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Google Searches That Lead Here: Volume 37

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Here's a roundup of some of the more interesting search phrases that people actually used to find this blog in the past 7 days. I kid you not:
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:48 PM |

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Francis Chan at PDYM Student Leadership '08

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Big news! We just booked Francis Chan to come speak to our students at the PDYM Student Leadership Conference next year. So exciting for students to get a chance to hear him. Yeah!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:04 AM |

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The Ten CGI Commandments

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This press release just hit my inbox:
Promenade Pictures has announced that it will release its inaugural big screen feature film as the first in its Epic Stories of the Bible franchise...The Ten Commandments. Scheduled to release in theaters nationwide on October 19 2007, The Ten Commandments is a full-length, 3D CGI animation that brings the Bible classic to life in a film that uncovers the true meaning of faith and God's message of love to humankind - known as The Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments is directed by Bill Boyce (Hermie & Friends) and John Stronach (Ben Hur, Cahoots), and features an award-winning talent line up including Ben Kingsley (narrator voice), Christian Slater (Moses voice), Alfred Molina (Ramses voice), and Elliott Gould (God’s voice) as well as acclaimed family screenwriter Ed Naha (Honey I Shrunk the Kids).

Filled with high adventure and a gentle sense of humor, the miraculous story of The Ten Commandments showcases Moses, an ordinary man with an extraordinary calling. He was the only man in Biblical history to behold the face of God and call Him friend. The film takes a unique approach to highlighting the humanity of Moses and displaying the power of God.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:02 AM |

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Podcast 56 is in the Can

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Hard to believe that the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast episode 56 is in the can. It should land tomorrow in iTunes, this show is more about finally being together again than really youth ministry. Enjoy it when it shows up!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:36 PM |

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Star Wars Simpsons

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JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:49 PM |

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Pastrami Burger and Fries

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Loved hanging out with a new friend TJ today - he was in town to do a wedding this weekend and stopped into visit Saddleback for the first time. A great youth pastor from Oklahoma ... we enjoyed a pastrami burger at The Hat ... let's just say it owned him.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:45 PM |

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An iTunes Run: Volume 14

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Grabbed a few new tunes on iTunes this week, thought you might want to make fun of my selections. I'm a glutton for punishment ...
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:29 AM |

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Who Will Speak for Christianity?

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USA Today had a great article about evangelicals and the search for the next spiritual leader for America. Despite the angle on voters and the GOP, I think this is an interesting take on it, to say the least. enjoy the clip:

The emerging face and voice of American evangelicalism is that of a pragmatic, politically sophisticated, pastor of a middle class megachurch. A younger generation of ministers such as Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life; Bill Hybels, of the pioneering Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago; T.D. Jakes, the African-American pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, as well as a music and movie producer; and Frank Page, the re-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Or, this younger generation might be personified by someone like Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, just outside Orlando. The amiable Midwesterner, who opposes the death penalty, looks like Johnny Carson and sounds like Gene Hackman. He's a regular reader of such periodicals as The Economist, Foreign Affairs and Harvard Business Review.

Hunter, 59, notes that, with constituencies that must be cultivated in their communities, he and other congregational pastors are quite different from the previous generation of leaders who headed broadcast ministries or political organizations. Groups such as the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family "almost demand a more strident tone to raise money or media ratings," Hunter says. "As pastors, we don't have the same pressures on us. We work with people. We know what it takes to be patient and motivational and encouraging."


JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 6:30 PM |

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Halo 3 Goes Gold

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The game is done ... headed to the duplicator. Yes!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:45 AM |

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Stuck?

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Thanks to Swerve for the pointer on this one.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:44 AM |

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Goodwill Hunting

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Oh, man. Taffy is an amazing small group leader. His students played Goodwill Hunting last night and it looked amazing. Don't know what it is? You've definitely got to check it out:
We told all the Droopy's to bring $20 bucks for the night, starting at 6:00pm. We all met at the church and hung out for about 20 minutes. Then we gathered them all up and had them put their names on a piece of paper and placed them in a bowl. Then each person drew a name. Whatever person they drew, they were to spend $10 dollars at Goodwill and would dress them up with the clothes that they bought.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:32 AM |

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Overpriced Lone Star Sodas

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Had a bummer of an experience yesterday evening at Lone Star Steakhouse. We ordered up 3 big meals for the adults and there was plenty of food to share with the kids to save a few bucks and not buy kids meals, and just get them drinks. Sounds like a noble plan, right?

When we got the ticket, each of the kids drinks was $2.50 ... about 4 ounces of Coke in a plastic kiddy cup costs the same as a 4 liters at the grocery store. No thanks. I joked on the way home I should write them a note and ask them to reconsider that price - paying the same for a tiny child's drink and an adult drink with unlimited refills just doesn't make sense.

Well, I actually did write them a note in their online comment form last night. The owner of the resturant wrote me back less than 12 hours later explaining that drinks are free with a kids meal, but would look into the pricing issue of drinks by themselves. An hour later he shot me a second note and agreeed that they were definitely overpriced, and suggested the price be $1.29 instead. He said that if I found that acceptable, he would put it into motion and in a week all of the stores in this area would update their pricing of children's drinks.
I told him we would visit in a couple of weeks and test it out, and how thankful I was for his quick and tactful response. Now I'm not here to promote Lone Star Steakhouse, but I feel there's some pretty strong learnings from this interaction for all of us to share.

