Generosity In Action

Today is a guest post by our Youth Pastor, Kevin Namur.

There is nothing like seeing the next generation in action! This past Sunday 217church spent the afternoon delivering thanksgiving baskets to families in the Bromley community, our partner neighborhood. As we went door to door delivering dinner to the families, we asked for the ages of all the children in their household in preparation for our Christmas toyland, and if we could pray with them for their greatest need. As I walked the streets with our students, I was encouraged to see how passionate they were about serving the community. Eventually we met a woman named Clairmita. She asked for prayer for healing from her chronic body pain. She invited all of us into her home and shared with us her greatest need. I watched as the students immediately joined hands with her and began to pray for healing.  It was truly beautiful to see. Not only the blessing she had experienced, but the look in the students eyes as they lit up with more energy and passion to pray for those in need. I realized more than ever, our next generation doesn’t want to be told and taught generosity, they want to experience and live it out in a tangible way. They want to see and be generosity in action.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45


As I walked away from Clairmita’s house with our students, I began to ask God to remind me how we all got to a place where we felt empowered enough to enter someone’s home and pray for healing for a woman we had just met. I realized that over the last 2 years together as a youth ministry, God had walked us all through a process understanding 3 of the most powerful prayers anyone could ever pray.

3 Powerful Prayers

1. God, show me what you see

I prayed this prayer 2 years ago in my living room while praying for our HS youth ministry.  The Lord showed me a generation hungry for authenticity, ownership, and the opportunity to make a difference. We made a decision last year in our High School ministry to move to a small group centric model. Students would now meet regularly in homes and we saw them begin to open up their hearts and their bibles more than ever before. We started with the idea that we were a family. We began to pray for one another on a weekly basis and created an environment where leaders poured into our students.  Our students were hungry to see what God saw in the hearts of the youth of our community.  We began inviting more friends to be a part of our family and now our groups are multiplying. All because of a simple yet powerful prayer. “God, show me what you see.”

2. Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours

I prayed this prayer in June and He responded with this phrase, “In order to reach those that no one is reaching, you must do things that no one is doing.”  So we reached out to Urban Promise Trenton and prayed that God would create a powerful partnership between us for His glory. Urban Promise has a heart to build leadership and strong faith in Christ in the hearts of the next generation.  God responded. The students at Urban Promise have become a part of our church family and this year we’ve been caring for one another, building relationships throughout the week, and holding each other accountable more than ever. We have encountered Jesus together in a way that has made us all realize how broken His heart is to see us and others broken.

 3. Holy Spirit, give me the boldness to do your work

This is the prayer I am challenged with today. It’s the one I began to see Him answer on Sunday as I served alongside our students. We now see what God sees when we pray together and for one another. Our hearts are now breaking for those in need. Now I believe God is bringing us through a season where we are beginning to receive the boldness to do things we have never done before. We are looking forward to serving families in Trenton for our Christmas service project this year. As a ministry we are asking God to redirect us in any way He wants to ensure we continue to see what He sees, break for what He breaks for, and have the boldness to do what He calls us to do.

This should be the cry of all of our hearts as Christ followers at 217church. Especially in this season of the year where practical needs can be met so easily, I pray you would dare to adopt these 3 prayers in your daily life. Why? Because at one point the Son of God saw what His Father saw here on earth. Not only did His heart break but His body broke to save us all from sin. God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit gave Him the boldness to endure the cross. And He rose again victorious over sin so that we could have life forever with Him. He also left us with a clear calling: To do what He did and to be to this earth what He was. HOPE. Will you walk into His calling for your life by beginning to pray these 3 prayers? “God show me what you see.  Jesus, break my heart for what breaks yours.  Holy Spirit, give me the boldness to do your work.”

Which of these prayers is the hardest for you and why?

Getting Over Yourself – Pride

I remember being in the band in high school, and though it may be hard to believe, I was undeniably A BAND NERD.  I had played trumpet for three years in high school and even sported the latest large wire rimmed glasses that sealed the deal for me.  Every year at the beginning of the year we would have chair tryouts.  I had taken great PRIDE the year before of being 1st chair.  There were solos, better parts and it was a prestigious thing in the band to be first chair.  After chair tryouts we were all gathered around the director’s office as he was posting the official results.  I looked at the wall and I – WAS – CRUSHED.  2nd chair.  I had gotten dethroned by someone who was younger than me and for the next three months I begrudgingly took my seat.  I was absolutely ticked and my EGO took a large hit.

