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Christmas at Saddleback

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SVCC just launched ChristmasAtSaddleback.com this week - a website designed for church members to tell their friens about. My favorite part is the 8 free Christmas music downloads. Grab them now to get in the holiday mood!
The Christmas season includes a lot of seeking – seeking the perfect gift, the right party outfit, or new ways to stretch your budget. The first Christmas was filled with seeking too. A man sought a place for his young fiancée to give birth; shepherds looked for a baby in a manger; and wise men traveled many miles to find a newborn king. What are you seeking this Christmas? A church service your family can attend? Ways to escape Christmas commercialism? Ideas for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with your neighbors? You’ll find it all here. Welcome to Christmas at Saddleback.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:16 PM |

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What's Inside: Shaving Cream

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Wired tells us another wonder of the world: what's inside shaving cream. Here's some of the gory details - man, I love this stuff:

Isopentane: In shaving cream, this degreaser breaks down sebum, the oil your skin produces. (It also smells like gasoline.) That helps whiskers stand up, the better to mow them down with a razor.

Sunflower oil monoglycerides: This plant oil has seemingly magical properties. Its fatty acids attach to a carbon backbone and keep the product in gel form. But rubbing the gel in your hands introduces air. Voilà: foam.

Sorbitol: In food, this sweetener causes diarrhea. (Luckily, shaving cream is not for eating.) Here it's a cheap stand-in for glycerine, a skin moisturizer.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:13 PM |

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In God We Trusted

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Does the new $1 coin really not have In God We Trust on it? Actually, it does, despite rumors to the contrary flying around the net this week. "In God We Trust," "E Pluribus Unum," the issue year and the mint mark will appear on the edge.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:30 PM |

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New Culture Article Section on SYM

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We're pumped today to release a new article section on the Simply Youth Ministry website. Today we posted the first article called Raise Your Hand in a section dedicated to Understanding Youth Culture. Excited to partner with Walt Mueller and CPYU.org! Here's a clip:
Okay, this one might get me in some trouble. And it’s all because I’m increasingly convinced we’re doing something wrong in youth ministry. We’ve been chugging along thinking we’ve been doing it right. As a result, we continue to do it wrong because we think it’s right, and in doing so, we’re undermining the very work of the very God who we pride ourselves in serving. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.

What’s prompted my thinking on this matter is a publicity piece I recently read regarding a self-described “youth evangelist” who touts his “success’ by advertising the fact that he’s led over one million kids to Christ. Sorry, I just can’t take that too seriously. I wish I could, but I can’t. To be fair, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard claims like this.

My hesitancy to trust the numbers started way back in the late 1970s when, as a college student, I attended a conference where evangelist Tom Skinner was the keynote speaker. I can still visualize Skinner, a brilliant man whose passion was deep, talking about the waning influence of the church on American culture. In an effort to challenge us to take our faith seriously, Skinner asked a very thought-provoking question that has stuck with me since that day. “George Gallup’s research tells us that 50 million Americans describe themselves as ‘born again Christians,’” said Skinner. This was great news—until Skinner lowered the boom that rocked my simple and satisfying world. He soberly asked, “If there are 50 million born again Christians in America, where are they?” Skinner’s thought-provoking question and the reality it exposed has haunted me for 25 years. I thought about it again when I read the youth evangelist’s claim.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:13 PM |

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What the C.H.U.R.C.H. Can Do

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Rick and Kay Warren are in the middle of their talk on what the church can do to help fight HIV/AIDS. Powerful stuff, here's a synopsis of the talk:

Care for and support the sick
Churches are commanded to care. It is their calling. Love leaves no choice! Local congregations are the only caring organization found in almost every community around the world. Members can offer physical and emotional care in homes.

Handle testing and counseling
Churches are the most trusted organizations in communities, so people may be more willing to be tested and counseled there. Just being tested has proven to promote healthier behavior. Members can be trained to give medical, emotional, and family counsel to those receiving results from their testing.

Unleash a volunteer labor force
Churches have the largest volunteer labor force on the planet – more than 2 billion members. What if half of those could be mobilized? There aren’t enough professionals in the world to teach prevention, administer treatment, and offer care to those who need it. There is an enormous pool of untapped talent and energy sitting unused in churches waiting to be mobilized.

Remove the stigma
Churches must embrace those infected. They can replace rejection with mercy. The church must remove abuse and alienation. They offer faith, hope, love, forgiveness, and grace – spiritual support which neither business nor government can offer.

Champion healthy behavior
HIV/AIDS is complex and yet preventable. Churches have the moral authority to promote healthy behavior and to offer moral imperatives for the family and teach the moral motivation for abstinence and faithfulness. To resist peer pressure and relapse, faithfulness requires faith.

Help with nutrition and medications
The church has the largest distribution network on the planet. It’s already in place worldwide! Millions of villages have a church, but nothing else. For treatment to become universal, we must develop a church-supported treatment model. Organizations come and go, but churches are permanent community fixtures. Members can be trained to distribute HIV/AIDS medications and support essential nutrition. The church can offer pre-treatment preparation, treatment education, adherence support, direct observation therapy (DOT), and treatment coaching to the entire family.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:14 AM |

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The 50 Loose Ends of Lost

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Saw this great link somewhere for LOST fans - it basically chronicles the 50 loose ends from Lost that they've got hanging right now. I would say there's at least that many, but it's OK, since it has pretty much become my favorite show. Take that, 24! Here's two of them ...
THE CABLE

Early on in the series, in the episode "Solitary," Sayid finds a cable running out of the ocean and into the jungle, but his attempt to follow this cable leads to his capture by Danielle Rousseau. Later on, Hurley finds the cable again, and discovers it leads into the hills on the island, but then disappears underground. What exactly is this cable? One would assume it is transferring power or information, but for what purpose and to whom? It leads directly into the ocean - is the power source somewhere underwater and if so, how did it get there in the first place? When the cable goes underground, is it leading to another underground hatch? Or is there a power source inside the hills, and the cable is leading to something even more mysterious underwater, such as an underwater hatch that some fans have speculated may exist? No one has made mention of the cable since season one, so here's hoping it is brought up in the not too distant future.

