Prayer Requests

Hi Friends,

I can’t believe it, but this Sunday marks our 3 year anniversary of publicly launching Christ Church.  As I reflect on all that God has done in this short period of time, I am truly overwhelmed. God has shown tremendous favor to Christ Church as He uses us to pursue His mission of making, maturing and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God.  

God’s favor makes me even more aware of our need for prayer.  Everything that has happened is only of God and so if we want to see God continue to do amazing things, we must remain dependent upon Him.  Charles Spurgeon said, “No person can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” I think he was absolutely right.

Would you do this kindness for me and pray for Christ Church?

1.  Please pray that God would continue to add to our number those who are being saved.  We have a ton of baptisms that need to be scheduled as more and more people are coming to faith.  I am eager for this to continue!

2. Please pray for our children. They are the lost souls that are nearest and dearest to my heart.  Please pray that they would place their faith in Christ, stand up and own their faith through baptism and be used by God in powerful ways.  I think there is nothing more dangerous to a church’s future then the false assurance of salvation of their children and nothing more vital to their ongoing impact then children coming to genuine, saving faith.  We want to see the next generation rise up!

3.  Please pray that God would provide our church with all the finances we need to pursue the missional opportunities in front of us.  Our history so far has been one of incredible generosity of people both within and outside of our church. As we continue to grow and have more and more opportunities given to us, our finances are only getting stretched more and more thin.  Please pray that God would send money so that we can continue to follow the mission.

4.  Please pray for our potential leaders.  We have three men who are currently exploring pastoral calling through a 9 month internship and a pastor in training who is in the midst of studying for his ordination exams.  Having a team of pastors is crucial to our ongoing health as we grow as a church. Please pray for wisdom as I seek to shepherd these men through this process and please pray that God would continue to provide gifted, called and qualified individuals who can help take us further into God’s mission.

5. Please pray for our community outreaches

  • Easter Egg Hunt- March 31st

  • Easter Outreach-March 31st (Hoping to give out 75 meals)

  • Summer Festival- July 28th

  • Thanksgiving Neighborhood Potluck- November 10th

  • Furness High School Bible Study- Ongoing

  • Transformation to Recovery (Addictions ministry and Recovery House)- Ongoing

  • Sports team chaplaincy-Ongoing

  • Kid’s Circle Time- Ongoing

  • Kirkbride Elementary Faith Based Partnership- Ongoing

6.  Please pray for wisdom

We are growing as a church faster than I anticipated and opportunities are coming our way that I never imagined.  Please pray for wisdom for myself, and our leadership team, as we seek to be good stewards of all that God is giving us. I feel out of my depth on a regular basis.  But I think that is a great place to be! Please pray that God would bless us with supernatural wisdom and continue lead us, so that the glory all goes to Him.


Pastor Jeff


3 Years in Review

This Sunday marks our 3 year anniversary as a church.  We are celebrating by welcoming over two dozen new members into our church community.  This truly has been an incredible journey and something that only God could have done. Here’s a timeline that shows some of the things that God has done.


September 2012 - After graduating from the Sovereign Grace Pastor's College, Pastor Jeff transitions to a full time church plant resident at Sovereign Grace Church of Marlton and begins to pray and plan out the planting of Christ Church.

PC Class.jpg

March 2013 - Christ Church has its first interest meeting in Marlton, NJ.  

April- November 2013 - Pastor Jeff meets with dozens and dozens of people interested in being part of this new church.  Through much prayer and discussion 30 adults, along with 15 children, commit to being part of the core team.  These people begin to move into South Philadelphia.

March 9th, 2014 - Christ Church is officially commissioned and sent out from Sovereign Grace Church of Marlton.

March 16, 2014 - Christ Church starts meeting as a team in the Gregory’s living room.  Pastor Jeff had just gotten released from the hospital the night before after suffering a flare in his Crohn's disease and spoke with a PICC line in his arm.

April 9th, 2014 - Christ Church signed a lease for the building at 229 Moore Street.  The plan was to have it renovated and ready by September 2014 for a public launch of Christ Church.

September 2014 -  Building renovations are behind schedule and are not done as planned.  Pastor Jeff goes into the hospital again for extensive surgery and is out seven weeks.  Guest preachers fill in, but the public launch has to be pushed back until January 2015.

January 2015 - The building is still not done.  Pastor Jeff is still very sick.

March 16, 2015 -  The Certificate of Occupancy is finally delivered.  The church building can be opened.

March 22, 2015 - First public service of Christ Church South Philly.  

April 5, 2015 - First Easter Service and baptism at Christ Church.


May 5, 2015 - First Wedding at Christ Church. Dante and Zoe Gates.

June 2015 - First New Members of Christ Church.

July 2015 - First Summer Festival about 100 people show up.

November 2015 - First Neighborhood Thanksgiving meal about 75 people show up.


March 13, 2016 - One Year Anniversary.  60 people in attendance.


Fast forward to March 11, 2018


  • 91 members added

  • 172 people who call Christ Church “Home”

  • 14 baptisms (12 currently in the queue)

  • 17 babies dedicated

  • 3 Pastoral Interns, 1 Pastor in Training, 2 Deacons, 8 Small Group Leaders, 2 Sunday Ministry Directors, 2 Music Leaders, 103 Volunteers

  • Last Summer Festival had approximately 900 people in attendance

  • Last Thanksgiving Dinner had 175 people in attendance

  • We have served 300 meals to people in our neighborhood through Easter Outreach

  • We have formed a non profit called Transformation to Recovery which is our addictions ministry and are 1 week away from opening our first recovery home

  • We have a youth outreach in Furness High School and are opening up a relationship with Kirkbride Elementary School

It is amazing to think of all that God has done.  Between the building and our pastor’s health scare, we never should have survived our first year.  But through that adversity, God has lead us to become a thriving neighborhood church that by the grace of God is faithfully proclaiming the gospel in South Philadelphia.  Seeing all God has done makes us eager for what we believe God will do. We have never been more excited about the future, or desperately aware of our ongoing dependence on the Lord.

If you are in the area, come out to Christ Church this Sunday  and see some of what God is doing. If you haven’t been to church in awhile, or never have been and are skeptical, this is a safe place for you.  Everyone is welcome to come as they are and will be welcomed just as God has lovingly welcomed us.