Most of us have dealt with the most disgusting five letter word in the English language P-R-I-D-E.  But how do we get over ourselves?

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2


So what did I fail to do?  I failed to realize that the band wasn’t about me.  This should have been obvious.  A band takes, well, multiple people playing multiple instruments to create the sound of a band.  “The whole world is comprised of other people with one minor exception, that is you.”

4 Simple Ways To Get Over Yourself

1. Practice The Me Third Principle – The me third principle is rather simple, God first, others second and me third.  If you want to see an example of humility, open the door for someone, let someone go in front of you and last but not least, choose to give someone else a better seat on your next flight.  Choose the middle seat.  If I could afford it, I would buy a first class seat then randomly choose someone on the plane to upgrade.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

2. Give Generously –  It’s hard to remain prideful when you give with no strings attached.  The way to combat prideful giving is to give and ask for nothing in return.  Tell NO ONE!  Once you share it, immediately you will feel pride well up in you and you just wasted your money.  Your humility was snatched up by your evil ego.

3. Laugh At Yourself Regularly I often become the butt of my own jokes because I know I am a goof ball who has no business doing what I am doing.  I have no business being married to my amazingly gorgeous, hot wife. I work with amazing people who for some reason choose to work for me.  (By the way, you choose your boss). And I can be the quirkiest person around.  STOP taking yourself so seriously, calm down, relax, and laugh at yourself.

4. Be Willing To Be Forgotten – This means in every instance pass along the credit.  I believe we are the sum total of what people pour into us.  Teachers, coaches, parents, brothers, classmates:  There is no way I got here alone, and you didn’t either.  I think what the world needs is more people with a sober view of themselves and their accomplishments.

One more thing, here is the warning:  Once you think you are humble, you become prideful.  Just because you do the above you won’t necessarily shake the “pride virus.”  Humility takes a life-time of depending on Jesus and self managing.

You weren’t born as Superman, so get over yourself!

Josh

Question:  What is the most difficult situation you have had to show humility in?

P.S. If you know of anyone who has a specific need from Hurricane Sandy, please contact Tim 732-306-9074.

Life’s About People NOT Stuff

Continue to bring non-perishable foods, toiletries, blankets, and baby care items for Hurricane Sandy victims to 217church.  Sunday Services – 10 am & 11:30 am

Watching the church in action is a beautiful thing.  This past week, a team from 217church and Element church had the privilege of serving someone we didn’t even know.  A group of us took a trip to Union beach, NJ where the scene was disastrous.  The house we were gutting had been overcome by three feet of ocean water and everything on the first floor had to be thrown away.  The back yard was littered with garbage. Washers, dryers, refrigerators, furniture, insulation and countless amounts of drywall, all ended up in a pile in front of the house.  At one point I had to just stop, go outside and take a deep breath because it was too much for me to handle.  As I looked towards the ocean, I observed countless houses like this one, needing to be cleaned up.  The task seemed so overwhelming. These are real people who lost virtually everything. But this family had EACH OTHER.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ..”  Galatians 6:2

As I stood and stared at the stuff on this curb it hit me.  All this stuff at one point was new.  Brand spanking new.  The beautiful stainless steel refrigerator, the oak desk, the big screen TV.  It all at one point was brought home with pride.  It got me thinking about the process we go through in our love affair with STUFF

5 stages of stuff

1. Ambition – It all starts here with our stuff.  Desire! We get a job, we like a girl, we give her a ring.  We have all these plans and desires and it usually involves big money and lots of stuff.  A first home, a new car and a retirement account.  These are all things we want to have and think we need. It is touted as the “American Dream” and I think one of my jobs is to pry people’s hand off of this dream and show them God’s dream.  But ambition is a powerful thing.

2. Acquisition –  You have all heard of shopper’s high.  I have had it before and you know the feeling.  When you first buy something it usually feels amazing.  I’ll never forget opening the door to our first house.  It was brand new construction, built to our specifications and it was ours.  It even had a garage, which leads to the next phase.

