You Need A Watchdog

I love dogs and this is Harley, my golden doodle.  She looks out for everyone in the house.  She is flat out AWESOME!  If there is a fight amongst our other dogs, she breaks it up.  If there is a fight among people, she gets between you.  If you come to my door uninvited, well, let’s just say she will let you know she is there.  She is the enforcer, but with a loyal, justice driven motive.  There is something about the qualities she exhibits that reminds me of what we should be for each other as the church.  Who is looking out for you?  Who are you looking out for?

Harley Watchdog

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”  Romans 15:1

SO…Who are you looking out for?  Is there another person you feel personally responsible for?  Everyone needs someone to look out for and for someone to look out for them.  This is the definition of what the church should be doing for one another.  This scripture implies also we should believe the best about the motives of one another and be careful not to assume the worst.  We are responsible for one another.  As a matter of fact, there are over fifty “one another’s” in scripture.

How To be a “Watch-dog” and Look Out For One Another…

1. Privately Correct – We are all going to blow it, mess up, make mistakes – say something we shouldn’t say, post a photo we shouldn’t post, act in public in a way that isn’t God honoring.   FOR EXAMPLE – I saw something on Facebook the other day that disturbed me.  It was a public rebuke of what some would consider an “inappropriate photo”  But here was the problem…It was rebuked in a public way by someone, without gentleness and in an embarrassing manner.  More and more I am of the opinion that public social media rebukes are pointless.  The person almost NEVER hears what you are really saying and written harsh communication on a social media channel will almost ALWAYS be misconstrued in some way.  If something someone posts troubles you and you aren’t willing to privately go to them, don’t say anything.  After all, when you love someone enough to say something privately, you are respecting the image of God in them.  Disagree?  private message me, but this verse implies you are just flat out WRONG!

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”  Galatians 6:1

2.  Adamantly Protect – I love it when I know people have my back.  I love it when people who are a part of our church and our small group communities stand up against gossip amongst each other.  I love having someone to protect and having someone protect me.  This is what we are called to do for one another.  If you always have to have your way, you are prideful.  If you are always complaining about a church, another church, or your small group, something is desperately wrong.  The person you just criticized was made in the image of God and is a son or daughter of God.  I love watching the church care and stand up for one another. And one more thing – Please, if you claim to be a Christian – please work out your issues with other Christians in a private matter.  You are destroying the testimony of the church by airing all your complaints.

“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

3. Carefully Instruct – Life isn’t easy and we all will get led astray, but we must be allowed to speak into each other’s lives with conviction and passion.  If no one can speak into your life, you have a serious problem.  Quick, name the person who has that authority in your life?  You need someone who is helping you in your marriage, finances, parenting, personal knowledge of the bible, you need a go to person who is doing the good work of discipleship in your life.

“…filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”  Romans 15:1

4. Relentlessly Care – If someone is fighting sickness, battling addiction, struggling in their marriage, facing a loss of a job, desperately alone, hopelessly abandoned, OUR ROLE IS TO WATCH OUT FOR THEM.  Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.  Don’t just talk a big game, get in the game and let your life be about caring for the church and those who are your brothers and sisters.  Loyalty matters, take a cue from my Harley. Be a #Watchdog  

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2

This past Sunday we had 24 new people said they wanted to commit to the vision of 217church.  They have made a covenant to protect the unity of the church.  I love it.  Jesus died for us so let’s come together and stand together for what he wants to accomplish through us and for what he has promised to us.

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 eastern 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

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.

giving-tuesday-2016

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

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

plane

“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!

accelerate-web-graphic-2

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

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. 

WilsonJersey  

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

Diversity Creates Incredible Unity

As I walked into 217church this weekend, I met a man born in Nigeria, his name was Castellanos.  He has been coming for over 4 years and I asked him why he comes.  He said, “I love the different kinds of people, black, white, asian, hispanic, the music, the friendly people.  I think this is what heaven will look like!”  BAM!  He hit the nail on the head!  Every week I get to meet with an amazing diverse group of people as 217church.  When we started the church over six years ago, we wanted it to look like the neighborhoods we planted in.  This meant we were going to be diverse.  And wow, did God make us diverse.  Yesterday as I looked out over the people of our church, here is what I saw.   I saw people from almost EVERY CONTINENT.  People from South Korea, Nigeria, Uganda, China, Venezuela, Great Britain, Philippines, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Chile, Kenya, Poland, and of course the United States.  People from the rural areas and people born in urban Brooklyn, the Bronx, Newark and Trenton.  Because of our diversity of background, it helps us to appreciate and celebrate our differences.  Something that is sorely lacking in some communities and people groups.  We are striving to understand what it means to be a missionary to our culture in the way Jesus.

