I wanted to QUIT today

There I said it, I am normal.  If you are anything like me, the feeling comes and goes periodically.  It was around mile 4 of my 10 mile run and my body just didn’t feel right.  Every step was a struggle, a labor, and my legs felt so heavy.  I was out of breath and began to ask myself, “do I really need to do this run today?” I wasn’t even half way done and my body was telling me, QUIT, GIVE UP, STOP!  I just wanted to be done with this work out.  EVERYONE has wanted to QUIT something at one time or another, and it was time to see how serious I was about training for this marathon.

Wanting to quit is normal and even healthy.

Have you wanted to quit lately?  Maybe you have wanted to quit your job, your marriage, your workout plan, your day, your week.  Wanting to quit can actually be a sign of great self-awareness and can be a powerful revelation of deep purpose and progress in your life.  It may get tougher before it gets easier, but know that perseverance is where the power is…

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”            James 1:12

How To Cope With Wanting to QUIT

1. Remember The Vision –  When I want to quit I visualize myself crossing the finish line.  I cannot tell you how many times in ministry, exercise, marriage, parenting or other big project, I have used this tactic.  The finish line is a POWERFUL motivator in my life.  It lets me know that pain is temporary, but pride is forever.  I am talking about good pride, not self-indulgent arrogant pride.  The self-satisfaction in knowing that I crossed the finish line and I did the best I could on that day propels me forward.

If you don’t have a vision, you better get one. How?

  • Evaluate – This is where you compare where you are to where you want to be.  You can’t get to where you want to go until you are honest where you are.  I read scripture to understand what God wants from me.
  • Motivate – What will propel you forward?  For me there is always scripture behind everything I do.  A HUGE motivator in my own life is 1 Timothy 4:12, “but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  I make OTHERS a key part of my motivation.
  • Activate – You must be clear about the major action steps you need to accomplish in order to reach the vision.  A good vision should be action oriented.  By the way, if you can get there on your own, you may have what you think is a good vision, but it probably is not a GOD-VISION.

2. Retreat from Everything – When I want to quit, I get away and reevaluate.  Let’s be honest, you need a break and probably more than you know.  Many of us run a breakneck speeds and wear out ourselves and all the people around us.  It becomes even worse when we have unrealistic expectations of the people around us.  I DEMAND that my staff takes all their vacation time during the year.  If they don’t, they don’t get to wear it as a badge of honor and hard work.  I see it as a sign of life mismanagement and immaturity.  If you feel like quitting, you better take a break in a hurry.  How do you take a meaningful break?  

  • Disconnect from the technology – Laptops and phones are perhaps the biggest evil in our world.  you can now take your work home with you.  Somehow, we thought that was a good idea.  being ALWAYS ON leads to being overwhlemed.
  • Decompress emotionally –  Exercise, take a walk, watch a TV show, put your feet in the sand, do a service project but  don’t be s person who thinks you can run and run and run and never stop.  You are foolish.  The first thing that Adam in the bible experienced was God taking what is called a “Sabbath.”  Learn to sabbath well!
  • Deal with unresolved issues – What is the elephant in your life that you don’t want to deal with?  Maybe you need to see a counselor?  If you are one of those “guys” who is self-reliant and prideful, maybe it is time to man up and talk to someone about your issue.  Put it off and the price to pay goes up and you will eventually pay it.

3. Refrain From The Guilt – When I want to quit, I remember Jesus Gives 2nd Chances – and third and fourth and fifth.  We tend to beat ourselves up at the first hint of failure, which tends to come from our family of origin.  Most of us who deal with major guilt issues never had a father who believed in us, much less encouraged us to go forward.  When we give in and QUIT, we give away the victory. God is not into beating you up over guilt, he is into building you up through grace

4. Rely on Your Friends – When I want to quit, I think of my friends, those who have my back.  The power of others is the untapped secret of success in your life.  If you continue to try and accomplish things on your own, you will only go so far. If you will submit yourself to a team of people who encourage you and hold you accountable, you will be unstoppable!  God gives us each other for a purpose, and you can’t do it alone!  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

After mile seven it got even harder, but my perspective had changed.  I knew there were only a few minutes left of the run.  The last two miles I was able to run faster than I have all season in training.  I completed the workout and was exhausted, but knew I was preparing for something with much more meaning, RACE DAY.

