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At Church All Day Today

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Busy from 8AM until 10PM today! I don't like them at all. Argh. Worked on SYM and PDYM tasks for most of the day, and especially hit on new product images on the estore and Feedburning the podcast feed. FINALLY we'll have stats on that thing.

After the venue lunch Jason managed to stomp me in darts as he is eager to recount on his blog, but I managed to take him 3-2 in some fierce racqetball to make up for it later that afternoon. Had a great "design team" meeting with Wildside tonight, where we planned the future series called "Back to School Sale" and all of the creative elements that would go into it. Very cool stuff coming from Kurt and the team. Then off to the Adam Watts premiere concert tonight on campus to plug the Passion venue for the 20-and-30 somethings, then home with the kids and a quick blog post.

No margin today. Yuck.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:28 PM |

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Saddleback Growth Ranked #39

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The Christian Post talks about Saddleback's growth slowing in this latest season. Here's a clip:

Lakewood Church in Houston is the fastest-growing U.S. church, according to Outreach Magazine's 2006 church growth study. The annual report listed the top 100 fastest growing churches in America, including 52 new churches and 48 returning from last year's list.In 2005, Lakewood, led by Joel Osteen, gained a total of 12,000 members. The annual report listed the top 100 fastest growing churches in America, including 52 new churches and 48 returning from last year's list.

Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with bestselling author Rick Warren took a plunge down from number five to number thirty-nine. New membership gains in the past year dropped by nearly 1,500 people to 1,149. Willow Creek Community Church, the most influential church in America, according to The Church Report, rose from the 30th rank to the eighth with a gain of 2,900 in 2005.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:24 PM |

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Group's National Youth Worker Conference

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Take a look at this page. Scroll down and look at this list. Nope ... even further down. All the way to the bottom, actually. The last name on the list? Yup, it's mine. I'm going to speak at the big new GROUP conference this February. Don't know what on or anything like that (maybe blogging or websites? That would be fun.) But who cares? This is going to be so much fun. REGISTER!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:40 AM |

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New 103" Panasonic Plasma TV

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I want this TV. It's only $80,000.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:19 AM |

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Youth Pastor Leads Gun Bill

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Interesting article today about a youth pastor strating a movement in Florida. Here's a clip from the local NBC affiliate:
MIAMI -- After a string of recent shootings that killed several children in South Florida, one church is starting a grassroots movement to stop the violence.

People gathered at Faith, Prayer and Deliverance Church on Northwest 99th Street and 27th Avenue on Wednesday to sign a petition in support of the "No Right To Kill, Stray Bullet" bill. The goal is to get 1 million signatures in support of the bill, which demands life in prison for any act of violence that kills a child.

Youth pastor Anthony Dawkins is spearheading the movement. "We want this to become a national law," he said. "You shoot a bullet into crowds and hit and kill children, we want life, mandatory. No parole."
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:32 AM |

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Radio Shack Fires People by Email

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There are rules really about what form of communication you can use for different tasks. A text message you can coordinate meeting for lunch or tell a joke. An email you can schedule an important meeting or open a conversation. With a phone call you might be able to resolve some minor conflict or challenge a proposition. For an engagement, it seems most likely it would be done in person. But not Radio Shack, who recently broke these unspoken rules when they recently used email to lay people off from the company according to the AP.
RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated."

Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday's notification on a company intranet site.

Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:16 AM |

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505 Blog Posts

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Time to celebrate. 500+ blog posts on this blog. Here's some of the highlights of the past few months in case you're a newbie to this place. Welcome to the journey.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:35 PM |

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Are Unicorns For Real?

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Bet never in a million years did you expect to see this post on my blog.

OK, so my wife and I were at Dairy Queen tonight scoring a little family time out of the house. During our various conversations some interesting things came up. 1) how much of a daredevil our children are, and 2) unicorns.

My position is simple. No way.

Unicorns are mythical and legendary creatures. That's it. She counters that there are stories from over thousands of years that include these creatures, including many references in the Bible itself. So as I Googled about the internet looking to settle the Christian (under $20) bet made between spouses, I came across some interesting stuff. Here's an excerpt from this site, and I'd love to read and respond to your comments to our bizarre discussion.
The Bible also offers an explanation about why the Unicorn has not been seen for so long. During the flood that engulfed the world for 40 days and 40 nights, Noah took two of each animal to safety; but Unicorns were not among them. A Jewish folk tale mentions they were originally on board but demanded so much space and attention that Noah banished them. They either drowned or managed to swim during the flood and still survive somewhere in the world or, as some believe, evolved into the narwhale.

In addition, there are seven clear references to the Unicorn in the Old Testament; although, there is now doubt about the original translations that may have erroneously named another animal as a Unicorn. The Jewish Talmud also makes many similar references to the Unicorn.

Throughout history, the church has interpreted the Unicom in a number of different ways. In medieval times, it became a symbol of Christ himself, and its horn was symbolic of the unity of Christ and God. Some medieval paintings show the Trinity with Christ represented by a Unicom. On the other hand, the Unicom also appears as a symbol of evil in the book of Isaiah. Overall, however, the Unicom has come to be regarded as a pure and virtuous animal.

Regardless of the place of the Unicom in Biblical theory, it is evident that there was a strong belief in the animal's existence in Biblical times, as well as in the following centuries. After all, it appears so often in the Old Testament that it can hardly be overlooked in the Christian world. The fact that it appears in the Bible meant that no devout Christian could doubt its authenticity.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:26 PM |

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Good to Great Churches

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A good friend gave me Good to Great by Jim Collins earlier this year - it was one of the better business books that I've read in a while. There were many principles that were transferrable to a church setting, I think there was a lot of wisdom in the pages. Read it, if you haven't had a chance yet. I just noticed that Pastors.com has a new article about Good to Great churches that shouldn't be missed either. Check it out, and here's an excerpt from the beginning:

How does business sector greatness differ from church greatness?
The biggest distinction is the role of money. In the business world, money works both as a fuel to achieve greatness and as a measure of greatness ... But in a church, money is only a means or an enabler of true performance, which is successfully reaching people with the message, creating a sense of community, and contributing to the community.

The subtitle for your monograph is "Why business thinking is not the answer." How is business thinking misapplied in the social sector?
The mistake social sector organizations often make is to implement "business practices," but they imitate mediocre businesses.

For instance, bringing in an outside change agent. That's what many average companies do, but great organizations have the discipline to grow leadership from within. There's also the practice of using incentives. Average companies spend a lot of time incentivizing desired behavior. Great institutions discipline themselves to get people whose character is naturally to exhibit great behavior.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:14 PM |

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The Kingdom Assignment

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Just finished a weekly meeting with the interns from Saddleback - this week's special speakers were Dennis and Leesa Bellesi.

It was an amazing story of how their church gave away $10,000 - $100 to 100 people on a Sunday morning. It was based on the parable of the talents, and you can hardly imagine what happened. They played clips from the Oprah show and told stories of how God moved in the following 3 months at their church. Amazing - we should get the book if you haven't read it - and I'm sure we'll also talk about it and auction off a few for charity on eBay on the podcast, too. Good stuff.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:13 PM |

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PDYM Newsletter is Away!

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The latest installment of the PDYM Newsletter (subscribe here) hit inboxes this morning - if you missed if you can read it here. There's a great classic article from Steve Farris included in it, as well as info on Saddleback Church internships and our YS travel schedule. If you don't have a mentor yet or been in contact with your state PDYM rep, find them and connect now. Cool!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:11 PM |

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The Starbucks Freebie Was Real!

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The Starbucks offer I originally posted was legit! Key word? WAS. But not only did it work for a few days, but some friends used it successfully, too! Here's the story from Reuters about the pulling of the offer. So funny!

NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Tuesday it is withdrawing an offer of free iced coffee to a limited number of employees and their friends and families in the southeast United States. In a statement, Starbucks said the offer "has
been redistributed beyond the original intent and modified beyond Starbucks'
control."

