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David and Goliath

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This classic finally made it's way to YouTube ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:22 PM |

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Arena Football Wildcard Saturday

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The games are great and always high scoring, the perfect way to relax with the boys on a Saturday afternoon. Just watched the Destroyers take down the Storm in the first game of the doubleheader, about to settle in and see if Colorado can advance, too. Good times, love having football to watch until August and the NFL returns.

Now if they would just fly me to the Arena Bowl and have me blog from the press box ... what a cool contest, eh?

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:10 PM |

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Relational Youth Ministry

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Nick Carnes just wrote a great article for PDYMCommunity.com about relational youth ministry. Here's a clip from his learnings after interviewing a long-time comrade in the calling:

1. Relationships are more important than programs and events: Dan expressed this thought: programs and events should not be used in place of relationships; rather programs and events should be designed to enhance relationships. We can have no greater impact in our student ministries than the impact that is available through relationships. We should not reserve relationship building for just our “fellowship” times, but understand that relationships should be a core focus for implementing all of the Biblical purposes.

2. Relationships do not end at the students: Dan shared how he has seen many youth ministries over the years seclude their relationships against parents. They adopt a “Me against Them” mentality. Parents spend a lot more time with their students than we do, so they still hold the upper hand in the influence of their student. If you have a strong focus on reaching the Community students, there is a higher chance that their parents also do not have a relationship with Christ, therefore our greatest tool to reaching them is to reach out to them in a relational manner. Both Christian and non-Christian parents have one thing in common, they desire the best for their student. We have an opportunity to connect those parents into the community of faith by allowing them to be involved in their student’s ministry and life in church.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:03 PM |

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Video Game Dad

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Just read a great article from CNN about dads and connecting with their kids with video games. I guess there is hope for my family after all! Here's a clip, thanks to Rob for the link:
One expert said video games equalize the physical size differences between fathers and their kids. That means children often have the edge in a video game, and they may feel more willing to communicate.

"You're on the kid's turf," said Dr. Arminta Jacobson, director of the Center for Parent Education at the University of North Texas. "Anything that's fun between fathers and their kids I think is a really good thing."

But Jacobson also warned that limits are necessary because video games don't encourage reflective thinking skills, language development, social skills or physical activity.

"Fathers could set aside a time each week to play video games but also set aside times to read, take walks and just talk," she said.

Some dads have made a career out of video games and parenting.

"This is a way to bond for the people who don't go out in the sun so much," joked Andrew Bub, a father of two whose Web site, Gamerdad.com, reviews video games from a parent's perspective. "Taking an interest in what your kids do will always make you a better parent. And, you'll have a better idea about what to buy them for Christmas."

For Guy Buckmaster, a marketing director in Clearwater, Florida, gaming with his six children began in the late 1990s with "Diablo II: Lord of Destruction."

He still plays with them about two nights per week on another game, "Guild Wars," where they can chat, hash out personal issues _ and yes -- defeat others in online computer battles.

"It's allowed me to be a continuing influence and provide guidance in their life, and that's important to me," said Buckmaster, 55. "This has been an instrument that is unparalleled."

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:54 PM |

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SYM Podcast 52 is in the Can

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Just finished recording the 52nd episode of the Simply Youth Ministry podcast this morning with the whole gang. Look for it as early as this afternoon!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:19 AM |

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Sitting Next to Me

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Sitting next to me last night at Transformers? John Alan Schwartz, creator/director/writer of the controversial Faces of Death video series. Wild.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:17 AM |

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Movie Review: Transformers

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This is a movie that will make you glad you are a man. This is the quintessential action movie of summer, and Michael Bay, against terrific odds, delivers a fantastic and bombastic blockbuster with hundres of explosions, thousands of missiles and about 14 million rounds of ammunition. This is his best work yet.

After the lackluster Spider-Man 3 and Pirates 3 I was beginning to doubt there was going to be a great live-action film that really delivered this summer. The film we saw in the Arclight's THX-certified digital projection theater at a screening tonight - well, it literally rattled our seats and rocked the screen. And it's a whole lot funnier than you would expect, too.

Yes, there's a couple of funny groaner moments and it gets cliche and borderline cheesy in a scene or two. But don't let minor quabbles distract (even if the ending doesn't make total sense), this is a very enjoyable adventure.

The crowd was applauding when characters were introduced, laughing out loud at all the right parts and gasping when the fierce battles ensued. Industrial Light and Magic, the powerhouse of cutting edge visual effects, will wow you once again. Shia LaBeouf is great, the others are all somewhere around fine - but honestly who really cares about the humans - the robots steal the show.