God is preparing you and testing you now for a future with more purpose and meaning than you can possibly imagine.

God NEVER gives up on us. Don’t quit!



How’s Your Health?

I woke up Wednesday and there it was.  The feeling none of us enjoys but all of us are familiar with, I had the first signs of a COLD.  My Health was on the decline. I HATE BEING SICK.  I got up went downstairs and looked for anything and everything I knew to do to stop this thing dead in its tracks.  I ate a banana, an apple, drank some water and then attacked the vitamin cupboard.  Physical health is NEVER something to take lightly, but why is it that so many of us treat our bodies as a dumping ground for garbage food and then are surprised when we get sick?

An apple a day keeps the free radicals away.

God cares about our bodies.  He is the giver of life who enables every beat of our heart and breath in our lungs.  Life is a gift and a privilege from Him and he expects us to do something good with what we have been given.  The bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? ” (1 Corinthians 6:15) This means that our bodies are connected to the very Spirit of the living God through the power of Jesus.  So what should we be doing with our bodies to keep them healthy, glorifying God?

Three Principles of Physical Health…

1. Management Principle –  God expects me to manage my body.   Let’s talk about food.  It’s up to you, and what you put in now you will reap later in your physical health. Food is the gateway to our feelings and emotions.  One reason so many people feel like garbage is because they put garbage in their bodies.  Let me just give you one:  High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS.  This stuff is basically poison for you and it’s in soda and too many other things! Don’t even get me started on diet soda, it isn’t any better.  Did you know that one soda a day is equal to twenty pounds of extra weight over the course of a year?  We are the gatekeepers of our body and that starts with controlling our mouths, what we put in.   

Here are some reasons you need to manage your body well according to the CDC Website

  • In 2008, over 616,000 people died of heart disease. Heart disease caused almost 25% of deaths, almost one in every four in the United States.  The primary cause of heart disease is bad diet.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2008 were in men.
  • Every year, about 785,000 Americans have their first heart attack. Another 470,000 who have already had one or more heart attacks have another attack.
  • In 2010, coronary heart disease alone was projected to cost the United States $108.9 billion. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Question: What is one habit you need to start & stop to limit this risk in your own life?

2. Ownership Principle – My body is God’s property.  So many people find comfort in food, and that is not a bad thing!  God gives us everything for our enjoyment, but he owns us.  Addiction, compulsion and inactivity are huge problems in our culture.  What about you?  Let me ask you three simple questions to see if you really are living under the ownership principle.

  • Do you exercise?  I am not talking about being a marathon runner or an Olympic athlete.  I am just talking about regular exercise four times, a week 20-30 minutes a session.  I am not talking about a gym membership either.  Walk, jog, play basketball, but just do something that gets your blood pumping to stay healthy.
  •  Do you limit the free radical four?  Alcohol, caffeine, sugar and sugar substitutes, and cholesterol?  in excess, these will KILL YOU!  Eliminating these for most people feels unrealistic and out of reach, but limiting them is a very reasonable goal.
  • When was the last time you saw your doctor?  Don’t wait to see him until your body breaks down.  Make your physician a regular part of your physical health plan.  You need to know your blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat numbers etc.  These are not scary numbers, these are essential pieces of information if you are going to honor the ownership principle.

Question: What is your motivation to take a risk and try one of the above in the new year?  Maybe it’s because you want to see your grand children graduate from college!

3. Eternity Principle – My body will be resurrected after I die. The bible promises us that we get a new body in 1 Corinthians 6:14,  “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” This is a pretty amazing thing as we struggle forward with our current bodies.  Do you have a nagging ache or a pain?  Maybe you have a terminal illness? God is not leaving us here with these bodies, but he will resurrect them as a new flawless spiritual body!  We don’t know exactly what they will look and feel like, but we do know that Revelation says we won’t hunger, thirst, or have any tears in our eyes.  This should propel us forward to complete the mission of God, anticipating all that he has for us in our life after our physical death, for those who believe and trust in Jesus!

Question: When was the last time you thought about the future body you are going to receive as a NEW gift from God?

It’s time for a FRESH START IN YOUR HEALTH!  Take care of that hot body of yours!

I Would love to see you at 217church at 9:30 & 11 am at AMC 24 theaters in Hamilton, NJ as we explore this truth further this Sunday.

