May 5, 2016 – Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day and National Day of Prayer and Cinco de Mayo!

Have you been in prayer for our country?  How about for your city?  Do you regularly pray for your church?  Remember the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the Romans?  “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”  May the Lord help us all as we call upon Him for salvation and direction!

A few days ago I was enjoying the warmth in the air and the clear blue skies… today it is overcast with clouds and near freezing temperatures… well, not quite.  Mid 60s is cold for me.  I prefer high 90s.  As I glance up on the wall near my desk I see that today is May 5th… Cinco de Mayo… celebrations will be taking place all around.  There have been Breakfast Prayer Meetings this morning.  Some of you will gather tonight.  And as for me… I’m noticing that in two days I’m to be in Lone Pine with Pastor Jeff Bassett and Eddie Davis to run a hilly, and altitude tough 50K race.  Oh boy… It is going to be ugly! In many ways I’ve been thinking, “Please someone… anyone… call me up for a very important meeting.”  You see… I’m about as ready to run a 31 mile race as I am ready RIGHT NOW for District Assembly.  Help!

With Mother’s Day approaching… I asked Leslie to help me.  She just replied, “You’re beyond help!”  I asked my mom to help me.  She said, “You’re stupid for running.”  (She really didn’t use those words… but that’s what she meant).

ENCOURAGEMENTNow a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son.  When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.  But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch.  Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.  (Exodus 2:1-4)  We all know this story very well.  The story of Moses’ mother protecting her baby boy.  It’s what moms do.  They love.  They protect.  They do their very best to keep us all safe.  What is your favorite “Mother’s Day” Bible story?  I’m not sure if I have one… but this one is up there for me.  Jochebed had done everything possible to protect this baby boy of hers from the evil decree of Pharaoh.  And when she no longer could hide him in her own home… she entrusted him into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter.  I’m certain she studied the bathing time of the household of Pharaoh.  She knew where… when… and even knew who would be the best person to “find” her son.  She decided to “let go” of that which was her pride and joy. 

As I reflect on the many responsibilities we, as pastors have, one of my favorite moments in the year is when we celebrate the birth of babies and then come together for their DEDICATION.  I love baby dedications.  It’s the greatest time to speak with the family… moms and dads… reminding them that this gift of life… God has entrusted to them to love… care for… nurture… guide…  And when these parents come to the front of the church they are doing exactly what Jochebed was doing… giving up her son.   

I love my mom and am so glad for her influence in my life.  When my folks were called to become missionaries… and then learned that they would be going to the Jungle of Peru… an isolated part of the world… my mom had two small boys and a baby girl.  Ages 1-5.  Mom said that one of the hardest things she had to do was lay her children down on the altar and give them up.  One at a time, she laid down Rusty on the altar and said, “Lord… here he is… he’s yours.  Here’s Greg… Candy.”  Tim wasn’t born yet.   

We left for the mission field in 1964… and then on into the jungle.  Alone… far away from any city.  No medical facilities for 3-4 days journey.  No phones… electricity… no English speaking people for several days journey.  Only jungle… and Aguaruna Indians speaking a foreign language.  Yet the test would not come until 4 years later… Rusty was 9 and I was 7.  It was time to put us on DC3 airplane to head off to a boarding school miles from home.  Five days journey.  As mom said her good-byes to us boys, she was literally entrusting us into God’s care.  She had to do exactly what she promised the Lord she would do back in Whittier while placing us on the altar.   

May I just say, how thankful I am today, that mom was obedient to the Lord, when she presented us before Him.  Happy Mother’s Day, mom!  I love you and I pray that we will all learn to let go of that which we consider valuable and place it all in the Lord’s care.  All things DO work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  

To you moms who are out there:  Happy Mother’s Day!  We love you! 

PASTOR’S REPORTS Pastors and office managers… and anyone else… please get your paperwork in to us this week.  The report is to be filled out online… and many of you have taken care of it.  Thank you!  Please be sure to get it all in.
·         Pastor’s family photo:  Please don’t forget to send us an updated photo of you and your family.  We will use your picture for the booklet at assembly.
·         You’ve seen the schedule for Assembly:  June 15-17.  I hope to see you there. 

DISTRICT MATTERSAnd the Lord continues to lead and bless.
·         Class of 2016 Ordinands:  This past Saturday I had the privilege of meeting for 4 hours with this year’s class to be ordained, contingent upon the action by the District Assembly.  We enjoyed breakfast treats as we listened to the testimonies of each other… shared around the table… and it also gave me a chance to cast vision for the district.  We then broke for lunch and made our way home. 

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ord2·         Hillside Community in Rowland Heights:  This last Sunday I was present to install Rev. Albert Hung as the Lead Pastor of the multi-site Church from Trinity Monterey Park, as they have adopted the congregation from Hillside in Rowland Heights.  Pastor Albert, along with his team, will now begin a new journey of leading these two congregations.  What a special day we enjoyed together! 

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Thank you everyone, for all your support and love.  I am anticipating great things ahead for us all. 

I can hardly wait for District Assembly when we will all be together.   Have a wonderful weekend!  I love you… 

Greg Garman

April 29, 2016

Greetings to You!

