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I’m Moving!

I’m moving!

Not houses, cities, or churches.

My blog is moving!

You might have noticed that I have been blogging much less in the past few months.  I took a break and also did some planning so that I could better situate myself for blogging in the future.

The end result is this: I have my own domain available now where my new blog posts will be hosted.

Visit jefftolle.org and you are there!

Also, to check out my intro post over on the new blog, please read “Welcome to my New and Improved Blog”!

It’s been great being here at wordpress.com.  Now, my new blog will be powered by wordpress.org.  It allows me some more versatility and opportunities for growth.

Would you join me and subscribe to my new blog?

This blog will remain available with all of the old posts…so feel free to read and re-read any time you want!

See you there!

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Who Cares How Much Leadership Experience You Have?

Pegs

Pegs – coloured – concepts  by Ruth LIvingstone

Yes.

And I mean it!

I recently realized something really simple that I can’t believe it eluded me for so long.

While I have been leading for many years…

While I was a youth pastor with a thriving youth ministry for over a decade…

While I have plenty of skills, understanding, and knowledge about how to lead a church…

While I have read multiple books on leadership…

None of that means that those I lead are at the same leadership level as I am.

So what does this require of me?

I MUST MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AT.

I realized that I have constantly expected people to operate at the same level that I am at.  To do the things that I do.  To understand everything I understand.

Notice that inherent in that belief is the thought that I know better than everyone else.

Hardly. 

But, even if I do, I cannot expect people to learn overnight what it has taken me years upon years to learn.

This would be nice in a fantasy world, but not in reality.

To see people understand what I understand and do what I can do, it takes…

Time.

Patience.

Grace.

Understanding.

Relationship.

And, with all of that in mind, I remember this:

We will grow together.

While those I lead are growing under my leadership, I must continue to grow too.  And, much of my growth will come from things that they teach me.

The people I lead don’t care how much leadership knowledge I have.  They care about whether I’ll walk with them in this journey of growth.

I’m ready.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in CityLife Church, Leadership, Life, Uncategorized

 

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The Error of Spectatorship

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Spectating is a national pastime.

We have phrases that prove this:

“Armchair quarterback”

“Backseat driver”

We spectate at so many things. We watch sports on tv. We regularly attend shows, sporting events, theatre productions, and so much more.

And, here’s what all of us do, both during and afterwards: We critique.

How was the show?

What did you like about it?

What didn’t you like?

Should I go see it? Why?

Why is this team losing the baseball game? What is the pitcher doing wrong?

On and on and on.

Now, I don’t find anything particularly wrong with us critiquing when we are enjoying entertainment.  We’re typically not hurting anyone and we are simply giving opinions.

But, I have noticed a trend of spectatorship that has gone much deeper than entertainment.

I have seen too many people being spectators of life.

While so many things are going on, while the world is constantly changing, while there is so much to be done, people remain comfortable, sitting on the sidelines of life, watching, and never participating.

And, here’s the problem: the spectator’s chair of life is one that always leads to a life of unhealthy critiques and demeaning judgments, one which never helps anyone improve or make things better.

There’s an interesting story that I’ve read plenty of times, but only recently noticed what I’m talking about in this post.  King David was bringing the ark (which was the symbol of God’s presence with his people Israel) into Jerusalem.  While doing so, an interesting thing happened.  This is found in 2 Samuel 6:14-16.

14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. 15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. 16 But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.

David was dancing with joy.

People were shouting with joy.

And they even brought out the ram’s horns for the celebration!

And notice this, in verse 15, it says “all the people of Israel” were with David doing this.

Except for one.

I love the picture this story gives us of Michal, David’s wife.  She was looking down from her window.

This is the spectator’s stance: One who is positioned (at least in their own minds) high above everyone else, looking down on their idiocy, their craziness, their stupidity, despising them for what they are doing.

Could you imagine what would have happened if she would have joined the dance?

Later on, David had a conversation with her about her wrong attitude.  It didn’t go well. In fact, the end result was that Michal remained childless the rest of her life (verse 23).

I see that happening with so many people today.  They sit on the sidelines…of life, of the church, of experiences, and so much more.  And, as a result of their own critiques, they are so filled with hate and disgust that they end up living life “barren”. 

Barren of joy, excitement, life, love, and so much more.

This post today is a call: Step into life, join the dance, be a part of the party, experience all that God has for you.  Do NOT sit anymore on the sidelines of life.

There is too much at stake.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Life, Love, Uncategorized

 

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Disciples

9-11-13 Disciples

On Sunday, CityLife had its first ever Vision Night.  With close to 200 people in attendance, I was blown away by so many who are solidly with us as a church and are committed to seeing our church have an impact in the city of Los Angeles.

And, the greatest part of the night?  Baptizing 5 people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.  It was amazing!

I gave a financial update about where our church is at and talked about our vision as we move forward.  I mainly used the text from the Bible that is found in Matthew 28:18-20.  It states,

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Ever since starting CityLife, I have had the opportunity to baptize around five people who I have personally led to Christ.  There is nothing that compares to being able to walk with someone who is crossing the line of salvation, giving their lives fully to Jesus!  It’s one thing for me to preach and see people come to Jesus…it’s a wholly different thing to personally walk with people as they encounter Jesus.

And, that’s why these verses are so important.  I could write a long post about those verses, but I want to focus on one simple concept:

Disciples make disciples.

Jesus, a little before ascending to heaven, pulls his disciples together and tells them to make disciples.  

Notice this: Jesus didn’t pull pastors together and tell them to make disciples.  He didn’t pull a group of prophets or teachers together and tell them to make disciples.  He didn’t grab apostles or even evangelists.  

He told his disciples to make disciples.

