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Starbucks Conversation

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Today in the intern meeting we gave an assignment to the group. I thought it was pretty cool, so here's the reprint:

Starbucks Conversation

You have $10 of Starbucks money and two weeks time. Your job is to identify one person who you would like to learn from and set up a time in the next two weeks to buy them a drink and ask them questions. The boundaries are wide, but here is the direction you should think…leadership, ministry experience beyond yours, position in which you might pursue, how they might handle a situation you are concerned about, balance of ministry and life, etc.

Be creative, think big and do your best to make the most of this opportunity. It can be anyone on our church staff, outside of our church staff who is in ministry, a member of our church, a parent, a business leader, really it can be anyone EXCEPT someone who might fall in your “down line” of ministry care or someone you already have daily access to.

One Rule: You must have your person approved by me – only so we do not all go and bug the same person. Don’t worry if someone gets to your person first we will do this again sometime in the future and you can try again.

Due Date: March 14th

Come ready to share what you learned. You will have 5-7 minutes to give us some highlights of your conversations.

Why you pursued this person

  • What you hoped to learn
  • What you actually learned
  • An Ah-ha enlightment
  • How you were challenged
  • In light of your time together another person or idea you would like to pursue

Have Fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:36 PM |

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TestTube

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Everyone knows about YouTube's TestTube, right? Like a Jedi, you can see things before they happen.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:15 PM |

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iTunes and Black Licorice

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I was asked to emcee Saddleback's recent small groups conference and when they asked me to do it I said that I would do about anything for some iTunes gift cards and black licorice. The thank you note was on my desk today - with $100 to iTunes and a tub of Black Red Vines.

Deli.cio.us.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:11 PM |

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What Would Jesus Wiki?

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Wired talks about some new Christian Wikis. Oh boy ...

An alternative Wikipedia written by conservative Christians has become a major target of mockery on the web.

Conservapedia, a wiki-based encyclopedia that offers the historical record from a conservative perspective, is attracting lots of derisive comments on blogs and a growing number of phony articles written by mischief makers.

Conservapedia "is a gold mine of unintentional hilarity," wrote Mark Frauenfelder on Boing Boing last Monday.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:09 PM |

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Looooong Day Today

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You know it's a long day when your first blog post is 11:02pm. Whew.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:02 PM |

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Taco Bell: eColi and Rats

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Interesting read in Fast Company today about Taco Bell's tarnished company-wide image because of a few very isolated incidents. It reminds me of how youth ministry is often characterized by a few isolated incidents, accidents or students - and it's a reflection on the whole organization. Read this clip with those eyes:

This may significantly alter my life, and it is because of the disturbing footage I viewed on YouTube. As much as I did not want to look, I ended up watching, and it wasn’t pretty. It looked like the awful, made for T.V. movie, The Rats. You can not see food poisoning, so people would forgive and forget, but the rats are all over the internet for people in California, Texas, Ohio and any other state to see.

Taco-Bell Corporation has decided the best way to deal with this is blame the owner of the specific location with the pests, and ignore the subject. This strategy does not exactly "think outside the bun," so-to-speak. Yes, the rats only scoured for food and inhabited only one chain in the Greenwich Village area of New York, but the impact felt because of YouTube, and other sites, will go much farther than one owner’s negligence. When people see the image of those fat, hairy, grey vermin scuffling across the floor, they probably will not think "oh, I am glad I don’t live in New York." Instead what will trickle into their minds is "I wonder if my local Taco-Bell has that problem?"

The Corporation must deal with this on a macro level because of one micro level store. Instead of disregarding customers’ nationwide; that is the customer the company should worry most about. The Bell may have lost some people in the New York area, but they still have a chance to hold onto customers in other states with a strong marketing plan.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:05 AM |

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Wired Talks Snacks

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Wired has a great new series of articles and a great snack timeline (click on Epic History and it'll pop up) that is not to be missed. Here's a clip from the feature article:
It was round. It was tiny. It was delicious. And it was about to change the course of American culture. In 1991, Nabisco unveiled one of its greatest - and most influential - innovations: the Mini Oreo. Shrunk to the size of a quarter, the Mini Oreo offered a unique and tantalizing proposition: constant consumption without consequences. The downsizing of the iconic treat - eventually repackaged in supersize resealable bags - cemented Oreos place as number one in the $3 billion cookie market. A major phenomenon was born.

Replace Nabisco with Apple, the Mini Oreo with the iPod nano, and youve got a blueprint for the current boom in what might be called snack-o-tainment. Apples single-minded marketing campaign for the iPod (its tunes - not albums - in your pocket, after all) taught us the joy of picking the choicest cuts and shuffling them into individual hit pdes. The same with television: When the video iPod launched in October 2005, we were suddenly eager to pay $1.99 to watch a music video or a recent episode of Lost in a smaller, portable version of what was already available for free on that big square thing in our living room.

Music, television, games, movies, fashion: We now devour our pop culture the same way we enjoy candy and chips - in conveniently packaged bite-size nuggets made to be munched easily with increased frequency and maximum speed. This is snack culture - and boy, is it tasty (not to mention addictive).

Neither Nabisco nor Apple was the first to distill things to their essence. Moses gave the world its first Top 10 list long before Letterman (on handheld tablets, no less). Old Farmers Almanac, Readers Digest, and CliffsNotes pared information down to pithy synopses. But cultural snacking isnt just distillation, its elevation. In 17th-century Japan, teenage poet Basho popularized the haiku, an early, lyrical version of the IM. Abraham Lincoln delivered his 272-word Gettsyburg Address in a YouTube-friendly two minutes.

Today, media snacking is a way of life. In the morning, we check news and tap out emails on our laptops. At work, we graze all day on videos and blogs. Back home, the giant HDTV is for 10-course feasting - say, an entire season of 24. In between are the morsels that fill those whenever minutes, as your mobile phone carrier calls them: a 30-second game on your Nintendo DS, a 60-second webisode on your cell, a three-minute podcast on your MP3 player.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Ripping YouTube Videos

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Want to rip something off of YouTube? Who doesn't?

Enter Vixy.

Seems the servers are pretty slammed, but if/when it works, this will be big.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:58 PM |

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Using What God Has Given Us

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Just posted this great article from Neal Benson about his recent trip to Africa. Here's a clip, head there if you want to read the rest. Good stuff, great reminder today:

After traveling for over 30 hours we finally landed.