This movie explodes on screen, and while it runs just a bit too long in the middle, everything is worth seeing - and maybe even seeing again. I left the theater smiling tonight - I'm still smiling as I type this. My buddy Taffy, a lifelong Transformers fan, won't be able to wipe that same expression off his face for a week. A

JG

PS: Stay for the beginning of the credits. There's 3 extra scenes ... 2 interview style and 1 other cool tidbit I won't spoil here ...





posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:53 AM |

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Tonight is the Night

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Tonight is the night for the Transformers media screening at the Arclight up in LA. Took Taffy, who's been talking about this film since like 1983. Topped it off with burgers at Mel's Diner after the show. Is this really the 3rd movie I've seen this week? I love vacation!

JG








posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:51 AM |

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Youth Ministry Team Culture

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At the staff retreat, the team identified 8 key elements of our student ministry team culture. Here they are:
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:47 PM |

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What is Your Home Page?

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Just curious ... as a ministry leader/pastor/church volunteer - what is your internet start page? What do you like or dislike about it? What would your perfect home page be?

Side note: I actually use 4 start pages (in tabs) - TheForce.Net, PDYMCommunity.com, Simply Youth Ministry and the ETV blog. Everything else is just a Google toolbar click away, or in one of my slick FireFox live bookmarks that show the latest headlines. You?

JG





posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:19 PM |

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Quote of the Week

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"The only possible way this could be better was if all of you hated guacamole."
-Kurt Johnston, moments after the biggest bowl of fresh guacamole was delivered to our table.

JG






posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:41 PM |

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Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

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Really enjoyed this movie for exactly what it is. A great reluctant hero in impossible situations, filled with heart pounding action and THX-rattling explosions. Went to the midnight opening with a few of the student ministry team. Good stuff.

The movie adds a new twist to the Die Hard franchise, with a bit of a cyber element to it all. There's not quite the sense of urgency of the entire movie taking place in one building with a literal crime taking place, but the tweak to the formula adds some new possibilities with helicopters, car chases and various other spaces.

The movie drags just a bit in the second act, but the first and third are almost perfect. Kevin Smith makes a fun cameo, the villian is solid and the Apple guy is a great partner to Willis.

Expect classic John McClain stuff with some True Lies and Sneakers mixed in for good measure. A-

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:26 PM |

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Hulk Hogan's Family is Staying Here

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Crazy ... No sign of Hulk Hogan, but his family is staying at the same hotel we are in Palm Desert. Fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:33 AM |

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Movie Review: Evan Almighty

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Just got back from a showing of Evan Almighty on staff retreat with some friends. What excited me most was the idea of a strong family-friendly film hitting theaters this summer - always glad to see studios take a risk in the right direction. Not to mention the fact that I have affection for The Office's Michael Scott.

There are some great lessons in the film, and despite the fact that it gets a little over the top at the end, its still enjoyable and worth the effort of seeing. I wonder if near the end if they started to get confused as to the point of the film and threw in some "save the environment" messaging as an added bonus?

Loved the tension when Noah tells them the idea for the ark came from God, and when the people teased him as he built it what that must have felt like.

The supporting cast were all standouts as well - loved all of the senator's office staff and Noah's wife. Look for plenty of product placement throughout and a bit of cheesiness as the story comes to a close. But there's plenty of good stuff inside this worthwhile family film to enjoy. C+

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:48 PM |

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Who Are These Guys: Following a Boomer Leader

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Our first official episode of the Who Are These Guys Podcast is now available in iTunes and on the official site. It focuses on an article from Fast Company about next generation leaders in the workplace and then we dive into some helpful thoughts for following under a Boomer leader.

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:10 AM |

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Long Overdue Purchase

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I think it might be time for a new racquetball glove?

JG








posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:56 PM |

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Stuff from My Friends' Blog: Volume 24

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Here's a recap of some of my favorite posts on other blogs in my circle of youth worker friends this week:
JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:32 PM |

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Staff Retreat This Week!

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Exciting week ahead, and a much needed one, too! My in-laws are in town to watch the kids - Angela and I are joining the Student Ministries team for the annual staff retreat to Palm Desert. The rates are cheapest this time of year, because it'll be like 115 degrees!

But yeah - a few days of rest before the run up to the PDYM Student Leadership Conference ...