The company said an e-mail offering a free Starbucks iced coffee was sent to a limited group of employees in the southeast on Aug. 23 with instructions to forward it to friends and family. However, Starbucks said the offer was redistributed beyond the original intent. Effective immediately, the offer will no longer be valid at any Starbucks locations.

In July, Starbucks posted its weakest monthly same-store sales increase since 2001, saying heavy demand for cold drinks like Frappuccinos slowed service during busy morning hours, prompting customers to go elsewhere for their daily jolt.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:06 PM |

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The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

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Just happened upon GQ's list of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die. How great would it be plan a whole vacation around these 20 stops? Now THAT I could do. Shoot ... this has got road trip written all over it. How many have you had from the list?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:04 PM |

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Young Pastors

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Sometimes I hear people discounting age in the ministry. I know that rookies make rookie mistakes, but there's a lot they bring to the table as well. Energy, passion, fresh eyes and reckless abandonment to the cause to name a few. But of course, I've got to say that, since I'm still considered "young" by many in church circles (students not included), at the ripe old age of 31.

Enough. Here's an excerpt from an AJC article about a young preacher making some waves. If you fit this demographic, here's some encouragement for you:

That feeling, he admitted, still exists. McInnis, 29, is one of the youngest ministers in the North Georgia United Methodist Conference. He's the lead pastor of Church of the Way, which holds services in a Lawrenceville elementary school.

Yes, he's the youngest minister whenever the Methodist pastors gather, and, yes, he sometimes gets tired of that distinction.

But McInnis also looks at his age as a bonus: He is surrounded by mentors who are eager to share their knowledge with the kid in their midst.

McInnis, who is married and the father of two boys, 5 months old and 2 years old, regularly meets with two other younger pastors roughly his age. Over coffee, they sometimes discuss their age and the challenges the ministry faces in attracting younger people to the pulpit.

Younger ministers, he thinks, are crucial to the growth of the church.

"The greatest unchurched generation in our county is the 18- to 29-year-old generation," he said. "And who's going to reach them?"

Let no one make little of you because you are young, but be an example to the church in word, in behaviour, in love, in faith, in holy living. I Timothy 4:12 (BBE).

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:55 PM |

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Youth Pastor Making a Difference 1 Year After Katrina

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Found this nice article in The Herald about churches still making a difference in the hurricane areas of the US. Here's a particular clip about a youth pastor's committment to the effort:

It is taking much more than a year to repair that kind of damage.

Many businesses are not back to operating, Sosebee said. "Homes are the greatest need. Probably 30 percent of the homes have been repaired. But that still leaves 70 percent."

Sosebee's outlook is it will be at least three or four years to get back to the areas back to how they were.

Johnny Caruso, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Fort Mill, has been to southern Mississippi three times since last year.

He said stores are open, but usually not for very extended hours because they don't have enough workers. He's noticed many people have moved away. The first mile from the coast was so severely demolished that it had to be leveled. The houses that are there are being worked on, and trailers are housing families in the yards.

Caruso and another 30 church members will go back to Mississippi in three weeks. Last time he was there, seven families they helped were back in their homes. He hopes there will be a significant amount more back in homes on this next trip. What's even harder for them is that extended families are living together as they rebuild their individual homes.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:49 PM |

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SYM Podcast 26 is Live

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The latest Simply Youth Ministry Podcast is up and running at the official site. I think Matt will drop it into iTunes momentarily, too.
We talk a lot about staff versus interns, church planting, starting in youth minstry, prayer postures and Kenya. Our first show in almost a month - between work and play we're finally getting back into the swing of things. This is an episode not to be missed, look for another one just on voliunteers later this week. We're back in the saddle, baby! That feels like a bad pun, but I assure you it was unintentional.
You'll want to be sure to visit the links page this week and send us an email if you were caught up and waiting for the show. Doug doesn't think that there was anyone really waiting over the last month, and we've got a side bet to prove him wrong. Enjoy the show!

JG

UPDATE: We've had 80 people write in in the first 24 hours of the new show being up - wow!

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:36 AM |

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Unsubscribing to Church

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Tony has a great post about our culture that might point to an interesting learning in our churches. Will people unsubscribe to your church? What message are you sending out each week. Check it out.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 AM |

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Free Smoothie From Juice It Up

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After lunch with Jason yesterday (avocado sushi rolls at Yogi's) as we drove away I saw a contest celebrating the 100th store opening of Juice It Up. They've got a pretty good contest going, and you get a FREE smoothie coupon just for entering. Had to share that! Enjoy ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:42 AM |

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2 Stories Not to Tell Your Kids at Bedtime

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Don't ask me how I know this, just believe the following words of wisdom.

Here's two stories you don't want to tell your young kids at bedtime. Your wife might not forgive you, and you might have to deal with professional counseling for years to come.
Just wait until their older to break those out. Trust me.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:29 AM |

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Still on the MNF Fence

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So I posted some pretty harsh comments about jumping the MNF ship last week, and I'm not sure I have to many opposing thoughts just yet. You know how much I love it.

Tonight's installment of Monday Night Football was definitely on a better track, despite the pace of the game and the need for the commentators to fill dead time. The intro was good, the HDTV was beautiful, the commercials for the real deal in just 2 weeks were intriguing, and the offense/defense introductions were REALLY good. That's the best part of the show for me so far - because the sideline reporters still sound like their reading from a script instead of really knowing their stuff or even being eye candy, and I'm still not connecting totally with the commentators.

Joe needs to settle down and not make such bold statements and generalizations about the quaterbacks. Tony still just seems out of place, he really fits PTI well but I'm not sure here. I want him to grow on me, I really do. And I do appreciate the community effort they're putting behind him. Tirico has to deal with following class act perfection of Al Michaels. Good luck with that.

There's a great article Is MNF Still Special? that is a must-read on the subject. Here's a clip:

I know it's early. I know it's preseason. But I just don't think Monday Night Football is going to seem like Monday Night Football anymore.

Even when the regular season gets under way, I wonder if MNF will still have the excitement it used to have. It was once a significant part of American culture -- not just sports culture, but our culture in general. Then it evolved into just another night and just another game. Now it has sunken even lower as it's on ESPN instead of ABC. That's right. It's on cable TV! What are they going to do next? Start sending it out on a Web cast that only Mac users can get?

Is today's generation going to rush home from work to watch Monday Night Football as previous ones did? I don't think so. As far as the three new commentators go, I know that if there is any chemistry there, it's going to take a while for it to develop. But I'm not that optimistic.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:49 PM |

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POLL: What is the best size for a small group?

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Take the new poll on PDYMCommunity.com today. What is the ideal size for a small group?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:19 PM |

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Conan Emmy Awards Opening Segment

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Finally found it ... the first 3 minutes is the best, then it gets a bit over the line. Enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:27 PM |

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Group Magazine Back Page

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Pretty exciting news today!

While Andy and I were in North Carolia a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. Funny how those things happen, I think I was more than a bit dellusional, but managed to type the thought into my computer so I had it the next morning.

The last page of Sports Illustrated typically has a great sendoff piece featuring Rick Reilly or somebody with a fun sense of humor writing about sports. I remember several of these pieces in particular a recent one about the World Cup and how America doesn't really have an ounce of true sportsmanship (bar songs, whistling, fist fights, colored scarves) compared to the rest of the world. My thought was - why doesn't GROUP have a column like this? I thought it would be so fun to laugh together at the youth ministry journey and our calling. And maybe I could even write it? Now THAT's a dream, people.

So the next day I shot off an email to GROUP pitching the idea with my mock-up article attached. It was called 5 Responses to the Question: So, what do you do all day? They liked it! The plan is that my random humor articles will show up periodically in the magazine as a sidebar humor bit. Wow!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:35 PM |

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Big Night for 24 and The Office

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What a great night for The Office and 24!

