Build Your Marriage on This

In my marriage, I don’t think we could count the number of fights we have had.  It’s not like we don’t love each other, but we are two different people who are both sinful in nature.  No matter what the dispute, one thing is for sure, forgiving my wife is always worth it, even when it hurts.  But the most powerful words you can say are, “Will you forgive me?”  
 Forgive
 
“…if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:13
 
Forgiving each other isn’t easy, and there are even times when I don’t want to forgive, but in the end I am always thankful when I choose to forgive and ask forgiveness.  Jesus forgives you so you will forgive others.

 

5 Benefits of Forgiving

1. Spiritual Clarity – Show me someone who claims to be close to Jesus, and by asking one simple question I can tell if it is true or not.  Here is that question:  “Is there anyone that you need to forgive?”  If the answer is “yes”, there is a spiritual block.  We see over and over in the New Testament Jesus telling his disciples that He is a God of grace.  When asked how many times one should forgive, Jesus blew the disciples minds and answered, seventy times seven.  (Matthew 18:22) This basically means you can’t stop forgiving.  Once you stop forgiving, stick a fork in your spiritual growth.  If you are willing to forgive, God will immediately excel your growth.  If you want to be on the fast track of God’s plan for your life, learn to forgive.

2. Deeper Intimacy – Whenever Summer and I fight, the intimacy comes when we forgive.  I have joked  before, those couples who learn how to “make-up” will probably end up “making-out”. It simply means the immediate benefit is depth of relationship.  I’m NOT suggesting you let someone abuse you, but I am reminding you that if you are unwilling to forgive your spouse or anyone for that matter, your intimacy will always suffer.  When people get married, they want to love and be loved.  Most people don’t get married to be hurt, but two sinners in a relationship will always hurt each other.  Forgiveness is not an option, but a mandate from scripture for marriage!

3. Eliminate Bitterness– Where there is authentic forgiveness, bitterness cannot take root.  I have counseled countless couples that just can’t forgive.  No matter what the offense, it seems the more you choose to withhold forgiveness, the deeper the bitterness penetrates.  Since we are holistic beings, a failure to learn to forgive will affect EVERY area of your life.  Not forgiving your spouse especially will affect your work, your leisure and worst of all your children.  Kids are perceptive and much smarter than you think.  Even my nine-year-old daughter can perceive when mommy and daddy are not being nice to each other, even when we think we are hiding it.

4. A Worthy Example – Have you ever considered how many people are watching you and your marriage?  I’m not trying to stress you out or build the pressure, but if you claim to follow Jesus, your friends are watching to see if there is any substance to your faith.  If your religion is a punch line and a Sunday experience, you are harming the testimony of Jesus.  If there is no difference between you and your co-workers, you need to take a step back.  One of the most harmful things you can do at work is complain about your spouse.  Once you unleash the tongue to tear down your lover to others, they immediately will see through your phony facade of religion and reject your faith.  When you forgive your spouse, people around you benefit exponentially.

5. A Clear Conscience – Simply put, there is not much more satisfying than a clear conscience.   To know even though you did something wrong you asked forgiveness, is pure peace.  To know despite the hurt inflicted upon you, you forgave, IS PRICELESS!  When you forgive others it allows you to move forward with passion and integrity.  This means you have to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!  When someone says to you, “I forgave”, and then they can’t stop talking about it, they didn’t forgive.  They are medicating with gossip.  If someone isn’t part of the problem or solution, leave them out of it.  Forgiving makes you a person of integrity and will kill your pride.

Who do you need to forgive?  Who do you need to ask forgiveness from?  Make it happen.

 

Josh

 

 

 

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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday October 8, 2017 we are going to 2 services times of 9:30 am & 11:00 am.

When You MUST Fight – Temptation

We’ve all been tempted and we all have our weak moments,  with our words, our emotions and our attitudes.  But one thing is for sure, when we are tempted, we have some choices to make and usually we make them pretty fast.  Many times temptations come at times when we LEAST expect it, and if we are not careful, we can get ourselves in a whole world of trouble in just a short moment.

A life time of character can be destroyed in a moment’s weakness. 

Fight the good fight of the faith…” 1 Timothy 6:12

Yes, God is a God of peace, but when it comes to temptation you will have to #FIGHT!  If you choose not to, you will lose every time.  So put on the gloves, cue the intro music, here is how to get your Rocky Balboa on!

