Easter – From Sickness to Health

We have all been there, sick, lying on a bed, desperate for disease to be gone, held captive by a virus or imprisoned by a temporary bout with fever and exhaustion.  Most everyone has experienced the moment when your health fails you.  YOU – ARE – SICK and you know you need help.  You need a doctor and there is no denying it. When we are sick we come face to face with our mortality and our illusion of our control and power.

Why does Easter Matter? Let me spell it out for you…P-O-W-E-R!  Without Jesus, you have none but if you know Jesus you are given the privilege to tap into it.  The same power that conquered the grave lives in you. Realize it, Revel in it, Reveal it, then Roll with it! It’s time to activate our faith!

On Easter, April 8th 217church launches into a new series Live Differently focusing on 4 areas of health:  Spiritual, Financial, Physical and Family.  The only way you will be healthy is through the Power of the resurrection.  One of the things I have come face to face with is the actual weight of this series.  There is a ton of material to cover, a huge amount of work to be done in our hearts, and a multitude of opportunity for us to make excuses for ourselves. But let’s not shrink from the challenge, let’s get transformed against the odds.

So How do we get healthy?  I think this following verse sums up what we need:

“I pray the eyes of your heart will be enlightened in order that you may know the hope in which he has called you to, the riches of his glorious inheritance of His holy people…” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)

  • A Heart Change – You can try harder all you want…and it won’t matter.  You can get an accountability partner…and it won’t matter.  You can read another motivational book…and it won’t matter.  Your heart has to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  There is no substitute for real heart change.  Everything else just treats the symptoms. Are you using drugs to treat your symptoms?  What are you “medicating” with? Its a never ending cycle.
  • A Hope Transplant – Are you kidding me?  Do I really have to write this?  Yes I do, because I know although many of us have known Jesus for years, we have lost our hope.  Our daughter Lydia was born during a time of discouragement in our life. Her middle name is HOPE.  Her name is a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.  Hope gives us the strength to make it through one more day.  The resurrection moves us from despair to HOPE!
  • An Inheritance By-Pass – We work so hard to accumulate here that we forget the inheritance we already have both HERE and THERE (yes I am talking about earth and heaven)  We worry so much about material things we fare distracted from the spiritual dimension of God’s eternal provision. It sounds incomprehensible, but the inheritance I am getting is NOW through dynamic power of the local church. LATER it will be through the second coming of Jesus because Jesus isn’t dead.  Death has no sting and has been defeated and Jesus is preparing a place for us.  (John 14)

These next 50 days of Live Differently at 217church will be life changing!  It starts with EASTER you NEED to be there.  You will have the opportunity to join a 217group and experience the Live Differently field guide as a heart renewal covenant. How will you make the most of What God will do?

We got this!  That stone rolled away was just the beginning,

It’s on!



Easter is Here! Get the Word Out 217church!

It TIME 217church! I’ve never felt this much momentum in the history of our church for a weekend.  It’s the beginning of our LIVE DIFFERENTLY SERIES!

Why are we making such a big deal of this? It’s all about the PEOPLE and God’s love for US… Here is how you can help create a BUZZ!

People find 217church through you, and I think we are on the brink of some pretty incredible stuff!!  This is Central New Jersey, where we haven’t seen a church planting movement in decades.  However, you are starting something BIG!  You do an AMAZING job when it comes to reaching your friends and family members who do not know Christ and bringing them to church!  I talked to someone just last week who was a friend of a friend of a 1st time visitor just TWO WEEKS AGO!  We have seen 90 baptisms and we are just getting started.

There are a few days left…YOU can get involved and help us spread the word about Easter at 217church…

  • Go to our 217church Facebook Page and become a “fan” if you are not already.
  • Share the link to our Easter Services Event on Facebook Here on your facebook page!  Use the Invite button to invite your friends.
  • Put a link to our Web Site which has our service times.
  • We have created EGG HUNT AT THE THEATER on Easter at 11:30am for kids. Invite your neighborhood kids & families!
  • Tweet about the site and Facebook pages above with a link and a hash-tag #217Easter12.
  • Pray like crazy that 2 Corinthians 5:17 would become a reality and that people would become new creations on EASTER SUNDAY!
  • Re-tweet and link to this post to help people get the word out about Easter at 217church!

It’s going to be the BEST EASTER EVER!!!

You are a swift and potent social media force!  LET’S DO THIS!

Live Differently – Easter 2012

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching and I can’t wait.  I love the Easter season.  The change of the weather, the energy and atmosphere of the church, a signal of new life and new beginnings.  Starting Easter Sunday, we have a 50 day season of spiritual emphasis like we have never had before at 217church.  After 2 years and 2 weeks of ministry, it is time to take it to the next level.  I wanted to take this time and share with you some of the details about the new “Live Differently” 50 Day Spiritual Emphasis.  Live Differently is all about transformation against the odds.  What will we be addressing?


