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.

 

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“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 

Do This for Your Mom

If there is one thing I know – My mom wants me to achieve, win, grow, mature, pretty much every positive thing you could possibly say.  She wants me to be safe, happy, and know that she loves me.  My wife wants this for our six children. But, there is an evil enemy to our own success and potential…  NEGATIVITY.  If there was one gift every mom would be happy to receive this Mother’s Day, it’s what I call ZERO NEGATIVITY from her children.
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–This chalk board hangs in my dining room–

 

“but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 
2 Timothy 4:12

This reminder hangs on our dining room wall…A positive approach to life matters.  I know things may not be going your way and you may even feel the stress today of trying to please mom.  Take a positive approach to honoring mom and do these 4 things today.

4 Things Mom Wants You to Live With –

  • High Calling – When you were born, no matter what the circumstances, God knew you and shaped you.  Life won’t seem fair and there aren’t always easy answers, but God has a high calling for your life.
  • Deep Conviction – Those who stand for nothing with end up losing their honor.  Be passionate about your belief in God and how he has created you and what you know to be true.
  • High Commitment – Let your word be your word and stand on it.  There is nothing worse than someone who says they will do something and they never do it.  None of us are perfect, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to lie, deceive, and not follow through on our intentions.
  • High Accountability – Mom wants to know that you are going to be ok.  Surround yourself with people who will help you get to where mom knows you need to go.

Looking forward to seeing you at Sharon School in Robbinsville for our Mother’s Day Service at 10:30 AM!

 

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 

Easter – Resurrection Power

There are some experiences in our life that mark us for the rest of our lives. These experiences can be full of pain and anguish but can guide us to our understanding of our redemptive God. If you look at your scars they tell a story of a broken world: A physical illness, a story of abuse, a divorce, a fatherless child, an orphan, a life of poverty, a death of a close friend. If you look closely at your life, these experiences are calling out to you to see the great power of the resurrection of Jesus to set you FREE!  The moment dawn broke on that day – YOU WERE FREE!
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“…Death no longer has any power over Him,” Romans 6:9

4 Ways To Break Free This EASTER

  • Resurrection Power – Do you believe? This is the question. Belief that Jesus that has forgiven you gives you access to the resurrection power, and it is no JOKE! We see Jesus raise someone from the dead in Luke 8. But are you living like you are dead or alive? What have you given the enemy power over in your life. God wants to give you Resurrection power in EVERY area in your life. To overcome sin, addiction, failure, you now have access!
  • Invitational Lifestyle – Are you taking anyone with you? Literally, who are you bringing along with you to be your rock? Who prays for you, believes with you, cares for you? Better yet, who are you praying for, believing in and caring for? Individualism is overrated. The world says be great, Jesus says to make Him Great and then make others great. (Matthew 22:37-39)
  • Strong Theology – It’s not just that you believe the easy parts of the bible, but the framework that supports that belief matters. What we believe about God will determine what we do for him. Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle granting wishes, but is more like a shepherd guiding us along the pathway of life. Here are 4 key ideas regarding who we believe Jesus is from 217church.
  1. Jesus is Savior – The bottom line is we are forgiven Acts 2:38, and our guilt is gone. Romans 8:1 This happened as a result of the blood that was shed on the cross for our sins.
  2. Jesus is Sanctifier – This means we have separation from Sin 1 Peter 1:15-16, and separation to God, Revelation 1:6
  3. Jesus is Healer – His healing power points everyone to him. John 9 Physical, spiritual, emotional, it’s all covered!
  4. Jesus is our Coming King – This means Jesus is coming back to Earth his appointed day to rescue us! Acts 1:11 Are you ready for His imminent return?

(You can read more in depth about these four ideas here)

  • Killer InstinctIf you are going to Break Free you have to put to death your fleshly desire. Romans 8:13 . Put to death your pride, greed, and desire for more control. You need to realize you are in a battle with your own sin nature and the world. James 1:12-18 But this is where is gets good! Remember DEATH HAS NO POWER OVER YOU

We would love to see you at our Good Friday and Easter Services this year at Sharon School in Robbinsville!

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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 

How Much Should We Give?

Giving is something know we all want to do more of, but I also know it is a learned behavior.   In my family growing up I had watched both my parents and my brothers practice giving to my local church.  10% first to God’s work, no questions asked.  It was just what we did, and man am I thankful my family taught me the foundations of a lifestyle of giving.  I think most ALL of us reading this post would agree that we should all be GIVERS.  I mean c’mon!  Especially if you claim to follow the teachings of Jesus there is almost no possible way to claim the lifestyle of a disciple and not be a financial giver.  Now let me be clear.  I am not just talking about giving to a local church.  But for anyone who wants to fully follow Jesus, the money under your care MUST point to a acknowledgement and dependance on Jesus.  How you handle money is a way you prove your faith in God.