JACK GETS TOSSED FROM THE PLANE

In the first shot of the "Pilot" episode we watch Jack's eyes dilate after waking up, lying in a forest. We find out from here that the plane has crashed and Lost is kick-started… but our question is how did Jack get thrown from the wreckage? While everybody that survived was busy running around on the beach, Jack quietly wakes up far off in the distance. Was Jack moved or placed in that position? Why did his pupils dilate? Some believe that the dilation was in fact the reflection of the black smoke flying into the air away from him -- which seems unlikely, but you never know. Another question that we found in this situation stems from how Vincent (Walt's dog) comes from even deeper in the woods to Jack's position. So why was Vincent walking around so far away from everybody on the beach? Was he with the somebody who may or may not have dropped Jack off in the forest? And finally, do you remember when the tail section crashed? Ana Lucia mentioned that the way she knew that Goodwin was an Other was because of the fact that he came from the forest dry as a bone. So since Jack entered onto the beach the same was as Goodwin, does that make Jack an Other (with amnesia -- induced or natural)? Or is this all just a coincidence?
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:04 AM |

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Download the World AIDS Day Video

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A bunch of people have written in asking to download a decent quality version of the student-made video we played in HSM at Saddleback this past weekend. Enough! Here you go ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:56 AM |

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The Stitches are Out

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So the stitches are out today ... only 8 days of my life and $180 later. Wow, who knew football costs so much? Oh well, happy to be able to shave again at least.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:49 AM |

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Race Against Time: Saddleback's AIDS Conference

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I'll be on campus most of today learning and blogging from the Race Against Time AIDS conference up at the church. I'm very excited about it - should be a good learning experience. Lots of speakers I want to hear from, this past weekend in HSM has really opened my eyes to the situation.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:46 AM |

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8000 a Day / Everyday

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Here's that video a student made that had a powerful impact on our weekend in HSM.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:36 PM |

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Find a Youth Pastor Job on MySpace

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Did you know MySpace now has a job section now? If you're looking for a youth pastor job, click here! There's 215 listings as of this writing ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:47 AM |

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Some of the Top Needs for Pastors

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What are some of the greatest needs of pastors in America? Here's some of the biggies I'm hearing today:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:25 AM |

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World Series of Pop Culture Team

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So a couple of friends and I are planning on going up to LA next month and auditioning for the World Series of Pop Culture. Here's the bottom line ... Allison is a genius at girl movies and Friends, Treece is a genius on comic book, science fiction and just movies in general, and I'm the Star Wars geek. Honestly, I think I'm the weak link on the team. Either way, we're going to give it a shot ... and I'm always up for looking like a fool ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:25 AM |

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Painful Worship

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Model/actor Tony poses as his favorite worship leader

Random thought of the day: Is it just me, or do many worship leaders look like they are in pain when they are singing on stage? Either it's that sensitive, quiet moment with eyes closed ... or it's hitting those high or emotional moments with the "pain face" on. Ouch - that looks like it hurts! Just thought I would ask.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:13 AM |

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A Conversation About Tomorrow

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Today I get to sit in on a meeting here on campus with 250 of leading American pastors.

Sounds exciting ... I'm very under-qualified obviously, but that isn't going to stop me from going ... sitting on the wings of the auditorium looking and listening in. It's part of Rick's Conversation About Tomorrow that will discuss the future of our churches and their impact on our world in the next 5 years. Cool ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:49 AM |

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Kung Fu Youth Pastor

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This made me laugh this morning ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:19 AM |

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Born Again Boxer

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Just saw this on CitizenLink. Sure sounds like Stallone is a Christian, or at the very least really doing a lot of thinking about Jesus and faith. Check out this clip:
He first explained that he felt compelled to write the first film, and he believes that drive came from above. He said the character of Rocky was meant to reflect the characteristic nature of Jesus.

"It's like he was being chosen, Jesus was over him, and he was going to be the fella that would live through the example of Christ," Stallone said. "He's very, very forgiving. There's no bitterness in him. He always turns the other cheek. And it's like his whole life was about service."

But Stallone confessed, his own life didn't follow the humble example of the boxer who made him a Hollywood star. "I was raised in a Catholic home, a Christian home, and I went to Catholic schools and I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it," he said. "Until one day, you know, I got out in the so-called real world and I was presented with temptation. I kinda like lost my way and made a lot of bad choices."

No joke, said all the subscribers to People magazine. But, Stallone added, he's been going through a change in his life. He's realized that he was wrong to place his career and fame ahead of his family. "The more I go to church," he said, "and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now."

And, admitting that the analogy might be a little pedestrian, he made a correlation between physical and spiritual fitness. "You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else. You cannot train yourself," he said. "I feel the same way about Christianity and about what the church is: The church is the gym of the soul."
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:21 AM |

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That New Pirate Show

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John Mitchem sent me this link to CBS' next big thing. Want to be a pirate on a Survivor-like show from Mark Burnett? I'll remember you when I'm famous.
CBS' PIRATES
Ahoy, Mateys! Want to be a pirate? Apply for the next big reality adventure show from CBS and executive producer Mark Burnett. Download the CBS' PIRATES application form now.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:39 PM |

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Andy the Shipping Guru

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You remember our little Thanksgiving contest on the show? Just posted this video up in the video iTunes feed from the SYM podcast ... watch as Andy tries to ship 10 packages in 10 minutes from Simply Youth Ministry! Can he do it - or will 5 more people enjoy $100 in free youth ministry resources?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:55 PM |

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No Podcast ... Yet

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Hmmm ... we were scheduled to shoot a show this afternoon, but the planets didn't align. Maybe tomorrow? One can only hope so ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:51 PM |

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We Should be Sponsored by Propel

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Just restocked today ... in time for today's show. Nice.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:03 AM |

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My Boss Sounds Like Satan

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Andy is losing his voice ... he's got this demon-sounding voice today. Kinda makes me laugh. When I was walking upstairs today, I heard Nadim talking to someone, and I thought he might be selling his soul to the devil.

I ran upstairs and shouted, "Nadim, don't do it - it's not worth it!"

Then I realized it was just Andy chatting about work.

Whew.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:46 AM |

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Stuff From My Friend's Blogs: Volume 8

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I just realized that with Thanksgiving last week I didn't post another volume of my "favorite blog posts" from my circle of close blogger comrades. In lieu of that, I today will honor one of my favorite blogs in the world. There Is No Better Way to Spend Your Time.

A truer thing has never been said.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:34 PM |

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People on the Blog Right Now: Volume 5

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Here's a late night edition of people on the blog right now. Check out where the folks are from!
People on the blog right now
Dinuba (CA)
San Quentin (CA)
Corona (CA)
Alpharetta (GA)
Cumming (GA)
Texarcana (TX)
Amarillo (TX)
Plainfield (IL)
Aurora (IL)
Plain City (OH)
Philipsburg (OH)
Ferndale (WA)
Clearwater (FL)
New Burn (NC)
Bradley (AR)
Monroe (VA)
Minneapolis (MN)
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:23 PM |

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Video Game Review: Gears of War

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I've been meaning to review this game for a few days now - beat it on the "Casual" difficulty with friends over Xbox Live, then the end of last week beat it on "Hardcore" with Tony over at my house.

In short, Gears of War is one of the most exhilarating and fun games to play in a long time. My Xbox 360 has been taking a beating on this one, and from what I hear it might just curb stomp the reign of Halo 2 on the console. It is by far the most beautiful game I've ever played, by far one of funnest, and definitely one of the slickest shows in town. Of course, this is the first shooter truly designed to take advantage of my HDTV's highest settings - and it shows up in widescreen glory.

I've been excited about this game for a long time (like at E3 and I met CliffyB, the game's lead designer) and it definitely lived up to the hype. This is reason enough to persuade you to beg on your hands and knees for a 360 for Christmas.

