18 Months.

For the last 18 months my dad has been out of work. He owned his own construction company for years called Don Foster Construction. He specialized in building church buildings up and down the west coast. I don’t know the exact amount, but I think he’s built somewhere about 65 church buildings of all denominations (I’m guessing). But when the economy tanked, churches stopped building and remodeling. He closed his business and joined a larger construction firm in the Vancouver, Wa area. After a few months they downsized and he got the axe. He’s applied for hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs in the last 18 months.

In November his unemployment was going to stop. In November, my parents would be able to make their last house payment. And in December…the collectors were gearing up to come knocking. But in God’s grace and in His perfect timing I got a call saying that my dad was hired. He was hired in the industry he knows, helping a construction company grow their business AND it is for the salary that my parents need to be able to pay their bills.

Through the last 18 months I’ve seen him:

  • Ask for prayer
  • Wait on God
  • Actively seeking employment (of ANY kind)
  • Volunteer his time (like crazy) at his church
  • Consistently say, “I know God will take care of it”
  • And more.

So things are looking up for my parents. And my dad will finally get to work.

If you’re struggling. If you’re jobless. If you are running out of time…trust in Jesus. He will pull you through. Be productive. Volunteer. Give away even when it’s your last crumb. He will pull you through.

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Caption Please.

Recently, Erica and I went to San Francisco for the day. We were celebrating our anniversary. We came across this and I thought it was funny. So LOL with me.

The Production Team

One of the great joys of working at New Vintage Church is working with these guys…The Production Team. They are awesome. These guys are who make the main service happen every week from a technical, auditory and aesthetic point of view. We’re always looking for new guys to join this team! And we’re trying to beef up the team a little bit to create two different teams that rotate. These guys have created a community of belonging and have become family. Interested? Email us.

Josiah Drums.

Josiah loves this particular song by Chris Tomlin. It’s called Our God and he always has the same reaction. DRUMMING.

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago, today, I had Quizno’s for lunch. Nobody remembers what they had for lunch years ago unless it happens to be the same day as a life-changing event. And it was.

Erica Paige Solberg became Mrs. Erica Paige Foster and I’m so grateful for her. She has been a rock in hard times, a voice of reason in difficult situations, a smiling face in joyful times and the best mother in the world this past year. I just wanted to take one moment today and tell the world…I love Erica. In fact Ich hab’ mein herz zum Erica verloren. Which translates, I have lost my heart to Erica. She is the perfect match for me and I just realized that as we reach our 20th anniversary, Josiah will turn 16…but we’ll get to that blog in about 15 years.

Student Leadership Philosophies

Last week I went to lunch with a Sonoma State University student who has been coming to New Vintage Church for a few months. He is part of the student leadership at the university and talked about a couple of leadership philosophies, that are specific to campus leadership, I hadn’t heard about. I thought I’d share them with you…

The principles of the Relational Leadership Model (RLM) are as follows

  • Purposeful – taking actions that are planned an intentional
  • Inclusive – making sure ones choices and actions are inclusive of all, regardless of race, gender, Socio-Economic Status, ability or other factors
  • Empowering – encouraging everyone in a group to participate and bring their best. Everyone has something to contribute, but this does not always come out when individuals feel that others are taking control. Individuals are more likely to enjoy or take ownership of an event or organization if they feel like they are a significant part of it.
  • Ethical – making decisions based on a positive ethical framework (of course, ethics being a larger expectation, as opposed to morals being more specific expectations, and values being what individuals personally hold to be important)
  • Process-Oriented – the journey is just as important as the end. The ideas of group process (a number of individuals coming together to discuss an issue), community (that a small group of tightly-knit individuals will stay together no matter what challenges they face), and the journey being important all fall under this umbrella.

FISH! Philosophy:

  • Be There – Be present. Don’t be on cell phones
  • Play – Remember to have fun, no matter what
  • Make Their Day – Go out of your way to make someone’s day. It will make your day.
  • Choose Your Attitude – Attitude is the thing that individuals can really control. Why go into a bad situation with bad attitude when you can go into a bad situation with a good attitude and completely change the situation?

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I thought these were interesting thoughts that relate very well to student ministry and small group leaders. There’s a few overlapping themes between the philosophies above and the “5 Essentials of Effective Small Group Leaders”

  • It’s a Journey – relational ministry doesn’t happen over night, it takes months and sometimes years to gain a student’s trust
  • Time on their Turf – you’ve got to meet them where they are emotionally and spiritually…and when possible, meet them where they are literally…sporting events, birthday parties, etc.
  • Partner with the Parents – it is the primary responsibility of the parent to disciple their kids, but most just don’t know how and they are happy to have another voice in their student’s lives
  • Keep it Real – be honest, be open and don’t give “knee-jerk” answers
  • Fill up First – make sure you’ve got a growing relationship with Jesus Christ

Vacation.

We are on a vacation in Washington visiting my family and I’m so happy to vegg-out after the busy month we’ve had. Here’s a couple of shots from today’s photo shoot.