Story Saturday: Conference Update


I gave the following update at our worship service this past Sunday, but for those of you who missed it, check this out.  God is doing some amazing things!

Last week Angie and I traveled to Dallas, Texas to attend the Baseball Chapel Conference.  Don’t worry, I was proudly sporting my Eagles gear most of the time.  It was a pretty sweet moment, since I have been around Cowboys fans all my life talking about how the Eagles have “no rings”.  

Baseball chapel is an incredible organization.  They hire, train and resource bible preaching, gospel loving, Jesus following chaplains for every minor and major league baseball team in the US and Latin America and beyond.  It was impressive to see their massive infrastructure and how God is using them to further the cause of Christ in the world of baseball.  In particular, Angie and I had three big takeaways:

1.  We are so encouraged by what God is doing all over the country

We met some great people at this conference who are doing really awesome stuff for the mission.  Coming in as the “newbies” we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were immediately greeted by many and taken under their wings.  I have never walked into a place and felt so welcomed.  We made several new friends.  One was Jon Talbert who runs a church planting network in the Bay area that connects around 100 churches.  His organization is financed by the CEO of VMWare and it produces resources for church planters, connects churches and helps to collaborate together for kingdom work.  He’s pretty much living my vision for Philly.  We talked long into the night and I think he is going to be a tremendous resource for us moving forward.

We met Ellis and Ginger Prince from Baltimore.   They planted a church that started with just them.  That two person church plant has grown into a thriving church that has planted 4 other churches in Baltimore and is doing great things in that city.  They took a special interest in Angie and I and I think this is a friendship that is going to last for a while.  

Finally, we met Chris Lane who runs a ministry called First Priority that serves 250 high schools in Florida.  I talked with him about how to pursue things further in Furness High School and our new relationship that is developing with Kirkbride Elementary school.  

One of the schools that Chris serves is Parkland High School and this past Wednesday, when the gunshots broke out, their minister was at the school.  He survived, but God had him there to minister the gospel at that critical moment.  It was powerful to hear about what God is doing in the midst of that tragedy and to pray for Chris Lane.

I don’t know about you, but it is so easy for me to just get so focused and wrapped up in what’s happening here.  I loved having my gaze lifted and hearing how God’s Kingdom is going.  I was challenged more than ever to not just be about the 4 walls of our church, but what God is doing all over for his glory.

2.  We received some great training that will be a benefit to our church

For the past several months, I have been talking and praying with our leadership team on how to grow in ministering to millennials.  We do a pretty good job reaching young families on up, but that millennial generation is a tough nut to crack.  It is the largest generation in our country and 70% of them want to have nothing to do with church.  This is a crisis that needs to be addressed.

The majority of baseball players are part of this generation, so Baseball Chapel has done extensive research on this demographic and we took away some great, missional insights.  

Also, I’ve been praying more and more about how to reach across racial barriers, particularly with people for whom English is their second language.  That’s what 50% of baseball players are, so there was a lot of conversation about that as well.

So here’s how God works, I have praying about how to learn and grow in these areas and I just got paid to learn about the very areas about which I had been praying.   Oh and they gave me a bunch of resources too for free.  At one point I just started looking around, because it felt like robbery.  Our God is so generous!

3.  Unique missional opportunity

We heard a bunch of former players share their testimonies about how they didn’t grow up in the church, knew nothing about the gospel, had never opened a Bible until they went to their club’s chapel service.  It was particularly powerful to hear testimonies of kids who Dads got saved through baseball chapel and now these kids are grown and ministering in baseball chapel.  I was so pumped when they said, “Don’t just run a bible study and preach a message. Challenge these guys to use their unique platform to influence your city for the cause of Christ”. Yes and amen!

Friends, it so amazing to me what God is doing through Christ Church.  We are only going to be celebrating our 3 year anniversary in March.  We started with 29 adults and 15 children, so a total of 44 souls.   Now we have 163 souls.  We have almost quadrupled our original team.  And those aren’t just numbers, but stories of life change.  Also,

  • We are opening a recovery house in the next month where men will be able to get discipleship and experience new life in Christ.  

  • We have a bible study at our local high school and they are the ones who invited us to come!  

  • Our local NA group asked to use our building for their meeting, which is one of the largest in South Philly.  Every Monday night we have about 70 people in our church and members of our church are there reaching out.  

  • We have opened our building and are partnering with an organization that provides resources for underprivileged children in our city.  They serve over a thousand households.  

  • We have started conversations with Kirkbride Elementary school about how we can partner with them and serve their kids.     

One of my favorite quotes is,, “A church’s impact shouldn’t be measured by the size of attendance on Sunday, but the influence they have in their community”.  It is just absolutely incredible to me the influence God is giving Christ Church in only three years.  This is all His doing as it certainly wasn’t in any of my plans.  

Friends, more than ever, I am freshly aware of our need for prayer.  We want to be good stewards of all these opportunities God is giving us, so we need His wisdom.  Please pray for Christ Church!  We are desperately dependant on the Lord.  May God continue to bring many into knowledge of Him for the glory of His name!

Grace and peace

Pastor Jeff



Repentance part 2

In my previous blog post we looked at what repentance is, why it is necessary and how it is meant to be part of our lifestyle.  

But What Does Repentance Look Like?

“And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.  17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:11-24)

This passage shows us that repenting means:

I.  See and Hear What You Have Done Wrong

In order for us to repent of our sin we first need to see our sin.  We cannot defeat what we do not see.

Verse 17 “But when he came to himself

“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

“Open their eyes so that they turn from darkness to light.” (Acts 26:18)

Application question:  Do you see it as shameful or good to confess your sin to God?

II. Experience Genuine Sorrow

Verse 18,  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

“I am sorry for my sin.”  (Psalm 38:18)

In order to apply this it is important to understand the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow

1. Worldly sorrow is outward; godly sorrow is inward

Worldly sorrow shows outward signs of grief, but inwardly has no remorse.  Godly sorrow is deep within our hearts.                   

“They were cut to their hearts.” (Acts 2:37)            

2. Worldly sorrow feels bad about the punishment; godly sorrow feels bad about the offense.

The godly person is not sorry that they got caught, but sorry that they sinned.