1. It's a big deal when a person who owns the company or runs the place pays attention to you. What are you in charge of? Who needs attention in your area of service?

2. Response time is always critical. How long do you respond to a frustrated parent? Do you avoid confrontation and the expense of reputation?

3. Is there something that needs to be changed? Don't be overzealous in your own wisdom to think you might not have missed something legitimate. Too often we dismiss criticism when we should follow it. An honest criticism is a warning before a problem gets bigger and someone goes above you or never visits your resturant (church) again.

4. How can you turn a critic into a rabid fan? Because that's what happened to me.

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:11 PM |

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Speaking to Teenagers

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Doug Fields' new book Speaking to Teenagers is available for pre-order as of today on SimplyYouthMinistry.com. Again, this is a pre-sale, since the book doesn't officially get released until early October. This is one you should check out for sure, especially if you're in charge of the weekly talk/sermon to students.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:09 PM |

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Do You Need a Church Office Anymore?

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This interesting concept in the business world can't be too far away from the church, I'm guessing. ABC News has a feature on companies that don't have an official office, or if they do, it's pretty small. Here's a clip:
Like 42 percent of IBM's 350,000 employees, Flavin rarely comes in to an IBM office.

"We don't care where and how you get your work done," said Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's global health care and life sciences business. "We care that you get your work done."

IBM says it saves $100 million a year in real estate costs because it doesn't need the offices.

To be honest, I like the idea quite a bit, though in a church setting you would have to address some issues like locations for counseling and meetings, but do you have to have a full-on church office? I'd be interested to check out churches that embrace this, and how they manage their team.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 PM |

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3 Questions with Taffy About the Student Zone

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Just posted a new update to the ETV blog here at Saddleback, if you haven't checked it out yet it's the official site for our building campaign and the new Student Zone. Today's update included 3 Questions with Taffy, our student ministries worship pastor, which I think is fun. Check it out ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:43 AM |

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Does It All Really Matter?

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Interesting new article from Danny Bowers I just posted on PDYMCommunity.com. Basically he's 8 years into his ministry and beginning to question if it's all worth it and if it's all working. Good nuggets in here and encouragement for all of us. Here's a clip, hit the link for the rest:

Two years went way too fast. Five years was somewhat a milestone, I think? Seven years just seems like I just started. Starting this, my 8th year of youth ministry, I began to become struck with a question.

Does it all really matter?

As youth pastors we look at our life and evaluate everything we do. We spend time preparing messages, mentoring students, equipping leaders, speaking into students lives, having fun enjoying life, crying with families during the hard times, rejoicing during the good times and then everything in between. We look at all of this and hope that we are doing everything we can to point students to the heart of Jesus.

My entire “adult” life has been spent wanting to see teenagers know that their Creator desires to embrace their heart and give them a life they have never experienced before. And in this I have to ask a question, “Does it all really matter?” Not because I don’t trust the very intricate working of God’s Spirit in everything around us, but because I am human and need to know that what I have done and am doing is really worth my time, energy and sacrifice. If it is not worth it I need to be doing something else with my life!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:31 PM |

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What's Inside: Snausages Snawsomes

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Easily my favorite part of Wired Magazine, the What's Inside series this month takes on dog treats. Here's a clip of what's inside Snausages:
Wheat Flour
For a doggie treat that presents itself as a twist of beef and cheese sticks, you wouldn't expect wheat to be the first ingredient listed. Turns out these snacks are closer to soft pretzels than Slim Jims: They're made mostly of wheat flour and pregelatinized wheat flour — a processed starch that makes food easier to digest.

Soy Protein Concentrate
Because these Scooby snacks are mostly wheat, Del Monte pumps in soy protein concentrate — essentially mashed soybeans with the fats and carbs removed. This brings SnawSomes up to a whopping 4 percent protein — just a touch more than a Twinkie.

Natural Smoke Flavor
Produced by burning wood chips and condensing the smoke into a liquid, this additive creates the illusion that food has been cooked over a flame. A CDC report showed that 92 percent of commercial liquid smoke flavorings contain benzoapyrene, a substance known to cause stomach tumors in animals. Thankfully, there's not enough here to be a real issue.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:43 PM |

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7 Ways to "Go Green" With Your Car

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Enjoyed recording this Who Are These Guys? podcast last night with Tony. We took a giant step away from the usual more serious topics of the show and just had fun talking about the environment and getting better gas mileage in your vehicle.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:34 PM |

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God Calls in So Many Different Ways

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In the "getting to know you" part of the seminary class, members of the class came up front and shared their faith experiences. Just amazing to see the different ways that God calls people:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:30 PM |

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The Start of Seminary

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OK, my first class starts in 20 minutes ... here we go!

Side note: Epistemology was in Microsoft Word's spell check. Amazing ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:39 PM |

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Movie Review: Surf's Up

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I like a movie that takes risks, and this one does with quite a bit of success. OK, maybe not a ton of risk, but it takes the idea from the start of the The Incredibles and lots of nods from The Office and pulls out a documentary-style animated movie that's quite entertaining.

