The Orchard Blog

Greetings from the land of pasties! by orchardblog
June 29, 2005, 12:15 pm
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Greetings from Upper Peninsula, Michigan! I’m sitting in The Silverleaf Internet Cafe in Ironwood, MI. I’m away on a “mini” writing and study retreat for a few days. It’s been a good time and the weather has been so refreshing!

This weekend we will have a very special guest @ The Orchard. You won’t want to miss it. Oh yeah…and make sure you bring your sweet tooth! Enough said. And don’t forget to bring a friend!

Signing out from the land of small towns, big trees and pasties. See you Sunday!

PS – And just in case you don’t know what a pasty is click here.

Missions Trip 2005 by orchardblog
June 28, 2005, 3:20 pm
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There are 10 kids (ages 14 – 17) and 3 adults in Joplin, Mo this week. They are working in an underprivelaged area with 200 other kids with a group called Christ in Youth. The kids from the Orchard will be working in the home of a woman named Gladys. They will be in this awful heat painting, repairing and building a wheelchair ramp. I am so excited for the opportunity they have to serve God!
I am reminded of how important it is, as christians, to not only love God, but to love others as well.
I have recently challenged myself to find ways to show my love to people in my daily walk. It can be very frustrating when the guy behind you is blaring his horn, or the woman cuts in front of you at the supermarket, but it’s so important as a mature Christian to show your love to everyone, all the time.
My mom always used to tell me, “you catch more bees with honey”.
I find that as I get older, it’s so much easier to be sweet.
I thought it was my age…but I now realize it’s my
Growing Relationship with Jesus Christ.

Blockbuster Summer! by orchardblog
June 22, 2005, 6:37 pm
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We’re heading into a Blockbuster Summer beginning this Sunday, June 26th! Our first movie of the series is going to be……………………………………….


We’ve got some fun and creative elements up our sleeves, so you won’t want to miss this series!

And don’t forget – make some phone calls, shoot some emails and invite someone with you THIS Sunday!

Stay cool and I’ll see you Sunday!

Was it “JUST” God? by orchardblog
June 22, 2005, 10:14 am
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I’ve been thinking about the statement that we make sometimes, “I had nothing to do with that happening, it was JUST God?” I believe we have a misunderstanding in our contemporary world of how God works in human history.

It seems to me, that if something bad happens in life, it was obviously you or me, not God. But, on the flip side of the coin, if something good happens, it’s obviously not your or me, but God. It sounds something like this: “It wasn’t me, it was the Lord.”

Frankly, I’ ve heard some terrible singing that the singer explained wasn’t him or her, but the Lord. Of course, if you are like me, you might think to yourself, Does God really sing that bad? However, I have experienced some awesome kindness. Even when WELL INTENDED, to say, “It wasn’t me, only the Lord,” demeans the marvelous work of God in the life of an individual.

I believe God has something for all of us to do — not to sit back and WATCH Him do or passively wait for Him to do, but a calling that God waits for you to embrace, pursue, and fulfill. Now, get this, God chooses to entrust His most sacred work to people just like you and me.

Can you imagine when God commanded his people to take the land! Can you imagine if Joshua set up camp along the Jordan and just enjoyed a season of fishing and basking in the sun. I think Joshua would have been thrilled if God said, “There are giants in the land. I need a little time to get Canaan ready for you. Just wait and be patient, enjoy your stay, and when everything is prepared I’ll send for you.”

Wouldn’t that have been nice for Joshua? Actually, I would submit to you, that it would be TERRIBLY BORING! God expected way more from Joshua and His people. God would give them the land, BUT they would have to take it! God would go with them, but he would not go FOR them. A big difference!

God always chose people to lead the way! Let us remind ourselves that we are God’s vessel to be used by Him. Let us NOT demean the marvelous work of God in the life of an individual — celebrate it!

