Monday, May 30, 2005

Foursquare Convention begins

Foursquare Convention 2005 has officially convened! It's the largest attended Convention in our history with almost 4,000 people registered. The ballroom is jam-packed and the local restaurants can hardly handle the crowd.

It was fun to see an old-fashioned Good Humor ice cream truck parked in front of the hotel this afternoon. We encouraged the ice cream man to be there around 9:00 pm to sell his stuff as the hotel would flood with departing conventioneers. He thanked us for the advice and sure enough, his truck was surrounded for quite some time tonight.

Tonight's session featured the recognition of former Foursquare Presidents who were present, including John & Doris Holland. John was Foursquare's second President, following Rolf McPherson, was served for 44 years after Foursquare' founder (and Rolf's mom), Aimee Semple McPherson, passed away in 1944.

I mention John Holland because it was especially significant to have him recognized. His tenure ended with unfortunate conflict regarding some financial issues. The relationship between he and Foursquare was never fully reconciled. It was one of the first issues that Jack Hayford dealt with accordingly upon becoming President in October. Reconciliation is a good thing!

Ron Luce also spoke for a few minutes tonight. The Founder of Teen Mania Ministries, Ron brought some alarming statistics regarding the Millenium Generation (those born beginning in 1989).

One of those statistics is that this generation of young people is the largest in America's history - LARGER than the Baby Boomer generation in number. Among them, it is said that only 4% are Bible-believing Christians! When you add to that the statistic that 80% of people come to Christ before the age of 20, that's a scary thing. The peak of that generation is 15 right now!

Ron is launching a movement to address this called "Battle Cry". Somehow, we are told, Foursquare will be partnering with Teen Mania in this movement.

Then, Jack Hayford brought the main message from Zechariah 8:18-23, along the theme of not looking toward your past to determine or define your future.

While it wasn't mentioned tonight, the buzz is starting to spread that Convention in 2007 is being planned to be held in Jerusalem for the first international location for our annual International Foursquare Convention (that's what it's touted as every year since our name is International Church of the Foursquare Gospel). Next year's Convention is set for Washington, DC.

Well, it's getting late here. Until tomorrow, may the Lord bless your sleep and rest your body and soul well.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

End of the Week

Left Cedarly yesterday (Friday). Made the drive south with a tinge of fun. I am not crazy about them, but I do like cars, and the classics are especially fun when you see a nice one.

I guess if you're a real classic car fan, you would know that there are a number of classic car dealerships. I had never seen one before, until last Sunday when I was driving north between Chicago and Delafield. Valenti Classics is located in Caledonia, Wisconsin, right off the 94 freeway, and they really do have a signature corvette mounted on their roof!

I pulled over yesterday and gawked away! My favorite was a 1956 Ford Thunderbird and the picture doesn't do it justice. The price is a little steep - $82,650, but hey, monthly payments of just $772.26!

Anyway, that was quite fun. A showroom floor that you could literally eat off of it was so clean, and the quality of the cars was just breathtaking.

Arrived in Deerfield, Illinois for the weekend stay before moving to the Convention hotel on Sunday. A quick moving thunderstorm with a ton of drenching rain was a treat last night.

I'm looking forward to seeing some old friends this week. That's always a real treat of Convention. And, as this is our first Convention with Jack Hayford as President, I am sure that the air will be electric at each gathering! Our worship leader for the week is one of my all-time favorites, Tommy Walker. Did you know Tommy is Foursquare?

Anyway, keep checking back, post your comments or questions, and have a wonderful weekend! I pray the grace of God would flow in all His fullness as NewHeart gathers tomorrow morning!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Going East ...

I blog you today from the beautiful location of Delafield, Wisconsin. It's about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee. I'm staying at Cedarly Pastor's Retreat. Colleen and I spent a week here in February of 2001.

A 1906 Summer house with 6 bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, Cedarly was opened in 1997 for the express purpose of giving pastors and their spouses a week to be with the Lord. And "give" is the key word. It is literally free, except for the cost of getting here.

