Monday, October 27, 2008

New Blog Location

OK, everyone, we are now up and running at www.paulkuzma.com. Click the link to go there. When you get there, be sure to either:

  • bookmark that page so you've got the new location,
  • subscribe to the feed by clicking the big orange button on the header, OR
  • subscribe to receive each new post by email.
See you there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No More Cast for Josh!

We went to the next Dr. appointment on Monday morning. Bone graft is looking great and no more cast for Josh! We were all very excited for this big day. He is walking around the house in regular shoes, though still a bit weak from atrophy.

His only restriction is open field (grass) sports to keep from hitting any unseen holes, etc. For all he went through, now he says he can hardly believe it all happened!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Long Time No Post

Yes....it has been too long. No excuses, but it has been quite busy. Soon after my last post, a good friend offered to refashion my blog. So, watch out for news soon and a whole new look. I am VERY excited!

Then, for those who may not have heard, a tragic Metrolink Train Crash occurred on Friday, September 12 just outside our city. 10 of the 25 killed were residents of Simi Valley. The next week was very busy as I had the honor of being involved as a Police Chaplain in a couple of remembrance events. I'll write more on that later.

Topping it off is Colleen's new job. She's teaching the night class of the Certified Nurse's Assistant Course at the Simi Valley Adult School on Monday nights, Wednesday nights and all day on Saturdays. She loves it, but the prep work is enormous as this is her first semester to teach the class. Every spare minute is spent prepping for the next class, so I've been trying to be around extra for the boys as Colleen studies away.

Add to the mix the Fall season at Church (always extra busy) and a building program we're trying to get happening. You get the picture.

Enough for now. It's late Saturday night, and there's something about church in the morning.....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Who is Sarah Palin?

News is swirling that McCain has picked Sarah Palin as VP on the Republican ticket. She is the current Governor of Alaska.

Definitely a surprise, but apparently she has been pushed forward here and here. Check out where she stands here.

Follow the trail here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama-Biden & McCain VP Political Technology Theatrics

First off, this is NOT an endorsement of any candidate. It's just a humorous observation.

Most of us know, but few of us talk about, name searches on the web. The more visible and popular your name, the more important for you to buy the domain of your own name before somebody else does. No telling what others can do with your name.

Now, I haven't done much with this, but to illustrate this VERY popularly, click the following two links:

Joe Biden & Joseph Biden.

To me, FUNNY! Someone somewhere got paid a lot of money to strategize this all out for both McCain AND Obama. Someone sat at a computer a while ago, tried to buy josephbiden.com and said &%#$*!!!!

From Beautiful Downtown Buellton

Arriving on Wednesday, we left town way later than I wanted. It's kind of my way I guess. Say I want to leave by noon and not get out till 3:00. Anyway.....

Left me only an hour or so of light to set up camp. Most campers don't think much of us RV'ers, and are probably boo-hooing my "set up camp" comment, but while it is WAY easier than tent camping, there's still a bunch of work to it.

Here we are having just arrived and the kids setting up their tent. What were we thinking bringing FIVE BOYS with us? I don't know!

While we are not actually IN downtown Buellton (home of famed Andersen's Split Pea Soup), we're right by it, enjoying Flying Flags Campground. It's a family favorite, and we haven't been here for a couple years.

We're staying in the last section of the property that has not been improved. Most of the sites have been vastly improved in quality and beauty. I highly recommend Flying Flags for those looking for a great family camping spot.

All in all, we're having a great time relaxing and being with each other. Josh has been a little slow because of his cast, but even he is having a good time. We've had the pleasure of some friends coming through for various amounts of time. It's been great.

This is the first actual vacation we've taken as a family this year. Colleen and the boys were gone for a bit at the beginning of Summer in relation to Colleen's upcoming new job and then 4th of July with her family that I wasn't able to get to. In that regard, this has been very nice.

The first couple days were wide open here, but the weekend packs out. So, being Sunday noon as I write this, people are clearing out. Which is why I am really glad we are staying till tomorrow. We can end our time with some relative quiet and space and not fight today's traffic. The kids start school on Wednesday.

Ahhh, campfires, s'mores, gentle breezes, and a REAL bed!

So, from beautiful downtown Buellton.....over and out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Son's Answered Prayer

There's not much like your son's prayers actually being answered! I know, strange coming from a Pastor, huh?

We saw the Doctor on Monday morning for Josh's 2nd post-op x-ray and progress report. First since 3 weeks ago, and it's been 5 weeks now.

Remember, initially the Doc said he'd be in cast for 6 weeks, with a possible removable cast for last 1/2 of that time. Then, he said in cast for 8 weeks, mentioning he built the cast in surgery to last the entire 8 weeks.

At the first follow-up, he said he would most likely leave the whole cast on for the entire 8 weeks because they did 2 procedures .... fixed the fibroma with the bone graft AND drilled holes in the growth plate to arrest growth of that bone. He wanted to go slow with it.

Josh was bummed! His big deal was he didn't want to go to school with the cast or on crutches. Now (3 weeks ago), he was facing the first 2 weeks of school with cast AND crutches.

All through the last 3 weeks, preparing for this Doctor's appt, he's been asking God to let the cast come off. We began making plans to go camping this week. That ADDED to his desire for the cast to come off so he could at least get in the pool.

Being the great spiritual leader that I am, I was AFRAID his heart would be broken. So, I was TEMPERING his prayers with reality...."Josh, you know what the Doctor said, and we're gonna do whatever he says."

Few days before the appt, I say, "Josh, it never hurts to ask the Dr. After you greet him, ask him if the cast can come off and tell him that would be really cool. Just be ready in case he says no."

Monday comes, long wait in the waiting room, we finally go in, long wait in the cast room for the x-ray. When the Dr finally comes in with the x-rays, he declares everything is looking GREAT! Josh POPS the question! I was so proud of my kid!

The Doctor looks intently at Josh, at the cast, walks over to the x-rays, comes back to Josh, looks at us, and FINALLY says, "I think we can do that. We'll put him in a cam walker that will immobilize the foot. He can take it off in bed and for baths/showers and can get in a pool."

YYYAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOOO!

Here he is ......
He can walk on it more and more as he gets used to it, eventually leaving the crutches behind. He does have to leave this on for 6 weeks, rather than the 3, but he's OK with that since he can take it off and feel a bit more normal.

It was a HUGE day for him and for us. A huge day for me as a Dad too. My kid's prayer got answered. I am telling you, he prayed with focused intensity. Laser-like! And his prayer was answered! COOL!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson Article

An article was in today's Ventura County Star about Pastor Glen Jackson. You can read it here. I encourage you to continue to pray for the Jackson family and for the Faith Christian Church family as they process their grief.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Long Summer's Night

It's almost the end of Summer, and I feel kinda tense about it. Not in a bad kinda way, but in a perplexing kinda way.

On one hand, it's been a really long Summer. An intense one with lots of crises to walk through with people. While it's tiring, when it comes down to it, I wouldn't have it any other way. I really do love the grind of day-to-day pastoring.

Personally, we had Josh's surgery and recovery. He's doing great by the way! His next check-up is Monday morning. It will be the 5 week point. They'll x-ray it to see how the bone graft is taking. The first appt 2 weeks ago went really well. Josh is tired of the cast and wishes it could come off, but all in all, he's handling it pretty well.

Church-wise, we've had a number of situations to work through, including two people who died (one expected, another unexpected). I've officiated three funerals in the last 6 weeks.

Then, Pastor Glen Jackson (see posts below) died last Friday night. His memorial service is Saturday at 2:00 pm. That will be THREE funerals THREE Saturdays in a row, all at 2:00.

On the upside, I launched my new blog, Pastor For Life, earlier this Summer, and it's been a hoot to see that grow, and to connect with other Pastors and Leaders around the country.

I've also been involved in the launch of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Church-wide Initiative Kit. As of today, we have 14 churches across the US and Canada who are piloting this new, groundbreaking material this Fall and Winter. Including total orders for the Kits, there is the potential of 36 churches beginning this journey toward Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a lifestyle I very deeply believe in.

