Unwrap This… Forgiveness

It’s that time of year again, time to think about what you would like to give to those in your life who you care about the most.  Gift giving is an exciting time of sensing the value that will all have as family and friends.  This year in our family we created a wish list for those who want to get something specific for any of our kids.  But the thrill of a new gift fades away quickly and toys under the tree last year quickly become boring, outdated and even neglected.  But there is one gift you can for sure give that will endure and never get old, and when you give it there are so many additional benefits.
 
 
“…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, as a matter of fact there are 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 Forgiveness…

 

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 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 the disciples of his 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 conflict comes, intimacy comes when we forgive.  I’m NOT suggesting you let someone abuse you, but I am reminding you that if you are unwilling to forgive anyone including your spouse, your closeness will always suffer.  If you find yourself becoming jaded towards someone, it’s time forgive and draw close to them again.  With family and friends people want to love and be loved.  Especially with marriage 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.

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 will affect your work, your leisure and worst of all your children.  Kids are perceptive and much smarter than you think.  Even my ten-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?  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 constantly.  Once you unleash the tongue to tear down people to others, they immediately will see through your phony facade of religion and reject your faith.  When you forgive, 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, that 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”, 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.

Josh

Josh Conn is a 20 year ministry veteran, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and 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.

Feels Like God Isn’t Doing His Part

Do you feel like you are at a crossroads?  What do you do when you know you are called out by God to do something, but you don’t see any forward motion?  What do you do when you know God is about to move but when you look around all the circumstances point to not yet?  What do you do when you feel passed over and ignored from people who have had every opportunity to advocate for you? What do you do when you know that you know that you know, but you can’t see the results?
“The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent.” 
Exodus 14:14

 

One of my favorite stories in the bible (1 Kings 18) is when Elijah a prophet heard the sound of rain, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. He was confronted with the future reality of the end of the famine, but there was no physical evidence of God even starting to build the storm from the heavens.  He even told king Ahab it was about to happen.  This is tough stuff because often when we hear the voice of God, we usually can’t see evidence of the outcome.  Here are four stages of the fulfillment of a promise from God.

Which Stage Are You In? 

  • Hear it – If you haven’t heard from God lately, chances are you aren’t listening.  If you need clarity on a message ask for it.  It will come.  God delights in talking to and spending time with his children so open your heart and your ears and you will be surprised by what he will say.

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.”  1 Kings 18:41

  • Pray it – Don’t skip this step.  If it is worth working through it is worth praying for.  If you have a plan on paper pray the plan then enlist a team to pray with you.  Don’t skip this step!  Didn’t I say this already?  The prayer part of the vision is how visions are refined and our hearts are aligned with God’s intentions.

    “And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.” 1 Kings 18:42

  • Check it – Sometimes you have to check it over and over again.  This is a great stage to be in because you can look for clues that God is working.  But the main reason for the waiting is preparation.  Never make waiting time wasted time.

    “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times.”  1 Kings 18:43

  • See it – This is when all the hard work pays off, the planning and praying yield progress and God comes through.  All God given visions will come to pass in his time.  Remember your timing isn’t usually his timing.  Finally, remember what God has already done.  Just because God hasn’t made something happen remember all he has already made happen.

And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.” 1 Kings 18:45

Hear it, pray it, check it, see it.  Looking forward to seeing you at Sharon School in Robbinsville for Sunday services at 9:30 and 11 am!

Josh

 

Josh Conn has been pastoring for over 20 years, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and 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.

What Mom Wants For You

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 potential…  FEAR.  If there was one gift every mom would be happy to receive this Mother’s Day, it’s knowing her kids are safe and secure.
 

 

–This chalk board hangs in my dining room–

 

“I will fear no evil for you are with me.” 
Psalm 23:4

 

This reminder hangs on our dining room wall…Three simple truths deeply rooted in scripture and profoundly impacting how we treat others and ourselves.  I pray this every night for my kids.  I know things may not be going your way and you may even feel the stress this weekend of parenting.  Take a positive approach to honoring mom and remember these 3 things.