  • January 13 – Fresh Start in Your Health
  • January 20 – Fresh Start in Your Faith



A Budget Strategy

Just this last week, it happened. As my family was pulling into a restaurant to have a nice Christmas break lunch, I heard a terrible grinding noise.  I HATE CAR REPAIRS!  I tried to shut it out of my mind, and after we had our lunch I took the car down to my local shop to see what was the matter.  It wasn’t pretty.  The whole ordeal ended up costing us around $700 in total repairs.  It was a Budget Busting Moment.

Are you holding on to your money, or is your money holding on to you?

Handling money is a big responsibility, and how you handle money can make or break your character.  The reason it is such a critical issue is because for most of us, money is a part of our every day life.  We interact with it more than almost any other one single thing.  But there is a way to handle it that brings glory to God, and there is contentment when we realize our money is really not our money, it belongs to God.  So how should we manage it?  The dreadful B wordBUDGET – TELL YOUR MONEY WHAT TO DO!

The Building Blocks of a Budget…

1. Give First – No matter how much you make, everyone can give something.  Some people want to argue about how much to give and when to give, but the essential building block of having a financial life that exudes maturity is to give first.  If you never give, what you are saying is “I am selfish”.  So many people in our community are generous with their time, energy and yes, MONEYIf you want to have a Fresh Start in Your Finances,  GIVE – SOMETHING – NOW.  It doesn’t matter to whom or where, just let God transform your heart and become a giver.  When you give, you reveal something about yourself. “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21.

Here is one reason you need to be a giver…

  • One Fall day right before thanksgiving in 1982, I was seven years old and I remember a family from our church showing up with boxes.  At first I didn’t know what they were for, but when I looked inside the boxes there was food.  It was much needed food for our family of 5 at the time.  It was because of people in our church who GAVE that our family was able to eat on Thanksgiving.  When you GIVE, you are proving you believe in Jesus to provide for your needs, and the needs of people in your community.

Question: What is holding you back from giving?

2. Save – Did you know that the United States has one of the lowest savings rate of any developed country?  This is a sad state of affairs for our country, but as Christ followers we can be counter cultural and set an example of SAVING rather than example of DEBT.   “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20.  Most of the time, the reason we don’t save is because we are so busy paying interest on credit card debt.  Before you save, pay OFF your credit card debt.

Question: Do you have a get out of debt plan?

3. Essential Spending – You know what goes into this piece, but never has it been easier to pay bills!  In our essential spending block is the gas bill, the mortgage, the water bill, insurance and it is entirely automated.  I write maybe two checks a month and at the beginning of the month, on one spreadsheet I have listed where ALL of my essential spending is going.  1 Timothy 6 says, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

Question: How content are you?

4. Non-Essential Spending – There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with enjoying money after you have taken care of the above three items.  As a matter of fact, God actually encourages it!  There were entire weeks in Hebrew culture set aside on the calendar for feasting and partying!  Unfortunately, many of us have upside down budgets.  We impulsively get what we want first, and if there is anything left over, we might give.

Question: What is a way you can enjoy what you have more?

It’s time for a FRESH START IN YOUR LIFE!  Happy Budgeting!

217church meets 9:30 & 11 am at AMC 24 in Hamilton, NJ

  • January 6 – Fresh Start in Your Finances
  • January 13 – Fresh Start in Your Health
  • January 20 – Fresh Start in Your Faith


Back To Work

It’s Back to Work!  The parties are over, the break is done, and for most of us today signals going back to work and school. After much needed time with family, friends and some people we wish we could have avoided, the new year demands productivity.  I wanted to drop you a few ideas about WORK in the new year.  We spend so much time in our week working and thinking about work, why not make the most of it?

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

I remember my first day of official work.  I was so excited and motivated to make money.  C’mon, we all know why you applied for your first job, but since then my motivations have changed.

Why Work?

1. Bring Honor To God – Remember you don’t just work for your boss, but you are representing Jesus to all of your co-workers as well.  Maybe you have seen the bumper sticker, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.”  Okay, it’s a bit cheesy, but if you work to please Him, I can almost guarantee honor, character, and reputation will advance you.

2. Bring The Gospel to The Workplace – It cracks me up when I hear of workplaces banning talk about “religious topics”.  As if we shut off our character and life purpose while we work.  What boss wouldn’t want employees to follow at least the 2nd of two commandments Jesus told us to live out?  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Or how about other commandments, “do no covet, do not steal, do not bear false witness.”  (Exodus 20)  Sounds to me like the best place to work, ever.