We had been planning this trip for the last three months and we are finally here. My wife looked over at me and with a huge smile said: “I can’t believe we are in Africa, I have always wanted to come here”. I looked over at her at just smiled back, I never thought to myself I never thought God would take me here. We were in Burkina Faso, the third poorest country in the world. One in three kids die before the ago of 10 and the life expectancy is 42 years old. The average worker makes $2 a day, if they have a job and 87% of the population is unemployed. These are just some of the stats that I learned in the car ride from the airport.

We arrived at the guest house, what would be our base of operation for the next two weeks. I didn’t sleep the first night, I guess it didn’t matter we got in at 3am. I was just so shocked that God had brought me here. I kept wondering, why me God? What do you want with this pale white kid that was raised the mountains? Why did you bring me to Africa? The answers to these questions would come, it just took some time and listening to God.

The first day we went and did a tour of the churches we would be roofing and the pastors we would be partnering with. The team of twelve ranged from a High School senior to a 65 year old VP of some big company, we were a different team. As we drove around I just kept looking at all the people. I was amazed, I don’t think I had ever seen so many people out in the streets just hanging out with each other. I didn’t really know what to make of it and had to remind myself of the unemployment.

After working on some roofs and totally blowing the minds of the missionaries in Burkina, I guess we worked to fast we took some time to paint a church that has a center for Compassion International at it. We started sanding and next thing I knew there was 20 kids in the room with us, they just wanted to help. I started working with some of them and had them help me. I looked over and my wife was just sitting with them, she was taking time to spend with them. She got it, I had missed it. I was focused on the job and not the people. It is usually the other way around.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:26 PM |

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American Idol Reminder

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Just got this email from ChrisSlighFans.com, of which I am a subscriber:
We want to keep Chris in the competition, so its important that you vote to keep him alive TONIGHT!!!!!

Lets get those votes in people

VOTE FOR CHRIS VOTE FOR CHRIS
More true words have never been spoken.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:15 AM |

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Great New NNYM Articles

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There's a couple of great new articles from the National Network of Youth Ministries this month, be sure to grab Willing to Minister to Youth for Life and Perception is Reality. Right click, Save As and print them at your next volunteer meeting or personal encouragement/learning today!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:10 AM |

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Free Videos from SYM

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You can grab a sweet new Scripture video and the funny rap parody Hotel, Hotel if you want from SYM's video freebies section. The Scripture video is really sharp and comes from ChurchTechTalk.com and if you notice, you'll see we now feature their blog and podcast feed on the SYM community page, too. Good stuff!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:46 AM |

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Harmony with eHarmony

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So apparently it was a simple case of mistaken identity.

There are several Josh Griffin's in eHarmony, but the closest lives in Texas, and apparently there's another clone of me in Oklahoma. But none here in Southern California, so the lady that cornered me after church last night was looking for another Josh or pastor at Saddleback and somehow her search mistakenly led to me.

At least that's what the customer service agents assured me. We shall see. So - whew, glad that's over. Not that I would support pranking somebody this way, but man, that would be funny.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:05 AM |

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No Academy Award for Comedy

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The best part of the night. Not much else to love.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Andy's UFO Car

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An alien spaceship landed on Andy's car today. Be warned, it could happen to you.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:58 PM |

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Rainn Wilson on SNL

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This was funny. Unfortunately, this was the only part of the show that was.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:17 PM |

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Digg This

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New little feature I added to the blog today - Digg links at the bottom of each post. It's a is a site I've been enjoying for a while but finally only today added to the blog. If you're a member of their site and like a story, click digg and more people will get to see it in the community. Here's the description of the service from Wiki:
Digg is a community-based popularity website with an emphasis on technology and science articles, recently expanding to a variety of other categories such as politics and videos. It combines social bookmarking, blogging, and syndication with a form of non-hierarchical, democratic editorial control. News stories and websites are submitted by users, and then promoted to the front page through a user-based ranking system.
Fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:06 PM |

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Andy vs. Nadim Winner

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And the winner is ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:55 PM |

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Blair, the Podcast Visitor

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We had a visitor on the podcast last Friday, and Fields asked him to send in a report to share. Here it is!
Hey everyone,

The gang asked me to write a quick blog about my visit to the Simply Ministry podcast so here it goes.

I met Josh at the small group conference earlier in the week and I told him that he was CHEM and we had a few laughs about some of the things they have talked about over the last year on the podcast. Is it just me or are you surprised that there were no jokes or comments about Josh's "surgery" the following week? Anyway, Josh then invited me to sit in on Friday's taping.

When I arrived Friday morning, everyone was great. They welcomed me in like I was one of their own. The office was cool and they had like 20 empty frames up on one wall. I commented on how cool this contemporary art was and they said that it wasn't meant to be art, but they just hadn't gotten around to putting pictures in them over the past year. At this point all of my anxiety went away because I knew that they were just normal people, who like most youth pastors start a project and go all ADD and start something else without finishing what they started on. I was surprised at the size of the room that the podcast is taped in. It looks a lot bigger on line. In fact everything looks bigger than it really is. Matt and Josh are really only 175 lbs each!

The podcast began and was very entertaining. I caught myself not even paying attention to the questions because I was in the company of such greatness (Andy was sitting next to me!). I couldn't help noticing this cable that was hanging down from the ceiling behind Matt. I could only assume that this was in case he said something controversial and Doug could use it to choke him. (We would hate for there to be a second edit.) Natalie got locked out and I kind of felt bad, but it just seemed like another day at the office for them.

Over all my experience was AWESOME! I left thinking about one comment that was made during the podcast. It was that a lot of people in Indianapolis told them that they listened to the podcast and really liked it because they didn't feel like they were alone in ministry after listening. I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. I would encourage anyone to drop by and check it out. They were really down to earth people who just love youth ministry. Thanks again guys for letting me sit in on your day. Much love and YOU GUYS ROCK!!!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:34 PM |

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An Inconvenient Oscars

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How bad was that last night? Not even mildly funny, disappointing on every count.

Even the Jack Black/Will Ferrell bit was a B, and that was by FAR the highlight. Argh - bad, bad, bad. No surprise when the ratings come out it will be in the toilet. Did you notice how many times they mentioned "a billion people are watching right now" - yeah, right.

Redic.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:10 PM |

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My eHarmony Profile

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You might be wondering why I've been married for 11 years and have 4 children - and also have an active eHarmony profile. That's what a young lady asked me tonight at the Passion service when she came to the service to look me up. Really? Me? This has to be a joke - if not, it's a joke I want to play on someone else. But she was serious, and dissapointed I hadn't taken my profile down since I was now married. She left before I could put all of the pieces together of what exactly was happening.

