The Orchard Blog

The Tight Rope of Desire, Part 1 by orchardblog
June 30, 2004, 12:24 pm
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A few weeks ago I was leading the mid-week study at the Orchard. I was talking about how the process of transformation requires a revolution of your passions and desires.

I was communicating from the book of Galatians 5: 24 where Paul says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” I went on to add that there must be a death to the passions and desires fueled by a heart absent of God.

I don’t know if you’ve observed this, but it seems that so much of the Christian faith has stopped there. That many messages are taught from the point of getting rid of “mismanaged desires”, appetites and longings of all kinds. But maybe we are missing the power of good desires. That not all desires are bad.

Let me start with this observation. ALL OF US ARE DRIVEN BY OUR DESIRES. Desire itself is very neutral. Neither good nor bad.

I posed some questions, thoughts and observations to the group concerning desires that we have everyday. I illustrated it by talking about songs we sing in church with titles like, “God, you’re all I want” and “God, my only desire is you.”

I asked the group…no hands raised…is this true for you? Is it true that the ONLY thing you desire is God (24/7)?

I said the truth is I want God, but I don’t only want God. I want other things, not necessarily bad things, just other things. For example, sometimes I want really good pizza; sometimes I want sunny days; sometimes I want to do good work; sometimes I want the Cubs to win.

Is it wrong to want things, other than God?

(stay tuned for part 2)

Who are you? by orchardblog
June 27, 2004, 12:08 am
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Hello…is there anybody out there? (Ok, that sounds too much like a song.)

But seriously, we want to know who’s reading the Orchard’s new blog!

Do us a favor – click on the little “comment” link below this post and just take a second to say hello and who you are! If you don’t want to leave your name, that’s ok – but at least say hi and let us know what you think about the blog.


Who’s in CONTROL??? by orchardblog
June 24, 2004, 3:09 pm
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Have you ever wondered about the phrase, “God is in control”? The statement sounds spiritual, but is it true? Does God really have control over every part of you? All your decisions, all the moments in your life, etc…?

While God does want to be in our life, guide our life and have a relationship with us. He NEVER overrides who we are to MAKE his point or show us HE’S GOD. He’s given us this path of choice. He ALLOWS us to make bad choices (even though he may disagree). He also ALLOWS us to look to his wisdom for direction for our life.

Take a psychic for an example. One of the interesting presuppositions of turning to a psychic is that the future is static, concrete, unchanging.

Scripture gives a very DIFFERENT view of the future. The future is dynamic, active, and interactive. Many of us would rather know the future than CREATE IT. After all if someone can simply tell us the future; we can relinquish and renounce any responsibility on our part.

God continually is showing ways in which he loves mankind (some choose to accept his love and some don’t). The Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is God’s story and OUR STORY.

A writer by the name of N.T. Wright said it so brilliantly:
Most people want to wake up in the morning with a general at the foot of their bed saying “Go do this.” The problem is there’s somebody at the foot of their bed saying, “Once upon a time.”

A Word from Little Egypt by orchardblog
June 23, 2004, 10:37 pm
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Here I am in Southern Illinois on the net. It is the first time at my aunt’s house that I have been able to feel connected to the rest of the world. This is one of those places way out in the middle of nowhere, but here I am able to be connected with people in Aurora and places beyond just as if I were there. I just had an Instant Message conversation with one of my deacons. Isn’t technology great!

Thanks to my kids giving on Father’s Day, I now have a new WEB cam and can do live instant messaging with whoever I am connected with on the net. Isn’t technology just great!

Writing like this, I am reminded about what it is like to be a part of the family of God and to have this relationship with God the Father because Jesus Christ, the Son is our Savior. We are always connected with Him. He ever lives to pray for us and to stand up for us. Thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit, I can have a live conversation with Creator of the Universe any time or anywhere. Isn’t God just great!

I am looking forward to this weekend. I can’t wait to hear Ted’s message on Bruce Almighty… Hope to see you there!

