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.


  • 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, sign up for a free account, configure your account to have twitter messages sent to your phone, and then go to 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... 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?