Category Archives: Ministry


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.


Not some Super Christian or some theological genius.


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


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

Go and disciple today.


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


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The Spotlight


Here’s my roundup of some news stories that I think will interest you.  Enjoy the reading!

1. Census: White majority in U.S. gone by 2043

Our country is changing and is becoming more and more diverse.  I do not necessarily believe that it is becoming “mono-ethnically” diverse (as in ethnicities staying “pure” without mixing with other ethnicities).  The reality is that inter-marriage happens and some of the “lines” get blurred over time.  Either way, the study is interesting and shows how much our country is changing in a relatively short period of time.

2. Where I Find My Creative Ideas by Phil Cooke

To all of you people who do creative work out there and to all who would like to do creative work, this is a helpful  post.  I use Feedly also (as he mentions in his post), and his other ideas are definitely worth it.  Take a read.

3. Iran votes for a new president

This will be something that is interesting to watch in the coming days.  Regardless of the political implications between Iran and the U.S., this election will also have an impact on the Middle East.  Definitely something to keep our eyes on!

4. Immigration

Regardless of your political beliefs, the immigration bill presently being debated in the Senate affects millions of people in our country and very likely affects people in your home, your neighborhood, your school, your church, etc.  Our system is broken and it does need to be fixed.  Will this bill fix it?  We shall see!  Regardless of what happens, people who I know and love will be impacted by this legislation.  Let’s keep watching and praying!

5. How much would you pay for a parking spot?

You will be amazed by how much this woman in Boston paid for 2 parking spots.  Click on the link above to find out the amount!

6. What do you do if you’re afraid of heights?

Typically, going somewhere high up in altitude is the exact opposite of what you do when you are afraid of heights.  Apparently for this Austrian man, going high is the answer.  Check it out!

7. How do you capture a runaway llama?

So, what do you do when a llama is running away from you and poses a danger to itself and others?  Besides attempting to play your own version of a rodeo or putting it down permanently, there must be another way.  These sheriff’s deputies found a way to make it happen.

That’s it for this week.  Happy reading!


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The CityLife Weekly

5-20-13 The CityLife Weekly


Hey CityLife!

We had a great week this last week and lots is coming up with us!  So, here’s the update!

1. The Power of Offense.  This last Sunday, I talked about the power of offense.  The idea was that it is impossible for someone to offend us…we can only “take” offense.  This was an important distinction to understand so that we could walk in freedom from offense.  When I asked for hands raised to see who was dealing with offense in their lives, multitudes of hands went up.  We were able to pray for those who found themselves in those situations.  God is good!

2. Trip to Oklahoma.  We will be taking a trip to Oklahoma to help in the recovery efforts during the last week of June.  We will leave on Sunday, June 23rd, or early Monday morning, June 24th.  We will return late on Thursday, June 27th.  If you are interesting in joining us, shoot me an email at!

3. Father’s Day is Sunday.  You need to invite EVERY father (and their families) that you know.  It is going to be great.  The rundown is the following: car show, competitions (with prizes), barbecue, and more!  Join us!  Also, with this Father’s Day, I will be continuing our Entourage series and talk about forgiveness.  It’s an important topic and I believe that on this Father’s Day God will bring SALVATION and HEALING to countless people.  Let’s do it!

6-13-13 CityLife Weekly (Father's Day Announcement)


4. Summer is beginning!  And, there is a lot going on at CityLife.  Check out the flyer below for more information!

6-13-13 (

That’s it for today!  I’m so excited for what this summer has to bring!  It’s gonna be good!

Pastor Jeff


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The CityLife Weekly

5-20-13 The CityLife Weekly


Hey everyone!

Here are a few thoughts and upcoming things that are important for the CityLife family this week.

1. Thanks to all of our CityLife partners!  Every Sunday, tons of people show up early (and others leave late) in order to serve all the people who come to CityLife on a given Sunday.  To all of you who serve in one of our LifeTeams, LifeKids, worship and creative teams, all of you are the best!

2. We have a calendar!  What this means is that we have actually put down dates to a whole lot of stuff that we are going to do this summer.  I am SO EXCITED for what is going to happen.  In the next week we will be publishing all the dates for this summer.  It’s going to be good!

