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Ninja Parade

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Awesome spoof video about the ninja parade in my former place of residence - Modesto, CA.

Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again


Blogs I Dig

by Mike Lovato

I am officially declaring Life in Student Ministry to be the best youth ministry blog out there. I've been reading Tim Schmoyer's blog for a while now and it is QUALITY stuff, all the time. If you're in youth ministry you should be reading Tim's blog. He seems to have a great handle on how to think through what you're doing in ministry and has crazy practical ideas to be organized and tons of free stuff every Friday. Check it out.

By the way, Tim is not paying me anything to post this.


24....Day 7

Monday, October 29, 2007 by Mike Lovato

DISCLAIMER: Do not watch this video if you want to keep your head in the sand for another two months until the season premiere of 24. Also, do not watch this video if you are not ready to go, "Nooooo!", "You're kidding me!", or "Oh crap!" at a specific point in the video.

With that said, enjoy the trailer.

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My Day in Jury Duty Begins

Thursday, October 25, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Ok, so I've been at jury duty now for about 2 hours. We're currently on a break. They have 5 cases today they're finding juries for so the odds are I'll at least be heading into the courtroom for jury selection. It's a decent setup down here though. Free wireless (although painfully slow probably b/c of the number of people on it). Free coffee and stuff. Seems to be well-organized.

Anyways, if anyone feels like grabbing lunch in downtown Riverside around noon let me know.


jury duty

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 by Mike Lovato

I have jury duty this week. I'd re-scheduled it to this week so that I could be with Nicole for a doctor's appointment during my original service. They've had me calling back each night this week to see if I actually have to report and I thought I'd snuck by without having to go, but, nope I have to be there tomorrow. At 7:45 in the morning. Not happy about the 7:45 part.



Sunday, October 21, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Be praying for those in SoCal who are affected by the wildfires. It's all over the news here. And if you go outside it smells like smoke (even though our house is a decent ways from the closest fire). Also, be praying for Malibu Presbyterian Church. Their church building burnt down today in the fires. The winds here are super strong today and there's lots of tree branches and stuff down here in Riverside. The closest fire to us right now is in Fontana, but there have also been fires burning in Malibu (big one), Agua Dulce, Devore, Santa Rosa Valley, Castaic, Placerita Canyon, and Chatsworth. That's a lot of fires.

You know it's not good when the weather on our home page says "Blowing dust" rather than "sunny" or "partly cloudy."

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Thursday, October 18, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Brandon Barker has a great set of posts on interns here, here, and here. Here's a clip:
Actually, they’re better known as INTERNS, but we started calling them Jesus Elves after a hectic summer of ministry. “It’s like you’re Santa and we’re your elves” one of them said. Over the past sixteen years of ministry, I have had the privilege to work with over twenty interns, most of whom are still engaged in some form of ministry through a church or para-church organization. Working with interns has kept me young, kept our ministry vibrant, and created a multiplication process that allows our ministry to be bigger than the walls that contain it. Though you may not think that an internship program is the right fit for your ministry, you’ll discover the importance of interns, how to choose the right one and how to effectively use those Jesus Elves.



by Mike Lovato

We had our THRIVE discipleship retreat. Here's a bit of a recap:

Stuff that Worked Well
  • Staying at the houses - students had a great time hanging out. I know that lots of Guitar Hero was played at my house.
  • Service project on Saturday - there's this really cool ministry in our church that throws monthly birthday parties for kids at this shelter. We basically hung out with kids and ate cupcakes. I hope some of our students (that aren't already involved) get plugged into this monthly.
  • Worship times and Bible studies - Nikki Lalague led worship for us. She's a senior in high school in the OC and I've known her since she was an 8th grader. She did a great job. Ben did a fantastic job especially with the Friday night Bible study. He was in the zone and in his element teaching like that.
Stuff That Could be Improved
  • Schedule - I packed the schedule too full on Saturday and it wore us out.
  • Curriculum - the curriculum from Student Life was pretty good. It gave a good overview of why we should love the Bible and why it's important. It had some good ideas to get them digging in, but I'd like to have had a few more tools to equip students with.
  • Turn-out - We only had about 20% of our typical Sunday attendance there. I would have liked to have seen that number closer to 40% or 50%. I think we promoted it well, but the low turn-out is probably due to a couple big factors - fall sports and low desire to grow spiritually.

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Smorgity Borgity

Sunday, October 14, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Ok, I also have to post this from last week's SNL. Nicole and I have been noticing that the writers have taken it up a notch so far this season. Super funny stuff. Anyways, if you're of our generation and grew up watching the Muppets, you'll appreciate this.



by Mike Lovato

Ok, Allison just had a post that included this, but I LOVED this SNL Digital Short so I had to post it. Enjoy.



