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One of Those Days

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Today was one of those days where I went into it feeling unprepared on my Midweek message, felt like I was an hour behind all day, my coffee took awhile to make at Coffee Depot, staff meeting ran long, and I ended my day still feeling pretty unprepared. But...God showed up tonight as He always does. I find that He will often choose to speak most clearly through me when I am feeling the weakest and least confident. It's very cool to know that it's Him speaking and not just my dumb thoughts.

My Inbox

by Mike Lovato

I have zero, that's right zero items in my inbox right now. Down from 190 this morning. I think I might start taking the advice I've heard multiple places about cleaning it out completely each day. Ok, enough from me. Back to working on my message for tonight.

Spirit West Coast Review

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Spent the weekend at Spirit West Coast. Here's my run-down on the bands I saw.

Rae - I'm not so much a fan. Not much original. Just loud and hard. And for some reason they had them playing 3 times over the course of the weekend.

Dizmas - I have them on my itunes. I thought they were decent before, but I have to say I enjoyed them. The lead singer is a little spastic, but he kept me entertained.

Pound Foolish - Could have done without this one. San Diego rock. Keeping it loud. Keeping it real big hair.

David Crowder Band - Ok, I'm very biased on this one because he's one of my absolute favorites. Highlights included busting out a keytar and doing some bluegrass "I Saw the Light." We then saw him later that night at the New Song Cafe where he played some acoustic stuff and talked about the stories behind a couple songs.

Jeremy Camp - This guy could definitely beat me up. Never been a huge fan, but he's a good perfromer and I enjoyed it. I also remembered I saw him way back in 2000 at a church in Fresno. He is also Travis Collins' evil twin.

Prague - Discovering these guys was a highlight of the festival. A couple of the guys in our high school group know them and we had already decided to have them come play a show next month at our church. I'm REALLY excited about that now that I've heard them. You need to check them out.

Skillet - I haven't listened much to these guys since high school. Lots of energy. Good show. Kind of an industrial/NIN sort of sound.

Newsboys - Ok, I'm not a big fan of the Newsboys. I will admit to owning their Take Me to Your Leader CD, but I was young. But I've heard for years that they put on a great show. And they do. The highlight was when the drum set stinking lifted 10 feet off the ground, flipped 90 degree forward toward the audience, and then spun....the drummer playing perfectly the entire time. It was worth it just to see those two minutes.

My Second Chance - If I had to typecast a lot of the music that's out there right now, this would be it. Bunch of 17 year olds from Coalinga dressed exactly alike, raising their guitars at the right time, and headbanging in unison. I fear that a glam rock revival must be right around the corner.

Bradley Hathaway
- Technically not a band. He's a poet (from Porterville...it must have been Central Valley day). I wasn't sure about him at first, but I'm now a fan. He ends each poem with "Next Poem." I like that.

Joy Electric - A little electronica is good for all of us. Highlights include dancing crazy guy, dancing pirate guy, and a sweet remote controlled blimp with "JE" on the side.

Building 429
- Never heard of them before this event. Typical rock stuff, but solid. I enjoyed it.

Audio Adrenaline - Always a good show. They're calling it quits because I guess the singer has throat cancer. Lots of energy. Lots of crowd participation.

There it is. There were about 5 times that many bands that played, but I couldn't see them all because a) I can't be in more than one place at a time and b) I'm getting old and can only do so many concerts in a weekend. Take a listen to some of these guys and see what you think.

Dog Bites Man

Saturday, May 27, 2006 by Mike Lovato

this is an audio post - click to play

Lost Finale

Thursday, May 25, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, my other favorite show is Lost. The finale was last night and I have to say it was somewhat unfulfilling. Last season left me with Walt kidnapped and totally like "what the heck?!?!" This was like 2 hours of mildly interesting info followed by an "ok" meeting. Nevertheless, here's what I learned:

- Henry Gale seems to be the guy in charge.....I guess the whole deal with him being kidnapped was one huge plot to get Jack, Sawyer, and Kate into the custody of the Others. Bit of a stretch that it would all work out perfectly, but ok, I'll take it.