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

There have been so many incredible stories I have experienced of people listening to God and giving.  They are too numerous to list here.  Last year over 400 family units gave a financial gift to our church.  Easily, that is over 5,000 acts of worship through financial giving.  This is the church in action fulfilling the vision!  Your giving and your handling of the money God has entrusted you with IS a spiritual issue.  But many of us have lived with guilt, frustration and even abstaining from talking about giving habits because of pain, debt, mistrust and let’s be honest, a hard heart.  If this is you the enemy is ripping you off!  So what should you do?

How MUCH Should I Give?

1.  Start Somewhere – Maybe the one “thing” holding back your faith is a reliance on things.  Once you think you rely on things and more of them, your trust in God goes down.  Giving proves you aren’t self sufficient.  If you have never made a gift or it has been a very long time, it is time to take the first step and make and offering to God.  Ask him to bless it, use it.  be bold and ask God to show you more fully his plan for His money, remember it’s not really yours, you cant take it with you.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20   

WHAT YOU GIVE THE ENEMY CAN’T STEAL.

2.  What God Tells You – What?  Am I going to hear the audible voice of God?  Maybe, but for most of us, it won’t happen that way.  The above verse frees us from guilt and compulsion motivations.  Does this mean if someone is tithing it’s wrong?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  What matters is the heart of the giver, not the percentage of the gift.  Our motivation should be to give AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN!  Now, that’s probably not something you have prayed lately.  Once we reduce giving to a check box or a legalistic matter, our heart will become corrupted.  We may even think we are better than someone else because we give and they don’t. Be careful though, comparison is NEVER the pathway to spiritual maturity.  Also, don’t let this one be an excuse to rationalize giving less and don’t let the enemy sneak into your budget and steal your blessings with material things!  

WHEN YOU GIVE THERE IS GREAT JOY AND ANTICIPATION.

3.  In Rhythm  –  Often giving in rhythm helps you determine the amount to give.  Did you get paid this week?  There is your answer.  Now, talk to God, your wife, your kids,  Give first.  Is 10% your percentage?  I would suggest you are never going to go wrong with that. In Malachi 3 God says “test me.” However often you get paid there should be a moment of reverence when you set aside your gift before the Lord to acknowledge his provision in your life.  You see, every time you get paid is an opportunity for spiritual growth.  Give by cash, Give by check, Give online, Give by text, It really doesn’t matter how, but give in rhythm.  Give as a BOLD declaration of your trust in God to give you more.  You should love getting paid because it means you can NOW give!

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

WHEN YOUR GIVING IS CONSISTENT, IT IS A SOURCE OF CLARITY IN YOUR LIFE.

4.  In Faith – Some of us have been tithing for a very long time.  This is a very commendable thing.  Continue to excel in this discipline! Keep going!  It’s incredible what you have done by faith.  Over $4.5 Million over the life of 217church in the past 7 years!  Now, I have heard of Christ followers upset at others for not “doing their part.” You may even feel this way in your heart.  Never make your giving based on what others have given.  Tithing 10% is like training wheels on a bike.  It’s there to teach us the discipline and we weren’t meant to stop there but simply start there.  Once you ride on training wheels you will want to take them off and ride like a big boy, of course!  So let me ask you a question…Who feels like Barnabas today?  

Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”  Acts 4:36-37  

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a tithe but a gift of faith.  When you give, something wonderful happens, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

DON’T JUST GIVE WHAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN, BUT GIVE WHAT CHALLENGES YOUR FAITH.

 

There is a little known verse in Proverbs that may be the best wisdom on giving you will ever here.  Try praying this and let me know how this changes you.  You won’t be the same if you implement this…

“give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.”  Proverbs 30:8-9

Josh

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Our Financial Breakthru Series continues Sunday at 217church.  Come explore 4 words that lead to financial break thru:

February 26 – Work / With all your Strength – WATCH THE MESSAGE HERE

March 5 – Give / Give up control

March 12 – Save / Plan for the future

March 19 – Live / With NO regrets

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 

 

Land Your DREAM Job!

I remember my first day of working a job.  I was 14 years old, nervous as can be but excited to step up and start being a man and getting a pay check.  I bussed tables at a local restaurant. I’ll never forget the rush of putting on the uniform getting trained, and getting some stuff done!  (Did I say getting a paycheck too?) Unfortunately, in our culture unhealthy work habits have created all kinds of problems.  People are stressed out, burned out, overworked, entitled, and some of us may complain a little too much.  But the truth is our work is a blessing. I loved working!