Three Things Mom Wants For You –

  • Safety – Sure, a diligent mom is going to do everything in her power to keep her children safe.  Physical safety is never guaranteed, however your eternal security is pretty much a done deal.  Placing your trust in Jesus helps you to remember this.  My children need the reminder of safety every day.  “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5
  • Love – All children have to deal with fear at some point in their lives.  As a matter of fact, if a child does not receive adequate love and affection as a young child it has the effect of permanent scarring of the brain.  But there is a restorer – “Perfect love drives out fear”  1 John 4:18 
  • Doing The Right Thing – Yes there are cameras in my house.  Why?  Not necessarily because I don’t trust my children (Well, sometimes) But more so they feel safe.  I want them to remember God always sees them and is with them.  They have a the ability and responsibility to do the right thing.  God sees EVERYTHING  “I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18

Looking forward to seeing you at Sharon School in Robbinsville for our Mother’s Day Service at 9:30 and 11 am!

Josh

 

Josh Conn has been pasturing for over 20 years, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and 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.

Rock Solid Decision Making – The Courage To Change

If you or your organization is facing a MAJOR decision, it presents an incredible opportunity to depend on God solely.  But too often we shrink from the possibility of the better future because we look for the “safe option.” Or worse yet, we let one opinion or option or person dominate decision making because of too much influence and power.  Occasionally we get an opportunity to make a major change and think differently about a situation, and that circumstance usually has a short window of availability.  The safe option doesn’t necessarily lead to success.  As a matter of fact safe options can often lead to stagnation.


“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”  Philippians 1:12

The answer is solely depending on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  The opportunity you have in front of you is there to advance the Gospel, period.  You MUST trust the process.  So many times I see people and organizations short circuit the process because they want too much too fast.  They want their way.  I love helping people maximize those moments of opportunity and I love it when I see people, businesses, and churches making courageous, careful, calculated, wise decisions. Let’s look at two different examples, David’s appointment as king from the old testament, and Paul’s perseverance in prison in the new testament.  Here is how to approach the change process…

Rock Solid Decision Making – Three Words

New Testament (Paul in prison)- “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:14

  • Boldness – 

Overcome Fear – “Use your fear as fuel.” I am not saying be careless, but if there is an opportunity that balances carefulness and courage, it’s most likely a wise option.  A wise mentor once told me this, “just enough risk and just enough known results.”  Remember when Samuel was looking for a successor for Saul?  Take David for example, yes he was the youngest of eight before he was chosen by Samuel, but he measured up to the older brothers.  Remember HE KILLED THE LION AND THE BEAR.  David had the ‘it factor’.  He was both a risk and a known loyal family member.

Measure Choices –  “Consider ALL options.” If you have been convinced there is only one option, you have more than likely been deceived and you are trapped and need to break free from this deception.  There is great insight and wisdom in asking someone from the ‘outside’ their opinion on your situation. Only considering one option to change is utter FOOLISHNESS and NEVER the wise choice.  David was anointed as king, but even David was compared to his older brothers and found to be the Lord’s anointed. But in case you have still have fear in the decision making process, here is a question: ‘What are you really afraid of?’  Boldness without a higher purpose is meaningless.  But courage that will lead you closer to the end goal is clearly the best option.

Old Testament (David anointed) – “Then Jesse called Abinidab and Shammah and made them pass before Samuel, And he said neither has the Lord chosen this one…And then he sent and brought David in…’Arise and anoint him for this is he.'”  1 Samuel 16:8-12

Question:  Are you really trusting the Lord and weighing all your options?

___________________

New Testament (Paul sacrifices for the Gospel) “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” Philippians 1:25

  • Progress –

Take Hostile Ground – “Safe choices lead to stagnation.” Do you want to personally grow?  Then look for the greatest opportunity payback, but realize there WILL BE opportunity cost.  Paul chose to stay on earth for the MAXIMUM gain of the kingdom, but it cost him greatly!  If something is broken and isn’t producing, you need a change.  Progress demands it.  So many times we keep with a direction even when it is going bad or worse yet, average.  Even though it was excruciating, Paul continued on his trajectory.  Denial won’t help, excuses won’t help, “just believing,”  won’t help either.  One more thing, beware of manipulation, ultimatums from people in the decision making process are usually manipulations.