Just to be clear, I don't have an eHarmony profile - never have and hopefully never will. No that there's anything wrong with that - it's just that I'm happily married so don't exactly feel the need for one. Just an interesting moment tonight. Here's what I shot over to them to get to the bottom of this:

Had a lady visit church tonight to see me and was surprised to find out I was married. Actually, I've been married for 11 years, have children and have never even signed up for a profile.

So is this just a simple case of mistaken identity, or is it possible for someone to be posing as me on eHarmony as a joke or something? Totally freaked me out, would appreciate some quick assurance on this.

Thanks!

JG

So was happened? I'll keep you posted. Wild.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:49 PM |

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Church 2.0

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When you enter, a playlist plays of songs submitted during the week, the ones with the most votes rise to the top. A few more are even shot spontaneously wirelessly from various iPods to the DJ who plays a selection of the submissions for everyone to enjoy. As the service officially begins, a few are played live as the band gathers on stage. The center screen shows the live message, and you notice that everyone brought laptops or curiously large cell phones. It seems the place is full of geek Christians and seekers.

Instead of lecture-type seating, it's more coffee-shop-esque with multiple living room pods. For a better view, some people are watching the same talk broadcasted simultaneously on their own device. The whole place is wireless.

Everyone online shares together in instant messenger, a few live conversations break out off to the side. Sometimes you just have to talk. There's lots of caffeine, and there's plenty of buzz. As the pastor gives an illustration, someone calls up a relevant TV clip to one of the side screens, it is approved by the moderator and played for everyone to see. When they reference a book, in one click it'll be at your door tomorrow. Now the best quote of the last 5-minutes of the talk shows up in bold on the center screen. Someone wanted to hear that last part again, so they can rewind on demand on their screens and then click LIVE to rejoin the rest of the group.

Everyone is on the email list, and word is spreading fast about the service. A few people are away so they share their webcams on the far screens, completely synced into the service. There's live blogging for personal sites and the church's main team blog, instant messages are flying around now and some have asked for counseling or prayer. During the application the pastor mentions a class everyone should take for further study, and sends the webpage to everyone's screen. You can add the event to your Outlook effortlessly, and pay for it online, just like you already did for the offering you gave during point 2.

Hours later, the geek church finally winds down. The message ended a while ago, but they'll be talking, engaging and posting about it for days. Good thing there was food, since church has become a near-full day event. Engaging, relevant and full of community.

Church 2.0. Just a thought I had tonight.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:48 PM |

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My Wife's Philosophy

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"You never have to get me flowers. Flowers don't have enough calories."
-Angela, responding to the sight of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup 10-pack I brought home for her tonight for her upcoming birthday. I love that woman.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:06 PM |

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Stuff from my Friends' Blogs: Volume 16

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Here's my weekly roundup of notable posts from my friends in the blog world.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:30 PM |

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HSM Has AIDS Weekend

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Kay Warren spoke this weekend in HSM, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and announcing the new ministry opportunity for high schoolers called 8K. Powerful stuff, she compared present-day AIDS to that of Jesus and leprosy. The candles on stage represented 40 million people in the world living with AIDS.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:27 PM |

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Leaving Hypocrisy, Not the Church

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The Christian Post had an interesting article about why students are leaving the church. A good thought about authenticity for sure. Here's a clip:

Senior Pastor Jim Shaddix describes his church as "somewhat contemporary." It has a robed choir and a praise team, hymnals and Brooklyn Tabernacle songs, and a big screen. One elderly lady believes the church needs to incorporate more hymnals into their worship services while the twenty-somethings want to ditch the choir and the robes. "What is a pastor to do?" Shaddix posed at a recent Southern Baptist conference.

"We generalize this trend as simply a choice between the traditional and contemporary," he noted.

But Shaddix does not see it in that light. Young people, he believes, are not opposed to hymns. In fact, they sing revisions of hymnals sung by contemporary artists such as Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. And they are not opposed to the organ, or else many of them would walk out of ball games. Pastors clad in a suit and tie are also not a turnoff to the younger generation who watch late night show hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman run their monologues in a suit and tie.

Beyond the form of traditional churches and worship styles, young people, who are labeled as the future of the church, are opposed to the "fabricated Christian culture" within the traditional churches.

"They're opposed to the lifeless and heartless way we often sing those hymns," Shaddix said at the second Baptist Identity Conference in Jackson, Tenn.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:38 PM |

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The Latest Podcast Is Up

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Grab the latest Simply Youth Ministry show in iTunes or from Feedburner if you dare! It's up!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:49 PM |

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A Rick Warren Blog

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Was just told that A Rick Warren Blog had it's first post today. Check it out if it's of interest!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:45 PM |

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Kool Kid, a Gadgetier, or a Massive Passive?

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Fast Company has a fantastic summary of a new report on generational challenges. Some interesting interplay you could make between the challenge of the church in reaching adults and students. Just something to think about ...

An IBM consulting report titled "The End of Television As We Know It" divides viewers into three distinct groups: Kool Kids, Gadgetiers and the Massive Passives. It's an interesting shorthand with implications that go beyond television viewing habits.

According to the report, there's a "Generational Chasm" between older viewers who passively receive live television, and a younger "lean forward" group who demands more control, flexibility and portability. The lean forward group is divided into two segments, teenage "Kool Kids" who are tech savvy but cash poor, and twenty-something "Gadgetiers" with lots of disposable income to buy devices and services.

The distinction between the Gadgetiers and the Kool Kids is a helpful one. According to the report, the Kool Kids are into user generated content, instant messaging, filesharing and mobility. They know the workarounds to defeat copyright protection, because they have more time than money.

Fascinating.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:14 PM |

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Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office

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I've been thinking about checking out the Google Applications, but I'm pretty entrenched in the Office Suite from Microsoft. Should you switch? Wired doesn't think so ... yet.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:12 PM |

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People on the Blog Right Now: Volume 11

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Time for another weekly edition of people on the blog right now - a fun look at states, cities or countries where people surf here from. Up today: all of the cities from Texas represented from this past week.
City (number of visits from that city)
Abilene (22)
Austin (20)
Spring (14)
Ponder (11)
Ft Worth (10)
Houston (9)
Odessa (3)
Frisco (3)
El Paso (3)
Corpus Cristi (2)
San Antonio (2)
Corsicana (2)
Coppell (2)
Kingwood (1)
La Feria (1)
Denison (1)
Dallas (1)
Baytown (1)
Plano (1)
Sanford (1)
Lindale (1)
Mckinney (1)
Tyler (1)
Floresville (1)
Sugar Land (1)
Carrolton (1)
Grapevine (1)
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:05 PM |

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Kids Love Jamba Juice

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Just thought this was a cute pic last night in the mall.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:24 AM |

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Podcast 42 is in the Can

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Just finished recording the new podcast - it's a pretty good show that I hope you'll enjoy. We'll have it uploaded and online before the end of day today - the team is back, baby!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:17 AM |

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Race This! Weekend: Nadim vs. Andy

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:08 PM |

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The Rest of the Story: The Price is Right

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There was breaking news the day my episode aired when I was on the Price is Right, so I missed what happened next. When it gets further into reruns (it's been rerun 2x that I know of) maybe I can YouTube the "rest of the story."