The story follows an unlikely penguin surfer (what's with all the penguin movies lately? Please be the last ...) who follows in the footsteps of his idol surfer Big Z, who died in a surfing accident some years ago. This is a story really of believing in yourself when no one else does, the importance of friends and ultimately redemption. I enjoyed the movie and loved the style - not sure it's worthy of a sequel but there was plenty of good values in it for my kids to see and enough humor to keep me entertained as well. Fun. B+

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:33 PM |

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Movie Review: Shrek 3

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The third time is not a charm.

Although all of the pieces are there to make another great Shrek film, the last in the triology falls apart with a thin plotline and more, more, more of the same. Yes, there are some great moments - the little Shreks and baby donkeys are great and when some of the characters switch voices you have to smile, but all in all it falls flat with just a few spots to really laugh out loud. Mike Meyers isn't his best and Cameron Diaz is sadly underused.

My boys loved it, but it felt like it wasn't a "Return of the Jedi Last Crusade Return of the King" kind of ending. Worth a buck fifty with the boys last night at the Dollar Theater, but that's about it. I actually hope they make a 4th so the series can end on a high note. C+

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:59 PM |

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Hit with a Racquet

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Didn't know racquetball was a 'contact sport' until yesterday morning ... got wacked with a raquet - it hit just above the ankle and square in the middle of the calf. Two thoughts: 1) should my calves have their own MySpace page, and 2) where do I get a temporary handicapped sticker?

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:54 PM |

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My Learnings this Summer

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At the intern meeting on Wednesday we went around the room asking what people had been their learnings this summer - there were some really great ones and I thought I would share here what mine has been over the past month or two.

I think I've been having somewhat of a mid-life crisis.

I'm just 32, so that either means I'll die before retirement or perhaps this is all just a bit premature. But I think the concept of death has been a bit rattling to me for some reason, even keeping me up a few nights. I have faith, I believe what Jesus said about eternity, but for some reason this was haunting me.

Maybe it was the fact that we noticed that my life insurance policy needed to be increased because our family had grown. Maybe it was because John Ortberg's It All Goes Back in the Box message (that I heard 3 times then read the book) had me fixated on it. Don't know. But I do know I came to some realizations here at the end of the summer.

Every day I am going to live and love. Live for eternity and love people.
Live for eternity - this sounds a bit cheesy, so let me unpack it. Every day I want to make a difference for God's kingdom. Maybe it's something small, maybe it's something big. I added a reminder to Outlook at 10:55 every day asking me if I made a difference in the past 24 hours. Did it count for God or was it wasted? Was someone encouraged, trained, built up, saved, changed because of my life?

Love people - again, perhaps cliche? But my heart is that every day I want to say I love you to my kids. Every day I want to kiss them. Every day I want to love and be loved. I want my wife to know I am madly in love with her. I want to be generous, forgiving and authentic. I want to make people smile, give away touch, smile too often and laugh out loud.
So there you have it - I would think that at the end of my life I would be pretty proud of that if I managed to do both of these things each day.

JG





posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:01 PM |

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The Shopping-Driven Life

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This funny spoof appeared in today's UK Satire. Made me laugh! Here's a clip:
That void was filled by the book "The Shopping-Driven Life" by the Rev. Arnold Rogers, which her friend Betsy Tompkins recommended that she read, if she could. "It literally changed my life," says Threlkeld. "I realized I only had so much time on this planet, and I'd better do what I could to max out my credit cards while I was alive."

Rogers' book was written in response to Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?", which has held a place atop bestseller lists ever since it first appeared in bookstores in 2002. "Being useful isn't something that everybody is capable of," says Rogers. "If all you can do is shop--well, what's wrong with that?"

Rogers counsels women that shopping is a means to an end, and should not be pursued without a larger purpose in mind. "A lot of credit cards give you frequent flier miles and other promotional rewards," he notes. "If you're passing those up, it's like you're throwing away fishsticks in your grade school cafeteria."
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:38 AM |

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30 Days to Live

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Didn't know if you've seen LifeChurch.tv's new series - 30 Days to Live. It's a pretty compelling series idea, and they've done an amazing job with the website for it. Check it out, and be inspired by the stories, the videos and the Scripture. I love it that people can post their own comments and thoughts. This is a great example of using technology to support message. Awesome!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:31 AM |

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Book Review: The Blogging Church

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Just wrapped up what is now my favorite book of the past month - The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey and Terry Storch. If you're wondering a) what this whole blogging thing is about, b) how to can take your blog to the next level or c) if a blog can be helpful or hurtful to your church - this is the book for you.

It takes you on a journey from the beginner to the advanced principles that make blogs work. The framework for the book is firmly the church and it really gives both sides to the question of whether or not a blog is right for you. Of course, the authors are great bloggers so you can see where they've landed on the issue personally. And obviously I'm super pro-blogging, so most of it was singing to the choir for me.