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:30 PM |

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First Picture: Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

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THE MAN WITH THE HAT IS BACK: For the first time since 1989, Harrison Ford dons the familiar costume on Thursday, June 21, 2007, as the upcoming "Indiana Jones" adventure begins production under the direction of Steven Spielberg. The new "Indiana Jones" movie is set in the 1950s and stars Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, John Hurt, Ray Winstone and Jim Broadbent . The Lucasfilm Ltd. production will be released by Paramount Pictures worldwide on May 22, 2008. Photo by Steven Spielberg. Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd.
Amazing. He's back!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:37 AM |

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Father's Day Announcements Video

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Got the video from last weekend I mentioned earlier and put it up on YouTube ... so fun.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:11 PM |

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17 Sources for Volunteers

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Just saw this great post on Pastors.com ...a clip from Fields' teaching on finding volunteers. Here's 8 of the 17 he gives:

1. Ask students whom they like.

2. Ask parents whom they trust.

3. Ask existing youth leaders whom they know.

4. Ask the pastor whom he sees an emerging leader.

5. Go to colleges and seminaries at the beginning of the school year to get unconnected students involved in your ministry.

6. Check the church directory and call someone who looks like the type of youth worker you need. (And since there is no specific look, anyone could fit. Just say, "I was looking through the directory and you look like you'd be a great youth worker!")

7. Check out local parachurch organizations (Young Life, Youth for Christ, et cetera) to see whether any of their leaders aren't plugged into a church body.

8. Use parents.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:20 PM |

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Unlock Xbox: Make an Arcade Game

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Oh man ... I would love to enter this contest. Now to come up with a game idea ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:02 PM |

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Rookie Gets a Standing Ovation

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Last night at the Angels game, rookie Terry Evans had his first Major League hit at his first ever at bat- and it was a home run. The crowd dutifully applauded and the fireworks roared as he rounded the bases, but what happened as he went to the dugout was what impressed me the most.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

I liked that moment.

It wasn't the game-winning home run later in the game. In fact, at that point they were down a few runs and this was just a dent in a comeback that wasn't materializing fast enough. People could have just gone up for another hot dog or Budweiser, they could have sloughed it off as insignificant compared to the opposing team's lead. They could have simply been too busy with their own worlds to appreciate the amazingness of that moment.

But instead, they are fans. They are made to cheer their team on to victory. I'm on the team, but I'm also a fan. Part of my job is to cheer on the team when they get a hit. One of the best learnings I've seen modeled is to be a cheerleader pastor. Your team will be better off for it.
THINK
  • Remember what it was like when you made it to the big leagues.
  • Look for a new volunteer who needs encouragement.
  • Strive every day to encourage the young ones - young in faith, young in age, young in ministry, young at heart.
  • Are you too busy to notice the success of others in your ministry?
DO
  • Is there a rookie in your ministry that needs a standing ovation right now?
  • Is there someone on your team that knocked it out of the park and deserves applause?
  • Is there a regular time in a staff meeting or gathering where we encourage the team and point out runs batted in?
Give someone a standing ovation today.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:26 PM |

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Angels 8, Astros 4

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Enjoyed an amazing game last night at Angel Stadium. It honestly played out like movie - a rally monkey-jumping-rip-roaring-come-from-behind-home-run-fireworks-bonanza. I tell my kids all of the time that we go to Disneyland or the Angels game to spend time together as a family, but man, it's extra fun when there's an amazing game, too. Brilliant.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:04 PM |

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Youth Pastor Fauxhawks

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Lark News comes through with news of the untimely demise of the fohawk for youth pastors. Funny stuff there this month if you haven't read it yet.
A youth group experimenting with democracy recently held its first vote — and voted down the youth pastor’s fauxhawk. "It looked awful on his head," says Emma, 14. "There should be an age limit of, like, 28 on fauxhawks."

The youth pastor says he was "humbled and surprised" that feelings about his hairstyle ran so high, and he is making plans to get a haircut. "That’s what you get when you let the people speak," he says.

He's hoping they don't start voting down his sermons.
JG


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:27 PM |

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Another Rap Video Is in the Works

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You know Filled with the Spirit ... you enjoyed Hotel, Hotel. I'm here to tell you that another one is in the works. Actually, it was written last night, recorded this morning and the video shoot is scheduled for Friday. Releases worldwide July 13th

Even telling you the title gives too much away, so I'll say nothing more.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:22 PM |

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Inspiring Video

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Inspiring clip saw over on Seth Godin's blog. Would make for a great illustration in a talk to students, no?

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:04 AM |

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Jeff Foxworthy's Defense of Country Music

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Might be late to this party, just watched the CMT Awards on Tivo from a month or two ago ... was stunned by Jeff Foxworthy's great speech to end the show. I don't even like country music that much, but wow - this is fantastic!

I started thinking about why I like country music and doing this show so much, and here's what I came up with, y'all.

I like country music because it's about the things in life that really matter. It ain't about braggin' about how you're gonna mess somebody up, or how somebody ain't respectin' ya. It's about love, family, friends -- with a few beers, a cheap woman and a two-timin' man thrown in for spice. It doesn't take political sides, even with things as ugly as war. Instead, it celebrates the brave men and women who go to fight 'em, the price they pay to do it and the longin' we have for them to return home to the ones that they love.

