Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday @ New Vintage Church

We visited New Vintage Church in Santa Rosa, Ca today. It is a church that is over 100 years old and has undergone huge strategy renovations. They are doing great things and my prayers are with them. Here are some mobile pics from their environment.

They have ear-plug dispencers by the bathrooms. That's hillarious.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

San Francisco Weekend

Check out some of my mobile pictures of the city.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


We're on our way to San Francisco with our best friends. Should be a great four days.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


A student, David, just blogged this. I thought I'd share an exerpt because all of you who make Catalyst happen...all of you who Invest in the lives of students...all of you (students) who make a difference. And here's one little way you can trust that...

"I felt completely and totally out of control, at a loss. Then I met Emily. At a writers conference, gave her my number, and next thing I know, she invites me to come with her youth group to a debate about god.Then to church, then to Catalyst. The next thing I knew, I had god, He was there, I felt him. I gave my life to him, and I started reading the Gospel. I let myself fall to my knees and ask for him to forgive me, for everything I'd done. He did. Now I have been going to New Harvest for about 2 and a half months. I've believed in god my whole life, But I didn't know god till a few months ago. I may stumble as a christian, but God picks me back up and dusts me off, and I continue to follow christ. I will, for the rest of my life. - David"

I realize I cheated and skipped right to the Catalyst part, but his entire testimony is available to read here. Again, this is why we do what we do. Praise God!

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Our Student Ministry Service Times

Did you know that I oversee Jr. High (Turnpike), High School (Catalyst) and College (Re:action) ministries?

According to some amazing leaders that is a great thing. Why? Because I am able to see what's happening to them in the next step of their development. I can see what we might need to change in the previous environment to get better results. Don't get me wrong...I know, as well as you, that God does all the work. But he works through us. That's his chosen method...through the church, through his people. So we listen and we obey him.

Traditionally, college ministry is organized in it's own little corner, without much interaction with the rest of the church. I can tell you that we are graduating students from Catalyst that are actually digging in and wanting to create a core college group. They are excited to bring their friends to a new environment. They are just excited to hang out together.

I say all this to let you know that there is a reason we do our ministries at certain times and on certain days. There's no spiritual secret to's out of necessity. Let me explain:

Our Jr. High meets at 10:45 on Sundays because they are most likely to come to the church building at that time, during that service. They would like to sleep later if they could. They would not be awake during the 9 o'clock service and it would be very difficult for them to pay attention any earlier than our second service time.

Our High School meets at 4:30 on Sundays because...well, look at my schedule.
In case you can't read the times...that's 7am - 7:30pm. And I joyfully do it.

Our College ministry meets at 7:30 on Mondays because tests haven't really started that early in the week, Sunday nights are out because we have high school and there are usually no sport-team practices on Monday nights for our students. They picked the time by process of elimination.

I am very careful about burn-out. I've seen, known and read the stories of many, many youth workers, youth pastors, and student ministry guys that do way too much. Now because of that and other strategic reasons, we have chosen not to be an event-driven church. And we have chosen not to be a stuff-driven student ministry. Generally that model of ministry is called "Youth Ministry" and I grew up in that atmosphere and it worked ok for me. But today is a new culture.

I didn't have things planned every night of the week. I wasn't in sports. I had a lot of free time. Our students don't have a lot of free time. They are involved in sports, as well as other clubs and events. They don't have a lot of free time. I realize that's a generalization, but it's the majority of our students. We have chosen not to do things during the week all the time and here's three reasons:

1. We don't want to be yet another thing that splits up the family during the week.
2. I don't want to burn out on activities/stuff.
3. I have not seen many long-term positive results from a mid-week activity.

We are drawing a new picture here at NHC. We are forming a new way of doing things. A way that doesn't push and pull your students all over the place. A sanctuary for them to get away from the stresses of their very-hectic lives. A small group leader for every one of them that cares for them deeply. A small group leader that will plan a once-a-month gathering for their group...that I'm not facilitating and that they can plan together around their schedules. An environment that is, as one student told me recenlty, "chill" and non-threatening. A service that has excellent worship and great Communicators. We work very hard to create an environment for your student. Does that sound like something you want to support? Does that sound like something that you've been wanting all along for your student?