A Mother’s prayer by orchardblog
June 16, 2005, 9:20 pm
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My kids are leaving for camp next week. Hmmmm…I don’t really like too much when they are gone, but it gives me a great opportunity to think about them and pray for them.
I think back to Mothers Day when Loudene made the statement, “Pray for your children – all the time”. I always prayed for them when there was a specific need, now I pray for them all the time. I pray that God will lead them on the right path, that He will care for them in good times and bad, and I thank Him for staying by their side. I pray for their future education, their future spouses and even my future grandchildren!
Whether or not you have children, no matter how old they are, remember to always keep them in your prayers.

Champion Dads by orchardblog
June 16, 2005, 8:45 pm
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Here are some pointers for champion dads from the National Health Information Center. Print this out and post it on your bathroom mirror or in your car.

1. Respect your children’s mother.
2. Spend time with your children.
3. Talk with, don’t lecture, your child.
4. Make clear rules; reinforce them with love.
5. Be a positive role model.
6. Be a teacher.
7. Eat together as a family.
8. Read to your children.
9. Show affection.
10. Realize that a father’s job is never done.

New Look by orchardblog
June 16, 2005, 6:40 pm
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The blog has a new look. The black was getting a bit old and we needed something a bit more refreshing and summer’ish.

What do you think?

Remixed Prayer for a Radical Gospel by orchardblog
June 15, 2005, 8:45 am
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(Hey guys – this is good! Some good thoughts as we continue our personal journey of prayer.)

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (PD) — Louie Giglio turned the focus of youth ministers attending the 2005 Purpose Driven Youth Conference to a “remixed” prayer life that can help them focus on the radical nature of the Gospel rather than simple clichés.

“If the idea of this conference is to deepen your faith, if the idea is that there is another kind of relationship with God than a surface-level cliché, going through the motions Christianity, I want to ask you, are you experiencing that?” Giglio. director of the Passion Conferences and The Passion Network, asked the 1,500 youth ministers in attendance.

He then shared four remixed versions of typical cliché prayers many Christians regularly pray.

Instead of “Forgive me,” pray “Thank you for forgiving me.”
Believers no longer have to ask God to forgive them, Giglio told a surprised audience. Realizing many would point to the Lord’s Prayer as a rationale for continuing to ask God for forgiveness, he reminded listeners that it preceded the death and resurrection of Christ.

Citing 1 John 1:9, Eph. 4:32, Col. 2:13 and others, Giglio declared that God had already forgiven those who believe in ChristThe post-resurrection model of how a Christian deals with sin is to confess it, repent from it (commit to not doing it again) and thank God for his forgiveness. Giglio particularly shared concern over believers who make general requests for forgiveness in prayer, such as “forgive us of any sins we might have committed.”

Giglio said: “[Asking him for forgiveness] insults him because he has already forgiven us through his son, and it insults him because he wants us to be in a living relationship with him, where we say, ‘I sinned. Your spirit convicted me of that. I know it. I acknowledge what I did and I want to repent from it.'”

Instead of “Bless me,” pray “Let us bless you.”
Noting Ephesians 1:3, Giglio said there was no reason to ask God to bless us because he has already blessed us with “every spiritual blessing.” Again, he acknowledged that many are going to point to Old Testament passages where God promises to bless his people. According to Giglio those promises are fulfilled completely through what Christ did on the cross and his presence with us through the Holy Spirit.

“I’m just saying we dial into the reality of the cross and the resurrection and say, ‘We are blessed,” Giglio said.

Giglio then remixed the prayer, suggesting that believers instead pray, “Let us bless you.”

“Lord, let me bless you in how I do my job and the way I walk into this meeting,” Giglio added. “Lord, let me bless you in everything I do.”

He suggested that those in attendance consider this the next time they’re tempted to pray for God’s blessing over an event. Often, he believes, this sounds as if the event didn’t have its origin with God anyway, as if he is blessing someone else’s idea.

“Before we enter a youth meeting, our remixed prayer would be ‘We just want one thing. We want what happens behind these doors to make you happy,'” Giglio said.