It's about kids and how there ain't nothin' like 'em. I get tired of hearin' about how bad kids are today, because there are a lot of great kids out there that just need somebody to love 'em and believe in 'em. Country folks love their kids and they will jack you up if you try to mess with 'em!

People in country music don't forget the people that allow them to do what they do for a livin'. They sign autographs and they take pictures with the fans because they know without 'em most of us entertainers would be gettin' a lot dirtier in the course of our workday. We are thankful that people want to hear the songs and the jokes that we write. Country music doesn't have to be politically correct. We sing about God because we believe in Him. We are not trying to offend anybody, but the evidence that we have seen of Him in our small little lives trumps your opinion about whether or not He exists.

We love country music because it touches us where we live. It's about mommas, and when they were hot, and when they are unappreciated, and when they were dyin'. It's about daddies and the difficulties they have sometimes at tellin' the people that they work so hard to protect and provide for how they feel about 'em.

Country music is about new love and it's about old love. It's about gettin' drunk and gettin' sober. It's about leavin' and it's about comin' home. It's real music sung by real people for real people, the people that make up the backbone of this country. You can call us rednecks if you want. We're not offended, 'cause we know what we're all about. We get up and go to work, we get up and go to church, and we get up and go to war when necessary.

All we ask for is a few songs to carry us along the way, and that's why I love this show, because it ain't some self-important Hollywood hype with the winners determined by somebody else. On this show, you decide who goes home with a trophy and you get to dance and sing along with the people that bring you the songs of your life."

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:40 PM |

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Who Are These Guys? Pre-Episode 7

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Tony informs me that the latest Who Are These Guys? show is up ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:47 PM |

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Drive Time Devotions Promo Video

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Did the voice over for this a while ago ... fun little promo video.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:45 PM |

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7th Time to Disney in '07

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Taking advantage of our annual passes ... spent half of the day at Disney - actually California Adventure for the first time.

Took the Talk with Crush interactive ride with Nemo's turtle friend (brilliant), enjoyed the Monsters Inc. ride (fun), did the Bug's Life ride (solid) and then everyone loved getting soaking wet outside in their water park. So fun!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:41 PM |

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Movie Review: Rise of the Silver Surfer

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This movie was exactly what I anticipated - about 1 hour and 15 minutes of very average plot, average visuals and average special effects. There were a couple moments of great effects work, but the vast majority of the film was minor league and nothing that made you really go wow. For those interested - those two best moments were the Great Wall of China chase sequence and Earth about to be eaten by a world-hungry planet eater.

And since it's a Fantastic Four movie, the grading starts at B, and goes down from there. Entertaining and better then the first, but has a long ways to grow up to play with the big superhero movies of summer. C

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:14 AM |

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Happy Father's Day

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I love my kids and wife. What a great day! The highlight was definitely all 3 boys on stage with me at Saddleback at the 11:15 service - my #2 was headbutting me in the groin while I was trying to give announcements. And they loved seeing themselves on the big screens - I've got to get a copy of that moment. SO fun, and the crowd sure loved it, too. Happy Father's Day!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:05 AM |

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Fun Yesterday

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Yesterday was brilliant ... Allison, Allison and I ran around all day working on Student Leadership programming video stuff, here's a few shots - and both of them already blogged quite a bit about it to so check out the stories ... fun.

My highlights:
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:05 PM |

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Father's Day ETV Video

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Here's this weekend's video that we shot yesterday ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 PM |

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What If There Was Only 1 Volunteer?

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Another video from the WOW Awards ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:04 AM |

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Student Challenge Video Shoot

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Today's the day the programming starts to take shape for Student Leadership - I'm cranking on the notebook and we're shooting the "student challenge" videos - 1 done already this morning. They'll also end up on YouTube, but after the event ... should be fun.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:32 AM |

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22 New SYM Resources

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22 new resources up today on Simply Youth Ministry - including the Gospel Journey and a whole bunch of LeaderTrek material. Check it out if you're looking for good small group material for the fall.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:14 PM |

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Cleveland, Lebron an a Wounded Penguin

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Tonight the NBA Finals game 4 was fantastic, even though Cleveland couldn't pull anything out, it was an entertaining series and Lebron James certainly led the Cavs up from the bottom of the pile even if they really faltered here at the end.

But my favorite part of the night was this one dude who the entire second half was making this crazy bird noise as loud as he could every time the Spurs came down to his end of the court. I mean he was full decibel, hand-cupped projection of wounded penguin noises. I can't believe no one stopped him in the crowd.

He's gonna be famous - I think ESPN should feature him. Amazing.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:46 PM |

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ETV Blog Contest

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Got a fun contest running starting today on Saddleback's Extending the Vision construction blog where people can guess the number of traffic cones used on campus on a given weekend. One of the fun parts about the campaign is that we're going to all but eliminate the cones!