We have limited space and human resources. We do the best we can with what we've got. So, what am I asking you to do? I'm asking you to be a cheerleader. I'm asking you to build up our student ministry to each other. I'm asking you to ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM. The worst thing you can do to the church is talk amongst yourselves about what you don't like or what you'd change. What does that communicate to other parents or visitors? Let's be united for the common goal of leading students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ so that when they graduate high school, they don't graduate their faith.

That's what we are working towards for your students.

If you'd like to support our student ministry the top three things you can do are:
1. Pray for us.
2. Show your support by encouraging your students to be there (talk it up to them and to others - build a buzz).
3. Volunteer as a small group leader and/or Communicator.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Speaking The Language (Technology)

Parents, This is to help you understand where my use of technology came from and why I believe it is extremely important for you to understand today's technology. Here is a perception...real or not, it is a perceived reality..."If you really want to know what your kid is doing with the technology they will figure out how to use it."

The Technology World I Grew Up In: (keep in mind that I graduated high school in 2000)
I learned to type on a keyboard in high school
I didn't have cable TV until I was in jr. high
My family didn't have internet (not even a 28.8k modem) until I was in High School
I didn't have a cell phone until I was a senior in high school (I used a pager from 10-11th grade)
I grew up with an Apple IIGS computer in my dad's office (it was black wtih green writing)
My brother owned an Atari and I had a Super Nintendo, and a Gameboy
I actually did own a couple of records. But tapes were huge for me and CD's were revolutionary!
I went to college without a cell-phone or a car
I starting using AOL's Instant Messenger in high school to communicate with friends
I didn't txt message until the year 2006
I didn't have email until high school
I didn't use MySpace or Facebook until 2005
I started podcasting in 2007
I started to blog in 2005
I started to twitter in 2008

The Technology World Your Students Are Growing Up In: (keep in mind that your student will graduate in 20??)
Many kids learn to type in elementary school or younger now
Many kids are given their own TV's with cable connection by the time they are 8
Many kids are given their own computers and internet access (often from the privacy of their own room - BIG MISTAKE) by age 12
Many kids are given their own (internet-enabled) cell phones by age 12
Many kids are given a laptop for school purposes by age 12
Many kids have a PSP, PS2/PS3, xBox360, XBOX, and/or Wii
Many kids have their own 30-80 gig iPods, iPod Nanos, iPod Touches, iPod Shuffles and/or iPhones
Many kids have cars waiting for them when they turn 16
Many kids are now using MySpace, IM, AIM, ICQ, YahooMessenger, Window's Messenger, txting, Facebook, and more to communicate with friends
Many kids know how to video chat these days
Many kids txt message ALL DAY
Many kids have an email account for one purpose - to sign up for free services like MySpace - most of them never check their email
Many kids don't know what a blog is yet
Many kids don't know what twitter is yet

I tell you this so that you can see that I didn't grow up in the current culture. Yes, there were similarities and I was given an advantage by learning some things while I was in high school that many adults are just now learning. However, I had to teach myself how to get around on the internet, how to do things on the computer and how to use this digital medium of communication. I am self-taught. How did I self-teach? I wanted to know how to do something.

Everything has to start with motivation. If you don't have won't get done. Sometimes our motivation is from a negative source, sometimes it's fear, sometimes it's love, sometimes it's _____ (fill it in).

The question I have for you is, "Are you motivated to be educated about technology?" And here is why that is an important question. Many young people today are disconnected from previous generations because they feel those people are irrelevant. They feel those people don't know anything that is going on in the world because they only read one local paper for the information.

For over a year now we have offered podcasting for parents. Basically that means that we have recorded every student service and made it available for you to listen to through a website (turnpike or catalyst) or iTunes (search 'Turnpike Student Ministries' or 'Catalyst Student Ministry' in the iTunes store). Some of you have taken advantage of this resource and some of you haven't. We sent letters home explaining in detail a step-by-step process on how to find the podcast. We advertised it on the nhclife website. We put it in the bulletin several times. The resource isn't just so that you can make sure we aren't teaching un-biblical things, but also so that you can be in conversation with your student throughout the week about what we talked about.

I've hears students say, "I forget what we talked about from week-to-week." Well, that's a problem with almost everyone. We all forget sometimes, but that's why this resource is available to you. So that you can remind them and keep them in the conversation.

My point is's here to stay. It's not a fading movement of geeks that know how to work a computer or work an's almost every American. It's not a generational thing. You need to know how to use technology. Why? Because it helps younger people to respect you as a person that not ignorant. Because you need to know what your students are doing with all these techno-toys. Because you can use these tools for the kingdom of God. And because the more technology grows and the less you know about it...the more out of touch you will be with culture.

