Thursday, January 31, 2008

WInter Wonderland

It's been snowing all day. As of about 10pm, Aurora had 5" already. It's supposed to keep snowing until tomorrow some time.

They are predicting we could get up to 12". Makes me wish I hadn't sold my skis a few years back, though this is Illinois and a stray hill is pretty rare.

Maybe we'll grab the sleds and try to hit the snow with the kids tomorrow.
Have fun and be safe!


Monday, January 28, 2008

What a weekend!


Still processing the whole thing. Had a great crowd at The Orchard, an awesome concluding message to our series I Am Spirit, and fantastic music set! Combined with some well done technical arts on Sunday, it was an incredible combination. Some great feedback already from people who connected with God in a way they never have, or hadn't in a long time.

I love that about my church... people are excited by what God is doing among us. They aren't content with just kicking back and soaking it in. They are inviting their friends and family to experience it as well. There is a combination of passion from our staff and volunteers mixed with God's spirit that is unmistakable. You can't help but be excited!

What's really cool is that God does the same thing on topics that are really tough... the ones that people sometimes don't like to talk about. I know we are going to be hitting some of these this year. It's ok though. This is a safe place to take steps on your journey and I think people realize that fairly early on at The Orchard.

More on this last weekend coming up in the Orchard Rewind.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Orchard Rewind 20

An overwhelming response to the reposting of the Orchard Rewind last week, so here is the rewind for this last weekend (Jan 19/20).

The last two weekends we've had some really good house and monitor mixes (great job audio team). The continued use of some of our newer lighting, as few as they are, has been a huge improvement as well.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Hoff - A Must See

Just in case you didn't check out Huebner's comment on the Knight Rider post below, you've got to check out this music video by Hasselhoff.

There are no words to describe it. You just have to see it for yourself. And the bigger surprise is that there are actually enough other music videos of "The Hoff" that I could post them for a couple weeks.

This one did make me laugh.

Enjoy the Hasselhoff video of the week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Gladiators

My kids and I have started watching a 'new' show... American Gladiators. Every time I've watched with them, I start having flashbacks to when I was a kid. It's actually very, very similar to what it was back in the 80's.

My kids are interested in another new show coming out soon - Knight Rider. I can't believe this one is coming back and from what I hear, David Hasselhoff will star in the show. Was the show that good back then? I mean kit was a pretty cool car, but David Hasselhoff?

We need the writers back from on strike. Otherwise we'll be reduced to the throw backs. My kids think they're great though so maybe it's ok. They've also been telling me about this great show called I Love Lucy that they had started watching on their school break.

Wow. OK. I guess there are worse things in the world.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Orchard Rewind 19

Yes... it's back! The Orchard Rewind with a twist! I'm bringing it back to the blog but only 60 seconds long.

Would love your feedback. Is 60 seconds enough?


Email Frustration

So the company we use at the church for email and web services was bought out by another company this last year and they decided it would be neat to migrate everyone over to new servers after the beginning of the year. Sounds great in theory but the migration has been very messy. We lost 6 email addresses and the old email system is still working (at least part of the time).

This means two things... if you sent me an email but didn't get a reply back, I probably didn't get it (as has been happening with a chunk of our staff). It's also a reminder that in this day and age of technology, some communication can't be left to email.

Anyway, I'm really excited to announce that the company that bought our old company and created this mess has now been bought by a third company. Now that we are migrating to a new system, I'm sure we will be going through this again in a few short months!

Thanks for letting me vent :)


Friday, January 04, 2008

Post Christmas Eve - Part 3

Last one... here are some of the photos that Dan grabbed from Christmas Eve (thanks Dan - can't wait to see video).


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Post Christmas Eve - Part 2

There's a lot of things that I could think back to about Christmas Eve this year at The Orchard.

I could tell you about all the people who brought family and friends (more than 1200 people attended). I could celebrate the generosity of those who gave toward Advent Conspiracy (clean water wells in Liberia and local food pantry's) and I do... I was blown away by the response (more than $21,000 donated toward Advent Conspiracy).

I could share with you about the candlelights - how the entire auditorium was filled with them at one point. I could go on and on about the videos we showed... those that were funny, those that were tearful and all that showed lives impacted by the coming of Jesus into this world. I could rattle off all the lighting equipment we used this year and how the moving lights, Christmas lights and hazer really rocked!

I could recall and tell you about all of those things, but the part I will never forget is my team.

The Orchard
is home to some of the most talented vocalists and musicians I've ever worked with. We have a pretty high bar set for excellence on the team and yet the team continues to grow toward the next level. Every one of them gave their very best and I am proud of each of them.

Are there things we could have improved or done better? Of course... there always will be. We sing, play, mix, and present for the Creator of the universe and He deserves the very best.

Our lighting console tripped out the day before Christmas Eve and we lost 10 hours worth of programming. Our lighting tech spent another 8-hours reprogramming the board so that the lights would be ready for Christmas Eve. I had three vocalists who worked for several hours over a couple of weeks to prepare for their lead and support roles on 7 different songs. Nine musicians spent countless hours preparing and rehearsing arrangements to 8 songs that moved those who were there, including me (TSO has nothing on you guys)! I had 5 audio, multimedia and stage techs that helped create an amazing canvas of sound and visual art.

Not to mention the staff I work with, our video guru, our welcome teams, our parking teams and Pam (our volunteer 'green room' was fabulous - thank you)!

I hope you were there and got to appreciate the environment that was created for you to experience God. You may never know how big that night really was, nor the amount of time, talent, energy and effort that went in to planning that one experience. Every single bit of it was worth it.

Thank you team! You guys inspire me and I can't wait to see what God does through you and in you this next year!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lucky Thirteen

I'm not a superstitious person, so the number 13 doesn't bother me... it's the number of years I've been married to my beautiful wife.

This year I wanted to do something that we never get to do. Since our anniversary is on New Years Eve, we have rarely gone out on our actual anniversary date - everyone's partying, it's hard to find sitters for the kids, restaurants are all booked and doing special menus, etc. This year we had some great friends willing to watch our kids for us overnight. I also got some great recommendations for restaurants and hotels in downtown Chicago.

We had a fabulous time together. My wife and I love our kids a lot, but it was great to get to go out on our actual anniversary and celebrate together. We stayed in Hotel 71 and had a room with a great view of the city. The room was nice and the view was excellent. We also got to stay up till about 5 in the morning because of some partying neighbors... maybe I'm getting too old but 5am seemed late to be celebrating the new year.

We had decided to walk to our restaurant from the hotel so we got a little chilled. Fantastic restaurant though! Scott had recommended this place called Aria and I have to give him props! It was one of the best meals we've ever had! It's a bit on the expensive side but the food and environment was incredible. It was more than a meal - it was an experience! The chef at Aria is a freakin' genius with potatoes (Kristen says he's a potato Svengali, which I actually had to lookup as I had only heard it on Seinfeld, but yeah, he's the bomb). My wife and I had great conversation as well. We talked about our memories together and some of the goals we had for this next year. It was a great time together!

After 13 years of marriage, my wife is still my best friend. She is still so fun to hang out with and to just talk with. We've been together for 15 years now counting our dating/engagement time and I still look forward to my time with her. I can't see that ever being something that grows old, even when I do.

Not to mention she's smokin' hot!

Here's some pics we took, though they don't do justice to our experience (photos on the phone), but you get the idea.