Rock Solid Decision Making – The Courage To Change

If you or your organization is facing a MAJOR decision, it presents an incredible opportunity to depend on God solely.  But too often we shrink from the possibility of the better future because we look for the “safe option.” Or worse yet, we let one opinion or option or person dominate decision making because of too much influence and power.  Occasionally we get an opportunity to make a major change and think differently about a situation, and that circumstance usually has a short window of availability.  The safe option doesn’t necessarily lead to success.  As a matter of fact safe options can often lead to stagnation.

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”  Philippians 1:12

The answer is solely depending on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  The opportunity you have in front of you is there to advance the Gospel, period.  You MUST trust the process.  So many times I see people and organizations short circuit the process because they want too much too fast.  They want their way.  I love helping people maximize those moments of opportunity and I love it when I see people, businesses, and churches making courageous, careful, calculated, wise decisions. Let’s look at two different examples, David’s appointment as king from the old testament, and Paul’s perseverance in prison in the new testament.  Here is how to approach the change process…

Rock Solid Decision Making – Three Words

New Testament (Paul in prison)- “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:14

  • Boldness – 

Overcome Fear – “Use your fear as fuel.” I am not saying be careless, but if there is an opportunity that balances carefulness and courage, it’s most likely a wise option.  A wise mentor once told me this, “just enough risk and just enough known results.”  Remember when Samuel was looking for a successor for Saul?  Take David for example, yes he was the youngest of eight before he was chosen by Samuel, but he measured up to the older brothers.  Remember HE KILLED THE LION AND THE BEAR.  David had the ‘it factor’.  He was both a risk and a known loyal family member.

Measure Choices –  “Consider ALL options.” If you have been convinced there is only one option, you have more than likely been deceived and you are trapped and need to break free from this deception.  There is great insight and wisdom in asking someone from the ‘outside’ their opinion on your situation. Only considering one option to change is utter FOOLISHNESS and NEVER the wise choice.  David was anointed as king, but even David was compared to his older brothers and found to be the Lord’s anointed. But in case you have still have fear in the decision making process, here is a question: ‘What are you really afraid of?’  Boldness without a higher purpose is meaningless.  But courage that will lead you closer to the end goal is clearly the best option.

Old Testament (David anointed) – “Then Jesse called Abinidab and Shammah and made them pass before Samuel, And he said neither has the Lord chosen this one…And then he sent and brought David in…’Arise and anoint him for this is he.'”  1 Samuel 16:8-12

Question:  Are you really trusting the Lord and weighing all your options?


New Testament (Paul sacrifices for the Gospel) “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” Philippians 1:25

  • Progress –

Take Hostile Ground – “Safe choices lead to stagnation.” Do you want to personally grow?  Then look for the greatest opportunity payback, but realize there WILL BE opportunity cost.  Paul chose to stay on earth for the MAXIMUM gain of the kingdom, but it cost him greatly!  If something is broken and isn’t producing, you need a change.  Progress demands it.  So many times we keep with a direction even when it is going bad or worse yet, average.  Even though it was excruciating, Paul continued on his trajectory.  Denial won’t help, excuses won’t help, “just believing,”  won’t help either.  One more thing, beware of manipulation, ultimatums from people in the decision making process are usually manipulations.

Take Your Time – “Quick choices lead to much regret.” SLOW DOWN!  If possible test the outcome before making a decision.  Even David had to kill Goliath before he was accepted as king.  Rushing into the decision is rarely a good option.  Unfortunately we are prone to sacrifice long term gains for the short term feeling.  Is there a long term process to make the change?  If not, stop dead in your tracks and invent the process BEFORE you start making decisions.  MOST SINS we commit are a result of a lack of patience and shortcutting the process.  If only Adam and Eve would have walked away from Satan in the garden.  SLOW DOWN, measure the progress in terms of the LONGEST TERM GAIN.  The cheapest, quickest, easiest choice will probably lead you to a faithless, barren result.   Most of us want instant results and instant gratification, or just want the decision behind us.

Old Testament (David defeats Goliath) – “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone…” 1 Samuel 17:50

Question:  What is the ‘upside’ and ‘downside’ of your various options?


“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

  • Focus –

Clarify Your Purpose – “Wisdom blindness comes from personal agenda.” People and teams have to fight ‘wisdom blindness’ continually.  Usually the culprit is pride and hidden agenda.  Either way it’s sin.  Paul was intensely focused on letting his life point to one outcome…the Gospel.  What is your higher calling?  What is your team’s goal?  What is your family’s clear vision?  What is your committee’s ultimatum? What is your church’s ultimate responsibility? Are you carrying out the mission with the utmost carefulness and with the best intentions, or have you let your own desire get in the way of God showing up and doing the miraculous?  And by the way, “if there is no disagreement, you might be deceived.”

Clarify Your Prayer Strategy – “Without fasting and prayer, you won’t prevail.” If you are needing to make a major decision and haven’t fasted and prayed.  STOP!  Not just prayed, but have you let the Holy Spirit fill the lack in your stomach with a dependence of sustaining presence…and answers?  Don’t even pass go or collect $200 if you haven’t fasted.  Get clear, silence the noise, put aside the internal agenda, get rid of the pride and see beyond your own preferences.

Old Testament (David focused on Goliath) – “His sling was in his hand and he approached the Philistine…” 1 Samuel 17:40

Question:  Have you been distracted or deceived in your decision making process?


Trusting God for His wisdom and courage to change…

…May you be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”  Colossians 1:9



Josh Conn is a 20 year ministry veteran, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and 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 for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

Gaining the Competitive Advantage

So who is your team today?  No doubt there will be hundreds of millions of people watching this Super Bowl game and the coaches and players will participate in one of the most watched events in the history of mankind!  So how are they preparing? They are watching hours upon hours of film…Analyzing, digesting, and putting together a game plan that has the most competitive advantage for a Super Bowl victory. Win and you make history!  Leave it all on the field!

football play

“…but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons.”  Romans 8:15

But what about your life?  “Are you leaving it all on the field?” Where are you feeling like you are failing?  Is it in your mind?  Is it in your execution?  Are you addicted to substances or destructive habits?  What do you spend your time thinking about?  Having a relationship with Jesus gives you the Competitive Advantage.  If you want to activate the competitive advantage you already have, you need to execute the fundamentals on the most important stage you’ll ever see…YOUR LIFE!

Remember These Things – Gain Your Advantage…

1. Your Birthright – (Remember who you are) It’s easy to forget who you are.  Life changes, disappointments happen, and your attitude can go south in a hurry.  But remember you belong to Jesus and no one can change that.  Maybe you have forgotten your identity?  Most sin is because of an identity crisis.  Isn’t it time to recall the great sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross for you and depend on the Spirit of God in your life.  Remember who you are.

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

2. Your Clarity – (Remember who the enemy is)  All sin traces back to this question… “Did God really say?”  Yep, whenever you hear that voice inside of you creating doubt about what right and wrong is, the enemy is eroding your advantage!  He is cutting you down through deception.  Remember who he is and that, well, He doesn’t like you.

“but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  Romans 8:13

3. Your Vision – (Remember where you are going) This life is a temporary home for us.  Jesus already chose heaven for me.  I don’t know about you, but this is the best news I have heard all day.  It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy, it’s the reason I can live happy, content and anticipating the future.  I already know what the the scoreboard says.  When Jesus was raised from the dead, Jesus won, game over!  Don’t let the limited perspective of today, destroy your tomorrow.

“…because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  Romans 8:27

It’s game time, leave it all on the field!


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 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.”


“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



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 for more information. or watch a weekend message here