Should be cool ... wonder if anyone will get out there and count.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:58 PM |

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Filming a New ETV Video Today

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Just finished filming a new video for the weekend in big church, had some fun with the guys and I think it'll turn out good. We'll see - just wrote it this morning when we had to flip/flop videos from next weekend! Yikes ... here's the script, I'll get it in YouTube when it's done this weekend:
ETV Father’s Day Video

(standard Josh video open, walking up the stairs to the Ped Bridge)
Hey everyone, welcome to Father’s Day Weekend here at Saddleback. We’re glad you’re here and know you’ll enjoy the message from Pastor Doug as he concludes the “Take it Like a Man” series.

(beat)
Knowing just how bad men are with directions, I thought it might be good to take a few minutes this weekend and tell you about a new way to navigate the campus in the near future. Once again, change is coming to Saddleback! You’re going to want to pay close attention to this:

(show chart of campus in board room)
So basically you start here on Portola, then you run up here, do a U-Turn, hit this circle drive, jump a barrier and cross illegally here (map starts to get really full of markers, post it notes, drawings) then you run about a ½ mile up to this roundabout (hmmm … I didn’t even know we were going to have a roundabout), grab a donut, say hello to greeters (super full now, can’t even see map anymore) quickly find some hand sanitizer because you don’t know how many germs are on those hands, hop this fence, cross the helipad, follow the white rabbit, then slip into the back of church late and hope to find at least a bleacher seat.

See how easy that was? (smile) (fade to black)

(beat)
(fade in, upbeat music, excitement pace, filmed on campus)
Seriously, though, in just 2 short weeks, you’ll be taking this (show josh in golf cart) new entrance to church - Purpose Drive opens the weekend of July 7/8 (show street sign covered up) with a big celebration – don’t miss it. You’ll also not want to miss the new stoplight that will go at this intersection. Especially if it’s red. Then, after you roll under the Pedestrian Bridge, you’ll park in one of the hundreds of new spaces on campus. Finally, take a quick hike up to the Worship Center – dropping your kids off along the way if you have them and you’re all set!

So men, there’s no need to ask for directions – for the next 2 weeks there will be a map in the bulletin for you to memorize - in total secrecy, of course. Then you can stroll on to campus like you know it all – which of course, you will. And what’s the use of knowing it all if there’s no one new to share it with?

Everyone, let’s invite someone to church this summer – there’s more room than ever before!

(beat)
OK, now I just have to figure out where I left my car again?

(fade to black)
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:38 PM |

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McGill is Back!

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He left Saddleback for a few painful months, and what's worse than that he left blogging for that time as well. But he's back to Saddleback and back to blogging. Yeah!

Check out Matt McGill's new Live blog

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:00 AM |

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Staff vs. Volunteer Video

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Here's that video from the WOW Awards ... fun ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:40 AM |

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The Almighty Dollar

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Forgot to mention these from a sermon by Pastor Rick a couple of weeks ago, some great principles on money:
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:58 AM |

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Video Game Review: Superman Returns

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Finished up the Xbox 360 game Superman Returns last night. It's an enjoyable, if repetitive game. The graphics are first out of the gates in the next generation race and the game isn't nearly the "second coming of gaming" touted before it's release. At it's heart its a button mashing brawler with flying thrown in to boot. Despite the shortcomings, it's still a fun game that follows the movie and some side stories. I enjoyed it, gobbled up some achievements, and am now done with it. C+

Really quick - do you have an Xbox360 game you want to trade me straight up for this game? Comment me the title you want to trade, and let's switch (permanently) - I'll mail it to you and when you get it send me yours.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:49 PM |

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Sizzler Night Out

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We have this annual tradition where a few of our families gather at the most amazing resturant in the world: Sizzler.

OK, maybe Sizzler is a resturant who's time has come and gone, but it makes for a hilarious night out with friends. This year with all of the kids it was complete chaos. The waiter was working overtime to keep the all-you-can-eat shrimp coming, and, as expected, the place was completely filled with older folks. So fun.