3. Worldly sorrow is proud, godly sorrow is humble.

Worldly sorrow is proud and says, “I thought I was better than this”. Godly sorrow is humble and realizes that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.

4. Worldly sorrow is condemning, godly sorrow is full of faith

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

“As our sin is ever before, so God’s promise must be ever before us… The weeping is not good which blinds the eye of faith.”-  Thomas Watson, The Godly Man's Picture

Application Question:  Do you believe that your sin is against God or that you just make mistakes?

III. Confessing and Admitting

Verse 18-19 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

“The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works"-  Augustine

1. Confess to God

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.   Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

Confessions of our sin must begin with God.  All our sin is ultimately against Him.  Therefore, He is the first One to whom we should acknowledge our sin.

2. Confess to others

“Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.”  (James 5:16)

If we are feeling condemned, our godly friend can encourage us with faith.  If we are feeling self righteous, our godly friend can call out a warning.  Confessing to others protects us from being victims of our deceitful heart.  It also helps us to hold one another accountable as we seek to repent.  All these things bring spiritual healing to us.

3. Confess specifically

“A general confession might save us from humiliation and shame, but it will not ignite inward healing.”-        Robert Foster

We like to remain vague about our sin, because we can find it embarrassing. We’d rather say, “I was really frustrated yesterday” instead of, “I became angry and cursed out my boss.”  However, if we are vague about our sin, then we feel vague about our forgiveness.  Jesus died for specific people, who commit specific sins.  If we want to feel the forgiveness of our Savior, then we must admit the sins that need His forgiveness.

Application Question:  Do you see confessing sin as embarrassing or a benefit?

IV. Turn from Evil (Put off)

Verse 20 And he arose and came to his father.

He left his old way of life

V.    Turn to God (Put On)

Verse 20 And he arose and came to his father.

Repentance is not just putting off sin (turning away from it), but it is also putting on godliness (turning to Jesus).

“Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)

1. Put on faith in Jesus

A)  His righteousness

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:6-8)

Repentance does not start with our actions, it starts with belief in Jesus’ action.  He came, died and rose again so that our sins would no longer be held against us.

“For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

If we have faith in Jesus then, when God looks at us, He sees us not in our sins, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

B) His power

Jesus’ death on the cross has also freed us from our sins.  His death set us free from our slavery to sin.  If we try to repent in our own strength we will inevitably fail.  We must trust that Jesus is strong enough to break us free from any sin that we face.

“The power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56b-57)

2. Put on being filled with the Holy Spirit

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other” (Galatians 5:16-17a)

Our sin comes from inside us, but there is another force at work inside us as well.  The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer in Jesus.  Our sinful hearts cause us to sin, but the Holy Spirit helps us to be godly.  The Christian’s life is not just about resisting sin, it is about pursuing godliness.

The Holy Spirit wants to help us do good things.  We put off sin and we put on godliness.

What does it mean to be godly?  If the Holy Spirit is at work in the root of our heart, then there will be good fruit in our life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22)

Examples of putting off sin and putting on godliness:

·       Put off anger, put on love

·       Put off complaining, put on joy

·       Put off worry, put on peace

·       Put off harshness, put on gentleness

3. Remember how God embraces the repentant sinner

“Verse 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:20-24)


Friends, Jesus said he came so that, “my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Joh 15:11 ESV).  Let’s continue to pursue repentance so that we might experience the unparalleled, all satisfying, glorious joy of the Lord.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff


This past Sunday I preached from James 1:13-18 and we saw God’s call to us to turn from our sin and turn to Him.  He loves us too much to leave us to pursue our own destruction.  He has made us his beloved and so he calls us to pursue a lifestyle of repentance.  

This week we will have a 2 part blog series on what exactly it means to “repent of sin”.  

What is Repentance?

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

Definition of Repentance: A heartfelt sorrow for sin, a turning away from sin and turning to obedience to Christ.

Repentance is not just feeling sorry that you sinned.  Repentance means taking action to change.

Why is Repentance Necessary?

1. There is no salvation without repentance  

But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (Act 3:18-20 ESV)

2.  Not repenting is staying in rebellion against God

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. (Rom 2:5 ESV)

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (Heb 10:26-27 ESV)

3.  Not repenting invites God’s discipline

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Heb 12:3-13 ESV)

4.  As Christians, not repenting harms the One we say we love.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (Joh 14:15 ESV

5.  Repentance brings us closer to the One we love

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mat 5:8 ESV)

Repentance is a lifestyle

“Repentance is not confined to conversion.  It is an attitude of the heart that continues throughout our lives as Christians.  Jesus tells his disciples to pray daily, ‘Forgives us our sins’ (Matthew 6:12), a prayer that, if genuine, will certainly involve daily sorrow for sin and genuine repentance.” Wayne Grudem, Bible in Doctrine

“It is one thing to be a terrified sinner and another to be a repenting sinner...  Repentance depends upon a change of heart.” Thomas Watson, Doctrine of Repentance

I encourage you to meditate on these scriptures.  Pray through them.  And ask God for His help to continue to lead you in repentance, so that your joy in Him might be full and unhindered.

From one repenter to another,

Pastor Jeff

James Resources

Hi Friends,

I am so excited about our new sermon series in James called “Living what you believe”.  I believe God has so much grace stored up for us through practical instruction on how to work out our faith.  If you want to get deeper into your own study on this amazing book, here are some resources that I would recommend.

1.  The Letter of James by Doug Moo

This is my go to commentary on this book.  It can be slightly technical at times, but Dr. Moo is simply one of the best.  

2.  James by Daniel Doriani in the Reformed Expository Series

This whole series is solid gold.  It is not really a commentary, but sermons with just a little more technical background.

3.  The Message of the New Testament by Mark Dever

This whole book is really good, but I especially appreciate his chapter on James and think he does a great job drawing out some of the major themes.

Happy reading!

Pastor Jeff

A Glimpse of the Gospel

So last Sunday night something big happened in my city.  If you haven’t heard, the Philadelphia Eagles are the Superbowl Champs!  It was an amazing experience to run to Broad street, yelling, high fiving and celebrating all the way there.  Once I got to Broad it was unbelievable to be with so many people cheering our long awaited victory.  What I kept hearing again and again was, “You think this is great…  Just wait for the parade!”

