Chicago to Atlanta.
Atlanta to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam to Uganda.
The journey begins tomorrow!
Here's the 411 on the trip...
Received an exciting invitation a few months ago from our friends at Compassion International to go to Uganda and experience their work there first hand. Since The Orchard already has a partnership started in Uganda, we felt like this would be a great opportunity to explore how we might be able to expand our global reach.
(Btw - if you're not familiar with Compassion, you need to be. They are making a huge impact in places all over the world. In fact, they're currently helping over a MILLION children in over 25 countries. Amazing, isn't it?)
So....keep your eye out on the blog over the next several days. I'm planning to post photos, maybe a video or two, and of course I'll probably Twitter now and then as well. Also excited to have "the real" Mike Jones accompanying me on this trip!
Uganda is eight hours ahead of Chicago time, so we should be arriving in Kampala (the capital city) sometime around noon (CST) on Friday, May 22.
Over and out.
Ok, I'm diving back in to the blog. It's been way too long. My lame excuse: I've been running 200MPH since a few weeks before Easter with writing, travel, etc... and blogging just hasn't been that high on my priority list. Sorry faithful folks.
So anyway... Rather than try to knock out a bunch of amazing blog posts, I thought I'd throw out a few random thoughts of what's been happening over these past few weeks. Here we go:
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...).
On a side note, Dave will be speaking at this year’s Leadership Summit at Willowcreek.
Lastly, here’s some linkage.
Get to know Dave Gibbons folks.
Tags: Bangkok, Dave Gibbons, Eugune Cho, Idea Camp, Leadership, Leadership Summit, NewSong, Scott Hodge, The Monkey and the Fish, Zondervan
As most of you know, several weeks ago we began what I think has become one of The Orchard's most unique and impacting series in a long time. Each week, we have journeyed through different spiritual practices such as: silence, solitude, scripture meditation, daily prayer rhythms, generosity, and others.
The big idea of the series is basically this:
God is at work in us. Spiritual practices are some of the ways that we cooperate with that work as God helps us to become the people He created us to be.
There's a couple of reasons why I think this has been such an impacting series for us:
1. It's been unplanned. At the beginning of the series, I really felt impressed to forgo all long term planning for this series. Usually, we try to plan topics, etc... WEEKS out in advance. But with this series I really felt like we needed to be completely flexible with where God wanted to take our church community throughout this series. So we have literally planned out each weekend gathering one week at at a time.
2. It has stretched us and pulled us out of our comfort zone. We're comfortable with our long-range planning. But starting with a blank canvas every single week throughout this series has stretched us and challenged us - in fresh and much needed ways.
Has it been challenging in the area of creative planning each week? Yeah, sort of. But at the same time, I have to say that this has probably been one of our most creative and artistic series ever. Watching it all come together each week has been amazing.
2. It's been very personal. For both me and our community. Each week has been planned in response to what it seems God did in hearts the week before. It's almost hard to put into words - but it feels like a journey that God is taking us all on to prepare us for a shift from 3rd to 4th gear.
3. It's been experiential. Each week of the series we have tried to creatively provide ways for people to not only learn, but also experience and taste the spiritual practices we've been teaching on. For example, one week we led everyone through several minutes of silent scripture meditation. Another week, we utilized the technology of Twitter to guide people through a week of daily prayer rhythms.
When it's all said and done, my hope and prayer is that our community has had small, bite-sized, appetizer-type tastes that will only make them hungrier for the ways in which these spiritual practices can truly impact our lives.
So with all that said....
I'm thankful. God seems to be doing something really great at The Orchard right now. And I'm even more excited what's to come these next couple of weeks as I teach on a few missional practices. Which ultimately, is what all the other practices eventually point to.
On a side note.....We've been really honored by the influx of requests for our artwork, sermon transcripts, video pieces, and other creative elements from this series. Typically, we are more than happy to share whatever we come up with. We're all about that. However, because of the uniqueness of this series and what it is that God seems to be doing through it, we've decided to hold off on sharing any of our creative or teaching elements for at least three months.
And to be honest, I can't even tell you why I feel so strongly about that, but it just feels right, so I'm going to follow my gut. Who knows, maybe there's something else that God wants to do with this series that we're not aware of yet. Or maybe it's just that this thing feels very personal for us at The Orchard. Or both. :) Either way, thanks for understanding....
So.... I'm in the OKC airport today waiting to board my flight back to Chicago. My inbox is screaming out to me for attention.... But the WiFi charge is crazy for the hour that I need it.
So what do I do?
I harness the POWER of Twitter and post this:
And so within a minute or two, I've got about a dozen offers (my twitter friends are amazing btw...).
And get this.......
One of the offers comes from someone at Boingo's official Twitter!
And so the guy who responds from Boingo, Jeremy Pepper, tells me to email him for some help. And the next thing I know, the dude has HOOKED ME UP with a login AND......a few extras for future use!
(Insert Clapping Here)
And so of course I shoot him back an email to say thanks and he replies with this:
Uh hmmm..... Wow.
But still... That was pretty awesome.
Thank you Boingo! You guys rocked my face off today.
Wow, what a tremendous weekend we had at The Orchard! This was week #3 in our new series, "Becoming" and so far, the response to the series has been outstanding! My teaching this weekend was on the spiritual practice of prayer rhythms (a.k.a. Fixed-Hour Prayer.)
And so as a way to help encourage our church community to experience the beauty of these prayer rhythms, we encouraged everybody to sign up for a free Twitter account so that they can be automatically notified via text message when a new prayer is posted on The Orchard Blog.
We're posting three times a day (morning, noon, night) and we're encouraging people to allow these notifications to interrupt whatever it is they're doing so that they can take a couple of minutes to pray at the designated times.
The posts began this morning and will continue through the rest of the week. If you want to join in, click here to follow The Orchard's Twitter. If you are new to Twitter or haven't yet signed up, you can find instructions here.
There's something powerful about infusing each part of our day with prayer and communion with God. I can't wait to hear the stories of the impacts made!