Work has been turned from a curse to a blessing, all because of Jesus.  #Provision

 

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“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Colossians 3:23

Now, I fully understand you may not be working in your so called #dreamjob right now, you may be feeling stress, and you may be wishing you were paid more money, but Having a J-O-B is what grown ups do.  It is a blessing from God.  Work is the provision of the simple things.  Maybe you aren’t ready for that #dreamjob yet.  Maybe it isn’t ready for you!  Honor God with where you are and remember, HARD WORK ALWAYS pays off and shows in your character first.

5 Characteristics of a Dream Job –

1.  It Gives Us Relationships –  Think of all the people at work who are your friends and have been your friends.  (Now if you don’t have any friends at work, that may be saying something about you)  These people are there so you can build relationship with them.  You are not there on accident.  You are there to serve them, get to know them, and serve them. #Dreamjob

2.  It Provides for Our Needs – Did you eat this morning?  Do you live under a roof?  It’s simple really.  The person who started the business you work for is providing for your needs.  You ate today because of them.  This is something to be grateful for.  When we the last time you thanked your co-workers and your employer for the opportunity to have a paycheck?   #Dreamjob

3.  It Is Our Opportunity to Serve and Love People – One thing that will build your character is being a part of a team where you get to serve people and have a positive impact.  By the way, I know what some of you are thinking…”As soon as I get another job, I am OUTTA HERE.”  That’s nice, but God has you there for a reason!  What if you were the person at your work who cared about people?  The people you work with need to know Jesus, period.  #Dreamjob

4.  It Keeps Us Busy – Since when has being busy been a bad thing?  Whenever you ask someone, “how are you?”  and they say with exasperation, “BUSY!”  say, “good, being busy keeps you from doing stupid things!”  Having a job keeps you out of trouble!  And please, can we all find a new answer to this question besides “busy”?  Now,  Excessive work is evil, and if you are in a job where emotional and stress levels are unhealthy, take appropriate action.  BUT – I’ve never understood people who don’t want to work at all, especially those who are out of work and are waiting for the “perfect job”.  Redefine your #Dreamjob.

5.  It Teaches Us to Rest – God worked for six days and on the 7th he rested.  There you go.  You have permission, take a sabbath.  If you are always tired and stressed out, you need to learn how to simply take a day off.  If you can’t take a day off you are on a dangerous road to emotional, physical, and mental collapse.  #Dreamjob

In short work is amazing!  Treat your current job like your #dreamjob and watch what happens. Honest, hard work is amazing!

Josh

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Our Financial Breakthru Series starts Sunday at 217church.  Come explore 4 words that lead to financial break thru:

February 26Work / God is our provider

March 5Give / Give up control

March 12Save / Plan for the future

March 19Live / With NO regrets

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 

Celebrating BIG WINS! 7 Years of 217church

I can’t believe it!  This Sunday we will celebrate seven years of worshiping together as a church family in Mercer County, NJ. This Sunday I am speaking about what is called a DOUBLE BLESSING!  God is in the business of replacing our burdens with blessing!  It’s right in front of us, waiting for us to reach out in faith and realize it as a church.  So many people sacrificed so much so we could pursue the vision to Rebuild Lives one Person at a time.  Realize our church never would have happened without those who have believed FROM THE BEGINNING!  Our mother church – Princeton Alliance Church believed in the vision first!  You are an incredible congregation doing impactful ministry here and around the world!  Thank You!

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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

Many of you who read this are a part of another local church family in another community.  We have always viewed our local church as a kingdom building church.  This means that even if you won’t be with us for our 7 year celebration, take these seven action steps and appropriately implement them in your life and in your local context.

7 Ways To Celebrate Our 7 Years Together…

1 – Renew Your Commitment – How committed are you to your local church?  Let’s DOUBLE DOWN on our commitments!  We have the privilege of being the ones in this season who are preparing the church for the NEXT season.  Going forward, I am looking for those who will stand with me to be rigorously committed to our church family as vision owners.  Here is a short version of our 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 be a regular part of a ministry team
  • Support the Future of the church – By giving regularly to the mission of the church

2 – Get Baptized – We have celebrated 250+ #BIGWINS through baptism!  Some of you have never taken this step to be baptized.  You have personally committed to Jesus but you have never publicly proclaimed and encouraged those around you with your story.  Our next baptism is Saturday February 25th at 6 PM in Robbinsville.  email doug@217church.com to sign up.  #BIGWINS

3 – Join A Small Group –  Hundreds of people have grown strong through our small groups! #BIGWINS  happen every week as people come together to pray, encourage, study the word, and serve.  I have been personally impacted as over 50 people from small groups came to my home two years ago and did 20+ different projects to prepare my home to welcome in our 3 adopted children from Uganda!    We are seeing dynamic ministry and people in our community are being helped with so many basic needs.  Our small groups are the simple building block of our church that bring people in, build people up, and send people out.  email matt@217church.com to connect with a group.