“God never gives up on His people.”

robbinsville worship

“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”  Colossians 3:11

Our Gospel Work…

At our church we are simply, IN CHRIST. Because of the differences already represented in our people by their cultural background, we are living a Gospel where all are accepted and where peace reigns supreme.  We have become a beautiful expression of the Gospel.  I have been experimenting and praying over this idea for some time now.  While I believe the Gospel must be brought into individual cultures to be expressed in a way people understand in their native cultural framework, the Gospel also must be experienced in a way where we lay down our preferences and celebrate the different ways God expresses Himself through a redeemed people group.  We have become and are becoming an “local international church” in the heart of New Jersey.  Whereas one hundred years ago we had to travel thousands of miles to reach the nations, now in 2016, the nations have come to us.  As opposed to “working hard” to reach people who are different than us, we are finding that the GOSPEL DOES THE HARD WORK OF ACCEPTANCE.

Our Hope…  

These last few days, seeing the exhibition of racism, intolerance and disregard for human life has made me sick.  Absolutely sick and totally disappointed.  Certain people are using these terrible circumstances for their own benefit but through it all, there IS HOPE!

Even in the midst of murder, chaos, racism, deception, betrayal, pain, and loss, the church today must preach Jesus. We must celebrate the Gospel – Today is a day of healing – Today is a day of restoration – Today belongs to God and all that is in it – Today We celebrate Jesus redefining the sabbath – Sunday is a reminder of the resurrection, pure and simple. The indescribable, unrelenting, mysterious love of God through his son Jesus, crucified, RISEN, that we may be forgiven and extend that same forgiveness to others. The love of Jesus takes my breath away. 

No matter what we look like, what happened this week, what our background or preferences. The Gospel demands and calls that we come together and proclaim peace and humility forgiving one another. Maybe the most important thing you do this next week will be to start the week in the presence of the Holy Spirit, surrounded by the body of Christ, caught up, receiving communion together. If even for just a moment, in the Glory and awe of the power, the protection and the power of Jesus is felt and recognized, THIS – IS – LIVING!

What is the Point?  

Could it be that the church, not politics, not media, not a social action group, should be the way for us exert the maximum leverage on the issue of racism and oppression in our communities?  I believe it is.  I’m not talking necessarily about just the institution of the church, but the uncontrollable, unstoppable, formation of God’s people at work in the community, praying, fasting, serving the community relentlessly, bringing the restorative narrative of the Gospel to the people one act of love at a time.

 

For more on this idea:  Listen to last Sunday’s message here:  God Never Gives Up On His people

     jonah-concept

This Sunday July 17 – “I Don’t Approve, God”

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

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

Should I Do It? I’m Just Not Sure

What do I do?  What decision do I make?  Life is full of questions and one thing is for sure, this will not change anytime soon.  But sometimes we have a gut feeling something is right or wrong.  When presented with the option to come to Jersey and leave a ministry we loved, when presented with the option to plant a church, when presented with the option to adopt three children from Uganda, we had to make BIG decisions, and we couldn’t just trust our gut.  These decisions were full of faith, uncertainty and a lot of trust.  BUT how do we know whether or not we are called to do something? or rather, IT?

The distance between our current reality and our calling is RISK.


question mark

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

So back to the question; Should you do IT?  Are you called to IT?  Is it a deep conviction?  Here are some things to do when you are unsure if IT is for YOU.  And a little hint, you probably won’t be 100% sure, that is ok.  God likes us to step out in faith!  You CAN’T please him if you don’t.  (Hebrews 11:6)

You Might Be Called to ‘IT’ If…  

#1 You can’t stop thinking about it – Ever had a moment where you KNOW you heard from God and then time went by and you just COULDN’T get that thought out of your head?  Yep – that is sometimes how it works.  You didn’t think it, God put it there. If you can’t let go, you MIGHT need to do it.  Here is a hint:  If there is a scripture that lines up with it, BINGO!  Even more confirmation. 

#2 It will cost you everything – If you are going to do something that is a GOD sized idea, it won’t be cheap and easy.  If it is, it probably ISN’T from God.  God calls us to a faith based relationship with him, not just a facts based relationship.