This morning as I woke up, throat hoarse, blurry eyed, but incredibly joyful, I couldn’t help but reflect that what I experienced last night is just a small reflection of what we experience in the gospel.  Jesus has won our long awaited victory.  What a reason to celebrate!  And just like our overflowing emotions pulled us to go celebrate with other people, so too our joy in the gospel calls for us to be eager to gather with other Christians to worship our God.  Each Sunday that we gather is a time to celebrate our Savior’s victory.  And while those celebrations should be loud and joyous, they are meant to stir our hearts to get even more excited about the parade that is coming.  Oh what a parade it will be when Jesus comes home and we get to celebrate the victory with the one who WON!

Let’s enjoy this week, Philadelphia Eagles fans.  Let’s celebrate hard, loud and proud.  And then let’s remember that we have something even more significant to celebrate.

I know I’m just an emotional Eagles fan right now.  But I love getting glimpses of the gospel which cause my heart to praise.

Pastor Jeff

Story Saturday: Helping Under Resourced Families

Dear Christ Church,

One of the things that I love about us having a church building is that, not only does it give us roots in our neighborhood, but it allows us to serve our neighborhood by hosting groups and events.  Recently I was approached by an organization called Parent Home Child Program (  This organization seeks to serve under resourced families by giving them training and tools to thrive in school and life.  In getting to know them, they are fantastic people doing a lot of good in our city.  However, they have been without a home base for their South Philly branch.  So we have opened our doors and are going to allow them to use our building to store their supplies, as well as hold their staff meetings and trainings.  My prayer is that by us serving PHCP they will be able to serve more families in South Philly who are in need of help.  

Your faithful giving to Christ Church allows us to be able to afford this place and let us use it for purposes beyond that of our own congregational needs. This positions us to have an influence and be part of the greater good in ways that far surpass our church size.

God is doing something special here.  And He is only just getting started.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff

Follow up to The Mission

Hi all,

This past Sunday we continued in our series called RESET by looking at some of Jesus’ final words in Matthew 28:16-20.  We saw how God has given his disciples the mission to go and make disciples.  We are the method God wants to use.  The authority and presence of Jesus is the means.  Going to all people regardless of who they are, sharing the gospel, calling for people to respond to the gospel, being patient with them as they are in process-that’s the mandate of the mission.

At the end of the sermon I made a side point that we can’t allow our busyness to get in the way of Christ’ command.  In making that point I talked about how we have power over our choices.  We don’t have to let life happen to us.  We can happen to life.  It was a quick point and not one that I had planned on sharing and had worked out in my notes.  I think what I said was true, however, it was not properly nuanced and didn’t take into consideration all the complexities of life.  In retrospect, I don’t think it was helpful to open that door without going fully into it.  It wouldn’t have been appropriate to spend a long time unpacking the concept of “being active” in life, since that wasn’t the point of the text.  So since I wasn’t able to deal with it fully, I shouldn’t have tried to deal with it at all.  If that raised questions for you, I’d be happy to interact with you more and walk through scriptures that explain that concept more fully.

To build our anticipation for this text, I started by reading a quote from Kevin Deyoung:

The Biblical authors and the early church understood Jesus’ final words to be among the most important sentences he ever uttered, and the most significant instructions he gave for shaping their missional identity.- Kevin Deyoung

Someone texted in a question and asked,

Why do we consider Jesus' last words as the "most important thing he ever said"? Jesus knew about his death, he knew which words would be included in scripture, so why do we put more weight on these words than any of his other words?

First, I think the point of the quote was misunderstood.  I do think that it is not right to put more weight on these final words of Jesus, as weight seems to indicate authority.  All of Jesus’ words are equally authoritative.  So calling these the most important is not meant to diminish the importance of his other words, or their authority in our lives.  In many ways all of Jesus’ commands (love your neighbor, serve one another, forgive) and Jesus’ revelation about himself (savior, God, ruler, Lord)  culminate in Jesus saying, “Go”.  Because of who he is, we go.  Because of what he has done for us, we go.  Because of what he has commanded, we know what to do as we go.  These final words of Christ really are what comprehensively bring all his teaching together and give us our missional identity in the world.

Here are 3 reasons from the Bible (there are a bunch more, but I’ll limit myself to 3.  If you are interested I recommend Kevin DeYoung’s book What is the Mission of the Church).

  1. A form of these words are included in each of the gospel accounts.  Each gospel writer had a different audience and different purpose for writing their gospel and so they included different things in it.  So for example, only Matthew and Luke record the birth of Jesus, but Mark and John didn’t feel like that was necessary.  However, it must have been very clear to these disciples that regardless of what they were trying to emphasize about Jesus, his final instructions were so significant that they couldn’t be left out.  This section is one of only a few that are included in all gospel accounts and that therefore indicates their significance

  2. Jesus taught his disciples from day 1, but as he said again and again, his teaching was regularly hidden.  However, now that he had risen from the grave and definitively revealed who He is, he gives this clear command to the church and instructs that it continue to be carried out until the end of the age.

  3. Throughout the Bible there is a pattern of significance being given to the final words of biblical characters.  For example, consider Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Paul’s departure from the Ephesians in Acts 20 and to Timothy in 2 Timothy, Peter in 2 Peter. So it fits into the overall literary context of the BIble that the final words of Jesus are very significant.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff


Story Saturday: My Feelers Were Up

This past week I was talking to someone who has recently started coming out to Christ Church and given their life to Jesus.  I asked them what their first Sunday was like.  This is their response.

I came in with my feelers up.  I had never been to a church before, but from watching TV I anticipated that people were going to be smug and judgmental like Angela from the Office.  However, I had been invited out by my neighbors and I wanted to come because they were different then what I thought a church person would be.  They genuinely, really care about me, they have a loving family and seemed to be authentic about this Jesus thing.  I wanted some of what they had in my life and so I figured, I’d give their church a try.  