Two things really stood out to me - the first being lots of practical advice and strategy. If you have a blog, even a pretty good one, there's lots in here you should grab on to. I know my blog will be changing some due to my learnings (notably shaking up my blog roll and adding in a formal disclaimer). Secondly, I really enjoyed the interviews and advice from top bloggers. These are the people that have been there from the beginning or at the very least are very, very good at it. Lots to learn from the authors and from the people they interviewed for the book.

This is a book that needs to be in the hands of anyone who communicates (internally to a team or externally to the community) and the people that control your church's destiny on the web. Highly recommended.

JG






posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:05 PM |

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Day at Disney

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Took the day today to enjoy Disneyland with the family. It was amazing - perfect weather, got to ride about 15 rides, great family time, had a Dole Whip, watched them film a Disney commercial and even saw David Hasselhoff in the flesh.

The perfect day.

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:02 PM |

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Robot Love

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JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:09 PM |

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Walls of Fury

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Spent some of today taking new pictures of Saddleback's Student Zone - you can check them out today (and more tomorrow) on the Extending the Vision Blog. Man, this thing is really starting to take shape - be sure to vote in the polls, too!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:15 PM |

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LifeChurch Songs Podcast

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LifeChurch.tv launched several new podcasts today, including the songs from many of their campuses. They did the tough work of getting licenses to put this up on iTunes, and you get to enjoy their song arrangements for free while you work. Love it.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:51 PM |

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New Update of Life Hurts, God Heals

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The new version of Life Hurts, God Heals hit Simply Youth Ministry today - it looks nice!
Right now, there are students in your youth ministry who are desperately hurting - hurting from the pain of a broken home, struggles with depression, abusive relationships, and more.

Life Hurts God Heals is a completely comprehensive resource you can use to launch and run a ministry specifically to bring healing to these students. It includes all the curriculum you will need for leaders and participants, as well as all the "behind the scenes" stuff to help with everything from recognizing danger signs in teens to how to get this program up and running in your church.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:38 PM |

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12 Kinds of Ads

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Kevin pointed this study out to me, thinking that youth workers might benefit from the article on the 12 types of ads as they concept, create and edit videos. Here's a clip from Slate hit the link for the show if you're interested:

After much research, Gunn determined that nearly all good ads fall into one of 12 categories—or "master formats," in his words. At last year's Clio Awards, I saw Gunn give a lecture about these formats (using ads mostly from the '70s and '80s as examples), and I was fascinated by his theory. I soon found myself categorizing every ad I saw on TV. It was a revelation: The curtain had been pulled back on all those sly sales tactics at the heart of persuasive advertising.

This slide show presents some recent ads exemplifying each of Gunn's 12 basic categories. With a little practice, you, too, will be ticking off the master formats during commercial breaks.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:07 PM |

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CONTEST: Win a free GROUP YM Conference!

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If you haven't listened to the latest Who Are These Guys? Podcast, I wanted to give you a heads up that you could win 1 of 2 free registrations to the Group Youth Ministry Conference next February. Want to win? Get in on it!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:15 AM |

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Just Got Access to YouVersion Alpha

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Expect a full report soon ... very excited about this!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:11 AM |

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Halo 3 Article in Wired

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Amazing article in Wired about Halo 3. I read it in the print edition this week (everyone should subscribe - just $10 a year for an amazing magazine) and really enjoyed it. Here's a clip:

Sitting in an office chair and frowning slightly, Randy Pagulayan peers through a one-way mirror. The scene on the other side looks like the game room in a typical suburban house: There's a large flat-panel TV hooked up to an Xbox 360, and a 34-year-old woman is sprawled in a comfy chair, blasting away at huge Sasquatchian aliens. It's June, and the woman is among the luckier geeks on the planet. She's playing Halo 3, the latest sequel to one of the most innovative and beloved videogames of all time, months before its September 25 release.

The designers at Bungie Studios, creators of the Halo series, have been tweaking this installment for the past three years. Now it's crunch time, and they need to know: Does Halo 3 rock?

"Is the game fun?" whispers Pagulayan, a compact Filipino man with a long goatee and architect-chic glasses, as we watch the player in the adjacent room. "Do people enjoy it, do they get a sense of speed and purpose?" To answer these questions, Pagulayan runs a testing lab for Bungie that looks more like a psychological research institute than a game studio. The room we're monitoring is wired with video cameras that Pagulayan can swivel around to record the player's expressions or see which buttons they're pressing on the controller. Every moment of onscreen action is being digitally recorded.

Midway through the first level, his test subject stumbles into an area cluttered with boxes, where aliens — chattering little Grunts and howling, towering Brutes — quickly surround her. She's butchered in about 15 seconds. She keeps plowing back into the same battle but gets killed over and over again.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:09 AM |

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Robot Costumes

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I wonder what these could be for?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:14 PM |

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5 Ways to Undermine Your Senior Pastor

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The Who Are These Guys? Podcast this week is a good one, Tony and I take on 5 Ways to Undermine Your Senior Pastor. Painfully true! Subscribe in iTunes and get the show every week ...

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:28 PM |

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After the Message ... Serving

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After a message on service, ministry or servanthood ... what if you had a few "stations" in the back of the room where students could stop by as they were leaving. Say there are 6 stations with ...
12 Windex bottles. The label on the front was replaced with your church label, and the instructions on the back challenge someone to visit 12 neighbors and clean their windows inside and out.