After Josh's appt on Monday, we plan to head to Buellton for about a week of camping. Looking forward to the down time and relaxation!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson Memorial Service

Just received an email announcing that the Memorial Service for Pastor Glen Jackson will occur on Saturday, August 16 at 2 pm at Grace Brethren Church.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made to Faith Christian Church for support of Solome Musisi, a missionary to Uganda, who resides in Simi Valley. Please make your checks out to Faith Christian Church and put Glen Jackson Memorial in the memo line.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson With The Lord

Tonight at about 6:00 pm, Pastor Glen Jackson was taken off life support and he died soon thereafter. Please pray for the entire Jackson family.

On top of that, hug your family tonight. Tell them how much you love and appreciate them, and do everything you can to make sure they know that.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson Update

The below is DIRECTLY from the family (Glen's daughter & son-in-law):

Hi Paul,

Most of that information is off a bit. Let me clear it up for you.

The cyst was a congenital cyst that Glen has had from birth. It had absolutely nothing to do with the bleeding. The cyst was drained to provide more room in the skull for the swelling.

An MRI was done on Tuesday and revealed that the bleeding had stopped. Apparently the bleeding has been stopped for a while but that had not been clearly communicated to the family (not really sure that the doctors knew that either). The blood in the brain that has been showing up on the CT scans is coagulated blood from the original bleed.

The coagulated blood will take 2-3 weeks to dissipate.

The doctors were interested in seeing Glen's condition in the 24-48 hours following the cyst drain.

His condition is still critical. Thank you for your prayers and concern, please keep it up! :)
Also, for those wondering who Glen is, here is a picture of him with his daughter, Erin, on her wedding day.

Pastor Glen Jackson Update

I have hesitated to post updates as 2-3 sources seem to be giving somewhat conflicting information. However, here is what I have heard so far that seems to be confirmed by the sources.

Tuesday night, a cyst on Glen's brain was drained, and seems to have been related to the bleeding. Bleeding on the brain stopped once they drained this cyst. However, there is coagulated blood on the brain now constricting flow of normal brain fluids. While doctors have said that could take "months" to dissipate, they have said Glen needs it to dissipate within the next 48 hours or so.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson Update

The latest word tonight about Pastor Glen's condition is:

...the doctors were going to do an MRI (this morning). However, they did not do it this morning. They were able to keep all the equipment working while he was in the MRI machine except the piece of equipment that fed him the blood pressure medication to control his blood pressure. As a result they have spent the day weaning him off the medication to see if his body could control its own blood pressure. So far it seems to be working. If it continues to work, they will probably do the MRI sometime this evening.

Pastor Glen Jackson Update

Received an email this evening that stated:

The cat scan from this morning still shows that there has not been any change in the bleeding inside the brain. Be praying specifically for the bleeding to stop.

The pneumonia that was present last week is completely gone. Praise the Lord!!!

His white blood cell count has been elevated and that is now down to normal. Praise the Lord!!!

(T)here has been involuntary movement again.

Last week they tried taking him off the body cooling machine but his body temperature started rising. They need to be able to take him off this machine because there is a limited number of days that he can stay hooked up to it. Pray that when they disconnect this machine that his body will stay at 97 degrees on its own without assistance.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Pastor Glen Jackson Update, Etc.

Two update emails today have said that Pastor Glen Jackson's condition remains the same. There will be no tests done over the weekend unless something were to change considerably. Please continue to pray for a miracle in this situation!

It has been a long week! Knowing that Jackie Morris' Memorial Service would be today has been emotional for me. Not just in her sudden passing three weeks ago, but Colleen and I (especially Colleen) have a strong emotional tie to the Morris'. Jim & Jackie were childhood neighbors of Colleen's. Their daughter, Barbara, was one of Colleen's closest friends growing up.

Pastor Glen's circumstance has been wearing. I feel for what Nicki and their family are going through. Glen has been one of the true "elders" of our city as a Pastor here for more than 28 years. He has been a stalwart, faithful Pastor and a powerful unifier.

Then, yesterday morning, after the last few months of struggling with Congestive Heart Failure, Chuck Koher passed away in the early morning hours. Elaine called me about 7:00 am to let me know he passed away peacefully sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 am.

She said he was feverish about 2:00 am. She placed a cold washrag on his head and fell asleep beside him. She woke up about 4:00 am and discovered he had died. That is actually a very beautiful thing, as Elaine had labored so hard to make his last days so comfortable. For him to pass away so peacefully as she was sleeping beside him is just the way it ought to have happened.

Chuck has an amazing story of life and service. A World War 2 veteran, he served all over Europe. He fought in the infamous Battle of the Bulge and was the ONLY member of his unit to survive that fight.

So, next Saturday at 2:00 pm, we'll celebrate Chuck's life with his family, at NewHeart. If you know of anyone who knew Chuck and/or Elaine, please pass the word on!

In the morning, we have Mike Barker speaking. That will be a slew of fun! Mike is one of our former Youth Pastors, and is Pastor of CityLife Community Church in Austin, TX, a church he planted five years ago.

Time for bed. G'nite all!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson

The latest update on Pastor Glen's condition, received at 5:00 pm today, is from his son-in-law, Lance:

Pastor Glen's condition is pretty much the same as yesterday. The doctors are finally using a consistent term to describe what happened, the are calling it a "bleeding stroke." His condition is still critical. Please remain in prayer.

Prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson

Thursday evening, I had the privilege of spending some time with family and friends of Pastor Glen. After receiving news that Doctors had asked Nicki if she was prepared to make the decision to take Glen off of life support, I was able to head over to the Hospital.

The outpouring of support for Glen at the hospital was tremendous. There were a number of family members, church members and friends present. I had the opportunity to spend some time with some of them, and it was extremely uplifting.

Near the end of my time there, Nicki came out from Glen's room. She shared that the Neurologist clarified that they are not asking for her to make a decision right away. He believes it is too soon to make those decisions. He encouraged her to wait through the weekend at least to see how he does over the next few days.

While the bleeding in the brain is persisting and is happening faster than it can be drained, Glen's body is reproducing the lost blood supply, which means he hasn't to this point needed any transfusions. On the other hand, the Neurologist also said that bleeding of this type usually does more damage to the brain the longer it goes on.

Clearly, the Jackson's really do need a miracle from God for Glen! Please continue to pray that God will bring healing and peace to Glen over these next days. Pray for peace for Glen's wife, Nicki, and their daughters, Erin, Ashley and Christina, as well as extended family.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson

Just received this latest update regarding Glen:

There has been some encouraging news through the night. The neurologist is encouraged because he noticed some involuntary movement in Glen's leg last night. This definitely shows signs of brain activity and that is a good sign.

Glen's brother says that Glen responded to directions for movement last night also. All these things are good news.

The doctors did another cat scan this morning but we will not have the results on that until this afternoon. Glen is still bleeding.

Pray for the bleeding to stop, pray for complete and total restoration of Glen's health and mental capabilities. God is able and willing to come to Glen's rescue. That is His specialty.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson

As of 8:30 pm Pacific Time, Pastor Glen's condition is still listed as critical, and he is still in a coma. This morning's CT Scan revealed that considerable bleeding in the mid-brain area is still happening. They have ruled out the bleeding to be the result of a stroke or an aneurysm.

They are likening the bleeding to the bursting of a water main. There is nothing they can do to stop the bleeding. The Jackson family needs a miracle!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson

I wanted to give you the latest news I have heard and to request continued prayer for Pastor Glen Jackson, founding and current Pastor of Faith Christian Church here in Simi Valley for over 25 years.

This morning, Glen collapsed and was rushed to Simi Valley Hospital. He was diagnosed as having a brain aneurysm. He was then airlifted to Holy Cross Hospital for further diagnosis and treatment.

His current condition is still listed as critical, and he is still in a coma from bleeding in the brain. An angiogram was performed just a few hours ago in an attempt to find out where exactly the bleeding is occurring in the brain.

The angiogram revealed a blood clot near the brain stem, but they were not able to find the spot(s) where bleeding is occurring. They will perform another CT scan in the morning to try and identify any of those places.