3. Did you miss a Sunday message?  If you want to check out one of our Sunday messages, feel free to visit our CityLife resources page (click here) to check them out.

4. Father’s Day @ CityLife!  This upcoming Father’s Day (June 16th), we will be having an amazing day.  Games, prizes, a car show, and more!  Start right now and invite fathers to come on that day! (As an aside, we published the wrong date in the bulletin.  June 16th IS the correct day)

5. Wednesday Night LIVE! This Wednesday we will be getting together at our LifeCenter for a time of worship, prayer, and to listen to what God is doing in the country of India!  We will have Charles Daniel, a missionary who God is using in the country of India to bring hope to many!  Join us at 7pm.  You can find our LifeCenter address here.

6. Have you “liked” our Facebook page yet?  If you haven’t, then you are missing out!  We are constantly putting a verse, an encouragement, or an announcement there so that you can be blessed!  Click here to go to our page.

7. Oklahoma Response Team!  I mentioned on Sunday that I felt strongly by the Lord that we need to send a team to Oklahoma to help them in whatever they need.  We are planning on leaving anywhere from a week (next Monday) to a month from today.  I will have more information by tomorrow for those who are interested in going.  Many expressed an interest and I’m excited about helping!

8. This Sunday at CityLife we will be talking about the Power of Offense. I was struck by the fact that many people live with a lot of brokenness in their relationships because of their choice to stay offended about things that happen.  Let’s deal with this one on Sunday.  It’s important and it’s going to be good!  Invite someone!

Wow!  We’ve got a lot going on!  Again, I am so thankful to all of you who give your heart and soul to help us serve the City of Los Angeles.  Thanks for inviting your friends to be a part of this church!  We’ve got great days ahead!

Be blessed!

Pastor Jeff


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The Spotlight


Here is my collection of stories, blogs, and other interesting things that I found this week.  Enjoy!

1. 15 Simple Truths About Selling by Geoffrey James

You may not know it, but we are all selling something.  So, this is a good article for those who are in the selling business, and for those who think they aren’t in the selling business!  He has some great truths packed in there!

2. Principles vs. Methods by Frank Damazio

In this post, pastor Frank Damazio gives one of the most important lessons on how (and why) we actually do what we do as pastors, church leaders, etc.  Many people get confused between what a “principle” is and what a “method” is.  For this reason, many churches face major problems.  Read this post and get understanding about the difference between both of these concepts!

3. 5 Temptations for Successful Preachers by Joe McKeever

If you preach (or communicate) regularly, you need to read this.  Some good insights about how we approach and view what we do, especially in relation to God and people!

4. 7 Bizarre Ways Kids Entertained Themselves Before Video Games

Ok…this is not news and it may not help you become a better person, but I had to put it on here.  There were some interesting games a generation (or generations) ago.  Enjoy!

5. Hoarding Information by Seth Godin

This is a short, yet good read about what we do with information.  I was just having a discussion with someone about this yesterday.  Could this same concept apply to pastors and churches, knowing that there is so much teaching (by good teachers) available online for free?  Something to think about!

6. The Ultimate Church Potluck Menu by Stephen Pepper

Ever wondered what to have at your church potluck?  This situation has now been completely resolved.  Read this post and get ready to laugh!

7. Mind Blowing Facts About People Over 50

Check out this video…it makes you think about how we leverage our resources to engage different groups of people.  We, even in the “church” world, tend to ignore those who are older in favor of those who are younger.  This video might change that perception!

That’s it!

Have a great weekend everybody.


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Accessorizing Christianity

5-28-13 Accessorizing Christianity

When did this happen?

Wristbands.  Tons of them.  Five or six of them.

My son Caleb’s wrist.

Let me repeat: When did this happen?

I don’t remember wearing all those types of things.  In fact, my wife Evelyn has had a hard time just getting me to wear a watch.  Ask her, and you can have a nice discussion about it.

After my kids got out of the pool at grandpa’s house, I was cleaning stuff up and realized how many different accessories I had to pick up.

Then, last night, I noticed something else.

5-28-13 #2 Accessorizing Christianity

Caleb has a bunk bed all to himself.  Sometimes he sleeps on the top.  Sometimes on the bottom.  Last night, he was on the top.  Apparently, he turned the bottom bunk bed into his personal accessory space, laying out perfectly all of his stuff for the next day.