So I won a $999 rug with every official state flower of the United States embroidered on it. It was the most beautiful disaster I've ever seen. My 2 boys filled it with more stains than any family should be able to produce in a lifetime in just a few short months and eventually we discarded it in the apartment trash. We would have, however, just thrown it a way a short time later anyhow, since it was quite possible the most ugly rug ever sweat-shopped together.

As far as the rest of the show, I went on to lose the game on stage, lose the big wheel spin, and even started to get envious of the Cutco Knives set given away as a consolation prize to those that appeared but didn't "win."

That was a fun time ... I didn't even hardly care about being on the show, but went with a buddy who was dying to get on.

Maybe Wheel of Fortune next?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:36 PM |

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Race This! Weekend

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Get 50% off Race This! all weekend long at SYM. One of the most popular resources, especially in junior high.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:29 PM |

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Blogging the C3 Conference

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Tony Morgan is blogging the C3 conference this week, he just posted the highlights of the session with Ed Young and also excerpts from Craig Groschel's talk, too
Hit the links for more!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:08 PM |

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Interview with the Director of 300

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You know how excited I am for this movie ... getting good early reviews, too. Wired has an interesting interview with the director today, here's an excerpt:
Is director Zack Snyder the next Bryan Singer? Will he become the new go-to guy for megabudget comic book adaptations?

Warner Bros. is so excited about 300, Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's Greek-history-as-superhero tale, that they handed him the keys to Alan Moore's Watchmen, another sacred text for comics fans. 300 opens nationally March 9; Watchmen is scheduled for a 2008 release.

Snyder, a commercial director whose debut feature Dawn of the Dead was a surprise hit in 2004, filmed the ultraviolent 300 on a Montreal sound stage. After recording real actors doing fake battle, he added heavily manipulated digital backdrops. Like Robert Rodriguez with Sin City, Snyder went to enormous lengths to precisely match Miller's eerie landscapes.

300 re-imagines the true story of a small band of Spartan soldiers led by King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler). The Spartans held off an enormous army of Persians that was commanded by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and bent on conquering Greece.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:03 PM |

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I'm Blogging

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Thanks to Josh Byers for the lead on this one. Funny!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:58 AM |

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Small Group Post-Conference Plan

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I've been enjoying emceeing the Small Groups Conference here at Saddleback this week, they crowd has been really enjoying themselves and the speakers have been fantastic. I'm planning on putting in some of my notes from the speakers here on the blog in the next day or so. One thing I am impressed with is the post-conference strategy, a plan to "huddle up" after the event, find a mentor and connect about learnings.

If you don't have a youth ministry community, find it today ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:41 PM |

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Everyone's a Winner

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Order any size order anytime in the next 20 hours or so from Simply Youth Ministry and you'll be emailed a link to download an absolutely free gift with your purchase. How about that? Contest week continues ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:34 PM |

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Paintball for Jesus

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Juts read about a youth ministry that is using paintball to encourage students in their faith. Cool stuff! Here's a clip from the Palm Beach Post:

While paintball may seem like an unusual way to spread the word of God, Goldberg said that it actually is a perfect place for kids to meet, have fun and learn the lessons that he wants to share.

"God gains glory in anything," Goldberg said. "And what better way to learn that than to come out and play with us?"

Goldberg said the paintball games started four years ago in the back yard at a friend's house with about six kids and has grown to a monthly gathering of between 50 and 70 kids on the second Saturday of every month at the church's future site in Loxahatchee.

"It's absolutely crazy, but it's a blast," he said. "We play all day. Around 11:30 we eat and share the love of God. Then we get back to the game."

A suggested donation of $10 covers the cost of food, drinks and air for the paintball guns.

While paintball may seem like an unusual way to spread the word of God, Goldberg said that it actually is a perfect place for kids to meet, have fun and learn the lessons that he wants to share.

"God gains glory in anything," Goldberg said. "And what better way to learn that than to come out and play with us?"

Goldberg said the paintball games started four years ago in the back yard at a friend's house with about six kids and has grown to a monthly gathering of between 50 and 70 kids on the second Saturday of every month at the church's future site in Loxahatchee.

"It's absolutely crazy, but it's a blast," he said. "We play all day. Around 11:30 we eat and share the love of God. Then we get back to the game."

A suggested donation of $10 covers the cost of food, drinks and air for the paintball guns.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:23 PM |

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Zach Hunter

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Talk about being a student leader. Check out Zach Hunter on CNN. New book from YS ... awesome.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:16 PM |

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PDYM Newsletter Out the Door

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Just sent the PDYM Neighborhood newsletter out today - this one featured the upcoming PDYM Student Leadership and some resources for students moving in that direction, too. Check it out online if you missed it!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:03 PM |

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The Price is Finally Right

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Yes!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:46 PM |

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Contest Week at SYM

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Today is the first of a week of fun contests at SYM - if you make any purchase between now and tomorrow night on SimplyYouthMinistry.Com, you can win $500 in free stuff if you're the winner picked at random. There's a couple of great new resources, including Game On Vol 3 and All Out War, too. Sweet!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:37 PM |

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New PDYM Articles

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Just wanted to point out a couple of great articles on the official PDYM website written by some of our mentors - Lyndale Holloway wrote about "being me"
3. Build a team. Though you may be good, you aren’t that good. God made you to be you because He made someone else to be someone else and He will bring you together to be all that He needs you to be. Got it? Or how about a more biblical view of it. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) Don’t do ministry alone, if you do you are missing the point.

4. Keep things simple. You don't have to apologize for running a simple student ministry. It’s easy to buy into the lie that “more is better.” Most of the time adding more only spreads you too thin and burns you out. Soon you find your calendar so full of stuff that you have no time to do any of it. I began to realize that sometimes, the only reason I was adding things to my ministry calendar was because someone else at another church was doing it, so I thought I had to. Then I began preparing my sermon on peer pressure for the middle school group. Um yeah… which leads to…

5. Be Yourself. Kind of obvious after all of this but still necessary to say. Yes we all need to strive to be better; yes we all should continue to grow, but don’t let what you don’t have keep you from being what you can be. Being yourself is not an excuse for our shortcomings, rather it is living out the “new creation” that Christ has made us when we gave our life to Him.
Grant Byrd also wrote about their mentoring program which sounds like a solid idea as well ... here's a clip:
Mentoring has become the vogue.