The only difficulty in a totally resounding review of the game is the fact that it is rated "M" for Mature - which means it's super scary, includes a fair amount of swearing and plenty of violence as you crush the Locust. This isn't a game you're going to play at the next Xbox Overnighter of Halo-ween with the younglings. You've got to wrestle with your own limits and standards on this one, but if it's something that lands in the OK side of the court, it will blow you away.

Literally.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:08 PM |

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Someone Finally Confirmed It

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Really? Women only talk 3 times more than men?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:47 PM |

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Ministers Remain Uknown

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Rob told me about this interesting observation about how superstars in the Christian world are relative unknowns in the real world. Here's a clip from the latest Barna Group study:

Ministers Remain Unknown

In today’s celebrity culture, even the most well-known ministers remain relatively obscure. Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is Rick Warren. Pastor of a megachurch in southern California and author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he has appeared on countless radio and television programs and on the cover of numerous magazines in the past several years. His book, with sales exceeding 25 million copies, is reportedly the biggest selling non-fiction book in U.S. history (with the exception, ironically, of the Bible). Yet, despite such accomplishments, Mr. Warren remains unknown to most adults in this country. Three of out every four adults (72%) say they have never heard of him, including two out of every three born again Christians (63%). Among those who recognize his name, he has an average favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 2:1. (In contrast, several other individuals evaluated had ratios of better than 10:1.)

Another example is James Dobson, the Christian psychologist whose radio program regarding family matters reaches the largest audience of any religious personality. Almost six out of every ten adults (57%) said they had never heard of Dr. Dobson; in fact, nearly half of all born again Christians said they did not know who he was. Among those familiar with Dr. Dobson, 27% had a favorable impression and 8% had an unfavorable view. However, among evangelical Christians – the small but well-chronicled segment that is clearly Dr. Dobson’s core constituency – his rating was 69% favorable, 4% unfavorable, and 21% who had never heard of him. (The other 6% did not have an opinion of him.)

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:43 PM |

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Darth Vader Snow Globe

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Brian Ferry sent me this link to a Darth Vader snow globe. Is this for real? If so, a) I want one more than anything else for Christmas, and b) who wants to chip in? Shoot!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:52 AM |

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AIDS: Why the Church Must Care

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We also played this video in the weekend service ... super powerful statements. I'll try to get the other ones we created new for the service up in YouTube later this week ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:55 AM |

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AIDS Weekend in HSM

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This weekend marks one of the first times we had a service solely dedicated to a message on AIDS. It was a powerful night, a "inbetween-series" message that coincided with World AIDS Day next weekend and Saddleback's upcoming conference Race Against Time. The underlying theme was on care and compassion from the life of Jesus, but the application was directly to the AIDS community.

We didn't go for the typical night - we marked hands with a red, blue or black "X" when students entered, didn't play any games and even had a live testimony of someone living with AIDS. Kind of random on Saturday night and way too long, so we've made some significant tweaks to the service so Sunday should be strong.
The students responded to the message by coming forward and writing their names on a burlap banner that was stung along the front. Many wrote messages, like "I care" or "I will become informed" and I think it's something that we will hang somewhere as a reminder of what our student ministry is doing for the sick in our world.

Here's the order of service this week:
Countdown video
Welcome from HS Pastor - preview next series
Cover Song - U2's Where the Streets Have No Names - video in background from recent trip to Africa
Jared - Welcome, preview of service
8,000 die a day AIDS Video (student-made ... and it's better then the adult-made ones)
Josh - Obstacles that keep you from Making a Difference and Point #1
AIDS Myths Video
Jared - AIDS quiz
Josh - Point #2
Testimony Introduction (live and video)
Testimony - Living with AIDS
Josh - Point #3
Worship Leader - Song "Comfortable" + 2 worship songs
During song ... students come forward and sign burlap banner
Jared - Practical action steps to take this week and finish Point #3
Prayer
U2 reprise
This marks the first time I've ever talked to students about AIDS. My heart has a lot of growing to do in this area for sure. My prayer is this is something we can turn into some kind of "service in a box" so other student ministries can talk about compassion and AIDS as well.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:32 PM |

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AIDS Video this Weekend in HSM

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:31 PM |

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Day Off in Huntington Beach

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Had a fun day relaxing with the family at Huntington Beach today ... here's a shot from sunset not long ago this afternoon.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:10 PM |

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A New Look for SYM This Christmas

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One of my tasks Monday is to come up with a holiday "look" for the new Simply Youth Ministry website in the spirit of the holidays. Got an idea to make it sweet? Should we just exchange the main logo for one with a Santa Hat? Replace all of the products with products wrapped in Christmas paper? String Christmas lights along the footer of the site?

No idea is a bad idea! Post a comment today and if the team digs it, we'll work it in!

JG

PS: Is this just a shameless way for me to get you to do my work? Hmmm ... you're on to me. Hey, want to teach this weekend in High School Ministry, too? :)

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:40 PM |

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SYM Thanksgiving Podcast Winners

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If you didn't listen to the Simply Youth Ministry podcast immediately this week, 1) I can't blame you with the holiday and such, but 2) you really missed out on some freebie goodness.

On the show, Fields surprised everyone with 10 $100 giveaways for the first 10 emails to write in. We had our first email just an hour after the show was up last night, and more than a dozen before midnight. Lots and lots today now, too - crazy!

Here's the email we sent to the winners ... be sure to check SYM early next week for the video of Andy doing all of the work getting these prizes out. SO fun!
Congratulations - and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your turkey day is going great and the Tryptophan and carbs are overloading your senses in a culinary heavenly experience. Well, we're about to make it even sweeter! You are in the first 10 people to write in! Actually, you were number 1, so well done!

Here's what you need to do:

TODAY, pause the football game and write in with $100 in stuff you want Andy to pick from the warehouse for you. He'll handle it with care, and patiently package your resources and ship them on Tuesday when we do the next podcast. We'll video it on all and drop it into the video feed of the show, too, for everyone to enjoy!

So get cracking! Grab some leftovers and scour the website for what you want - YOU WIN!

Happy Thanksgiving,
The SYM Podcast Team (except Andy, he's a little bitter)
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:36 PM |

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Just a quick Thanksgiving note to everyone on the blog. Our family tradition is a lot like others, we do a turkey buffet and watch lots of football. Gonna be a great 4-day weekend. Hope yours is strong as well. Happy Thanksgiving!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:57 AM |

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My Xbox 360 Plays Movies

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As of today, my Xbox 360 can play and download HD movies - which meanes they land in better resolution than a standard DVD and I don't have to put on clothes to go to Blockbuster or worry about kids scratching a rental disc. All this in the time it takes me to get a soda and nuke some popcorn, give or take. Microsoft today launched a whole new side of the 360 - it can do TV shows, music videos, demos, even whole games ... shoot, it can do pretty much anything except get me some Ruffles and French Onion dip.