4 boxes of detergent. Instructions say to visit the school's laundry facility and wash the football team's clothes for the week of preseason.

25 bottles of canned air. Instructions say to go to local business's and spray out the dust inside the all employee keyboards and CPUs.

10 canisters of Lysol Wipes. Instructions say to disinfect all door handles at every elementary and middle school within 5 miles.

2 air pumps. Visit houses and offer to inflat what needs air. Balls, bike tires, beach stuff ...

A pack of double-sided tape and a level. Visit neighborhoods and offer to level picture frames. When level, apply a small piece of tape to the backside.
If asked, they mention how their church is giving back to the community. That's it. See what happens by next Sunday.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:10 PM |

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Who Am I?

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Just finished posting an article on PDYMCommunity.com from Ben McClary - he wrote a great article after having been let go from 2 youth ministry positions this year. It's from his heart, and I think it'll speak to many. Here's a clip:

It is a difficult task, especially for those of us who happen to be male, to keep good tabs on our identity. We seem to have this natural inclination to find our identity, our place in the world, our sense of personal value, in what we accomplish with the work of our hands. It is often traced by theologians, Christian psychologists, and other spiritual leaders back to the curse on the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, where Adam is sentenced to hard work that will, from then on, consume his whole life. But what happens when the business folds? When we become unable to perform our work any more due to illness or injury? When we are fired?

I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time wrestling with this issue pretty hard for the past year or so. It is embarrassing, almost to a comical level, that I have the dubious record to share with you that I have been fired from not one, but two youth ministry jobs this past year—within less than seven months of each other! As you might imagine, this has come with a little bit more introspection than a simple “this is interesting.”

“What is wrong with me?” has been a constant theme in my thoughts. “What is God trying to teach me?” has been another recurring itch on my brain. “Have I gotten my whole life and calling wrong?” has been yet another. But what bubbles beneath all of these questions is the BIG one. “Who am I?”

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:09 PM |

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40% Off Music at SYM

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Simply Youth Ministry is having a 40% off sale of all of the music in the store. That means you can pick up David Crowder for $8 and the latest Jeremy Camp, Passion or Switchfoot CD for $7. Enjoy the tunes!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:54 AM |

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Free Razors (and Printers?)

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OK, this morning I shaved with a straight razor. But it wasn't just any razor, it was a Gillette Fusion. The crazy thing is - they sent it to me for free. I don't think I'm the only one who got this in their mailbox recently - so why would a company do that? Why would they send me their brand new signature razor for free?

They obviously want to get me hooked, and once I'm hooked then I have to start buying their blades. In fact, they are guaranteed a customer for life with plenty of expensive refill purchases - all by giving the original product for free. It's quite a risk, and quite an investment - they are expecting a return.

What's next - is HP going to send me a free printer?

How does this translate to the church? How can a student ministry use this strategy? Well, that's your Monday morning assignment. Comment and idea/thought and let's discuss ... because right now I have no idea but thought it was interesting.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:45 AM |

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Book Review: Jim and Casper go to Church

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Several friends of mine read this new book an insisted I get it - so I did and read it over the past two days. In a word? Aggrivating. Inspirational. Motivational.

The premise is that two guys - a former pastor and an atheist - visit a dozen churches across the country and record their feelings, conversations and impressions. The whole first chapter is dedicated to Saddleback - and in fact, you can read it for free as a PDF right here. Keep in mind this review takes into account the whole book, not just "our church" specific parts.


This book is really a wake up call to the church. It has the courage to say some pretty bold things. Some things that aren't pretty and some that even sting quite a bit. But they need to be said. What is your church's call to action? What is your church doing? What is the impression your building/grounds/greeters give off? Are they performers or worship leaders? Why do we have to be told to welcome others? Is the language we use "insider"?


Let me also caution you that the book is somewhat unfair - they visited churches on a random Sunday morning and only went to the large group meeting. No small groups, no seeking rest of what the church has to offer as a whole. But I guess that's the point, as hundreds of people like them visit church each week unannounced - and probably attend just the big church experience. Maybe it's more fair than I care to admit.


This is essentially a "thin-slicing" of the big church experience. All in all this is a good book I hope we learn from as a church and in general as Christ-followers.


JG











posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:37 PM |

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Saddleback Sunday Morning

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Took this picture today at church - we don't go on Sunday mornings as a family too much to make room for other folks, but this week some unchurched friends came with and Sunday morning was the perfect time. We had a blast - Pastor Rick was back in action teaching an expositional message about discouragement from Nehemiah.

Unrelated to anything: has anyone else noticed that the very top row of the bleachers in the back of the worship center has 14 inches of legroom instead of 22? No joke, I measured it - tight fit!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:32 PM |

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Endless Summerfest II

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It won't be long before Endless Summerfest arrives again at Saddleback San Clemente. We'll be there again this year for sure!

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:20 PM |

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Seminary Orientation Love

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Learned a couple of great lessons today - the first being you never want to take a college library orientation that lasts nearly two hours. Man, those guys are excited about books. Enjoy the picture of me and a guy who is sleeping during the tour. We tried to set off the "book stealing alarm" a few times by throwing books through it, but apparentlyit was turned off. Bummer.The second less was that apparently blogging doesn't help you with grammar, as I learned per my placement test scores.

