Don’t Forget Who You Are

“I’m a failure.” “I won’t make it.” “I can’t finish this race.” “I can’t pass this class.” “I can’t raise these children.” “I will never get married.” “I don’t think anyone really loves me.” “I’ll never get that job.” “I have made so many mistakes, there is no way God would want to use me now.”  Ever had one of these thoughts cross your mind?  Ever adopted one of these sayings deep into the recesses of your soul?  One of these game changing thoughts that repeats itself in your head so much that you lose sight of hope?  Forgetting who you are is no joke.  It could quite possibly be the cause of most of the pain in our world.

“O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage”  Daniel 10:19

It’s hard to forget your name, but unfortunately it’s rather easy to forget who you are, what you are about and lose your purpose.  Many of us are defined too much by things people say, opinions of others, the amount of money in our bank account, a title on a business card, or even our popularity, status and notoriety in the world.  In our striving to “be somebody”, we have forgotten the point.  You already ARE VALUABLE, and you really don’t have anything to prove. When you forget who you are, you tend to lose your way, make mistakes, say and do things that are out of character.  Your identity CAN’T be wrapped up in the above things.  What are the things that are constant about us as humans that should define us?

Four Things You Have To Remember…ALWAYS

1 – You Are Greatly Loved – This is so real.  So many of us feel unlovable, find our security, self esteem and value in the approval of others, and are in constant performance mode.  This is not necessary.  God loves us, made us with the gifts, looks, and the abilities he wanted us to have.  The process of discovering about ourselves has nothing to do with the consistency of His creativity and passion.  God is Love. Period.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.”  1 Thessalonians 1:4

2 – Fear Not – Anxiety is real, but you cannot add a day to your life through worry and inner turmoil.  Contentment is a hard place to reach but fear is always easily accessible.  You don’t have to be afraid, secure is what you are.  You are not alone, abandoned, and left for dead.  God came and took care of the question of security.  He has it covered.  Don’t forget it.

Fear not, for I am with you;”  Isaiah 41:10

3 – Peace Be With You –  Chaos seems like it is winning, but it is not.  There is an inner struggle and an outward pain in the constant fighting and power struggle in our lives.  We fight for control at work, home, as parents, in our marriages, but we don’t have to.  We can choose to be peaceable.  It is who we are when we choose to follow Jesus.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”  John 14:27

4- Be Strong and of Good Courage – Things aren’t always as they seem in the temporal world.  You are probably being deceived in some situation in your life.  You may not feel strong outwardly, but it’s a truth about you that can’t be denied.  When you start to put your faith and trust in a God who created the world, died for you as a man, identifies with your pain, and comforts you in Spirit, You can’t deny your strength.  It is God LIVING in your being.  NOTHING is too difficult for God.  Remember your joy!

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

SO, when are you going to choose to believe who God says you are?  Don’t forget who you are.



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 for more information. or watch a weekend message here On Sunday August 6th 2017 we will meet at the Elks Lodge in East Windsor, NJ for our outdoor Summer celebration.

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?


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 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 

Overcoming Uncertainty This Christmas

What an incredible year we have had together as the 217church family!  We baptized 20 people, made an offer on a piece of land, and completed our 7th year of ministry as 217church!  One thing is for sure, God is faithful.  But in the midst of what God is calling us to do, there will be uncertainty.  Here is a special Christmas message about overcoming uncertainty as we enter into a new year together.

(Please note: If you are viewing video on a Mobile Device you must scroll to bottom and enable “DESKTOP MODE”)

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20

Christmas Eve Service 4 PM at Sharon School in Robbinsville, NJ


Merry Christmas!


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 for more information. or watch a weekend message here

How To Face Your Goliaths

This Sunday we celebrate FIVE YEARS together as a 217church family!  But before we started the church we had to face some GOLIATHS!  10 years ago, the vision for a new church was started inside our hearts.  We were living on the other coast and to get to where God wanted us would take us jumping into uncertainty and a huge test of faith.  We heard God say, “Take the first step.” God had to POSITION us before he PLANTED us. After 4 years of praying and preparation, things started to happen.  It wasn’t easy, nor did we have all the details.  The vision became clearer, the response rang true, and on February 21, 2010 a church was born.  Now 5 years later, 212 baptisms, over 75,000 different individual worship moments, countless people have been accepted and loved, thousands in our communities are cared for, and over $3.5 million dollars has been given to “rebuild lives one person at a time.” Our GOLIATH was our Doubt,  What is your GOLIATH?


45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. 1 Samuel 17:45

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath?  Of course you do, but if not, here is a short refresher.  In 1 Samuel 17 we see Goliath defied God, the Israelites were afraid, none wanted to fight the giant, but David said, “I’ll fight!”  David was naive enough and raw enough to simply trust in God’s leading and direction in His life.  And a few hours later, David precisely whirrled a small stone at his GOLIATH, struck him in the head, and killed him.  Sounds a bit scary and gory right?  Well, facing a GOLIATH is just that.  Addiction, sickness, abandonment, bankruptcy, abusiveness, divorce, separation, betrayal, no matter what the GOLIATH, we can learn much from David and it might get messy fast.

