“Messy Grace” is an unusual story

The author, Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by a militantly lesbian mother and a homosexual father.

“Messy Grace” is an unusually helpful story

Caleb helps us to think about how Christians come across to those who are outside the church community. You will be challenged in how God uses you in the lives of those who are broken.

“Messy Grace” is an unusually powerful book

If you have a heart to reach people with abundant grace and uncompromising truth, this book will help you. And if you are not interested in those things, then you probably should read it twice!

I benefited by reading “Messy Grace” and I have been recommending it ever since. One of my small groups found that this book stimulated wonderful and needed conversations.

Buy it

Read it

Use it



This Sunday will kick off our Annual Missions Conference Week.

This is an exciting as well as a vital time in the life of our church.

We have opportunity to get to know some of our mission partners, and we learn how we can become more connected with the glorious work of the gospel both near and far.

This year’s conference is entitled “IS JESUS WORTH IT?”. We know the answer, but we still need encouragements in living as if Jesus is always worth it.

Make sure you and your family participate in as many events as you can!

Sunday, October 2nd 

     8:30 & 10:30 am   Pastor Pat Tedeschi Preaching

  Monday, October 3rd     

    7:00 – 8:30 pm   Meet & Greet Dessert Night

An evening spent getting to know our new missionaries Fred & Dawn Weindelmayer via a Skype interview.  Bring a dessert to share.

 Wednesday, October 5th

    5:30 – 6:15 pm   Our Famous International Meal

Enjoy cuisine from around the world.

     6:30 – 8:00 pm   Movie “Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places” 

This latest episode is set in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, where a patchwork of tribes live – people groups long crushed by brutal dictators and enslaved to the worship of demons. But the Gospel is setting prisoners free!

 Thursday, October 6th 

    8:15 – 9:15 am   Prayer Breakfast

Enjoy breakfast & pray for our Missionaries.

    9:30 – 11:00 am   Women’s Bible Study

       Featuring an interview with church planter Katie Eck of New City Fellowship in Atlantic City

Friday, October 7th

    5:45  – 10:00 pm   Youth Night

Food, games, and a presentation by church planter Peter Eck at New City Fellowship in Atlantic City.

       Saturday, October 8th

    9:00 – 12:00 pm   “Being Witness: Understanding & Applying Our Identity as Witnesses of Christ” Seminar & Continental Breakfast

A seminar by Jeff Boettcher, Lead Pastor of Christ Church South Philly (SGC).   Breakfast provided.

 Sunday, October 9th

     8:30 & 10:30 am   Pastor Peter Eck Preaching


One of my concerns with the church in America over the past generation is that the focus in the main worship service is often on reaching unbelievers.

Certainly we want to be as committed to reaching people as Jesus!

But we should not lose sight of the purpose for the gathering of God’s people, which is the ministry of the means of grace God has given to the church. This involves the ministry of the Word, prayer and the ordinances of communion and baptism.

None of this excludes reaching out to unbelievers; in fact a healthy church will be drenched with gospel clarity. My concern is when the church shapes itself according to the sensibilities of those who don’t actually care about God. The result can be churches that are shallow.

A worship service is meant to exalt God; we are not doing a good job of that if we have to minimize biblical priorities so unbelievers will not be offended.

This can easily lead to confusing people about gospel-living rather than leading them into it.

Jared Wilson lays this out in a much more coherent way that I do in this article, “Is Your Worship Service Upside Down?”  

The purpose is not to attack churches, but to have us become more thoughtful of what the church is meant to be. At the same time we will be able to think more clearly about our own role in the church and our expectations for it.


I am reading through “Compelling Community” by Mark Dever for the third time (this time it’s with the pastors). Near the end of the book I was struck afresh by his reflections on the corporate witness of the local church.

Dever points out that fruitful evangelism should not be limited to church events or individual witnessing. He offers a third category of “community witness”. When a church practices vibrant biblical community, this is a very compelling witness of gospel truths.

Here are some of the ways Dever suggests we can put Community Witness into practice:

Talk about life at church

We easily talk about what is going on in our life during conversations with friends and acquaintances. Try salting those conversations with what is taking place in our church life. Let people hear about biblical community in action. It should be obvious that sharing complaints about church would be counter-productive to the gospel.

Mix our circles of hospitality

When you have neighborhood or family events, invite church friends. And when you have a gathering with church friends, invite unbelievers you know. When we are in a small group, we have a natural pool of people to include in these social events that are common to life. Over time they will build relationships with our family and friends.