In youth ministry, we jumped on it and did a good job of leading the curve. Most youth guys and gals know that spending quality time mentoring a teen is time well spent. would like to suggest a great resource that we aren’t tapping yet. Other Teens!

We came across a great ministry that allows our older students (Juniors and Seniors) to invest in our younger students (6th and 7th graders). They do it through a ministry called Teen 2 Teen. This simple program is part Bible study, part modeling and part friendship. The High schoolers meet with the youth minister once a week for a half hour and then commit to meet with their mentoree for an hour per week.

The material is simple and is built on the acronym CAPS:
C is for Challenge
A is for Affirmation
P is for Prayer Time
S is for Scripture
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:18 PM |

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The Church: Our Greatest Evangelistic Enemy?

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Just read this interesting article on Outreach Magazine where the author talks about Christians dependency on the church. Interesting, here's a clip:

As a pastor, I want people to become Christ-followers. I want them to fall in love with God’s Word and experience the joy of gathering with other believers in both home groups and corporate worship, as well as the fulfillment of finding a place to serve in ministry.

But I face one big challenge. Every time Christians step inside a church, it can remove them from the place where they have the greatest impact for God’s Kingdom—the world. It’s sad, but I wonder if we’ve inadvertently designed our ministries to isolate Christians from the places where God really wants us to be. Are we truly engaged in his Great Commission if every extra moment of our lives is spent at church?

I hear the way Christians talk. They want more opportunities to gather for worship. They want more programs to meet other Christ-followers. They want more Bible studies to help them go deeper in God’s Word. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these desires—but what’s often missing is a desire to see people outside the church commit their lives to following Jesus. As Christians, we can become so focused on our own faith journey that we forget God’s command to go tell others the Good News.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:14 AM |

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The Price is Wrong: Episode 5

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Yes, I lost again. There's only 6 chances to lose on the show ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:41 AM |

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Small Groups Conference

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Sitting backstage at the Small Groups Conference here at Saddleback. Get to do some stuff on stage - a couple times for announcements, games and giveaways. Fun! Packed house this morning ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:55 AM |

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The Price is Wrong: Episode 4

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This hurts me more than it hurts you, trust me.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 PM |

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Sabrina on Idol

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This will not sway my devotion to American Idol finalist Chris Sligh. It probably should, but alas, I like the pudgy-fingered pop star from the Carolinas.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:17 PM |

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The Price is Wrong: Episode 3

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Yup, I'm a loser.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:10 AM |

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Simply Goodbye Podcast

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It seems I've talked to a bunch of youth workers lately that are leaving their church or at least well into thinking about it. I happened to be listening to the Simply Strategic Podcast this morning at the gym and heard the show Simply Goodbye, where they talk about good exits as one of their key staff is leaving. Would make a good listen if you're in that boat or praying about what God has next.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:56 AM |

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HSM Welcome Video

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A video we did a while back ... plays when students are entering the room or the program is about to start.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:28 PM |

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Monster Pancakes

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The latest in the series of pancakes. I love weekends.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:53 PM |

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Movie Review: Breach

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Just finished watching Breached with McGill tonight - sat way to close to the screen (my seat should have come with a referral for a chiropractor) so I'm glad it wasn't an action movie. In fact, I was surprised at how little action the film had - it was definitely a biopic drama at the core.

The film tells the "true Hollywood story" of the capture of the man behind biggest secrets breach in US Government history. It starts with the end of the movie and then goes back and tells the how - but it's always hard when the end of the story is given out in the beginning, since we don't feel any of the angst or questions that the characters face. We know from the first moment who is the bad guy and don't give into the facade the others must wade through.

Still though the story is compelling and the acting is above average. There's some useless rabbit trails of the plot and Ryan Philippe's head bump is sometimes distracting, but this is a fairly honest look at intelligence community and the devotion and patriotism of these individuals. There's a couple of leaps of believability in the film as well, but in the end, it is based on a true story so how can you argue reality.

Good show, timely film these days, I guess. B-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:46 PM |

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The Price is Wrong: Episode 2

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Here's the first time I lost.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:46 PM |

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What Ever Happened to that Other Guy?

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If you remember Season 1 of American Idol, you'll know there were 2 hosts to the show. One, Ryan Seacrest, now the most beloved if already overexposed faces/voices in showbusiness; the other, a guy named Brian Dunkleman. Just was watching a "Rewind" show and thought, I wonder what happened to that guy.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:40 PM |

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The Price is Wrong: Episode 1

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I was on Price is Right a couple of years ago ... didn't do so well.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:18 PM |

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February PDYM Newsletter

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Just sent out the February Neighborhood for PDYM, it included a new article from Chris Wesley on students and injustice, as well as other tidbits from the community. Do you get the free newsletter? Sign up today! Looking for a youth pastor friend or mentor? Find one today!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:57 PM |

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Want to Get Away?

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Nadim pointed out on his blog that the Skit Guys entered the Southwest Airlines "Want to get away?" commercial campaign. Here it is on YouTube. So great!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:06 AM |

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Stuff from My Blog Friends: Volume 15

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Here's a rundown of some notable posts I've read on my friends' blogs this week:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:02 AM |

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Great Office

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but that was one of the best Offices in a long time. Brilliant. Congratulations to Joss Whedon who directed it, you might know him from Toy Story, Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:52 PM |

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SJH Podcast Episode 23

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Just uploaded Kurt's latest podcast training for junior highers, this is part two of a training where Kurt continues his thoughts on the benefits of thinking small in the New Year. Don't have iTunes? Not a problem - grab the videos right here in Feedburner. Enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:55 PM |

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The Church Office: Episode 2

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Here's the sequel. I think it's the better of the two episodes ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:26 PM |

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People on the Blog Right Now: Volume 10

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Here's a quick list of some of the states of people that are on surfing the blog right now. For the first time ever - Ohio comes in at #1! Looking at the complete list ... the Midwest is showing up strong today. 42% of visitors to the blog are brand new, with 7% direct from Google search. Also, one odd number - 28 people that have visited the blog today have been to the site more than 200 times! How funny is that? Thank you, Google Analytics.
States on the blog right now
Ohio - 12
Michigan - 8
California - 7
New York - 6
Iowa - 6
Illinois - 6
Nevada - 5
Indiana - 5
Pennsylvania - 5
Minnesota - 5
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:59 AM |

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Being Self Aware: Volume 1

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I'm calling this "volume 1" because I think I might have stumbled on a series of blog posts I might continue as I uncover a problem area in my life. Over this past weekend with friends I've tried to be more self-aware of my own inadequacies and shortcomings, and found a few I want to work on. Here's the start of my list:
1 - I like to talk about problems. Instead of taking it to someone who could help make the problem go away, I seek out people that share the same opinion so we can wallow together. I love to share my frustration with others and rile them up, even taking someone else's small problem, citing a few other examples, in the end making something relatively small very big. The pea under the mattress is uncomfortable, but should we burn down the whole kingdom?