I came up to the building and was enthusiastically greeted by the people handing out the programs.  It was nice, but they had to do that because it was their job.  I was wrong though, because almost everyone in this church was friendly.  Lots of people came up and introduced themselves and took a genuine interest in me.  They didn’t have badges that identified them as “greeters”.  They were just authentically nice.  When the service started I wasn’t emotionally manipulated into anything.  The music was straightforward and while I didn’t understand what people were singing about at first, as I read the lyrics they made sense.  Prayer time was weird.  It was uncomfortable sitting there in silence.  But when people started to pray, I had never heard anyone talk to God like they did.  The sermon felt like it was speaking directly to me, which was crazy, because I had never met the pastor before.  I couldn’t believe how understable the Bible actually is and relevant to my life.  I wasn’t ready to “jump in” that day, but I definitely wanted to come back.  That was 3 months ago and I haven’t stopped since.  Every week I understand more and am growing in my faith.  It’s like my neighbors and this church were sent to this neighborhood just for me.

Here’s what I love about this story.

  1. She wanted to explore faith, because of how she saw her neighbors living out their faith

  2. She felt welcomed by the church, not because it was people’s “job”, but because they genuinely cared

  3. She wasn’t spoken to through her emotions, but through a clear presentation of God’s truth.

  4. She came with her “feelers” up and her stereotypes were broken down.

May God continue to help us be this genuine and authentic church and may we hear many more stories like this in 2018!

Grace and peace.



Sharing about Jesus

This past Sunday in our RESET series we heard from Romans 1:14-16 how God wants us to feel an eager obligation to share with others the good news of Jesus.  I hope this is an area that we all want to grow in during 2018.  To help us do so here are a few blog posts that I think will serve you:

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jeff

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher



Story Saturday- Who does this?

One of my favorite things about being a pastor is that I get opportunities to see people make decisions that I know are only possible because of God’s presence in their life.  I love seeing unexplainable things being done.  Things that the world would never consider.  Things that testify that God is real and he really is changing people’s lives.  This past Thursday, I had a fresh opportunity to witness this.

For almost a year, Gus and Phyllis Bottiglieri have been serving as small group leaders.  In the world, if you have a position of leadership, you hold on to it tightly.  Life is about making a name for yourself.  But that is not what the Bottiglieris are about.  While they have been doing an excellent job, their group has grown in a different direction from where we want to be as a church.  One of our values as a church is diversity.  Diversity not just ethnic, but socio economic and generational and,, etc...   It takes people being willing to be together with different kinds of people in order to show the powerful difference that the gospel makes.  In other words, the gospel is a unifying force, but that power can only be felt in the midst of diversity.

The Bottiglieri’s group was started with a few core members who lived close together and wanted to be together to reach their section of the neighborhood.  However, those people were all, not sure what the politically correct term is, but…  more “seasoned” in life.  As this group has grown they have attracted other more seasoned people and so it has naturally progressed to become a “seniors” group.  It is understandable that the group has developed in this way.  People who are similar with one another enjoy being together.  However, I don’t think it is good for our other groups to not be able to benefit from the wisdom of our seniors.

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life (Pro 16:31 ESV)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. (Psa 71:18 ESV)

I love that there are “seasoned” people in our church and I am eager for all of us to benefit from them.  So with a desire to strengthen, I started praying and discussing with Gus and Phyllis that it might be best for the good of our church if their group dissolved so that they could be dispersed throughout our other groups.  

Who gives up leadership?  Who takes a step back for the good of others?  People like Gus and Phyllis who are filled with the Holy Spirit and love of Christ.  I was in awe as they humbly expressed their desire to serve the next generation, even if that meant shutting their current group down.  That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen unless you are captured by a glory greater than yourself.

Gus and Phyllis, thank you for your example of wanting to be part of something that is not about you and bigger than you.  Thank you for your humility to serve Christ by laying down your life for others.  I praise God for his work in your life.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff

What do you worship?

Hi Friends,

This past Sunday we kicked off the New Year by starting a sermon series called RESET:  What is Life About?  We are going to be taking the month of January to see in scripture what God says about our purpose in life and dream together about pursuing this as a church.

In order to live for what matters most, though, we have to see ways that we can be tempted to live for other things.  Even if we have been a follower of Jesus for decades, we can still struggle with serving other “gods”.  Below are some examples I gave on Sunday.  I’d encourage you to pray over this list and ask God to reveal to you what might be present in your heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!  (Psa 139:23-24 ESV)

What do you feel you need in your life in order to be happy?  What do you get the most sad, or angry, about when you don’t have it?  What makes you feel afraid?

How we answer those questions can reveal what our hearts are really worshipping.  For example,

I am most happy when I have power and influence over others.  I get mad, sad, or afraid when I feel like I’m not in control (worshipping power)

I am most happy when I am loved and respected.  I fear other’s poor opinions and get sad or mad when there are people who don’t think well of me (worshipping approval)

I am most happy with a particular quality of life.  I get mad, or afraid, if that is at risk.  (worshipping comfort)

I am most happy when I’m highly productive and getting a lot done.  I fear, or get mad, when I have to slow down (worshipping our work)

I am most happy when I am being recognized for my accomplishments.  I get angry when people don’t give me what I think I deserve.  (worshipping achievement)

I am most happy if I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.  I fear not being able to get what I want (worshipping materialism)

Or think about it this way: when things go bad and you’re stressed, what do you run to for  “salvation”?   Do you run to drugs or alcohol? Do you run to food? Do you run to pornography? Do you run to gambling? Do you just run away by going to bed and pulling the covers over your head?

Friends, only God is worthy of our worship.  Let’s hit the reset button and get back to living for what matters most.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Rom 11:36 ESV)

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff

you can connect with me:

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher

God's work in 2017

Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

By the grace of God, Christ Church continues to be able to see God fulfill this promise.  Here is just a quick snapshot of some of the ways God is building His Church here in South Philly.

Making New Disciples

A man was on his way to commit suicide when he walked past our church.  He was invited in by the ushers standing outside.  He has been coming every Sunday since and has given his life to Christ.

Several different neighbors who had turned down multiple invitations to come to church decided to finally “give it a try”.  They are now coming consistently and bring others with them.

We have seen 3 people find freedom from addiction through faith in Jesus.