Thursday, October 11, 2007 by Mike Lovato

We've got an event this weekend called THRIVE for our high school ministry. If you're familiar with DiscipleNow weekends, it's kinda like that. I think. I've never been to or done a DNOW because people don't do them much here. Anyways, we're crashing at people's houses and doing worship, Bible study, and small groups together in my living room. We've also got a service project planned for Saturday out at a battered woman's shelter. And something fun on Saturday. Should be a cool time. We're focusing in on how to study the Bible and using a curriculum for that from Student Life.

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Fun at the Apple Store

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Nicole and I had fun last night taking some pictures at the Apple Store. Enjoy.


Good Enough or God Enough

by Mike Lovato

I just put my first post up at PDYM Community. Here's a clip:

"I've been a Christian for over 20 years now. I've been in youth ministry for almost 8. And yet, I sometimes still struggle with feeling "good enough" for God. I'm quick to remind myself of past failures, present tensions, and future struggles. How can God love someone like me, let alone use someone like me?"

Check out the full post here.

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Monday, October 08, 2007 by Mike Lovato

Well, I'm back from Arkansas. Unfortunately we found no diamonds. Lots of rocks, but no diamonds. In case you're wondering (Carlos), here's what this place is. We went to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. It's this place where people come from all over to dig through dirt to look through diamonds. You can either walk along the surface and look for shiny stuff or you can take dirt and sift it dry or you can take dirt and wash it. The day before we got there 8 diamonds were found, the first day out there 3 were found, and the last day 5 were found. And the Lovatos came home with none. We stayed at a lovely Days Inn in Arkadelphia.

Here are some reflections on the trip:
  • Arkansas is WAY prettier than I imagined. It's basically a giant forest with some stuff carved out for farms and towns and WalMarts.
  • Arkansas is warm and humid.
  • Humidity SUCKS.
  • Diamond hunting consists of being out in the heat and doing the same thing over and over and over.
  • The closest movie theater to Arkadelphia is 30 miles away. Yes, we drove 30 miles through the woods to go see a movie.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings is amazing. I am going to email them and tell them they need to build in Riverside. (DUDE! I just googled them and found there's one in Rancho Cucamonga. I am very happy!)
  • People in Arkansas are CRAZY friendly. I thought that was pretty cool.
  • We had breakfast at this place called Bill's in Benton the day we flew out. You should definitely eat there if you're ever driving on I-30 through Benton.
  • Little Rock has a pretty cool downtown and Sticky Fingerz was excellent.
There you have it. I told my dad I'd go again....in a few years.


Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 by Mike Lovato

This will be my last post for a few days (as opposed to my normal exorbitant amount of posting). Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a plane bound for Little Rock, Arkansas. My dad will be doing the same thing from Cincinnati. We will be spending two days in the middle of a field in Nowheresville, Arkansas hunting for diamonds. No that was not a typo.I'm excited for a few days of father/son bonding.

Another highlight will be joining Grant and Nathan for my first taste of Arkansas Cuisine. We will be dining at Sticky Fingerz. Again not a typo.

I will be back in Cali on Saturday and will be sharing all my new southern experiences with you shortly.


Volunteer Meetings

by Mike Lovato

We had a great volunteer meeting on Sunday night. Typically, we try to accomplish three things in our meetings:

Encouragement - We want our leaders to be encouraged. Youth ministry can be draining so they need a place where they can get pumped back up. We always have food at our meetings. We also did a mixer this Sunday that got everybody up and mingling. In the past, we've done Overachiever Awards to honor those who have gone above and beyond.

Communication - Cheesy cliche: "people are down on what they're not up on ." Ok, that's out of the way. Totally true though. Your volunteers need to know what's happening in your ministry, why you're things that way in your ministry, and what's coming up in your ministry.

Training - We do some sort of training each time. This time we went over a lot of logistical stuff for our Sunday morning Bible Study groups.

Our Format: We meet from 4:30-6:00 on a Sunday afternoon. Part of that is all together and then part is broken up (if needed) by jr. high, high school, and college.

Our Current Challenge: I think we had 30% attendance on Sunday. I'd like to see that up in the 70%-80% range by the end of this year. If any readers have any thoughts on increasing that, I'd love to hear it. The one thing I always hear is that the meetings need to have value and then people will come. I think our meetings do have value to those who come....those who don't come may not see the value in it yet. We'll need to work on that.

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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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