2 - I like to deflect conversation to make it more about me. It's easy to move general conversation contributions to outright self-adulation, taking what should be natural flow of a talk and misdirecting into something that ends with a compliment to me or at least you feeling bad for me. It's all about me, and that's sad.

3 - Convenience is my best friend. If something that is supposed to be convenient for me becomes inconvenient, I get truly frustrated. Simple example: when the printer at the "pay at the pump" is out of paper and I have to go inside to get a receipt. Granted, it was -600 degrees in Indianapolis last weekend, but still. Complex example: why do I look to other people to get up first and serve me, instead of jumping up to serve them?
OK, enough of that! I'm sure the temptation would be to use the comment field as a place to share my many other weaknesses and blind spots - but I would suggest you don't use it for that, since then it wouldn't really be "self" aware, would it?

So there you go.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:21 AM |

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Doug Fields: Superhero

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Just found this on YouTube ... some students made this for a youth ministry class project. They were supposed to summarize a chapter from Doug Field's "The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" so they turned Doug Fields into a superhero and quoted a bunch of lines straight out of the book. Pretty funny.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:14 AM |

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Caring for Your Congregation

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Learned this acronym a few days ago - thought it was a good reminder when someone asks for counseling, help or is asking you to meet a need.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:36 PM |

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The Church Office: Episode 1

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Enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:07 PM |

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Vasectomy = Dementia

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Just got this email from a concerned friend related to a little procedure I had a couple of months ago. Lovely!
Josh,

Here is the latest news in the medical field as it relates to vasectomies. Interesting quote.. “It causes people's language capabilities to decline steadily, with symptoms such as faulty recollection of names of people and things, difficulties in speech, reading and writing, and poor comprehension”.

Knowing you will be around here for years, I will be observing any real big changes as it relates to your health…You might want to warn Doug or keep an eye on him also….This is one that you probably won’t BLOG about.

Jim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Men who have had a vasectomy may face an increased risk of developing a rare type of dementia marked by a steady loss of language skills, researchers said on Tuesday. Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois, writing in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, linked this male sterilization surgery to a neurological condition called primary progressive aphasia, or PPA.
Thanks for your concern, Jim.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:53 AM |

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Sunday Night Announcement Video

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This played Sunday night at the Group Conference ... so fun.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:47 AM |

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The Force Unleashed

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Wow, this game as a lot of potential. The Force Unleashed from LucasArts. Concept art is up on the new official site for the title, as well as the promise of a future web documentary. Sweet.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:46 AM |

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The Sebring is Back!

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Yeah! Just got my car back from the shop this morning .... good as new! If the Sebring is good enough for Michael Scott, it's good enough for me...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:30 AM |

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Personal Church Shopper

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Came across a funny article on Sacred Sandwich about potential members hiring a personal shopper to find them a church. Here's a clip:
Growing bored with the outdated programs at their present church, the Henman family of Peoria, IL, recently hired Lucy Ditmer, a personal shopper, to find them a new church home to meet their spiritual needs. “Between my boy’s hockey games and my girl’s dance classes, I really don’t have the time to go church shopping,” said Helen Henman. “It’s a great relief to know that Lucy can take care of all that. The last thing Phil and I want to do right now is spend every Sunday morning going to strange churches just to see if they have cushioned seating and a proper food court.”

Ditmer, who has over five years experience as a personal shopper at Macy's, began advertising her church shopping services when she saw a need for busy families who find it difficult to squeeze a religious life into their hectic schedules. “Most churches nowadays have sermons that last from ten minutes to an excruciating half hour,” Lucy explained. “My clients just don't want to put themselves through that kind of ordeal when all they really want to know is whether the youth program has a Playstation 3. With my service, the clients just give me a checklist of all their felt needs and I do all the dirty work while they're sleeping in on Sunday morning.”
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:37 PM |

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Group Saturday Night Announcements

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People have been asking for the announcement videos ... here's Friday if you missed it, and tonight we unleash Saturday (above). The infamous "mayo" video lands tomorrow - watch for it!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:29 PM |

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Blogging About NYMC

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Noticing a serious jump in traffic to the blog these days, and thought the new friends from the recent conference would enjoy reading some related blogs as well. Kurt Johnston has some great thoughts about the event, if you are thinking about adding some blogs to your bookmarks make sure his is above the fold. Here's a clip from this thoughts:
- Virtually every guy on Saddleback's student ministries team has a 'soul patch'. I've never really noticed this, but it was pointed out by several different people I met at the conference. I'd shave mine, but it's just about the only hair I have left.

- 'No Ringy....No Dingy!' Lakita Garth's catchy phrase for abstinence. I'm telling you....after five days away from my wife I'm very glad I have a ringy!

- I am officially done with trying to be cool. I don't know what that means, exactly, but at 41 and having been at yet another youth worker event filled with twenty somethings who truly are cool, I think my time of trying is over.
Also Allison Hibbard posted a few pictures of the Hotel, Hotel shooting we did the other day, kinda a "making the movie" sorta post, which I like. Mike Lovato had an interesting moment he shares, too. And new friend JrHiGuy had some good times, too. Cool ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:14 PM |

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Only in the OC: Quote of the Day

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Friday works great! Crab Bisque is the Soup of the Day at Nordstrom Bistro.
-overheard someone planning a lunch meeting

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:05 PM |

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HOME

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Whew ... finally back safe at home after the week away with Group. Just in time for a birthday party for our daughter, family pictures, getting my convertible back and a night at Disney. Family day!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:14 PM |

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Hotel, Hotel Wins Comedy Honors

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Hotel, Hotel from Group Conference rapper J-Reezy is now on YouTube and today received a Top 50 honor in the comedy section. Looking for it? Believe the hype! Check it out and be sure to rank in on YouTube and make it a favorite!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:11 PM |

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Glue Boys on DVD

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We're now selling the official Glue Boys DVD for $10 on the Simply Youth Ministry website. It is limited to 1,000 DVDs and will ship on March 1st. We previewed the powerful documentary at the GROUP conference this past weekend, the response was fantastic.