Reading this over, I think they may be right.

One last genuine observation: everyone is on equal footing in seminary freshman orientation. The 21-year old fresh-faced kid, the 21-year youth ministry veteran (and all in between like me). This is going to be an interesting experience, I can already tell. Swallow my pride and jump in - it's probably good for me. Right?

JG







posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:08 PM |

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Book Review: Life's Healing Choices

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Just about done with the new book by Celebrate Recovery author John Baker. Managed to snag a copy of it up at the Summit this week. It is going to be a very popular book, especially for those in the most intense darkness - there's some powerful testimonies of people in all sorts of situation that found healing and recovery, and included are all of the principles that John speaks about every week at the CR meetings.

My favorite part of the book, one that he keeps hitting on every few pages, is life-changing salvation from Jesus Christ. So often people question the "higher power" of AA and programs that offer recovery, but this book will leave no doubts in the minds of the readers: true recovery is incomplete without Christ.

And that's a message we all need to remember.

JG






posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:22 PM |

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Do You Go or Do You Stay?

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Been talking to quite a few youth workers in transition these days, and been posting some good articles on the subject recently, too. This analogy has been floating around in my head with these people in mind. Thoughts?

Let's say you work for Microsoft.

But, you love what Apple is doing. In fact, what Apple is doing fits your giftedness and you see how you could fit on their team so well. You see incredible dedication, innovation and an environment where it is at least expected if not demanded. Microsoft is the giant, with a huge share of the industry's market - but Apple, smaller but growing, has a huge share of the industry's innovation.

But ... you work for Microsoft. Microsoft needs you - they have plans for innovation and creativity, your charter is to help it head towards Apple-like status, in fact, to head down that road then blow right past the rebellion. But you see the barriers. You see trends in the past where product releases have been underwhelming and you've seen it up close for so long all you see are the flaws. You compare yourself endlessly to Apple, and you wonder if you would be ultimately be more fulfilled over there.

Do you go or do you stay?
I know the analogy breaks down on some levels and totally doesn't account for God's Spirit, but I'm still curious what you think.

JG


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:56 AM |

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The Fountain of Youth Ministry

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I just posted an article from Jim Clark on the PDYMCommunity.com website that talks about getting back to the basics of youth ministry and spending time with students. Here's a clip, head there for the rest:
But for several different reasons, graduate school didn’t seem like the right fit. I was restless with classes that only talked about ministering to students. I was eager to begin. Shortly before beginning the fall semester, I agreed to help out a friend with his week of junior high camp. And I’m glad I did. It was during that week that God laid on my heart the desire to minister to students full time. As I looked around at the other counselors who were serving that week, I realized that they were doing what I wanted to do in terms of serving, leading and guiding students toward the cross and the Savior. My heart was changed that week. A few months later I found myself working the “best job ever” in a local church.

Fast forward to the present… This week I found myself lying awake in bed for the countless time. I was thinking about everything and nothing all at the same time. I was thinking about problems that had come up over the weekend. I was thinking about tasks that were looming and not yet completed. I was thinking about obligations that I had made but had been either unwilling or unable to follow through with. I was thinking about church office politics (and how much I hated it). I was thinking about lessons that needed to be written, messages that needed to be finished, emails that needed to be sent, phone calls that needed to be made, meetings, to-do-list items, projects, trips, calendars, attendance…

And then it hit me: Why don’t I feel the same way about ministry now that I did eight years ago?
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:28 AM |

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A Fistful of Quarters

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OK, this documentary looks amazing ...

JG


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:45 PM |

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Celebrate Recovery Summit

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These people are excited! What an exciting year for Celebrate Recovery and the Summit (going on right now on Saddleback's campus). They've got a new book, and amazing new Bible, a brand new podcast and a whole bunch of blogs. So awesome!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:52 PM |

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Is Your Church a Purple Cow?

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Do people drive by your church without saying a word anymore? Is your church worth making a remark about? Is your church a purple cow? Good stuff here ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:42 AM |

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Saddleback Student Featured in the Register

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Just saw this tonight in the OC Register - one of the teens back from a mission trip to the Phillipines was featured for his participation and leadership in the PDYM Conference overseas. So cool! Here's an excerpt:

Alec Pedersen, a teen who enjoys swimming and hanging out with his friends, began his summer by going on a missionary trip to the Philippines. He learned about the outreach effort through a flyer on a bulletin board at Saddleback Valley Church.

Seeing that Pedersen was devoted to this trip, his parents helped him raise the money to participate. He also received donations from family and friends.The missionary trip was held from June 28 to July 9. While in the Philippines, he assisted pastors in holding a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Conference in Manila.


JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:32 PM |

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Granger Launches MyOfficeSecrets.com

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Just read on Tim Stevens' blog about the launch of MyOfficeSecrets.com - a website to help them promote a new marketplace series at Granger Community Church. Check out the billboards and see how they're planning on getting the word out to their community about the message at church. Awesome!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:11 PM |

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Life In Transition Article - Part 3

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Just posted Dan Gould's third installment of Life in Transition over on the PDYM Community website - this time he talks about his first goals after arriving at a new youth ministry. Good insights here for people just starting a new church - here's a clip, head there for the complete article:

3. Celebrate the past . . . but don’t stay there
This can be challenging depending on your situation. But regardless of the past, celebrate the good stuff and don’t dwell on the bad stuff. As you get to know the students, families and volunteers, remember that some of them still have great memories of what happened before you got there. Value them by valuing that memory and experience but begin to make new memories together! There is a reason God has called you to this specific church. Don’t be afraid to implement new things, or create a new direction. Sometimes fresh eyes and a new leader can allow the ministry to do things that couldn’t be accomplished in the past. It may be challenging, and some things may take time to change, but begin taking some baby steps in that direction.

As my mentor would say . . . don’t get caught in a rut. If you don’t know what a rut is, this probably doesn’t make any sense. But he defined a rut as a grave with its ends knocked out. So don’t get caught in a rut that you can avoid simply because you are new and have a fresh outlook on the ministry.

4. Move Slowly
If you are a driven person like me, this may be easy to say but hard to do. I have to remind myself that student ministry is a marathon and not a sprint and that people take change differently. Some people will want change immediately, while others might not understand why things are changing. Either way, change can be difficult and exciting, but take your time. Pray for clear direction and then begin to move that way. Moving slowly you will allow others to adjust to the vision and direction of the ministry and take ownership in the changes that may be taking place.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:29 AM |

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Bible 2.0

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Snyder is back in town and just told me about You Version, a new 2.0 online version of the Bible that is in alpha launch right now. Sure wish I had access - it's so exciting and such a good idea - yeah LifeChurch!
A revolutionary online Bible that enables community and collaboration like never before. Choose from various translations and read Scripture in a fresh, new way. Take personal study notes, and discover and contribute audio, video, text and images. With YouVersion, you will find communities of people exploring
and interacting with God's Word.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:45 AM |

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The iPhone Kills Trees

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All of you Apple lovers out there are killing the environment with your phone bill. Love it ...

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:17 AM |

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Book Review: The Power of Nice

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Just finished up the quick read Power of Nice. It's a great book that really focuses on being kind to others, loving your enemies, and putting other people before you.

Sounds like another book I read once.

There's some great stories that remind us that kindness is contagious and being nice will return exponentially to the giver. There's also some solid ideas at the end of each chapter to put niceness into action. Some of this comes naturally for me and perhaps my personality, but I always need to check myself and hear from someone else that everyone else is more important than me.

My hope is that this would all be old news to a Christian, and that we would be living in a world of kindness and care for people automatically. But let's be honest, we all need this reminder, and thankfully the message is packaged in a current and well-illustrated way.

I can think of a few people who could really use this book. Would it be nice to leave a copy on their desk?

JG












posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Tony and the U-haul

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Nice shot of Tony in his U-haul today - helping them move across town. Which is a good thing it's a short move, considering what happened last time. Remember?

JG












posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:52 PM |

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Please Send a Note

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A good youth worker friend of mine just got some really tough family news this week. Would you pray for him and his wife right now ... and maybe shoot them a quick note demonstrating God's love?

My faith never feels more alive when I pray for a friend in need.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:12 PM |

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It's Not Too Late for a Fresh Start

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Brand new transcript resource at Simply Youth Ministry, and it's even half off right now, too. Here's the details, if you want to check it out:
These lessons will equip you to rally your youth ministry into a renewed commitment to knowing Christ and sharing Him with others. With two lessons, It's Not Too Late for a Fresh Start works great for back-to-back mid-week meetings or Sunday School, on a retreat weekend, or as lessons to jump-start small group discussions.

Whatever your application, It's Not Too Late for a Fresh Start has everything you need to get from planning to teaching as quickly as possible. You can easily customize the lessons for your group, saving you time while delivering a powerful message of change and hope.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:49 PM |

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The 30 Defining Moments in Gaming History

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Just read this feature over on Next Generation, a great article on the last 30 Years in Gaming. Ah, I lived through so many of them, it's not funny! Here's a clip:
2002: Live from Redmond
If the Dreamcast dragged consoles online in 1999, Microsoft pioneered the coherent online experience in November 2002 with Xbox Live. The idea: provide a seamless, uniform experience for any online game on the Xbox. The system uses a single user identity across all Live games, called a gamertag, which players use to connect to the system and communicate with friends. A player's gamertag also carries a reputation, an attempt to temper online misbehavior similar to eBay user feedback. Since each Xbox contained a hard drive, Microsoft could offer downloads of additional data, like extra levels, to complement Xbox Live-enabled games. Many games even included online voice communication, a technology which was still uncommon in computer games where users had been more likely to have the necessary hardware.

Of course Microsoft didn't give away their new service for free. The original starter package cost a cool $50, and included 12 months of service along with a headset. After the first year Microsoft began charging $50 for 12 months of service and bumped the starter packages to $70. By the end of 2003, Microsoft began offering Premium Content, downloadable add-ons for games for a modest price of $5 or more. Microsoft's killer-app, Halo 2, launched in 2004 with Xbox Live multiplayer and within 12 months the number of Xbox Live accounts doubled to 2 million.