Several weeks ago, I received an email from a troubled young man who visited our church once.  He urgently wanted to meet, because he had been waking up with bruises in the forms of hand prints on his arm.  He was constantly cold, even though his room was warm.  He was blacking out and doing very out of character things.  He was scared and he wanted to talk.  Joe and I met with him and found out that he was heavily involved in the occult.  I asked him if he knew what the gospel was and he said no.  We then spent over an hour going through the book of Romans with him and by the end of this time, he was bowing his head and giving his life to Christ.  I received a text from him the next morning, “I’m awake.  I’m warm.  I’m at peace.  Praise God for Jesus!”

There have been 12 people who have gone from death to life this past year.  Half our membership has never been a member of a previous church.  

Ripple effect on our community

After being in our community for 3 years, we have established a compelling reputation as a church that cares for the neighborhood.  I regularly get stopped on my “commute” (4 block walk from my home to the church building) by strangers who ask for prayer, counsel, etc…  because they know I am a pastor of that “church in the old warehouse”.  I’ve had the privilege of being asked to do several funerals for people who never darkened the door of our church, but knew about us and reached out in their time of need.  This has allowed me to share the gospel with hundreds who otherwise would never have heard about the good news of Jesus.  We recently had an article written about us by a local south philly blog (check it out here)

Maturing Existing Disciples

Growth isn’t just about making new disciples.  It is also about maturing existing ones.  

Several people this past month have told me,  “I’ve been a Christian for years, but I have never known Jesus like this.  I  feel like for the first time I’m really walking out my faith, sharing Christ with others and finding joy in God.

This year has marked some tremendous breakthroughs for people as they have confessed and repented of long standing sin.  As I counsel, I am regularly in awe of how God moves in people’s lives

A sign of Christian maturity is our growth in diversity.  It takes a lot of gospel work for racial barriers to be broken down.  There are now 8 different ethnicities represented in our church and my sermon notes are being translated into Arabic and Spanish.

Another sign of maturity is how many people are actively participating in our church community.  Our membership has over 95% participation in both our small groups and on a ministry team.  Friends, you have to understand that is unheard of in the church world.

In our church of 150, we have 30 people who serve in various roles of leadership including, 2 deacons and 3 individuals pursuing pastoral ministry.

This is all a miracle

I don’t say any of this to brag, but rather to give God praise.  The fact that we have tripled in size in just under 3 years in a highly unchurched area is simple a move of God.  Considering our rocky start, we have no reason to even exist.  Our church plant started with us leasing a building that ended up costing us three times what we anticipated and taking twice as long to complete as planned. We didn’t have any money.  But other churches stepped up and pitched in.  We were given a sound system, chairs and construction materials.  Our landlord gave us the bathroom flooring and 2 months free rent.  I wasn’t even with the church half the time, because I was going through a major flare of my Crohn’s disease that led to me being hospitalized on multiple occasions.  When I was present, I was running at half speed with IV’s hanging out of my arms.  Our story is miraculous.  It is only possible because of God.  These highlights are meant to be worship!

Thank you!

For those of you who pray for us, thank you. I hope this recap serves to stir your faith about how God is answering your prayers.

For those of you who financially support us, thank you.  We couldn’t do all that God has called us to without others being willing to shoulder the burden with us.  Your investment makes a profound difference.

Will you please pray?

  1. For the people pursuing pastoral ministry as we seek to establish our own local pastoral team.

  2. For financial provision so that we can continue to pursue God’s mission

  3. For more deacons to be raised up and deployed to serve the church

  4. For wisdom for myself as I continue to seek to lead this precious body of believers

  5. For my continued health, strength and remission of my Crohn’s disease

  6. For protection from spiritual attack and faith to continue to face challenges with courage

  7. For our new non profit, Transformation to Recovery ( that is seeking to help people in addiction find new life in Christ.

  8. That God would continue to make, mature and multiply disciples of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God.

Happy New Year!

Pastor Jeff



The Hope House Project

There is a crisis taking place in Philadelphia.

  • 1,200 non fatal drug overdoses in 2016
  • 907 deaths due to drug overdose in 2016
  • 225% increase in overdoses in the past 10 years
  • 127 increase in overdose treatment from 2013-2016

Philadelphia is becoming one of the deadliest places for drug overdoses in the country.   I have personally known 18 people from my neighborhood who died due to drug overdose in the past two years.  Several of them had even attended Christ Church.  I am grateful for the faith that was stirred in their hearts and confident of where their eternal souls reside.  But I am tired of seeing people come to Christ Church to only end up back out on the street and eventually in a casket.

Christ Church cannot sit idly by as this crisis kills our friends, neighbors and family.  We pray and mourn, but we also believe God has called us to act.  Several months ago Christ Church launched an addictions ministry called Transformation to RecoveryI am very excited to announce that starting today we are also raising funds to purchase our first home for those who struggle with addiction.  We are calling this The Hope House Project, because we believe that God will use this house to bring renewed hope to those who, right now, are lost in darkness.  

Hope House will be:

  • A recovery house for men who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.
  • A no judgment, grace filled place that welcomes anyone.
  • A ministry of Christ Church as part of our Transformation to Recovery program.
  • A connection to a local church family that will support, give discipleship and mentorship to the men in the home.
  • An access point to social services, as well as, mental and behavioral health care through our coalition partners.
  • An opportunity to not just gain sobriety, but to experience life transformation.

We are in unprecedented territory as we have not been able to find any other church in our area that has a recovery house fully integrated into the life of their church.  

We need help!

  1. Please pray
    The increasing crisis shows the power that the prince of darkness has in our city.  We need God to come and empower our efforts, give us favor and break through with the light of His love.

  2. Consider making a one time gift or 12 month pledge
    If you are thinking about making an end of the year contribution, would you consider giving to this project?  You can give on our brand new website, Transformation to Recovery, or by mailing a check to 229 Moore Street Philadelphia, PA 19148.  All checks can be made out to Christ Church South Philly with Hope House in the memo line.  Whether it is a one time gift, or monthly pledge, every dollar given helps us reach more lives.

  3. Help us get the word out
    Please share this blog post and our website with your social network.  A simple way to do that is by just saying "More than 3 people in Philadelphia are dying every day due to drug overdose.  Will you help?"  The more people we can get praying and giving, the more work that we can be empowered to do.