If you are a disciple of Jesus, then you are called to make disciples.  You are called to walk with others as they are on their journey of faith.  You are called to baptize them as they place their faith in Jesus.  You are called to continue walking with them as they too become a follower of Jesus Christ.

YOU.

Not some Super Christian or some theological genius.

YOU.

Not the pastor, worship leader, small group leader, or anyone else with the title or qualifications.

YOU.

Go for it!  You can do this!  God’s spirit is with you!

Go and disciple today.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in CityLife Church, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

 

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True Worship

9-06-13 True Worship

I hear people talk about true worship all the time.

We discuss offering different things to God.  We talk about styles of music, or how loud someone sings.  We talk about different things in our lives that need to change.  Addictions we need to give up.  Habits we need to change.  People we need to love.

And, while all of these things might involve expressions of our worship to God, none of these things are the foundation of true worship.

Notice what Paul says in Romans 12:1,

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

There are two things that show true worship.

First, our worship exists BECAUSE of what God has done for us.  BECAUSE he gave his life for us.  BECAUSE he loves us.  BECAUSE he cares for us.  BECAUSE he sacrificed for us.

Anything less than that is not worship.

If we worship God out of some requirement to fulfill a duty, we are not truly worshiping him.  If we worship him because that is what’s expected, we are not truly worshiping him.

Worship BEGINS with Jesus, flows THROUGH us, then RETURNS to him.

If your worship does not begin with what Christ has done, then you are missing out on the foundation of worship.  It starts with Jesus.  We give ourselves to him in worship because he gave himself to us on the cross.  Our worship is a response to his actions.  Our worship flows from deep gratitude and love for he who gave his life for us.  Our capacity to worship him is directly given to us by him.

Secondly, our worship is only real when we give ourselves to God, not our things to God.

We so often relate worship to a giving up of things to God in order to honor him.

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up that pornography to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up smoking to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up my car/girlfriend/boyfriend/house/$10,000 to honor you.”

Etc.

Paul makes it clear in the verse I quoted above: the only real worship is when we offer our very lives.  During Old Testament times, the sacrifice that was offered to God was placed on the altar…a whole animal, or a full amount of a prescribed edible or aromatic substance.

Much like that, Paul is stating that we must place our very bodies…our very lives on the altar.  We are not giving up things for God…we are placing our entire lives in his hands.

And, here is the most powerful thing: No matter what your issue has been…addictions, wrong attitudes such as greed or pride, wrong priorities, etc…when you place your life into the hands of God, he will set all of those things straight in your life.  

They will come as a result of your worship, not as a requirement for your worship.

Let’s worship him today in the way that is true: fully giving ourselves to him BECAUSE he fully gave himself for us.

Enjoy your worship to God!

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Bible, Life, Love, Uncategorized

 

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The CityLife Weekly

Hey everybody!

This has been a great week! We had our Dodger game this last weekend and we had a great Sunday together. Lots of good things are happening and I am so excited.

So, let’s get right to it!

1. Wednesday Night Live TONIGHT! We will meet together at 7pm tonight for a time of communion, prayer, an encouraging word, and celebrating volunteers. Meet with us at 10859 Burbank Blvd. See you there!

2. Vision Night! What do you do when you put a food truck, a special service, a talk about the future of our church and much more all together? Vision Night! This Sunday at 5pm at East Valley High School. Do not miss this! (Our morning services continue as planned.)

3. Baptisms! There is nothing quite like baptisms. This Sunday at our Vision Night celebration, we will also have baptisms. Various people are already confirmed. If you want to get baptized, send me an email at pastorjeff@citylifela.org.

Let’s continue our week placing our trust and confidence in Jesus. He is good!

Be blessed!

Pastor Jeff

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in CityLife Church

 

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That New Car Smell

A couple of people I know recently bought new cars. I love new cars! (who doesn’t?)

As I leaned in to each of their cars to take a look, I immediately got the whiff of that new car smell. There is nothing like it! It is quite possibly one of the top 20 experiences on planet earth.

I’m not sure where it falls on the list of top 20, but it’s in there somewhere!

Either way, it reminded me of a recent experience. My car was extremely dirty and it had been ages since I had washed it. I decided to take it to one of those drive thru car washes.

They gave me three options…you know these: the normal one, the deluxe one, then the your-car-is-amazing-and-you-need-a-top-of-the-line-car-wash. Fr one time in my life, I decided on the third option.

Te cool thing was that for a couple of dollars more I got some cleaner for the inside of my car and some air freshener.

Air freshener!

The last air freshener I had in my car was one from Christmas that had lost is scent about 5 years ago.

Yes…you read that correctly. The Santa Clause air freshener was hanging on my rear view mirror for 5 years!

Back to the car wash.

They gave me a choice of six or seven different scents. Cherry. Lemon. New car.

Yes. There is a new car smell air freshener! This world is more amazing than I thought!

Either way, I chose the lemon scented air freshener. But, after taking a smell in some new cars, I know which one I’m going for next time.

Here’s what all of this reminded me of. We all make promises about that new car smell. We say, “I’m going to do everything possible to keep this smell in my car”. But, inevitably, at some point, it goes away.

And the same is true of life. The new gets old. The promises we make to keep certain things going never happen.

Promises, like:

I’ll read my Bible every day.
I’ll pray two hours a day.
I’ll give more to the church.
I’ll stop yelling as much.
I’ll hang out with my kids more.
I’ll save money.
Etc.

We do well for a bit, then we fail. It goes away.

Can we get it back?

Yes.

Jesus is the one who makes us new. And, unlike a regular air freshener that only masks the old car smell, Jesus makes us completely new again.

Totally.

Completely.

100%.

New.

Go to Jesus today. He doesn’t disappoint!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Life

 

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