I’m so glad you’re taken the time to read these few thoughts… or at least glance at the pictures.  We are trying to get these Few Thoughts to show up in a variety of places… email… Facebook… www.nazla.org and some of you, I have heard, even print this out to share with others who don’t have a computer.  Thank you!

If you are a sports’ fan… these are fun times.  The start of baseball season… NHL Play-offs… NBA Play-offs… World Cup Qualifying Matches… and so much more.  The bummer for L.A. is that the Lakers never made it this year.  The Clippers may be on their way out with the loss of their two stars.  The Kings were taken out quickly.  And most recently the Ducks fell short in the seventh game.  Well… I’m rooting for the Warriors.  And the Spurs.  And baseball is now going strong and I believe the two local teams are doing quite well.  And in the soccer world, I have to keep in touch with my younger brother who knows everything about all teams everywhere.  He especially keeps me up to date on the Peruvian National Team.  They need some help.

Allow me a moment to share my thanks to those of you who have already filled out the necessary forms on line for District Assembly.  You are on top of it all and we are most grateful for your quick work.  If you have yet to complete your Pastor’s Report and other documents needed to be sent back to us, please do so before May 6.  Take a look at your calendar and you will discover that May 6 is just around the corner… it’s next week… in fact, two days before Mother’s Day.

ENCOURAGEMENTI rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.  Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  (Philippians 4:1-11)  I will not compare my circumstances to that of the Apostle Paul.  He was beaten… imprisoned… shipwrecked… hungry… abandoned… and suffered far beyond my wildest imagination… He was a man who knew that his calling was from God.  He never held back on the message he proclaimed… He was a church planter.  He was an evangelist.  He was a preacher.  He was a friend.  He was an encourager.  And right here in this passage I pick up on one great and powerful truth:  The Apostle Paul was a thankful man.  He felt that he was a better man because of those who encouraged him.  May I just take a few moments to express my thanks:
·         Thank you churches on the Los Angeles District who are so faithful to meet and encourage one another each week.  As I visit the churches across the district, I walk away more encouraged than when I arrived.  You bless me.
·         Thank you pastors and church boards for your faithful financial support to send us the Unified Allocation to the district.  Did you know that your giving pays the salaries of the staff, as well as help fund many ministries throughout the district?  Thank you!
·         Thank you pastors and leaders who faithfully meet in zones and language group meetings to encourage each other.  I love those special times when I am invited to participate along with you when you meet.
·         Thank you district boards and committees who continually meet when the needs arise… and many times before the needs arise.  Most recently, the Board of Ministry has met numerous times for interviews, and the review of classes that all students are taking.  You are the best!
·         Thank you teachers in all of our educational institutions that are preparing students for current and future ministry.  We need you to continue the training and we are a stronger district because you take the time to study and teach.
·         Thank you for your prayers.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear you and your churches saying, “Greg, we are praying for you and the journeys you make across the district.”  I can’t tell you how much those words encourage me.   

So… as you can see, I may not be imprisoned, or beaten, or even going hungry… but I am well cared for because you care.  Thank you!  And as we prepare to assemble in a month and half, I can hardly wait for our district family to be together in Pasadena.  I do hope you will be there.  We plan to have loads of fun in worship and business.  I am so excited to share with you the vision I believe the Lord has laid on my heart for us all.  There is so much work to be done… He has called us… and we are responding.  How thankful are you today?   


DISTRICT MATTERSThere is always “just one more thing to do”… have you noticed that?  So I will, once again begin this section by saying…
·         Pastor’s Reports and other important documentsPlease be sure to make the deadline of May 6, and get these materials in to us.  THANK YOU!
·         Prime Time RetreatJust one more picture from last week’s retreat… this is the PazNaz group that was represented at Murrieta.  Thank you Pastor Darwin for your work and ministry!

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·         GlendoraI had the privilege of joining the Glendora Men’s Breakfast Group last Saturday.  Burl Simons and Pastor Mike Platter are doing a fabulous job in leading these men.  And what a feast we enjoyed.  They have a chef that is out of this world!         

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  • L.A. First EnglishThis past Sunday I was with the L.A. First English and witnessed, as they called the youth forward for prayer… these young people are going on the Missions’ Trip to Oahu this summer.  It is a blessing to see what Pastor Josh Tiguila is doing with his leadership team.  They had nearly 60 people in worship together that morning.  Great things are happening in LA!

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L.A. First SpanishWhile attending the English service, I stayed to worship with the Spanish congregation and took part in their Annual Church Meeting.  Pastor Juan Fajardo preached a great message on the election of the deacons to the First Church of Jerusalem from the Book of Acts.  

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 Lone PineCongratulations to Pastor Jeff and Indra Bassett on the healthy birth of Emmaus Aleksander on April 19.  He weighed 7.7 pounds and was 20 inches long.  I hope to see him next Saturday when Pastor Jeff kills me in having me run a 50K (31 mile) run in the foothills below Mt. Whitney.  Pastor Jeff is running the 50 miler.  I’m not in shape for that kind of distance.  

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Have a wonderful weekend!  May the Lord bless you and your church as you enter this month of May.  Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  I’ll be busy in this month installing four new pastors.  Can you believe that?  God is so good! I will have pictures to share with you and I know great comments to make on each one. 

Don’t forget to put in down in your calendars… District Assembly… JUNE 15-17… Are you coming?  I’ll be there. 

Love you all…
Greg Garman