- One of the big deals for this finale was that they would finally explain how the plane crashed. Ok, so they did. A giant magnet in the hatch brought it down. Ok, sure.

- The bigger issue is still how all these people's lives are interconnected. So it's obviously not just a totally random magnet thing.

- Libby gave Desmond the boat. The boat belonged to Libby's deceased husband, Dave. Dave was also the name of Hurley's invisible friend....interesting.

- The logs from the other monitoring station all just shoot into a giant field. Desmond thinks the experiment is actually on the people at that station, not the giant magnet hatch.

- Evidently Desmond's ex-girlfriend is on a hunt for giant magnets and has employed some chess-playing Russian dudes to find it. And they have.

Ok, that's all I got. I feel a little let-down. J.J. Abrams is going to have to work a little to draw me back in next season.

24 Finale

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by Mike Lovato


It's over. Can't believe it. I have to admit....a good season of 24, but not my favorite. I think Season 3 may be my favorite. Anyways, we went to our annual 24 finale costume party and I thought I'd include a pic of, in my opinion, the best costume of the night. Here's Kurt as Graham the Power Broker (website's words, not mine).

Anniversary

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Well, Nicole and I had a great time celebrating our 5th anniversary last Friday. We spent the night at the Miyako Inn in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Priceline can do fun stuff like that for you. It was pretty sweet except that the shower head was unusually low. We did total tourist stuff like going to the Wax Museum and going on a tour of stars' homes in Beverly Hills. Saw the homes of Julia Roberts, 50 Cent, and the Osbournes, among others. Here's some pics from the weekend!





Great Moment

Sunday, May 21, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Those of you in youth ministry know that there are times when you wonder why you do ministry. Sometimes students don't seem to respond and it's hard to know if you're making a difference. I had a cool moment this morning that got me pumped about ministry. We have these monthly things called Koinonias (I know it's a horrible name, it will be changing) where we hang at a student's house, eat junk food, spend some time in worship, and sometimes do a devotional. Jon usually leads worship when he's around, but he's out of town till tomorrow.

So today one of our students, Robbie, comes up to me and is just like "Hey, how's it going?" We talk for a sec and he's still standing there like he wants something. "Are we having worship tonight at the Koinonia?" I'm not sure since Jon's gone. "Can I lead? I've been practicing lots of worship songs lately." Um, yeah, of course. So we will have one of our students lead worship tonight. I'm stoked because...

I love it when students use their gifts.

I love it when students take initiative.

I love it when students are stoked to take initiative and use their gifts.

Robbie walked away like a little kid at Christmas. He was so excited that I'm going to let him do this tonight. I love it!

UPDATE: Robbie did an amazing job tonight. I had no idea this talent was lying unused in our midst. I wonder what else is sitting out there waiting to jump into action...

Great Instructions

Thursday, May 18, 2006 by Mike Lovato

These are the actual, word-for-word directions for a little promo flashlight caribiner thingy from a summer camp which shall remain nameless (although it rhymes with Shmorest Shmome).

Features:

Aluminum case Super LED flashlight's with Carabina designfor mountain climbing, travel and key chain use.

Operation:

*Turn on the LED take out paper insulator.
*Turn leftword, the lamp house give off.
*Open rightward, put Battery (4XAG3 button cell).

Warning

Don't directly aim at eyes perpendicular
incidence light, avoid make your feel unwell.


There it is. I hope I don't make any of your feel unwell today.

The Importance of Jr. High Ministry

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I was reminded of the importance of jr. high ministry again tonight. Let me preface this by saying, until about 9 months ago I'd worked almost excusively with jr. high students. I love them and I believe it's one of the most important yet under-emphasized ministries in many churches. With that said, I've gotten used to high school students over the last few months.

Tonight we had a prayer/worship night with several other area youth ministries. We run our high school and jr. high programs completely separately although most of these churches did not. So we had some jr. highers with us tonight. I was leading a session on connecting with God through journaling and I had some pretty punky kids in there. They kept yelling random comments and one of them kept wanting to show me this picture of a buffalo he painted.