#3 You use every possible excuse not to do it – Reasoning yourself out of following God is a recipe for deep pain.  Remember Jonah?  He didn’t want to go to Nineveh, so he ran as far as he could.  Not good.  Trust me, the vision God has shared with you will find you out.  It will be a sobering revelation about your level of trust in God.

#4 You are one of the few who can actually do it – Why do you think you have that skill, speak that language, possess that gift or have the resources and finances to pull it off?  Some things just make sense and you need to stop running.  God has positioned you for it, equipped you in it and empowered you already.  Go do it!

#5 You are terrible at what you do now – Ever seen someone who is ATROCIOUSLY misaligned with their organization or personal skills?  What a waste.  We all have, and I’m guessing you’ve been there.  If you don’t fit, move on. God has something better for you.  Relax and trust because that is why he gave you this vision and called you in the first place.  He KNOWS!

#6 You notice the people around you suffering because of your lack of willingness – If we don’t follow God’s plan we can hold our family, our co-workers, our church, and those around us back.  When you are the ‘bottleneck’ and the stumbling block to people around you, maybe God is calling you on.  It’s ok!  Change is part of life and it doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable, it means God has a better spot for you!

It is time!  Go and do IT!

Josh

Join us for our New series beginning June 26 – Overboard – Things we say to God

     jonah-concept

June 26 – I Don’t Want to            July 3 – Help Me!

     July 10 – I Don’t Agree God         July 17 – I Won’t Approve God

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Josh 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

Photo Credit – Here’s who to thank

Achieving Clear Vision

Not too long ago I had an eye exam and the goal was clear:  Walk out with contacts that allow me to see with 20/20 vision.  If I walked out of the office and didn’t feel I had achieved that or gotten close, I would have been unsatisfied.  An eye exam is essentially trial and error where they systematically eliminate the options that don’t allow you to see clearly.  It usually takes a while, then all of the sudden, out of the blue the doctor presents you with an option that is crystal clear.  Mission accomplished!

Clarity in vision creates consistency in daily living.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org This photo required alot of editing in PS. I like the color and the gausian blur on this one.

“Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”  Habakkuk 2:2

The journey forward in Central Jersey for 217church is becoming clearer and clearer every day.  We know there are some specific things ahead for us and God is painting a picture of the future. I am getting really pumped because I believe God is about to reveal something HUGE to us.  But how do we get more clarity?  The enemy wants to confuse us, but here are a few tools we can use to get clear.

3 Ways To Achieve Clarity in Vision…  

#1 Intentional Prayer – Here has been my intentional prayer over these past months:  “Lord do something BIG on our behalf.” Have you ever set out on a path with a vision and THEN asked God to bless it?  That is the WRONG way to do it!  Failure to get the message from God first means there will be constant division in your life.  You will be fighting with God in conflict.  Learning to align yourself with God in prayer is a life long discipline.  No matter what you are facing, IF you will pray intentionally for clarity, God will speak.  There is nothing wrong with telling God what you want, just make sure you stop long enough to listen for his guiding directional changes.

  • 217church Action Step:  Corporate Weekly Prayer Times – Every Sunday at 9:20am in Hamilton and 10:00 am in Robbinsville we have a prayer time all are invited to.  These are powerful times of seeking God and healing.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  

#2 Increasing Faith – Life is about incremental growth.  Some seasons feel extremely intense and other seem a bit more laid back.  One thing is for sure though, the more your faith increases the clearer the vision gets.  Many times we don’t achieve what God wants for us because we choose fear or facts instead of faith.  Fear and facts can sometimes FOOL you into thinking you are making the conscientious decision when in reality you are just making the most comfortable one.  God will increase our faith, all we have to do is ask.  I’m ready!  You ready?

  • 217church Action Step:  Meaningful Sacrifice – It’s time to believe God for a permanent home for 217church!  That means we are going to GIVE BIG!  Yes that means a piece of property and building for 217church!   Just this week we looked at a piece of property. Do You Believe it can Happen?  I do!  (more on this at the Sunday Services, don’t miss it!)  You can already Give here towards the building fund

Luke 17:5 “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

#3 Impacting Action – Make it happen!  We are in the business of rebuilding lives one person at a time.  You have to be willing to take STEP 1!  No procrastination is allowed because today is a day of action!  The distance between your intentions and your implementation is your integrity.  Even if you aren’t crystal clear, do SOMETHING!  For our church we know this means living out our value of authentic relationships.  When you feel like you are fuzzy in the vision, take a step forward in what you know to be true.  Here is a truth:  You are a part of the Family of God.  You belong in deep, transformational relationship with other Christ followers.