Which sound so nice right about now.

And now I read that the promotion with Burger King has started ... they've got $3.99 Xbox 360 mini-games for sale at the resturants ... how great is that?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:59 PM |

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From the Grid Iron

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A few more pics from the big day ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:56 PM |

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Thanksgiving SYM Podcast

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We recorded a short SYM podcast this week this afternoon (I still need to go get stiches, talk about dedication!). It's being digitized right now and will be online tonight if everything goes as planned. Yeah - back in full swing next week, too!

JG

UPDATE 5:50PM: The show is up on the site and in iTunes!

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:19 PM |

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Getting Some Stitches

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So during said football game, I got clocked with a Christian elbow to the chin. I guess my centering was so awe-inspiring that the defensive tackle forgot the rules to the game. Either way, fun hit, though I think I came out on the worse for wear end. Enjoy the picture, I'm off to the Immediate Care Center!

JG

UPDATE 4:10PM: Got 7 stitches in my chin. Fun!

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:14 PM |

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Winner of the Golden Turkey

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Saddleback Church won the church football tournament of the world! We managed to wrestle a fantastic Yorba Linda Church in game 1, then took Mariners in the championship. We're the winners of the golden VIP turkey. Fun was had by all in this festive Thanksgiving tradition of church vs. church football action.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:08 PM |

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The Purpose Driven Church

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Christianity Today talks about the changes at Saddleback and Purpose Driven over the past year. If you hadn't read it, it might be interesting if you're into these sorts of things.

"The success of The Purpose Driven Life and 40 Days of Purpose was a God-sent wave for which we are grateful, and we tried to be good stewards of the blessing," Walker said. "However, it was inevitable that their popularity would crest and then settle into a long-term ministry of support."

Purpose Driven carried out the first round of layoffs in July, while Warren preached in 14 countries across Africa and Asia. Saddleback leadership had hoped the cuts would be enough. Warren and his wife, Kay, even donated $2 million to cover a deficit at Purpose Driven and hopefully save a few jobs.

But a second round of layoffs couldn't be avoided. From a peak of 160 employees, Purpose Driven laid off 30 staff members while another 24 positions were eliminated through attrition.

Saddleback plans to invest more resources in Warren's newest project, his global P.E.A.C.E. plan: planting churches, equipping leaders, assisting the poor, caring for the sick, and educating the next generation. Saddleback leaders hope P.E.A.C.E. can achieve Purpose Driven levels of popularity without the bust.

"It's two very different things," Walker said. "Purpose Driven was training for church growth. … P.E.A.C.E is more of a long-term missions thrust. There is not a product or a trend or anything that is associated with it. It is a long-term thing."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:01 PM |

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Student Ministry Thanksgiving Lunch

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Just enjoyed a terrific Thanksgiving lunch with the student ministry team and some guests. Everyone is getting back up to speed after the Chi Alpha retreat, and quickly getting ready for a few days off. One guy in the picture is already sleeping ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:33 PM |

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Possible Thanksgiving Podcast

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It looks like we might just do a podcast this week after all. We're just finishing up the first of several Thanksgiving parties, and then there's the annual church vs. church day before Thanksgiving superbowl, but latest word is we'll do a podcast tomorrow afternoon - just in time for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:23 PM |

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Want to Buy a PS3?

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Just found a website that has says they have 19 of the 20GB PS3's and 35 of the 60GB PS3's in stock as of this moment. UnlimitedPrice.com ... never shopped with them before, but looks fairly legit. Shop at your own risk - I just called their number and went to voice mail, which makes me wonder. If you missed the launch party, this is risky, but might pay off, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:39 AM |

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People on the Blog Right Now: Volume 4

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Who's on the blog this morning? Here's a selection of our visitors so far today:
Citrus Heights (CA)
San Diego (CA)
Lilburn (GA)
Lowell (MA)
Soldotna (AK)
Washington D.C.
El Paso (TX)
Valley Center (KS)
Perth (Australia)
Dunstall (UK)
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 AM |

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Zune Commercial

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A commercial for the new Zune ... stellar.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:02 PM |

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Adding a Cross to the Passion Venue

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Our Passion venue service is in a semi-portable tent that doesn't have a cross in it yet. We're having one made in the coming weeks and I'm considering some different styles for it. Got some ideas? Most of the other locations on campus have a pretty standard cross, and obviously the towering steeple on campus covers the heart of Saddleback's campus.
Seen something neat? Comment me some fresh ideas!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:31 PM |

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A Break in the Action

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Is your youth group the same every week? You know - a few songs, maybe a video, a talk then some announcements every week? We sometimes get in a rut, too, and perhaps we train students to tune out certain elements of the night. Well, they tune out the announcements for sure.

Here's something we tried this week that got a little buzz among the other volunteers - the result was attentive students. Instead of placing everything in its own little programmed and expected box, we messed everything up. Here's the order of service for this past weekend.
As we debriefed the weekend, it seemed like it was more of a familiar television format. Engage the audience right from the start, then give them breaks or "commercials" every 10 minutes or so. Right after the break, reengage them and get back into the story. It all ends with a powerful conclusion that leaves them with a glimpse at next week.

Interesting to change it up. Fun weekend.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:52 PM |

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10,000 Pounds

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:00 PM |

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Great Stuff from My Friends' Blog

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Another week, another roundup of blog friends posting goodness.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:41 AM |

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Innovation Comes from the Controller

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Interesting article on Wired today, suggesting that the Wii controller will revolutionize video games. I agree to a degree ...

But me, I'm a harder-core gamer, so I'm wondering something deeper: Will the Wii's new-skool controller create new styles of gameplay?

Because I don't see any yet. Much as I enjoy the existing Wii games, they're really just well-known game mechanics -- sports titles, swordplay games, first-person shooters -- that have been haptically reskinned to use the sensing input. All these forms of play existed long before the Wii. They may be more intuitive to play with the nunchucks, but as games, they're nothing you wouldn't have previously encountered.

Yet if you look at the history of controllers, the Wii ought to be the locus of much more radical innovation. That's because new forms of controllers exert a powerful influence on the design of play. Controllers are our meatspace interface into the ether -- they're our way of "being" inside the game world. So controllers, far more than increasingly way-kewl graphics, determine the range of style of games that get made. As controllers evolve, so does gameplay.

Want proof? Consider the impact of several epochal console controllers...
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:47 AM |

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Endurance Object Lesson

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So since the entire High School staff was away at the annual Chi Alpha winter retreat, Tony, Taffy and I led all 4 high school services. Good times! Taffy was speaking on endurance, so we planned a special cool little challenge. A volunteer made a frame that would support some serious weight so we could play a Survivor-esque game - the one where they have to hold an increasing amount of weight off the ground for as long as they can. Basically, as they endured longer, the weight increased.

