7/27/2008

This Week: Summer Camp...

If you stop by the blog this week and notice that there are no new updates, it's because I'm not home.

From Sunday through Friday I'll be at Thousand Pines (for the 6th time) for Jr. High Summer Camp.

And this year brings a new spin on the camp experience for me: I won't be going as an intern or a youth pastor. I'll be going as a volunteer. Will my mind be able to relax a little more knowing that I don't bear the burden of ultimate responsibility? Who knows. But I'm going to find out.

So, faithful readers, I'll check back in with you in a week. Meanwhile, if you want to keep track of what I'm up to, just watch my twitter column on the right side of this page. (I'll be updating daily.) Or, follow me on twitter.

Until we meet again...

7/26/2008

Cross One More Off the List...

A while back, I posted Five Things I've Never Done. I crossed one item off of that list here. Well, tonight I crossed off one more.

I ate a Filet-o-fish sandwich from McDonald's.

Since tartar sauce gives me the gags and the thought of cheese on fish does the same, I requested my sandwich plain. My final verdict? It was disgusting.

Oh well. At least I'm brave...

7/24/2008

Small Groups, Monster Truck Rallies, Midget Mud Wrestling, & Foot Long Hot Dogs...

I haven't been a part of a small group for about 6 years. (The last time was when I was in college.) And, for some time now, I've been ignoring a desire (more likely a need) to be involved in one with dudes that are in a somewhat similar stage of life as me. The problem is that it's been tough for me to find other single dudes in their 20's who know what it's like living in ministry.

About a month ago, the itch started increasing to the point that I began thinking it was an urging from God. So, I began to ask around and see if there were any guys I knew who would be interested in something similar to what I was thinking. Right around then, I started experiencing some level of doubt. Even though I really wanted to be a part of this healthy spiritual practice, is it really wise considering I'm actively searching for a job (which will more than likely require me to move)?

So I thought and prayed for about two weeks on it. In the end, I came up with this question: Which would I regret more; remaining guarded and "safe" and not opening up to anyone until I land where God wants me, or opening myself up to others (risking the pain of deepening relationships only to leave them) knowing it was temporary? I decided I would regret inaction more than action.

As a result, I extended an invitation to seven other guys (four of whom accepted) and our group was formed. Editor's Note: I'm thinking of calling us The Wolverines.

I decided a while back that I wanted to purposefully begin to make choices that gave me more life. Being a part of a group of guys like me does that.

We had our first meeting last night at Chili's and, I have to say, I'm beyond stoked for where God could take this. None of the other guys that are involved are exactly like me, so I'm sure I'll be learning a lot from their different perspectives.

I'm sure I'll be writing future posts on things that inspire me from this...

7/23/2008

Web Wednesday: Coach Murray...

Knock knock... Who's there? Web Wednesday!

I've posted on my love of Flight of the Conchords before, but didn't mention my favorite character: Murray.

Not too long ago, I saw a nike commercial featuring him and Roger Federer and knew that I had to find it on youtube and post it. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy...

7/22/2008

BSMT: 5th and 6th Vote...

I've been a little busy, so the tourney has fallen a little by the wayside. But now, I'm back in full force!

This week, I'm throwing up two votes. The first between Hellboy 2: The Golden Army vs. Hancock. And the second, between Wanted vs. The Dark Knight. Remember, vote for which movie you liked more, not which one you think is a better "film". The vote will go from today, July 22nd, through Sunday, July 27th.

The winner of the first vote will move on to do battle against the winner of Kung-Fu Panda vs. Tropic Thunder. And the winner of the second vote will move on to face Get Smart. Until then, vote away...



PDYM Student Leadership Conference 2008...

Last week, from the 15th through the 18th, about 600+ students gathered on our church's campus. They came to The Refinery to learn more about how to be better leaders in their world. After 3 days of awesomeness, they left. What transpired in between, I captured on video. Then, on Thursday night, I stayed in the office until 4:04am editing it together so that we could show it on Friday morning.