Too bad LOST and American Idol were snubbed, but still, a good night for good shows at the Emmys. If you missed the opening video featuring Conan on a romp through various TV shows, you've got to dig it up online. It gets lame by the end, but the LOST/Office/24 sequence is a must-see. Funny.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:01 AM |

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Fantasy Draft Complete

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This is my 3rd season playing Yahoo! fantasy football, each year I've managed to score massive points but seemingly always winning by a blowout and then losing all of the close games. It seemed like everyone was hot at the same time, and tanked or was injured at the same time, too. Anyhow, this year, I've got a pretty decent group of guys that is going to take me all of the way. Here's the starting roster as of tonight. Thoughts?

Griffin Force
QB P. Manning
QB T. Brady
WR D. Stallworth
WR Ma. Jones
WR Mi. Clayton
RB C. Dillon
RB T. Bell
TE B. Troupe
K A. Vinatieri
DEF Chicago
D M. Vrabel
D T. McGee
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:32 PM |

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Powerful Weekend at Saddleback

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Brother Yun spoke in all 6 weekend services this week at Saddleback Church, telling some of his stories of being pesecuted for following Christ. It was powerful stuff - always exciting to hear about God's thriving work in China. While he spoke through an interpreter, you could sense God's Spirit and passion on his life. He wove part of his story with the life of Jonah, and ultimately asked where we were straying from God's path. Everyone left changed.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:03 PM |

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Filled with the Spirit

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A few folks emailed in asking about the Filled with the Spirit video, I managed to find it to view on YouTube and to download on SYM. Enjoy the humor!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:22 AM |

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Free Starbucks Iced Coffee!?

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This was passed on to me earlier this week ... the only problem is, it sounds just a bit too good to be true. And you know what they say about that .... so it might just be an early internet hoax I haven't been able to debunk. But something about this rings true.

Anyhow, haven't had time to verify the legitimacy of it yet, but if you want to give it a go please download, print and enjoy. If/when it works, leave me a comment! Apparently, they're trying to get you hooked on these new iced coffees, including this grassroots effort to get people talking about it - if not in the store.

And hey, I'm always in for something free. Enjoy a coffee on me!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:37 PM |

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Cool Stuff from Friends' Blogs

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Every weekend I post links to the best of the posts on my friends' blogs. Some of them are really worth visiting daily if you get a chance, but here's some highlights none-the-less:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:25 PM |

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Angels 12, Yankees 7

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Watched an amazing game this afternoon at Angel Stadium with Jake, Hitzel and Randy. We sat in the nosebleeds above first base for the first 6 innings, then headed down to the secret entrance of the elite Diamond Club (right behind home plate) for the last 3. The game was fantastic, and just what I needed to lift spirits after a tough, long and emotional week. Great game - thanks for scoring tickets and thinking of me!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:45 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Vol 7

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It's Friday, and on that fateful day each week we post a list of actual Google searches that led people to this blog. I then follow it up with a short list of words I wish people could use to find this corner of the web:

Actual Google searches that lead here
"josh garrett" "praise band"
"can rick warren change the world"
chic-fil-a franchise
shaun blakeney
"kerry shook " "seeker sensitive"
chic-fil-a headquarters
sterling sharpe
Vince Beresford at Yorba Linda
josh griffin california
"george lucas" and "speaker request"
youtube youth ministry
Association in San Francisco +"visit every country in the world"
Lil Penny Hardaway Commercials
Brandon Warriax
saddleback church
web design blogspo
"Leadership Summit Blog"

Google searches I wish led here
hymns aren't all bad
survivor: layoff island
celebrity pastors
my burrito tastes like aluminum
I love Gerry Rojas
church marketing
polydot printing
Pat and Ty are trendy cool
Jesus taught and fed over 5,000. Was he wrong for having a megachurch?
Shrimp enchiladas

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:59 PM |

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Chipotle with Bloggers

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Just did a Chipotle burrito with friends Jaime, Gerry and Jonathan. They are all creative geniuses, all of them employed by Purpose Driven (until this week, sorry Jaime, argh). We enjoyed delicious varied meats wrapped up in tortillas, and lunch topics included being single, knuckleheads, sleeping bags, job hunting and the upcoming staff retreat that wil include much Madden 2007.

A great time, and thanks for the burrito, Gerry.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:28 PM |

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SYM Catalog Locked and Loaded

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Just finished my edits on the final round of the new SYM Catalog. Whew - we finished design on the website and the catalog goes to print in the same week! I managed to sneak out this sad little shot of one of the pages as it was being edited, so here's a sneak peak. More soon!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:21 PM |

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Have Some Cheesecake for the Baby

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I'm not going to name names, but a good friend of mine just had a VERY akward experience.

Here's the tip of the week: Don't ever assume a woman is pregnant. Know this rule, and never give in, even when it seems so obvious that someone IS pregnant. Let them tell you, and then be SO happy for them.

So someone came up to her this week and said, "Have some cheesecake, it will be good for the baby!" She's not pregnant. She's not even really fat. Maybe she has unusual cravings? I don't know, but I had to share.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:41 AM |

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Interesting Survivor Twist

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Check this out ... Survivor's teams will be divided by race? This is going to be a fun season at the Fields' on Thursday nights!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:24 AM |

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The Real DaVinci Code

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Two guys are really trying to break the DaVinci code by breaking some real stuff at churches. Check this out in today's Daily Mail UK:

Until recently, the 14th century church was a place to enjoy some peace and contemplation. But now things have radically changed for St Luke's Church in the village of Hodnet, Shropshire, with visitors lured by claims that it is linked to the Holy Grail mystery. And some, it seems, will go to any lengths to discover the beautiful church's secrets - even if it means taking a hammer and chisel to the walls.

The Reverend Charmian Beech blamed a pair of 'Da Vinci Code-style' treasure hunters for causing thousands of pounds worth of damage as they searched for clues to help them find the Grail. Stonework was chipped off in four areas inside her church as the offenders tried to remove blocks from the walls to see what is behind them, she said.

The chief suspects are two shadowy Italian men who visited the church that day.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:19 AM |

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That One Kid

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This kid is probably in your youth group:

British Transport Police appealed for help today to trace a youth who was seen swinging from overhead power cables by train passengers.

For the pic, follow the link.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:14 AM |

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Youth Ministry Multimedia Basics

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USA Today had a great article today on editing video and creating slideshows. Plenty of good stuff in there for youth ministries. Here's a clip:

It may seem daunting, but editing video has gotten much easier. Just look at the millions of homemade videos on websites, such as YouTube and MySpace.

With movie-editing software, you can make a real production. Apple's iMovie, Microsoft's free Windows Movie Maker and Muvee Technologies' $99.95 Muvee AutoProducer even have tools to make "automatic movies" that take your clips and
edit them for you.

But any real director wants to be in control, and that entails deciding how your movie opens and ends. Apple's iMovie is drop-dead easy for editing clips, adding titles and music. To edit, you import your clips into the software by locating the videos on your computer, bringing them in and then arranging them into a timeline window that displays the order of the clips for your production.

In iMovie, you edit by arranging two arrows under the video clip to show the portion you want to use, and deleting the excess. After you're satisfied with the beginning, middle and end of your production, you reach into the grab bag of graphic goodies that comes with the software for titles, captions and transitions, such as fade-outs. Add music and DVD chapters and click "Share" to start the DVD burn.

