Why You Should Sing At Midnight

It’s late and you are tired.  You had a hard day and you would rather forget about it.  You feel like you have been beaten and the world has you bound in shackles in prison.  You just lost your job. You are a prisoner to your own pain.  You have a physical disease, a mountain of debt and one step forward feels impossible.  You just need some sleep, everything is blurry. You are a prisoner of your own sin, your own doing.  Worse, you are a prisoner because of what someone else has gruesomely done to you.  It’s not fair and you wonder inside if anyone cares. It is all finally coming to a head, something has to give.


“and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened…”  Acts 16:26


Then out of nowhere comes this urge.   It’s unlike any impulse you have ever had.  It resonates deep within you.  It is a song from long ago your mother and father used to sing.  A song that you had once forgotten and you somehow recall all the words as if you have sung this song every day since the pain first began.  It is a song with a reminder that someone loves you. A song that speaks of something you haven’t lived in a lifetime.

It is not normal to sing at midnight.  It is quiet where you are.  People are sleeping, but you have to let this song out of you and activate your vocal chords. Your faith is too fragile to remain silent.  At first it is a slight hum, then a little louder and louder…then out of nowhere you break forth into song.

It heals, it refreshes, it soothes, it stirs, it wells up from deep within and emotions pour out.  You recall, you repent, and then somehow you regain trust.  It is your greatest moment of worship and you realize an earthquake just happened.  You are finally in rubble, no stronghold is left, no worldly monuments left standing.  The prison door is wide open. Your heart is open.  No addiction has you.  No words from the past bind you, your bond has been unfastened.

Isn’t it time this happens to you?

Sing at midnight…You never know when God is about to pull off a miracle, our job is to keep singing.  #welcomehome


Josh Conn is 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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here.

Total Dependence – From Trials To Triumph

There is a HUGE tree in my back yard that I love because of how tall it stands.  When I look at it I see a beautiful creation of God that has taken decades to build strong.  What makes it so strong?  An extensive root system that is a complex interweaving of the underground part of the tree you never see.  This has always fascinated me about trees.  You can gaze upon how majestic it climbs to the sky, but really what makes it grow is what you never see below the soil.  The same is true for our character and dependence Character is NOT about what everyone sees, it is about what is driving you that often no one ever notices.  “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season...” Psalm 1:3


The essence of religion consists in the feeling of an absolute dependence

Friedrich Schleiermacher

Gospel Dependency

The harder the trial, the more you find out what and who you are depending on.  Not too long ago my root system was challenged. Because I am intuitively a doer I want things to be, well, done. Before I knew it, all the tasks of leading the church, preaching, doing weddings, performing funerals, visiting the sick, making phone calls became a sick progression self dependence.  After a three year season of planting the church, I realized subtly I had become dependent on my behavior and my routines and not the Gospel.  As the days went on and on I became more dependent on the external factors of performance rather than the internal reality of being.  My trial was one of perfectionism and performance based evaluation through the approval of others.  As we live in the power of the Gospel and suffer, we realize His perfect story.  The miracle of His creation, our rejection of Him, our redemption through Him, and now our approval by Him is His perfect plan for restoration. His resurrection changes everything!


Knowing – Being – Doing

One day, while going about my business, the weight of the following verse came crashing down on me. It was like the Word of God opened up and my life and future became clear. This was my dependence manifesto that was to mark me:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10

I had to realize my first role was to be his disciple.  There are three clear things that jumped out at me.  These three things were working together to make me a disciple of Jesus fully dependent on Him.  Struggling through trials requires a dependence on a knowledge of His will for my life.  The trial I am traveling through may or may not have been created by me, but it has been determined for me.  This is usually almost impossible to see when you are progressing through a difficult season and many times you will need someone else to point out the “point of it all.” Knowledge of suffering and Jesus on the cross helps us put in proper perspective our own suffering and trial.

Because of this knowledge we can then surrender our agenda and – just – be. I love how Being works in harmony with knowledge to give wisdom and understanding through a situation.  During my season of reflection I realized that I needed to just be and STOP DOING.  For me, this revelation was like a slap in the face.  Being needs to be daily, weekly and routine.  Most of my being time now is not spent trying to gather knowledge, but rather to gain wisdom and understanding through his friendship. I want to feel God.

Only when we learn to know and be, can doing be the pleasing evidence of a life well lived.  I am sure you have heard of the saying,  “too much of a good thing.” Well, I had too much doing and not enough being. In order to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord bearing good fruit I had to pause and make sure my life was in balance.  To this day it’s not something that comes easy, but dependence is a DISCIPLINE.


The Triumph – Total Dependence

Most of us would say we want to have deep dependence on God. But sometimes deep character can be illusive through trial because of our blind spots and our bad experiences.  But even so, here are some ways you can develop deep dependence on God in your life no matter what situation you find yourself in.  And keep in mind, we develop strong character in order to stay focused on the mission God has for us.

