Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Blog Banner

Used one of the photos my wife took of me and my kids to create a new banner for the blog.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stage Pics: From the Current Becoming Series

Becoming... everyone is becoming something, who are you becoming?

This has been a great series so far and we've been able to expand creatively with some decor and elements that we haven't done in some time.

Here are a few of my favorite set pics from the last couple of weeks along with a link to the rest on Picasa (photos by Dan Andersen).


Music Setlist 08.23.08 and 08.24.08

This last weekend, was a tough one for me and some of the staff. Many of you have visited here and know that I lost one of my best friends. While we grieved and celebrated his life, we also continued to do what my friend Todd did... lead other's in a growing relationship with Jesus.

I am very proud of my arts team! While they grieved along with me, they continued to move forward, not only in honor of Todd, but in praise to God. Thank you again to all of you for your prayers, care and support - it has brought strength to all those involved.

So this last weekend was the second week in our series BECOMING. We explored silence and talked about meditating on scripture. You can download Scott's message here.

From a creative standpoint, we used the song In Your Presence, by Jeremy Camp, but rearranged it with some different layers including strings, cello, congas, acoustic guitar and a bluesy-electric lead. We had each layer come in individually then half way through, the musicians began to stop playing (one by one) and walk off the stage. There was some tenseness in the room, which was great! We transitioned from there into a short piece on silence where we led our crowd through a time of silent meditation using only our screens.

The cool part about having the musicians leave one by one is that it gave us a way to lead into the silence in a dramatic way. We ended with Jess on the cello which was amazing! Something in the back of my mind which was later also pointed out by another artist, is that it also showed how important each piece, each musician, is to the group. We did not have anyone on the drums. When each person stopped playing and walked off the stage, that missing piece was felt in a big way. God is awesome in how he uses creative elements to reach people on many different levels.

Here's our music setlist from the weekend (with links for you to purchase them from iTunes):

Belief - John Mayer (instrumental)
Salvation is Here - Hillsong United
Everlasting God - Lincoln Brewster
Center - Charlie Hall
In Your Presence - Jeremy Camp (same song prior to message and after)


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Posts About Todd

There are a lot of things happening right now and I'm trying not to have every blog post or twitter be about my friend Todd. That's hard to do, as he had a big impact on me and many, many others.

I'm looking for stories... stories about Todd. Moments of influence, of encouragement. Times of strength and inspiration. I would love to be able to pass these stories on to Paula and her boys.

My wife shared a couple on her blog

If you have others or links to other blogs that share things about Todd, would you please post those?

Thanks everyone.

Service Times For Todd Mitchell

Family, friends and co-workers of Todd Mitchell...

Here is a link to the Orchard's blog page with information regarding visitation and memorial/celebration for Todd.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 630.897.8888.

Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Todd Mitchell

First let me say to all of you who have been following the twitter and praying for Todd and his family... thank you. There was a lot of peace and comfort felt as the result of those prayers.

I am confident that God is going to do something great through all of this.

Please check out Scott's blog or the Orchard blog on the latest.

Thank you also for your care, prayers and concern for my wife and I and our family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Update on Todd

For all of you who have been following along and praying for Todd... I adapted this letter from Scott and echo his thoughts.

I’m writing this from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Last Saturday, Todd collapsed at home after unexpectedly suffering a cardiac arrest. Tragically, one thing led to another and it has since been discovered that Todd has suffered severe and irreversible brain damage.

What all of this means is that outside of a miracle, Todd’s prognosis for survival is not good. So as you can imagine, his family is now faced with some pretty tough decisions.

This is obviously a very sad and difficult situation, so please continue to keep Todd, Paula, their kids, family, and loved ones in your prayers today.

At the same time, I want you to know that even in the midst of the shock and grief of the situation, God’s presence and peace is being felt in some very tangible ways right now. Todd’s family is hopeful, and they are steadfastly resting in God’s promise that He will guide them and walk with them through each step of this journey. For that, I am so thankful!

I know so many of you are concerned and would love to be around Todd’s family right now, however, we would like to limit visits to family and close friends only at this time. I would also like to ask that phone calls to the family and hospital be kept at a minimum right now as well.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I know it means so much to the Mitchell family! They are extremely thankful for the outpouring of love they are experiencing from all of you.

Please feel free to leave a comment here on this blog. We will be sure to forward them all to Paula.

And check back periodically for updates.

Love and appreciate you all!


Monday, August 18, 2008

What About Todd

This is Todd doing what Todd does well.

Among many things Todd is an excellent drummer. There is a professional quality to what the man does on a drum kit and it's almost hard to describe. It's loud but it's amazing!

Though Todd could be defined by 'great drummer' or even 'corporate vice president', I believe his character says so much more about him.

I have known Todd for several years now and I have rarely met another person with so much to offer - so much leadership, so many skills in so many areas - and yet so humble.

Todd is a great example of what it means to be generous. He exudes the qualities of any great encourager; of any great leader. He loves his family and he gives everything he has to whatever he sets his mind on.

Above all of these things, he is one of my best friends.

They say a person ever really has but a few close friends in their entire lifetime, so I consider myself very blessed. Since the day I first met Todd, he has been an encourager to me, no matter what I have faced. He has walked with me as a friend in good times and rough times.

Now he is fighting for life.

If you've been following the twitter on this blog you know Todd is really sick right now. All I can do is stand by, and try to encourage him, pray for him and let him know that I love him like one of my brothers. I feel helpless, yet not hopeless. I am confident in what God is doing in Todd's situation - something that has a far reaching effect, typical of Todd's style.

Thank you to all of you who are praying. You are a part of Todd's story in overcoming this adversity. Todd has a fire and a zest for life. He has a lot to live for.

Continue to pray for him. Please. I know his wife and sons appreciate it and Todd does as well.

If you want to know more, check out my twitter page here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Wife and Her Camera

Here's some shots from our latest photo expedition. My wife is a great photographer but she's spent a while away from it. So I picked her up a new camera and I'm trying to get her back into it.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Highlight of my weekend

This last weekend, I had the honor and privilege of baptizing my son.

I have baptized my wife and both my daughters, among many others. Each one was special, but I have cried with my family's public decisions - tears of joy.

I swore I wouldn't cry this time, but I bawled like a baby :)

Very proud of him!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coldplay, BBQ, and a Waterpark

What a weekend!

Finished our message series at the Orchard called At The Movies, where we used clips from different films to talk about things like injustice, creativity, courage, prayer, significance and the power of a story. The weekend was incredible! My arts teams did a phenomenal job with lighting, transitions, media, and music.

We used the song Fix You by Coldplay, which was probably one of the hardest songs I've ever sung. It's not just a vocally challenging song but it is so emotionally tied with a video we did in 2006 that it is hard to listen to, let alone sing without tearing up - powerful song. My instrumentalists and vocalists did an excellent job though!

The weekend continued from there.

Teams of volunteers setup for our annual BBQ and Baptism event, with a live bluegrass band, catered BBQ, and a collage of games for the kids. Everyone seemed to have a great time. We had beautiful weather and 600+ people to enjoy it.

After we all ate, we walked over the to the waterpark next door and we baptized around 140 people... men, women, children, couples, moms, dads, entire families. If you've never witnessed anything like this, let me tell you - it was amazing! And the stories! They way that God has moved in the lives of these people is inspiring.

Videos, pics and more on this later.