Apple also lets you save the movie as a file for showing on the Net, or in the popular MV4 format used for its video iPod and podcasts in its iTunes Music Store.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:14 PM |

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SYM Podcast 26 in the Can

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OK, it'll take the better part of a night to get the show online for you to enjoy, but we're going to make it happen in the next 24-148 hours. A VERY funny reunion show after a long summer break - don't expect much youth ministry stuff. Good times!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:57 PM |

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SYM Website Design Done

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The new SYM Website is locked and loaded! We finished the design today, and it rocks SO hard. I couldn't be more proud! In honor of the event and the now handoff to the web builders, here's a small sliver of he new site. This is all Andy will let me show the world. Argh!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:50 PM |

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Youth Pastor Packer

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Packers.com has a new article today on a Packer turned youth pastor. Here's an excerpt:
Offensive tackle John Michels' cleat caught in the ground, and his knee twisted while blocking defensive end Vonnie Holliday during a one-on-one pass protection drill in the last week of the 1998 training camp. Michels tore his anterior cruciate ligament, his medial collateral ligament and cartilage. That devastating injury and the lengthy rehabilitation process that followed, however, gave him a new direction in life."It was kind of through the process of all these surgeries that I found a passion for medicine and decided to go pursue that," Michels said. "I enjoy the fact that (doctors) really get to impact people's lives." Michels, in his second year at USC's medical school, studies toward a different career than he expected. While undergoing six knee surgeries and the accompanying rehabilitation, Michels, a religion major on the
undergraduate level at USC, worked as a youth pastor.

Few thought Michels would be pursuing a career in ministry or medicine after just three years in the NFL.

The Packers drafted him in the first round in 1996 and planned for him to protect Brett Favre's blind side at left tackle well into the 21st century. And that future started earlier than expected.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:21 AM |

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Free Xbox 360 Texas Hold 'Em

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I've been playing a lot of poker this week, namely because Xbox Live is sponsoring a free game if you download it in the first 48 hours it is released!

Texas Hold 'Em is now safe inside my little white box and I'm loving it. Timing the release with the World Series on ESPN was gold - the game is super basic but still super fun. Get it while you still can. All in!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:58 PM |

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Green Screen Challenge

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Two of my favorite things. Stephen Colbert and lightsabers.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:48 PM |

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SYM Podcast Tomorrow

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Tomorrow afternoon we're doing the SYM Podcast! Look out world, we're coming back after the summer hiatus!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:26 PM |

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Taco Bell with Jake and Jaime

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Just wanted to give a shout out to Jake and Jaime for a solid Taco Bell lunch run today. Topics ranged from blogs, LifeHacker, Claim Jumper and marriage to gasoline, form tackling and rekindling love on the net. Good times.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:27 PM |

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Blackberry = Drugs

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A new study in the UK today talks about the power of Blackberry's always connected/always on feature. I'm not going to name names here (Andy), but I think myself and a few friends are on this virtual drug. Here's a clip of the story from The Daily Mail:

Blackberry email devices can be so addictive that owners (Andy) may need to be weaned off them with treatment similar to that given to drug users (Andy), experts warned today.

They said the palmtop gadgets, which have been nicknamed 'crackberries' because users (Andy) quickly become hooked on them, could be seriously damaging to mental health (Andy).

The study, carried out by New Jersey's Rutgers University School, claims the Blackberry is fuelling a rise in email and internet addiction (Andy), with sufferers able to survive only a few minutes without checking for new mail (Andy). One key sign of a user (Andy) being addicted is if they focus on their Blackberry ignoring those around them (Andy).

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:57 PM |

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The Podcast Wait Continues ...

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Doug is back in town! But, apparently he's crushed with jet lag. Either that or he's fine, but Andy and Natalie are too slammed with the catalog to do the show. How sad is that? Be sure to visit their blogs (links in the right column) and voice your opinion in their comments. Argh - definitely next week!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:18 PM |

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Shakeup at SNL and Snakes in a Theater

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Just between projects here at SYM/PDYM and saw this NY Post article on a shakeup coming at SNL this week, and this article (credit Kurt for the find) about someone with a terrible sense of humor releasing two rattlesnakes in a theater during a showing of the bomb, Snakes on a Plane.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:37 AM |

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Monday Night Football Now Sucks

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My wife thinks I'm overthinking this, but I'm about to do the unthinkable.

I'm going to jump ship from Monday Night Football. Now, this event is practically an institution in my family, to this day I call my dad and we talk through the 4th quarter - every single week of the season. The flexible schedule, the amazing introductions, unbelieveable games and perfect color commentary. Shoot, this is exactly as the game should be played.

The season hasn't even started, but if what I've seen so far is it ... well then, I'm out of there. And running. They've managed to kill the 36-year dominiation of MNF on ABC. Argh!

Here's some thoughts from Associated Content read on and head there for more reason's to switch:
Is Sunday Night Football going to become what Monday Night Football once was? With Monday Night Football switching to ESPN this fall, it will have a new network, new announcers, and probably less viewers because it will be on cable. Sunday Night Football is moving from ESPN to NBC, bringing former Monday Night Football announcers Al Michaels and John Madden along for the ride. The long-standing tradition of Monday Night Football will face a big test this fall. Let’s look at what is in store for both Sunday Night Football on NBC and Monday Night Football on ESPN.

Sunday Night Football has a few big advantages over Monday Night Football. First, it will be on network TV, so it will be accessible to many more viewers. Another big advantage is that John Madden and Al Michaels will announce the games. Madden and Michaels are like old friends to millions of NFL fans. They were almost as important to Monday Night Football as the game itself. With their switch to Sunday Night Football, Madden and Michaels bring instant credibility and familiarity to the NBC broadcast. In addition, Sunday Night Football will benefit from the NFL’s new flexible scheduling system. For the second half of the NFL season, Sunday Night Football games will not be predetermined. This way, only prime time matchups between playoff contenders will air. There will be no more boring matchups between cellar dwellers, like there used to be on Monday Night Football.

Along with Al Michaels and John Madden, Andrea Kremer will be reporting from the sidelines for NBC. Sunday Night Football’s halftime show features Bob Costas, who will be joined by former NFL players Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, and Sterling Sharpe. With an all-star cast, the halftime show should be an entertaining and informative segment that will be worth watching.

I'm headed to Sunday Nights, folks. Hopefully my dad will join me, how about you?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:15 AM |

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200 Friends on MySpace

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Whew. Just crossed 200 friends on MySpace. Are we friends? Add me, baby!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:07 AM |

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Bi-Vocational Pastors

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The Kennebec Journal has a new article today on bi-vocational pastors, which makes me appreciate these men and women with great hearts. I've known many and they are folks who just seem to sure "get it." If you are reading this and fit into this category, know that it's an honor to share the same profession with you. Here's an excerpt from the start of the piece:
Part-time pastors who also have full-time jobs certainly don't minister for the money.

They refer to their pastoring as a life's calling, something they feel drawn to do. And something in which they find immense fulfillment.

"It's really rewarding and I'm really blessed, being able to do it," says Jon Olson, pastor of the North Wayne Baptist Church.

For 25 years Olson has worked as executive director of the Maine Farm Bureau. He said ministering in a small, rural church works well with his Farm Bureau job, since he deals with rural people in each.

"It's really my expertise," he said.

Olson and others who work full time and serve churches part time refer to their dual duties as "bi-vocational ministering."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:45 AM |

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SYM Catalog Rolling Soon

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Spent the better part of the day working on the 06/07 SYM Catalog, cranking on adding humor and life to the pages of youth ministry resources. I think we've got some pretty funny stuff, though sometimes the funniest stuff isn't quite mainstream or PC enough to make the final cut. I wish I could post it here, but I'm sure "they" would kill me. Oh well ...

The brainstorm is half the fun - I live for this stuff!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:18 PM |

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Left Behind: The Game

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The guys from Left Behind Games stopped by SYM this morning with a BETA build of the new Left Behind: Tribulation Force, and it looks pretty solid. I always want to qualify it within the realms of "Christian games" but I'm hoping this can transcend that, because it's easily going to be one of the best-looking "Christian games" out there so far. Having said that, as always, there's a whole new level above that in the real world where I hope it plays, too.