4 – Use Your Gifts and Abilities – We have had over 18,000 Serving moments during Sunday worship services alone in the past seven years!  Since the beginning of 217church we have averaged over 40 people serving a week!  Are you one? That’s a lot of #BIGWINS!  Every week people serve as greeters, ushers, parkers, camera operators, media support team, audio visual support team, worship team, and dynamic 217kids leaders.  This is just on Sundays alone!  Your church, schools, youth ministry and neighborhoods are waiting for you to create some #BIGWINS and serve!

5 – Make A Sacrificial Gift – In the past seven years we have had $4.7 Million in #BIGWINS given towards the vision!  We have used those resources to build a strong church that is rebuilding lives, and now we have just put a down payment on a 10 acre piece of land to build a permanent facility.  I believe the best is yet to come and we have around $500,000 to go in order to pay off this land.  Over the next two years we anticipate completing the site plan and beginning the building process. You can make a secure sacrificial gift online here.

6 – Pray and Be Prayed For – All of the above is made possible through prayer.  Answered prayers have accounted for all of the #BIGWINS for our church!  Some of you have deep prayer needs.  before we started 217church, we prayed long and hard for the foundation to be strong through prayer.  I want to encourage you to make your requests known to the church family and allow others to come around and pray for you.  No matter what the need; physical, financial, relational, or emotional, God is in the business of answering our prayers and drawing us together through it.

7 – Let’s Come Together and Worship –  Sunday is going to represent another #BIGWIN for our church.  We would love for you to experience our historic 7 years celebration!  We will sign the land contract, here from some special guests and cast vision for our future #DOUBLEBLESSING!

I would love to hear of your stories of #BIGWINS through 217church below!  Or respond on Facebook Here

Can’t wait!

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 

What To Do With A Colossal Failure

You watched the Super Bowl right? The Falcons choked – We have ALL been there – The project fails, we lose the job, the plan goes up in smoke, we break a promise, the spouse is extremely angry with us. Failure happens, but we know failure is going to happen, so what should we do once it happens?

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1 – Depend on others – Surround yourself with people who love you.  Now is not the time to just “get over it.” You will probably need some time with some incredibly supportive people. How long? Probably longer than shorter. Being around people who care about you restores your confidence and reaffirms your value.

2 – Disconnect – Now you are ready to get some time alone and go back to your vision. Two key questions to ask as you disconnect. These questions help you to rediscover what on earth you are here for.

  • Why did you start this journey in the first place?
  • What is the single biggest motivating factor in your life?

3 – Dissect – Please DON’T skip #1 and #2. Resist the temptation to go right to the details because you probably aren’t in the right emotional state to handle the truth. If you start here it leads to destructive behavior.

Ok, now you are ready for some details, what went wrong?  Take ownership of the failure and don’t blame. Don’t beat yourself up but be honest with the facts of what happened. Sometimes you won’t know why. Sometimes stuff happens to you. I know it takes courage, but don’t leave the failure, live with it for a while.

4 – Determine Your Next Steps – How will you win the next time?  What thinking needs to be in place? What actions MUST you take? Are there patterns in your life that need to change? Developing a plan is key and you probably need a few of those people in #1 to help you to formulate some new ideas. DON’T go it alone!

5 – Direct Your Life – Implement it! It won’t feel the greatest at first because it probably is a risk. Never forget the feeling of a great loss but don’t allow your impact to be ruled by the pain. As you are directing your life and implementing the plan, here are a few reminders:

  • Share the new vision slowly, not everyone needs to know everything.
  • Take a team of people with you. Once again – Destructive pride is the result of individual accomplishment. Teams build individual humility.
  • Get an outside coach to help you see what you can’t. Having an outside perspective will keep you OUT of a lot of trouble.

Now go get it!

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.  Josh is also the Executive Coach at Activate Coaching LLC, coaching leaders in all spectrums of industry and non profits to optimum spiritual, family, financial, physical and professional health.  He can be reached at josh@activatecoaching.com.