Check it out ... find it in the Brand New section or in Media ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:09 PM |

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TobyMac is Back no Slack

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Jesus Freak.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:44 PM |

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Justin Timberlake on TV

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This is what happens to dinner conversation when Justin Timberlake shows up on TV. Stupid Grammys.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:42 PM |

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Crashed the Electrical Union Party

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We were pretty bored at the end of Saturday night's session, and we stumbled on a huge black-tie party for all of the union electrical workers. It was fun, we grabbed a nametag (hit the picture to read the name I chose) and danced the night away. Super fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:36 PM |

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Hotel, Hotel

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The World Premiere of J-Reezy's new rap video was at the Group Conference last night. Now we've got it online for everyone to enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:37 PM |

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PDYM Community Lunch at GROUP

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Had a fantastic PDYM Community lunch today with about 50 youth workers here at the Group conference. It was exciting as always to share the vision for the community to new youth workers and scout for potential mentors as well. Does your ministry reflect the biblical purposes? Do you have a mentor? Do you want to help other youth workers. Start here and be sure to check out the PDYM Locator map as well.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:23 PM |

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Student Leadership Conference and SYM Store

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Leigh just sent over a shot from the store and our new PDYM Student Leadership banners. Nice!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:20 PM |

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Salvadore Concert

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Great concert with Salvador last night.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:16 PM |

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Group Friday Night Announcements

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Highlights from Day One

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Whew ... just finished the day one opening session. What a day! Whew ... here's the highlights:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:22 PM |

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Funny Sign

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This sign made me laugh when I walked into the Group Conference this morning.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:06 PM |

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Building 429

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Here's a few shots from the concert tonight.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:43 PM |

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You Can Call Me Al

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JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:33 AM |

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Our Extreme Makeover

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Courtney posted a great article on the Extreme Makeover we did 2 years ago in Waco, Texas. Ah, the memories ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:57 PM |

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Downtown Indy

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Driving around Indy picking up last minute stuff. Here's a shot of the capital building and Conseco Fieldhouse.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:12 PM |

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Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters

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My friend Kevin gave me a great gift tonight, a book called Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters. I'm pretty excited about it, what a generous thought! And you know me and Star Wars ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:57 PM |

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The Phone Experiment

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Interesting.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:53 PM |

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Group Conference Eve

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Whew ... long day of shooting today. Most of the elements are coming together, it's been a wild ride as people are starting to show up! So fun ... here's the rundown the team is tracking on:
Pictures tomorrow, forgot to take 'em today. Sorry!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:23 PM |

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My ABCs

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You post a category with the letter of the alphabet, then put your favorite from that category in the next space. Thanks to Courtney for the tag.

A arm - right
B big city - Los Angeles
C church - Saddleback
D dog - border collie
E egg - over easy
F food - pizza
G gold - my wedding ring
H home cooking - beef stroganoff
I ice - crushed
J joke - the one about the cannibals, canoes and a fork
K kid - they are all my favorites
L look - evil eye
M meat - prime rib
N nuts - cashews
O old people -my grandma
P peanut - honey roasted
Q quote - that one from Winston Churchill
R rapper - Smitty
S song - Keep Holding On
T time - 7:10AM
V violin - a broken one
W weather - overcast
X x-ray - right arm
Y yodeler - Leann Rhimes
Z zoo - San Diego

I'm not going to tag anyone, in an effort to let this chain die a painless death.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Survey in Wildside

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Kurt in his blog posted a bunch or results to a survey they take each year in our junior high program at Saddleback. I think there's some interesting statistics and observations that can be made about junior highers, and it might be something you want to use in your church as well. Either way, interesting stuff, check it out!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:35 PM |

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Highlights from Today in Indy

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Here's a few highlights from today's adventures:
Fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:58 PM |

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New Christian Video Game: Altar Egos

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Don't worry, it's just a parody article from Lark News. And worth reading for sure.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:57 PM |

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The Wii is a Plastic Box of Death

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So I'm missing my 360 while on this trip, and was reading in Wired a funny article on videogames helping kids become violent. Anyhow ... here's a clip:
I have an apology to make. In the past, I've made fun of anti-video-game lawyer Jack Thompson for his views on gamers, his rudimentary grasp of logic and the distinct scent of brimstone that surrounds him. I see now that I was wrong. So very wrong. Video games truly are nothing more than attractively packaged training devices for youthful violence, mayhem and nose-thumbing. What pulled me out of the sub-basement of denial and into the glorious, shining foyer of light? Well, I finally managed to buy a Nintendo Wii (or, as I prefer to call it, the Murder Appliance).

Sorry, I know that's not very catchy. It's hard to come up with a properly macabre pun on "Wii." "The Grim Wii-per" maybe? No, let's stick with Murder Appliance.

It takes only a few minutes with this gruesome plastic box of death to realize exactly how insidious it is. Every aspect of it is designed with one thing in mind: transforming innocent, wide-eyed, polite young people into slavering psychopaths.

Let's start with the much-ballyhooed controller. (Studies indicate that the Wiimote is the most ballyhooed video-game controller of all time by 3.5 kilohypes.) Is there any remaining doubt that it was designed expressly as a weapon? Nintendo needed to reinforce its control strap just to keep it from getting loose, werewolflike, and busting up all your home furnishings. To date, the remote has destroyed more than 400 television sets, 78 stereo systems, three bay windows and a monastery that was home to some exceptionally rowdy monks.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:53 PM |

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Ms. Dewey

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Was introduced to Ms. Dewey on MSNBC during the flight today. Interesting twist - is this the first stab at entertainsearch?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:47 AM |

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Your Voice in HALO 3?

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Want to get your voice in Halo 3? Apparently, if you have money, it can be done. Check out the details (for charity) right here.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:19 AM |

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Rewards for Your Gamerscore

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Game Informer has new information on a promotion that involves Xbox 360, gamerscore and real life rewards. I'm pumped about this. Here's a clip:

Are you obsessed with your Gamerscore? Do you continue to play through a game, even though you beat it, to milk the game of every achievement point you can get? You played Open Season and Sneak King just to nab a few easy points, right? Well, finally, Microsoft is taking the wraps off the Xbox Live Rewards Program, and gamers will be able to pick up prizes just for increasing their Gamerscore or unlocking certain achievements.

