January 2013 will focus upon family!

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last night our Family Task Force met for the 6th month.  The goal of this task force is to help Orchard ministries provide tools and experiences for families to be Christ-centered in their homes and neighborhoods.  Our goal is that every parent would understand that they are the primary spiritual coach for their children.

Our teaching team is excited to focus January 2013 Sunday morning teachings upon helping all of us be stronger and better families.  Watch for more details and plan to learn a lot about being Christ-centered families.

So, on Wednesday mornings, I walk 3 of my grandchildren to Orchard Hill School.   My wife, Linda, is in preparation for our Mom's Morning Out Program and this is my one morning each week to be with the kids.  It's never a simple walk when grandpa is along.  This morning it involved climbing a tree on the way.  Here's some pictures....

I have so much to learn from my grandkids about joy and fun!  They can find fun in so many places that I would think is a simple walk to school.

One practice that I have started to implement is that on my walk home alone, I pray for them, their school, the staff and all of the schools that are in session on this particular morning.  Many of the teachers at Orchard Hill attend our church and I know so many others are active Christ-followers in other churches.

I encourage you to find practices that become disciplines that are regular times of praying!


It was a celebration!

>> Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For some of my friends who lead large churches, the day of the Annual Church Business Meeting is one of the worst days of the year.  It can be a day of uncertainty, strife and division within the local congregation.  It can be a day when politics within the church raises its head.  It can be a day when the mission of the congregation gets lost in the details of the business of the congregation.  It can be discouraging.  Many people experience that within their local congregations.

At Orchard we had our "annual business meeting" on Sunday evening.  We call it the Annual Church Celebration.  It has become one of our very good days as a congregation.  We have moved the focus from doing business to celebrating all that God has and is doing within our local congregation.  We had 225 of our leaders and congregational members together to worship, share and pray for our staff and our church leaders.

It was a blast with outstanding and moving worship.  George and Judy Marshal, who are the pastors of our partner congregation Harvest Vineyard Church, said to me, "That was great worship!"     People told moving stories about their children coming to Jesus, about their college students being saved from destruction, about the Youth Art Team and its huge mural, about the Connect and Care Team who visit shut-ins and others who are struggling.

It was powerful.

We have chosen to do our business by mail in ballot which then allows for our current practice which is to celebrate all that God is doing in and through Orchard.  In the above picture people are choosing from many desserts and appetizers.

Here I am interviewing Angie and Elna Dieken about our merger with Lincoln Center and how they see this transition.

Here Maribeth Boelts and Jo Dorhout are encouraging our staff and preparing to lead our congregation in a prayer of help and encouragement for our staff.


19 Baptisms and many people in church this morning!

>> Sunday, November 4, 2012

What a grand morning.  We did a total of what turned out to be 17 infant baptisms in which parents promised to raise their children for Christ.  What a powerful time with Doug and Tim up front doing the baptisms.

Doug and Jeff also did two baptisms by immersion of college students who are now followers of Jesus Christ.  It is such a powerful picture for young people and parents to take spiritual steps like this. 

This really matters!  Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who serve every week by parking cars, seating the crowds, doing childcare and Children's Ministry, making coffee and all of the other responsibilities that allow all of this happen in Christ's church. 


It's Not About Numbers???

>> Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sometimes I sit in meetings and I hear the phrase, "it's not about numbers!"

I know the true thing that people are trying to say.  People are trying to remind us that our work for God must be about something deeper and more true and more important than numbers.  I agree with that.

But, what I usually think at that point, is that numbers most often tell a story that is true and exciting and important.  Sometimes we should absolutely celebrate numbers for what they reflect and tell us.  We ought to thank God for the numbers and the story behind the numbers!

Here are some numbers that I'm thanking and praising God for this Saturday morning:

15--young people who stood up at our Big House Student Ministry event on Halloween to make a first time commitment to Jesus!  Also at our CHAOS Junior High Event on the same evening many other students made some first time commitments and re-commitments to following Jesus.

14 & 2--baptisms we will do on Sunday morning this week.  14 is the number of parents who are bringing their infants to be dedicated to God.  I love this because they are making the commitment (the promise) to God to do everything in their power to raise these little ones to become followers of Jesus Christ.  I've oftened wondered what could be more on our church mission than this kind of a promise.  And the 2 represents the college students who will be baptised as followers of Christ in the 11:01 service.

382--the number of coats that our congregation gave to be to be distributed at Harvest Vineyard Church in Walnut Neighborhood today.  We had a goal of 300 which I thought was way out of the park because this is our third year of doing the project.  How many coats do people have hanging in their closets?  But thanks to the faithfulness and giving hearts of our people, we again have exceeded our goal and God could use these coats to keep 382 people warm this winter!

I would encourage you to celebrate and thank God for these kind of numbers.  Maybe the next time someone says, "it's not about numbers!" you will have a little different thought.

I'm sure thanking God this morning for my privilege to be a part of the ministry of Orchard Hill Church.  Here's some pictures of the coats!


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