3. Bring A Listening Ear – How do we bring the Gospel to the workplace?  Talk less, listen more.  It all starts with caring about the people you work with, and then when the time is right, the opportunity will come to listen, serve and even pray with the people at your work.

Remember, above all else, you are there to bring glory to God.  Work hard, make him look good, make her succeed, and in the end, you will have done your job.

Work hard!


2013 – A Fresh Start

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE FRESH STARTS!  I have a personal affinity for new things.  (This has gotten me in trouble more than a few times.)  I think this is why I love mornings.  There is nothing quite like the crispness of the morning air, enjoying a cup of coffee, watching a sunrise, or quite honestly, the feel of a fresh clean shave.  It all signals a Fresh Start.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

In a few days we will welcome in 2013, which is an incredible opportunity for us to see the faithfulness of God over 2012, and a time to anticipate his plan for us over this next year.  I always do two simple things when a new year comes.

I Look Back…

As an example:  Here are some things God did in 2012 through our 217church family!

  • 61 baptisms (141 total since we started 217church)
  • Doubled our small groups ministry
  • Doubled our youth ministry
  • Started a Partnership with Urban Promise in Trenton & gave them $25,000!
  • Increased giving by 30%
  • Produced our first ever DVD “Live Differently” curriculum for our small groups
  • Gave away $11,500 to single moms one Sunday in April

1. Retreat – You have to get away to do this!  I can’t stress this enough.  One of the only ways you will be able to be spiritually healthy with a correct perspective about what really happened to you over the last year, is to isolate yourself from the busyness of life and take an extended sabbath.  The end of the year gives me an opportunity to reflect on where God has taken me.  It also helps me to see what God enabled and what he disabled.  Just start by planning a time to get away, even for a half day!

2. Reflect – Is there something you know you need to STOP doing?  Now that you are on that well deserved retreat, it’s time to recount what God did and ask Him what needs to go.  Is it an unhealthy relationship you need to get out of?  C’mon single ladies, do you need to dump the loser?  Does he really measure up?  Are you settling for less than God’s best for you?  Is there a job you need to transition out of?  Is there a bad habit that is crippling you?  When you find your place of isolation, it’s time to recount what God did in your life and get rid of what needs to go.

3. RepositionIs there something you know you need to START doing?  The ability to dream gives us hope and anticipation of God’s faithfulness to us.  I like to divide this into two specific sections:

  • Personally how do you reposition yourself?  Did God do a deep work in you?  If there was a word to describe what happened in 2012 what would it be?  Here are five ‘f’ words to help you personally reposition yourself.  What is one way you need to reposition yourself in your:  Faith? Family? Finances? Fitness? Friendships?  Just pick one tangible action step for each area.  Even if you just pick one area, you will see the possibility of what God wants to do through you.
  • Professionally how do you reposition yourself?   Did you learn a new skill or lesson in 2012?  Maybe you are working your way through college or started a new ministry or have aspirations to start a business.  You need a compelling vision!  What is that vision for you?  Take courage and Initiate!

I Look Forward…

1. Ramp UpIs there something you know you need to KEEP doing?  Build on your greatest successes and use them to your advantage in 2013.  Oh man, this is where is gets really fun! How do you motivate in order to initiate a new goal or vision?  Everyone is different, but you will need a strategy to ramp up your training to reach the vision God has for you personally and professionally.  It’s time for action!

2. Request – What people do you need to enlist to help you?  DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!  I have seen so many people fail because they failed to include others in on their plan looking forward. “…in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 24:6  If your plan is only your plan and you haven’t shared it with anyone, you will probably fall short.  No one is that good alone.

3. Reap the Harvest! – Go and Get it!  It’s time!  What are you waiting for?  This is where all your planning is proved powerful.  A plan not executed is a collosal waste of time and energy.  Get out your tools, get ready for the hard work and get out there! One tip that helped me:  Realize your plan will never be perfect.   You have to just start.  If we would have waited until every circumstance was perfect to start 217church, we would still be planning.  This is called paralysis by analysis!


217church meets 9:30 & 11 am at AMC 24 in Hamilton, NJ

  • January 6 – Fresh Start in Your Finances
  • January 13 – Fresh Start in Your Health

Tic-Toc it’s almost here!