Had a student hold almost 75 pounds of bottled water for 47 minutes ... he was in the background of the teaching the entire service, so it made for two speakers on stage, if you know what I mean. Very fun illustration of "pressing on," especially as he struggled in his own power for keep the buckets from hitting the ground.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:02 AM |

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The Feeding of the 50,000

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Great article in today's OC Register. A church in Yorba Linda (California) is taking on the feeding of the 50,000. Check this clip out:
Norm Whan knows all too well that he tends to have this effect on people.

"You've got to be kidding me!"

Whan, mostly seen in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, simply smiles at the words of disbelief. And they come from more than one member of the Rose Drive Friends Church.

All Whan proposed was that they provide enough food for 50,000 people on Thanksgiving Day.

If the 500 families that attend the church fill 10 boxes of food each, that would do the trick, Whan estimates. Five thousand boxes, each with enough food to feed 10 people.

"It would be the biggest effort, the single biggest food drive by any one group in the country," Whan says.

It sounds good to the congregation. But is it realistic? Is it even possible?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:21 PM |

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The Thanksgiving Spirit

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My West Texas has a new article this weekend about a youth group that is capturing the Thanksgiving spirit:
Thanksgiving is more than feasting on a tasty turkey dinner and enjoying family, friends and loved ones. It is really a time "to show that all of us are a family and that we just need to help each other," 15-year-old Zack Baud said.

"Just look around. The world's about 'I'm going to save my butt if it costs you yours.' You should think about everyone before yourself. You should save someone else's butt at the cost of your own," he said. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for each other and being thankful for the opportunity to help each other, he added.

Baud is part of a Greenwood Baptist youth group that, along with others, volunteered Saturday to assemble Thanksgiving food boxes for clients of Helping Hands of Midland.

The youth group first volunteered for the non-profit organization last month, when they performed various tasks including cleaning the backyard and sorting through donations, initially as a monthly service project, said Mary Hardin, executive director of Helping Hands.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:18 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Vol 18

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Yes, as you should expect, it's time for another list of the Google searches that led here this week. I've taken out many of the redundant ones from the past few weeks, in search of some unusual, popular or outrageous search words people put into Google that led them here. Here's the latest (in order of usage, from most popular to least popular) since last Friday.

Actual Google searches that led here this week
lost party invitation
millionnuggets
flannelgraph asbestos
my+vasectomy
washington post "on faith"
tanzania
high school musical dance routines "with pictures"
dennis bellesi
church growth
signs you're obsessed with lost
saddleback's summer spectacular
youth ministry christmas skits
guideposts magazine
lesbian google video
workplace parody songs
christmas is a time to love lyric from psalty's christmas calamity
doug fields crafting messages
campaign for real beauty (quicktime)
peter jackson
zune official page
mike lovato architecture
internet good or bad for youth
chic-fil-a tustin market
ps3
lyrics to i don't belong by ricky treece
katharine mcphee smoker
history tradition "no shave november"
sabatticals for ministers
how to build a gonk droid costume
lamppost pizza franchise the numbers of franchisee in the whole usa
sermons walking in purtiy
pastor salary + saddleback church
religious action figures g4tv
flannelgraph lawsuits
dwight schrute's speech
haggard bono aids
maranatha baptist bible college
how does bathing ape bape treat their workers?
employees at simply youth ministry
sweet volcom
fire cheetos
kurt johnston pastor wildside
billions spent on internet pronography
mike meeks eastlake church
star wars youth group games
i don't believe that
patch the pirate

Google searches I wish led here
getting moved up to varsity
celebrity look-alikes
small companies are more agile
relationship builds revenue
who pastors the pastor?
Michigan wins big over Ohio State

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 AM |

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Bond, James Bond

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Just got back from the new Bond with Leigh and Tony ... and here's a quick review.

This is one of my favorite Bond movies hands down.

I'm not into dealing spoilers, but the new Bond is refreshing and human, fast-paced and action-filled. My only wish is that the second half was as spectacular as the first. The film stumbles near the end, but all in all well worth the $10 to see it this opening weekend. If you're looking for a good escape with a couple of friends, this is a great romp. I love mindless action flicks, and Bond always seems to deliver. Nice. A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:14 AM |

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Video Game Degree

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Heather sent me this link to Encarta where you can read about getting a video game education. Now THAT'S a career ... here's a clip:
Attention Xbox junkies: You might be able to justify spending hours perfecting your gaming techniques instead of pitching in with the household chores. You might even say you're just doing your job. At least that's the case for the many professionals in the high-scoring gaming industry. According to the NPD Group, a New York-based market research firm, video game retail sales reached $9.9 billion in 2004, roughly $0.5 billion more than the movie industry took in during the same year. As a result, increased demand for talented game designers has prompted colleges and universities to add game design majors and coursework to their curricula.

"Video game development is not a one-man project anymore," says Mark Baldwin, who has taught game design development at Westwood College Online [an MSN Encarta advertiser] and the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona. "Now there are huge teams, and all the implications of that," he says, likening game production to the filmmaking industry ("the budgets are similar"). In fact, a glance at a typical game's credits shows that dozens of people are involved in conceiving, creating, producing, and delivering a finished game to the market.

"The game industry is a sexy industry, the same way the movie industry is sexy," Baldwin says. "Because of that, there are a huge number of people trying to get in. You have to do everything you can to compete."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 PM |

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The Outside Church

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You would think that a church is there to help it's members. You might even think that a church is here to help it's community. But one of my biggest learnings this week is that our church is a place where people from outside churches come when they need help, too.

Not just for a training event or to a conference - but just dropping by or calling in with a need. They trust us - so they come in for counseling, they call in for advice or email looking for encouragement.

Where does a pastor go when he or she needs help? Where does confession happen for a church leader? I'm finding that people in other ministries need a place to go when they hurt or are in spiritual crisis. I'm glad our church is a place where Christian leaders can find help in their time of need. A thought would be ... is the health of other ministries on my heart? Is it possible that I find time to encourage other youth workers in their journey and not just concentrate on my church and community. What can I do to help further God's work by coming to the aid of His workers?

Just some random thoughts today.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:39 AM |

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Man Overboard!

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Here's an amazing story from the OC Register today about a guy who's life change after a terrible experience on the ocean. Part of the story and his journey included The Purpose Driven Life, which interested me. Sounds like he's a changed man ... cool stuff.

Does God make deals?

A Newport Beach lawyer thinks he does – or at least did with him. Few have come as close to death as Craig McCabe and lived to describe it; now, he personifies the spiritual quest of someone who was sure he was going to die and offered God a deal: Let me live and I will lead a better life.

Today, in a bright Newport Beach office so close to the water it feels like a boat cabin, recounting his ordeal still can reduce McCabe to tears. Not so much because he nearly died but because the experience profoundly changed his relationships with family, friends and faith.

McCabe's life pivoted in an instant on Jan. 12 when he fell off his boat, the Heather, about three miles from the Long Beach breakwater. He was leaning over the side of the 65-foot Stephens yacht to see if lobster trap lines had caught on the boat's stabilizer when a swell pitched the boat enough to somersault McCabe into the 58-degree water.

