Ok, so there are around 2.4 billion things that I'm excited about right now. And I seriously feel like I need to pinch myself just to make sure this is all real. Here's a taste.
STORY - It happens next week! Can't wait. Around 1,700 pastors, communicators, church leaders, writers, speakers, etc will converge for two days to learn and be inspired by an amazing line up of storytellers - people like Dave Gibbons, Ed Young, Donald Miller, Nancy Beach, Mike Foster, Stacy Spencer, Chris Seay, and others. The first day happens on Wednesday, October 28th at the beautiful Paramount Theater in downtown Aurora. The next day will be workshops (sold out!) happening at The Orchard. Honored to host and be a part of STORY!
CULTIVATE - Seriously, Chicagoland is the place to be in October. Cultivate is a highly interactive, conversational, collaborative un-conference that's all about church communication. It's happening the day before STORY. And the lineup of facilitators is just sick. Wow.
DAVE GIBBONS - We are honored to have Dave speak at The Orchard's gatherings the weekend following STORY. Not only is Dave a good friend, but he's someone God has used to impact my life in some pretty significant ways. I'm thrilled that our church community gets to hear and learn from him!
THE NEW & IMPROVED....ORCHARD - The Orchard has had an extreme makeover! Through the amazing "pro bono" generosity of fellow Orchard tribal members, Dawn & Keith Baldwin (Aspire One), we have a new logo and amazzzing new website that will go live later THIS WEEK. I'll talk more about this in a later post... STAY TUNED!
LOVE.SERVE.GIVE. - It's The Orchard's GLOCAL outreach opportunities this winter. More about this later as well... But just know that we are going to have some amazing opportunities to bring beauty and hope to people locally in our city and globally in places like Uganda, Thailand, and El Salvador.
ORCHARD ART INITIATIVE - Too much to type, but The Orchard is turning into an art gallery starting this month. Our campus will be filled with art from local artists. Huge dream come true, but only the beginning...
Ok, there's more, but I my fingers hurt and I need to study. OUT.
I’ve gotta be honest... I am blown away at the caliber of people God has surrounded my life with. I'm serious. The leaders, pastors, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, etc... who I've had the opportunity to get to know and become friends with over the years is something that I am so grateful for!
One of those people is a very new friend of mine by the name of Dave Gibbons. Dave is....umm...let's
see. Well let me just paste in what Zondervan says about him:
Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with Dave while at The Idea Camp in Irvine, CA. In fact, not only did I have the
privilege of spending some time learning from Dave, but SOMEHOW......I also found myself sitting between him and Eugene Cho during a Leadership Q&A
session at Idea Camp! That was quite an honor... (even though he made me eat this.)
SO ANYWAY....with all that said, there’s two things I want to tell you about:
DAVE'S BOOK.The Monkey and the Fish. I read a lot of books, but seldom do I read one twice. I'm already half way through my second reading...
It’s hard to describe how much I have found myself resonating with Dave’s heart through his book. Plus, watching how God is using him, not just in SoCal, but also in places like Bangkok, India, London, Mexico City, and multiple other cities, is stretching and challenging me in some unbelievable ways. (You can read about my visit to NewSong Bangkok here.)
THE VIDEO. The other thing I want you to know about is this video interview recorded last weekend by Eugune Cho (who you also need to get to know...).
I have no idea why I thought of this, but did you know they have Shakey's Pizza in Tokyo? I remember walking through the Takeshita-dori district (I think...) and seeing one. For some reason that blew my mind. Apparently, they're all over there. Anywho.
It still sometimes blows my mind that I can sit in front of my computer and talk to friends on the other side of the world.
One of those friends is Jim Larson. I've written about Jim before. He and his wife Judy are missionaries who have devoted their lives to rescuing women from the sex trade industry in Thailand. As most of you know, I spent some time there with the Larsons earlier this year and my heart was revolutionized by what I saw and experienced.
I'm so thankful for their friendship and for the window that it provides my life with to look into to see, experience, and learn about the pain and suffering that is happening in their part of the world - RIGHT NOW.
It's **** painful to look into that window, but so, so necessary for me.
Had a chance to go hang out on the floor tonight with my friend Jim Larson before he and Judy (and kids) head back to Bangkok, Thailand tomorrow. Seated on the floor is Jim (yellow shirt), his daughter Anna and her husband Ben. The wild foot up in the air belongs to their friend - whose name I completely forgot. Sorry man...
In case you don't know Jim, check out some of these links:
Here it is! The first video of our "168 Hours" series. Produced and originally shown for our "168 Hours" series at The Orchard on February 11th, 2007. This first of three video pieces chronicle my seven day (168 hours) trip to Thailand in January of 2007.
Weeks 2 & 3 will be posted over these next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.
Today was a great day at The Orchard! We wrapped up our "168 Hours" series by doing a live link up to Bangkok, Thailand via iChat in both of our services. It was amazing!!
We had three girls from The Well with Jim and Judy Larson on one end, a second shot of me, and then a third shot that was linked to an HD cam so that Thailand could have a full view of our auditorium and stage. It worked out great!
The connection was solid (until the end of our 2nd service
when we lost Thailand for a few minutes), the audio quality was good and our community loved it! It was the perfect way for everyone to personally meet and get to know some of the girls who have been rescued from Thailand's sex trade industry and a great way to wrap up the series! Great job Orchard tech & production team!!
Hoping to get some video from the series posted soon!
This is one of THE BEST things I ate while in Thailand. It's called plaa nin phao - fish stuffed with lemongrass, coated with a thick layer of salt then grilled over hot coals. It was purchased at a local street vendor in Bangkok and the flavor was out of this world!
Anyway... All of that to share with you what has to be the best Thai food blog I have seen yet. It's called RealThai and it's written by a guy by the name of Austin Bush who is a freelance journalist and photographer who lives in Bangkok.