How To FIGHT When You Are Tempted

1.  Train Incessantly – 

The best way to be ready for the fight is train for the fight.  That means you gotta train, daily – IT – NEVER – ENDS!  Be rigorous about your routine and unrelenting in your discipline.  If it is true that your enemy “prowls around like a lion ready to devour you” (1 Peter 5:8), then you better be ready to FIGHT when the temptation comes.  Be ready.

2.  RUN – 

Sometimes the best way to fight is to leave the situation.  Stop the conversation, turn off the computer, run from the situation, get outta that mall!  Flee, run, Get the HECK OUTTA THERE!  You gotta get outta there! Your future depends on it. (1 Timothy 6:11)

3.  Depend On Jesus –

What is it about us that makes us depend on our own strength when there is the power of Jesus at work within us?  He gives us everything we need to live a life of victory.  “We are more than conquerors, we are overcomers!”  (Romans 8:37) Part of the reason we give in is because we haven’t given it up!  Your dependance that is.

4.  Speak Against It –

Open your mouth, “Not on My WATCH!”  Look, you’ve worked too hard and it’s taken blood, sweat, and tears to get to where you are.  So speak up, literally!  Many temptations come when we are alone when no one else is watching.  We make foolish decisions based on pleasure, pride and possessions.  Just simply open your mouth, and speak out loud against the enemy who is trying to work in you.  Jesus spoke against the demonic forces, so should we.

5.  Think Ahead –

Many times we put ourselves in compromising situations because we have thought, “that would never happen to me.”  What you are capable of is incomprehensible, so BE CAREFUL.  Don’t underestimate the cunningness of the enemy and OVERESTIMATE your ability to deal with the evil brewing in your own heart.  Don’t be naive, protect yourself from compromising situations and you may have already won the fight.

You’ve got this – train, run, depend, speak and think!  Remember what is in the heart eventually comes out.

Josh

 

This Sunday September 24 – “His Story” Series Week #2 through the Gospels 

October 8  New Service times  9:30am & 11:00am

 

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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday October 8, 2017 we are going to 2 services times of 9:30 am & 11:00 am.

Boxing Gloves Image by generation bass  is licensed under CC by 2.0

How To Build An Unbeatable Team

It’s that time of the year.  Fantasy football drafts are happening everyday!  For those of you who are into fantasy football, the anticipation of the fantasy draft is a lot of fun.  How it works is that you draft players who play for your team on game day and earn points for your team based on how they actually perform on the field.  When they succeed, YOU SUCCEED.  It is good fun but let me ask you a serious question?  If you were to draft a team to help you accomplish your dream for your life and your organization, who would you draft?  I want guys blocking for me that look like this guy…

football dude 8-19

 

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed…”  Proverbs 15:22

Who do you need on your team in order for your dream to happen?  YOU NEED PEOPLE BETTER THAN YOU!  You need a diverse team full of people with varying skills and experiences, different ages and personalities, but regardless, you need the best!  In many ways these people will help protect you from yourself.

How To Draft an Elite Fantasy Team

#1 Know Exactly What You Need –  Part of the challenge in getting to where you want to go is knowing how to identify the needs.  You will need to shore up different weaknesses.  Knowing what you are trying to accomplish dictates the WHO!  Too many self reliant, prideful people try to accomplish a big vision on their own.  If you want to accomplish a BIG DOG dream you better have BIG DOGS on your team. I want the BEST team possible!  Who is on my team?  Below you will see 4 different goals I have and then WHO is on my fantasy team.  You will quickly see, the WHO IS CRITICAL.

  • Build a Family Together / Summer – Listen, I made a decision a long time ago that I didn’t want to do life alone.  So I found someone to love and take with me together on this ride.  She is my 1st round draft pick EVERYTIME.  I will always choose Summer and my kids over every other goal, dream and possibility.  The church can get another pastor, but I am the only one who can fulfill the role of Dad to my children.  Most important draft pick…spouse.
  • Family Health / Adoption / Bethany Christian Services – We drafted them six years ago to help us fulfill the dream of opening our home to children who need love, health and education.  They are an incredible christian organization focused on putting a dent in fatherlessness, abuse, and the underserved children in the world.  I want their whole team on my team! Sometimes it is a person you need, other times it’s a whole organization.  Now that we have three little boys from Uganda as our sons, we need counselors, teachers and doctors to help us with the unique challenges of adoption.  All are on my dream team!
  • Successfully Grow 217church to HealthDoug & The Dream Team.  Doug is the Director of Ministry of 217church.  Have a question? A problem?  He will help you through it.  I drafted him 7 years ago when we planted the church, and eventually through humility and service, he joined our dream team!  Then there are the other members of our INCREDIBLE dream team.  Jocelyn, Josh & Amanda, Roberto, Tim, Noriel, Rich, Ivannia, Steve & Debbie, our Governing board, our elders, and our small group leaders!  I love you guys. You make it happen. You need people who are running in the same direction passionate about the vision together!
  • Advise Financially and Pay Taxes / Donna – She is the best accountant/ tax professional I know.  She is honest, clear, focused, no nonsense, gold!  Paying your taxes and financial integrity are HUGE issues and you will need help to navigate this.