Bottom Line: MySpace is one of the most difficult things out there to figure out...if you can figure that'll be able to figure out blogs, Facebook, iTunes, or anything else.

The Challenge: Learn how to use every kind of technology your kids use. It will go along way in your communication with them, it will strengthen your relationship and it will help safe-guard your family against the enemy.

Here are some great resources for you to check out: - A Christian Resource about the dangers of pornography and how to get help with it.
Just For Parents - A Collection of Free Resources from Youth Specialities
PluggedIn - A Focus on the Family Resource with Movie, Video Game, TV, and Music Reviews from a Christian perspective
LifeWay Parenting Site - A Life Way Resource for Parenting

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Monday, June 23, 2008

New Harvest Student Ministry Monday Update // 1

I decided to try something new. Here's a little video I made this morning to help you, parents, know what's going on. Please pass this web address on to other PARENTS WHO WANT TO KNOW what's going on. Email or comment below with questions you want answered.

Also, Alicia Negri, a volunteer and parent is planning two Summer Swim BBQ's coming soon. Watch for those dates!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Welcome New Harvest Parents!

This morning we put this web address to my blog in the service program. I'm glad you found it. You can use this resource to communicate with me, or you can email me here. I post blogs throughout the week that reflect my thoughts, trends in ministry, and important information. You may also find some videos of our students or volunteers from time-to-time.

Please feel free to make a bookmark, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

I love the interactivity of a blog. You can comment on any of the posts! In fact I have a question for you:

If you could teach your student/child ONE thing by the time they graduated high school, what would you want that to be?

A'right, now it's time to comment. Please comment below and let me know what that ONE thing would be. The 10th parent to comment will get a Turnpike sweatshirt (hoodie), so include your full name in that comment.

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INNERchange Environment

Thanks to some key volunteers we now have an actual environment for our 5th and 6th grades! Thank you for making this stage area happen!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

106 Degrees!

It is so hot here in Fresno! No matter what I do...I sweat. It's insane!

How's the weather where you're at?

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Catalyst Peeps

Here's a short video of some people hanging out before Catalyst. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Creative Chaos // 15 - Worship Team Practice

This is part of the Creative Chaos blog carnival.

Here's a small portion of one of our Catalyst Worship practices. Enjoy the vid.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In Case You Missed Jordan's Homer

This is Jordan Ribera. He is a freshman at Fresno State University and our Lead Pastor's oldest son. Very exciting to see this in the college world series.

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Great Friends

Look what I found. This is @haugenjenn, @haugenpaul, @micahfoster (me) and @ericafoster. This was like 6 years ago. And now we all live in Fresno and we hang out all the time. Great friends!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Erica's first filling @ the dentist

We are in the dentist office right now. Let me explain something... Erica is deathly afraid of needles and blood. The nurse, (Is that what you call them at a dentist?) was trying to help her by explaining stuff about needles and blood. People don't get it...she can't talk about it, hear about it or are it...not even in a movie. It doesn't help.

People, the best thing you can do is not say anything about it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Watercooler Wednesday // Delayed Adulthood

This is part of the Watercooler Wednesday blog carnival.

I saw this video on this college ministry blog today. There is value in hard work and their is value in playing together. My generation, enjoys the rewards of both. Check it out...

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Randy Parker from New Cov. is Northpoint Bound

Check this out...a Fresno native on is way to Northpoint...that's awesome.

Embedded Video

HIRED: Sean Richey

Today a new higher was approved by our Elders. Sean Richey a recent graduate from Buchanan High School is going to be working with us part-time through the summer. At the end of the summer he will be packing up and moving to New York to attend the Manhattan School of Music as a Jazz Guitar major. I am extremely excited about working with him thris summer. Not only will it allow us to have an even better worship experience in all of our student ministry environments. Not only will he help train the next up-and-coming worship leaders at our church. Not only will I be able to pour into him everything I can before I leaves for college, but he is not grauating his faith. So many high school graduates graduate their faith when they graduate high school. Sean is building his up more and more before he leaves for college. This is a big win for New Harvest Church. Give Sean some encouragement when you see him!

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Catalyst Senior Video 2008

We showed this on Sunday to honor our graduating seniors. Some honorable mentions (people who couldn't make it to the filming) are Phil Blackburn, Rachel Blackburn, Sami Donald, Mark Foster and Mark Takeda. Congrats guys! We'll see you at Re:action!

