great. (Matthew 22:37-39)
  • Strong Theology – It’s not just that you believe the easy parts of the bible, but the framework that supports that belief matters. What we believe about God will determine what we do for him. Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle granting wishes, but is more like a shepherd guiding us along the pathway of life. Here are 4 key ideas regarding who we believe Jesus is from 217church.
  1. Jesus is Savior – The bottom line is we are forgiven Acts 2:38, and our guilt is gone. Romans 8:1 This happened as a result of the blood that was shed on the cross for our sins.
  2. Jesus is Sanctifier – This means we have separation from Sin 1 Peter 1:15-16, and separation to God, Revelation 1:6
  3. Jesus is Healer – His healing power points everyone to him. John 9 Physical, spiritual, emotional, it’s all covered!
  4. Jesus is our Coming King – This means Jesus is coming back to Earth his appointed day to rescue us! Acts 1:11 Are you ready for His imminent return?

(You can read more in depth about these four ideas here)

  • Killer Instinct If you are going to Break Free you have to put to death your fleshly desire. Romans 8:13 . Put to death your pride, greed, and desire for more control. You need to realize you are in a battle with your own sin nature and the world. James 1:12-18 But this is where is gets good! Remember DEATH HAS NO POWER OVER YOU

We would love to see you at our Easter Services this year at Sharon School in Robbinsville at 9:30 or 11 am!

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  Join us for Good Friday Service Friday March 30th at 6:30 PM and Easter Sunday Services at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

Work Is Good – Period

I’ve never understood people who don’t want to work at all.  I remember my first day of working a job.  I was 14 years old, nervous as can be but excited to step up and start being a man, getting a pay check.  I bussed tables at a local restaurant. I’ll never forget the rush of putting on the uniform getting trained, and getting some stuff done!  (Did I say getting a paycheck?)

Work has been turned from a curse to a blessing, all because of Jesus.  #Provision

bread work

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Colossians 3:23

Now, I fully understand you may not be working in your dream job right now, you may be feeling stress, and you may be wishing you were paid more money, but Having a J-O-B is what grown ups do.  It is a blessing from God.  Work is the provision of the simple things.

4 Reasons Work is Good – Really Good

1.  Work Gives Us Relationships – 

Think of all the people at work who are your friends.  (Now if you don’t have any friends at work, that may be saying something about you)  Maybe it’s time to start trying to make friends.  These people were put there so you could build relationship with them.  You are not there on accident

2.  Work Provides For Our Needs – 

Did you eat this morning?  Do you live under a roof? It’s simple really.  The person who started the business you work for, is providing for your needs.  You ate today because of them.  That is something to be grateful for.  Excessive work is evil, just the right amount is perfect.

3.  Work Is Our Mission Field –

The people you work with, need to know Jesus, Period.  Start viewing your job as an opportunity to help others.  Look for a need and meet it.

4.  Work Keeps Us Busy –

Since when has being busy been a bad thing?  People complain about being busy all the time.  Having a job keeps you out of trouble!  And by the way, working hard helps us rest well.

So be thankful for your coworkers and your leader, honor him or her, thank them.  Remember you know who you work for.

Josh

(By The Way – if you don’t have a job and want one, we would love to pray for you in person this Sunday)

 

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

What Makes Marriage Work?

The other day I looked around the house and asked a simple question:  What can I do to make Summer’s life easier? (Summer is my wife)  as I looked around the house, it wasn’t that hard. The window coverings that had been torn down by the dog, the to do list on my phone that said, “printer for Summer.” The clothes in the laundry room seemed to scream out, “fold me!”  I have been married for 22 years now and one thing is for sure, a wedding and a marriage are two TOTALLY different things!  Anyone can plan a wedding, but a lifetime of marriage takes an INCREDIBLE amount of diligence and commitment.  It never ceases to amaze me how a couple will spend $25,000+ on their wedding and go into debt, (that is the average amount spent on weddings in New Jersey) and then be unwilling to see a counselor that may cost them a few hundred dollars, but could save their marriage.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:24

Don’t ever forget you are one with your husband or wife.  EVERYTHING you do affects them and EVERYTHING they do affects you.  Every decision and thought you have is a thought they are having.  Marriage is the one relationship by which we understand Jesus deeper than any other relationship, because it teaches us selflessness.  But what are some keys to practically make your marriage work?