#2 Stop Making Excuses:   Maybe you feel like, “all the good players are gone.”  This is simply not true. One thing I like to do as a fantasy football player is to find the “diamond in the rough.”  This means finding someone no one else thought had much value and picking them in the later rounds.  Sometimes you choose someone no one else thought had value.  This will take an incredible investment of time and energy, but is worth it.  Sounds like what Jesus did for us!

#3 Cast a Compelling Vision:  If someone were to sign up to be on your team, would they be motivated by the big target on the wall?  Or would your vision be lackluster?  You know you have a God-given vision when God has to show up in order for it to happen!  If you can do it without God and faith, your vision probably won’t be compelling and people will not be inspired.

#4 Get Courage To Ask:  This is where risk comes in.  At some time I had to ask all the people above to be on my team.  For some of them it took longer than others.  Make no mistake about it, when someone comes on your team, you must be committed to serving them.  It’s not about you but the vision.  People want to be a part of something world changing and your job is to give them that opportunity.  Sure you might get rejected, but keep in mind, you don’t want people on your team that won’t be 100% committed to the vision, so let them go.

Building a team is fun, rewarding, but takes a lot of work.  Take time right now and determine what are your biggest needs.  Here are some more ideas for building a fantasy team that will serve you well:

  • Spiritual advisors
  • Confidential friends
  • Legal advisors
  • Physical trainer
  • Nutritionist
  • Health Doctor
  • Contemporaries
  • Tax professionals

 

This Sunday I would love for you to join the 217church team!   We are having a ministry fair and an excellent opportunity for you to connect to God’s dream for your life and our community.

Josh

 

This Sunday September 17 – “His Story” Series Week #1 through the Gospels (Small Groups Launch & Ministry Fair)

October 8  New Service times  -9:30am & 11:00am

 

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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday September 17th 2017 we will have our Fall Launch celebration service.

 

Who Are You Fighting For?

Who is fighting for you?  No really?  I just sent all 6 of my kids back to school and they have no doubt about one thing… I want to make them better!  I am on their team!  It just so happens Thursday is the day many have been waiting for – the kickoff of the NFL season.  The preparation, the anticipation and the signal of a NEW SEASON. I can guarantee you one thing, the overarching quality that makes for an incredible team that will be in the next Superbowl is…CHEMISTRY.  Incredible teams don’t have perfect people, but everyone understands their role and what the goal is… make each other better in order to WIN!  #makeembetter

It’s not personal ego or accomplishment that matters, but in the end it’s what is on the SCOREBOARD.   


My Dream Team

“Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

If you are on a team your responsibility is to #makeembetter.  Teams rally together and in the case of a church, a family, or a business, our job is to make each other better.  Our 217church scoreboard is lives rebuilt, small groups living sent on mission, and disciples made.  All of these things happen through teams.  From the beginning, everything we have done has been around the idea of teams.  It exciting to be a part of an INCREDIBLE team.  

5 Things That Make Our 217church Team Better

#1 Unselfishness –  When one person gets all the credit, the team is dysfunctional.  Unselfishness seeks to advance others for the betterment of the team and the advancement of the cause.  When one person makes decisions based on what is best for them rather than the team, it all falls apart.  Unselfish people are constantly early for the meeting.

QUESTION:  Do you look out more for yourself or others?

#2 Reliability   Not just when things are good but even more so when things aren’t looking good.  If you disappear when things get rough, your hurting the team, you make yourself a loser!  It’s easy to be a part of a team when things are great, but your true commitment is tested when you don’t see a solution. Reliable people are present through ALL circumstances and they KEEP their word.

QUESTION:  Do you support or subvert the vision when things get tough?

#3 Clarity – The greatest teams I have been apart of are clear and concise about what the common goal is.  This happens when people understand how what they do fits with the vision.  Where there is clarity there has already been great conviction.  WE MUST do this, WE WILL do this, NO MATTER WHAT, THIS IS HAPPENING!  The vision must be razor sharp, easy for people to see and experience.