My style of game isn't exactly real-time strategy, so I'm not as pumped as if it were more Halo-esque or something. But, the graphics are sharp, and there's some pretty creative ideas inside. So yes, it is a Christian game at the core, but definitely with some mainstream appeal. I'm excited to see how it develops and will definitely post more about this encouter, my reaction and updates on how it is developing toward the October release.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:07 PM |

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Why Christians Don't Need Superman

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An interesting article on Christian Music Central that my brother pointed me to this morning on Christians and the box office. A good read, might make for an illustration for a message or video. Here's a clip:

Lois Lane wrote an article that explained why the world didn't need Superman, but perhaps it should have been entitled "Why Christians Don't Need Superman." There are a lot of reasons why Superman Returns didn't soar at the box office, but part of the reason was certainly the lack of support by Christian audiences; which is something that baffles me. Of all the movies released this summer, you would think this was the one that Christians should have really been excited about and supported, but apparently it just wasn't Christian enough. Why? Because it didn't have Christ, only someone like Christ, and when it comes to the gospel on the big screen, that apparently isn't good enough.

You know, there was a time when the Church felt that Hollywood was completely ignoring them. Many Christians saw nothing worthwhile whatsoever coming out of Hollywood, and anything that did have any sort of reference to God, the Church or Christianity was usually derogatory or insulting. All of that begin to change in 2004 when Mel Gibson released a little picture called The Passion of the Christ. It quickly became the number one grossing R-rated film of all time, due in a large part to the efforts of Christians and their support of the film. Now, admittedly this was an independent effort by Mel Gibson and not a film made by Hollywood proper, but let's face it, Mel Gibson has always been one of the faces of Hollywood. Christians wholeheartedly accepted this film and were excited about how they could use it to reach people with the gospel. When Narnia came out, once again Christians mobilized to support a film that had portrayed the gospel message. Once again, Christians had a tool to reach people for Christ. It seemed as though Hollywood was finally learning that there was a market for so called "Christian" movies. But why were these Christian movies so successful when other Christian efforts such as Hoodwinked and Luther only met with modest success. These movies were about Christians or made by Christians, and yet they did not receive the same sort of wholehearted support as The Passion or Narnia. Why? Were they not "Christian" enough? Were they made for the "wrong" reasons? Were they not blatant enough with the gospel? Maybe it's because they didn't really feature Christ, which leads us to why Christians don't need Superman.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:17 AM |

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$10 Worth of Gas

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In my first car I could get a full tank and a Coke for $10.

I was driving around and my fuel warning light came on this past week. I finished up a few errands, and then hit up the gas station to get rid of that dreaded light. I only had a few bucks with me, so I put in $10 worth of gas. Believe it or not, the low fuel warning light never went off.

Argh. Would I fit in a Yaris?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:06 AM |

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30 Days

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Don't know if you watch this show or not - but there's not too much on TV for a few more weeks until the new Fall season, so here's another gem. We just watched the Immigration show tonight - where they put a Minuteman milita border patrol guy in the home of an illegal immigrant for 30 days. Gold.

My favorite show was one from a couple of weeks ago - where they send an outsourced computer programmer to India to get his job back. Priceless.

Just so you know, the series is from Morgan Spurlock, the guy behind the amazing documentary Super Size Me. Watch 30 Days on F/X!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:32 AM |

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Passion Service This Weekend

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Had a really fun Passion venue weekend at Saddleback, we've got some donuts and coffee greeting people as they enter, it's starting to turn the tent into a somewhat welcoming environment. Pastor Tom spoke this weekend on Psalm 23 - a great challenge to get rest from our busy lives and go deeper in our walk with God. Good stuff - had a testimony from the Celebrate Recovery Summit, too, and I managed to work in my "Shrimp Grits" story in the introduction. Fun!

In the middle of the message, they had scheduled a song and we instead opted for some background music while everyone rewrote Psalm 23 in their own words, shaped by the context of their personal lives. I think the temptation with Scripture is to always read it in the general, and never see it intersecting with real life. This particular idea was one I experienced at Granger back in 2004. A powerful exercise ...

Getting ready for the big SHAPE series this Fall. Look out!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:05 AM |

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Americans Hate Vacations

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The NY Times has an interesting article on vacation days - funny, I don't think we're going to be able to take a vaction this summer, so I was thinking of asking for a payout on maybe 10 of the days. How sad is that? It's something I said I would never do - time is always more valuable than money. Leave a comment if you have something to say about it - here's a clip:

Even before toothpaste could clog an airport security line and a full tank of gas was considered an indulgence, Americans had begun to sour on the traditional summer vacation. But this summer, a number of surveys show that American workers, who already take fewer vacations than people in nearly all industrial nations, have pruned back their leisure days even more.

The Conference Board, a private research group, found that at the start of the summer, 40 percent of consumers had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months — the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years. A survey by the Gallup Organization in May based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,003 adults found that 43 percent of respondents had no summer vacation plans.

About 25 percent of American workers in the private sector do not get any paid vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Another 33 percent will take only a seven-day vacation, including a weekend.

“The idea of somebody going away for two weeks is really becoming a thing of the past,” said Mike Pina, a spokesman for AAA, which has nearly 50 million members in North America. “It’s kind of sad, really, that people can’t seem to leave their jobs anymore.”

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Tiger and Frank

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Been enjoying the PGA this week, watching Tiger Woods run amok with the field - at least, that's what he's doing right now on my TiVo - not sure how it all ends. Anyhow, I noticed the stuffed Tiger in his bag and my kids asked about it. Not sure of the origin, I found him explained on Wikipedia. Not sure how I missed all of this, but here goes.

Frank

"Frank" is the name given to the club cover always on Tiger's bag. It is a plush tiger head created by his mother Kultida. On it is stiched, "from mom with love" in Thai.

An animatronic version of Frank, created by M5 Industries[15], was used in several Nike Golf commercials starting in 2003, where Frank would give advice to Tiger, or even seem to be more a nuisance than a help, much in the same vein as the "Lil' Penny" commercials Nike did with Penny Hardaway in the mid-1990s. In one commercial, Frank was talking trash at Charles Barkley during a pro-am. In another, when Tiger thought Frank was giving bad advice, Tiger told Frank, "You can be replaced."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:08 PM |

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Huntington Beach Day

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Been a while since we've been out of the house being sick and all from who knows what, so we enjoyed a nice afternoon up at Huntington Beach, getting some sun and eating at Ruby's at the end of the pier. Today we saw dolphins in the water, the Goodyear blimp, a guy that caught a sand shark on his fishing pole and plenty of folks catching waves on surfboards and wakeboards [see comments]. A nice relaxing afternoon - if you're ever over here in California, this is a place not to be missed.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:42 PM |

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SYM Community Soft Launch

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OK ... the SYM Community is up and running.

New staff bios, new staff page, integrated blog headlines, latest forum posts ... it's all looking pretty sweet. I'm working on a few more banners to get in there, namely Meet the Staff, SYM Webcam, Live Help, Coming Soon and From the Field. Just trying to deep link into the website a bit since we're burying some pretty great content on the site, and also integrating our fresh content (forums and blogs) in real time. Whew, glad to have this thing 90% done.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:31 PM |

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Youth Workers Love/Hate MySpace

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Baptist Press has a new article on the love/hate relationship youth workers have regarding MySpace. Some good stuff in there, here's a clip:
MySpace has been both a great asset and a burden to youth minister Ricky Smith.

Through MySpace, he has found new ways to connect with youth and promote events not only to students at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., as well as those not attending church.

But, in viewing online pages belonging to his youth, he has shed tears seeing how some of them behave differently when not at Piney Grove. At times, he admits that it causes him to question his ability as a minister.

So goes the seemingly schizophrenic world of MySpace, the online phenomenon that is approaching 100 million users, mostly students, and that has youth ministers debating its usefulness and its dangers.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:10 PM |

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ChromeHounds

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Just smacked down Chromehounds on the Xbox360 here at the end of the week - this is a game that on one hand it beautiful and original, and the other frustratingly bad.