Take Your Time – “Quick choices lead to much regret.” SLOW DOWN!  If possible test the outcome before making a decision.  Even David had to kill Goliath before he was accepted as king.  Rushing into the decision is rarely a good option.  Unfortunately we are prone to sacrifice long term gains for the short term feeling.  Is there a long term process to make the change?  If not, stop dead in your tracks and invent the process BEFORE you start making decisions.  MOST SINS we commit are a result of a lack of patience and shortcutting the process.  If only Adam and Eve would have walked away from Satan in the garden.  SLOW DOWN, measure the progress in terms of the LONGEST TERM GAIN.  The cheapest, quickest, easiest choice will probably lead you to a faithless, barren result.   Most of us want instant results and instant gratification, or just want the decision behind us.

Old Testament (David defeats Goliath) – “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone…” 1 Samuel 17:50

Question:  What is the ‘upside’ and ‘downside’ of your various options?

___________________

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

  • Focus –

Clarify Your Purpose – “Wisdom blindness comes from personal agenda.” People and teams have to fight ‘wisdom blindness’ continually.  Usually the culprit is pride and hidden agenda.  Either way it’s sin.  Paul was intensely focused on letting his life point to one outcome…the Gospel.  What is your higher calling?  What is your team’s goal?  What is your family’s clear vision?  What is your committee’s ultimatum? What is your church’s ultimate responsibility? Are you carrying out the mission with the utmost carefulness and with the best intentions, or have you let your own desire get in the way of God showing up and doing the miraculous?  And by the way, “if there is no disagreement, you might be deceived.”

Clarify Your Prayer Strategy – “Without fasting and prayer, you won’t prevail.” If you are needing to make a major decision and haven’t fasted and prayed.  STOP!  Not just prayed, but have you let the Holy Spirit fill the lack in your stomach with a dependence of sustaining presence…and answers?  Don’t even pass go or collect $200 if you haven’t fasted.  Get clear, silence the noise, put aside the internal agenda, get rid of the pride and see beyond your own preferences.

Old Testament (David focused on Goliath) – “His sling was in his hand and he approached the Philistine…” 1 Samuel 17:40

Question:  Have you been distracted or deceived in your decision making process?

___________________

Trusting God for His wisdom and courage to change…

…May you be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”  Colossians 1:9

Josh

 

Josh Conn is a 20 year ministry veteran, father of six, founding executive coach at activate coaching and 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.

Here’s Why WE WIN – Easter

This past week I received a note from a hospital for a medical bill from almost three years ago.  Dumbfounded, I called them back and asked them why I was just now three years later receiving a bill in the mail?  I talked to the most polite woman named Wanda.  She said, “can you hold on for a minute?”  After about 4 minutes of waiting, she came back on the line and said.  “We failed to send you the bill in a timely manner and it has passed the statute of limitations, Therefore your DEBT IS CANCELLED!”  That was a great feeling and a great moment!  Thank you Wanda!

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12

Here is the good news… You have a zero balance!  No interest is accruing, no worry needs to own your thoughts, Jesus has removed the sin, cancelled the debt and you now can have the gift of eternal life.  But let me ask you a question. Are you still living like the sin owns you?

Three Essentials of Easter

  • Built on Forgiveness – What Jesus came to establish was not an earthly kingdom, but one that would be built on humble principles, a way of living that redefines culture and sets a new standard for the way that we love God and love others. Are you willing to extend the same grace to others that you desire for yourself?  We didn’t deserve forgiveness but Jesus extends it anyway.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”  Matthew 18:35

Question – Who do you need to forgive today?

  • Understood Through Preparation – Life is hard but remember, you have been purchased with a price so persevere with power.  Jesus prepared his whole life to die on the cross.  Our life will be full of pain and suffering, but the Holy Spirit and the church walk with us in our pain.  You are not alone.  God is preparing you for something great and he is preparing a place in heaven for you.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

Question – What do you need to persevere through today?  How can I pray?

  • Advanced Through Serving – What Jesus did was incredibly upside down.  Jesus came into the world as the son of God and made himself a man and became obedient to death.  It was his ultimate act of service to die for us and take on the sin of the whole world.  But from the grave emerged greatness as he defeated death and conquered sin once and for all.  It’s not about what you can get but what you can give.

“…So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”   Matthew 20:16

Question – Who do you need to serve today?

I trust this Easter you join your local church in worship and live in victory!

Josh

 

Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  Join us for Good Friday Service Friday March 30th at 6:30 PM and Easter Sunday Services 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.