  • Stay in the Word – We can too easily forget the foundation of dependency starts with our relationship with Jesus.  We must INTENTIONALLY make time to get away with him.  I was just talking to my friend the other day and he told me he is taking a mini 12 hour retreat Sunday.  Another friend is actually quitting his job for four months to be with God, pray, fast and learn to depend on Him more. Get away from all your distractions and be shaped and steadied by your time with Jesus.  Let him root out destructive habits and incorrect thinking.
  • Be Humble – If you have to take credit for everything good that happens in your work, family, etc. you have a problem.  Pass along the credit and promote others.  Do you always have to be right?  Always have to have the last word?  Always interrupting people to get your point across?  Yep, that’s pride.  And by the way, the moment you think you are humble you are most likely not.  It is when you realize your pride when your character is deepened.
  • Serve Continually – Every chance you possibly get you need to serve.  Considering others’ needs will give you a strong root system that can’t be compromised.  You can’t just serve when it feels good, but when it hurts.
  • Select Friends Carefully – You need friends that will build into your character not tear it down.  I’m not at all for isolating yourself from others who don’t believe the same way as you, but we must be careful who we bring close to us that INFLUENCES our thinking.
  • Hold Your Tongue – Nothing will destroy your influence and character faster than a hasty, harsh word.  The words you use define what you believe and who you depend on.  The next time you want to say something brutal, slow down.  Don’t make excuses for yourself either.  NO ONE gets a free pass by saying, “that’s just the way I am.”  If you want to deepen character it’s time to address the problem, your mouth.  Quick to listen, slow to speak.


Questions to Consider

  1. What knowledge to you need from God in order to put in perspective your current trial?
  1. What is God saying to you about your being? Are you comfortable being with him and depending on him for friendship, forgiveness and your future?
  1. What about your doing? What do you need to do NOW, TODAY that God has told you to do, in order to prove your dependence on him and live by faith.

From Trials to Triumph

“Turning Deep Wounds Into Great Impact”

Full Book Releasing January 19th 2015 –


Josh is the lead pastor 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 Starplex Cinemas in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new 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 www.217church.com for more information.

Do You Want To Be Healed?

You might be reading this thinking, “Of course I want to be healed?  What kind of a question is that?”  At first I thought the same thing, until I began to interact with people who wanted to take no action, have no faith, and expect their circumstances to change.

No matter what area of your life is sick, and believe me, we are living in a very sick world, I believe you can be healed through Jesus!  Your finances, your physical health, your marriage, your parenting, and your emotional health can all be healed.  We are simply told to believe.

stethoscope 12-13

“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6

There is this passage of the bible in John 5 where there is an invalid that Jesus has compassion on.  Jesus asks him, and is asking us today, this powerful question, “Do you want to be healed?”  But here are some hurdles we must overcome if we are to be healed.  And before I go any further, remember this.  God is sovereign.  He is the one who chooses to heal.  Our part is to believe and act in great faith.

4 Hurdles of Unbelief To Overcome…

1. Routine  –  Sometimes, we get caught in the “doom loop of sickness.”  Sickness becomes really the only thing we have known for so long, so we just stay sick.  In essence, we think to ourselves, we have tried everything and we just – simply – give – up.  The sick man Jesus was talking to had been there for thirty-eight years(John 5:5) How long have you been sick? It’s time.  Believe you will be healed!

2. Excuses  –  Everyone has an excuse for why they can’t be healed.  The longer you have been sick, the more excuses you tend to build up.  The man’s excuse was, “everyone else is too quick to get in the pool!” (John 5:7) The man felt helpless so I am sure he had given up.  How long have you been making excuses for your unbelief? It’s time.  Believe you will be healed!

3. Doubters and Haters –  What will everyone else think?  Some of us have people and circumstances we are keeping around us that are keeping us sick.  Some people will never let you change.  The Pharisees, instead of being elated and enthusiastic about the greatest miracle they had seen in their lifetime were concerned what day it happened? (John 5:10)  Are you kidding me?  Who cares what other people think!  Believe you will be healed!

4. Over thinkingBy far my favorite part of this miracle is the man didn’t even know who Jesus was! (John 5:13)  HUGE ADVANTAGE!  You mean to tell me that this man was physically healed by Jesus and never accepted Jesus into his heart?  What?  YES!  EXACTLY!  This is what we call child like faith.  He was so tired of his circumstance that he actually DID what JESUS said to do.  Are you tired of your circumstances?  It’s time.  Believe you will be healed!

Here is the best part of this story.  Later, after Jesus healed the man he went and sought him out!  He looked for the man and told him to “stop sinning so that something worse wouldn’t happen to Him.” (John 5:14)  What was Jesus saying?  It’s time to obey me.  STOP LIVING IN SIN!  Jesus cares more about your heart than he does your physical circumstances.  And how does this scripture end?  The Man won’t shut up about Jesus.  (John 5:15)

May God allow you to receive healing that you may bear witness to His power within you! Believe you will be healed!



This Sunday:  Jesus is MIRACULOUS!

We are the church that meets at the theater!  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 Starplex Cinemas in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new 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 www.217church.com for more information.