Thursday, September 25, 2008

Music Setlist 09.20.08 and 09.21.08

One of the guys on staff with me and a good friend for many years, Chris Bell spoke this weekend on what the Orchard is becoming. He used Psalm 1 to talk about the Orchard in comparison to a real orchard. This was Chris' last time speaking at the Orchard as part of the staff and I pray blessings for him and his family as they continue to lead, but now in a church in VA.

Here's our music setlist from that weekend (with links to purchase the original recordings from the artists listed):
La Grange - ZZ Top (instrumental)
Your Grace Is Enough - Chris Tomlin
Hosanna - Hillsong United
You Are The One - Lincoln Brewster
Point of Difference - Hillsong United
All Because of Jesus - Fee

Friday, September 19, 2008

INNOVATE08 - Innovate Impact

Steven Furtick up on the mic next...

Relating the story of David being anointed as king to leaders who feel like they are being overlooked by God.

You are called by God

It always starts small.
Jesus using a small amount of fish to feed thousands.

Has time talked you out of your dreams?

Hold on to the audacity to fulfill God's promises.

Sometimes the process is the point.

INNOVATE08 - Lessons

Lessons from's DLT:

An organization is the reflection of its leadership.
A team is a reflection of it's leader. A vision/mission oriented leader creates a very vision/mission oriented team, which is good but also need to be self aware of the things you miss. Take time to celebrate. If there is a character trait in a leader that is a negative, that too will be reflected in a team. Know what you're good at and what you're not good at.

"We'll do anything short of sin to lead people to Christ."

Everyone has a unique personality and there are ways for us to integrate and playoff of each others strengths and weaknesses. Self awareness of this issue helps to develop a good team.

Willingness to "get naked"
More on self awareness... really understanding who God has called you to be as a church and sticking to it even when others try to tell you otherwise. Trust that God is going to do big things through your faithfulness.

[My thoughts: Be real with who you really are... seems to be a consistent theme thru the conference though it's not the topic. I think that's cool that even within the scope of "Stop Talking, Start Doing" that this sub-theme has emerged. Very pertinent to those who come to conferences and then think they are going to go home and do exactly what they saw done.]

The difference between where you are and where God wants you to be is the pain you're unwilling to endure.
Sometimes it's easy to keep doing what you are doing or to not change but change is difficult and many times painful. It's difficult when the decisions you make impacts families and others, especially when the decision is a mistake, but you can't be afraid to step forward and be willing to make mistakes [and then willing to admit when you've made a mistake]. The impact on lives is also true when it is not a mistake - there is also an impact.

God will not give you more as a leader until you obey what he's already asked you to do. Our capacity as leaders will be found in our ability to endure pain. What decision is God calling you to make? IS there a decision God has asked us to make that we have avoided?

INNOVATE08 - Missional Moves

Rob Wegner on the mic at Innovate this morning.

Here's the skinny of it...

Most people think being a christian is how we get out of trouble with God.

Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God... what is a kingdom?
Most either answer external things or internal realities.

Thy kingdom come -> Jesus definition is the place on earth where God's will is done as it is in heaven. Bringing the up there down here.

Missional move 1: from saved souls to saved wholes.
- verbal proclamation - what happens on the weekends through message and arts.
- demonstration proclamation - doing something about the things that are broken in this world: the lost, the hurting, the dying, the hungry, the homeless, the poor.

Missional move 2: from "flashlight" to "laser" focus
More is not better. Don't confuse the great commission with the great commotion.
Narrow our focus - Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Ends of the Earth (local access, domestic access, cross cultural, international)

Narrowing our focus dramatically increased our impact.
Narrowing our focus helped build ownership.

Missional move 3: Professionals to full participation.
Mobilizing people to get them out of their seats and into the story.
Things that keep people from doing this: Fear and Busyness.

God is calling us to a bare-fisted brawl with evil - calling us to live dangerously for him.

Our God reigns! May we proclaim that in our communities.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

INNOVATE08 - Pop Goes The Church

Missing my family very much.

Enjoying seeing my team get excited about the environment here at Granger and some of the things we've discovered and connected with.

Tim Stevens is now speaking... here's what I'm getting from him:

Reality #1: Most churches aren't impacting their communities. Churches are known for what they are against more than what they are for [something we've talked about at The Orchard].