I love the premise, but the storytelling and lack of guidance during the missions is unacceptable. I'm happy to have conquered it and it's definitely worth playing, just know that on some occassions you'll be ready to toss your controller at the plasma screen. That's why it took me 13:02 to complete and 17 attempts at the last "secret" level. Argh. Grade: C

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:34 PM |

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Sick as a Dog

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Nothing more frustrating than being sick. Fortunately, I only go down maybe once a year, but when it hits ... shoot, it's a doozy. Anyhow, stayed home from work Friday, still laid up today, running at about 70% I think right now on the way back from the grave. Whew! Anyhow, spending some quality time with my bed and the kids. Argh.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:56 PM |

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Blog Friends Roundup

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Every Friday I like to post a quick list of some meaningful posts from my blog friends. Here's the notables I found this week:


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:08 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Vol 6

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Every Friday I post the keywords people have used during the week to find this little blog. Quite a list this week! I also post below that a few words I wish people could use to find this site, too:

Actual Google searches from this week that led people here
sarti webcam
soccer fakers
simply junior high podcast
father bride speech
should i believe everything i read
jake rutenbar video,
kay warren orphan
erin k and myspace
simply youth Creating an Intimate Marriage
"I Love Staff Meetings"
banjo "danny bowers"
ryan red carpet challenge
"Willow Leadership Summit" and "Photos"
cheat the church
chris collinsworth
O.C. slang
grarls barkley crazy: lyrics
future of forestry myspace
Chris collinsworth family
natalie johnson saddleback church
pirates of the carribeans: At world's end love triangle
Souplantation
racquetball
The Fred Factor and USPS
Youth Pastor Griffin Florida
filled with the spirit jake rutenbar
Sea World annual Pass
halo and youth ministry blog
clip crazy grarls barkley
summer spectacular "saddleback church"
Jana & Leigh Sarti
jake rutenbar Filled with the spirit
history of youth ministry PDYM
"Fred Factor" book review
pdym training
Ektelon O3 Red

Google searches I wish led here
they were all planned
Playstation 3 sucks
Ramen Noodles are the best
the next big thing
subaru mountain bike car
so you think you can dance
designing a new website
blogging for beginners
I bought a new softball glove with my per dium money
elite status
bakery fresh cookies
great deals on plasma tvs
american spyplanes
I really want a Seguay

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:25 PM |

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What's on McGill's iPod

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Treece has his latest iPod revelations up this week - this time its for my good friend Matt McGill. Check out what's on his iPod, everything seems to match up as I would have imagined!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:21 PM |

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I Clap for First Class

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Andy and I got on a plane this morning in North Carolia, winding down our whirlwind website trip. Got lots done, but only managed a meager 6 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, with 2 of those on a plane, which shouldn't even count. So we're basically walking zombies, to say the least.

Anyhow, as we waiting in the lengthy lines at the ticket counter this morning, we watched a guy cut to the front of the line. He had "Elite Status" on Continental - basically it meant he was allowed to cut in front of the 40 of us lowly regular people, board the plane first, and sip wine in seats that are the size of a love seat. That, after a nice private lounge, free wireless and probably a foot massage or something. Must be rough!

I think an airport is one of the few places the caste system still exists.

I want to be Elite, too! Freedom!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:45 AM |

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YDesigns and Websites

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I didn't really get a chance to let people know we were headed out for a quick trip - it's not something I like to advertise until we're coming home anyhow though. So yes, Andy and I have been on another adventure together - that's 4 trips in 5 weeks, people.

We visited YDesigns, an internet integrating company here in Ashville, North Carolina that cranks out ecommerce websites and is taking our dreams and making them a reality. We met thier team, had some delicious meals and launched this massive project. Great people, very generous and fun! Reinventing a website is no easy task, and migrating everything over is a job all in itself. Plus, Andy and I are a bit crazy for upgrades, tweaks and best practices - our goal is that the new site will sing.

So we'll see, we're setting the timeline to BETA in mid-October with the full rollout mid-November. Keep your fingers crossed and look out!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:28 AM |

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Book Club Tag

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Just realized I got taged by Kurt yesterday and thought I would toss out my answers to some questions. This feels like a chain letter - sans the curse of doom on my children. Still though, not being one to tempt fate, I submit my answers for your viewing pleasure. Read on:

1. One book that changed your life: Purpose Driven Youth Ministry - this was the catalyst book of my life. It is the reason I'm in youth ministry today. I know that sounds suck-up, but Fields is in Kenya and will never see this anyway.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Tipping Point - what makes stuff hot and what makes something big. You've seen it over and over again, Malcom Gladwell is a great author. Love his stuff.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Centurion Principles - a book way out of my league with a great ending, awesome principles from men of valor, honor who were human and One who was divine. Could not recommend this one more to anyone in any field.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Fred Factor - a great short read given to all of the venue pastors at Saddleback some time ago. Loved it, easy premise, but totally inspiring. The USPS never looked this good.

5. One book that made you cry: I'm pretty sure I've never cried reading a book. OK, maybe listening to the Revenge of the Sith unabridged audio book. That thing was amazing, especially a few weeks before the movie hit theaters. Does that count?

6. One book you wish had been written: Good to Great - got it as a gift, and am humbled by the amount of work that went into it. Lots of great stuff.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Everything Star Trek.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Blink - on how we thin slice people and make snap judgements. Love it.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: 1st 2 Years in Youth Ministry - I read it once before, I wanted to read it again now that I've crossed the 10-year mark.

10. One book you’d like to write: Youth Ministry Nightmares. A collection of funny stories that will make you laugh at yourself and your calling.

And so now I tag Rob, Jason and Gerry.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:59 PM |

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No, That's Not a Pizza

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What if you were in North Carolina, what would you have for lunch? Maybe grits. Maybe grits and shrimp. Maybe grits, shrimp, and a spicy cajun sauce with some Tabasco splashed on top for good measure. It tasted good going in, but I have to admit I'm worried about the way out.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:33 AM |

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I'm Judgemental

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There was this one guy about to board the plane, he was all scruffy, in a torn flanel shirt and old cowboy boots. He smelled like diesel fuel, probably worked in some kind of machine shop, and was weathered beyond his years. I could tell that everyone from first class back was giving him "the look" - almost an audible whisper and people looking up from their magazines and SkyMall catalogs to see the sight.

I told Andy, "He might be the unabomber, so heads up."

By chance the traffic jam up of people put him right next to my seat for a few moments on the plane. He was in the aisle, in that wierd your-butt-is-touching-my-shoulder-moment. No baggage, no carry-ons and clearly out of his element. I think I was getting diesel fuel on my new shirt. He held on to a boarding pass with a few handwritten notes on it.

On a whim I asked what he was up to - said that he looked like he had an interesting thing going on and how it was too bad we weren't sitting together so I could hear his story.

His eyes immediately filled with tears.

He said, "They called me at work, I came straight from there and bought a ticket. My boy is coming home from Iraq and I want to be there when he lands. He's been there two years."

Pause.

I told him how excited I was for him, and how proud we all were of his son. And thankful. And like that, he was gone, back to sit in a seat at the rear of the plane probably to sit in a shallow pool of diesel. No one else knows his story, no one else maybe even cares. I'm not sure why that exchange happened between us, but I'm looking at him with different eyes now for sure.

Man, I'm judgemental sometimes.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:57 AM |

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Can Rick Warren Change the World?

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Ickthoose just sent me a note letting me know that you should watch FOX News this weekend. Apparently there's quite a show on Pastor Rick soon. Here's a clip:

He's an evangelical superstar. His runaway best seller has transformed lives. But can Rick Warren's message change hell-on-Earth or has he bitten off more than he can chew?

This weekend, join host David Asman for a FOX News exclusive: "Purpose Driven Life: Can Rick Warren Change the World?"

We'll show you how Pastor Warren became one of the most influential religious leaders in America and built one of the largest evangelical churches in the
nation. We'll explore how he's transformed the lives of his readers by telling them to follow the plan God had for them. And, we'll examine how Warren's wife convinced him to acknowledge that God had an even bigger plan for him: Can "A Purpose Driven Life" turn a battered people into a purpose driven nation?