QUESTION:  Is your team clear about what your team is about?

#4 Urgency –  Look, there’s limited time to complete the vision.  Working diligently to accomplish something with a noble purpose should not be intentionally delayed.  For our church, the urgency is critical.  If we don’t work quickly, people go hungry, kids don’t find Jesus, parents lose direction, people lose hope, the enemy temporarily wins.  Now is the time!

QUESTION:  Are you complacent or compelled when it comes to your team’s vision?

#5 Honor – This may be the most important of all the qualities.  When honor is present there is a deep respect of the people you are working with and for.  People matter to God and their gifts are to be encouraged.  Believe the best, no gossiping, no side conversations, no critical attitudes.  Don’t like it?  GET OFF THE TEAM!  Disagree, but with dignity and respect.  Encouragement, respectful communication, and love for one another are a must.

QUESTION:  Are you a complainer or a champion of unity?

I want you on the 217church team!

This Sunday Wear your favorite team jersey and get ready to be a part of an incredible TEAM!  Go 217church!  Who are you pouring your life into?  Tell me how below – #makeembetter

Josh

P.S My favorite team Jersey looks like this…

WilsonJersey

September 10 – Vision Sunday!  Wear your Favorite Team Jersey

September 17 – “His Story” Series Week #1 through the Gospels (Small Groups Launch)

October 8  New Service times  -9:30am & 11:00am

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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday September 17th 2017 we will have our Fall Launch celebration service.

217church is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and we are helping in the Hurricane devastated area. Here is a link on how you can VOLUNTEER or GIVE FINANCIALLY to support Hurricane victims.

I Need Help! I Need Hope!

We have seen complete devastation this week from the Hurricane along the Gulf Coast.  Not only did it make land fall and destroy a whole city with it’s fury once, but it actually went back out to sea and made a second land fall!  After watching over 50 inches of rain fall in some areas, people were rescued and there has been an incredible loss of life, property, and hope.  It’s too much pain and suffering to even fathom.  In the midst of this, it’s hard to believe anything good could emerge. But it has…

Victims of the flood in a Houston shelter belted out – “We want to see your kingdom here.”

Jesus brings hope in the midst of well, ANYTHING.  I don’t understand always why, but “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  No easy answers, just truth.  There is a great story in the book of Daniel that amplifies this truth.  It is the story of three young men who refuse to bow in worship to a golden statue and they end up in a literal fire.  Then God brings them through.  We don’t here much about the rest of their life,  but we do know of their faithfulness.  Here’s one thing to remember – God’s timing is not our timing.

Three Things God Wants to do For You

1 – Protection – When will God deliver us from the pain?  I don’t have the timing, but I do know God wants to deliver you.  When you look closely at any situation that seems hopeless, you can see Jesus walking with you, protecting you.  Even if it seems like He isn’t, He is protecting you.  Where you find the presence of God, this is where you’ll find power.

“But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt”  Daniel 3:25

2 – Perfection – Really, perfection? C’mon!  Yes God has us all in process.  Watch closely and you’ll see out of this tragedy, the situation will be redeemed.  The world is a very hard place to live in, but God promises not to keep us in this temporary place forever.  He is using everything for his good purpose, even your situation.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

3 – Promotion –  I love how the story ends.  The king declares that God’s name shall not be spoken of negatively, and anyone who does will be torn limb from limb.  He also Promotes these three young men.  To what?  I am not sure, but when you come out on the other side of the fire, promotion just seems natural with the wisdom and experience you have gained.

“Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”  Daniel 3:30

 

My prayer for you today is you will hope again in the dream God has for your life.  How is God protecting, perfecting and promoting you?  I would love to hear below…

 

Josh

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 www.217church.com for more information, or watch a weekend message here On Sunday September 17th 2017 we will have our Fall Launch celebration service.

 

217church is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and we are helping in the Hurricane devastated area. Here is a link on how you can VOLUNTEER or GIVE FINANCIALLY to support Hurricane victims.

Food Fasting and Faith

We are in a 21 day period of fasting and prayer for with my church, 217church.  Fasting is when you deliberately deprive yourself of something in order to listen to God and understand His wisdom.  As we are studying the book of Daniel, we see fasting and prayer as a valuable regular spiritual practice for those who follow Jesus.  When you fast and pray it is difficult, but has great benefits.  Over the first week of fasting I have gained a few extremely valuable perspectives.