5 Keys To Make Your Marriage Work

1.  Persistent Prayer – I meet very few couples who actually pray for and with each other consistently.  I remember dating Summer we would wake up at 6:00 AM and go into the chapel on our college campus and actually pray together.  (No, we didn’t use the time to make out!) A healthy prayer life together is the launch pad to selflessly approaching your spouse.  I am constantly thinking of ways I can help Summer and prayer often leads me to these moments of discovery about her.  The most important and meaningful text I get in a day is when she types these simple words and presses send, “Praying for you today.”

2.  Consistent Communication – Man I am terrible at this one!  I have improved, but I am naturally an inconsistent, incoherent, infrequent communicator.  Even writing these words is reminding me to set a time with Summer to talk about our calendar, vacation and just things I know she would like to connect about.  Here are some tactics that may help your communication.

  • Keep it down –  As you approach difficult topics to talk about, and you will have them, keep your voice tone in a range that communicates care and concern.  I feel bad when I see couples ripping each other apart with their words in public.  If you do that in public, what are you doing in private?  Man, that must be one intense fight! 
  • Keep it tactical – There are times when Summer and I have a “staff meeting.”  This is when we talk about all the details of the schedule of the coming weeks and months.  The appointments, work schedules, evening meetings, karate classes, baseball games etc.  Intuitively, we both despise these tactical meetings, but we do them because they help us get on the same page!
  • Keep it sensual – Words can soften a moment.  I don’t think Summer ever tires of hearing, “I love you” as long as it is backed with action.  Finding creative specific ways to tell your spouse how much you are in love with them as your friend and lover will bring new life in your marriage.

3.  Physical Passion – Sex is a good thing!  Sex is a God thing!  Making time for each other in the bedroom is and can be a launch pad to deeper intimacy in marriage.  The bible has plenty to say about the refreshment and healing offered through sexual relationship between a husband and a wife.  A great book to read together is “Intimacy Ignited“.  It specifically address the issue of sexual intimacy in marriage from a biblical perspective.

4.  Regular Rest –  Marriage works when you figure out how to build in breaks and take them together.  This will vary from season to season in your married life.  If you are young and married and have no kids, you usually have no excuse to not get away together!  If you have younger kids, this is going to be a challenge for you!  Learning how to take a sabbath together is one of the most important parts of marriage.  It reunites you in every way.  I always encourage the man to take the lead in planning these times initially. Book the hotel room, the reservation, the flight, etc!  Your bride will no doubt appreciate your effort and see it as an act of love.  Three types of sabbath:

  • The Spontaneous –  Call her for lunch, swing by and pick her up, surprise her with a morning coffee date, go into work an hour later.  Whatever it is, be CREATIVE! 
  • The Routine- This is date night, card night, whatever you love to do together!  Make it a ritual and let nothing get in the way of it.  Summer and I want to be known as the couple that is always seen on dates together.  Remember, YOUR CHILDREN ARE LEARNING MARRIAGE from you!
  • The Feast – This is when you getaway at least for a weekend together.  Do what you love, invest in each other, read books together.  Make a memory together.  One of my favorite weekend getaways together was when we rented a cabin in October in Sunriver, Oregon.  The place was empty.  We got massages and it was like the whole resort existed for us.  It was AWESOME!  We also read a book together and dreamed about our future.  That was almost 9 years ago and we talked about what we are doing now.

5.  Selfless Serving – I have never met a couple who made it who gave fifty/fifty!  If you are reading this and are single and want your marriage to work, you better be all in 100%!  This means you get to do stuff that you don’t necessarily want to do, but you learn to love it because you will do anything for your spouse.  The bible actually says that husbands are supposed to lay down our lives for our wife!  That is pretty intense!  Try this one today men:  Take the thing she knows you “don’t like to do” and just do it!  I guarantee her response will be positive.  But don’t do it for the response, do it because she is more valuable to you than anything.  Likewise, the same goes for women.  Pick something that he absolutely loves and serve him in that way.

What about you?  What makes your marriage work?

Josh

Josh lives in Hamilton, NJ with his wife Summer and six kids.  He is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 9:30am & 11:00am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ. Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here

For speaking engagements please e-mail josh@activatecoaching.com