The Orchard Blog

Family Skate Night! by orchardblog
January 27, 2005, 11:01 pm
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Here’s some pics from tonight’s Family Skate Night @ Funway in Batavia.

Family Skate Night by orchardblog
January 26, 2005, 4:32 pm
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Everyone is invited to a fun night at Funway Skate Center in Batavia on THURSDAY NIGHT, January 27th from 6:30-9:00pm. Five dollars will pay for skating, roller skates, and four tokens or a drink. Hope to see you there!

Missional Church Forum by orchardblog
January 20, 2005, 1:09 am
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If you are interested in learning more about what it means to be a missional church or how to better connect our emerging culture to Christ, check out the Allelon Missional Church Forum. Great ideas/thoughts/discussions.

On the front of the page it has some “key ideas for the conversation”:

    1. What does it mean to be missional?
    2. How does the church hear the voice of God?
    3. How do I help an existing church to begin to think missionally?
    4. How do we impact the consumerism of our culture?
    5. What does it mean to participate in the Kingdom of God?
    6. How does the gospel speak to our culture?
    7. What does leadership look like in a missional context?
    8. What skills do I need to possess? How do leaders become cultivators of communities?
    9. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of ordinary men and women within congregations/communities?


I’m different by orchardblog
January 14, 2005, 3:27 pm
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I’ve been studying the last couple of weeks along the lines of “transformation.” How it seems that each person grows in God differently.

I like what Ortberg says, “We need the freedom to discover how God wants us to grow, for his design will not look quite the same for everyone. Our primary taks is not to calculate how many verses of Scirpture we read or how many minutes we spend in prayer. Our task is to use these activities to create opportunities for God to WORK. Then what happens is up to him. We just put up sails: The wind blows where it chooses.”

C.S. Lewis once surmised that each person is created to see a different facet of God’s beauty — something no one else can see in quite the same way — and then to bless all worshipers through all eternity with an aspect of God they could not otherwise see

SUNDAY by orchardblog
January 14, 2005, 2:18 pm
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I’m pumped about this coming weekend!

In fact, as I sit here putting the finishing touches on my talk for Sunday, I can hardly sit still. I’m going to be talking about the mission of The Orchard and what it really means to “lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”

You’re going to hear a conversation with a gentleman in our church community and how God used YOU – The Orchard community to helped lead HIM into a relationship with Christ. It’s going to be good!

Then, on Sunday, January 23rd, we will be beginning our new series entitled, “Multiple Choices”, which is going to be a series about…….can you guess…..choices! And since everyone of us are faced with choices every day, this should be a relevant series for all of us.

WHO WILL YOU BRING? Think now about inviting someone. Do your part and invite. We’ll do our best to create a worship environment where they’ll walk away challenged and hopefully one step farther along in their spiritual journey.

See you Sunday!

Good site… by orchardblog
January 13, 2005, 1:51 am
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I skimmed around this site tonight and found myself intrigued by several of the video clips here – especially the talk by Rose Swetman who is a “missional pastor” in Seattle.

The Brian McLaren clips are great too. McLaren is a forward thinking pastor from Virginia who has led the way in writing some great books about connecting with our emerging culture. Check out Brian’s site here.

To bed I go…

Garda, 101, etc… by orchardblog
January 10, 2005, 10:07 am
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What a great weekend! Dave Garda was our special guest and shared a great talk about how big God is. If you missed it, you can download it here. Dave and Rennie are a part of Cadre International and they travel all over the US and world equipping churches. Thanks Dave & Rennie for being a part of what God is doing at The Orchard!

Also – in case you weren’t at our worship gathering this weekend, you need to know that we have extended the registration for Orchard 101. Over 50 people have already signed up for the class, which makes this the largest 101 we’ve ever had! How exciting!!

101 is sort of the “all you need to know” about The Orchard – where we’ve been, where we’re going, etc… If you haven’t signed up, click here and let us know you’re coming. If you need childcare, email Kathryn Egly by Sunday, July January (thanks Kerri…) 16th with the names and ages of your kids.

Keep your eye out for some pics from the last First Wednesday, we’re hoping to post a couple here on the blog in the next few days.

Have a great day!!

Hey OVCC Teens! by orchardblog
January 8, 2005, 5:44 pm
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Hey Teens! What are you doing this summer? We dare you to put down the video games, and step off the couch… for one week. You will not regret it!