How To Face your GOLIATHS

1.  Remember Yesterday’s Life Lessons – My life story from the beginning is a story of God’s incredible faithfulness.  Before my wife and I moved to Jersey, we had to remember what God had already DONE.  God had taught us so much up until that point and my life had become a series of trusting God and learning to take faith steps.  Just one of them: One warm fall day, I packed up my 1985 Chevy Celebrity and drove across the country with $700 to my name and started Bible College in Eugene, Oregon. A faith step, a GOLIATH had to be faced.  I needed courage.  What lessons can we learn from David?

  • Don’t ask anyone to do what you are not willing to do – David had to be willing to step out in faith and face GOLIATH, even when NO ONE WENT WITH HIM.
  • Remember where you have come from – When you read David’s story, you see he killed the Lion and the bear, pretty sweet set up for defeating a guy with a spear.
  • Choose Your Weapon wisely – Saul tried to outfit him in His armor, and we can imagine how ridiculous that must have looked.
  • Face the GOLIATH head on – Sooner or later you have to charge into the valley and start flinging rocks. He learned that from the bear.


2.  See Things With God’s Perspective Perspective is EVERYTHING.  Many times we are paralyzed because of our perspective.  The Israelites saw GOLIATH as a giant, intimidating beast that would tear them from limb to limb.  Their perspective was that it was an insurmountable task to win over him.  But Davey boy, he saw him as just another beast that God would give him victory over.  Here is a faith boost for you:  Read and then repeat:   “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18


3.  Initiate Victory  – So are you ready?  This is where you find out what you are made of and what God is REALLY DOING.  For David it meant selecting weapons, a strategy, and a careful calculated action plan.  When you read the story of David, some would see a careless young boy who was ill prepared and over matched.  I see a well understood young man with careful consideration of God’s power and ability.  Often times we can’t achieve the victory because we are trying to claim victory on our own strength and not in the strength of the Spirit of God.  One more thing you need to know:  WHEN you start to initiate victory, it might not get easier and there WILL BE those who mock, scorn, chastise, make fun of and say, YOU CAN’T do it.  But remember, you already knew that was true, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6


SO what is your GOLIATH?  Comment Below, I would love to pray for you that you would be bold and courageous and run into your valley to defeat your GOLIATH!




This Sunday at 217church

February 22nd – Joy & Our Future – We will Reveal some Faith Steps God is asking us to take as a church as we face our #GOLIATHS


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 9:30 & 11am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 10:15.  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, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit for more information.


What Are We Afraid Of?

I remember when I went to Disneyland with my family when I was just 7 years old. I had been there before, I had seen everything there was to see, but I had never built up the courage to face my ultimate fear: Splash Mountain.

Splash Mountain is an incredibly popular water ride that my sisters and friends all loved! Also, when I think about it now, there is nothing intimidating about it. It is merely a float that lasts for no longer then 10 minutes, finalized by a 50 foot drop into water. Not a big deal! Why was I so afraid?

My fear was rooted in uncertainty. I was so afraid because I did not know for sure that I would be safe, and I knew that I would not be in control of my own safety if I went on it.

“Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.” –       Psalm 34:9

Fear is all about control! We want to control what happens in our lives, what we have to endure, and what our future will be.

We fear that if we don’t take control, then we won’t get what we want, we will get what we don’t want, or we could potentially lose what we do get. There are 150 documented  passages in the Bible that encourage us to “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.” Scripture covers often the things that we struggle with most. That is not by accident! God created us, He knows us, and He knows exactly what we are going through at all times!

When it comes to fear—and ultimately how we worship God in our fear—we only have two options. The crossroads of fear is placed before us, and there are only two paths available to take:

Run From God: The first choice is to run from God. If you have made this choice before, please do not feel ashamed because you are not the only one. Since the very first man, Adam, ran and hid from God because he was ashamed of his nakedness, all humans for all time have been doing the same exact thing. This is why our God is so great! When we run, he pursues us.

Run To God: The second choice is to run to God, and honestly, this choice is much more difficult to make than the first, because it means that we have to give up control and trust. When we fear, God desires that we trust Him—not turn from him—because He wants to show us who He is.

Think about it. If we had everything we thought we needed to be “happy” in this life—abundance of wealth, flawless health, perfect relationships, hope, peace, joy, etc.—and all those things were provided by the world, what would we turn to God for!?

We would convince ourselves that we could provide for ourselves everything that we had ever or could ever need. That is why we experience fear, struggle, hopelessness, despair. We are turning to the things of the world to find ourselves, rather than turning to the Creator who knows us and completes us. The fallen world around us, should be evidence to us of our fallen condition. Our only hope is to turn to the One who is risen: Jesus.

I pray that you would fear God more than you fear the world around you. It is in that place where you will find everything you need and everything you’ve been looking for.

Pastor Justin

 Don’t miss this weekend’s message, Worship: All or Nothing on the topic of fear!  If you are looking for a church in Central New Jersey or the surrounding areas, join us at the AMC 24 in Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County) on Sunday morning at 9:30 or 11 am.