The house is really first rate, like a bed and breakfast for pastors, including even the food. They have a professional staff that prepares the one meal (usually lunch) that I am required to attend (it's the ONLY requirement) with the other pastors and their spouses here. The meals are amazing, they're served to us, and we're not allowed to touch any dishes except to eat off them. A buffet is set out for breakfast and dinner and permission is given to raid the refrigerator at any time.

It is one of three locations (though Cedarly is the only one that is cost-free, the others are inexpensive) run by a foundation called Pastors Retreat Network. It's a place to enjoy the peace and quiet and a chance to get away in order to seek the Lord.

As I prepared to leave and communicated with many over the last couple of weeks that I would be out of the office, I heard the very common response, "enjoy the vacation". Well, while I am certainly in a beautiful location, it is no vacation. Allow me to share with you why I do these "study breaks".

Part of my recovery from burnout a few years ago taught me the value of getting away a few times each year in order to seperate myself from the hustle and bustle of the every day grind (phones, crises, calendar, etc.) When you read scripture, we find Jesus doing it on a regular basis. If HE had to do it, how much more do WE?

I love my "job", "call", "ministry", whatever nomenclature you choose to use. Let's just say I love what I do! I really do! So much so that I have to be careful to monitor my output. Recognizing that I cannot give what I do not have, I have learned that it is so important to take the time to allow the Lord to recharge my batteries and fill my soul.

It's amazing the doors of opportunity to do so that the Lord has given me over the years. There is not just Cedarly, but a family in our church owns a local cabin that they allow me to use regularly and another friend has a condo at Lake Tahoe that I've been to a few times now.

What do I do on these trips? I'm glad you asked! I spend a number of hours each day in the Word, usually reading through large chunks of scripture, or whole books at a time. My scripture reading might relate to something I feel I'm to teach on soon, but it may not.

I spend some time "re-creating". On this trip, I'm looking forward to getting back to my daily habit of walking for cardio exercise. I've let that slip out of my life for the last many months. It's been too long since I've played a round of golf. I'm hoping to do that this week.

I spend some time resting. I am a night owl in my bodily rythym. On these trips particularly, I follow that rythym. I'll work through the day and evening, taking the opportunity to follow my body for sleep. I go to sleep when my body says to do so, and wake up on the same call.

I spend a considerable amount of time reading. Some of it is ministry related, much of it intentionally is not.

So, that's what I do.

Getting here was a no-brainer, as our annual Foursquare Convention happens to be next week in Chicago. Cedarly is only about 2 hours north. When I began to make plans for Convention earlier this year, I checked with Cedarly, and sure enough, they had a room available for this week.

Feel free to ask any questions with a post here, or just say Hi if you want. As there is no internet access at Cedarly, my email and internet activity will be limited. However, I'll be back online more regularly in Chicago next week. I do hope to get another chance to post maybe midweek sometime. Check back then.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Emotionally Healthy Church Comes West!

Just a few days ago, following up on my last post a month ago, Pete Scazzero and I locked in the date of Wednesday, October 19 for the first ever "Emotionally Healthy Church" Conference west of Chicago! The day will start at 9:00 am and end at 4:00 pm.

The night before, Tuesday, October 18, he and his wife, Geri, will lead an "Emotionally Healthy Marriage" Seminar from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. That will be open to our church as well as churches throughout our area.

As soon as we have the budget figured out, I'll let you know what the cost of each event will be. For now, let me strongly encourage you to mark your calendar.

For Pastors reading this - make it a point to be there. Yes, I know the Conference is on a Wednesday and you may have Wednesday night service. Schedule someone else to speak that night! Make it a "you" investment. Include the marriage seminar the evening before with your spouse! We're working on hotel deals.

For church leaders or bi-vocational Pastors, get the day off work on October 19. Let me just tell you - you don't want to miss this!

By all means, get the book beforehand and read it. Best price can usually be found through

If you have questions, want to discuss the material as you read it, or just want to check in from time to time, please post a comment.