Join us for the experience of a life-time, as we travel across the country to serve others in need. Find out all the details this Sunday at an informational meeting following the 10:45am. Lunch will be served, so e-mail Jill Costanzi if you will be able to attend. Don’t forget to bring your parents to the meeting too!

The Youth Leadership Team,

Jill, Jess & Matt

Tsunami Update by orchardblog
January 3, 2005, 1:36 pm
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Just received this email from our friend, Jim Larson in Thailand:

The air is thick with the smell of death on Phi Phi Island. The small body of land with majestic hills and gentle beaches seems ready-made for a vacation center. Most of the facilities of Phi Phi Island resort are built on a narrow isthmus, perhaps 250 meters wide. It was here that hundreds European tourists and Thai workers were enjoying a clear tropical morning after Christmas. Rising just a few feet above sea level, the small strip of land offered little opportunity for escape.

I came here on New Years Day with five other pastors to participate with Buddhist monks and Muslim imams in a government-sponsored interfaith memorial service. The gathering provided an opportunity for us to share, however briefly, a Christian message. It took place in what must have been an outdoor eating area, on the upper floor of a solid concrete building that withstood the flood. Nearby on three sides, workers were still digging for bodies, while helicopters came and went.

Afterwards we wandered around some of the wreckage, along with journalists, volunteers and a few visitors desperate for clues. A Swedish couple had already spent five days hunting for their daughter. I offered to pray with them, but they turned me down. A cart wheeled past with two bodies bundled in plastic. Some workers, presumably resort employees, were clearing debris and collecting salvageable items. A fire was started to burn trash. The smoke mixed with the smell of decaying flesh. We were given face masks. When we made our way back to the ferry, we had to step carefully around the dozen or so plastic-shrouded bodies lying on the pier.

Bodies from Phi Phi join others from the area at the temporary morgue in the mainland town of Krabi. Here coffins are stacked waiting for burial, and bodies by the dozens still await identification. Bulletin boards at the entrance display photos of the missing and photos of recovered remains. Most are near the point where visual recognition is no longer possible.At the main cemetery a mass grave, about about150 meters long. is ready.

Tragedy brings far more questions than answers. Ban Namkhem used to be a fishing village of an estimated 5,000 people. Only a few are known to have survived. On the other hand, there are the “could have been me” stories–people who were not at the shoreline when they had planned to be, or those who survived the flood. We ourselves had considered spending Christmas on the beach ourselves, but our work kept us from getting there. Will that Swedish couple ever forgive God for taking their daughter? Will the woman who survived the loss of her whole village ever be able to love again? Only God knows.

But despite the questions, God always makes a point. Rich Mullins, whose own death was a terrible tragedy, wrote, “When He rolls up His sleeves He ain’t puttin’ on the ritz / Our God is an awesome God.” God’s point varies according to person and place, but it’s always there. One result in Thailand is pastors uniting together across denominations to bring help to poor Thais who lost everything. The region has a sizable Islamic population. Krabi for instance is 45% Muslim. One pastor, who uses Simon Lee as his English name, has a church in the far southern province of Songkla. Simon, who wasted no time making friends with the imams at yesterday’s gathering, hopes that one of the silver linings of this dark cloud will be an opportunity to share Jesus’ love with Muslim people.

For us, God’s point is simple: we’re in the right place. Asia is full of beautiful people that He loves desperately. It makes us more desperate to let them know. Thank you for sharing that heart with us.

By His grace,

Jim for Team Larson

2005 & a few other things… by orchardblog
January 3, 2005, 1:06 am
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I know it’s a little late, but Amanda and I want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year! 2004 was quite a year for all of us (mixed with happy and many difficult moments for us personally…). Glad 2005 is here…

This is going to be a great year for The Orchard! It is awesome to see so many new faces popping up every weekend. God is touching hearts at the Orchard!!

Thanks, Ted, for a great message this weekend. If you missed it, Ted challenged us with some thoughts about balancing our lives amidst all of the busyness we all face. You can download it here.

This coming Wednesday night will be our monthly First Wednesday Gathering at 7pm. On that night we are going to gather together and have a time of worship, communion and prayer – specifically for the people and nations in South Asia that have been hit by the Tsunami/quake over Christmas. As of tonight, the count is up to 155,000 lost. May God’s peace extend over this region and upon the families of those lost.

Hope your week is a great one. See you Wednesday night.

PS – Don’t forget, you can always email your prayer needs to us at