3 Physical Health Strategies

Did you know that more people will die from heart disease this year than any other cause? Why? We eat a lot of junk! The truth of the matter is most of us treat our bodies like a human dumping ground as opposed to a temple of the Holy Spirit. We “calorie up” with sugar saturated drinks, eat way too much fast food, and exercise for some of us consists of going for a run…from the couch to the refrigerator. This is not God’s best for us. God cares about our bodies and he wants us to take care of what He has given to us. Tired of those extra few pounds you are carrying around? Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?  As we continue in our expectation series I want to take time to introduce you to another key area of health we will be tackling.

What does Physical Health look like?

“whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…” (Proverbs 12:1 ESV)

Most of us eat what we want, when we want and we use the argument, “it’s my body, so I will do what I want with it.” This is not true, it’s a lie from the culture.  It’s not your body, your body belongs to God and he desires for you to use it to glorify Him.  Discipline can create a marvelous dependance on God as long as your motivations are correct.  but most of us struggle with the nasty ‘D’ word, DISCIPLINE. Here are a few things that helped me as I have started new habits and increased my own discipline factor.

  • Don’t Compare – Nothing will discourage you more if you try and compare yourself to other people.  Some people are gifted to be vegans.  Some people are genetically predisposed to be thin.  Stop worrying about everyone else and what the magazine adds tell you to be and seek God for his plan for your health and nutrition.  What worked for someone else may not necessarily work for you.  Seek God!
  • Take it Slow- One mistake we usually make is we pull the plug and make drastic changes all at once.  Then we fail miserably and pile on the guilt later and claim, “we tried.”  Unfortunately, most of us want instant results and instant gratification.  It didn’t take you a week to gain that extra fifty pounds or have high blood pressure so it is going to take more than a week to remedy the problem.
  • You Need A Buddy – Seriously, don’t even try and change a major habit on your own.  You need the support and accountability of a friend who will let you succeed and sometimes fail without piling on the guilt.  You need someone who you can model your health after and someone who will celebrate with you.  Isolation = failure.

I urge you therefore brothers in view of God’s mercy to present your bodies a living sacrifice, this is your spiritual act of worship.”        Romans 12:1-2

We can do this, together!  Josh

 

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.

Give Thanks – Keep On

I woke up Tuesday morning to a new note on my computer.  The night before, my adorable daughter Lydia had been doing spelling practice on a web site.  As I opened up the computer I saw this below – She didn’t tell me about it or even mention anything before she closed the computer for the night.  She knew that in due time, I would see it.  I call this the 7:11 Principle

 “So you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts those who ask Him.”  Matthew 7:11
 
Now, I am not going to say I am going to get all of that stuff for my incredibly convincing girl.  She does have me wrapped around her little finger, but I will tell you this, something(s) on that list will probably end up in her stocking or under the tree.  You see I am a TOTAL SUCKER for my kids.  Ask them.  Mom says, “no” and dad is just more likely to say “yes”.  I LOVE GIVING GIFTS TO MY KIDS.  Even this morning, I spontaneously stopped off at DD with Lilly and Titus, Why?  Because I am their amazing dad. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s hard to say no!  Sometime though, we feel like ‘Dad upstairs’ isn’t listening to our requests and we have – to – wait.

What Should I Do While I Wait?

1. Keep on Asking – The more I practice this, the more I realize the ‘keeping on’ is not about God needing to hear it, but more about me needing to persevere in asking.  But I’m not going to lie, it stinks to wait.  There are a couple of problems though.  Sometimes we don’t have because we have pride and don’t want to ask, and sometimes we ask but need to develop patience.  If you never have to wait for anything you will become a conceited, spoiled, entitled and difficult person.  I don’t think Jesus gets tired of us asking, but check your motivations. Jesus said to #keepon, so I will.

The Key:  Right Motivations

“Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4

2. Keep on Seeking – When you lose something, how hard do you look for it?  I can’t stop looking until I find it.  Sometimes I get so obsessed with finding the ‘thing’ that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.  This may be a character flaw but the positive side for me is focus.  I don’t know what it is you are seeking God for, but his will is found by those who toil and struggle to pursue His plan.  Jesus said to #keepon, so will you?