If only he took care of the rest of his stuff that well!

Now, you read the title of my post and are probably thinking…

“I’ve got it!  Look right there in the second picture, there’s a cross also! It wasn’t in the first picture.  I’m an amazing detective.  I learned as a kid from all of those pictures in kid’s books where you had to compare two pictures and notice what was different.  I am highly skilled at this.  And, I also know that Jeff is going to say something about how we put on Christian themed accessories without really living the message that those accessories communicate!”

Great thoughts.  You’re a genius.  And, that is a good point.*

But, it’s not the point of this post.  Feel free to steal the idea that was inspired by my pictures and write your own post about it.  (/sarcasm)

Here was my thought.  The more accessories you have, the longer it takes to get ready.  It takes time to go through each one, putting each one on one at a time, then taking them off later in the day.

These accessories are nice.  They might have value.  But, they’re not essential.

They slow you down.  They become an unnecessary burden.

This is what I have noticed in my own life.  And, in the lives of others.

It becomes so easy to accessorize Christianity.  To add things on.  To add layer after layer of elements and eventually turn it into something it was never meant to be.

We do this in many ways:

We think that worship must be done with a certain music style.

We put models and methods into our churches that obscure the essence of Christianity.

We focus on outward appearance more than the soul.

We wait for our pastors/leaders/mentors to tell us what to do instead of going straight to Jesus and his word.

We try to make our churches look “cooler” so that they can be more popular.

And these are just a few.

Worship style is good.  Models and methods can be helpful.  A good outward appearance is necessary.  Pastors, leaders, and mentors are indispensable.  “Cool” can be good at times.

The point is not that any of these things are bad.

The problem is that sometimes they weigh us down and cause for true Christianity to get obscured.

Why don’t we make a commitment to getting rid of anything that makes it harder for us to connect with Jesus and to connect Jesus to others.  And, at the same time, choose only to use those things that accomplish the same goal.

Check this out.  Hebrews 12:1-2a says,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

“weight that slows us down”

“sin that so easily trips us up”

What weights and sins do you need to release?  Remember, some weights are not sins, but they still slow us down!

Let’s run freely!

*By the way, I did have a discussion with Caleb about wearing the cross because he knows what it means, instead of simply wearing it because it looks “cool”.


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The CityLife Weekly

5-20-13 The CityLife Weekly


Today is Memorial Day, and I am thankful.  Thankful for so many thousands of men and women who have given their lives to give us freedom.  I honor my dad, Jim Tolle, who was in the military, serving our country faithfully.  It’s a great day!

I’m also thankful for the incredible day we had at CityLife yesterday.  We prayed for the military, continued our Entourage series, and gave generously to help people affected by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.

So, here’s the update!

1. We continued our Entourage series talking about going deep in our relationships.  So many times, we allow the superficiality of other relationships to negatively impact the relationships that are most important to us.  We must choose to fight against this, so that we can love and be loved deeply by those who are closest to us.

2. We gave to help people in Oklahoma.  We don’t have the numbers yet, but what I do know is that you faithfully gave to help those who were affected by the tornado.  I am so thankful for your generosity and I know that others will be too!

3. Thanks for inviting!  Remember that “Rescued people rescue people“!  Because Jesus has rescued us, we can continue to find those who need to be rescued!  Let’s continue to invite and bring our family and friends so that they may experience the amazing love of Jesus.

4. Have you checked out our website yet?  If you haven’t, go to and check it out!  We are working on maintaining everything as up to date as possible.  If you’re interested in serving on a team, you can get connected there!  Go for it!

5. This Sunday at CityLife! We will have a great Sunday this coming up.  A lot of times we feel the pressure to include people close to us who should remain far from us.  Also, we sometimes push people far away who should be closer.  We’re going to dig into the concept of knowing who should have different types of access in our lives.  I believe a lot of pain we experience in relationships is because we make wrong decisions in this area.  Come and bring a friend…it’s gonna be good!

Let’s continue to work together so we may see the city of Los Angeles and its people transformed by the life found in Jesus.

Bless you!!!

Pastor Jeff



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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Life, Ministry, Uncategorized, Vision


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