Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guys vs Girls: Box Score

What would camping be without some card games (friendly competition, of course)!

We had several different games that were had during our time at the campground. The team games included Skipbo and Euchre. The guys prevailed as normal, though I'll admit we did get whooped pretty good during one game of Euchre.

Here's the up tally to date:

Guys - 12
Girls - 6


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Take All Of Me

I'm sitting here late tonight listening to songs in my iTunes library while watching some goofy movie on tv. I'm not really following either but my mind seems to be resting not being able to focus but drowning everything else out. My mind goes crazy, especially in the silence and I find myself trying to get my brain to slow down and chill out.

Anyway, I hit some Hillsong United tracks in my iTunes library and don't really notice much until I get to a song that seems to grab my attention and bring me to a time of deep reflection.

I have grown to love Hillsong United's music and style over the past few years. They have some incredible songs. But this song, which I love anyway, is Take All Of Me, off their 2004 CD, "More Than Life". This song hit and I ended up going back and listening to it over and over and over, weeping all the while. The melody of the song is so simple. Here are the lyrics:

I love You
All of my hope is in You
Jesus Christ take my life
Take all of me

You broke the night like the sun
And healed my heart with Your great love
Any trouble I couldn't bear
You lifted me upon Your shoulders
Love that's stronger
Love that covers sin
And takes the weight of the world

I love You
All of my hope is in You
Jesus Christ take my life
Take all of me

You stand on mountain tops with me
With You I walk through the valleys
Your grace is all I rely on
Love that's stronger
Love that covers sin
And takes the weight of the world

I love You
All of my hope is in You
Jesus Christ take my life
Take all of me

I love You so, and I give up my heart to say
I need You so, my everything
God I love you so. I have no hope but you. Forgive me for not always giving you all of my life. Forgive me for trying to hold on to those areas I think I can control, yet fail miserably at. You have given me life and I ask you to take all of me, with no reservations. You are my everything.

I haven't wept like that because of a song in quite some time.
There is a lot of power in these words, and in the music of this song.

Thanks for letting me bear some of myself.


Monday, August 20, 2007

The Fridge

Upon our return from our camping trip (check out my previous post), we were greeted by a nasty odor and a bunch of water all over our kitchen floor... our fridge had decided to die on us during our time away.

Maybe it was lonely.
Maybe it felt neglected, not being opened a trillion times a day.
Maybe it just figured that 6 years was long enough to be a fridge.

Whatever the reason, the thing must have literally ceased to cool or keep things cold the moment we closed the garage door on our way out of town to go camping. Everything inside was a total loss.

There is nothing like losing your fridge... almost makes you feel, oh how did the department store salesman put it - like being naked. OK... But it does make you feel kind of stranded for some reason.

The only thing worse than losing your fridge is finding it coming home from vacation that got rained out.

Actually, the worst part about it was the smell... don't know what to say about that or even how to describe it. Wow!

So, a journey with yet another appliance ends and another begins (and so does the payments :)

Is your refrigerator running? :))

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm Back

Wow!! Finally back to the blog world on my Mac... I took a week-long vacation with my family. I, of course, had a lot of grand plans of books I was going to read, songs I was going to write and things I was going to get done, but time flies faster than I could have imagined.

I spent the first part of the week just chillin' with my wife and kids - watching cheap movies, cleaning out our basement and getting ready for our camping trip. We then spent the second half of of the week camping - tents and sleeping bags (though we were at a KOA so we had showers and indoor plumbing). We had a great time! Some good friends of ours joined us for part of our camping time and we had a blast. Rained a bit but not bad... until....

Torrential downpour on the morning we were breaking camp. Soaked to the bone and most of our camping gear drenched, we left for home, cutting our last day activities short. I would still count it as a great trip.

I actually had planned to do some serious blogging the first part of the week, but with my kids in shock that I was actually on vacation I decided to hold off until we went camping. The comment that got me was, "you mean you're really taking a vacation - from the Mac too?!?!"

Enough said.
I have a problem.

So needless to say, when we got to the KOA with the supposed wifi hotspot, I was disappointed to find the 'wifi' link was a plug in for a modem connection to your own dial-up service... who has dial-up anymore :) So, no blogging. Great time with my wife and kids though.

I love camping... the tents, the campfires, the s'mores, the marshmallow doughboys (if you've never had these, you have to try them), the fishing, the games... lots of good childhood memories. I am finding though as I get older that it would be much easier to go camping in an RV or something of the sort to eliminate the set up and break down time (not to mention give you some protection against the elements) but for now...