“I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks”  Daniel 10:3 

Three Things I Have Gained From Fasting

1 – Clarity – Wow!  Because I have deprived myself of food I am seeing with greater clarity my own dependance and desires. Some of them are good and some of them not so good.  I can also see with greater clarity steps I need to take and steps for our church as well.  When you are constantly reminded of something you are used to having but can’t, it gives you clarity on what is important.  Do you need clarity from God?  Try #fasting.

“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3

2 – Focus – As I am fasting, I am more focused in my work, my responsibilities, and my convictions. I am finding I know more what I am supposed to be doing and not doing.  If God can take care of the birds and provide their food, how much more is His provision guaranteed for His church, my family, and those around me?   Do you need focus in your life?  Try #fasting.

“Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouses nor barn yet God feeds them.”  Luke 12:24

3 – Courage –  As I sense my dependency shifting, it creates a perfect storm for boldness and courageous decision making, NOT people pleasing or settling for less than God has for us.  Who needs to rise to leadership?  God will call them out.  I am sensing God telling us to move forward and take courageous, bold steps and to believe.  NOT because we see, but precisely because we can’t see.  Let’s listen to the Holy Spirit and take courageous bold steps.  Fasting is increasing my faith in His plan for our future as a congregation.   Do you need courage in your life?  Try #fasting.

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  Acts 13:2

Will you join me in fasting and prayer for these next 14 days?

 

Josh

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 www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

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

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 www.217church.com 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.

Being A Courageous Dad

What is one of the most serious issues in our culture?  I believe it’s fatherlessness.  Want to make an unmeasurable difference with your limited days?  BE A DAD!  Being a Dad is well, hard.  I’m not complaining, that is just a reality.  So many men bail on being a dad for a variety of reasons, but I am here to tell you it is worth it.  There is nothing quite like loving, caring for, and raising kids to understand what is most important in life.  But let me reiterate, it ISN’T EASY!  To put it bluntly, if you are going to excel at being a dad you are going to have to develop one SIMPLE THING… COURAGE.

 

fathers-day-sign-wp

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”  Psalm 103:13

So what does it take to be a courageous father?  Courage is the art of dependance on God.  The writer of the ancient scripture above states that God is like our father and he shows compassion.  God is a compassionate God and we are to depend on God for EVERYTHING.  Why don’t we have more courage as fathers?  It takes courage to make tough decisions, to stay faithful to one wife for a whole lifetime, to love unconditionally,  to set an example for our children.  Courage is necessary and here is what stands in the way.

What A Courageous Father Must Overcome…

1 – Danger – As dads, so many things threaten our family: garbage content from the media, habits of the world, music that creates crippling mantras, addiction that destroys, friends that use them, and worst of all, the battle for a healthy mind.  For example, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among our children.  We must stand up for them, teach them, discipline, pray and fight for them in every way possible.

“Hear, O sons, a father‘s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.”  Proverbs 4:1

2 – Distractions – What have you mis-prioritized in your life as a dad?  Does work too often take precedent over time with your children?  Are you too busy saying no and pursuing your own preferences rather than teaching and investing time in your children?  Do you take time and listen, play with and just be with your children?  Have you placed God at the center of your life and are you teaching your children to depend on God?

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”  Joshua 24:15

3 – Disappointments –  Life is full of letdowns, but we must stand up as dads and fight through all the times when we have felt like we got dealt a raw deal.  Maybe it was your dad who failed you?  Be the Dad that you wanted growing up!

“…For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”  1 Timothy 4:8

4- Devastation – For some of us it takes courage just to wake up every morning.  We have battled abandonment, addiction, disease, divorce, depression, death of a son or daughter…The list goes on and on.  The good news is, this is why the church exists. This is why Jesus came and set an example for us.  Only He can turn your devastation into meaningful direction.  What is the secret?  Dependence.  When your dependance is unshakable your courage is undeniable.  No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, #Takeheart.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

What else?  What is one way you need to be courageous as a Dad for your family?  I’m choosing #courage fighting for these 7 that God has blessed me with…

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Josh

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 www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

Why 2 Worship Services Makes Sense…

We are seeing Double!  We have been on quite a ride together as a church.  Over the past seven plus years we have seen so many lives rebuilt and so much impact in the Mercer County area through 217church.  We have declared 2017 as the year of double blessing and we are ready to see our influence in the community increase even more.  We have been running just one worship service for about a year now and we are ready to see that double.  We believe we are ready to go to TWO worship services in the fall of 2017.