Instead of “Lord, be with us,” pray “Lord, live through me.”
Through Pentecost, God went beyond just being with us. He’s now “in us” through the Holy Spirit. Still, believers pray as if God is looking over the edge of heaven at them, he said.

Giglio told those in attendance to “punt the Christianese because it means nothing to him and apparently nothing to us because we don’t know what it means.”

“If Christ is in you, you are inseparably linked,” Giglio said. “Why would you ever ask him to be with you?”

Giglio encouraged the youth ministers to instead pray “live through me.”

“Be with me is about me,” Giglio said. “Live through me is about [God]. It is about [God] doing something supernatural through my life.”

Instead of “Protect us,” pray, “use me.”
Giglio used the story of Gladys Staines, the wife of a martyred Australian missionary to India, to illustrate his final point.

After her husband and two sons were burned alive as they slept in a car, Staines told reporters, “I have only one message to the people of India: I am not bitter; neither am I angry. But I have one great desire that each citizen of this country would establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

Giglio said that Staines’ quote appeared in every newspaper in the country the next day. The mission was greater than the personal protection of this particular family, he told the audience.

The problem with praying for God’s protection, Giglio stated, was that it was a prayer that God could not always answer. Sometimes God calls a believer to an action that might end the person’s life.

Praying for protection wasn’t bad, Giglio said, but believers must move beyond mere protection.

Giglio’s remixed version of the prayer said: “Lord protect us as we go out and do your will, but more than that, Lord, use me no matter what. Whatever makes the story bigger, do that. Use me Lord. No matter what happens, make it count for your glory.”


Prayer Series Wrap Up by orchardblog
June 13, 2005, 10:13 pm
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This past Sunday we closed out our 6 week prayer series, Vertical Reality.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that this was probably one of the most impactful series we’ve ever done at The Orchard. In fact, during this series, it became obvious to me that for many in our community, this was the first time they had really heard a teaching on the importance of prayer and the role that it plays in our lives.

In case you didn’t make it out this past weekend, I took a few minutes at the end of Ted’s message and issued a challenge to everyone. The challenge is that we would not walk away from a series like this one without placing a much higher priority on prayer itself. I also had everyone take about a minute in silent prayer asking God, “now what?”

The question is, “Ok, God – I’ve heard some good things about prayer – now, what do you want me to do with it?”

James 1:22-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

How has this series impacted you? I’d love to hear about. Email me or click on comments and share with us all!

God Leading Us by orchardblog
June 8, 2005, 8:24 pm
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Have you ever prayed that God would lead you and guide you through a specific time of your life, and as you began to see the path He was leading you towards, you realized it would be challenging and very difficult?

John Ortberg, a pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, says:

“When God leads his people, he does not move hastily. He is never in a hurry. It is one of his most irritating qualities. He is the God who takes his people to the Promised Land by way of the desert.”

John Ortberg refers to God’s leading you through the desert as the roundabout way.

Many of us have experienced the desert at some point or another. You cry out to God, but you don’t sense his presence. Having faith suddenly seems so difficult. You face the question of perseverance. Will I follow God even when I don’t understand what He’s doing?

It sounds odd, but the desert is sometimes the setting where we experience the depth of God’s love, and his love speaks to our hearts in a deeper way. Maybe you’re in the desert and you’re feeling that you have nothing to offer, you’re feeling rocked by doubt in your life.

The desert is often the place where God meets us and reassures us that He could not love us more than He does at that very moment. Ortberg says:

“To be loved when we are feeling unlovely, unlovable — that’s life to someone who’s dying. That’s grace. The desert really was intended to be a place where God could be present with his people, so they could come to know and trust him… in the desert there are no achievements to be made, no battles to win, just God and his people. The desert was to be a life of love.”

If you’re not in the desert now, you may be there soon — we all seem to go there at some point, and usually more than once. We have to remember God’s way, the roundabout way, is not quick and easy, but God is at work in the desert. Ortberg reminds us:

“Ultimately, he is not nearly as concerned with where his people are going as who they will be when they get there.”