I will continue to keep you informed as I know more. For now, please keep bringing Glen, Nicki, and their families before the Lord. For those who may feel led, fasting may even be appropriate.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Josh's 1st Post-op Appointment

Took Josh to the Dr. today for his first post-op appointment. The x-ray shows that everything is healing normally. The Doc reports that the pain and even mild fever at times (none in last several days) sounds pretty normal.

Turns out the reason for the 8 weeks in cast (rather than hoped-for 6) is that TWO procedures were done and need to be considered. One was the fibroma removal and bone graft. Other was the holes drilled in growth plate to arrest the growth of the left leg. Gives the right leg a chance to catch up and even out the legs.

Since he had both done, Doc wants to go slow and give plenty of time for healing and such. Makes sense, but Josh is still bummed about going to school for a couple weeks in a cast. Pray for his little heart when you think about it, would you?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pastor Greg Laurie's Son Killed In Car Accident

Pray for Pastor Greg Laurie's family tonight. His 33 year old son, Christopher, was killed in a car accident this morning in Riverside. You can leave condolences here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twitter Hits USA Today

For those still wondering what the big deal about Twitter is, click here to read the story in USA Today.

For those who finally want to get on the bandwagon, click here to follow me on Twitter.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Simi Valley Starbucks Set To Close


In case you haven't heard the news yet, the Starbucks at the corner of Royal & Madera is on the hit list. Starbucks is closing 600 of its stores nationwide, and this location is the only one in Ventura County on the chopping block. That's going to change this stat big time!

In case that's your store, my condolences.

In case you're wondering if a store near you is closing, click here.

Sad news. Sad, sad news.

Roller Coaster

The last few days have been BOTH invigorating AND draining. How can that be?

It's been INVIGORATING to take a week off to be available for the needs of my family. Josh's surgery went well, and that's invigorating! Most of his recovery so far has gone well, and that's also invigorating to me. At times through the week, we've SLEPT a lot ..... you know it .... invigorating. And, just being together as family ..... in-stinkin--vigorating!

Then, church this morning was incredibly invigorating! "Interactive Worship Sunday" for the first time and Katie Miller and the team did an amazing job leading us to the throne of God, not just in "song worship", but in various forms of worship. It's downright good to regularly remind ourselves that worship is not about US, it's about GOD! It was Katie's awesome idea and one we will do again!

It's also been a DRAINING week. Taking care of each other is a LOT of work! 3 am pain med checks are no fun on the body! It's great when recovery is going well, but when it's not? DRAINING! I can NOT imagine what God the Father went through watching Jesus suffer. Seriously, NO comprehension here whatsoever.

I know it's true for any parent, but it HURTS when you watch your kid hurt! Today turned out to be Josh's worst day of pain so far. The anesthesia must have worn off overnight, because up until today we were thinking this was gonna be cake! Not to be, and that's draining. He and I took a nap this afternoon trying to calm some of his hardest pain. When I woke up less than two hours later, I seriously thought it had to be Monday morning. I guess that's how drained I was.

Anyway, it's been a roller coaster!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joshua Recovery Update

Having been home almost 24 hours now, Josh seems to be doing well. Slept well (we were all pretty exhausted!), waking up only for the pain med rotation. His pain level has been pretty good today. Colleen has been working with his meds to curb some nausea and dizziness he's dealing with. We've kept it to rest and relaxation today, and that's actually been really nice!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Joshua's Surgery Update

We don't have internet access at the hospital, so I am posting from my phone. The doctor was very pleased with how surgery went today.

So far, Josh has handled the pain really well though the doctor did say he put quite a bit of anesthetic into the bone and muscle area.

It is 5:30 pm now and the anisthetic seems to be wearing off. Josh is making his own comments about the pain but is still handling it well. We anticipate going home within the next couple of hours.

I'll post again once we're home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Latest on Josh's Surgery

Latest info on Josh's surgery ... we saw the doctor for the pre-op appointment last Monday. He took his own x-rays, which showed the fibroma to be the same size and location as already known.

Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday (July 15) at Northridge Hospital at 7:00 am. While it is still set for an outpatient procedure, the doctor said there is an 80% chance he will stay overnight. It all depends on how he does with pain management, using the crutches and the restroom on his own. If he does well with all three on Tuesday, he comes home that day. If there is any question, or he recovers slow, he stays overnight and comes home Wednesday.

An additional piece of information has Josh a bit bugged. In the first appointment a few weeks ago, the doc said he'd be in a cast and then a brace for a total of 6 weeks. The surgery is exactly six weeks before school starts. Josh was NOT wanting to go to school in a cast or brace.

Well, on Monday, the doctor said it would be 8 weeks. Josh is pretty bugged by that at this point.

Other than that, we are full steam ahead! I will post here after surgery, so feel free to check back Tuesday for updates.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kind of a Long Day

Funerals are hard. Even when I don't know the person whose funeral I am officiating, like today, they're just hard. I think some of it for me is because I just want people to feel better, and death is something I just can't fix. I don't mean to sound weird. It's just true. I can't make it all better for the grieving family members.

After that, met with a Pastor going through some church crisis. I am praying for him as he walks through more of it tonight in a meeting.

Then, had lunch with Pastors from all over Simi Valley and Moorpark, sponsored by our local Community Pregnancy Clinic. They brought in Star Parker as a preview to their annual banquet on September 26. Powerful speaker and advocate for the unborn! I had never heard of her before today, but I am already looking forward to the Banquet!

Two other meetings, one this afternoon and another this evening, along with a phone call with someone on the East Coast (is there such a thing as phone lag?!) have this old night owl tired early.

Peace out!

Loose Ends

Tonight, I am working on my notes for a memorial service I will officiate in the morning for a man I have never had the pleasure to meet. If you are a Pastor, maybe you feel like I do about what we get to do: it is a deep and awesome privilege to be invited into some of life’s most sacred moments because of Who and what we represent.

I’ll talk about that more here someday …. but for now, ….

This is one of those families that I rarely come by, in terms of this man (again, I never knew him) and his legacy truly oozing out of his wife and daughter.

While I am putting my notes together, a friend (who is also a Pastor) calls me. He says, “I couldn’t sleep tonight until I called to say I’ve been thinking about you all day. I couldn’t live with myself until you knew that not only was I thinking about you, but that God’s heart smiles when He thinks of you, and you are a real asset to the Kingdom of God.”

I was blown away! The man whose memorial service I will lead …. he died on the 4th of July of a sudden heart attack, leaving too many things undone and unspoken. A good man with too many loose ends.

My friend didn’t want to leave any loose ends, and reminded me that neither do I. What are the loose ends for you?

Bad end to a difficult conversation with a loved one? Unfinished business between you and a friend? Unresolved conflict between you and a neighbor? Words you know ought to be spoken or written before it’s too late?

I got ‘em, you got ‘em, we all got ‘em. Dare to say what some of yours are?

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Grand 4th of July

Hung at the Park tonight with a number of SVPD Officers. With Colleen and the boys gone with family up north, I took the opportunity to spend the 4th of July with the Police Department.

It started at 5:00 pm at the Station going through the Briefing with the detail of Officers working the 4th of July festivities. Our City does a pretty large party every July 4th that ends with fireworks.

There were about 20 Officers and Explorers at the Briefing with another 20 or so already in the field. When the Briefing ended at 5:30, I was called by the Watch Commander and asked to respond to the ER to a report of a man not breathing (read below).

After leaving the hospital, I went to In & Out to pick up 50 Double Doubles and fries for the Officers working the Park event. I was really proud of our local In & Out! They donated half the bill and didn't even flinch at the huge order! To top it off, they got it done in 23 minutes!!

The rest of the evening was spent connecting with a BUNCH of Officers. It was a GREAT time to re-connect and connect with a lot of them at once. Spent some time walking the park and then enjoyed a grand view of the fireworks.

We learned tonight that our show was the 2nd largest fireworks event in Southern California, with the Rose Bowl being the largest. Having seen a few of our events in the past, it was definitely the best I've seen our city do!

Looking forward to Colleen and the boys coming home tomorrow night, and then a great Sunday at church. We have Randy Stonehill with us, followed by an old-fashioned Church Family BBQ!

Chaplain Callout

I was called to respond to the hospital at 5:30 pm today, where a 60 year old man had been taken after being found not breathing by his family at home. When I arrived, he had already been pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack.