The Key: Steadfast Persistence

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13

3. Keep on Knocking – Now it doesn’t say “kick down the door.”  but it also doesn’t say, to “do nothing.”  Knocking involves action.  As a matter of fact, if I want to come to your house and come in, I have to get in the car, plan the drive to your house, drive to your house and then knock on the door.  What I am saying, You MUST DO SOMETHING.  This is where preparation comes in.  Many times we don’t take purposeful action because we lack the courage and consistency to plan by faith for the result we are believing God for.  Sitting around isn’t going to prepare you for when God is ready. What do you believe enough that you are willing to do something about?  #keepon

The Key: Purposeful Action

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:26

So #keepon! As we contemplate and anticipate what God will do, let us remember in this season of thanksgiving to appreciate what he has already done.  What are you waiting for?  It’s time to check your motivation, persistence and actions as you pursue God.  Don’t give up!

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NLT)

 

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.

Why I Love The Church

THE CHURCH – she is worth it.  I mean, she is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!  The time, the sacrifice, the energy, the baptisms, the births, the marriages, the healing, the miracles, the life long relationships, the friendships…and yes the pain, the brokenness, the addiction, the moral failures, the disappointments, the divorces and the confusion.  SHE IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!  Ever since I was a young boy, my parents exposed me to the greatest and most amazing group of people on the planet, the church.  The opportunity to be a part of a group of people who are showing forgiveness, love, hope, and acceptance, is an incredible privilege and opportunity.  If you have a local church family, don’t throw it away; cherish, nurture, forgive and work hard and fight for her!  She is the bride worth giving your life for.  Bottom line is, people will always struggle with the church and what happens and doesn’t happen, but the journey and difficulties ARE WORTH IT.

 
 “…Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  Ephesians 5:25
 
Why is she (the church) #worthit?  Dione’s photo above should explain it enough. Once far from God, then on July 17th in the Delaware river, she was baptized, transformed, saved, restored.   For every difficulty and pain I have encountered, I’ve experienced exponentially more moments like the one above.  ABSOLUTE RESTORATION THROUGH JESUS!  Jesus died for her and watches out for her…so should we.  The enemy however HATES her.  Wants her dead. Wants gossip, despair, pain, and strife and mistrust to ruin her.  But I am choosing to fight for her.  I will fight for the church, she is #worthit.

5 Reasons I Love The Church

 

1. Jesus Sets the Example – If I have an example of how to love, it makes it much more tangible and easier. If Jesus died on the cross for the church, what does that mean for my own commitment and tenacity towards her.  He was crucified to set the example for us of how the people of God, the church, is valuable.  Every person and every opportunity to serve makes a difference.  WOW!  I am humbled by Jesus and his example. 100% #worthit

2. The People are Incredible – I like to say – “The church is at its best when things are at their worst.” Have you experienced the love and care of the local church.  Oh man, it is indescribable.  The people are incredible.  Over the last 21 years of pastoring, I have come to know first hand the exceptional gifts, extravagant love, and healing power of the local church.  It really is beyond words.  The church is the best kept secret in our communities and is #worthit.

3. The Potential is Endless – Why?  We have the Holy Spirit, the literal third person of God who comforts, gives wisdom, heals, empowers, and expands possibilities.  It really isn’t us and our power, it’s the power released through us that makes the local church extravagant.  Every day, every Sunday, every time we get together, a miracle could happen, people could gain eternal life, a marriage could get restored and someone could be healed.  No way I am missing this Sunday.  No way I am checking out. #worthit

4. His Will and Purpose Is Accomplished –  To think God wants to use me?  What?  That’s right, you and me to do His will and accomplish his plan.   If your church is going through a difficult time right now, “double down” on your commitment towards her.  Those who stick it out reap the rewards of the satisfaction of loyalty and commitment to the glory of God.  Even when it seems like nothing good is coming from a situation, anticipate and watch because God is redeeming the situation and something big is about to happen.

5. The Privilege is Beyond Words – Sometimes I have to take a step back on any given Sunday as I look around a room and see people worshiping and I’m speechless.  When I have the privilege of bringing a meal to someone, beyond understanding.  No matter what your role is in the local church, honor the position, pass on the credit, lead with humility, serve with zeal.  Then, sit back and watch in amazement as God actually uses you to rebuild lives and accomplish His plan.

Bottom line – the church is #worthit – If you are encountering difficulty with the church right now, write some reasons below she it #worthit!  Would love to hear from you and encourage you along the way!  

 

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.

How Bad Do You Want It?