I tacked on some bonus footage, uploaded it to viemo, and now present it to you.

The PDYM Student Leadership Conference 2008...


Quitting a Book...

I don't like quitting...

In fact, I despise it. I pride myself on always finishing what I start. Sometimes this can be a bit unhealthy, as I don't always realize that what I'm striving for is actually harming me. But, on the whole, I think perseverance is a trait to be admired.

That's why it pains me to say this, but I quit a book...

I started reading Gilead: A Novel sometime in February. A few friends had recommended it, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, after several months of struggle, I just couldn't engage with the story. Perhaps it was the narrative. Perhaps it was the fact that there are no chapter divisions. Perhaps it's just the pace. But, whatever the reason, I just could not maintain interest in this Pulitzer Prize winner.

So, a few weeks ago, I quit. And I totally feel guilty. I mean, seeing it on my shelf actually produces a bit of shame in me. I feel like I abandoned a friend. I've even moved on to a rebound book (see the top book in the right column). But I can't shake the feelings.

Maybe one day, in the future, I'll be able to go back. Both the book and I will be different. We'll have learned from our mistakes and changed for the better. We'll be able to start a new and rekindle the hope that our relationship once held. Maybe... But I doubt it...

Curious Josh: Jelly vs. Jam...

Curious as to what the first two posts in this series were? Check them out here...

Just because I've always been a "jam" guy, but never known why... Here's the difference between the two:

Jelly is made from fruit juice and so has no fruit bits. Jam is made by boiling fruit and does have fruit bits. Preserves are basically the same as jam unless you buy them from Smucker's, in which case if it's got seeds in it it's preserves and if it doesn't it's jam. Marmalade typically is a citrus-based preserve, sometimes containing the rind, but other fruits can be used.

And now you know...

Actual Movies Available to Rent at Blockbuster...

In continuing with the "Actual" series of posts I started yesterday, here's one that I've been thinking about for years.

Some time ago I began to notice that Blockbuster had some titles available to rent that were, shall we say, less than oscar-worthy. Here's two that I found while perusing the new release wall a few nights ago...

  • Thunderpants
    Here's the tagline for this gem: "Saving the world... one blast at a time." Yes, this movie is about a boy who has the power of super-flatulence. Here's what I thought: there's no way that this movie has anyone talented in it. I was wrong. It stars Paul Giamatti, Ned Beatty, and Rupert Grint! Oh, Ron Weasley... You should stick with Hogwart's...

  • Yo-Yo Girl Cop
    Here's the description from IMDb: Recruited by a clandestine police organization, "K" must stop a plot by student radicals to create anarchy in Japan. Armed with a hi-tech steel yo-yo, and a new name (Asamiya Saki), she must infiltrate an elite high school to find the terrorists but finds an even more sinister plan is about to unfold. You just know that this is a winner...

    I'm sure that I'll be posting more of these sometime in the future. And before you ask, no, I didn't rent these movies. Although I kind of wanted to...
  • The Only Textbook That's Needed...

    I know this is a bit late, but I wanted to post it anyway...

    This is my friend, Dom. He's from Germany. As such, while we were hanging out on July 4th, I felt it my patriotic duty to educate him on our incredible country and what it means to be American. After walking into Urban Outfitters, I spotted the only teaching aid I would need...

    Here's Dom learning what it means to be a true American.

    God bless the U.S.A....

    7/21/2008

    Actual People That I Saw While at the OC Fair...

    Yes. Mere minutes ago I posted on the fair. But one can hardly attend such an amazing gathering without noting their fellow attendees. Even though I knew I was in Orange County, CA, it felt like I was back in the south.

    Here are some actual people that I saw while at the fair...

  • The Kilt Clique
    I passed these guys almost as soon as I walked in. They were huddled close together in the middle of a crowd of people. I would imagine it was a planning meeting for their can-can dance show that was sure to follow...

  • Goth Bean Poles
    When you're already 6'6" and weigh in at 130 dripping wet, are 6 inch platform boots really your best fashion accessory? Maybe if your cat is stuck in a tree...