His wife, daughter and son-in-law were with him. He had complained of chest pain and pain in his jaw last night. Today, he was generally not feeling well, but family encouragements to call the doctor or go to the ER were turned away by him. He went to take a nap this afternoon and they found him not breathing a couple hours later.

A Hospital Chaplain took over about 45 minutes after I showed up, and from there, I went to our local 4th of July Celebration and spent the evening with Police Officers at the Park and at the Command Post.

Happy 4th of July!

Here's to a wonderful 4th of July to you and yours! I hope it rings something of freedom's reign in your heart that goes far beyond burgers, hot dogs, lots of goodies and pool parties! May the depth of what this day represents move strongly in your heart today and cause us all to stop for a few moments to give thanks to the Father for the gift that freedom is.

Colleen and the boys are up north this weekend, taking a last minute opportunity that arose to spend a few days with her parents and all siblings at her brother's "back 40" in Lincoln, CA. I stayed behind due to a few work things that needed tending over these days.


View Larger Map

It's not often that Colleen's siblings are all together at once in the same place. Doesn't happen much for mine either, but anyways, that's where they're hanging right now. Her borther literally has 40 acres up there that he is building a house on. The family has already been doing a bit of framing during their time there.

For us, the 4th of July is usually spent sleeping in and hanging at the BBQ and backyard with family and friends. Almost always culminates with the City Fireworks Extravaganza either from a nearby view at the Park, or seeing what we can from the roof of our house.

With Colleen and the boys gone, I am taking the first part of the day to relax and read. I am hoping to get a ride-along this afternoon and into the night, figuring this would be a good night to get out with a couple of Police Officers and see what's happening behind the fireworks in our City.

If anything exciting happens, I'll let you know!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Josh's Surgery Information

Just heard from the doctor's office a couple hours ago. Word is that surgery is set for Tuesday, July 15 at Northridge Hospital. He is first on the surgery schedule for that day. We'll find out the exact time the day before when the hospital calls.

The surgery is planned for outpatient, so he should come home that day. The procedure should take between 60-90 minutes.

Fun News Article!

Just wanted to share that our church was featured in a great article yesterday in the LA Daily News. A reporter called us out of the blue asking if she could do an article on our church. She was apparently impressed by our website.

I originally thought it was just running in a local Simi Valley section. However, they ran it in their entire distribution on page A4.

You can also read it online here. If you get a chance, leave a comment through the box at the end of the article!

Many have walked alongside us over a number of years of tilling tough soil. For those who have and who know our story, it's a fun thing to get to enjoy some positive, free press, and I thought you'd enjoy rejoicing with us!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Satan Interviewed

Craig Groeschel, Pastor of LifeChurch.tv, interviewed Satan for a recent message on unity in the church. He apparently has done several of these interviews. Enjoy some humor today .... or not ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Heart Deeply Moved

I haven't heard numbers and don't know if I will. The site I was at was Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch. Just at that site, there were probably about 150 of us.

Pastors and Church Leaders gathered today at somewhere around 100 different sites for a conference call. I know....you're wondering why we all got together just for a phone call.

The reason for the statewide gathering was to inform Pastors and Church Leaders about the Protect Marriage movement happening here in California right now. Back in 2000, our state voted over 61% to pass Proposition 22, which added a provision to the California Family Code that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

A few weeks ago, the California Supreme Court declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional by a vote of 4-3. Knowing the possibility existed, a statewide initiative was started to put on the November ballot a Constitutional Amendment, which is the only way that the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman will stay the law.

A request to stay the Supreme Court's decision until the November elections to see how the vote of the people would come out was denied by the same Supreme Court. So, last week, our state began to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and officiating their wedding ceremonies.

"As goes California, so goes the country." If we are not able to move the Church in California to stand up and vote to pass this Constitutional amendment, the consequences will be much more dire than I imagined, or that any of us would probably think. Whatever happens here will eventually impact the entire country.

Pastors could be made to decide to either officiate same sex ceremonies or face discriminatory charges. Churches could lose their tax exempt status for not allowing same sex ceremonies in in their Sanctuaries.

My heart was moved deeply at this meeting. We really are talking about, and facing, the weakening of the institution of marriage and family as God designed it. I was strongly convicted to do whatever I can to encourage Californians to get to the polls this November. You'll hear me talk about this more and more as November 4 approaches.

There are SO MANY issues that demand our time and attention, and that are important. I realize that many people put quite a bit of stock in what I say and how and where I lead just because I am a Pastor. I do my best to honor that privilege and trust.

As I step forward into this season of speaking into this issue, of high importance in my heart is the truth that marriage is not an issue to be defined or ultimately legislated by man, or by political procedure, but by God.

When it comes down to it, while this amendment is a political issue, it is in my opinion more largely a spiritual and moral issue that supercedes any political realm or party.

For now, I encourage you to check out this website, and this one. They will help answer questions and provide more information. Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts About "Biblical"

I've been reading some stuff in the last week or so about what's "Biblical" and what's not. I'm getting kind of bugged by it.

Specifically, it's stuff on how churches do church. The train of thought is "we want to do church Biblically" or "more Biblically."

Haven't you been doing church Biblically before? I know some of the leaders this is coming from, and I know they HAVE been, and fabulously so.

Is it that other churches AREN'T doing church "Biblically", so we feel the need to differentiate ourselves as doing it "Biblically"? Every church wants to have a niche in its community. Something they do or are gifted to do (read honestly: something we don't think any other church is either doing (a) at all, or (b) very well, mmm, or "Biblically").

I know a lot of Pastors. We ALL want this ... to do church "Biblically". Nothing less. Just because I have a desire to do church "Biblically", and it grabs attention for one reason or another that I want that, doesn't mean others aren't doing it "Biblically", or even that I myself am not. But that's exactly what it sounds like.

What is getting the attention is any individual churches or Pastor's METHODS that usually have drawn a very large group of people. We tend to flock toward them to find out HOW they did that so we can figure out how to do it where we are (both Pastors AND non-Pastors do this, by the way). And we call it "Biblical". Or at least that's one moniker we put on it. Makes us feel better about it anyways.

I'm all for being "Biblical" and I sure hope we're doing church "Biblically". The question begs, what is "Biblical" church? How can we communicate our heart more accurately, so that it doesn't sound like we're saying others aren't doing it "Biblically" or can't be defined as "Biblical", or that the fruit (numbers) a church produces isn't big enough to say they are a "Biblical" church?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Praying For a Friend in Twitterdom

I heard through the twitter-vine that one of the Pastors I follow just resigned from his church yesterday. Would you pray for Scott & Michelle Harris and their family, as well as their church family?

Join Twitter and follow me here. For more details on what Twitter is, click here. READ THE WHOLE POST to get to the part about Twitter.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Weekend

I really appreciated this weekend! Lots of BBQ'n, which I just love to do.

Friday night, I visited a man from church in the hospital. He survived a procedure this week that he wasn't sure he would make it through. We had the most amazing visit as he openly shared with me some pretty deep things he's been through and some of the stuff he's done. This is a man rescued by Jesus from the brink. He became for me a huge example of someone who is "poor in spirit", the very message I was working on for this weekend.

Saturday, I hit the day hard, churning out the majority of today's message. Started a new series that I've been thinking about for a while, but just decided to start in the last couple days of the week. "Becoming All That You Can Be" from Matthew 5:1-10, the Beatitudes. Challenging stuff, but good, deep.

Last night, q'd some really nice ribeyes and had my sister and her husband and kids over for her birthday. Colleen and the boys saw "Get Smart" late in the afternoon with a family friend, who also joined us for dinner on the spur of the moment. By the end of the evening, I was whipped. A good whipped, but really tired.

This morning, church went great at both services. The message was hard, but received well. Had visitors at church today that had been part of our church some time ago, so it was just heart-warming to see old friends and hear their remarks about how we're missed. Cool thing!

Then, this afternoon, I spent some time watching golf with Colleen, who is the greatest woman in all the world, in my book! Later in the afternoon, I headed to Fry's Electronics to see if they had a replacement power supply for the family desktop computer. They did, I put it in, and the computer works!