Xbox Live did more than line the pockets of Microsoft, however. It made an online service essential to the modern console. Even recalcitrant Nintendo, previously dismissive of consoles online, put its new Wii online within months of its Holiday 2006 launch.

Runner-up:
Microsoft wasn't the only company dreaming of selling 0s and 1s online. Valve released its Steam 1.0 client along with Counter-strike 1.4 in early 2002, sowing the seeds for what would eventually become an empire of virtual game sales. While it was initially limited to game patching, Steam eventually grew into a large content-delivery system and online community. By 2004, Steam was used to pre-install Valve's Half-life 2 before the game reached store shelves and in 2007 is selling games for independent developers and traditional publishers alike.
JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:31 PM |

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New Sarti Design Website

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Just noticed that my good friend Leigh just relaunched Sarti Design, a design resource for churches. I think the best part of it is quick and affordable graphic design for churches that don't have someone like that on staff. Great job, Leigh!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:52 AM |

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You Do the Math

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A student ministries video from Granger Community Church that I really dug ... another one here, too.

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:18 AM |

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The 7 Sins of Solutions

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Saw these on Guy's blog - a clip from a manifesto called Taming the Traps of Traditional Thinking - which you can download for free here. Good stuff!

Shortcutting. Leaping to solutions in an instinctive way or intuitive way—i.e. the “blink” method of problem-solving—seldom leads to an elegant solution because deeper, hidden causes don’t get addressed. Watch CSI and House: first they collect the evidence, then diagnose, and then solve. It’s never the guy or the disease you initially suspect.

Blindspots. Blindspots are the umbrella term for assumptions, biases, and mindsets that we cannot see through or around. Our brain does a lot of “filling in” for us because it’s a pattern maker and recognizer. Ths cn b hrd fr ppl t cmprhnd, hwvr, mst cn ndrstntd ths sntnc wth lttl prblm. But clear thinking involves more than simply filling in spaces in words.

Not Invented Here (N.I.H.). NIH means that you refuse to consider solutions that are from external sources. It means “If we didn’t come up with it, it won’t work. It is of no use.” Next time you’re waiting for an elevator, watch someone walk up and hit the button even though it’s already lit. We often don’t trust others’ solutions!


JG


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:11 AM |

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10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

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Tony and I take on conference tips in the latest Who Are These Guys? Podcast. If you're headed to YS in the Fall, Group in the Spring or any of the host of other ones, you might find some helpful tips and ideas on the show. Subscribe in iTunes if you like - enjoy the show!

JG




posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Reinvent Your Church Continually

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Sunday Night football tonight taught me an important lesson tonight.

Every year, these same two commentators jump into our living rooms and bring us the Greatest Sports Show on Earth. At the start of every year there's a killer new intro, amazing new music, all new graphics and a whole freshly-reinvented look and feel. I wait with baited breath each September for the start of football season. Who would raise the bar, who would take a risk, who will capture the viewers? But, these two older guys remain the same along with the message.

Everything else changes every season.

There not afraid to change what isn't working or what is tired. The outdated parts are ushered to the door just as quickly they are realized. What does work, stays as long as it's effective. If there's a tradition that is totally engaging, it's kept. If there's something that works on another station but is dying here, it gets tweaked or axed. The best ideas are only the best ideas for a season, then everything goes under the knife.

There is always a gasp in the gasp when someone suggests change. The gasp is probably because someone has just put a mark on his/her head. No one wants to be "that person," the one who becomes the face of the change. It's just too dangerous, so no one steps up. We remain the same, season after season. If viewers switch to another network or (gasp!) end up watching Beckham play the other 'football,' then let them go without much of a fight. We didn't want them here anyhow, our way is the right way and that's that.

It takes a battle to raise change in the church - so you fought and fought and the church did eventually change. You became 'mainstream' - then mainstream kept moving and you didn't move with it. Somehow in the unintentional complacency of just a couple of years you are back right where you started, but instead the songs are from 1980 instead of 1880. You made it through The Dip once before, but now you've got lots of withdrawals and a dwindling credit balance.

The church must be in a continual state of change.
I'm not exactly sure what's bringing all of these feelings on, but I think I'd like to chew on them for a day and return to blogging Tuesday morning (for a change). Comment on them if you'd like, I'll jump in the discussion for sure - but I'll see you tomorrow.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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Seminary Here I Come!

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Just got the letter back ... I've been provisionally accepted to seminary. They're still waiting for one last document - but I'm in. Yeah!

JG



posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:34 AM |

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Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

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You'll find out in the first few minutes if you're stomach can handle the final installment of the Bourne Trilogy. The shakey cam syndrome is back, and shakier then ever. Man, this was a good movie.

The end of the series pretty much ties up all of the lose ends and is a satisfactory franchise-closing movie. The action is just what you would expect - kind of a "Mission: Impossible" and "The Fugitive" mashup with a little lesser names. If you're any fan of the original or lesser sequel, this one will be a hit. I liked it, everyone around me liked it, and you probably will to. Nice to see a summer movie that wasn't over-hyped that delivered. A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:26 AM |

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