FOX News had exclusive access as Warren set out to slay what he calls the global giants of disease, poverty, illiteracy and spiritual emptiness in a place where he'd easily find them: Rwanda.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:36 PM |

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Drink from a Fountain

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Have you ever drank Ethos Water? I've had it a few times, you can get it at Starbucks around the country for $1.80 a bottle. Part of the hook is that every time you buy a bottle, they send some money all over the world so people can have fresh drinking water. Kinda like Robin Hood, but over water, and without all of the arrows and stuff.

So we take from the rich and give to the poor. Great concept, and apparently a strong business model. Reading the back of the label, for every $1.80 I spend ... only $.05 goes to African wells. Where the heck is the rest of my money? This isn't premium water, I can get aquafina for $1 or Arrowhead for $.80. I can get that Great Value from Wal-Mart for like $.20 - Wal-Mart's so cheap they'll probably pay me to drink it.

Seriously. $.05. Come on. Never again, Starbucks.

Ethos Water is shady. I think I'm going to start selling apples for $1.80 each, then sending a penny to people who can't get apples. And I'll base my marketing all around this concept, cashing in on the high priced apples so people have a token bit of generosity so they feel like they did something. Wait a minute, I bet Ethos Apples are already on the market. Grrr...

"...$1.80 for a bottle water and 5 cents to the poor country? Why don't you drink water out of a fountain and give $1.80 to the poor country?" --Jay Leno

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:13 PM |

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Reaching Without Preaching

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I think some people will over-react to this news article in the Clarion Ledger talking about emphasizing other methodology over preaching. My guess is the author of the article used a clever title over accuracy, though I might be wrong. Anyhow, methodology to complement preaching is a complete emphasis, it definitely wouldn't be wise to replace it altogether. Here's a clip:

Dressed in an athletic shirt, sports pants and sneakers, the Rev. Charles Holbrook bounded into the fellowship hall at Lynch Street Christian Methodist Episcopal Church ready to deliver an important lesson to his congregation's youth.

"The purpose of this session is to nudge you all to consider the possibility that other possibilities exist," Holbrook said, introducing a Saturday class on critical thinking. "Sometimes we find someone tells us something as the gospel and we never question it."

While most faith groups provide children with some type of formal religious education, many also impact youth through an array of social, civic and learning
activities. Ministers who work with young people say these programs not only keep teens out of trouble, but they're critical to helping them form their moral center.

"It's a holistic ministry," Holbrook said. "We're not just preaching and praying but developing a ministry where we can affect the entire life of an individual."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:11 PM |

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Fast Food and the Furious

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The AP has an article on a woman gone mad at McDonalds. Here's part of it:

According to the report, the unidentified woman started yelling at them and
threatened to kill them. The woman then left the restaurant before the Thomases and stayed in the parking lot, sitting in her dark blue Jeep Cherokee, witnesses told police. As the Thomases made their way to their car, witnesses said the woman pulled out of her parking space and sped toward the women, striking them both with the passenger side of the Jeep.

Neither woman was badly injured, the police report said. The woman is being sought by police on charges of aggravated assault. On May 23 at a McDonald's in Covington, about 30 miles southwest of Athens, a man ran over two women and their three children, killing a 2-year-old. A suspect is facing murder and aggravated assault charges in the attack, for which authorities have said they have no motive.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:36 PM |

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King of the Hill Youth Ministry

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Challies has a fantastic post with plenty of King of the Hill quotes to support his observations about some youth ministry mistakes. I think this is a must read for youth workers, and if anyone can get the clip of the show from YouTube or something, I'll be sure to post.
This particular episode was written by Tony Gama-Lobo & Rebecca May. I don't know if they are believers, or merely outside observers, but they made some astute observations. Hank's concern is one I share when I look at the way some Christian kids are encouraged to behave. Too often it seems that God is treated as just another product. Children are unable to seperate Him from the other fads that sweep through their lives when they are young. Beanie Babies and Ninja Turtles come and go. For too many children, God does the same. As long as God is all the rage they are happy to acknowledge Him, but as soon as He goes out of style, they put him in a box like all the other fads. He ends up on the top shelf, along with the Revolve Bible-zines, the "Got Jesus?" shirts, the purity rings and the WWJD bracelets. God is thrown aside as just another fad.

Looks like it's from Season 8. You can also see more quotes from that episode here. I've posted the King of the Hill episode on megachurches before, too. Priceless!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:21 PM |

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Podcast Returns Next Week

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Fields and McGill are still in Kenya as of this writing, but I'm getting several people writing in and asking about the podcast. It should return next week, I think everyone is getting back this weekend or early next week. I guess you could say the new season is on hiatus and will return soon!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:26 AM |

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SYM Catalog and a Special Bonus

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Not too much to post on today - cranking on the SYM catalog copy, adding humor to the front and back covers, the new SYM website and a secret special bonus. This afternoon we spent the bulk of the afternoon in Natalie's garage, taking pictures and using some props.

Here's some clues to tease you as to what it might be. In time, when the new catalog hits this fall, there'll be a special bonus you can download from the website. Let's just say it involves 12 pictures of me and involves the numbers 2,0,0,7. I can't wait to see the finished product!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:41 PM |

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Fleecing the Flock

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There's lots of scams out there targeting churches, according to a new article from the Assoicated Press. Here's the first couple of paragraphs, head there for the rest and beware!

Randall W. Harding sang in the choir at Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, Calif., and donated part of his conspicuous wealth to its ministries. In his business dealings, he underscored his faith by naming his investment firm JTL, or "Just the Lord." Pastors and churchgoers alike entrusted their money to him.

By the time Harding was unmasked as a fraud, he and his partners had stolen more than $50 million from their clients, and Crossroads became yet another cautionary tale in what investigators say is a worsening problem plaguing the nation's churches.

Billions of dollars has been stolen in religion-related fraud in recent years, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, a group of state officials who work to protect investors. Between 1984 and 1989, about $450 million was stolen in religion-related scams, the association says. In its latest count - from 1998 to 2001 - the toll had risen to $2 billion. Rip-offs have only become more common since.

"The size and the scope of the fraud is getting larger," said Patricia truck, president of the securities association and administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Securities. "The scammers are getting smarter and the investors don't ask enough questions because of the feeling that they can be safe in church."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:09 AM |

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Refreshing Weekend at Saddleback

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Had another great weekend at Saddleback - Pastor Tom taught expositionally through the story of Abraham's move to the Promise Land, pulling out some principles for dealing with the changes in our lives that God asks us to make.

A fun night in Passion as well, the song service was fantastic, excellent and honest leading between songs as well - with a couple of community highlights. One, both of the sound guy's sons were baptised last week, and two, a small group just returned from a Ruanda PEACE trip. A great weekend!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:31 PM |

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The Convertible is for Sale

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OK, AutoTrader is now officially selling the convertible. I talked about it a few days ago, and got the car up to speed and up for sale.

I chose the print edition here in SoCal as well as the online edition, they say they'll list it 'until it sells' for $49. We'll see! Spent some time on it today - got it detailed, new wheel covers, Armor-All inside and out and all that jazz. Looking good! Hopefully we can move it quickly ... we'll see!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:23 PM |

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My Blog Friends Weekly Update

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Every week's end I post a little rundown of some of my blog friends' highlights. This week is interesting, many of them are on a PEACE trip to Kenya or away at 1 of 3 summer camps. But, there is still plenty of online reading goodnesss. Here's the best of the best:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:16 PM |

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Why Racquetball is the Best Sport

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OK, so I lost today. Badly. Even with the new racquet. To a 62-year-old man. But desite that humilitation, I think racquetball just might be the perfect sport. Here's why:
1) Calories are burned at a phenomenal rate. Many suggest
that this is about as good an exercise as any, even competing with climbing stairs and running a 9-minute mile. Both of which I avoid at all costs.