I love fix-it projects and all, but it seems lately that whenever I have a project to do, it's extremely frustrating and filled with multiple return trips to the store! This one worked, and that felt good! Q'd some beef ribs for dinner, but overdid them! Peanut butter and jelly for dinner as Colleen and a friend were canning plums for plum jam from our tree in the backyard. Just felt like the Walton's around here. It was cool!

As far as Josh's leg, it seems we'll call the doctor tomorrow and get the ball rolling to set up surgery. It's not that Josh is looking forward to it, but the way he put it is that he "wants to do whatever is best." And, he doesn't want to go to school with a cast. We'll keep you posted on the schedule.

'Nite for now.....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Josh's 2nd Opinion

Today, we saw another doctor for a second opinion on Joshua's Nonossifying Fibroma. He concurred with the diagnosis and the treatment, though he did place it with options.

One option is to let it be and monitor it. It is possible for it to resolve on its own, but there is no telling unless we chose this option of waiting and monitoring.

Another option is to repair it only if it breaks. Painful and more complicated, but an option. UPDATE: included in this option would be fixing it if it becomes painful for him even before any break.

Another option is to repair it now. One difference with this doctor is that he would NOT use Joshua's own bone to graft the void in his tibia. He would use bone from the bone bank instead. He prefers that because it avoids the patient having a second surgery site for donor bone. He also mentioned it would be an outpatient procedure, which seems to make this a more palatable option.

We are waiting through the weekend to give Joshua time to consider the options. The doctor was very good about cautioning me (Colleen was good with it!) to really get Josh's buy-in on the decision. Important especially if we choose to repair now, as the recovery period goes better if Josh knows this was something he decided to do as well. After the appt, Josh's position was to go ahead and repair it now. But we want to give him a couple of days to ponder it. If we go ahead with the repair, we'll call Monday morning and get the ball rolling.

We'll let you know what the decision is once we've made it. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom, discernment, peace and patience.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trust Is A Curious Thing

I am trying hard to trust God today! Wait a minute....can you really try hard to trust God? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Honestly, I am not sure if it is or not, I'm just being open with you. I am trying hard to trust God today. There, I said it again!

I am finding myself anxious about my son's doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon. I know a lot of people have deeper and more life-altering or threatening issues that you are dealing with, and I do respect that pretty deeply. Anyone who knows me would attest to that....I think.

I wouldn't say I am a man of GREAT ( meaning "BIG") faith, but at the same time, I don't find myself struggling like I have the last couple of days with the tension of this doctor's appointment. I know God is in control, and He knows what He is doing, and He won't give me anything I can't handle, etc., etc.

Can I just say, "I'm anxious; I appreciate your prayers for my son, Joshua, and his Mom and me"? Thanks!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Catch-up Quick List

CANNOT believe it's been two weeks since my last post. CANNOT believe I've been back from Texas for almost two weeks. CANNOT believe the school year is over. Let me catch you up on what the last two weeks (and then some) have held.

  • Just before I left for Texas, Colleen landed a new job as a Teacher for the Certified Nurse Assistant class at our local Adult School. She starts in September. She's happy. That makes me happy!
  • Also just before I left for Texas, someone in our church called me and said they had a car they were getting rid of and they felt they were supposed to give it to me .... turns out it's a 2001 Ford Crown Vic that used to be a Detective Car with the Beverly Hills PD! It's even black! Sweet ride, and a lot of fun to watch people react when you're driving near them! Really fun car for a Chaplain!
  • Went fishing with my boys for the first time ever two weeks ago! We all caught a lot of perch and I caught my first bass! It was only about 6" long (or was it 12"? I can't remember now!) but it was a blast of a time.
  • The last of 3 homes we lived in during my 4 Jr. High years in Texas was torn down last year. Made me sad.
  • Every trip to see my family in Texas is like a pilgrimage to me now. It's where I gave my life to Jesus and was baptized in 1979.
  • My 12 year old son read 3 books in 3 days while we were in Texas. Amazing!
  • My wife and kids had their first Boots Burgers this time! If you're ever ANYWHERE NEAR Rockwall, Texas, EVER, you've got to get yourself one (or more!!). Just trust me. Watch out though, they're closed on Sundays & Mondays. The rest of the days, they're only open a couple of hours.
  • I almost missed my flight home from Texas. TWO different GPS systems failed me a total of FOUR times with one battery failure, one freeway onramp that had been closed for YEARS and TWO onramps that were closed for construction. And here I thought technology was my friend! Silly me!
  • My 13 year old son is facing significant surgery this Summer for a nonossifying fibroma in his lower left tibia. We're headed for a 2nd opinion appointment with the probable surgeon this Friday. We're very glad it is caught and not causing him pain right now. We are told emphatically by the first doctor that it is NOT cancer.
  • Last Sunday, June 8, our church celebrated a friend's healing from Lung Cancer. Last Thursday, another lady in church went in for a SECOND operation in TWO weeks for breast cancer. This Wednesday, a man in our church will have a cancerous tumor removed from his lung. WHAT is UP??
  • For the first time in .... well, EVER in my ministry .... our church will gather for July & August in one service on Sundays at 9:30 am starting July 6 as we prepare to become a CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS for 6 months. Weird thought.
  • I preached a message this morning on "What My Dad Taught Me".
  • I spent the Father's Day afternoon with my family at the BodyWorlds exhibit in Los Angeles. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it! Topped it off with Panda Express.
That's all for now.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Chillaxin'

This has been an awesome weekend of just being with family. Not a lot of activity, which has been just fine. We've just been enjoying each other and resting.

Taking naps, watching movies, staying out of the heat, taking walks in the cool of the evening, and making some pilgrimages back to places I lived and spent time as a kid. Makes me look forward to Summer!

We fly home Wednesday night and hit the proverbial "ground running" on Thursday. Blog at ya then!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Final Day of Foursquare Convention

Great day! This morning, one of our District Supervisors, Peter Bonanno, spoke about the Sabbath commandment. This Winter, he was on a Sabbatical, which is a growing principle for our Pastors. A much needed one.

It was so good to hear his message being presented to our Convention body. Us Pastors tend to think we can just keep going and going and going. We also tend to think we're indispensable and that everything rests on our shoulders. Sabbath and Sabbaticals remind us that GOD is the only indispensable being, and the only One able to handle that responsibility!

Shared lunch with a Pastor just now recognizing he is in burnout. He is going home tomorrow to share with his church on Sunday that he will be taking a necessary Sabbatical to recover and heal. It is such a privilege to get to share the story of my own recovery with other Pastors in the same place I was. It gives hope that they can live again with passion and purpose!

While tonight's session was again, in my opinion, way too long, the speaker was very good and encouraging. He is Kirbyjon Caldwell, Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church here in Houston. He is nationally well-know for being President Bush's Pastor, and was recently in the news for officiating at Jenna Bush's wedding.

After the session, I was able to connect with some friends from Bible College, Denny & Brenda Truett. They were both raised on the mission field and married while in Bible College. From there, they spent almost 20 years in Argentina and Ecuador as Foursquare Missionaries. For the last six years, they've been pastoring in Ada, Oklahoma, where Brenda's parents pastored just previously. It was great to catch up with them. Had a great time getting to know their two youngest kids, who had me missing my boys quite a bit.

THEN, after that was the traditional last night party with Tim & Kelly Mossholder and Bob & Lisa Penberthy. Since I didn't get to Israel for Convention last year, we skipped a year. Made up for it tonight though, as you can tell by the lateness of this post!

Gotta hit the sack, as I get up early to help Chuck Shoemake get to the airport and also pick up my rental car. I'll head back to the hotel to pack up and check out, then make my way to Dallas. Until next time ....

Welcome Charlee Ann Kuzma!

My new niece, Charlee Ann Kuzma, was born this afternoon at 4:47 pm (CST) at 7 lbs, 6 oz. She is the first daughter of my brother, Steve, and his wife, Danielle.

Those who follow my blog know that I am in Houston, TX, 4 hours south of where my family is right now, celebrating Charlee's birth.

Soon after I got the news, our evening sessions began. I was celebrating Jesus with 3,000 others, and they sang a couple of my personal favorite worship songs. I think they did that in Charlee's honor.

