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Friday, April 28, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I haven't blogged all week so I thought I'd do some random end-of-the-week thoughts.

I think I gagged on my own drool last night and threw up a little. It was nasty. When I told Nicole, "I have to check my pillow to see if I threw up on it" she replied "I'm confused."

6am is too early for a youth pastor to get up on Friday.

6am is going to be too early for a youth pastor to get up tomorrow also (but I must).

Week 2 of our high school series "Best Sex Ever" involved my first ever Barbie doll object lesson. It was funny. I felt a little weird.

I'm not typically a huge hard music fan, but I really like Blindside's CD "The Great Depression." I've listened to it at least once a day this week I think.

I like driving my new car.

I ran into Carlos Whittaker again this week at lunch. That's my third time randomly running into him since we moved back here. We must have similar food cravings.

Tomorrow is my last seminary class of the semester. Four more classes and I will be a master of divinity. That's the lamest degree title ever. It sounds so arrogant and like it should attract a large lightning bolt.

Last, but not least...if you're in youth ministry (or even if you're not) you should listen to Doug Fields' podcast. It's entertaining and sometimes enlightening.

Recap - Jr. High Fun

Sunday, April 23, 2006 by Mike Lovato

The weekend is over. It was fun (and very tiring) and here's the results.

Friday Night - Laser Tag
This was awesome, except my wife beat me in the first game pretty badly. Game 2 - I came in 3rd (I think it's because I changed my name to Curtis from 24). Nicole says she didn't do as well because she had a faulty gun. I believe her. She went back to crash with some of the girls and I went home and slept in my nice bed. It was awesome.

Saturday - Castle Park
Castle Park is basically a local amusement park with mini-golf, an arcade, and some half-decent rides. Jr. highers and below love it. Everyone else endures it. Had a good time screaming with Lucas on Dragon's Tower (read: mini-Supreme Scream). Went on my favorite local log ride. And I won at mini-golf. Oh, and Nicole and I scored like 250 tickets from skeeball and bought a little tootsie roll bank with it.

Saturday - High School Dodgeball Tournament
We ditched the jr. highers and headed off to a dodgeball tournament that The Grove was hosting. Turns out a ton of their students play every week after church. Some of our students were in for a rude awakening as they were pelted with dodgeballs. Picture the scene in Dodgeball where they play the Girl Scouts. Now you have it. And Nicole jammed her finger in the first game pretty bad and is still hurting from it.

Sunday - Afternoon
We watched TV and slept. And the Lord saw that it was good.

Jr. High Fun

Friday, April 21, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Tonight, I get to go play laser tag with a bunch of our jr. high students who are on a weekend event with our church. I'm pretty stoked because it's been awhile since I hung out with jr. highers. I moved out of jr. high ministry about 7 months ago and I think I'm having withdrawals. I'm looking forward to a noisy van ride to Fullerton and then kicking butt against some 7th graders.


by Mike Lovato

Had lunch with Dave Felts yesterday and got the grand tour of Hesperia, CA. By the way, if you're looking for a historic Old Town district to visit, skip Hesperia's.

We started talking about a shift that seems to have happened in high school ministry. It used to be you could do an event, announce how great it would be, and students would sign up. That no longer cuts it. One of the things we identified as part of the issue is one of the biggest things with students today is peer clusters. I think this has become bigger than cliques and bigger than just a social group. Students today identify VERY strongly with a particular group of students.

Here's the implication: I don't sign up 1 student at a time for a retreat; I sign up 5 students at a time for a retreat. It's very difficult to get one student to sign up for something. I need to get their entire cluster of friends signed up. It almost seems like it's all or nothing.

This obviously has big implications for things like evangelism and small groups. I may come back with a couple posts on those. Still processing...

Introducing the Doughnut Burger

Thursday, April 20, 2006 by Mike Lovato

This is awesomely funny, disgusting, and unhealthy.

Check this out

It's a Good Morning

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I'm working from It's a Grind this morning. It's a coffee place across the street from my apartment. (On a side note, they're also building an Original Tommy's across the street in the same shopping center. It's going to be heaven.) I try to work here about one morning a week because I get a ton more done here than in the office. Except with the Mexico trip I haven't been able to be here for over a month. It feels good to be back. I've got my Vanilla Latte, a gorgeous SoCal morning view, and Josh Groban was just on the sound system in here. Life is good.

There Are Two Things Everyone Loves...Cats and Lasers

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 by Mike Lovato

In the future there was a nuclear war...


New High School Site

Sunday, April 16, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Our new high school website is now up. We built it using Snapshot v.4. It's an easy template design that's not super-customizable, but it works great for youth pastors like me (meaning really busy, but want a good looking website). You can check it out at http://magonline.com/hs-new/. I'm going to try to get a more memorable address to give to students but that's it for now. Let me know what you think.

Good Friday Service

Friday, April 14, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I got back an hour or so ago from our Good Friday service that I mentioned earlier today. It was an incredible service. Travis Collins did a great job of weaving together music, Scripture, video, and communion into a service that truly caused us to reflect on Christ's suffering. He started the night by saying we were going to progress from life without Christ to life with Christ. The band then went into a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." I think that was the first time I've heard NIN at church. It fit the start of the service perfectly though.