His boat chugged away, running onto a beach on Catalina Island three hours later. There, an off-duty harbormaster heard on the marine radio that the Heather had run aground. She knew that was McCabe's boat and called her sister, who called McCabe's brother Lance. It was noon and Craig McCabe, then 58, already had been in the water four hours.

His body temperature was falling.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:31 AM |

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Revolution 2

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Just found this press release on BlueFishTV and Doug Fields' next collaborative project. Look for this resource at Simply in the coming days - we already carry Revolution 1 as well ...

Due to the overwhelming response of churches who already used last year's revolution youth study, Doug Fields, pastor at Saddleback Church and author of Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry, teamed up again with BluefishTV to create a unique youth ministry video resource called Revolution 2 for youth ministry leaders across the United States.

This youth group video series includes raw and emotional interviews with leading Christian musicians like Caedmon's Call and Bethany Dillon, World Series pitcher Andy Pettitte as well as over 25 teenagers from across the country. The 13 lessons in this video series truly have the power to change the way that teenagers think, live and worship.

Revolution 2 addresses the pressing topics of today's youth ministry culture including dealing with divorce, broken homes, smart dating, why bad things happen to good people, important decisions, and making a difference in their community. Revolution 2 also features a real-life look at students who went through a 24-hour poverty simulation to better understand how they can make a difference in their community.

A survey conducted by the Barna Research Group discovered that 83% of teens maintain that moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% believe that moral truth is absolute. In this age of uncertainty, youth ministry leaders are looking for resources to guide teenagers towards Biblical truth. Accompanying the 5 DVDs, Revolution also includes a Leader's Guide that helps a youth ministry leader teach 13 weeks of relevant, Biblical lessons.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:26 AM |

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Road Rage Has Nothing on This

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I experience road rage on a daily basis. I believe I am a driving instructor and everyone else on the road is my pupil. But now there's web rage? I like it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:23 AM |

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Upgrades to the the New SYM Website

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We're already upgrading the new Simply Youth Ministry website ... here's a list of a few of the upgrades in place or coming in the next few days:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:21 PM |

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The SJH Podcast Gets a New Episode

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We just posted a new episode of the Simply Junior High Podcast featuring Kurt Johnston. This week Katie Edwards talking about ministering to middle schoolers. Good stuff!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:12 PM |

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Sony Loses $300 Per PS3

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Just read this little factoid on Engaget.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:14 PM |

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Breakfast with Taffy and Tony

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This has adult-onset diabetes written all over it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:29 AM |

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More Construction on Campus

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Because the Student Zone is going to take up a bunch of parking spaces as it's being built over an existing lot, Saddleback is creating a new set of parking lots and a people skyway (or whatever it should be called). Looked cool as I drove on campus today to the new student ministry offices.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:28 AM |

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Quote of the Week: Volume 3

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I also know that anyone who speaks publicly all the time, is bound to say something dumb every now and then. So I ask for your patience and forgiveness in advance because I’m sure it will happen! Every day I'm amazed that God uses someone as flawed as I am. You should be too. Just don't believe everything you read by bloggers or hear in the media.
-Rick Warren, as quoted in a recent article.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:01 AM |

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The Line for PS3

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Was at Target tonight for a minute ... the line for the 12 PS3's they'll be getting is already 15 people long (and they still have 36 hours to wait!). I hope they'll have their $750 ready for the console, a controller and a game! Me? Wow - not interested.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:03 PM |

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They Grow Up So Fast

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My daughter already loves Starbucks. Don't worry, it's just chocolate milk ... for now.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:00 PM |

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Pre-School Campaign Ad

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You could use this with the Beyond the Yearbook series, maybe?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:26 PM |

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Jesus and Politics

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Newsweek has a new article about Christians, politics and the "identity crisis" for Christians these days. A pretty interesting read - I lifted out the paragraph that included Pastor Rick.
Some Christians, exhausted by divisive wedge politics, are going back to the Bible and embracing a wider-ranging agenda, one that emphasizes reaching out to the poor and disenfranchised. Almost unanimously, these evangelicals cite as a model Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Members of his church sign up for missionary stints in Africa, resolve to feed the homeless and see themselves as part of a global Christian community. Over the past six months, Warren has added his name to a public letter condemning abortion and embryonic-stem-cell research, as well as to one demanding an end to atrocities in Darfur and another denouncing torture. "Rick Warren ... has a lightness of being," says John DiIulio, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and former Bush White House staffer. "How do you get coordinates for a guy who talks about poverty like a liberal Catholic?"

Others who say they're disillusioned that the power they entrusted to the religious right has produced so few results prefer a break from politics—as former Bush aide David Kuo puts it, "a fast." "You can't find a values leader out there that is not disappointed, discouraged," says Richard Viguerie, who was one of the architects of the Moral Majority, a forerunner of the religious right.

In his Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Randall Balmer defines evangelicals, broadly, as Protestants who emphasize conversion and who are characterized by "a suspicion of wealth, worldliness and ecclesiastical pretension." By that definition, Jonathan Edwards and the other characters in the First—and Second—Great Awakenings were evangelicals, as were many of the great political activists of the 19th century: the abolitionists, the suffragists, the advocates for prison reform.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:00 PM |

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Microsoft to Win Console War

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With fantastic game, unbelieveable LIVE, the amazing Gears of War and now Halo 3 on the horizon ... shoot, I'm rooting Xbox360 all the way. Interestingly enough, Merryl Lunch has predicted Xbox as the winner in this round of the console wars. Couldn't agree more.
Merrill Lynch forecasts that in 2011, the 360 will hold a 39% share of the international market, with PS3 at 34% and the Wii trailing with a respectable 27%. This would make for a stark turn as the PS2 has enjoyed a 69% share of the worldwide market.

Microsoft's weak spot remains Japan. According to the report, Sony will continue to own the land of the rising sun with a 57% market share, while Wii follows with a 39% share. No share numbers for the Xbox 360 were offered, which seems about right for Microsoft's future in Japan.

As for North America, which has grown to become the most significant territory for console and software sales, Merrill Lynch predicts Microsoft will have a profound lead by 2011. The firm reports Microsoft will have hold of 50% of the North America market while Sony is expected to have just a 27% share. Nintendo follows closely behind with a 23% hold in North America.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:58 AM |

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Granger Featured for Technology

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Saw on Tony's blog that Granger was featured on a local South Bend station WSBT for it's use of technology in reaching people for Christ. Be sure to check out the video version of the story and see some of it in action, too. Very cool stuff ... here's an excerpt from the written piece, too:
Getting people into church pews can be difficult in today's on-the-go society. But some religious groups are using technology to their advantage. Churches, even local ones, have been embracing technology as a way to reach the masses.

“I think our sense over the past ten years has been that video, media, and technology has become more and more important,” said Pastor Tim Stevens of Granger Community Church. “In this culture, it’s becoming the language of the culture.”