I gotta say that worshipping God with 3,000 other people with a couple of your favorite worship songs right after the birth of a new family member deeply moved my heart! I just couldn't hardly hold back the tears.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another Day at the '08 Convention

The third day of Convention has come and gone, in somewhat of a whirlwind it seems. For some reason, my eyes and body woke at 7:00 (5:00 am my time). It's unusual for me to wake up early and be cognizant of much.

After waiting a few minutes, it was clear sleep would not settle back in, so I got up and did a couple of things. It wasn't more than about five minutes when the reason my body awoke became apparent. My stomach did a couple of acrobatics, and before I knew it, nausea was in full force.

Making my way back to the bed to lay down and be still, the neighboring chills and sweats broke out while I hoped and prayed with all I had (which isn't much that early for me) that I wouldn't lose it. I HATE throwing up!

I just stayed as still and covered as I could. Next thing I knew, it was a couple hours later and I was fine, even feeling pretty rested. Thank you, Jesus! Have I mentioned that I HATE to throw up?

I made it to the Business Session, which was quite interesting. In a move to "save time" at Business Sessions, they are peppering the regular sessions with some of the business logistics. For instance, they took the vote on a number of Bylaw changes during tonight's meeting. So, the earlier Business Session mostly served the purpose of allowing for questions and discussion regarding those changes.

I won't bore you with details. Anyone interested can click here to go to the Foursquare Business website. It has our agendas and even the Bylaw changes in detail on it, though I have no idea how long they will leave it up.

After the Business Session, I connected with Mike Barker for lunch. We had a great time, and Mike always gets me laughing hard! He and Stacy are coming out to California for vacation in July, and we talked about having Mike come out and speak at NewHeart while he's there. We'll see.

The downside to the spreading out of business logistics into regular sessions is that they have added time to those sessions. Tonight's meeting was again 3 1/2 hours long! Just way too long in my opinion. Lots of departure throughout the latter part of each evening's session.

After tonight's meeting, I spent the rest of the evening catching up on some work, getting a little rest and tracking with Colleen and the boys. They flew out of Burbank this afternoon and landed in Dallas a couple of hours ago.

They have since stopped at the hospital to see my sister-in-law, Danielle. She and my brother, Steve, are expecting Charlee Ann Kuzma to be born at any time. Labor was induced this afternoon. If she doesn't deliver by tomorrow afternoon, they'll do a C-section.

These are exciting moments for our family, and I am so grateful to be able to be here on the first days of Charlee's life. I am so very proud of my brother, who has come a long, long way in his life over the last year or so.

Well, it's late, and tomorrow is the last day of Convention. I'll certainly post as soon as I can to announce Charlee's birth, should she be born before I post tomorrow night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Latest Convention News

It's the 2nd day of Convention and running into old friends has been a real treat for me.

Saw Charlie & Darla Finocchiarro. Charlie was in my wedding and I was in his. We did Bible College together and now they are missionaries in the Dominican Republic.

Ran into Denny & Brenda Truett. The 3 of us went through Bible College together. They spent almost 20 years as missionaries in Argentina and Ecuador. Now they are pastoring in Ada, Oklahoma and just saw their oldest child, Michelle, get married last Saturday!

Saw Mike Barker, a former Youth Pastor at NewHeart, on the elevator. He and Stacy are still in Austin, pastoring City Life Community Church.

Another old Bible College buddy, Gil Dirmann, is now pastoring in South Carolina. We used to hang out quite a bit back in the dorm days.

The most significant session of the day to me was the workshop session I attended on Sabbaticals. It was presented very well by a couple in Ohio who took a sabbatical 3 years ago. More and more Foursquare Churches are beginning to recognize the need for this crucial part of a Pastor's rhythm, and it's a good thing. We have by and large always known Sabbaticals to be REactive instead of PROactive. I am so glad to see this tide beginning to turn!

Also had lunch today with some new friends. We actually met through my work with Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, and that's what we met about today. Both of the couples are pastoring churches in Washington State that are interested in integrating the EHS principle into their churches.

After that, I was introduced to a pastor who is just now recognizing and admitting that he is in burnout. I was asked to help walk him through the initial stages of entering a sabbatical period for his own health and the health of his marriage. This part of my work is always confidential, but the Lord knows who he and his family are. Pray for them if you would.

The only real downer to the day was tonight's session. Foursquare leaders are trying something new this year, bringing some of the Convention business into the main sessions. It's an attempt to save time and increase participation regarding the business matters of the Convention body. Our business sessions have been known to be way too long in the afternoons.

However, I don't think it's really saving any time overall. Last night's meeting was 4 hours long, and tonight's was over 3-1/2 hours long. By the time tonight's session was dismissed, over half the crowd had already left! It will be interesting to see if this gets addressed at all in the next couple of days.

That's it for now! Good night all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Foursquare Convention Update

Last night, I hung out with Bob Penberthy & Tim Mossholder, along with Tim's 2 boys, Brennon & Braden. Bob had rented a car and they were headed for a grocery store, which was good for me too.

It was a blast of a trip, as Tim had his iPhone on Google Maps and I had my AT&T Tilt on Live Search. In our search for a Wal-Mart, both maps had it wrong, so we were quite a crew. It was a night of wrong turns and dead ends that had us all making memories.

After a good night's sleep, today was mostly restful, kind of gearing up for the gatherings. As an introvert, while I enjoy seeing everyone, it tends to be kind of draining.

You can try to be yourself as much as possible, and I think I do pretty good at it. It's still quite something when you attend these events and your colleagues ask, "How's the church going?" That almost always means, "How many are you running?" or "Is it growing numerically?"

If it is, you struggle with the urge to clarify what that means. If it's not, you struggle with the urge to clarify what THAT means.

I want to be able to say, "That shouldn't be", but the fact remains that it is what it is. Pastors are people too, and the desire to be deemed "successful" is just as strong in us as it is for anyone who is not a Pastor.

What it means for these gatherings is that each person/pastor has to identify what's really important in terms of relationships and what qualifies them, and then go with it. There are some people who are going to ask, "How are YOU?" I try to be one of them, knowing that I'll be asked the previous questions and will have to roll with it.

I sure hope I don't sound cynical by that. I don't feel cynical or sarcastic. I just know that I am trying to become, and I think am becoming, more and more honest with who I am, who God has made to be, and how He has made me to operate in the realms of relationship He's graced me with. This family called Foursquare is one of those realms, and I do love and appreciate it. I try to also not expect more of this relationship (or set of relationships) than it can, or is even supposed to, give.

Hope that all makes sense. Feels a little like too much rambling. Feel free to tell me if it is!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Funny Feeling

I appreciate being able to get to a location I’ll be at a few days with a little bit of time before events begin. Gives me a chance to get a lay of the land around the area.

For Convention, we’re in downtown Houston. Texas, that is. Um, that means there’s still at least some respect left for the Sabbath. While I preach Sabbath, and try to live by it, I’m not used to everyone else around me doing it.

Read:

  • kids with families playing in the park across the street from the hotel;
  • stores are closed…got my exercise today strolling downtown to the view of my new Windows Live Search feature on my phone, which kept telling me where the next closest store was, but not where the next OPEN store was;
  • people are kind and friendly;
It was truly refreshing!

In the mean time, as I was walking through an empty downtown Houston, sweating beyond my comfort level for the clothes I was in, I began to get a funny feeling. It made me think through what the feeling was….

It wasn’t the unique Texas breeze. I spent my Jr. High years near Dallas. I’m tellin’ ya…Texas has a certain breeze unlike any other place I’ve been. I could feel it and smell it, but it wasn’t the Texas breeze.

It wasn’t anxiety. Believe me, I know anxiety when I feel it. If you know my story, you know that’s true, but it wasn’t anxiety I was feeling.

I wondered if it was what Pastor Jack Hayford (Foursquare’s President) has said about this Convention. Seeing people I haven’t seen in a while, catching up with stories and hearing what's on the heart of our leaders always brings its own sense of anticipation. Maybe it was anticipation?

It was a sense of urgency that I just couldn't really nail. I started asking the Lord to help me determine what the sense I had in my heart was about. I didn’t hear or feel anything definite in return, but I do believe there is something special the Lord has for me this week. I think that’s the funny feeling I had today.

