Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Convention 2006 continues

The last two days have been full and fun. Lots of time and connections with old friends. Content-wise, the workshops yesterday were very good.

I attended one called, "The Community Center Revolution", led by Doug Bursch from Evergreen Foursquare Church in Auburn, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. He shared how their church of 120 people has opened a Community Center for the purpose of getting their folks involved and interacting with their community.

I so appreciated how he shared his experience that the church building is often the last place the non-Christian community wants to go to because of certain perceptions they have about what happens in and at churches. He shared some awesome concepts and ideas.

The Community Center concept (much like the coffeehouse we operated about 6 years ago until a fire in another part of the building closed us down) says, "Let's go to where the community is." Some have heard me talk about what I believe is a long-term vision the Lord has given me to open a Community Center that would house a gym (basketball/volleyball, etc, as well as fitness equipment and coffee/juice bar and other youth-priented games).

It could be a place where other community-oriented organizations could meet (AA, for example) as well as a meeting place for our youth, who do not currently have much space of their own on our campus. An example of this idea can be found at Lord's Gym.

Last night's meeting featured a stirring dramatic presentation by Dean Jones of readings from the Founding Fathers of our nation. Following that, I had a great chance to have some good laughs with some old friends, among them Mike & Stacey Barker (former NewHeart Youth Pastor), Eric Mejia (another former NewHeart Youth Pastor), and Bob & Lisa Penberthy (former NewHeart Associate Pastor).

Mike & Stacey, and Eric, have planted a Foursquare Church in Austin, Texas called City Life Community. Bob & Lisa are pastoring NewLife Christian Center, a Foursquare Church in Upland, California. They pass their greetings to the NewHeart family.

A highlight of today is actually a humorous one. One of the main reasons I believe in attending Convention each year is that this is where the denominational business meetings occur. It's one of those things where it's the most boring part of Convention, but one I feel is most crucial to be able to participate in the process of decision making.

The Business Sessions always take place on the last two days of Convention. However, in order to transact business, a majority quorum of voting delegates present at the Business Session is required. This year, there are over 1,800 voting delegates at Convention, requiring over 900 to be present at Business Sessions. Today's session only had 600 present, so they couldn't hold the Business Session at all. I am sure that will not be the case tomorrow!

Colleen and the boys arrived here earlier this evening. We gave Colleen a break by hanging out at the hotel pool for the evening. I didn't get to hear Lloyd John Ogilvie speak, but did get to spend some catch-up time with the boys and Colleen got some good rest.

I am looking forward to tomorrow night's speaker, Pastor Kenneth Ulmer from Faithful Central Bible Church in L.A. They're the church that purchased and revonated The Forum into church use. He is one of my favorite speakers!

That's it from DC for now! More later ....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Convention 2006 begins

After a good night of rest, I hit the gym this morning for the first time since last week's accident. I did notice yesterday that the vehicular anxiety I had been experiencing all week riding in cars as a passenger was gone. That was a relief.

Then, my workout this morning felt better than I expected as well. I am just so grateful for the protection of God, evident even a week later as I feel more and more normal after the trauma.

I had the chance to spend a bit of time getting the lay of the land, hoping to feel well familiar with where things are by the time Colleen and the kids arrive. Today is really the only day to do that as the next few will be frankly TOO busy with the Convention schedule.

Convention began tonight with some real flair. Touching videos reminding us of Memorial Day's reason for existence and some special music along the same course. The music included a Colonial era military band parading through the auditorium to the platform and then leading us in the national anthem and a stirring lone bugler playing taps. It had a way of making our time of worship extra special as well. Of course, it's always a treat to sing and worship with about 3,000 others in the room whose hearts are geared toward the same direction.

Pastor Jack Hayford, President of the Foursquare Church, spoke tonight out of Joshua 1:1-9. His message was on "How God Emerges A New Generation". The most striking part of his message to me was how God declares with the emergence of any new generation, "In rising to the moment, walk with understanding."

As Joshua becomes the new leader of Israel, God says, "Joshua, wherever you walk, wherever your sole treads (as you rise to the occasion), I've already been there (walk with understanding)."

The rest of the evening was spent catching up with old friends, Tim & Kelly Mossholder and their kids, and Bob & Lisa Penberthy. It's become a Convention tradition for that group to gather after the first night's session catching each other up and laughing a whole lot! Kelly said it well as we closed, "Well, we've started Convention off right!"

With that, Good Night ...

Washington, DC

It has again been a while since my last post. I am finding it an easier thing to post to the blog while I am traveling. Things get busy at home and travel seems to allow me some extra time to jot my thoughts and experiences.

It's about midnight of Memorial Day 2006 and I've just a while ago arrived in Washington, DC for this year's annual Foursquare Convention. I am traveling with John & Wendy Cox. I love being with the Cox's. We always have alot of fun traveling together.

Convention will start on Monday night and conclude on Thursday night. I am excited to have Colleen and the boys arrive on Wednesday evening. While the Cox's will return home Saturday, Colleen, the boys and I will stay through Monday for a long-anticipated DC family vacation.

Colleen and I vacationed here in 1993 and always dreamed of bringing our boys to this magnificent place for vacation someday. Now is the time. We've been talking about it for weeks. It was fun to have Jonathan discover last week that all this time, he was under the impression that we were going to Washington STATE to see some good friends that live there. We will get to see those friends here as they are also a Foursquare Pastor's family who will attend Convention.

The Convention is being held (and we are staying) at the Hilton Washington, which our shuttle driver informed us tonight is the hotel that Ronald Reagan was shot outside of in his assassination attempt in 1981. Hmmm ....

More on Convention later as the week progresses.

For now, I thought some might get a kick out of seeing a couple of pictures of my Thunderbird after last Tuesday's freeway accident. I don't mean in any way to be morbid. I suppose that if injuries were involved, I would be hesitant to show the pictures. However, I am very glad to say there were no major injuries.

So far, those involved in the insurance process have each said, "I'm not supposed to say this, but I think it's going to be a total loss." Colleen and I are praying already for the Lord to help us make wise decisions regarding our next steps. We covet your prayers.

Stay tuned throughout the week and I'll post some of our experiences, and as always, leave a comment to let me know you were here. If you have experience in DC and can suggest anything kid-friendly, let me know!