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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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Costco Ice Cream

6-19-13 CostcoLogo

Last night, our family had a night out at the luxurious and refined food location known as Costco.

Who can beat a hot dog and drink for $1.50?

While eating at our table, the following conversation ensued:

Child of Mine (COM): Can we have ice cream after we eat?

Me: I don’t know, but regardless, you haven’t eaten all of your food.  There’s no way I’m giving you ice cream if you don’t eat your food.  In fact, your other siblings have eaten more than you.

COM: Ok.  (this child begins to eat their food)

(Some time passes)

Me: Good job eating!

COM: My stomach aches.

(A little while later)

COM: Can I have ice cream?

Me: I thought you said your stomach ached?  Besides, ice cream will probably not be good if your stomach is upset.

Child of Mine #2 (COM2): (thinking that I said that ice cream would help an upset stomach)  My stomach is hurting too!

Me: Oh, well, I said that ice cream will NOT be good for an upset stomach.

COM2: (immediately) Oh, well, my stomach is all better now.

COM: Mine too.

Me: I still never promised you ice cream!

Apparently, people will shift their attitudes and feelings if the benefit is worth it.  In this case, an upset stomach wasn’t enough to stop them from wanting to get an ice cream.

All of us have benefits and rewards that we are willing to sacrifice for.  It’s the carrot on the stick that is in front of all of us.

All of this is acceptable and even desirable.

But, true satisfaction lies somewhere else.

It lies in the journey, not just the destination.

Work for the purpose of making money is enjoyable and acceptable.  Work for the enjoyment of that work brings satisfaction, regardless of that paycheck.

Forming relationships for the purpose of mutual benefit is enjoyable and acceptable.  Forming relationships for the enjoyment of those relationships brings satisfaction, regardless of the benefits.

Loving God, knowing that you will be blessed by Him is enjoyable and acceptable.  Loving God for the enjoyment of loving him brings true and real satisfaction, regardless of his blessings.

On this point, I think too many people see God simply as someone who will answer their prayers and give them what they want.  While this can and does happen, God is more interested in intimacy with us, which causes us to be ultimately satisfied!

The carrot on the stick isn’t bad, but some things in life are good enough as they are, regardless of the benefits received from them.

Enjoy life!

*By the way, for purposes of full disclosure, we did not get the ice cream.  My kids were happy nonetheless!  That’s because when I tell my kids what to do, they obey completely, with the best attitude possible.  My kids are quite possibly the greatest of God’s creations.  Oh, you didn’t get kids like mine?  Your kids fight, whine, and cry?  I’ll pray for you.  (/sarcasm)

 

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The Father’s Day Video

If you wanted to see the great video that we showed at CityLife on Sunday, here it is!  Emotional, funny, interesting, and definitely honoring of dad’s everywhere!  Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in CityLife Church, Life, Uncategorized

 

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