Reality #2: Spiritual interest is growing in our culture. Sadly most don't know where to begin. Church attendance dropping but spiritual interest rising.

Acts 17 - Tim talked through the theological background for leveraging culture to reach culture. In this section of scripture, Paul acknowledges that the men of Athens are looking for spiritual answers. He quotes from their poets and pagan philosophers to talk to them about Jesus. Why so that people connect and are willing to listen to what he had to say about Jesus.

How do you look into culture and see Jesus in the culture so that you can use culture to reach culture :)

- Use pop culture to package a topic and attract a crowd.
- Use pop culture to get people thinking or laughing.
- Providing a new interpretation for a popular cultural element.
- Use Pop culture to encourage the people who are making the ministry happen.

Why do all this? So that... lives are changed.

Thanks Tim! Always great being a part of one of your talks.

INNOVATE08 - Brand Schizophrenia

Wow Shawn Wood on the mic! Great visual presentation, fast moving, great communication and hilarious!

Here's what I got from what he shared:

Stuff = how we tell the story through spoken or sung word on digital, web, print media etc.
We need help with stuff. How do we do more stuff? How do we do less stuff?

The Mooey principle... we let stuff become the object of our affection. The only reason we leverage technology is because of Jesus, not because of the stuff. Do we have a 'zest' for the stuff above our love for Jesus? Stuff won't change people. Jesus will. If we have it switched we have brand schizophrenia... we no longer know who we are and present different things to the people in our communities.

Some of this happens when we as a church try to be what another church is because we like what they do instead of being what God has made us to be. Be and innovate the way God has called you to be and innovate. Otherwise you might as well be in the marketplace. You end up just managing stuff.

So who are you?

[Mike Jones interruption here: If you think about it, the churches that are successful, growing and healthy are the ones who are not trying to copy what someone else has done but trying to be and do what God has called them to be and do in the community and culture they exist in.]

Brand: the aftertaste left by an emotional experience. What does your website say about you, about your brand? What about your print media, your videos, etc?

Used an illustration about Diet Coke and Mr Pibb (you'll want to get the podcast of this when it's posted if you are a church leader). He talked about thinking he was getting Diet Coke and getting Mr Pibb instead... compared that to guests coming to our churches and their experience of our 'brand'.

The challenge: don't try to be anyone other than who God created you to be.

Great talk - thanks Shawn!

INNOVATE08 - Stop Talking

Long night of driving, laughing and not sleeping.

My team and I are now at GCC for Innovate08.

Mark Beeson on the microphone right now talking about how we need to stop talking :) About us as the church should stop just talking and start doing - that there are dire needs in our world that need to be addressed with action.

Hilarious but poignant drama about the church on fire and the board discussing what to do about it until they all pass out.

There is an urgent need. We see problems and issues and needs. We start talking to God and start trying to tell God what He needs to do to fix it.

What if we could get real clarity on the truth? There are people driving through life pedal tot he metal, having no idea that if they don't change their course they are going to crash. Families, marriages that are going to get hurt bad in the process if they don't change direction. There is a time to stop talking about something and start doing something to help.

Mark talked about leaning in. Leaning in and doing something about the things we're facing. There is no one else who is going to do what we need to do, what we are positioned to do. When we lean in, we are off balance but we are moving, doing something.

Mark Beeson drawing a correlation between Roman culture at the time of the disciples and American culture today... cut to the chase. We want the info, the bottom line now. Forget the rest.

We are in a culture that wants something to happen.

The attention span for hearing what we have to say is too short in America. We have to tell it with pictures, with video, with story, with song. YouTube videos are only around 3 minutes - that's about all we can handle at one time. We have to say the important stuff, say it briefly if we want to expect immediate results

We must immediately diagnose reality. Our world is driving all out heading for a crash. We need to use whatever we have to wrap the message in story and image to bring it to people so they will respond immediately and alter their course.

Great talk from Mark!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music Setlist 09.13.08 and 09.14.08

Becoming: to grow to be; to turn into.

This series has been amazing. We always plan each series hoping and believing it will be better than the one before and so we thought this one too would be better than the previous. For me personally it has gone beyond what we ever thought it would be.