Invite church friends to join you in evangelism

Include a church friend in a spiritual conversation you are having with someone at a coffee shop, or you can invite a believing friend, and an unbelieving friend to read the bible together with you once a week.

Connect church life to your neighborhood

Find ways to impact people in the neighborhood around your church or around your small group. Get together with fellow believers and discuss how you can share life within that community.


Follow Me - for Kyle


Our Mission Conference is moving to a new time of year.

Due to snow and ice occasionally interfering with Mission Conference events, it will now be held in November.

Out conference theme this year is “Follow Me” and will take place November 19th-22nd.

The purpose of our Mission Conference is to educate and challenge our hearts in regard to being Great Commission people.

Everyone is welcome, but we especially ask that those who are part of Greentree Church would attend at least one event beyond you normal attendance routine.

Please be praying that God will use this time richly in the life of our church.


Thursday, Nov 19th

Women’s Bible Study   9:30 – 11:00 am

Featuring a Skype call with our mission partner in Central Asia

Friday, Nov 20th

Youth Night   6:30 – 10:00 pm

Dinner provided

 Movie Night    7:00 – 9:30 pm

An episode of Dispatches from the Front:

“Father Give Me Bread” Advancing the Gospel in Ethiopia & Sudan

Saturday, Nov 21st

 Seminar & Breakfast   8:30 – 11:00 am

Reaching the Unreached at Home:

Making everyday Gospel Connections

Featuring special guest Peter Eck, Assistant Pastor of New City Fellowship of Atlantic City. Continental Breakfast provided

Sunday, Nov 22nd

Pastor Pat Tedeschi Preaching  8:30 & 10:30 am

 International Potluck & Prayer   6:00 – 8:00 pm

Come enjoy a meal together & pray for our missionaries and outreach around the world. Bring a dish to share – make it international if you like!


We seek refuge in our back yards, rather than sit on our front porches

We park in our garages, instead of in the street

We shop online, rather than downtown

We change address more often, instead of settle at one place for life

For these and many other reasons, it is harder today to build relationships with our neighbors.


The Bible tells us to “love our neighbor”

Our churches tell us to reach out to our neighbor

And we want to be a good neighbor

So, how do we make this happen?

A good place to start is to read this month’s book recommendation: “The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside your Door”, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon

No book can do the work of neighboring for us, but reading this book can increase your heart for it and it provides lots of practical thoughts on what to do now.

Here is an excerpt

“The beauty of the art of neighboring is that it’s simple and genuine. You don’t need to memorize any pitches. You don’t need to chart out a master plan for evangelizing your neighborhood. You don’t need to worry about having a canned speech in your back pocket. In short, you need not make your neighbors your “pet project”; make them your friends. You simply need to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and body, and love your neighbor as yourself.”


At Greentree Church (and most likely at your church), we want to be passionate about the role each of us has in sharing gospel truth with the people God puts on our path.

Some of us are self-motivated and have made this part of our lives, others (like me) are trying to improve, but we struggle with a mixture of fear, uncertainty and preoccupation.

How do we all make progress in this essential task which not is our mission and our job description, it is at the center of God’s heart?!

Pray for God to increase our heart for gospel work. This is not hard, so let’s all start here!

Be equipped. Our church has been giving focus to helping us learn how to be clear with the gospel and have direction with sharing this truth we know and that everyone needs

Build relationships. Be a listening, be attentive, be friendly – this is attractional to people and opens the way to sharing Christ.

My friend, Ian McConnell at Grace City Church in Philadelphia wrote this article that encourages us in “bringing others into what we follow.”  Ian points out that we like to do this with sports and other interests, so why not put this principle to work with the gospel?

As Ian says, we are not salespeople for God, but we are His recruiters. God does the work, we just share what He has done for us and for them!

Not only is being Gospel people important, we can do this!


This Sunday “R” will be our guest preacher. We have to be very careful about combining his identity and ministry location etc. in any public forum. You will learn his name and more about his ministry on Sunday.

“R” along with his wife and two preschool children have recently gone to serve the Baloch people. This is one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. There are over 10 million Baloch who live primarily in central Asia. The Baloch are a Muslim people who do not have their own homeland and are spread over a few countries in that part of the world.