I walked out of there not thinking, "Those kids are idiots." But I walked out of there thinking, "Man, I'm glad we've created a place where jr. highers can be jr. highers and are taught about God in a jr. high friendly way. Where the leaders embrace the jr. high energy and don't try to fight it." The reality is tonight was not aimed at jr. high students. It was aimed at high school students. And the reality is much youth ministry is not aimed at jr. high students. It is aimed at high school students and jr. highers may happen to be there.

I may not directly work with jr. highers anymore, but no matter what my job title may be I will always be a vocal supporter of effective jr. high ministry.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 by Mike Lovato

this is an audio post - click to play

Lucas is Blogging

by Mike Lovato

Lucas Miller (jr. high pastor here at Magnolia) is now blogging, ladies and gentlemen. Check it out here.

Firefox

by Mike Lovato

Firefox has made a fan out of me. My brother has been preaching against Internet Explorer for what seems like years now so I decided to check out one of the alternatives. So far I'm liking Firefox since it has tabbed browsing and some sweet looking skins to change the look of your browser. The search feature is pretty sweet too. Ok, nerd talk over.

Allergies

by Mike Lovato

I finally bought some Claritin last night. I've been dying the last couple weeks as our local citrus has invaded my nose and the heat has got the smog going pretty bad. We have the lovely distinction here in the IE of having like the worst air quality in the nation. But now me and Claritin are fighting back!

Friday, May 12, 2006 by Mike Lovato

this is an audio post - click to play

24 vs. American Idol

Thursday, May 11, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, I read a lot of blogs. And EVERYONE today is talking about some dude Chris that got voted off American Idol last night and how it's the worst move ever and it's the end of civilization as we know it, blah blah blah. I say, "Who cares? So what if some guy who sings other people's songs and relies on a TV show for instant fame goes home?" So, in response, I have decided to list the top 5 reasons 24 is better than American Idol...thus showing why Fox is wasting its airtime...thus making my case for Fox to convert to the 24 network...all about 24, 24 hours a day.

5. American Idol hair: Some dude named Taylor with abnormally premature grayness. 24 hair: Jack Bauer looking good...more stress than anyone in the world...not a single gray hair.

4. American Idol emotions: People cry when they lose, when their friends lose, when their pets lose. 24 emotions: Emotions are not helpful to CTU's cause.

3. American Idol - probably gets paid millions of dollars to play "Bad Day" over and over and over... 24 - original soundtrack.

2. American Idol Formula: Audition, Perform, Vote, Repeat (wow, same thing as the last 4 seasons!). 24 Formula: Remove evil from the world at any cost. Hmm, I wonder which is making the world a better place...

1. American Idol opinions: Simon Cowell mouths off. 24 opinions: Jack Bauer would shoot Simon Cowell in the head...twice.

Midweek

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Our main "crowd" program of the week is our Wednesday night program which is creatively called "Midweek." (On a side note, if anyone has any sweet ideas for a new high school ministry name and identity, I would appreciate them). Jon, our high school intern and worship leader, is out of town for two weeks and apparently every other worship leader I usually go to is as well. I'm on my last lead and waiting back for an e-mail from him. The guy I'm waiting on is actually a stud and would be awesome to have tonight, but we'll see. And, as of right now, there is no Plan B. I think it's cool to sometimes really tweak our program and allow students to experience worship in different ways, but I feel like we've done that a few times now and don't want to do that tonight. I'll update later.

UPDATE: I guess as I was typing this blog, he e-mailed me. It's not 100%, but sounded positive. Should know more in a few.

UPDATE AGAIN: Whew, we're set for tonight. Brandon Muchow is going to lead for us tonight. Should be cool...he's the worship leader for Saddleback's new San Clemente campus. I was his little brother's small group leader in jr. high. I'm glad this is settled. I can breathe now.

Nicole is Blogging

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 by Mike Lovato

My wife has joined the blogosphere. Check her new blog out.

How People Grow

by Mike Lovato

I'm currently reading "How People Grow." Here's my late night paraphrased thoughts from my reading:

Grace is not just about forgiveness. It's about God giving you the tools and resources you need to grow.

Our view of God needs to change from God being against us to God being for us.