That's why his church is offering what you see here on the web and through an audio pod cast. They're not alone. There are lots of “God-casts” out there.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:19 AM |

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NBC Talks Mystery of Faith

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Jason just let me know he put up a link to a segment from yesterday's Today Show, talking about the Mystery of Faith. I will be watching it shortly ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:40 AM |

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On Faith

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Newsweek and the Washington Post just today released a new website called On Faith. Looks like it got has a lot of potential for discussion and articles about faith issues. Pretty bare right now... also read in the press release that Pastor Rick will be on of the contributors. Cool.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:22 AM |

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Sermons from the Internet

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The Post-Gazette has a WSJ article on sermons turning to the internet for insipration, message topics and outlines. Here's a clip of the piece, since there's some question as who to credit, if it takes out the work of the Holy Spirit and more. Interesting read at least - side note: is the WSJ covering more religious topics more lately? Sure seems like it.
The Rev. Brian Moon says he has come up with ideas for his sermons after water-skiing, while watching "My Name Is Earl" on TV and while working on his 1969 Buick muscle car. He also finds inspiration on the Internet, as he did in August when he preached about "God's math."

"People are drowning, drowning in their marriages, drowning in their careers, drowning in hurtful habits," Mr. Moon told his congregation at Church of the Suncoast, in Land o' Lakes, Fla. "They need someone to rescue them and bring them on the raft. They need people driven by God's addition."

Those words, it turns out, were first uttered three years ago by the Rev. Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. His Web site, creativepastors.com, sells transcripts of this and others sermons for $10 each.

Mr. Moon says he delivered about 75 percent of Mr. Young's sermon, "just because it was really good." That included a white-water rafting anecdote similar to Mr. Young's in the original. Mr. Moon, who has now been a pastor for seven months, didn't give credit to Mr. Young, and he makes no apologies for using a recycled sermon.

"Truth is truth, there's no sense reinventing the wheel," Mr. Moon says. "If you got something that's a good product, why go out and beat your head against the wall and try to come up with it yourself?"

These days, a lot of preachers would agree. The sermon -- an oration traditionally expressing the thoughts of the cleric doing the talking -- has entered the age of reruns. Topics and transcripts are available on sites like sermoncentral.com, pastors.com, sermonspice.com, and desperatepreacher.com. In the old days, when a preacher wanted to pinch a sermon, he had to consult a book, a magazine or a sermon anthology.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:18 AM |

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Halo 3 Public Test, New Commercial and More

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IGN Xbox360 carries the news of Halo 3's public beta test this Spring, the Fall 2007 release of the game, and an exclusive trailer during Monday Night Football. Here's a clip:
Next spring you will play Halo 3. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Halo, Microsoft and Bungie announced a trio of upcoming releases, which includes a public multiplayer beta test for Halo 3 in 2007. There is a god and his name is Master Chief.

Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta
Bungie tested Halo 2 with a much ballyhooed Microsoft internal beta program. Many of the suggestions for tweaks and adjustments to Halo 2 multiplayer came from more than a thousand MS employees trying out Halo 2 on a set of private servers. For Halo 3, Bungie is expanding its testing circle significantly. Next spring, Bungie opens the Halo 3 multiplayer beta to Xbox 360 gamers, allowing fans to try out an unspecified number of maps and game modes and to help Bungie make the strongest online game possible.

"The Halo Nation has a nearly insatiable desire," said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. "We hope a taste of advance Halo 3 gameplay satisfies some of their appetite as we count down to the game's launch later in 2007."
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:25 AM |

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Jeopardy with Dad

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Enjoyed a fantastic afternoon with my dad - went up to a taping of Jeopardy in Culver City. Got front row seats to the 2-episode afternoon taping, and even got to ask a few questions to host Alex Trebec. A VERY fun afternoon - always cool to see behind the scenes at a show you watch on TV.

Highlights would be:
It was filmed on the same lot as the MTV Movie Awards I went to earlier this year, this time they were finishing up pickups for Spider-man. Apparently there was some minor rigging shots and stunt work left to do. Tons of city backdrops, brick walls and the like, the paige said yesterday the guy in the Spidey suit was running around everywhere.

All in all a super fun afternoon, great time with my dad and a perfect endcap to their week here in sunny California. The episodes air January 18th and 19th, 2007.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:51 PM |

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World Famous Bacon and Avocado Burger

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Had lunch up in LA today ... how could you resist a claim like this? We had to try it ... the place has been in business for 23 years, so they had to be doing something right. And the risk was $4.85, pretty low for potentially awesome burger.

For what it's worth, the sandwich was absolutely amazing.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:45 PM |

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The Console Wars

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I love console wars. As you know I'm quite firmly planted in the court of the Xbox360, but WiRED today talks about the battle for first place amongst the big three that really heats up this week. An interesting read.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:17 AM |

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Discovering My Purpose and Calling

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Just saw the article I wrote that went out in Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox from Pastors.com. It's adapted from something I wrote for Simply a while ago ... always fun remembering your youth ministry journey. Here's an excerpt:

God was good; he helped us discover what a student ministry could become. Although I don't think I've ever laughed and learned as much as I have during the weeks of PDYM, it is the philosophy that has changed my ministry forever. There is tremendous power in recognizing God's calling to the greatest mission of all – being a leader to students.


I discovered the purposes and rediscovered my calling, all in that same
moment.

Joshua Griffin

I discovered the purposes and rediscovered my calling, all in that same moment.

If you're early on in the youth ministry journey, if you're about to quit, if you're a long-term veteran looking for something more – perhaps your journey just isn't complete and discovering biblical purpose holds the answer like it did for me.

Hang in there.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:09 AM |

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PDYM Visits Tanzania

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Just got a note from a youth pastor who is taking PDYM overseas this week. Pretty cool stuff!
Hey Josh,

Karibo from Tanzania! I just wanted to send a quick email to let you know that I gave away the first set of PDYM books today. Paul, a masai (tribe) man studying to be a pastor at Tulani University in Iringa, was VERY appreciative of the gift. He was SO EXCITED! I took a picture, and blogged about it, too.

Please pass this email along to Doug Fields thanking him from Paul. He said that he wanted to say thank you for the free book. The moment I gave it to him, he started reading it. In fact, he is reading it right now! Thanks again PDYM!

Thanks Josh! Our time here is great! We are drilling wells for villiages and spending time with the amazing people of Tanzania. We are now heading out for a Safari.
Super cool stuff. Take PDYM on your next mission trip! You can read more and see a picture of Paul from Chris' blog here.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:49 PM |

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The Social Work of the Church

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Interesting article on the trend of churches to start thinking about the poor, needy and sick in our community and world. Sounds like what Jesus would want us to be focused on, doesn't it? I'm excited to think that the church could be known for helping those in need. Here's a clip from ehe Bangor Daily News:

Evangelical megachurches, virtually unheard of 30 years ago, are now vital sources of social welfare in urban America. African-American congregations such as the Potter’s House in Dallas, founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes, can engage a volunteer army of 28,000 believers in ministries ranging from literacy to drug rehabilitation. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life," has organized a vast network of churches to confront the issue of AIDS. "Because of their longevity and trust in the community," Warren has said, "churches can actually do a better job long-term than either governments or" non-governmental organizations in tackling the pandemic.