The Xbox Live Rewards Program is kicking off with the Old Spice Challenge, and from Feb. 12 through April 12, 2007, gamers are tasked with increasing their Gamerscore by 1,500 points within a 60-day period. This challenge is a trial run—depending on how good the response is from this program, more rewards challenges may become available.

The Xbox Live Rewards Program is built on tiered levels. Depending on how high your Gamerscore is, you’ll be seeded in a certain level, and it’s open to both silver and gold memberships. Your Gamerscore at the beginning of the promotion—Feb. 12—will put you in a certain level, and by obtaining 1,500 Gamerscore points, you’ll be eligible to win specific prizes. The level breakdowns are as follows:

Level 1: 0 — 4,999 : Gamer Picture, Contra (Xbox Live Arcade), level bump to next level
Level 2: 5,000 — 9,999 : Level 1 package, 100 Microsoft Points, T-shirt, level bump to next level
Level 3: 10,000+ : Level 1 package, 200 Microsoft Points, T-Shirt and Fuzion Frenzy for Xbox 360.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:15 AM |

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Jehovah Fire Salsa

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Coop, Jake and I are in Indy. We're rolling in early to shoot videos and give all of the Group Conference programming a test run. We've already eaten at some fantasticly bad airport food joints, including one place that served up this little gem of a hot sauce: Jehovah's Fire Salsa.

Got a couple of pictures to prove it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:01 PM |

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Let It Snow

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Left 86 degrees today for 6 degrees. That wasn't a fair trade.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:59 PM |

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Life Hurts, God Heals Landing Page

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Spent some time the past few weeks making some changes to LifeHurtsGodHeals.com - adding in forum posts dynamically and also recommending a few other resources to people that are using the program. Don't know if it's a resource/program you're using in your ministry, but it's something to consider.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:45 PM |

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Halo 3 Hype Machine

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Pretty interesting editorial on IGN 360 today, talking about the Halo 3 multiplayer beta test later this Spring. Interesting thoughts, here's a clip:
If the graphics haven't been improved over the Brute documentary or November screenshots, you had better believe we'll all hear about it. A lot. If just a handful of people don't like the way the weapons are balanced, map designs, or multiplayer modes, the world will know. If the beta is an unbridled hit, well then I guess I won't be writing an editorial like this again.

The Halo 3 beta is moving into uncharted territory for both a console game and such a huge franchise, especially with the power of the Internet these days. The point of the beta is to get feedback from the community to help better shape the final product, but we can all assume that all of the feedback won't be criticism of the constructive nature and a great deal of it will be broadcast for all to hear.

The hype for Halo 3 is already at absurd levels. The ball is in Microsoft and Bungie's court and it's their marketing battle to lose now. A misstep with the beta could be more damaging than many might initially believe. Then again, beta success could send the interest in Halo 3 through the roof. Let's all hope for the best.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:40 PM |

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How Cold is it Right Now in Indy?

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Oh man ... I need to buy a jacket. It was 86 here today, looks like it's -8 in Indy right now. Real-time weather map right here. Argh!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 PM |

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Lesson for Us Video Folks

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Some pretty good insight in Business Week in reference to video production - I think in the student ministry context we're always pressing for bigger and more, when maybe there's another way. A few thoughts in making video impactful:

Understand the context. One of the best-selling books of all time, The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren (Zondervan Publishing, 2002), starts with a bold, declarative sentence: "It's not about you." This is a lesson more companies should learn. Super Bowl advertisers know that tens of millions of people eagerly anticipate their commercials and don't want to sit through annoying speeches telling them how great a product or service is.

It's perhaps odd that an advertiser—who is, after all, trying to sell something—would be expected to restrain its sales impulses. But the first rule of selling anything is to know your audience. There's a time to ask for the order and there's a time to build relationships.

That's perhaps why, year after year, Budweiser and Bud Light walk away with the ADBOWL crown. The marketers at Anheuser-Busch (BUD) know that people watch the Super Bowl to have a good time, and that their desire for entertainment doesn't pause at the commercial breaks. Any given Bud spot may not make you want to buy a beer, but no brand-building advertising works that way. What a well-executed commercial will do is create affection for a brand, and over time, that affection will pay off in increased sales. Anheuser-Busch wouldn't have spent over $250 million in the Super Bowl over the past two decades if it didn't.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:33 PM |

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Interview with the Gears Guys

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Wired has a new interview with the guys behind the fantastic Gears of War and the upcoming Unreal Tournament 3. Here's a clip about what's next:

WN: Microsoft wants to have Gears games for "a long, long time." Is Gears of War 2 in the works?

Rein: Right now we're still working on Gears of War ... and we're still making some great downloadable content, some new stuff for the game. Our next big thing is Unreal Tournament 3.

WN: It's interesting that the development cycle now extends beyond the release of the game.

Rein: I think that's an important model if you want to have a game that has a long lifetime.... The Long Tail, I guess you could call it. The downside is that people will say, "we've brought PC-style patching to console." But that's not a bad thing, to be able to fix something you didn't get quite right, or create new types of gameplay....

I'm glad people have hard drives and the ability to download new content. We've very much applauded Sony for having the hard drive on every single machine. We will absolutely take advantage of the hard drive on UT3. So if you don't have a hard drive on Xbox 360 and you want to get the most out of your UT purchase, think about getting one.

WN: Mark Rein to gamers: "Buy a hard drive."

Rein: Actually, I think all the really serious gamers already have a hard drive. We've had a huge number of downloads of the Gears of War map pack. There are a lot of people who are downloading content, and a lot of people who are playing online.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:04 PM |

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Robert Goulet Commercial

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Love it. See all of them on YouTube, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:56 AM |

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10% Off Staff Favorties at SYM

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New sale this week at Simply before we head to the conference... 10% off some of our staff's favorite resources. Check them out if you're interested!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:23 AM |

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Love One Another

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This was slipped under the door of Simply Youth Ministry today. Huh?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:03 AM |

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The Superbowl Ads

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Great game! If you missed any of the commercials, you can grab them on demand here. Really well organized, you can choose by quarter or advertiser. Nice.

Favorites. Hmmm ... FedEx is always good for a laugh, Emerald Nuts' Robert Goulet was great, Coke had a couple of great spots and Sierra Mist as a nice surprise. The other side? Revlon was a total waste of money and for once the beer companies didn't have the best spots.

JG

PS: Click the BOSS BUTTON after you watch a few spots, it's a pop up window if your boss walks over to your screen when you're watching the ads again during work. Classic.

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:11 PM |

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