How about you? Anyone else like to go camping?
Good camping antidotes?

Have you taken a break lately just to spend undivided time with your family?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Jones' Simpsonized

I jumped on the bandwagon here, but added a twist....

Here's my family simpsonized. It was the closest we could get at least (sorry Seth, they didn't have Mohawks available for kids).

Wanna try? Go here and check it out!
Let me know what YOU come up with.



Friday, August 10, 2007

Get A Griff!

I've had a lot of people ask about our staging. Over the last 10 months at The Orchard, we've done a lot of set designs with soft goods - fabrics an such.

There are a lot of different soft goods out there that catch and reflect light in different ways (maybe I'll go into that in a future post), but the purpose of this post is to talk about Griff Clips. If you decide to do any kind of staging with oft goods, you will love these things!

I was introduced to these little wonders a few years ago at Willow Creek. These little plastic clips give you the ability to hold, pull, stretch or tie down fabric without putting holes in the material. You can then re-use material over and over in different, creative ways. The concept of the Griff Clip is that the fabric goes between the two pieces, the pieces are then fit together in a way that the more tension is put on the material, the tighter it becomes. It has a loop on one piece (as you can see above) that allows you to tie (I use black cord so it can't be seen as easily) to piping or hooks - whatever.

These clips are inexpensive and definitely something that you creative people out there will want to have on hand. You can get them in bags of 50 from Reef Industries, Inc.

Tell them that I sent you!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guys vs Girls: Box Score

This last weekend (a couple nights before the big events), my wife and I had the privilege of having dinner with Terri and Dave. I'm on staff with Terri and she keeps me in line most of the time - they are both great people and a blast to hang out with.

Since they are mutual friends with Todd and Paula (our usual card-playing couple), we were able to rack up a couple more wins. The game of course was Euchre.

Guys - 9
Girls - 5

Nine to five... isn't that an old song? I do also want to share that during the first game, the girls were up 6 hands to 1 and they started getting a little full of themselves (as most players do early in the game). My wife is a bit competitive. Enter Terri... she too is a bit competitive. It was somewhere around this time that my wife was taunting us and stated, "we're going to wipe your noses." I've never laughed so hard in my life!

The phrase now lives on. Thanks Kristen ;)


Orchard Rewind 18 - Raw

No background music. Just me and the rewind.

Setlist and review of August 5th at the Orchard in Aurora, IL.

12.5 years ago I baptized my wife.
I've baptized both my daughters.
I've also lead members of my arts teams over the last several years to Christ and had the honor of baptizing them.

This last Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing alongside my wife and others on staff. Together we baptized over 100 people who wanted to go public with their faith. This date will live in my memory for the rest of my life. It ranks up there as one of the most amazing events I've ever been a part of.

This is what it is all about. Video of the event is in the editing room now.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Staff Growth

For those of you who haven't heard, I am pleased to announce that Chris Bell has joined the staff here at the Orchard!

Chris is a great addition to our team and has already jumped in with both feet to move us forward in our mission of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Congrats, Chris, and welcome! It's great to be working with you again!

You can read a little more about Chris' role and more about Chris here and here.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

First Things First

This last Wednesday we got together as a church community for what we call First Wednesday. The first Wednesday of each month we get together to re-focus, re-energize.

To remember.

This month we looked at Colossians 4:2-6 (Message):

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.

Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

When you look at your schedule over the next four months, what events do you know for sure will happen?

What events are you planning for, gearing up for, preparing for, dreading, etc?

The Colossians passage above says pray diligently... stay alert... with eyes wide open in gratitude... make the most of every opportunity.

When you look at what on the near horizon for you, do you see events, or do you see opportunities? Do you see challenges, complications, struggles or do you see a chance for God to do something in you?

Even more - when you look at those events, do you see opportunities for God to do something through you in others?


Buckled Bridge

I could hardly believe my ears this morning when I woke up to hear about the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, failing and falling into the river last night. You can check out the story here.

I would never have doubted the integrity of a bridge that had been standing and in use since the 1960's.

My son gets a little nervous every time we drive over a bridge and I have always assured him that there is nothing to be afraid of - that the bridge we are crossing is safe.

How do I ease his mind now? (and mine...)
Please be praying for those who still have not been found and for the families who have lost loved ones in this catastrophe.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Orchard Rewind 17

Setlist and series update - recorded in Starved Rock, IL with my wife and my two boys.

How was your weekend?