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“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portiontherefore in their land they shall possess a double portion.  Isaiah 61:7

There are four core things we want to see double over these next months.  First, the number of worship services, next the number of baptisms, next the number of vision owners, and finally the number of small groups that are rebuilding lives one person at a time.  Here are three reasons we believe God is calling us to move towards TWO Sunday worship services.

Three Leading Reasons For TWO Sunday Worship Services

1 – A Vision Driven Church – We have and always will be a vision driven church that holds the vision and mission of our church at the core of everything we do.  We feel our call is to reach as many people as fast as we possibly can as we rebuild lives one person at a time.  Our impact needs to increase as we move forward.  We believe our church family is one of the best kept secrets in Mercer County, NJ, and we want to expand our territory and grow!  We are believing God for a great harvest.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his.”  Luke 10:2

Action Step – Invite your circle of influence to a Sunday service

2 – Serving Opportunities Increase – When does someone feel like part of the family of 217church?  This happens when people realize they are needed, belong, and serve the vision of their church.  One of the easiest entry pathways into serving is at a Sunday service.  Media, worship, 217kids, parking lot attendants, prayer, and hospitality teams, are just some of the ways you realize how much you are needed and play a vital role in the mission God has for you and His church.  When we double the worship services, we double the opportunity for people to serve and realize their value to each other.  Also, our incredible 217kids team will have the opportunity to be in worship on the same Sunday they serve.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”  Ephesians 4:11-12

Action Step – Invest your energy and join a ministry team

3 – Practical Options Matter –  If we are to grow we can’t just be limited to one service time on a weekend.  Let’s be real…Some people must leave a service early because of essential commitments, and I know we have all faced the battle of getting to church on time, especially those of us with small children.  We are currently considering 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM as our leading options for new start times, and if all goes well we are targeting a Sunday in October as our two service launch date.  Also as a practical matter, the cost of us doing another worship service is virtually nothing.  A second worship service increases the stewardship of our rental dollars, as our impact will almost certainly increase.  As we double over time we believe more vision owners will believe and commit to our below Vision Ownership Covenant:

  • Spread the Vision of the church – By being baptized and get sent
  • Share the Responsibility of the church – By immersing yourself in small group community
  • Serve the Ministry of the church – By using your gifts and being a regular part of a ministry team
  • Support the purpose of the church – By giving regularly to the mission of the church

I would love to hear your feedback, concerns, ideas and opinions about this new direction.  I believe it’s time for us to consider this next step of growth as we prepare to go from a portable church to a permanent location.

I can’t wait to see how God doubles our impact, and don’t miss June 11, 2017 as we reveal fresh direction on vision Sunday!  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Josh

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 www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

Choose Your Values – Live on Purpose

What is most important to you in your life?  Essentially, what is at the CORE of who you are and what you represent?  What I mean is, what #values are so important to you that you find yourself practicing them intuitively, without being told.  There are a set of values operating in my life under the surface, and then there are those that I would call my ‘ideal values.’  These have been shaped as seeds and developed at the core of who I am and have led to powerful practices.  It takes time, but if you will intentionally adopt values that are routinely practiced, they have the power to give your life tremendous meaning and impact.

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“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5

Isn’t it time for you to draw out those deep values you know you want at the core of your life? What are some values in my life that are developing out of seeds intentionally planted?  These 6 below happen to also be our 217church adopted values.  They are a powerful seeds that are bearing fruit in my home and in our church and community.

6 Values That Have Changed My Life…

-Intentional Multiplication – Who I am will be multiplied in my children and those around me.  My heart is to intentionally make disciples.

2 Timothy 2:2 “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

-Relentless Serving – Starting in my home, I need to model what it looks like to serve.  This extends to every behavior in my life including taking care of orphans and those who are struggling.

Mark 10:43-44 “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”

-Authentic Relationships – I can’t be close with everyone, but I want to model love and care for those around me. My faith will be caught more than it will be taught.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

-The Next Generation – If I don’t pass the lessons I am learning on to the next generation, I am wasting my influence.  If I haven’t passed it on I haven’t passed the test.  I need to invest my time and money in the next generation.

Psalm 78:6-7 “that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”

Dynamic Teaching – I need to be a learner that is teaching what is powerful and life transformational.  If it has transformed me it should transform others.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Passionate Worship – My life is to be spent in every aspect as a worship to God.  If it doesn’t worship God I shouldn’t do it.

John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

 What values are you living by?  What are the core practices that are driving your purpose?  What are some values you want to intentionally plan to live?

Josh

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 www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here