JG








posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:22 PM |

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Kurt Speaks to Students

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Kurt has some great rules about speaking to students he posted on his blog today and an early review of Doug Fields' new book, Speaking to Teenagers. Here's a clip of his wisdom, head there for much more:
- The first minute is the most important minute.
- It doesn't need to be long to be good.
- If it's going to be long, it needs to be good.
- Students like to laugh.
- Students like stories (especially real life ones...not from an illustration book).
- Be real.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:45 PM |

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Happy Father's Day from SYM

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Happy Father's Day from SYM ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:04 PM |

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Who Are These Guys? Episode 6

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The latest episode of the show posted just now ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:28 PM |

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Finding God Online

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All the more reason to make sure your church/ministry website is great. A solid article from Time I missed a couple months ago that was interesting. Here's a clip:

If we have in fact lost our religion, search engines would seem to be the most logical place to look for evidence. On average, religious websites receive 36% of their traffic from the likes of Google, Yahoo! Search and MSN Search. Examining the data behind the search terms shows that some denominations have embraced the Internet and search marketing as a way to reach out to those searching for answers. Take the Mormons for example. The Church of Latter Day Saints purchases sponsored listing advertisements on Google. Searches for "bible," "free bible," and "Jesus Christ" display listings for LDS.org, the church's official website. It's no coincidence that Internet users in the state of Utah are four times more likely to visit a religious website than the Internet population as a whole. (For those of you keeping score, Vermont ranks as the state with residents least likely to visit religious sites.)

If Internet patterns and search behavior are indicators of religious interest, maybe a better question is: what are we looking for when we search for religion? The answer depends on denomination.

Searches leading to Roman Catholic websites reveal a fascination with saints: from the generic query "saints" to the religious ties to what most of us now consider secular holidays, "St. Valentine's Day and "St. Patrick's Day." Contrast that with the search terms used by seekers of Protestant and other Christian sites. The majority of search terms concentrate on bible study ("bible," biblical verses" and "bible online") and evangelical personalities ("Joel Osteen" and "Joyce Meyer"). Information seekers on the Jewish religion are different still, with a mixture of subjects such as Jewish heritage, humor and bio-ethical issues such as "cloning" and "right to die."

What's most telling how the nature of religious searches has evolved. If there were a decline in our spiritual conscience, surely it would show in the way religious searches have changed over time. Over the past two years, searches to religious sites have shown no perceptible change. What has changed is the plethora of new activities and information, like MySpace and YouTube, vying for our attention. It's not that we're losing our religion, it's that we've gained many more distractions.

JG


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:43 PM |

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An iTunes Run: Volume 11

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OK, rolling in a few new songs today. I'm sure you'll have an opinion on these choices, no?
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:25 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Volume 33

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Here's this week's roundup of actual Google searches that brought folks to the blog. Enjoy!
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:17 PM |

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41-41-41 Sale 1/2 Over

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The sale at SYM is already more than half over. This is the time to get the most bang for your buck for sure - not going to be lower prices than this in 2007 for sure. Anyhow ...



JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:13 PM |

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Death by PowerPoint

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Life After Death by PowerPoint

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I think I might be late to this party, but it's SUPER funny.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:12 AM |

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Who in Their Right Mind Would Run Safari on Windows?

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Wired asked the same question I was asking after all the Apple announcements yesterday.

It makes perfect sense for Apple to release its Safari web browser for Windows, but the question is: What right-thinking Windows user would want it?

Steve Jobs' unexpected announcement Monday that the public beta of Safari 3 runs on Windows left the crowd at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco murmuring its approval.

But the initiative seems to rely on a domino theory fueled by infatuation. Apple is hoping there are Windows users so in love with their iPods and iTunes that they will also download Safari. Then they'll fall in love with that, and the next thing you know they'll be down at the Apple Store fishing for their credit cards.

There's only one problem with that scenario -- Safari sucks. A lot of Mac users won't run the browser (I'm one of them), so why would anyone run it on Windows?

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:29 AM |

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Meanwhile, Back in Line ...

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Enjoyed a few hours in line today for the new Nemo Submarine ride at Disneyland. It was the first day the ride was open to the public, and the place was packed (it seemed like everybody and their mother was there). Some people waited up to 4 hours for the 15-minute ride, we clocked in at just over 2 and a 1/2.

Rating this ride through the eyes of my 4-year old, it gets a 10. Far less through mine but that's not the point anyway.

We all enjoyed the experience, and of course the journey is as much a part of the destination. Evidence is that we had an unofficial "Countdown to Nemo" going on in our house the last 100 days, and had so much fun waiting in line today as a family.

It just didn't feel timeless - this generation isn't going to talk about this one like the ride in that space previously. But, in the end, the kids loved it - and that's really all that matters, right?

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:44 PM |

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More ETV Blog Updates

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Updated the ETV blog with a ton of updates last week - if you want to check in on the progress of the Student Zone or hear the heart of several of our youth staff, that is the place. Even added a clip of Rick Warren talking about the project from a recent message.

The big news is that in just 26 days we open Purpose Drive and the whole flow of traffic changes on campus. It's going to be a wild weekend!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:17 AM |

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Take It Like a Man: Humility

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This weekend Fields taught big church - started a 2-week series on manhood. Started off with humility, and it was really great. Here's a clip from the part I thought was the best.
Men—I totally understand that you might even feel unmanly writing down the word “humility.” To take a knee is the posture of submission and guys don’t like to submit. You might even be thinking “humility” is synonymous with “weak.”