I remember entering into my last semester of college.  I had a full load of 19 credits, was newly married and had 3 part-time jobs.  Needless to say, my new wife and I didn’t see much of each other, but we were determined to accomplish our goals and take the next step in our life.  My total focus was on getting that undergraduate diploma.  I had worked hard for this and was going to let NOTHING stand in the way of completing my degree, NOTHING! Let me ask you a question – How bad do you want it?

 

 

“…She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately she was healed.”  Luke 8:44
 
How bad do you want it?  Are you desperate enough to fight through the crowd?  What are you willing to sacrifice to get where God is taking you?  Maybe it’s a relationship that needs to be restored, a debt that needs to be paid off, or even a college degree you have been working on for years like I was.  Whatever it is, do you want it BAD, really BAD?

 

3 Things Desperate People Do… (Yes it’s ok to be desperate)

1. Pleading – Sometimes you have to lose your dignity in order to get where you are going.  It is at your humblest moments when you are the most vulnerable but yet have the most potential.  Ironically this is when God takes over and can get you connected with the people who will take you where you need to be.  Lose your dignity, it’ll be ok.  Ask someone for help.  How bad do you want it?

And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house.”        Luke 8:41

2. Reaching – You have to take a step.  If you stay where you are, you will, well, be right where you are (I know, that was deep)  You have to take a physical step and it will require courage.  Sometimes it is even a bold step where you will have to be stretched in every possible way.  If you want to be well, you have to pursue it like a bad habit.  Sometimes, people  don’t get where they need to be because they just don’t want it bad enough.

“…She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately she was healed.”  Luke 8:44

 

3. Believing – Do you really believe?  How much do you believe.  Belief isn’t something that you do with your head, it’s something you do with your heart.  You gotta know that you know it is going to happen.  You have to shut off the negative voices crying out to you from your past and even your present.  You have to lay claim to what is rightfully yours and stop making excuses.  Do you believe?  How bad do you want it?

 

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.  Luke 8:48

 

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 

This is not a Game image by Chris Gilmore is licensed under CC by 2.0

Things Don’t Make Sense? – Do This

The start of this week was terrible, unthinkable, unbearable.  So much loss of life…senseless loss of life in Las Vegas.  How is it possible that human life was so disregarded?  Children, husbands and wives, their lives obliterated.  I could write about many aspects of the tragedy, and so many have done such a great job writing about what to do about this evil that happened.  (You can read what one of my mentors wrote here.)  But I live so far away from Vegas, and need to impact and make a difference in my local neighborhood and community.  What should I do?  There are some tangible things each of us can do.  If we all do these things, hope will abound.

 
 
“…Peace I leave with you my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  
John 14:27 
 
So, what can I do today in order to bring the undeniable power of peace and hope to those I come in contact with.  Jesus commands us to bring peace to situations. The concept is simple really, but it will take some relational courage.  Don’t wait on these things, the need is too desperate.

 

5 Things You Should Never Wait On…

1. Saying ‘I Love You’ – Do they know?  I mean do they really know?  Have you looked them in the eye and told them how you feel about them.  They need to hear it today.  I’m not sure who, but there has to be someone in your life who needs to know.  Don’t wait any longer, Tell them.  How could you change someone’s life with those three simple words?

2. Helping Someone Around You – Simply open your eyes and the needs will appear.  So many are so desperate, and if you will take the time and put your thoughts into actions, you will transform someone’s life.  But, you have to be willing.  A teen, your lonely classmate, your co-worker, someone going through a divorce, someone who no one else talks to.  Help someone.

3. Getting Help For Yourself – This is why I do what I do.  I wish more people would just take initiative and ask for help.  It will be ok and you need to know that more people care than you think.  Maybe every break has went against you and you feel hopeless.  Isn’t it time? Maybe you are addicted.  Maybe you have contemplated suicide.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life and my prayer is that you get help.

4. Making a Change You Know Needs To Happen – Has there been something you have been putting off for a very long time that you just know needs to take place?  Today is the day.  I know it’s hard, I know you may feel alone, but you need to do it.  Things won’t be right until you do, so make it happen.

5. Invite Someone to Walk With You – Relationships are everything.  Maybe you feel like things are going well for you and you have made progress in your life.  Your greatest impact will come from your deepest wound and if you have achieved a measure of victory, you have to share it.  It is what you were created to do.

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 

Mandelay Bay Image by Ed Bierman is licensed under CC by 2.0