We then moved through several Scripture readings and songs that looked at this suffering servant who didn't deserve any of it. Sometimes it's so strange to me that the one person who didn't deserve any punishment is the one who took all of it. It just doesn't make sense. I guess that's part of the mystery of the Cross though.

Montia then followed with a brief message that just focused us in on Isaiah 53 before taking the Lord's Supper together as a church. It was a cool night. Very somber. Very solemn. But it felt like we as a church were actually worshiping together. I felt like I belonged....to this bunch of broken people who are so grateful that we don't get what we deserve.

The night closed with a few songs of worship together and then the band playing "Wonderful Cross" with clips from The Passion of the Christ in the background. Then, we left. Montia asked us earlier to leave in total silence until we got to our cars. And people did. I have never seen our church building clear out so quietly or so quickly. I was waiting for my mom in the lobby so it was cool to see all these people file past me, quietly get into their cars, and sit in the post-service traffic in our lot as they headed back home.

It was one of the best nights I can remember ever happening at our church. Props to Travis and the band for putting it together. And props to Montia for giving a young college student free rein over a service that had so much impact.

New Toy

by Mike Lovato

I got a new toy....a Dell Axim 51. I hate keeping a paper calendar and I've been going to staff meetings for 7 months now with just a yellow legal pad and have to transfer all sorts of stuff and can never look up dates or anything when people ask questions. Now, I will be fully prepared.

Good Friday

by Mike Lovato

I read this article today in the Press-Enterprise about how a lot of Christians skip by Good Friday. To be honest, this is usually me as well. The Protestant (and especially evangelical protestant) tendency is to focus on the joy and celebration of the resurrection. Our church is having a Good Friday service tonight for the first time in several years and I'm really excited about it. It's going to be fairly heavy because of an intense focus on Jesus' suffering and the cross. Our pastor is going to ask people not to say a word as they leave until they get into their cars.

But I'm excited about it. Why? Because without the suffering and the cross, the resurrection is meaningless. I'm excited to go on a journey in the next couple days that looks more closely at what Jesus went through in order to make the final payment for sin. And then I'm excited about Sunday when we'll celebrate the new life that can be found because of that death and resurrection.

Sunday should also be great because it's the one day when people who NEVER go to church will show up. We've sent out 45,000 invites into our community and we'll see what the impact of them is on Sunday. My hope is that people will discover new life in Christ and then discover new life in community through the local church.


Monday, April 10, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, I love 24, but two thoughts from tonight's episode.

- When in the world did Jack have time (since he didn't exist 18 hours ago) to program Aaron Pierce's name and number into his cell phone?

- Since when did the 24 theme music turn into the theme from a lost Bond film?

Fruit of the Spirit

by Mike Lovato

The message at my church yesterday was from Galatians 5:19-26. Our pastor pointed out something that was interesting to me. He mentioned that it's the "fruit" of the spirit, not the "fruits" of the spirit - meaning it's all or nothing. You can't pick or choose which ones you want. You can't use your lack of patience or self-control as an excuse. If you're a follower of Jesus you have these things through the Spirit. His point is that we have access to these fruit at all times, we just need to make the choice to activate the fruit (already present) in our lives. Some good thoughts to start off the week.

The "Road" in Mexico

Sunday, April 09, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Here's a couple shots of the "road" our building site was located on.


by Mike Lovato

I'll try to post a few times in the next week or so about our Mexico trip. Here's some stuff to get started.

I was not looking forward to this trip. Someone asked me the week before if I was looking forward to Mexico. I replied that I was looking forward to coming home from Mexico. But away we went and it was quite possibly one of the best trips I've ever been on. We had 15 or so students and 10 adults. Every student was hard-core ready to build a house for this family. A couple times I thought they might be house-building robots from outer space. I'd take this group of students anywhere, anytime. We built a 22' by 22' house completely by hand.

Some of the most fun I had though was just cruising around in the van with a bunch of students. Here's a pic of my van.

This picture was taken about two days AFTER I nearly rolled our van off the side of a hill (with no students in it of course). Unfortunately, there's about 45 minutes of video footage out there showing me absolutely terrified in the driver's seat as much smarter people attempt to tell me just which way to turn my steering wheel so that I don't slide down the hill and die. And...even better, there was a mix-up with the rental company on the van info which meant that it was the only one of our five vehicles with only liability insurance on it (read: our church would have been out $25,000 if it had rolled).

But the trip got much better after my near-death experience. I loved it and I'll post more later.

The Plum Saturn

Friday, April 07, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Been in Mexico all week which is why I haven't blogged lately.

The plum Saturn is done. For those of you who don't know, my car history consists of a crappy Nissan Sentra and a not-as-crappy Saturn. My dad got both those cars for me. He told me the Saturn was maroon, but no, it's plum. Well, the clutch completely went out on the saturn last week (a mere 12 hours before leaving for Mexico). I was in the far left lane of a very busy street and had to push it into a shopping center. I learned a couple things.

1. People are in a hurry to get home at 7pm on a Friday night.

2. Said people do not like to stop, slow down, or even think about 20-something guy pushing his saturn down Alessandro at 7pm on a Friday night.

Long story short - I went to Mexico, Nicole got the car towed, and the repairs were way too much to be worth it. So, today we went out and bought our first new car ever. We got a 2006 Honda CRV. And we did it all on our own. It's our first major purchase without a parent co-signing or helping out financially. I feel like a big boy now.


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


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