Whether that’s true, these evangelicals — Bible-believing and socially conservative — are redefining social justice. They’re mindful of the material conditions that breed poverty and despair, but they emphasize spiritual rebirth. Though willing to partner with government agencies, they prefer to work at the grass roots, one family at a
time.

Meanwhile, churches and faith-based organizations are growing enormously in their international outreach. Groups such as World Vision are often the first responders to natural disasters. The Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations, founded in 1978, now boasts 47 member groups in dozens of countries. As anyone familiar with these organizations knows, they help people regardless of creed, race or sexual orientation — another democratic (and evangelical) ideal.

It is surely no thirst for theocracy but rather a love for their neighbor that sends American evangelicals into harm’s way: into refugee camps in Sudan; into AIDS clinics in Somalia, South Africa and Uganda; into brothels to help women forced into sexual slavery; and into prisons and courts to advocate for the victims of political and religious repression.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:05 PM |

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Final Full Day with the Grandparents

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Today was the last big family day with my parents in town - oh, they'll still be here tomorrow, but my dad and I have a date with Alex Trebec on the set of Jeopardy. Should be fun.

Started the day off at the office prepping the week, then lunch at Chuck E. Cheeses, hang out time all afternoon, a couple trips to Wal-Mart and then some Chinese take-out to enjoy during MNF. A very solid day with the family - they are few and far between (my family lives 1,096 miles away and my wife's 2,004) so we're soaking up every last minute of it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:57 PM |

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When You Upgrade to Vista

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Did you know you have to agree to all this when you upgrade to Windows Vista next month? SO funny.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:54 AM |

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Quote of the Week: Volume 2

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"Does that mean there was tons to blog about?"
-Doug Fields, in response to me saying I had a really busy day.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:35 AM |

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People on the Blog Right Now: Volume 3

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Just thought it would be fun to catch a few towns from across America of folks that are on the blog this fine Monday morning. Here's a few that have visited already today.
People visited this blog this morning from these cities
Blacklick (OH)
Cedar Park (TX)
Rockford (IL)
Panama City (FL)
Wiston Salem (NC)
Princeton (NC)
Witchita (KS)
Steamboat Springs (CO)
Sterling (VA)
Lake Charles (LA)
Grapeview (WA)
Atlanta (GA)

Some international guests as well
Caverswall (UK)
Saint Margarets (Canada)
Cainta (Philippines)
Lindfield (Australia)
Strandhusen (Sweden)
And just for the record, Nebraska and Iowa haven't show up yet today ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:27 AM |

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Understand Middle School Culture

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The Baptist Standard talks about a visit from Chap Clark talking about middle schoolers and the importance of youth workers understanding the context of their life. Here's a clip:
Chaos, confusion and abandonment characterize youth culture today, a national youth ministry expert asserted. But he challenged Baptist youth ministers to help teens turn the chaos into the comfort Christ brings.

Christian author and youth ministry specialist Chap Clark, associate professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, urges youth ministers to spend time in the real world.

“Youth ministers cannot ignore the real picture of youth culture today—the pain, the unheard of conversations about sexual encounters and the fears of abandonment—if they want to reach teens for Christ,” Clark recently told participants at the Youth Ministry Conclave, sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

To illustrate is point, Clark played a video clip from a Family Channel documentary called Middle School Confessions that showcased a growing trend in adolescent sexual activity.
Chap Clark

“Middle School Confessions is the best documentary on today’s adolescent and teen culture,” said Clark. “Watching even part of it—and movies such as Crash—can help youth ministers and parents understand what they face and how to better address youth.”
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:01 AM |

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New Spiderman 3 Trailer

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Didn't know if you saw this earlier ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:29 AM |

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Grandpa Babysits

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Tonight we all went to church except for grandpa and the 2 oldest boys - they stayed home to enjoy some dinosaur and shark shows since we all went to church last night. When I got home, I noticed the kids stomachs were all swollen like they had eaten a lot, so I asked what all they had to eat while we were out. Here's what the said and other assorted evidence from the wrappers in the trash.
Gotta love it when grandpa babysits. If they're not sick in the morning, it'll be a miracle.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:14 AM |

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The Real OC

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Just reading this article in the LA Times about Orange County and the reality show Laguna Beach. Yup, that show is exactly how we live our lives every day.
On election eve when much of the country was transfixed by the nation's political races, a hastily assembled panel of school board candidates sat uneasily on stage at the Laguna Beach Women's Club.

Facing them was an audience of parents looking for answers. Not answers about academic standards, curriculum or school funding, but answers on where candidates stood on something far more divisive: MTV.

One after another, the candidates savaged the television network and its gauzy reality show "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," blaming it for everything from presenting local youths as rich brats to making the city a potential target for sex predators.

Laguna Beach High School, where many of the students on the series attend class, recently ranked No. 1 for alcohol and drug abuse in Orange County, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:10 AM |

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Great Weekend at Saddleback

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Fields is teaching the weekend at Saddleback, finishing up Pastor Rick's series on leaving a legacy. He spoke about love, and had some really great personal examples from his week. Some were hilarious, some were revealing. My dad came with me to the service, and as always was pleased to hear accurate doctrine a very clear presentation of the Gospel during the talk (what can I say? he watches for these things), and was again surprised at the median age of the service (over half of tonight's service was older than him). We laughed a lot at all of the great humor -and the message was powerful and convicting.

Next week is going to be a big one ... we're heading through the just-over-half-way point of the building campaign, so it's time to build the Student Zone. Big week!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:42 AM |

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How to Greet People

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Played at a recent staff meeting ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:12 AM |

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Great Stuff from My Friends' Blog

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Another week, another round of highlights from my friends' blogs. Here's a few of them:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:47 AM |

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Emergence Day

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Playing through Gears of War ... my friend Elliot already beat it, I'm about halfway through it looks like. Looking forward to Sunday's Emergence Day, a creative way for gamers all over the world to unite, win free stuff and another outlet for marketers to push their product even deeper into our psyche. Which is OK , since it is such an amazing game.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 AM |

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Top 10 Signs You're Obsessed with LOST

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:11 AM |

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More on the PDYM Community Lunch

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Noticed that Rob and Jim both posted notes about the PDYM Community lunch as well. Glad to see a little buzz going about the meetings.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:06 AM |

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Lakers 83, Pistons 97

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Went to the Lakers' game tonight with my dad ... maybe I should have called it the Pistons' game, since that's really what it was. The AP said Kobe was a non-factor, and that's an understatement. Still, an amazingly good time with my dad. Topics we covered included family-centered church, marriage after 10 years, and springing for the closer $10 parking next time. Snacks included Panda Express egg rolls, Red Vines and super nachos. SO fun.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:42 PM |

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