  • 217church Action Step:  Join A Transformational Small Group – I can almost guarantee if you are willing to get in a small group, the vision for your life will become clearer.  You need meaningful relationships and Godly counsel in order to push forward.

James 2:14  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?.”

This vision is getting clearer, are you ready to seize it?  Let’s Go!

Josh

 

Our Vision:  Make 10,000 disciples, 1,000 small groups, 100 churches, 10 years, 1 life at a time

Our Mission:  A restored family sent on mission to make disciples

 

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Josh 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

photo credit here

Inspiration to Take Action – Get it DONE!

I looked over at my neighbor’s lawn the other day.  It was a perfect, pristine, well manicured, well taken care of front lawn.  Every week I see the landscapers come and take care of the lawn, like clockwork.  MY lawn however, uh, was quite the opposite.  There were overgrown weeds taking over, yesterday’s evidence of kids playing and eating in the front yard, and to top it all off, trash, yes trash.  We have ALL been there before haven’t we?  Sometimes, we have to get to the point when we are so disgusted with ourselves and our “lawns” that out of our absolute discontent, we FINALLY make a change.  But here is what I had to see:  A vision for what my yard could look like.  My neighbor has inspired me.

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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”  Hebrews 10:24

How long does it take you to transition something in your life?  What has to be the circumstance before you will change something you know that you know MUST be different?  For most of us, it takes a while.  Here are 4 words to remember as you contemplate what needs to be different.

4 Words That Inspire Action…  

#1 Performance – This word has received a lot of bad press in Christian circles.  But let me clarify: We are to do everything for the glory of God, but the practical outcome of that here on Earth will be others benefitting from our actions and seeing our convictions.  We don’t “perform” for the accolades of others, but deal with it, others are watching you, even when you don’t think they are or want them to.  It’s the way God created it.  We were created in community to set the example for each other.  You have influence and it’s time to use it.

1 Timothy 4:12 “Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  

#2 Motivation – How you are motivated to do something reveals the depth of your character in your heart.  Our motivation is deeply interwoven into our past experiences and even our own self perception.  But the key to motivating correctly is seeing yourself like GOD SEES YOU.  Whatever is holding you back because of past circumstances, Jesus gives you the freedom to live TODAY differently.  Motivate from forgiveness and grace not fear and guilt.

Romans 8:34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

#3 Idealism – What do you wish was different?  Do you want the present situation to change?  Here is a promise to us:  Eventually, things WILL get better.  But here is the hard part:  I just don’t know when.  But it’s coming and it’s called hope.  Dream the dream, write the vision.  Pray, plan and expect God to move.  Looking forward and asking God what his vision is for your immediate future can be a powerful catalyst for transformative action.  So make it happen!

Romans 8:18  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

#4 Freedom – That’s right!  Maybe you feel like you can’t take that action, break that addiction, parent that child, or maybe even just get out of bed today.  But those are all lies.  Terrible lies.  Procrastination IS NOT from God, it is a DEFEATED MENTALITY from your enemy. You are FREE through the Spirit of God.  Remember it is the Spirit of God that empowers you to live His purpose for your life and your contribution to the community.  You aren’t slave so take off the shackles, stop making excuses, and start listening to the Spirit of God in you.  The same Spirit that resurrected Jesus, lives in you!

Romans 8:15  “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””

Take ACTION!  Time to mow the lawn!

Josh

217church meets at 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater  11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School every Sunday morning.  If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Josh 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

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/39405629@N00/26018728764″>115/366</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>

If the Easter Story is True…

This Sunday, more people will probably worship Jesus corporately on one day than EVER have in HUMAN HISTORY.  The church is on the move and you can be a part of it.  If it’s true that Jesus rose from the dead, and if Jesus really is God, there are some SERIOUS ramifications for our day and the rest of our lives.  This day is going to be INCREDIBLE and here are 4 reminders for you.  I believe you MUST do these things this Easter:

“There is NO power greater than LOVE.”

Easter cross Bible

“And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”  Luke 24:5-6

See that tomb, yep, it’s EMPTY!  Ain’t nobody there.  He isn’t there.  You can look again, but he isn’t there and Jesus hasn’t been for close to 2,000 years.  Death has no sting!  You have been forgiven and his blood WAS GOOD ENOUGH to redeem us. You can have eternal life through the power of Jesus.  Think about that for a while and let it sink in.  SO, if this is TRUE, what now?

