Build Your Marriage on This

In my marriage, I don’t think we could count the number of fights we have had.  It’s not like we don’t love each other, but we are two different people who are both sinful in nature.  No matter what the dispute, one thing is for sure, forgiving my wife is always worth it, even when it hurts.  But the most powerful words you can say are, “Will you forgive me?”  
 Forgive
 
“…if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:13
 
Forgiving each other isn’t easy, and there are even times when I don’t want to forgive, but in the end I am always thankful when I choose to forgive and ask forgiveness.  Jesus forgives you so you will forgive others.

 

5 Benefits of Forgiving

1. Spiritual Clarity – Show me someone who claims to be close to Jesus, and by asking one simple question I can tell if it is true or not.  Here is that question:  “Is there anyone that you need to forgive?”  If the answer is “yes”, there is a spiritual block.  We see over and over in the New Testament Jesus telling his disciples that He is a God of grace.  When asked how many times one should forgive, Jesus blew the disciples minds and answered, seventy times seven.  (Matthew 18:22) This basically means you can’t stop forgiving.  Once you stop forgiving, stick a fork in your spiritual growth.  If you are willing to forgive, God will immediately excel your growth.  If you want to be on the fast track of God’s plan for your life, learn to forgive.

2. Deeper Intimacy – Whenever Summer and I fight, the intimacy comes when we forgive.  I have joked  before, those couples who learn how to “make-up” will probably end up “making-out”. It simply means the immediate benefit is depth of relationship.  I’m NOT suggesting you let someone abuse you, but I am reminding you that if you are unwilling to forgive your spouse or anyone for that matter, your intimacy will always suffer.  When people get married, they want to love and be loved.  Most people don’t get married to be hurt, but two sinners in a relationship will always hurt each other.  Forgiveness is not an option, but a mandate from scripture for marriage!

3. Eliminate Bitterness– Where there is authentic forgiveness, bitterness cannot take root.  I have counseled countless couples that just can’t forgive.  No matter what the offense, it seems the more you choose to withhold forgiveness, the deeper the bitterness penetrates.  Since we are holistic beings, a failure to learn to forgive will affect EVERY area of your life.  Not forgiving your spouse especially will affect your work, your leisure and worst of all your children.  Kids are perceptive and much smarter than you think.  Even my nine-year-old daughter can perceive when mommy and daddy are not being nice to each other, even when we think we are hiding it.

4. A Worthy Example – Have you ever considered how many people are watching you and your marriage?  I’m not trying to stress you out or build the pressure, but if you claim to follow Jesus, your friends are watching to see if there is any substance to your faith.  If your religion is a punch line and a Sunday experience, you are harming the testimony of Jesus.  If there is no difference between you and your co-workers, you need to take a step back.  One of the most harmful things you can do at work is complain about your spouse.  Once you unleash the tongue to tear down your lover to others, they immediately will see through your phony facade of religion and reject your faith.  When you forgive your spouse, people around you benefit exponentially.

5. A Clear Conscience – Simply put, there is not much more satisfying than a clear conscience.   To know even though you did something wrong you asked forgiveness, is pure peace.  To know despite the hurt inflicted upon you, you forgave, IS PRICELESS!  When you forgive others it allows you to move forward with passion and integrity.  This means you have to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!  When someone says to you, “I forgave”, and then they can’t stop talking about it, they didn’t forgive.  They are medicating with gossip.  If someone isn’t part of the problem or solution, leave them out of it.  Forgiving makes you a person of integrity and will kill your pride.

Who do you need to forgive?  Who do you need to ask forgiveness from?  Make it happen.

 

Josh

 

 

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday October 8, 2017 we are going to 2 services times of 9:30 am & 11:00 am.

Land Your DREAM Job!

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 and 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 too?) Unfortunately, in our culture unhealthy work habits have created all kinds of problems.  People are stressed out, burned out, overworked, entitled, and some of us may complain a little too much.  But the truth is our work is a blessing. I loved working!

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

 

dream job graphic

“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 so called #dreamjob 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.  Maybe you aren’t ready for that #dreamjob yet.  Maybe it isn’t ready for you!  Honor God with where you are and remember, HARD WORK ALWAYS pays off and shows in your character first.

5 Characteristics of a Dream Job –

1.  It Gives Us Relationships –  Think of all the people at work who are your friends and have been your friends.  (Now if you don’t have any friends at work, that may be saying something about you)  These people are there so you can build relationship with them.  You are not there on accident.  You are there to serve them, get to know them, and serve them. #Dreamjob

2.  It 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.  This is something to be grateful for.  When we the last time you thanked your co-workers and your employer for the opportunity to have a paycheck?   #Dreamjob

3.  It Is Our Opportunity to Serve and Love People – One thing that will build your character is being a part of a team where you get to serve people and have a positive impact.  By the way, I know what some of you are thinking…”As soon as I get another job, I am OUTTA HERE.”  That’s nice, but God has you there for a reason!  What if you were the person at your work who cared about people?  The people you work with need to know Jesus, period.  #Dreamjob

4.  It Keeps Us Busy – Since when has being busy been a bad thing?  Whenever you ask someone, “how are you?”  and they say with exasperation, “BUSY!”  say, “good, being busy keeps you from doing stupid things!”  Having a job keeps you out of trouble!  And please, can we all find a new answer to this question besides “busy”?  Now,  Excessive work is evil, and if you are in a job where emotional and stress levels are unhealthy, take appropriate action.  BUT – I’ve never understood people who don’t want to work at all, especially those who are out of work and are waiting for the “perfect job”.  Redefine your #Dreamjob.