Life is Like a Story by orchardblog
June 22, 2004, 3:24 pm
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So today I was opening the church’s mail, and I read this,
“All of life is a story…Think about it. Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars, Homer’s Odyssey. They all, essentially, share the same central story. A grand calling. A treacherous journey. A hero. The pursuit of evil. A fellowship who will see the hero through. And of course, a glorious everafter. Does this all sound strangely familiar. It should. Because it’s also your story.”

So I read this and thought: “Wow, this does seem familiar, extremely familiar.” I recently had the privilege of facilitating a women’s Bible study group at the Orchard. When the group first began meeting and hanging out, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would turn out in the long run. Would these women connect and be supportive to each other in the current events of their lives? Would they feel uncomfortable and be reserved for the next 7 weeks we would spend together? I prayed that God would help me to do my part in helping these women connect with one another – I really longed for this to be a productive 7 weeks in each woman’s life, that it wouldn’t just be fluffy or surfacy!

These women, who didn’t really know each other prior to the Bible study, were sharing with one another, their individual life stories. I didn’t ask them to do this; they opted to do it on their own! As the first woman shared her life story, the others identified with and encouraged her immediately! Throughout the remaining weeks, they shared with the group where they currently are, the choices they are making, their goals, and their struggles.

Life really is like a story, and we each have our own. God has plans for each of us, and He has other people in mind who will help us accomplish our purpose & encourage us when we feel like giving up. Community is vital in pursuing & accomplishing our purpose in life. I was deeply inspired as the facilitator of my Bible study, and I was so grateful to God for those he has placed in my life to help me discover the everafter.

LISTEN! by orchardblog
June 21, 2004, 12:11 am
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That’s right. Our weekly messages are now available via download on our website! Just go to our homepage and click on “Resources” and you will see the messages available for download in mp3 format.

We are still working on getting the files smaller to make them easier for download, but if you are connected to the Internet via a high speed connection, you should be fine.

Direct Link to Audio Files

Happy Father’s Day by orchardblog
June 20, 2004, 5:07 am
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Thinking about today early this morning, I want to be one of the first to wish each and everyone who reads the Orchard Blog a Happy Father’s Day.

I am especially thankful for my father who is now gone, but not forgotten. His faith and wisdom that he passed on to me have served me well. Thanks Dad for just being who you were. I miss you.

I must also add that we all have loving heavenly Father who extends His unconditional love to us today and everyday making this and everyday a very special day. Happy Father’s Day!

DON’T FORGET! by orchardblog
June 17, 2004, 3:25 pm
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This weekend Scott kicks off our summer series, A Blockbuster Summer.

Of course, as you know (or you should know), this weekend is Father’s Day. So, it would be appropriate to start the series off with a message entitled, “A Few Good Men.”

Look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Ps. Sorry, for those phoning in asking, Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson will not be making an appearance…it will just be LDH, Scott, and me.

Be a part! by orchardblog
June 16, 2004, 11:44 pm
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Ok, well I guess it’s my turn. Next up will be Amber. (right Amber??)

I wanted to take a moment and share a little bit of the purpose behind this whole blog thing. More than anything, this is an opporunity for us (the staff team) to communicate with you (Orchard people, web surfers, strangers, whoever you may be…) and keep you informed of what’s going on with us and with our church community (that’s you!!!).

Here’s a great idea – make this your homepage! That way, whenever you open up your web browser you will automatically be at this page and won’t miss out on anything. It’s easy to do – if you’re using Internet Explorer, just go to TOOLS, INTERNET OPTIONS, and where it says “homepage” type in this address: and then click OK.

Anyway, we’re hoping that this becomes a place for feedback (use the comments feature!), ideas, celebrating what God is doing @ The Orchard and whatever else we can come up with.

So go ahead – interact! 🙂

See you Sunday.

PS – Don’t forget our new series, “A Blockbuster Summer” begins this coming weekend! Click here for details.

How’s your leadership? by orchardblog
June 16, 2004, 9:35 am
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In front of me is a printed out copy of a personal leadership plan that Bill Hybels gave at a conference last year, that I thought you might like to utilize.

His question during this talk was, “How can I grow my leadership to the zenith degree?”

Here is his plan:





Do you have any good leadership thoughts, tips, suggestions, or experiences?