  • The Sunburnt Couple
    A rare find indeed. These guys were so sunburnt that it surprised me a bit, and I have red hair. And I get sunburnt if I walk outside at night in the full moon...

  • The Middle-Aged Baby Doll
    Perhaps the saddest find of all. If you're a adult, please dress like one. I couldn't help but wonder if she lost a bet...

    Now I know what it feels like to go on a safari. I can't wait to see who I can spot next year...
  • Actual Food That I Ate While at the OC Fair...

    Last night me, Ryanne & Jonathan, Alanna & Jared, Allison & Bethany, Josh & Zach, Wendy & Rebekah, and Jake & Tim(?) went to the OC fair. Due to my love of fairs (not affairs) and my love of fair food, my anticipation levels were off the chart.

    Here are the things that I actually ate while I was there (listed chronologically)...

  • Deep fried Pop Tart
    It's official. You can get any food in its deep fried form while at a fair. Also official, I'm pretty sure the same will be true in heaven...

  • Krispy Kreme Donut Chicken Sandwich
    I saw this at the SD fair last year and missed out. So I knew it was in the cars for tonight. Such a wise choice...

  • Mini Donuts
    I used to get these at the SC State Fair. They weren't as good as back home, but delicious none-the-less...

  • Potato Chips
    Kind of like fries. My uncle makes these back home and I love them. I added a little vinegar and then stood and watched my friends hands reach for them...

    One more post on the fair is on the way. And it's going to be awesome...
  • 7/15/2008

    Copycat...

    When I was in college (around my sophomore and junior years), I dated a girl off and on for about a year. For all intents and purposes, she was a nice girl; very pretty, cool, and bilingual. But something always bothered me about her. I couldn't put my finger on it while we were going out. It wasn't until we broke up that I was able to articulate it.

    It was the way that she worshipped.

    Now don't get me wrong, I believe in freedom of expression when it comes to worship. I believe that each of us is free to connect with God in the way that we feel is best, so long as it doesn't cause a distraction to others or cause them to stumble. However, what bothered me about her was that she didn't have a personal way to worship. When she was with me in chapel (which I hated), she would stand quietly with her arms folded and brow furrowed (which I did). When she was with her hallmates, she would lift her hands, close her eyes, and sing loudly. When she was with another group of people, she would lie prostrate on the floor, and cry (not yell, but weep) to God. And that bugged me. It bugged me that she changed her style depending upon who she was sitting beside.

    I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when Taffy asked me to come on a high school student worship leaders' retreat.

    It was simple enough. Each of us adults would pile some kids in our cars and go to a different church to attend, observe, and participate in worship in both the adult service and the youth service. I took the freshmen guys to Coast Hills.

    Nothing that unusual to report on from the adult service. But when we went to the Middle School service, I couldn't help but be reminded of my ex. As the worship band started the service, I was still a bit drowsy from the morning. So it took me a little while to loosen up and participate. So I stood quietly with my hands in my pockets, trying my best to not be a distraction. As I glanced to my left, I noticed that the three guys I was with were doing the same. Within a few songs (and after a Starbucks) I was awake enough to participate. As the band started playing Holy is the Lord, I entered into worship myself. I raised my hands, closed my eyes, and sung aloud to one of my favorite songs. A few times, i glanced to my left and saw that all three guys were doing the same as me.

    Were they mimicking me? Did they feel that by me loosening up, it gave them permission to do the same? I'm not sure. But I was left with these thoughts:

  • In student ministry (and in life), someone is always watching. How we live our lives matters. It speaks to people that we may never have a conversation with.

  • We must be thoughtful in teaching people about God. We must be even more thoughtful about how we live our lives in relation to God, as that will teach more than our sermons or lessons ever will. Without realizing it, how I worship, pray, and relate to God could become an instruction manual for someone else. This makes me want to make sure my stuff is together.