That’s not true. Think about it this way… a warrior comes back from battle and stands before the king. The warrior takes a knee, not out of weakness, but out of understanding that there is someone else leading them. He takes a knee and submits to a higher authority.

A strong, studly football player shows up to the game to destroy his opponent and the coach calls them together and says, “Men, take a knee.” The athlete takes a knee, not out of weakness, but out of understanding that the coach is in charge.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:14 AM |

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Halo 3 Box Art

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Beautiful, I have to admit. Here's my beta review, if you missed it.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:18 AM |

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Bloggers I Met This Weekend

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Finally got to meet the legendary Julie Hibbard this week, she was at church to hear her daughter and fellow blogger Allison sing a special number. Nice to meet you! Hung out with Leigh on Friday as well, getting a crash course in InDesign for the Student Leadership conference notebook. Lovely.

I also dropped into Class 201 and said hey to Mandy and also E-Money, who is just finishing her first of a 2-year internship. Had lunch with Kevin on Friday at In-n-Out and oh, and Matt gave me a free banana smoothie with my son at Tully's - thanks, man!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:04 AM |

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Movie Review: Ocean's 13

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Pretty solid movie - watched it tonight with some friends after a long weekend. The impossible plot and impossible overconfidence in their plan make for an entertaining, if predictible movie. But did you think any of the main characters would die or it wouldn't be a happy ending? All in all, a fairly satisfying linear movie that is about 3/4 setup for the last act and way to self-important. It manages to still be enjoyable, but didn't quite hit the jackpot. B

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:38 AM |

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Survivorman Video

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The big sale at SYM.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:33 AM |

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Stuff From My Friends' Blogs: Volume 23

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Here's my weekly roundup of notable blog posts from my friends. Enjoy!
JG









posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:22 PM |

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WOW Awards Last Night

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Jake and Jason did an amazing job hosting the WOW Awards at church last night - a special Academy Awards-like night to honor our volunteers. There were some great stories, funny videos and solid bits. Here's the highlights for me:
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:24 AM |

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Worldwide Traffic Rank

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According to Alexa, my blog is ranked #1,915,751 of all websites in the whole world. Not too shabby. Hahahah!

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:17 AM |

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Photo Caption Judge

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Got to judge a photo caption contest over on Marko's blog today. Fun!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 AM |

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Email Encouragement

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I'm not going to tell you his story, just make an ask of you. Would you pray for fellow youth worker Dave today, then send him an email of encouragement?

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:33 AM |

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8" of Snow Yesterday

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Called my dad yesterday ... he said they got snow yesterday. Just read about it in the Star Tribune. Wild.
Snow, heavy rain and strong wind caused travel problems in parts of Wyoming today.

Up to 8 inches of snow fell in the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming and forced highway officials to close a section of U.S. 14A between Burgess Junction and Lovell.

No unnecessary travel was recommended for U.S. 14 from Dayton to Burgess Junction.

Ronda Holwell, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said up to 8 inches of snow had fallen in the area, causing slick spots and poor visibility.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:12 AM |

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Summer Time Youth Ministry Article

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Just posted a couple of new articles from PDYM mentors, Don't Quit by Brian Berry and another called Summer Time from Joby Martin. Both are great, here's a clip from the second one. Enjoy!
1. Leverage the student ministry calendar. Just schedule some good hangout events. Don’t make it into a bible study or a bake sale. Just hang out. Put it on your summer calendar and tell everyone to show up without an agenda. Life happens in the margin and it’ll communicate to your students that just spending time with them is a priority to you. Tomorrow morning I’m taking a bunch of guys and girls on a fishing trip. No big deal, just a few poles, some bait and lots of time together.

2. Invite students into your life. Doug Fields calls this “the dog house principle”. He tells a story of building a dog house and asking a student to help him out. I abuse this principle. I have lots of errands to run and I never go alone. Take a student with you wherever you go. They would love to help you shop or do yard work or just spend time with someone who really cares. The best lessons students will ever learn will not be in your youth service, but just by watching you follow after God.

3. Open up your home. Now don’t go crazy with this one. But a few times a month just let your students and volunteers know that your house is open. Throw on a movie, grab some board games, buy an Xbox 360 and have some fun. If you are married, then clear it with your spouse first. Of course, you need to set clear boundaries about what time they need to leave and what nights your house is off limits. It will scream "relationship" when you invite students into your home.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:00 AM |

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12 Spots Left for Student Leadership

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This is so fun - looks like the PDYM Student Leadership Conference will sell out this week. Last chance - just 12 spots left - yeah!