As the week progresses, I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, what do you do with those feelings when they come along?

    I Feel A Setup Coming On

    If you're a traveler, maybe you've experienced the same thing I have. Some trips you have a mental countdown for as departure moves closer. Other trips seem to kind of sneak up on you. This one has the feel of sneaking up on me.

    It's not that you don't know it's coming. Sometimes, there's just so much going on before you leave that the weeks seem to slip by and before you know it, it's time too pack. This one feels like that.

    Ride to the Flyaway was great, as I got to spend some time with my sister, April. Ride to the airport was comfy, as the bus wasn't too crowded. You can kind of stretch out that way, and today's crowd was quiet. A nice start to the day.

    On the way to the airport, I text Chuck Shoemake (my Pastor, mentor and friend), who I know is in Atlanta, Georgia, most probably flying to Houston for the same Foursquare Convention I am heading out to.

    I say, "Chuck, you flying out today? If so, what time? I'm flying in at about 2:30." He texts back, "Me too, same time, 2:27 to be exact, on Delta." "I check my ticket (on Delta!), which has my arrival time at 2:27!!! NO WAY!

    So I say, "Chuck, want to share a taxi to the hotel?" He calls me and says the couple that was going to try to fly with him into Houston to help him get to the hotel ends up flying 2 hours earlier than him. If I can meet him, they don't have to wait for him at the airport for 2 hours.

    Wow! What a setup! Only God! I wonder what else He has set up for me this week!

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Texas, Hold 'Em....'Cause Here I Come!

    I'm headed to Texas on Sunday! Our Annual Foursquare Convention is being held in Houston, Texas this year, starting on Monday. I'll fly in Sunday.

    Convention is always a great time of reconnecting with friends I don't get to see very often and hearing the heartbeat of our Foursquare leadership throughout the week. As well as usually being a very uplifting time, there is also the Foursquare family business that is transacted during business sessions by the corporate body.

    Ending on Thursday night, I'll rent a car on Friday morning and drive the 4+ hours to Royse City. That's where my parents, sister, Patty, and brother, Steve, live with their families, 20 miles east of Dallas.

    Matter of fact, the family is growing while we're there! My brother's wife, Danielle, is expecting! We just heard today that since she is overdue, the doctor intends to induce labor Wednesday afternoon. If she hasn't delivered by Thursday afternoon, they'll perform a C-section. By the time I arrive there Friday, evening, Charlee Ann Kuzma will have graced this world.

    Another avenue of excitement is that Colleen and the boys will meet me in Dallas. They'll arrive Wednesday evening, and I'll show up Friday evening. We'll crowd my parents little abode until the following Wednesday. Colleen and the boys will depart Dallas and I'll drive back to Houston to catch my flight home that night. (Long story about why....not worth going in to here.)

    Now, here's the deal for all you text messaging fiends out there. If you go to twitter.com, sign up for a free account, configure your account to have twitter messages sent to your phone, and then go to twitter.com/Paul_Kuzma and click "follow", you'll get the latest and greatest from Convention highlights to Kuzma News (KuzNews for short!).

    Wondering what Twitter is? Watch this video, then go sign up!



    I've been "twittering" for a couple months now and it's great fun for the most part following some friends and family members in their daily lives, from the touching to the terrible to the trivial! (Come on, give me a break on the alliterations....I AM a Pastor!)

    So, what are you waiting for? Get youself signed up and follow me to Texas!

    Steven Curtis Chapman's Adopted Daughter Accidentally Killed

    Tonight brings the horrible news that Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, only five years old and adopted from China, was killed earlier today. The accident took place at the family's home. One of their teenage sons was driving a vehicle and did not see his sister in the driveway.

    I cannot fathom the range of horrific emotions the Chapman family would be going through. They have been champions of adoption for a number of years. With both of my sons having come through adoption, I sense a very small tie there. Please pray for comfort, strength, grace and peace for the entire family.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    A Season of Risk & Flexibility

    You could kind of call this post my "Breezeway Remodel Update 3", except that I want those titles to remain primarily for updates specifically related to details and news.

    In this post, I want to share some things I sense the Holy Spirit may be speaking about this time in our life as a Church. It is a unique time. We are about to embark on a season unlike any other than I can remember leading us through.

    For six months, we are going to be a Church WITHOUT WALLS! As the Breezeway Remodel Project is moving forward, we will not be able to meet in the Sanctuary. Structural changes will make it unsafe, and physical changes will make entrance inaccessible for a crowd of any size.

    This is going to call for a measure of RISK and FLEXIBILITY on each of us who call NewHeart their church home. That measure will at times be a stretch.

    We're comfortable with what we know and have always known. We like our seat. We know where the entrance is. We know where the bathrooms are, whether or not we like where they are! We're used to the colors, sights, smells and even the sounds.

    Well, NewHeart, our world is about to be ROCKED! Not NOW, but SOON. Don't know exactly when, but SOON ENOUGH.

    Some people aren't gonna like it. You know that's you if you're bugged inside even reading this. Some people are gonna think it's a problem. That's you if you're already wondering where else you can go to church until we're done. Some people are gonna think all we want is their money. That's you if you've already decided you AIN'T giving, instead of praying about WHAT and HOW to give.

    But you know what? Some people are gonna think this is an opportunity! That's you if you wonder what it's like for churches that are busting their chops to have a roof over their head wherever it is. Some people are gonna look for solutions! That's you if your mind is already spinning about what the possibilities are to go to "a whole 'nutha level"! Some people are gonna think this is a RISK worth taking! That's you if you're already dreaming about how CHANGED we'll be by the time we occupy the finished project.

    I'm really thinkin' and feelin' that this is a season God is going to use MIGHTILY to continue to SHAPE, FORM and GROW us as a congregation. Please know that in all those ways, I'm not so concerned about quantity (how many people) as I am about quality (who we become) throughout this process. How might God use this season to get us out and into the community more than we've ever been? Where might He direct us to do things differently than we've ever done them?

    No doubt about it, this season is going to require RISK (anyone remember that word from earlier this year?) and demand FLEXIBILITY. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken!

    Which kind of person are you?

    Breezeway Remodel Project Update 2

    Today (Tuesday), I received the word that our loan for the Breezeway Remodel was APPROVED!! This is GREAT news!

    Work continues to happen on getting bids for the Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint testing. We hope to have that done in the next couple of weeks.

    Paperwork is still being completed for Foursquare Central Offices. Plan is to have that mailed Thursday or Friday.

    Hope to meet with the Contractor in the next few days to see how the drawings are progressing and to firm up the budget numbers a bit more.

    We are praying and dialoguing through options on where to meet as a temporary Sanctuary space for the six months of construction. Pray for God to make this clear to us.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Breezeway Remodel Project Update 1

    On Tuesday night, we held our Congregation Meeting for our Breezeway Remodel Project. About 30 people were present, mostly memebers and a few regular attenders. We have 99 official members of NewHeart.

    We preseneted the loan details and took a vote on requesting both "Permission to Build" and "Permission to Obtain a Loan". Both have to be requested from the denomination for us to move forward.

    The vote was unaniomus to request permission on both counts! Next steps are:

    • Turn in loan paperwork to bank (done!)
    • Turn in application packet to denomination (week of May19)
    • ICFG Board of Directors Meeting with us on agenda (hopefully 1st or 2nd week of June)
    • Plans turned in to Building & Safety for permits (target: June 2)
    • Start construction (target: July 21)
    That's it in a nutshell! Continue to pray for the different processes to flow smoothly! And, for those who are a part of NewHeart life, please pray about how God would have you and your family contribute financially to get it all done with as low a debt as possible.

    National Police Memorial Day...

    ...is today. Last year (2007), 187 Police Officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States. With the exception of 2001, due to 9/11, it was the deadliest year for our nation's Police Officers since 1989, and was a 38% increase over 2006. This year so far, thankfully, only 37 have been killed in the line of duty, a 51% DEcrease from last year at this point.

    I encourage you, wherever you are today, to encourage a Police Officer and thank them for their selfless service. Unless you're a hermit, almost all of us will pass by an Officer at some point today. Why not intentionally buy their lunch, a coffee, or at least say thanks for laying their lives on the line for you?