    I guess you could say I've been thinking about being an example a lot lately. I can't help but think I've got a long way to go...
  • 7/14/2008

    Can You Hear Me Now...

    As some of you might know, a new law was passed in CA that states that as of July 1st, no one can talk on their cell phone while driving unless they use a headset.

    I hate this law.

    When I first heard rumors of its passing, I thought, "Oh, no big deal. I've got a bluetooth. This won't affect me at all." But I was wrong. Way wrong.

    First, my bluetooth isn't working. It mocks me from my dash. It stares at me saying, "Hey bud. I know you'd love to chat with your friends and family while you cruise around the OC, but I've got more important things to do. Like sit here and be useless." As my friend, David, would say, if this were a sit around and do nothing-a-thon, my bluetooth would be earning a ton of money for cancer. I think I'll change its name to boo-tooth...

    Second, I never realized how many phone calls I make while I drive. It amazes me. I've probably only made three phone calls in the past 5 days because every time I want to call someone, I'm driving.

    So, to all of my friends, family, and other loved ones; if you haven't heard from me lately, it's because of this wonderful law that my state of residence passed. As soon as I get the money, I'll get a new bluetooth and we can chat...

    7/13/2008

    Only Five Days Left...

    At this point in time, if you haven't heard about The Dark Knight, it's because you live in a cave or some other remote place... like Riverside.

    So far this summer, I've seen 15 movies. But none of them (including Iron Man) have had me anticipating their arrival like TDK. The buzz around Christopher Nolan's sequel to 2005's Batman Begins was already high prior to Heath Ledger's Jan. 2008 accidental overdose, which sent it through the roof.

    The first showing will be this Thursday at 6am. I'm tempted to go. Friends, expect me to begin organizing the first viewing...

    July Eleventh...

    Editor's Note: I hate that the frequency of my posts has gone down. But I love that, for the first time since December, I'm actually busy doing things that matter. I've had about 18 ideas for blog posts. I think I'll try to catch up this Monday...

    This past Friday was July eleventh which, in places lucky enough to have a 7-11, means that it's free slurpee day! So, naturally, I knew action had to be taken. Swanny, Leo and I piled into my Xterra and hit three 7-11's. That way, we could get multiple free slurpees.

    Leo snapped the above pic on his phone after our first stop.

    Oh thank heaven...

    7/09/2008

    I'm Tired and Sore, But I'm Happy...

    I've just spent the past two days on a Junior High guys only retreat with my church. Editor's Note: It's quite different to go on one of these as a volunteer, rather than a pastor. Certainly a lot less worries and stress over details.

    Here's a brief rundown of what we did:

  • Ultimate Frisbee at a local park.
    At one point, me and the other 5 leaders took on all 47 students in a leaders vs. students game. We still won 5-2.

  • Lunch at Tommy's.
    Many in our party wish we wouldn't have chosen this. Not because it wasn't good. But rather, it produced certain... reactions later.

  • A few hours at Nickel! Nickel!
    Arcade games for anywhere from a nickel to a buck? Classics for free? How could you not love this place? I spent a ton of time on Frogger and Ms. Pacman.

  • Inflatable chaos at Pump It Up!
    I left some of the skin from both of my forearms on two of their attractions.

  • Dinner at The Sizzler.
    In an effort to teach our boys some class, we made them wear ties to dinner. I even had an older gentlemen come up to me and ask about it. He got a good laugh out of it!

  • HD movie (Blu-Ray) on the giant screen in the auditorium of The Refinery.
    After watching this movie, I know for sure that I want HD to be a part of my daily life.

  • Indoor Soccer/Silent Football
    Perfect.

  • Breakfast at Denny's
    After the previous day, this was the best breakfast I think I've ever eaten. Of course, it could have been my incredible need for coffee.

  • Swimming.
    47 Junior High guys in one pool. You'd better believe I didn't get in!

  • Lunch at Chick-Fil-A
    A church member works there, so she took incredible care of us.

  • Back to The Refinery for a modified game of Dodgeball.
    While this was going on, I caught up with the dad of one of my former small group students. So great to hear how he's doing!

