The Orchard Blog

Avoiding the Argument Party by orchardblog
April 30, 2005, 3:42 pm
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As usual, Brian McLaren has some good thoughts on the things we argue about over at Christianity Today.


Mind Games by orchardblog
April 27, 2005, 4:35 pm
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This morning I got up ruminating on our talk last weekend at The Orchard. I was thinking about what life would look like spending every waking moment remembering that God is “here” — present in this very moment. Then, I found myself thinking about what life would look like if I add God-type thoughts to my every day, sometimes “boring” life. How does that play out in our ordinary days?

This morning I began by inviting God into my day. I vocalized my dependence on Him and asked for Him to be present in my decisions today. THEN, all of a sudden, after my mini-prayer my mind began to wander. It went something like this:

“…Amen….. I have a lot to do today. I wonder what I will eat for breakfast…wait, I don’t eat breakfast. Did I leave my cell phone in my truck last night? I hope my battery isn’t drained…that wouldn’t be good. Oh yeah, I need to get an oil change…I hope I can find somewhere inexpensive. The last place I went didn’t do a good job. Maybe I will go to this new place on Randall close to where I get my haircut. Haircut…I think my hair is to short, someone said I look like I was 11 the other day…that wasn’t funny…okay…maybe it was. I better get to church…maybe I will eat breakfast.”

Do you ever find your mind wandering like that? It can be odd sometimes. The reality is that our mind is NEVER still. I heard someone once say, “we are having thoughts, observations, perceptions, and ideas coming at us at such a staggering rate that we don’t even remember a majority of them!” How true is that!

I said that to say, have you ever had thoughts like this? Thoughts that were all over the page. Want to share (they can be humorous)?

Reading? by orchardblog
April 26, 2005, 11:46 pm
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I’m almost always reading about 2 books at a time. One via audio in my car and another that I carry around with me everywhere I go. (You never know when you might have a few spare moments to read – traffic, waiting for appointments, etc…)

Currently, my reading list consists of:

Bono by Michka Assayas
So far, it’s a great book. Besides being a huge U2 fan (have you figured that out yet?), it’s very interesting to read about Bono and the role of faith in his life. Reading this book, it’s pretty obvious that he has a strong faith in Christ.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton
The title says it all. It’s a book about discovering your strengths. The premise of the book is that people succeed in life by focusing on and developing their strengths – not their weaknesses. (Instead of spending all of your time trying to fix your weaknesses, compensate for them by bringing people around you who can make up for the weak points.)

7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, Lane Jones
Excellent, excellent book for anyone in church or ministry work. I have probably identified with this book more than any other “ministry strategy” book that I’ve read.

How about you? What are you reading?

Chat it up! by orchardblog
April 21, 2005, 1:04 pm
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A recent poll was taken asking what parents and kids talk about in the car. The following were the top 5 answers.

1. School
2. Children’s Friends
3. Values
4. Extracurricular Activities
5. Chores

If you are a parent or a grandparent, what do YOU talk with YOUR kids about in the car?

Labels by orchardblog
April 17, 2005, 8:17 am
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“There is a danger to labeling things Christian. The word Christian first appears in the Bible as a noun. It’s a person who follows Jesus. It’s not an adjective that you attach to things to make them safe and palatable. So a Christian is someone who lives a certain way — who has oriented their life around a certain Savior’s teachings, who believes profound things about the very ground of their being, who actually believes that compassion can change the world. A Christian is someone who lives a certain way. In the New Testament it’s not a label that you attach to things in order to make them safe. Here’s why: because something can be labeled Christian and not be true and some things can be true that are not labeled Christian.”

Rob Bell, teaching pastor, Mars Hill Church

Live from New York…. by orchardblog
April 15, 2005, 3:18 pm
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I’m sitting in LaGuardia airport in New York City getting ready to board a plane back to Chicago. It’s amazing how when I’m away (even for just a few days) how forward I look to getting back home. Dorothy had it right when she said, “There’s no place like home.”

Part of the reason I’m excited to get home is to finish up my last minutes preparation for Friends & Family Day happening this weekend @ The Orchard. If you haven’t taken the time to email or call a friend or two to invite them, there’s still time!

I’ll be continuing “The DNA of Relationships” series that we began on Easter weekend. This week I will be talking about how you and I can work at creating a “safe” environment in our relationships. You won’t want to miss it.

We’ll also have a special presentation by the Merry Hearts Clowns for all children’s services this weekend too. (Sorry, kids only…) 🙂

Off to my flight I go… Enjoy the beautiful weekend! Take some time and spend it with your family and loved ones, then come out to a great Sunday at The Orchard.

Don’t forget….free Starbucks Coffee & Krispy Kreme Donuts this weekend too!

Your much in need of caffeine pastor,


Inside the mind of a Kindergartener by orchardblog
April 12, 2005, 11:25 am
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I teach a Kindergarten class in Batavia. The other day I was reviewing the Fire drill routine. I reminded the students that we line up quietly and walk outside TOGETHER as a class.

After listening intently, one little boy raised his hand and asked, “That’s what we’d do in a PRACTICE fire drill, right? In a REAL fire drill we’d all just go RUNNING!”

“Well, I am so glad you asked…” I replied.

TGIF! by orchardblog
April 8, 2005, 3:52 pm
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In case you’re wondering what all of the hoo haa (is that a real word?) is about regarding our First Wednesday gathering last week, all I can say is that YOU MISSED IT. 🙂 Ok, that’s not cool… I won’t do that to you…

We did something really, really different Wednesday night. 95% of the service was done in complete silence. The focus was on getting quiet in our lives and taking the time to meditate and focus on scripture away from the distractions of life that we are so often bombarded with.

After a few minutes of acoustic worship we watched a great video featuring Rob Bell (which was mostly silent) and then spent about 20 or 30 minutes watching scriptures flash up on the big screens and journaling what we felt like God was saying to us through them. It was really a unique time (and very good for me personally).

We ended the night with communion (yes, in silence) and had a prayer (led in silence) and went home (most of us in silence.)

If anything, I hope that the worship experience that night moves all of us into a more regular habit of silent scripture meditation and just LISTENING to God more.

See you Sunday! It’s going to be another great weekend!

1st Wednesday (SILENCE) by orchardblog
April 6, 2005, 8:19 pm
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Tell us your thoughts about tonight…

First Wednesday Tonight by orchardblog
April 6, 2005, 9:47 am
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Tonight is our First Wednesday gathering.

Every first Wednesay of the month we gather together for a time of worship and communion. It starts at 7pm. Tonight is going to be very unique – and probably a very rememberable night for all of us. I’m really looking forward to it.

Hope to see you there!

First Wednesday, 7pm. Tonight!