3.  Accumulation I recently spent a day cleaning out my garage and found stuff I had forgotten about and stuff I don’t even remember how we obtained it.  Accumulation is a dirty word because we can look around and think that we have something.  We might even start to think we are a really big deal.  But if we don’t have Jesus we don’t have anything.  There is a false sense of security in owning a home, having power- even having a car.  As most of us experienced in the Northeast this week:  If the power goes out, our house becomes a very cold place. Empty.  On top of that, if we don’t have power, our gadgets don’t even work.  Listen, people matter more than stuff! You are taking none of it with you when you die.

4. Admiration – We look around and pat ourselves on the back and feel proud of our accomplishment.  We even admire certain people in their pursuit of accumulation.  Some of us become bitter and jealous because “all those rich people out there are greedy.” For a little while after we have accumulated much, we actually think we need more.  We want to be like them. There is a venom injected in the life of our culture that whispers, “we need more”  and most of us believe it.  This, by the way is why we don’t give more, we actually think we need more.

5. Apathy – Eventually, and this could take a lifetime, we get apathetic about our stuff.  Most of us after getting to the end of our life will not say, “I wish I would have had more stuff.”  We will most likely think, “I wish I would have given more away, and I wish I wouldn’t have worried about it so much!”  We will wish we would have spent more time with those we love.

During this time when we see so much need, let’s become apathetic NOW about our stuff.  If someone has a need, let’s not hesitate to give to help.  Let’s help people rebuild and be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Your stuff doesn’t matter and does not define you.  Let’s take care of one another.

Can’t wait to be the church this weekend!

Josh

P.S. If you know of anyone who has a specific need from Hurricane Sandy, please contact Tim 732-306-9074.

Next Generation Vision 2013

217church now launches into a season that will cause us to never be the same!  Over the past few months we have been in conversation and prayer with Urban Promise Trenton, which rebuilds lives of the children of the city.  We have now officially partnered to reach the city of Trenton together.   Imagine children and youth of the city transformed by the Gospel of Jesus! This Sunday is our opportunity to make a HUGE difference in the lives of the next generation. How can you be a part of the Next Generation Vision 2013?

“…that you may tell the next generation that this is God.” Psalm 48:13

SERVE / GIVE / PRAY

We all bear the responsibility for the generation that comes after us and we must be compelled to ensure kids have a chance to hear the Gospel. Our heart is for children and youth to be transformed by its power both across the street and around the world

Four Parts of the Next Generation Vision 2013…               Total Goal:  $100,000

Part #1 Urban Promise Trenton – Every day through after school programs, Urban Promise reaches into the heart of Trenton and trains and equips young people to discover God’s will and plan for their life.  By pouring love and care into kids and youth, Urban Promise is an organization on the front lines of equipping the Next Generation. WE ARE ALL IN!  ARE YOU?  Goal: $25,000

Part #2  217youth & 217kids Ministries – Every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday we reach over 125 youth and kids as they hear of the love of Jesus.  Our 217youth center provides an essential place for our youth to gather and sense his call. This summer over 100 kids went to our 217kids camp! We want to fund every ministry initiative through this offering.   WE ARE ALL IN!  ARE YOU?  Goal: $35,000

Part #3  The 217rebuild Initiative – This is a brand new ministry targeted towards families who need help providing basic needs.  No child should go hungry and no parent should have to worry where their next meal is coming from.  In providing food, clothing and basic needs, we will set the example for “Caring for One Another Deeply.”  WE ARE ALL IN!  ARE YOU?  Goal $20,000

Part #4 217global – We have partnered with Rick & Tami Romano of the Dominican Republic in providing love, health and education to the children of the D.R.  We are anticipating incredible things through the planting of churches and sharing the Gospel with kids and youth of the Dominican.  We will be making a trip in March of 2013!  WE ARE ALL IN!  ARE YOU?  Goal $20,000

These four vital pieces of our ministry are already seeing amazing fruit and are poised to transform lives over this next year.  What will you sacrifice and give in order that “we may tell the next generation” about The Gospel of Jesus!  This weekend will blow you away as we hear the story of Carl Clark, the founder of Urban Promise Trenton!

DO NOT MISS IT!

See you there Sunday at 10am & 11:30am!