So what's your story? How has this series impacted you? How have you seen God move through these spiritual practices in your life? Email us your story to

Here's our music setlist from this last weekend (with links to purchase the original recordings from the artists listed):
It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down (instrumental)
The Time Has Come - HillSong United
Let Me Sing - Todd Fields
Majesty - Hillsong United
Lead Me To The Cross - Brooke Frazer
Communion - Third Day

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sometimes Stuff Happens

Rain. Flooding.
Sump pumps going out.
Teammates trying to salvage basements and homes.

But wait... the team is finally together and all the pieces are coming together for our Saturday evening gathering.

One of our never failing iMacs fails.
Drops dead. No power.
Apparently a common thing with the new silver iMacs.
This happens 25 minutes prior to our start.

Grab a computer from the office.
Already has the software we need to run on it.
Good. Very good.
Doesn't have any of the lyrics for the songs we're doing.
Bad. Very bad.

Searching and typing and formatting and working to get it all in place.

A few typos and pagination items but ready just in time for our start.

God is good.

I'm blessed me with a great team that is able to work under pressure to make things happen when they need to. The sign of a great team - to stay cool when the heat is on.

Tomorrow is a new day.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Music Setlist 09.06.08 and 09.07.08

Here's our music setlist from this last weekend (with links to purchase the original recordings from the artists listed):

Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5 (instrumental)
Today Is The Day - Lincoln Brewster
Let Me Sing - Todd Fields (not available in iTunes)
Center - Charlie Hall
Whatever You're Doing - Sanctus Real
I Give You My Heart / Center - Amanda and Mike

What songs have you enjoyed lately in your local house of worship?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What Motivates U?

That question changes depending on what it is we face, what it is that we are doing. Most of the time it's something that excites you and drives you to do whatever it is you are doing.

Other times it's what is needed to begin the task at all.

This is the case for me and working out.

Now don't get me wrong, I love playing sports and doing things that require exercise. I don't mind working hard physically if it means also doing something enjoyable in the process.

For example, I love to play football, baseball, softball, racquetball, and the like, but I hate just lifting weights or running. I ran track when I was younger and would rather do short sprints or even run hurdles than to just run long distance.

Enough about me :) What motivates you to exercise, to work out, to stay in shape (or get in shape)?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back To School

So my kids started full-time back to school this morning. My wife and I homeschool our kids (mostly my wife to be honest... she's brilliant). They've been doing math, reading and science over the summer but now they kick into full gear. I have very smart kids, bu they also get overwhelmed a bit with the beginning of school - which is funny since they never really stop.

Unfortunately, my wife gets a little overwhelmed as well.

This is the same woman who also hasn't stopped schooling them and who mentors other homeschooling parents through tough times of schooling their kids.

I love all of them very much and am confident they can accomplish the tasks they have ahead of them. They just have to beat the mental game part. The tasks aren't really changing, but the mindset has changed.

Do you do this? Do you find yourself stressing or getting frustrated about a project or a task, only to find it's more of a mental challenge than anything?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Music Setlist 08.30.08 and 08.31.08

We had Taylor Phelan out the Orchard last weekend to lead us during some of our worship time. He did an excellent job and has a great voice! Dang! We did have a lot of fun hanging out in downtown Chicago - eating food and taking pictures.

Though I have to say he made me feel a bit older considering the guy is only 19!

Here's our music setlist from this last weekend (with links to purchase the original recordings from the artists listed):

Stranger Things Have Happened - Foo Fighters (instrumental)
Awesome Is The Lord Most High - Chris Tomlin
Marvelous Light - Charlie Hall
How He Loves - Kim Walker
Wholly Yours - David Crowder Band
Light - Shawn Mcdonald

How was your weekend? If you were at the Orchard, let me know what you thought of the worship experience with Taylor - I'd like to pass those on to him.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Downtown Chicago

This last weekend, we had a guest worship leader in town who stayed with my family and I. Taylor had never been to Chicago before so of course we had to have him check out a variety of the great food around here. We also tried to give him a small glimpse of this great city.

Here's a few of the pictures we snapped (yes, believe it or not, I took a few of these myself - though my wife's are the best).