“R” estimates there are 10 people he is aware of who minister to the Baloch. A few of these are in translation work. Only one other couple live among and minister directly to the Baloch.

Did you catch that? This young couple in their 20’s are almost alone in working to reach a group of more than 10 million people!

How do they feel about this impossible, overwhelming task? Their excitement about this opportunity and their confidence that the gospel will bear fruit is what you notice first when talking with them.

Greentree is thrilled to have this new partnership. You will be thrilled to meet “R” and hear him speak. “R” has traveled halfway around the world just to be with our church so we can get to know one another better.

Personally I am not only looking forward to hearing “R” speak, I know my own heart will be challenged in how I am being used by God to reach those who need Christ right here  


Heart of Missions

On Sunday we open our annual Mission Conference. This year our theme is “The Heart of Missions”. We have many excellent activities planned that will educate and encourage us in our mission to be people of the gospel

Monday, March 3rd 

7:00 – 9:30 pm  Movie Night

More Than Dreams”  The amazing phenomenon of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams

 Wednesday, March 5th  

5:30 – 6:15 pm  International Meal

Enjoy cuisine from around the world

6:30 – 8:00 pm  Is Jesus Worth It?

A multi-faceted presentation on reaching those who are hardest to reach

Thursday, March 6th  

8:30 – 9:30 am  Prayer Breakfast

Continental Breakfast /Pray for our Missionaries

9:30 – 11:00 am  Women’s Bible Study

Featuring a Skype interview with our missionary’s wife on their work in Central Asia

Friday, March 7th

6:30  – 10:00 pm  Jr/Sr High Missions Night

A night designed to give a greater awareness of global missions.  Students will hear our missionary’s testimony & enjoy interaction with him

Saturday, March 7th  

9:00  – 11:00 am  Reach the World Right Where You Are

A seminar on doing cross culture outreach to our neighborhoods.  A continental breakfast will be served

Sunday, March 9th    

 8:30 am & 10:30 am  Guest Preacher

The message will be preached by our missionary who has traveled halfway across the world to share his work with us

 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm  Meet & Greet Potluck Dinner

Enjoy a meal together and learn more about our missionary’s work in Central Asia


Yesterday I gave the first 5 suggestions from Jonathan Leeman concerning how local churches should connect church life with our desire to be effective in outreach.

Leeman’s purpose is to show that the traditional focus by churches on events and programs that draw unbelievers is only part of healthy outreach. Churches also need to grow “a contrast culture, which acts as this attractive backdrop for evangelism”.

Here are Leeman’s remaining 5 points:

6) Encourage members to live lives that bless outsiders. 

Church members, hopefully, are known as kind, friendly, and quick to lend a hand. We should be quick to jump in with a rake to help clear the neighbor’s leaves, quick to offer help to an office-mate, quick to defend a victim of abuse, quick to work hard at preserving the jobs of hard-working employees in difficult times, quick to bless in all sorts of ways. Good deeds should adorn our evangelistic words.

7) Invite people into formal and informal gatherings of the church. 

Countless stories could be given of how non-believers heard the gospel and then watched the church in motion, both in formal or informal gatherings, and then came to faith. The church’s life together compelled them. It pointed to something they had never known in their family, school, or workplace. In other words, inviting outsiders into the life of the church surely must constitute one part of our evangelism.   

8) Set the example in evangelism.

Wherever a church’s elders are known for their evangelism, you can expect to find an evangelistic church. Where the elders don’t, you won’t.

9) Feature evangelism and conversion stories. 

Church leaders should pepper stories of evangelistic encounters into their sermons and lessons. Church members should share prayer requests for evangelistic opportunities. Baptismal candidates should be given the chance to share their conversion experience. Things like these all help to make evangelism a “normal” part of the Christian life and the church experience.

10) Brag about your church.

The apostle Paul sometimes boasted about his churches as a way of boasting about Christ (see 2 Cor. 9:2; 2 Thes. 1:4; cf. Phil. 2:16). Christians, likewise, should look for ways to speak positively and gratefully—not obnoxiously or pridefully—about their churches around non-Christian friends. When a colleague asks about the weekend, mention how your church gave your wife a wonderful baby shower. Mention something encouraging the preacher said on Sunday. Mention the work your congregation is doing at the shelter when the subject of homelessness comes up. Doing this well, no doubt, takes practice.

Jonathan Leeman, an elder of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and the editorial director of 9Marks, is the author of several books on the local church.