It’s Easter – Do This:  

#1 Reflect on Where You’ve Been – What sins are you carrying or have you carried in the past.  They have no ownership and absolutely NO POWER over you!  Do you believe it?  If you do, you will live differently.  Once you start to make a list of the sins you have committed and the INCREDIBLE grace that has been given, you start to release the guilt, leave the legalism and depend on God’s love.

1 John 4:4 “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”   That’s #ResurrectionPower

#2 Worship Big Time – Don’t hold back on the expression this Sunday.  Don’t come to a worship service and give a half baked expression of your love for God!  Mumbling casually in some religious obligatory way won’t cut it.  C’mon church! Raise your hands, scream out and celebrate, and dig deep into his Word.  Pray like you’ve never prayed before and sing like it’s your last worship song on earth.  Be found as one who W
ORSHIPS.

Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…” That’s #ResurrectionPower

#3 Claim Victory – This is the Sunday to stomp on the head of the enemy.  Go ahead and give that visual a moment to sink in…  STOMP – ON – HIS – HEAD.  CRUSH HIM LIKE THE BELLY SLITHERING INVERTEBRATE THAT HE IS!  God has given you the victory.  Depression – defeated, guilt – gone, pain – healed, debt – paid, sin – forgiven.

1 Corinthians 15:55  “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?  That’s #Resurrection power

Let’s do this

Josh

Easter FB 2016


Easter is upon us Sunday March 27th!  I can’t believe this will be the 7th Easter we have celebrated together at 217church!  217church is a multi-campus church with 3 services in 2 locations this Easter:

9 & 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater

11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School

If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Join us at 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

Live Resurrection POWER this Easter

This Sunday, more people will probably worship Jesus corporately on one day than EVER have in HUMAN HISTORY.  The church is on the move and you can be a part of it.  If it’s true that Jesus rose from the dead, and if Jesus really is God, there are some SERIOUS ramifications for our day and the rest of our lives.  This day is going to be INCREDIBLE and here are 4 reminders for you.  I believe you MUST do these things this Easter:

“There is NO power greater than LOVE.”

Easter FB 2016

“And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”  Luke 24:5-6

See that tomb, yep, it’s EMPTY!  Ain’t nobody there.  He isn’t there.  You can look again, but he isn’t there and Jesus hasn’t been for close to 2,000 years.  Death has no sting!  You have been forgiven and his blood WAS GOOD ENOUGH to redeem us. You can have eternal life through the power of Jesus.  Think about that for a while and let it sink in.  SO, if this is TRUE, what now?

It’s Easter – Do This:  

#1 Reflect on Where You’ve Been – What sins are you carrying or have you carried in the past.  They have no ownership and absolutely NO POWER over you!  Do you believe it?  If you do, you will live differently.  Once you start to make a list of the sins you have committed and the INCREDIBLE grace that has been given, you start to release the guilt, leave the legalism and depend on God’s love.

1 John 4:4 “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”   That’s #ResurrectionPower

#2 Worship Big Time – Don’t hold back on the expression this Sunday.  Don’t come to a worship service and give a half baked expression of your love for God!  Mumbling casually in some religious obligatory way won’t cut it.  C’mon church! Raise your hands, scream out and celebrate, and dig deep into his Word.  Pray like you’ve never prayed before and sing like it’s your last worship song on earth.  Be found as one who W
ORSHIPS.

Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…” That’s #ResurrectionPower

#3 Claim Victory – This is the Sunday to stomp on the head of the enemy.  Go ahead and give that visual a moment to sink in…  STOMP – ON – HIS – HEAD.  CRUSH HIM LIKE THE BELLY SLITHERING INVERTEBRATE THAT HE IS!  God has given you the victory.  Depression – defeated, guilt – gone, pain – healed, debt – paid, sin – forgiven.

1 Corinthians 15:55  “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?  That’s #Resurrection power

Let’s do this

Josh


Easter is upon us Sunday March 27th!  I can’t believe this will be the 7th Easter we have celebrated together at 217church!  217church is a multi-campus church with 3 services in 2 locations this Easter:

9 & 10 AM at the Hamilton AMC24 Theater

11 AM at the Robbinsville Sharon Elementary School

If it is your 1st time, we have a special gift waiting for you!

Join us at 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