Special thanks to Jim Weaver for his hard work on this project and a quick (Sunday to Thursday) turn-around!

Embedded Video

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Friday, June 06, 2008

50,000 Shirts Campaign

China needs relief. World Vision and a graphic designer have designed a shirt to help raise funds for China. The goal is 1,000,000 dollars raised. The shirts are $25 each. Just watch the video. Go here for more info.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

How He Loves & Cardboard Testimonies

This is an amazing video about God's grace and love. Just watch it. I'm fighting back the tears.

Embedded Video

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Creative Chaos 14 // New Harvest Church Blog

This is part of the Creative Chaos blog carnival.

We are in the process of a major overhaul for our New Harvest Church website. It doesn't look good, it doesn't function well and it just doesn't reflect what we do anymore. Yesterday, our awesome Communication's Director (@stacyws) came to me and asked if we could forward our current domain to a blog until we get the site up and running. That was a great idea! So, here's the site. Enjoy reading our first blog entry.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Watercooler Wednesday // The Bucket List and Heaven

This is part of the Watercooler Wednesday blog carnival.

A couple of months ago I watched "The Bucket List" and it was a great flick. Very inspiring and emotional. It hits all the right emotional touch points that cause people to really examine their lives. Ultimately, after doing everything the two cancer patients could do together, they came back to the core of humanity, relationships.

I'm 26-years-old and I've had the fortunate opportunity to travel Europe and much of America. I've been to Mexico and Canada. There are so many places I'd love to visit and re-visit. But then I start thinking about the time and money that I'd have to pour into exploring the world. I know that I can't do it. I know that I will be lucky to make it overseas again. That used to be very sad reality. It's not anymore...because life is temporary. It is a "vapor in the wind." Instead I'm trying to keep my eyes on eternity. Seriously, read Revelation 21-22. What would happen if we believed what we read there? I think heaven and eternity are going to be way more exciting than anything we can discover here on this broken earth. Check out this site for more help on that kind of a focus.

What do you think?

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tough Questions // Loving College-age People

I came across this post earlier...and it challenges me. Does it challenge you?

"We need to love college-age people. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s not as much - as automatic - as we might think. 1Corinthians 13:4 gives us a list of characteristics of love, and the first one listed is patience. I have seen far too many people in ministry living with frustration toward those in their ministry, rather than walking alongside them in patience (therefore not in love). Love is also kind, not rude. It doesn’t insist on its own way and doesn’t approach people arrogantly, thinking “you just don’t get it.” Love speaks truth, doesn’t laugh at wrongdoings, nor does it get irritable or resentful when people don’t follow its instruction. It’s patient, always there and never failing.

Do you really love those you’re ministering to?

In my opinion, this is the most important part of discipleship in a college-age persons life. Do you get frustrated at them when their flaky, or do you view this as an opportunity for discipleship? When you see inconsistency in their life do you arrogantly deem it immaturity, or do you view it as God showing you where you can help? When they’re constantly going against your counsel do you give up on them, or do you love them - always being there and never failing on your commitment as a shepherd?

Do you really love your students?"

View Original Article

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A Catalyst Student Blog: If you have faith, you can tell a mountain...

"...move from here to there, and it will move. So tonight I talked to god, he didn't say anything back, but I didn't ask him too. He listened, and he comforted me. I know he is there for me, and I think without him tonight would have gone a completely different way. I love god, so much, that is strikes me as strange, considering I didn't even know him 2 months ago. No one ever said walking a spiritual path with the lord would be easy, no one said it would be fun. It is the best walk of my life, and it will be for the duration and beyond. Jesus is with me, at my left, right, in my heart, and on my mind. Without this grace, I would be lost. I'm glad he found me, because being lost is the pits. I don't know what god has in store for me, but I do know that he will take care of me, and those who are close to me in my absence, and for that I pledge my soul to him, forever."

View Original Article

This is why I do what I do. That's the bottom line.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Reaching Uncontacted Tribes - Wow!

Reaching Uncontacted Tribes

You need to click on through and take a look at these pictures of an uncontacted tribe! I've never seen uncontacted people before. They have no idea what's going on outside of their little world. It makes you wonder how much activity there is outside of our little world. As Switchfoot would say outside "of our convenient lexus cages."

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