O church, arise, and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies.
An army bold, whose battle cry is love,
Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
We know the outcome is secure.
And Christ will have the prize for which He died:
An inheritance of nations. -  Keith and Kristy Geatty


Pastor Jeff



Story Saturday- Making a Difference with a Present

One of the things I love about Christ Church is that so many people have a burden on their heart for the nations to hear about the good news of Jesus.  Some of our of the leading advocates for have been our children’s ministry leaders: Steve and Megan Crowelll.  One of the things that they have led us in us participating Operation Christmas Child.  This ministry seeks to put together shoe boxes of presents for children in other countries and through giving them these presents, get them involved in bible studies where they can learn about Christ. 

We are not that big a church, but we were able to fill 47 boxes, as well as, raise some money to support this mission.  We always have a blast doing this as a church family and getting the kids involved so that their young hearts can be engaged with God’s global mission.


See you around the neighborhood,

Pastor Jeff

you can connect with me:

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher

Book recommendations from 2017

My love for reading started as a child.  My Mom would read to us every day for almost an hour and this sparked in me an enduring passion to read.  Yet, reading is becoming more and more a dying art.  I recently read an article in Time Magazine entitled, “Reading makes us smarter and nice”.  In it author Annie Murphy Paul writes,

Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, reported in studies published in 2006 and 2009 that individuals who read often appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.

“Deep reading” — as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the Web — is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. Its disappearance would imperil the intellectual and emotional development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them.

Reading is a skill whose loss will be felt (and is being felt) by society.  For Christians this is skill is made all the more important, because psychological and sociological benefits aside, the most basic reason to grow as a reader is this; God gave us a book about Himself.  If we want to grow in our knowledge and relationship with God, then few skills are more important than growing as a reader.

If you love to read or are trying to grow in this skill (and joy!), here are some recommendation from my favorite books that I read this past year.  Any of these would make a great Christmas present to put on your list, or to get for someone else.


The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis

A highlight of my year was reading through the first four books of this series with my children.   I had to finish the series by myself, because the last few books are over my children’s head.  Every time I read this series, I am usually moved to tears at several points.  Lewis’s powerful allegories bring scriptural truths to light, making these books not just compelling stories, but revealers of deep spiritual truth. Thought these are written for children, anyone would be enriched by reading these stories.

Timekeeper by Mitch Albom

I went on a Mitch Albom kick this year, reading 6 of his books and loved them all.  This was my favorite though as he deals with ideas of time and what really matters in life.  This is a quick read and great place to start if you are trying to grow as a reader.

The Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilder

This is classic book that I have read many times and wanted to revisit this year, because of its insight into human nature.  Dark and sinister, Wilde gives (unintentionally) a biblical picture of the depravity of man’s heart.  If you want to be provoked to deeper thought, this would be a good book to read.

Strange Case of Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

I prefer novel length stories to short stories, but this is one of my literary works and I try to read it every few years.  Like Portrait, I think this short story has tremendous insights about our human nature.  I like to read books that are entertaining and make me think and this book definitely fits that category.

Non Fiction

Deep Work by Cal Newport

In our fast paced culture that idolizes being able to “multi-task” Cal Newport makes a compelling case from history, psychological research and personal anecdotes about the dying art of focus and the need to be able to engage in “deep work”.  He argues that being able to do “deep work” is the determining factor of success in today’s market.  I found this book intriguing and have changed certain parts of my work habits as a result.

Unbroken by Lauren Hillbrand

This book has been recommended to me for years and I finally got a chance to read it.  Incredible story of survival, courage, despair and redemption of a bomber pilot during WWII.  One of my new all time favorite  books.

A God Sized Vision by Colin Hansen and John Woodbridge

This is a short survey of the history of some of God’s greatest revivals. A very  encouraging and faith inspiring read

End of the Spear by Steve Saint

This is the biography of Steve Saint, the son of Nick Saint.  Nick Saint was one of the missionaries who was murdered along with Jim Elliot as they were trying to bring the good news of Jesus to the Aucas.  In this story, Steve gives his account of the effect of this event on his life, the revival that ending up happening among the Aucas and how he led his family from the comforts of America to the wild jungle in response to the call of Jesus.  This book will challenge you as you think about sacrifice, bold witness and the power of the gospel.

D-D By Stephen Ambrose

I’m a sucker for books about WWII and Stephen Ambrose is one of my favorite authors.  He makes history come alive and this is a very readable and accessible book.


Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne

I am so encouraged to see the plethora of new books coming out on this vital topic.  Our union with Christ is one of the most, if not the most, important things we need to understand about our faith.  Yet, I think it is something that is very often overlooked.  This book is theological rich, while also being readable and accessible.  Highly recommend.

The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson

This book is the best book I read all year.  Sinclair Ferguson is one of my favorite authors, because not only is he theological rich, but he writes in a very clear and easy to follow style. Out of all that he has written,  I think this is his best book.  In the Whole Christ he explores the “marrow controversy” which took place in Scotland during the early 20th century.  Through this he explores crucial questions like; What is the ‘marrow’ or the core of the gospel?  How can we have assurance of salvation?  What is the role of repentance and good works?   Highly, highly recommend.

Making sense of God by Tim Keller

Anyone who goes to Christ Church knows I’m a huge Tim Keller fan.  His unique blend of socially informed, well research and theological solid writing is a work of art that every Christian can benefit from.  This book is not written primarily for Christians though, but for those who say “So what?” when you try to share with them about Christ.  Pastor Keller builds a compelling case about why God is crucial to living a meaningful life.  Great book to equip you to engage your neighbors and co-workers.  Maybe you could read it with them?



It is cheating to put a book of the Bible on here, but I can’t help myself.  Going through our Nehemiah series has been a tour de force for me in learning about leadership.  Not many of those insights have made it into my sermons, because I don’t think they are the main point of the text.  However, if you want to grow as a leader, I can’t think of any better use of your time then to study the life of Nehemiah.  If you want to study Nehemiah through a “leadership lens”, I highly recommend James Boice’s commentary in the Expositional Commentary series.