    So, needless to say, it was quite the busy two days! I'm tired. I'm sore. I'm missing some skin off of my arms. But, I had a blast. I can't believe that I get to do this for a living...
  • 7/07/2008

    Jesus Horse...

    Could this be the greatest picture ever? Read every word on the page and I'm sure you'll agree that it is...

    Weird Cell Phone Picture: #18 (Lucky Number)...

    I had heard, for many years, that some buildings were built "without" a 13th floor. This was done because architects and builders are (were) superstitious and also because they couldn't (can't) count. Editor's Note: If you jump out of the window of the "14th" floor, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that you die one floor sooner than expected. But, I'd never quite believed it until last weekend...

    Yep, the elevator in the Anaheim Marriot confirmed it. Architects and builders are suffering from a strong case of denial...

    7/05/2008

    BSMT: 4th Vote Result...

    In a vote that should come as no surprise to everyone, Wall-E smashed The Happening nine votes to 1 to move on to the semi-finals. Editor's Note: Seriously. Whoever voted for The Happening must have done it to purposefully mess up the unanimous vote that I predicted. There's no way that anyone could have liked it better than Wall-E.

    As a result of its victory, Wall-E will move on to face the winner in the battle of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor vs. The Incredible Hulk.

    The next vote will be between Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and Hancock. But I won't post that until the end of next week. So until then, see you at the movies...

    7/03/2008

    Finished Product...

    Last week, I posted on a project that Josh had asked me to build. Here's an update on the finished product:

    I started by buying some 1/2 inch PVC pipe, and some rubber tubing, and some shrink wrap. Then, I built one side of the triangle...



    Next, I built another side and then connected the two...



    Finally, Colton and I wrapped the sides in the shrink wrap...



    That's when we realized that the triangle was too big to support itself. So, I decided to cut the whole thing in half and make two...



    The students in HSM will be using the containers to put their bottles in for the bottles for Bibles drive as a part of week 2 of the "Save the Planet" weekend teaching series...

    7/01/2008

    The League of Men...

    Usually, I'm not a fan of elitism. I believe that it divides men, forces them into a caste system, and generally causes only sad faced emoticons. But, there are times when being part of the elite causes you to rise above who you are and forces you to become who you were meant to be.

    For the past two years I have been a part of just such an organization: The League of Men™.

    The LoM™ is the finest fantasy football league that the internet has ever seen. You might be asking yourself what sets it apart from other, more amateur, leagues. One word: heart.

    I participated in my first fantasy season in 2003. For the next three years, there were always multiple people in our league who would fail to put in the minimum required effort (100%) to make their team tolerably competitive. In 2005, in what can only be described as a moment of inspiration, two men decided that they had had enough, and struck out on their own. They dared to dream of something great; something... bigger than themselves. These two men (Mr. Jonathan Witt and Mr. Kyle Ruttenbar) created the LoM™ and went on to become its "Double Commish".

    I am proud to say that despite what some considered a less than stellar draft, my team, the Southern Gentlemen, went on to be crowned the inaugural champion of the LoM™. Not only did this make me the most elite of the elite, but it netted me the amazing garment that you see in the above picture. My name is imprinted on the sleeve, as is the year that I won.

    In a sad turn of events, I had to relinquish the jacket today. I gave it back to Jonathan to prepare it for next year's champion, which just happens to be him.

    My name is Josh, and I am a champion of men. Use your envy to propel you forward into greatness...

    BSMT: 4th Vote...

    I'm hesitant to put this vote up, as I think the ending result will be unanimous. But, I suppose I have to stay true to the process...

    This week's vote is between The Happening (certified 1.5 yarmulke™ rating) and WALL-E (certified 5 yarmulke™ rating). The vote will run from today, July 1st, through Friday, July 4th. Remember, vote for which movie you liked more, not which one you think is a better "film".

    The winner will move on to face the victor in the battle of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor vs. The Incredible Hulk. Until then, vote away...