2) Racquetball is competitive. For a guy, this is life. I watch competitive eating, poker and darts because there is a winner and a loser. Typically in racquetball I'm the loser, but at least I'm burning calories. Lost 30 lbs last year.

3) It takes two. Accountability is built in to the game. If you really don't feel like going to the gym, who cares, it's not like the treadmill is going to call and ask where you are. But Frank will, and he'll be mighty upset if you do it more than a few times. I was 4 minutes late today, and he told me he was about to give up on me. Awesome.

In short, if you're not playing racquetball ... well, you could be out of the Lord's will. Repent!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:20 PM |

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New Products on SYM

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Just wrapping up another week here at SYM with a few new products. The first, Skitology 101, is to help start or build a drama ministry in your church. The second is a brand new book on marriage by Jim Burns entitled Creating an Intimate Marriage. Both are great new resources!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:17 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Vol 5

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As we do every Friday, here's the list of actual search words people used to discover this site. SiteMeter tells me the referring page before someone hits the blog, and here's the list of google words people searched for then landed here. Be sure to check out Vol 1, 2, 3 and 4 for some classics as well.

Actual google searches
griffin head check clothes
"The Church Office" video PDYM
"Jason Deuman"
Joshua David Swanzy
brandon warriax
matt mcgill sports instructional
joshua story blogspot
PDYM Germany
the office webisodes .mp4
shaun blakeney
anne geddes
dog the bounty who is the preacher
Chic-Fil-A Marriage Retreats
PDYM 06
joshua griffin
josh griffin
"Dwight Schrute's speech"
ryan's red carpet challenge
simply youth ministry matt mcgill
"Ralph Remington"
rev. alvin jackson plagarizing
"new day family church"
video tape of 2006 worship conference rick warren minus media
jake rutenbar purpose driven
youth ministry
summit willow
PDYM 07
saddleback church summer spectacular

Words I wish led people to this blog
Jana's new blog
the office is boring when you don't go to camp
youth ministry community
great calves
big doesn't mean shallow
alone in youth ministry
PDYM 2012
ministry podcasts
frustrated with fundamentalism
voted most popular
America Doesn't Have Talent

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:49 PM |

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Just Discovered Google Trends

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Pretty cool feature over on Google I hadn't seen before last night - Google Trends records the number of times people use a search word over a given period of time. It then cross references peaks and valleys with items from the news that might correlate. You can even list competing words on the same chart. I'll list some as an example, I thought it might be fun to introduce a bunch of you to this cool resource.
GOOGLE TRENDS
youth ministry
purpose driven
fundamentalism
Mariah Carey (talk about a comeback)
Xbox 360
Star Wars vs. Star Trek (this should solve this debate)
surfing vs. skiing
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 PM |

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The Next Big Thing

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Talking with a buddy this week at Starbucks - just catching up on life and tossing out future ideas. For my end of the conversation I pitched an idea I have for the "next big thing" on the internet, something that takes the best ideas of what is out there, where I think the whole net is going, and a way to make some money for myself and really youth workers, too. Anyhow, the idea is mine, but the execution is way out of my league. As we exchanged follow-up emails, here's some thoughts he shared that I thought were particularly good.
Here is my “work in progress” trying to synthesize a little from Andy Stanley and Dallas Willard. In order to affect any change and progress I need to find my Vision, Intention, and Means. I need all three cylinders to be firing if I’m going to get anywhere.
Vision: An idea of what could be combined with the conviction for what should be, based on an account of what was, an assessment of what is.

Intention: The decision of my heart and the focus of my will to relentlessly chase potential into reality.

Means: The art and science of skillfully applying Resources to move X from point A to point B. (Distance, Direction, Time). Simply put . . . get ‘er done!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:19 AM |

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HALO Director Nike Commercial

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You might have heard that Neil Blomkamp was just signed by WETA Digital and Peter Jackson to direct the new live-action HALO movie. I was worried about the choice, and still makes me wonder, but shoot, this Nike commercial he shot is pretty amazing. Check it out.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:25 PM |

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Just Finished Prey

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Whew ... two nights ago I finally finished Prey on the 360. Took about 6 hours, I think. And seriously, this game marks high on my all-time Top 20 games I've ever played, and I'm a pretty rough critic. Awesome graphics, excellent control, engaging story, innovative weapons, great sound and polished interface. Well done!

On the downside, it's still jarring for me to hear cursing in a video game. In daily life I may hardly notice since it is an everyday part of the world we live in, but it still always surprises me in a video game. Not sure why. Anyhow, on to Over G Fighters!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:50 PM |

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Highlights from Andy Stanley's Talk

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Tony again comes through with the highlights of Andy Stanley's talk at the Willow Leadership Summit. Here's a clip - GREAT stuff.

Andy Stanley, senior pastor from North Point Community Church, took the platform for session three. He talked about the best leadership decision he's ever made. He made a deal with God. He explained it something like this:

God, I don't have time to build a ministry and take care of my family. I'll give you 45 hours per week as a church planter. If you can build a church on 45 hours, I'm your guy. I'll let you build has big a church as you can with that 45 hours, and I'll be satisfied with that. But I'm not going to cheat my family.

Andy decided to cheat the church before he cheated his family. With his wife, he decided to be at home by 4:30 every day. That meant he left work at 4:00.

Andy explained that God has never commanded him love the Church. He was commanded to love his wife. He was never commanded to build the Church. Jesus said he would do that. Instead, we get it backwards. We try to go build the church, and we pray that God will take care of our family.

Lots more there and in the coming days from Tony's blog. Nice.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:37 PM |

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Graduating from Their Faith

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Interesting article just posted on The Christian Post talking about high schoolers graduating from their faith when they graduate school. Here's the first few paragraphs:
Thousands of Jesus-following students who graduated from high school this summer will be claiming independent lives as they enter the big college campus in the fall. A new research study, however, is indicating the majority of those students will also be "graduating from God" upon entering college.

Fuller Theological Seminary's Center for Youth and Family Ministry launched a three-year longitudinal study, surveying Christian students and their life transition into college and what provides for a better transition especially when it comes to faith. The milestone study is set to confirm the large number of students that youth workers say are leaving the church.

Denominations and youth workers have estimated that between 65 percent and 94 percent of their high school students stop attending church after they graduate. But no broad, multi-denominational, research-based calculation has confirmed any number.

Research for the first pilot phase of the College Transition Project began in January 2005. Initial results revealed that 100 percent of the 234 students surveyed had engaged in risk behaviors including alcohol use. Those surveyed were students who had graduated from the youth ministry of a Presbyterian church within the last four years. The second most frequent engagement in risk behaviors was sexual encounters.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:13 PM |

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POLL: How do you divide up small groups?

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Just added a new poll to PDYMCommunity.com asking about dividing up small groups. Check all that apply in your setting - it just felt like an important question heading into the fall, when most all of them start back up again.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:38 AM |

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Willow Leadership Summit Blog

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If you're not at the Willow Leadership Summit this week, perhaps you'de love to get a scoop on some of the learnings from someone who is blogging it. Enter Tony Morgan. Here's a clip from his first entry:

Leaders in their early 20s usually have lots of "stupid stories" to share. But, he explained, "I had a heart that was full on for God." Bill explained that he loved God and wanted to do something significant with his life. That was enough to fuel him. God is looking for some "young Kingdom fool" to do something great. "Stay wild young leaders." One ingredient for a leader is a fired up heart.

Leaders cannot exist on passion alone. Followers can only take so much heart and heat. Eventually, they want to know if there's a plan. They want to know if the leader is just trying to use them or if there's going to be a true relational connection. A second ingredient for leaders is skill. You have to be disciplined about developing your leadership skills. If you have been given the spiritual gift of leadership, you have been mandated to stretch your skills.

Bill challenged us to:

1. Read everything you can on improving your leadership.
2. Go where leadership is taught.
3. Get around leaders that are better than you and ask them questions.
4. Keep leading something.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:12 AM |

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