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!


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

Unity After Hurricane Sandy

Bring non-perishable foods, toiletries, blankets, shoes, baby care items, work gloves for Hurricane Sandy victims to 217church.  Sunday Services – 10 am & 11:30am

What we need most during this time of uncertainty and struggle is UNITY.  I have heard stories of you, the church, taking each other in during power outages, providing for each other’s basic needs, and meeting neighbors throughout your community building relationships.  Sometimes it takes a disaster to make the church shine.  When things are at their worst, the church should be at it’s best.  SO… what’s our “Game Plan” now?

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”  1 Thess 5:11

Two ways to show unity…

1. Bromley Neighborhood Community Day, Saturday, November 3rd 9am-2pm  –   We will be having a KIDS FESTIVAL with games, a bounce castle, hot dogs and burgers, pop corn machine and a time to throw a party for our friends in Bromley.  We will also be HELPING CLEAN UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD AFTER THE STORM.  Bring rakes, gloves, blowers, chainsaws, extra big bags, and your trucks and meet us at Farmingdale Park at 9AM.  I don’t believe in coincidences! This event has been on the schedule for weeks now, and it could not have come at a more opportune time.  It’s an INCREDIBLE WAY to kickoff this series by DOING what you KNOW before you study it! E-mail for more info on this event.

2. Sunday Worship at the AMC 24 –  As we kick off our “Game Plan” series, I could not be more proud of you as a church.  This series is all about living on mission together with our small groups.  We have 22 small groups that will be using the “Tangible Kingdom Primer” that goes along with the Sunday message.  We are selling them for $10 at the Next Level Center every Sunday. WE WANT EVERYONE TO GET IN A GROUP THIS HOLIDAY SEASON and experience the unity of the church. E-mail to get in a group.  Here are the essential components of the series:

#1 A weekend message with a focused topic

#2 A corresponding 217group lesson from the book: “Tangible Kingdom Primer”                                                                                          

#3 A daily study from the book “Tangible Kingdom Primer”    (Please Note: Every Individual needs their own book)

Here are the weekend topics…

  • Nov 4      The Game Plan
  • Nov 11     Intentionality
  • Nov 18     Humility
  • Nov 25     Teamwork
  • Dec 2     Responsibility
  • Dec 9     Belonging
  • Dec 16     Training
  • Dec 23     Mastering Your Position

Let’s encourage one another and make this Sunday an incredible show of unity from our community!

Don’t forget to wear your favorite team jersey! I can’t wait to see us grow together as a church!


P.S. If you know of anyone who needs a warm place to stay the night, the 217church youth center is open as a temporary shelter, contact Tim 732-306-9074

P.P.S. don’t forget to push your clocks back one hour Saturday night! DST ends!

The Church At It’s Best

This took place just two blocks from my house and as I drove by I was simply blown away.  This is the scene in many of our neighborhoods in Central New Jersey.  Power is out and people are at least rattled and scrambling a bit.  As the church, we should be asking, How can we help?  Just Do SOMETHING!  I believe the church is at its best when things are at their worst.

3 Things You Can Do NOW…

1. Go meet 10 people in your neighborhood. Your leading questions are, “Is everything okay? How are you doing?”  This leads to relationships. BOTTOM LINE: You will never have a better opportunity to meet and love people.  You don’t even have to share the Gospel, but if they need help, HELP THEM!

2. Bromley Neighborhood Clean up Day:  I just walked through Bromley, our 217church partner neighborhood. We are partnering with Hamilton Township to take responsibility for cleaning up. It has already been scheduled for this Saturday November 3rd 9am-2pm.

3. The 217rebuild initiative: We just launched this brand new arm of our church and we will use 100% of the resources given to this fund to directly help those impacted by this catastrophe with basic needs.  You can Give Here and use the drop down, “The 217rebuild Initiative“.

Let’s make the most of this opportunity and be the church at its best when things are at their worst.

Praying you are all safe!