Crucial Conversations

This was probably my favorite secular book that I read all year.  It is incredibly insight about the contours of communication and full of (unintended) biblical wisdom.  If you want to grow in navigating hard conversations with your spouse, your children, or in your business, then this NY best seller is a tremendous place to start.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

As soon as I finished reading this book, I immediately started right over again.  As a highly driven, type A personality, this book was a God send to help me grow in discerning not just what is good to do, but what is the best thing to do.  If you feel like your life is cluttered and that you have too much going on, but don’t know what to cut out, you need to read this book.

Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud

This book is about 6 character qualities that are positive prognosticators for success in life.  This is a secular book, but full of biblical wisdom.  It is easy to read and very applicable, especially for those in leadership.

Christian Life

Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

This is another book that is on my regular rotation of books that I read.  Holiness is not something that gets talked about much in Christian circles and yet it is what God calls his all followers to pursue.  Jerry Bridges is a winsome and accessible author who knows how to break things down and make them easily applicable.  Everyone should read this book at some point in their life and more than just once.

Tech Wise family by Andy Crouch

Technology has had a tremendous impact on us.  Technology saves lives every day, has improved our quality of life in many ways and is something we interact with on a regular basis.  However, psychological study after psychological study are coming out about the negative effect that certain kinds of technology can have on us, particular that of the effect of screens and our children.  This is a wonderful book about how to put some things in place in your life to help keep technology positive without suffering its detrimental side effects.  Any book that gets me to change how I do things is a book that I think is worth recommending.  This book has changed things in my family for the better.

Happy reading!

Pastor Jeff

connect with me:

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher

Story Saturday- The Hope House Project

This past Sunday we had a significant announcement at our church service.  For the past few weeks we have been pouring out our hearts and crying out to God for Him to move against the stranglehold that addiction has on our city.  The number of addicted people is soaring in the Philadelphia area in general, and South Philadelphia in particular.  

907 deaths in Philly 2016

1,200 overdoses non fatal in 2017

33% increase of overdoses from 2016-2017

37% increase in fatal overdoses from 2016-2017

Philadelphia continues to spend an astronomical amount on programs and systems to fight addiction, but their efforts continue to fall short in stemming the growth.  We believe that a drastically different approach is required.   Secular services are limited in their efforts, because they treat addiction as only a disease.  This removes the addicted from their need for a Savior, since their “disease” is not the addict’s responsibility.  However, while there certainly are psychological and biological factors to addiction, at its root it is a spiritual issue.  Therefore, true freedom can only be found in the Savior's forgiveness and the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the sinful choice to use drugs.  As Dr. Paul Tripp has said,  “Our cure is not a system, nor a program.  It is a person and His name is Jesus.”

There are many social services and recovery homes in Philadelphia that are doing tremendous work for those who struggle with addiction.  However, we are not aware of any recovery homes in South Philadelphia that are connected to a local church.  Therefore, a major component of full recovery is missing, as the spiritual issue of addiction necessitates transformation within a spiritual community.  

We cannot sit idly by as this crisis kills our friends, neighbors and family.  We pray and mourn, but we also believe God has called us to act.  So on December 17th we are starting a fundraising campaign called The Hope House Project.  Here is what we are praying this project will accomplish:

  1. Turn our existing recovery ministry, Transformation to Recovery, into its own 501c3 so that we can offer a wider range of services to those in need.

  2. Purchase a home for men who struggle with addiction where we can bring accountability, discipleship and integration into the life of our church as they pursue their recovery process.

  3. Start a sustainable business that will provide meaningful employment to those whose background prevents them from getting hired elsewhere, as well as help fund the ongoing operation of Hope House.

  4. Save money to be able to purchase and start a home for women who struggle with substance abuse.

How you can help:

  1. Please pray
    The increasing number of deaths by overdose shows the power that the prince of darkness has and how much he hates what we are trying to do.  We need God to come and empower our efforts, give us favor and break through with the light of His love.

  2. Consider making a one time gift or 12 month pledge on December 17th.
    If you are thinking about making an end of the year contribution, we would love to have it go towards this project.  If you aren’t in a position to do so, another way to get involved is to make a pledge of what you could contribute on a monthly basis.  Checks can be made out to Christ Church with Hope House Project in the memo line.

  3. Help us get the word out
    We are developing a website, social media presence, brochure and other resources to help us get the word out.  Our desire is to have this ready by December 10th.  Your help in getting the word out will make a huge difference.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff

You can connect with me:

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher



Celebrating Advent

This Sunday marks the start of the Advent season.  Advent comes from the Latin word meaning “anticipation”.  Throughout church history the four weeks preceding Christmas have been set aside by Christians to intentionally focus on anticipating the celebration of the birth of Christ.  This is a great time, especially for families, to do devotions together that help deepen and grow your affections for the Savior by meditating on His incarnation.  Below are some resources that can help:






Praise God our Immanuel!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff


Praying for more Story Saturdays

As we enter into the final months of 2017, I am amazed as I look back at all the stories that God has written over this past year.  I have loved writing these “Story Saturday” testimonies about all that God is doing and I am convinced that one of the reasons that God has been moving so powerfully is because they are so many people who are praying so faithfully for Christ Church.

This weekend I am going away with our interns, pastor in training and advisory team to take some unhurried time to look back at this past year and forward to next year.  This is a significant and strategic time as we start to put plans together for moving forward on mission in 2018.  So could you please pray for us this weekend? Please pray that God would use our time away to help us make decisions that would open the door for God to write more Story Saturdays at Christ Church..

You can pray specifically that:

1.     God would meet us and encourage us through our fellowship together.  More than anything we want to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit so that our leadership would be empowered by the love of Christ dwelling richly in our hearts.

2.     God would direct our conversations, giving us clarity of thought and openness of heart, so that we might come to unified decisions for the good of the church.

3.     God would bless us with creativity and insight into how to best continue to grow as a healthy local church.

4.     God would give us strength to work hard as we pour ourselves into this time away.

5.     God would meet us and lead us to greater trust in him as we continue to seek to lay down our lives in service of Christ Church.


Pastor Jeff

You can connect with me:

On twitter:  @Pastor_Jeff

On Facebook: Jeff Boettcher