Four Areas of Spiritual Health

#1 Spiritual Health Easter Sunday April 8th, we will be focusing on our spiritual health. Each Sunday during Live Differently you will hear this phrase – “Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you everything.”  On Easter we will be addressing the heart issue of following Christ.  What are the practices of a Christ follower? What does a healthy spiritual life look like? Heart transformation is the key and the habits of prayer, reading the word, studying scripture, and meditating on it all flow from a heart transformed.  The challenge will be to join a small group for SEVEN CONSECUTIVE WEEKS.  Taking this time to engage in a spiritually intensive season is going to sharpen us in our focus as individuals and a church.  If you want the most out of the series you have to be in a small group!

#2 Financial Health – For the next two weeks, April 15th & 22nd, we will deal with one of the most difficult issues, how we live a healthy financial Life.  How do we work, live, save, and give? Should debt be an option? How does God want me to give? God has some incredible things to say about what financial health looks like and we want to address some lies the culture has fed to us. How much debt can we pay off by the end of 2012 as a church?  Let’s find out!

#3 Physical Health April 29th & May 6th we will tackle our heart condition and how we treat our bodies.  For some of us, this will be a literal heart check.  There is no way around it, your body matters to God.  Did you know that heart disease kills more people every year than car accidents? God cares that we take care of our earthly shell and we will discover how nutrition, exercise and healthy living matter to God. How many pounds will we lose?  Will we choose to live healthy lives in 2012?  Let’s encourage each other!

#4 Family Health – The last two weeks, May 13th & 20th we will deal with the foundational structure of society, the family.  We will deal with marriage, parenting and single living and what God’s intention for the family is. How will our marriages be healthier? What if our relationship with our children exponentially improved?  God has to deal with our hearts first and there are some great direction in scripture that speaks directly to the health of the family.


Three Environments of Reinforcement

#1 Weekend Worship – You will not want to miss a weekend as every Sunday at 10:00am and 11:30am as we worship collectively together.  What does play-doh have to do with your marriage?  Come find out and you will see.

#2 Small Group Connection – We are asking each small group to meet for seven consecutive weeks and study the “Live Differently” material we have been working hard producing and publishing in house.  Each group will get a 7 lesson DVD video curriculum and each person a small group booklet that will help guide them along the way.  We have some fun times planned for your small group with some great ideas for growth.  We want EVERYONE who calls 217church home to be in a small group.  For this reason, we want to start 15 new groups.  Want to H.O.S.T. a group?  Here is what you need

  • H -Have a Heart for People We aren’t looking for professionals, but people will a love for people
  • O – Open up your Home/Apartment – We need place for these groups to meet!  we currently have 14 homes, but to get everyone in a group, we need at least 14 more!  Are you game?  e-mail dan@217church now!
  • S – Serve A Snack/Share A Meal Together – Food is an incredible way to build relationships!  I love eating with people.  Don’t worry, after your 1st meeting, you can involve everyone in your group in sharing the responsibility for this.
  • T- Turn on the DVD/Host a Discussion – The DVD will be easy to understand and the lesson will be full of questions to ask.  As a H.O.S.T., you just take people right through the discussion question and some veterans of small groups will be there to help you along the way with any questions you may have.

#3 Individual Journaling/Life Transformations – At the end of the 7 weeks you will have 4 vision statements for your life, rooted in scripture, God inspired, written by you, birthed out of heart change inspired by the Holy Spirit.  My prayer has always been for us to be a healthy church.  It begins with healthy people!  This process is something I personally have been doing for over 10 years and has helped me incredibly.  I can’t wait to introduce it to you.

Get ready!  God is about to do something pretty incredible in your life…

Easter…From Guilt to Forgiveness

I hate the feeling of guilt…

You know the feeling of getting caught, the unrest, the discontent.  I was approaching the intersection of highway 130 and 539 and I was late.  I looked to my right and no cars, so I slightly paused at the stop sign and bolted through the intersection.  You guessed it, I glanced in my rear view mirror and I saw the flashing lights and all the sudden a sinking feeling.  I was caught and had no excuse.  I was in a hurry.  I rolled down the window, produced the necessary paperwork and the question came, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  “Yes,” I responded.  “I totally blew that stop sign and I’m sorry it was a mistake” (no crying, blubbering or pleading for mercy)  then the response.  “Are you a Marine?”  Suddenly there was hope!  “Yes I was sir from 1992-2000!”

“Thanks for serving your country, you know better! Stop at stop signs, I don’t want to have to clean up your body some day.  Stop signs are there for a reason, now get out of here…”

What? No ticket? No punishment!  Woo Hoo!!! I had been given a gift called grace and immediately the guilt was replaced with thankfulness and celebration.  I drove the rest of the way to work like an old granny and was totally pumped.

Guilt has been replaced with forgiveness, Jesus is alive, let’s celebrate this Easter 217church!  Hamilton amc24 10am.