JG

UPDATE: Sold out - join the waiting list! We might be able to get a bigger venue if there's enough interest.



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:06 AM |

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PDYM Total Makeover: Episode 3

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The finale ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:41 AM |

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Casting of Indiana Jones

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Big news today from their official site. No Sean Connery, but still:

Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett has established herself as one of the preeminent leading actresses in film today, earning her first Best Actress nomination for her title role in Elizabeth, for which she received a BAFTA and Golden Globe Award. She continued to draw acclaim for significant roles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Notes on a Scandal and Babel. In 2005, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator, and this year was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Cate is currently filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button costarring Brad Pitt and directed by David Fincher.

Known for his layered and nuanced performances of tough guys, Ray Winstone drew international praise for his role as Gal Dove in Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast. His recent screen credits include Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, and Anthony Minghella’s Breaking & Entering. Winstone's voice can be heard as Mr. Beaver in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Ray will next be seen in the title role of Beowulf opening November 16, 2007 directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Academy Award nominee John Hurt, whose career in film spans more than 40 years, has played memorable roles in movies both big and small. His impressive body of work includes such films as V for Vendetta, Elephant Man, 1984, Midnight Express, Contact, and Alien. On television, he won world-wide acclaim for his role of Caligula in "I, Claudius" and Quentin Crisp, in "The Naked Civil Servant".

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:31 AM |

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Staff vs. Volunteer

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Just finished recording a staff vs. volunteer parody as a tribute to the volunteers at our church for the upcoming WOW Awards. Should be fun, if they let me I'll post it on YouTube and share it this weekend ... fun.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:37 PM |

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Podcast 50 is in the Can

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It's done! It's amazing ... OK, it's pretty normal, but we do have a great time talking about youth ministry for about an hour. Look for it Thursday afternoon!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:36 PM |

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The History of Saddleback Church

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Rick spent some time today walking the staff through the history of the church, it's various iterations over the years since it began and began to reveal where it's going in the future. In a few weeks he'll share the vision until 2010 ... today he shared these principles from Deuteronomy, and illustrated each point with stories from the past years at the church:
Remember the blessings
Remember the miracles
Remember the tests
Remember the lessons
Remember your leaders
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:33 PM |

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Worship Conference Student Rate

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Kurt just posted on a special student/youth worker rate to Saddleback's Worship Conference next month. If you're interesting in coming, hit him up.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:32 PM |

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PDYM Total Makeover: Episode 2

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Episode 2 of the Wacover ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:10 AM |

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Time Passes You By

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Interesting possible observation made listening to six of the most amazing special effects gurus in Hollywood. I sat in a press room with the guys behind most of the big films you know and love.

For about 1/2 an hour I listened to them talk about the good old days. They talked about what's wrong with the industry now. They talked about successes of the past. Really all of them talked about the good old days, except one named John, who was talking about the here and now.

The old way of doing special effects has really fundamentally changed. With the invention of the computer and the birth of the digital effects industry, no longer is there the same demand for model making, actual set building and miniature work.

Perhaps this concept is a bit generalized or oversimplified, but the point is - the times have changed.

You can talk about the good old days - what was and how it was a better time then - but the fact is, the revolution came and went and many were left behind. I'm not suggesting this to stomp on the old pioneering ways or to under-appreciate what people have done in the formative cutting edge past - I'm merely using it as a possible correlation to my personal and professional life to the here and now.

I must purposely advance or be left behind.
I'm not here to suggest that the old ways have all expired. These men are the reason movies like this exist. They created an industry, then the industry briskly advanced into the future.

The message remains the same, but the method must always change.

Either that, or we'll end up being the 5 guys in a room talking about the good old days and there will be 1 guy still making movies.

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to MoreThanDodgeball.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!


The Big 5-0

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to DownloadYouthMinistry.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!

Rumor has it ... tomorrow afternoon ... the soon to be legendary Episode 50 of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast will be recorded. It would go public mid-Thursday if all goes as planned ...

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:26 PM |

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to MoreThanDodgeball.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!


Who Are These Guys: Pre-Episode 5

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to DownloadYouthMinistry.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!

The new show is up ... I swear Tony puts them up 10 minutes after we record them. We talk a bit about social networking and other random geek stuff that may/may not relate to ministry. Enjoy!

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:25 PM |

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to MoreThanDodgeball.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!


The Cover of Forbes

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to DownloadYouthMinistry.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!

This might not mean much to you, but the kid on the cover of Forbes this week was a student at my church in Michigan. He's also a pretty boy model. Yeah, Nick!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:44 PM |

SimplyJosh.com has now moved to MoreThanDodgeball.com - follow this link to visit the new site with new posts everyday!