5.  It Teaches Us to Rest – God worked for six days and on the 7th he rested.  There you go.  You have permission, take a sabbath.  If you are always tired and stressed out, you need to learn how to simply take a day off.  If you can’t take a day off you are on a dangerous road to emotional, physical, and mental collapse.  #Dreamjob

In short work is amazing!  Treat your current job like your #dreamjob and watch what happens. Honest, hard work is amazing!

Josh

MFB graphic

Our Financial Breakthru Series starts Sunday at 217church.  Come explore 4 words that lead to financial break thru:

February 26Work / God is our provider

March 5Give / Give up control

March 12Save / Plan for the future

March 19Live / With NO regrets

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

What To Do With A Colossal Failure

You watched the Super Bowl right? The Falcons choked – We have ALL been there – The project fails, we lose the job, the plan goes up in smoke, we break a promise, the spouse is extremely angry with us. Failure happens, but we know failure is going to happen, so what should we do once it happens?

failure

1 – Depend on others – Surround yourself with people who love you.  Now is not the time to just “get over it.” You will probably need some time with some incredibly supportive people. How long? Probably longer than shorter. Being around people who care about you restores your confidence and reaffirms your value.

2 – Disconnect – Now you are ready to get some time alone and go back to your vision. Two key questions to ask as you disconnect. These questions help you to rediscover what on earth you are here for.

  • Why did you start this journey in the first place?
  • What is the single biggest motivating factor in your life?

3 – Dissect – Please DON’T skip #1 and #2. Resist the temptation to go right to the details because you probably aren’t in the right emotional state to handle the truth. If you start here it leads to destructive behavior.

Ok, now you are ready for some details, what went wrong?  Take ownership of the failure and don’t blame. Don’t beat yourself up but be honest with the facts of what happened. Sometimes you won’t know why. Sometimes stuff happens to you. I know it takes courage, but don’t leave the failure, live with it for a while.

4 – Determine Your Next Steps – How will you win the next time?  What thinking needs to be in place? What actions MUST you take? Are there patterns in your life that need to change? Developing a plan is key and you probably need a few of those people in #1 to help you to formulate some new ideas. DON’T go it alone!

5 – Direct Your Life – Implement it! It won’t feel the greatest at first because it probably is a risk. Never forget the feeling of a great loss but don’t allow your impact to be ruled by the pain. As you are directing your life and implementing the plan, here are a few reminders:

  • Share the new vision slowly, not everyone needs to know everything.
  • Take a team of people with you. Once again – Destructive pride is the result of individual accomplishment. Teams build individual humility.
  • Get an outside coach to help you see what you can’t. Having an outside perspective will keep you OUT of a lot of trouble.

Now go get it!

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here.  Josh is also the Executive Coach at Activate Coaching LLC, coaching leaders in all spectrums of industry and non profits to optimum spiritual, family, financial, physical and professional health.  He can be reached at josh@activatecoaching.com. 

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

I Need a Second Chance

Anyone feel like they need a SECOND CHANCE?  Take a number, we all do.  This is what is beautiful and appealing about being in relationships with those who will forgive.  It’s hard to believe I have been in a relationship with one girl for 21 years, and she has given me so many chances.  What a lucky guy I am!  I love being around people who are willing to give second chances.  We have all been given at one time or another, a second chance.  In the second chance there is an incredible opportunity.  A chance to reflect the love of God.

“God never gives up on His people.”

2nd chances small

“If one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive…”  Colossians 3:13

If you have been given a second chance, then you have an incredible opportunity.  You have been given an immeasureable gift! A chance to right what was wronged. A chance to do the right thing.  A chance to redeem what is broken.  But what is most important is BEING a person who gives second chances.  Here is what I believe you should do with your #secondchance

Redeeming the Second Chance…  

#1 Learn From Your Mistakes – Repeating the same mistake over and over again leads to mistrust and deep hurt.  There must be a progression in your development.  If you want to have integrity in relationships you must be willing to change.  Teachability creates reliability.

#2 Forgive The Past – No question about it, people will hurt you, there is no stopping this.  But just like we want to be forgiven, the mark of a mature person is one who lives the narrative of forgiveness.  Don’t burn bridges, build them.

#3 Share the Mistake – If you want to be one who has credibility, start sharing your mistakes so others can learn from them.  Only a truly humble person will be willing to share their mistakes.  When other people see your vulnerability, they will translate that quality into deep character development.  Let your life be one that others learn from.

#4 Major in the Majors – Keep the main thing the main thing and let everything else go.  IN essence focus on the BIG things because no one is perfect.  Just face it, people are not going to do everything YOU want them too.  It’s ok.  Focus on what is important and realize your won’t be perfect and neither will they.  This means we can’t demand perfection in every little thing.  If you aren’t perfect, why should you demand perfection from others?  This in no way means we should lower our standards or not hold each other accountable, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, and be careful what you say yes to.

The second chance is a gift, use it wisely!

Josh

Join us for our series – Overboard – Things we say to God

     jonah-concept

     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