    Friday, April 25, 2008

    Our Breezeway Remodel Project Approved!!

    I was extremely excited to stop by the City Planning Division desk to pick up our Breezeway Remodel Project Approval papers today!! That means that we can move ahead with our construction drawings, which will be submitted to Building & Safety for our Building Permit. We hope that can happen by the end of May.

    While we go through Building & Safety, our Contractor will put together the sub-contractors needed for the job. I am hoping that somewhere in there, we can have at least a couple of "Demolition Days". Keep it in mind if you want to come help us tear at some of the walls and such! It will hopefully help keep some of the overall costs down too.

    If you're a part of NewHeart life, keep your eyes and ears open. We'll have more news as we proceed. Matter of fact, here's another piece right now ....

    On Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00 pm, we will have a Congregation Meeting for the purpose of discussing and voting on the loan papers necessary to get through construction. Everyone is invited, though only official members can actually vote.

    So, especially if you are a NewHeart member, please make plans to be with us that evening. It won't take more than an hour, and it's a crucial step in the process.

    Any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments if you have any!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Breath of Fresh Air and Rest!

    Arrived in Pismo Beach last night (Sunday) at about 8:00 pm. After checking in, I went straight to the meeting room, where our District Pastors were gathered for fellowship. The room felt electric as everyone was just chatting away, catching up with old friends and making new ones. It was an exciting scene to step into!

    After a late dinner at Denny's with Bernie, we hit the hay and slept in a bit. The breakfast bar is a full one, complete with custom made omelets. It was wonderful!

    Then, we had our morning session with worship, devotional and a time of praying for one another at the tables. This was the meeting I had been asked to share the devotional at.

    Quite something to lead a devotional with Pastors! You get that intimidating sense of "what haven't they heard, or what don't they already know?" Because surely, these Pastors being mostly more veteran than me certainly have a lot more knowledge than I do.

    Preparing for this, I found myself having to quiet those voices and trust the Lord to give me the right words at the right times. It turned into a pretty special time for us all, at least given the feedback I received.

    I shared a little of my burnout story and how I learned we all have a different pace of life God has for us to live. Your pace isn't mine and min probably isn't yours. And that makes it unfair for any of us as Pastors to compare what God is doing in someone else's church with what He is (or ISN'T) doing in mine!

    The point was that we all have to find our own pace.

    After that, Bernie and I hit a movie, then were back in time for a little reading and a nap before dinner. My Bible College friend, Jerry Dirmann, brought a powerful word about putting our trust in what God has said, even when it seems crazy to us and everyone else. It was good to see Jerry and be with him.

    Well, that's it for now. Looking forward to a good night's rest before heading home around noon. I'll stop at Bernie's church in Lompoc to see their recently expanded Sanctuary. Didn't make it in time to do that yesterday, so I'm looking forward to catching up on that. G'nite!

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Home & Almost Gone Again!

    Hard to believe it's been a week since I last posted and almost a week that I've been home! It's flown by!

    There really is no place like home. Nothing like your own bed, your own pillow and your family and friends around you.

    As quickly as returning home, I take off tomorrow afternoon. Our District Supervisor has set aside some time and funds at a hotel in Pismo Beach, about 3 hours north, for a Senior Pastor's Getaway. I always enjoy being together with those guys!

    I'll leave as soon as I can Sunday afternoon, so I can stop in Lompoc to visit my friend, Bernie Federmann. He pastors the Lompoc Foursquare Church, and they've just completed a major Sanctuary expansion.

    Last I saw it was back in November when the walls were barely covered and no flooring was in yet. Can't wait to see it completed and get more ideas as we head for our Breezeway Remodel project at NewHeart.

    Way more fun than the Sanctuary expansion, though, is Bernie's new '70 Camaro that he picked up last Fall. He gave me a spin in it back in November. Who knows? Maybe he'll offer to drive us both up to Pismo in it!

    Check out this beauty ....

    We're staying at The Cliffs Resort in Pismo. I've been honored to be asked to bring Monday morning's devotional to the Pastors. Pray for me, and the Pastors, would you?

    All afternoon is free time, then dinner and a session in the evening. A friend of mine from Bible College days, Jerry Dirmann, is coming to speak that night. We're done on Tuesday, when I'll head home.

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    New York, New York....Day 6

    Woke up this morning to the great news that we could have a late check-out from our hotel. Saved us from having to pack and check out before going to church at New Life's 11:15 service. The place was packed and the atmosphere was electric.

    We got to spend the afternoon with Andrew & Laurel Favilla. Laurel works with Pete Scazzero as his Speaking Coordinator and is also moving in to the role of Ministry Representative with Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. We've become good friends over the last four years. Our time together Sunday afternoon was too short!

    We had lunch together at a wonderful steakhouse and saw a little more of New York on our way there. After lunch, we got to see the Favilla's home for the first time. I had mentioned to Laurel the incredible Black Forest Cake Chuck and I enjoyed at Georgia Cafe. She remembered, and when we got to their home for some time before the airport, she had Black Forest Cake for us!

    I also got to spend a little bit of time getting to know the Favilla's middle son, Frank, and his fiance, Aabye (pronounced Abby). He is a P.E. Teacher and she is a writer for Nickelodeon, and she works at Times Square. We had a great time talking New York and California and making great fun of tourists like me and Chuck!

    After our goodbye at New York's JFK Airport, Chuck & I saw a couple of celebrities inside. One was Marilyn Manson, who is a rock star. After seeing him, while we were waiting in the security line, Chuck told me a story of another time in an airport. Apparently, he was in a security line, heard a rustling of people and cameras, and just in front of him was ushered Cameron Diaz. After chatting with her about a life of running from paparazzi, they went their separate ways.

    MOMENTS LATER, as Chuck and I were in line to board our flight, I noticed a couple of ladies talking with the gate attendant. I heard them talking about something having to do with when they could board the plane. When the ladies turned around to leave, I couldn't believe it ... It was CAMERON DIAZ!

    Chuck actually has eye problems and can't see very well, so he didn't see her. I broke the news with, "you'll never believe who just walked by us!" It was quite fun.

    Finally, though, I must admit that the funnest part of the trip back was getting to fly business class. The legroom, the footrest, the food, the personal media station filled with movies and music ... I could go on and on. Made for a GREAT flight!

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    New York, New York....Day 5

    Today was the final day of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Conference. It started too early for me. Not the conference, but the day. Woke up at 7:00 am (which is 4:00 am PDT) to get ready for a breakfast meeting at 8:30 with Chuck and Doug Slaybaugh.

    The conference sessions were excellent. However, the most exciting part of the day for me was lunch, not in the "recess was my favorite part of my day" way. I had the privilege of being involved in an Orientation and Q&A session on a new resource being made available for churches by EHS.

    They have put together a "Church-wide Initiative Kit" that will include resources for a church to lead their congregation through an 8-week long series on the EHS principles. The kit includes materials that small groups can use to follow along with what is being taught on the weekends. It's somewhat a similar concept as "40 Days of Purpose", though the EHS material is entirely different from the 40 DOP material.

    Doug Slaybaugh and I led the information orientation and Q&A for Pastors and leaders at lunch time. Of the 170+ registrants, there were about 70 who came to hear about the kit and ask questions. It was awesome to get to interface with leaders about this groundbreaking EHS resource.

    After the Conference was over today, I got to have dinner with Mark & Pam Taft. They are Marriage Ministry Leaders at New Life Fellowship. Colleen & I met them almost three years ago when we came to New Life for some further EHS Relationship Skills Training. The Taft's hosted us at their home, so we got to know them. It was great to re-connect with them. They also served as the Coordinators of the EHS Conference.

    After dinner, they dropped me off at the hotel, where I crashed for about an hour. Now, I'm over at Pop Diner writing this and checking email. In the morning, we'll check out of the hotel, attend the worship celebration at New Life's 11:15 service and then spend the afternoon with Andrew & Laurel Favilla. They'll drop us off at the airport for our flight home, which leaves at 7:00 pm EDT. Looking forward to being with Colleen and the boys, though they'll be asleep when I get home.