Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Good Night.

We had a great night at the ballpark. Papaw Colbert (Deb's Dad) took the boys and me to see the Reds and Braves tonight at Great American. The Reds won in eleven innings. Jay Bruce went 4 for 5, raising his career batting average to .571. I'm just saying, he might end up panning out. Maybe my kids will brag that they saw Jay Bruce's third game ever when he scored the winning run in extra innings. After the game they put on a big fireworks show. I'm not a huge fireworks fan, but it was about as good as it gets. The kids loved it and fell asleep on the way home.

I can remember seeing the Reds every summer when I was their age. We'd drive up from Kentucky to watch Rose, Morgan, Bench and the gang. Moving back has made it much easier to reconnect with the Red Legs.

Here's to summer and to baseball's oldest professional team.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Q City Improv Show

I'm part of a little improv troupe called The Q City Players. We had our first show a few weeks ago, but elected not to publicize it much. This one is open for all who wanna come by...

Our next show is June 6, a week from this coming friday at the Cincinnati Ballet Tech. The show starts at 8pm. Tickets at the door in the $5 range. Some PG-13 content.

The address is 6543 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45213.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

John Ortberg

I mentioned John Ortberg this weekend at VCC in my message. John was a very influential communicator for me early in my life when I was trying to find my own voice and teaching style. Back then he was at Willow Creek church in Chicago. His wife Nancy befriended me after she had assumed the next gen ministry stuff at Willow. They were both very kind and gracious to me as a kid in my early twenties full of questions and ideas.

I lost touch with them, but recently discovered the website of their church in Menlo Park, CA. All of John and Nancy's messages are available for free there in manuscript form or in audio/video stream. I just think it's a great resource if you are looking for a new voice to speak into your life.

So, check it out at

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I got the cellulitis. Not cellulite, but cellulitis. It's a disease. I'm sure I have some cellulite just hurts less than my cellultis.

The good news is that it is now being cured, I hope, by antibiotics. Two nights ago I awoke in the middle of the night with chest pain. After ruling out a heart attack and self-diagnosisng heart burn I went back to sleep. My chest continued to hurt yesterday until I eventually grew an silver dollar sized lump under the left nip. It's since grown to tennis ball size. It feels like Chuck Norris round-housed my nipple. (I'm assuming we all know what that feels like.)

The doctor said it probably started with a rebel chest hair that decided to grow into my skin instead of out of it. My rugged manliness finally got the best of me. Darn chest hairs.

It could have been a bad thing if I had let it go for another week...but as it is, I have antibiotics and pain killers and the promise of relative health within ten days.

If only these magic pills cured my cellulite too.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All the way to Kingdom Come

Today wrapped the Vineyard Regional Conference at VCC. It was my first official Vineyard gathering. I was impressed with a few things about my new tribe, but above all I was struck by the focus of a Kingdom-centered theology. Though the idea of the Kingdom of God is all throughout the Bible, and especially in the Jesus accounts, I spent most of my Christian life (including four years of Bible College) largely ignorant of the whole concept. I suppose it was first Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy who opened my eyes about ten years ago.

From Willard I found Hauerwas, Yoder, Bosch, Ladd, Kung, Keller, Wimber and others who consistently pointed me toward the reality of the current-and-not-yet reign the Kingdom. I take the time to list these thinkers to show their different backgrounds - Liberals and Conservatives, Protestants and Catholics, Reformed and Armenian...I wonder if there is something to that. I've often wondered if there is fulfillment is Jesus saying that those who seek will find, and though we seek and find seemingly different positions and practices we find the same Kingdom. The same gospel. The same regeneration revolution. The same hope.

I've heard many people say that they were "vineyard" before they knew of the vineyard. After this week, I believe this is especially true for me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tackling the Elephant Update

I wrote several posts here during the Tackling the Elephant series at VCC. (If you'd like to see the TTE website, click on the green and black elephant logo over there -->)

Yesterday was a great day. We partnered with Habitat for Humanity to begin construction on a house in Lincoln Heights financed by the "Elephant" money that came into VCC last November. As a church we committed to give any money above and beyond our operating budget to this project. At the end of the series we received exactly the amount needed to build one house.

I was able to meet our partner family, the Williams, and let them know that we are honored to partner with them to see the kingdom come in their neighborhood. Lots of tears and cheers - a good morning.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Called Back?

Monday night I got a personal call from a relatively big time casting director in LA. I'd read for her a few times last year and she always seemed to like me. She had called my agent in LA who told her that they didn't rep me anymore. She asked for my cell number and called me directly to audition for a new Disney sit-com pilot. When she called I wasn't prepared for her at all. I've been out of that game for nine months now. Her normal LA industry tone was jarring: "Hey, Joe. It was hard to find you. Your old agent gave me your number. I need you here at 5:00 tomorrow to go straight to producers for a Wednesday shoot. You're perfect for this and I gotta fill it fast." Then she started giving me directions to her Hollywood office. I interrupted. In the heat of the moment all I could say is, "I'm in Ohio." I meant that I had moved here. She assumed I was visiting. "Can you get a flight back by 5:00 tomorrow?"

See how they think? I said no. She seemed upset - they always do. She said she'd call next time. I didn't have the heart to tell her not to bother. For a moment afterward I was stunned. These were similar conversations to what I would have on a weekly basis a year ago. For three minutes I was back in the middle of the industry. I honestly miss it some, but not all the time. They say a big part of making it as an actor is just having enough good auditions with someone that they eventually call and make it happen for you. I'm sure in a parallel universe I'd be reaping those benefits this year in LA.

Months ago someone commented on my blog that if LOST called me and offered a recurring role I'd move back to LA without thinking about it. I don't think that's true. Mainly, because LOST films in Hawaii, not LA, so I'd be moving there. Just kidding. I wouldn't move back. I'm here - called here. I think this phone call was one more confirming piece to that realization. I didn't call in sick yesterday and jump a plane to LAX. Could have. I didn't even consider it. I got a callback for my last five auditions in LA - the longest callback run of my life. I missed all five callback appointments because of my interviews here with The Vineyard. That's part of how I knew what was about to happen. I was happy to miss them to explore what God was up to here.

Last thought on these things...I told some friends that this casting director's recent call felt like a crack dealer calling a year into sobriety and telling me to come over for a free hit. Strangely, the intoxicating and addicting part of acting in LA for me wasn't the actual performing, but the competition of it all...doing whatever it takes to get that call at the expense of someone else is what the business side of acting is all about. When she was on the phone, it all came back. The inner dialogue of "she remembers me - she likes me - my work is paying off." There's something very unhealthy about that. Ohio's unhealthy because of greater access to fried foods and Greater's ice cream, but I don't find myself as desperate for approval or advancement as I did back in socal. That's unhealthy too...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Softball Take Two

This is a follow up to the previous post. Today ESPN did a more comprehensive story, just click below to see it...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Softball Story

Told this story at VCC this's the original segment that I saw on ESPN:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Road Trip's FInal Leg

I'll be speaking this weekend on the final week of our Road Trip series. We'll also be showing the video of our arrival to Emmaus and the events that took place there. The main idea of this week is that we continue our spiritual journey by inviting others to take the next step with us. I've learned a lot from my friends in recovery, but chief among them is the importance of living a 12th Step lifestyle. We'll be looking at how that plays out for us self-addicted people this weekend. I like to think we are all addicted to something, even if it is the pride of thinking we aren't addicted to anything.

For your consideration: The 12 Steps of AA:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.