The Impossible Mission

Monday, May 08, 2006 by Mike Lovato

One of my occasional habits on my day off is to go see a movie by myself. Some people think that's a little weird, but if you've never done it...I'd highly recommend it. It's very relaxing. Saw Mission Impossible 3 today. Not the world's greatest movie, but definitely 2 hours of entertaining spy fun. I like what J.J. Abrams did with it. One of the sweetest parts is where they show them actually making one of the sweet life-like masks. If you need two hours to escape from reality and watch stuff blow up, go see this movie.

My Injured Wife

by Mike Lovato


I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we played some dodgeball against another local church. Nicole's finger got jammed pretty bad in the first game and has been hurting ever since. We finally got it X-rayed and yep, it's broken. I gave nicole a high-five for her first broken bone. Here's a pic of said finger.

Church Picnic

Sunday, May 07, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, so I'm not typically much of a "let's have a church picnic" kind of guy. But our church has this annual picnic thing over at CBU. I ended up having a great time. It was a cool mixture of young and old, new people and old people. Nicole and I played with one of our volunteer couples a game I'd never heard of. It's called Bolo Toss. It's basically where you throw these tied-together golf balls at these two PVC pipe contraptions for different point values. It's kinda like this washers game we played in Mexico with Wildside except you get to throw one of those cool things from the movies that trips people as it wraps around their ankles. It was sweet.

Then I played softball for the first time in years. Popped out once and got a base hit RBI the second time. Also caught a fly ball. Good times. Then we ate and hung out with Lucas and his girlfriend, Jessica. Also good times. I am now officially a fan of picnics.

A Great Man Passes On

Saturday, May 06, 2006 by Mike Lovato


Curt Estel, our pastor to senior adults, has been fighting cancer for a couple years now. I learned today that he passed away last night in his sleep. He was one of those super cool guys who has done ministry for 50 something years all over the state of CA. In fact, my grandparents knew him from when he was the music minister at their church in Rialto. My heart and my prayers are with his wife, Vi, and their family right now. I'm super excited that Curt is now feeling better than ever...but back here I'll miss him.

View of God

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Have you ever noticed we all tend to view God differently? I've heard some people say that your view of your view of your earthly father is similar to your view of God. Maybe there's some truth there, but...

My default view of God tends to be this guy waiting for me to screw up. There, I said it. Now, I KNOW this is not the God of the Bible. But something inside me feels like God is just waiting to say "Dang it, Lovato, you blew it again!"

So as a result of when I settle into this view, I tend to run not to God or others when I have stuff I'm wrestling with. I run to myself. That's a dangerous place to run. I offer no comfort. I have no resources or tools for lasting life change. I condemn. I try to figure stuff out. But it only ends up driving me deeper into doubt and questioning.

I'm glad God's not my like my default view. Because I've discovered when I run to Him, He's waiting....not to condemn but to comfort. Yes, there's some correction that has to happen, but it's out of love, not out of a sadistic desire to see me fail.

I'm tired right now.
I need a Savior.
I can't make it on my own.
I go nuts when I try to figure everything out.

God is here.

Paper

Monday, May 01, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I've spent most of my day off writing a paper to finish off one of my seminary classes for the semester. The requirement is supposedly 20-25 pages. Although the prof was basically like "whatever you write is fine." That may be a good thing because I've written 11 pages and I think I'm out of words. In fact, that's why I'm blogging right now. I have nothing else to put in that stinking Word document (except maybe a conclusion). So I'm trying to get a hold of a friend in the class to find out how long his paper was. He turned in a month ago. He's smart. All that's left after this paper is a take-home final for Pastoral Counseling.

My two classes this semester were Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral Ministry which were very similar in a lot of ways. For better or worse it's made me VERY self-analyzing and introspective this semester. I'm kind of tired of it and just want to go relax at the beach or something. But...I know I've grown through all of it and God's been doing some cool stuff in my heart and life lately. So I suppose it's worth it. But I am ready for a break. Four more courses after this week and I'm done with seminary. Only will have taken me five years.

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Mike Lovato is a follower of Jesus, husband to Nicole, daddy to Addison, and pastor to teenagers in Riverside, CA.


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