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When Trying Harder Doesn't Work

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Two years ago on our annual Mexico mission trip I got a 15 passenger van stuck on a hillside. We were building in this very steep area next to railroad tracks. I got stuck at a super awkward angle. I tried to fix the problem by reversing and steering differently, but I was stuck. We literally had to build the road up with some rocks so that I could get enough traction at the right angle to back up off the hillside. I tried to solve our traction problem by steering differently, but the reality is that a traction problem requires a traction solution. This is similar to a reality I continue to grapple with.

Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions.

"Trying harder" doesn't work when it comes to fully living out the life of following Jesus. We merely spin our wheels and don't go anywhere. I guess it's the whole "apart from me you can do nothing" thing from John 15. And yet we try and try to live out Christianity on our own power. When in reality, it's a simple dependence on the Spirit that lives out this life.

(Side Note: I'm not implying that we should create false compartments of life that are "spiritual" and "non-spiritual." All of life is spiritual. Rather I'm talking here more about attempting to follow Jesus by the flesh vs. being led by the Spirit. See Romans 7)

Sensing spiritual attack? It requires a spiritual solution.
Trying to reconcile a relationship? It requires a spiritual solution.
Wrestling with sin? It requires a spiritual solution.

Feeling stuck in an area of life? Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions.

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This Week's Stuff

Monday, August 25, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Some of the things going on this week:
  • Wednesday night Back to School BBQ - we had a big turnout last Wednesday and I'm thinking we'll see a lot of students at this event.
  • message for Wednesday night kickoff....still not sure what I'll teach on, but thinking I'll grab some coffee in a few and figure it out.
  • College Ministry - new CBU students arrive tomorrow....these next couple weeks are our big chance to connect with them and plug them in to our church.....maybe a full post on what we're doing with this later today.
  • On a related note, we have a bunch of Rwandan students attending CBU this year who came to our church and then to our college pastor's birthday party yesterday. Pretty cool.
  • Nicole and I are planning on having a Coffee Depot date sometime this week.
  • I need to make travel arrangements for a conference I'm heading to in Nashville in September. Southwest is making me choose between times I'd prefer to fly and nonstop flights....jerks.
  • Twitter Plug: Follow me at www.twitter.com/mikelovato if you aren't already.

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Day at the beach

Saturday, August 23, 2008 by Mike Lovato

Dear freshman,
Welcome to our high school group.

Weekly Planning

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 by Mike Lovato

If you're in ministry you likely pull off a similar event on a weekly basis. In our high school ministry our crowd program (for you PDYM peeps) happens on Wednesday nights. Yesterday I sat down to think through the logistics of getting stuff done for it and formalized it. Here's the timeline along with the people responsible in parantheses.

Midweek Planning Process

People Scheduled for next month by 3rd Thursday of Month

Band (Jake)

Vocals (Sydni)

Greeters (Jordan)

Snack Bar (Nicole)

Tech (Mike)

Plans rough scheduled for next month by 3rd Thursday of Month (Mike)

Songs picked by Thursday before (Worship Leader)

Plan details in place by Thursday before (Mike)

Reminder Email sent Monday before (Lori)

Message notes emailed to Lori by Tuesday at Noon (Mike)

ProPresenter completed by Wednesday at 3pm (Mike)

Songs photocopied and in sound booth by Wednesday at 3pm (Lori)

Bulletin printed by Wednesday at 5pm (Lori)


For those of you wondering we use Planning Center to coordinate our efforts. We're really just getting started with it and aren't great at implementing it yet. For our media we use ProPresenter....it's pretty amazing.

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Update

Thursday, August 07, 2008 by Mike Lovato

My blog has been VERY silent lately. Let's try to change that. Here is some of what's going on right now.

  • Addison is doing well. Sleeps pretty good at night. Now we just need her to take some daytime naps so Nicole can catch up on some sleep.
  • Church stuff is kinda mellow right now. A bunch of our high school students are on a mission trip to San Francisco. Normally I'd be on the trip, but with the baby coming we knew I couldn't go. Today I'm working on making a bunch of announcement slides in Photoshop and then working on some college ministry promo material.
  • God has really been working on my heart lately to change some super-negative thought patterns that have been going on. It's tough, but I'm glad to be moving forward.
  • Decent amount of travel coming up this fall - first, I'll be heading out to Lifeway's National Youth Worker's Conference in September, followed by PDYM Gathering the next week, and then tentatively looking at a trip to do some writing for Lifeway in November.
  • Was supposed to have my 10 Year High School reunion next week, but it was canceled. I was bummed because I was really looking forward to that.
  • Even though I haven't blogged much, I'm still twittering pretty frequently. Come follow me.
Tha's all for now.

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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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