Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

Well, almost!  June has quickly passed us by as we find ourselves in the middle of summer.  I love this time of the year.  Early morning sunshine… warm to even hot days… light at the end of the day… and no gloves when I go running!  I trust that you are enjoying this summer with your family, church and friends.  Have you enjoyed a BBQ… picnic… gathering around the pool… fishing trip… camping… or whatever you like to do as you getaway to spend time with loved ones and friends.

As you know, the District Resource Center will be closed to celebrate our country’s Independence Day on Monday.  As for my family and me, we will begin our day bright and early.  There’s nothing like starting the day off with a race or two.  So… the 10K will begin at 7:00am and then the 5K to follow at 8:00.  Immediately following the 5K, Santa Clarita will have the 4th of July Parade.  We usually try and catch a part of that event before heading home.  And then… FIREWORKS at night… of course, I will find a hamburger or two somewhere along the way.

But, let’s not forget the reason for this wonderful day:  The celebration of our independence… our freedoms.  And even remembering those who have served… and even given their lives for what we enjoy today.  And, as you are well aware, these are critical days for the USA.  I trust that you are praying for America today.  Praying for our government… political leaders… candidates running for offices… protection over our country and all her events… and that WE, as Christians, will remember our biblical values as we pray and vote.  May God bless America! 

ENCOURAGEMENT:  When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him.  A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Jesus reached out and touched the man, “I am willing,” He said.  “Be clean!”  Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.  (Matthew 8:1-3)  Jesus… the Master Bridge Builder was at it again.  Jesus was not okay with the status quo.  In the previous 3 chapters He had just spent a long time with a great crowd of people delivering the most well-known sermon of all time… The Sermon on the Mount… and in it we find The Beatitudes, how to pray, how to get along with others, hot to give, and so much more. 

As a pastor, I know how Sundays are… up early… praying… getting to church early… ready to greet… fellowshipping… worshipping together… preaching the word… sometimes not once, or twice, but several times.  Sundays can be exhausting.  Jesus had just spent a great deal of time with a crowd of people.  He HAD to be tired.  I am certain of it.  But, He came down the mountain… in many ways, still on “cloud nine” from the Sermon on the Mount… and He was tired.  Yet, another crowd of people were there to meet Him.  And Jesus – the One who said, “I come to serve” was eager and ready to continue BUILDING BRIDGES.   

Don’t you love stories like this?  They are real.  People with problems… like you and me.  This leper had lived an isolated life… and a very embarrassing life.  Having to call out, whenever he was surrounded by people, “Unclean, unclean… don’t come near me because I’m contagious… Don’t touch me, or you’ll end up like me.”  And who knows how long he did this… But, he knew that Jesus was coming near him.  He was tired of his lonely, isolated life.  He wanted a change.   

He cries out to the Lord, “If you are willing, Lord, You can make me clean.”  He has a great respect for Jesus and calls Him “Lord” but he doesn’t touch Him.  But, Jesus came to build bridges… and sees this lonely, isolated soul in desperate need.  So He wanders over to where the leper stood, and He reaches out, and it is JESUS who touches the leper.  Jesus knew that this was forbidden.  Jesus knew that under “normal” circumstances, this man could have contaminated Him.  But, good trumps evil.  Bridge building is better than putting up walls.   

The greatest words this man had ever… EVER heard, I don’t think were, “Be clean”.  Don’t get me wrong… I believe that man loved to hear those words of Jesus.  To hear Jesus say, “Be clean” I am certain, was powerful… but I am most certain the greatest words this leper heard in his entire life was, “I am willing!”  

I happen to believe that we serve a God who is still willing.  And He is looking for Bridge Builders to join Him in winning souls into the kingdom.  Do you know anyone who is calling out for help?  Take a look around… keep your eyes open… listen to what others are saying… Because Jesus has given us the keys to the kingdom.  He has empowered us with His Holy Spirit to take part in the Bridge Building business in His church.  Are you willing to step out in faith and join Him?   

DISTRICT ASSEMBLYWe enjoyed some very special days in Pasadena two weeks ago.  Was it really that long ago? In some ways it feels like only yesterday.  And I want to express my appreciation to all of you Bridge Builders who made it all possible.  The music and worship was beautiful.  The reports shared, testimonies given, and messages presented were a blessing to me and others.  Thank you!  Of course, a highlight was the Ordination Service… as it always is.  I am most grateful to every pastor, team, delegate and friend who came to share in these few days together.  And thank you, Dr. Duarte for your encouragement to me.

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I especially want to say thanks to Garet Tyler Halterman and his friend Joseph Derbyshire, for the many photos they took of assembly.  You can go www.garettyler.wix.com/tylerphotos  or the district website www.nazla.org to see more of the photos they took. 

DISTRICT MINISTRIESOnce again, we have some very special ministries happening around the district:

·         Covina:  I had the honor of preaching in the Covina Church where Pastor Sonny and Cheryl Rivera are serving along with their team of leaders.  God is doing an AMAZING things there.  We enjoyed a special service together with awesome music and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  And then afterwards… we headed into the fellowship hall for a feast beyond feasts.  My word!  Pastor Sonny can cook! 

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·         Rosemead: Pastor Tere Martinez and her husband, Jose are away on a sabbatical leave right now… so I was invited to come and worship & preach this past weekend.  What a special time we spent together in the morning and afternoon.  The English speaking congregation gathered together first… then we were together with Pastor Wen Tao & Lisa Lou who lead our growing Chinese congregation… followed with our worship in Spanish in the afternoon.  God is good and doing a special thing among our church in Rosemead. 

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I hope your summer is going well.  I love you and I look forward to seeing many of you in the days to come.  Enjoy the Son in this summer sun.   

Building Bridges,
Greg Garman 

June 10, 2016 – District Assembly this week!

Greetings, once again, on a wonderful June day in SoCal! Life is busy for many of us this time of he year:  The end of the school year, graduation ceremonies, weddings to attend, planning for vacations, AND the preparations for District Assembly.  That’s right, in less than one week the district family will be together right here in Pasadena for our annual convention and assembly.  I look forward to our time together and having our Jurisdictional General Superintendent (JGS) Dr. Eugénio Duarte with us.  This will be his first time on the LA District, and you are going to enjoy his ministry and leadership among us.  All of our churches have made plans to send their delegates and attend the three day event which begins on Wednesday, June 15 and ends on Friday afternoon at around 4:30.  Please remember that our Ordination Service is Thursday night at 7:00.  Again, everyone, whether a delegate or not, is invited to attend the services and the business sessions.

ENCOURAGEMENTDavid assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it… They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God.  (I Chronicles 15:3 & 16:1)  This was certainly a glorious moment for King David and all Israel.  An earlier attempt to bring back the ark ended with great difficulty and death.  But now, after learning God’s methods, David was ready… prepared… and excited, as he made plans for this great celebration.  The Worship Teams and bands had prepared all of the music for this unforgettable event.  The special speakers were all lined up.  Every report had been handed in.  The reading scripts were printed.  And God’s people were gathering for worship and celebration.  The Lord God had been faithful to His Word and the people were unified and eager to rejoice.   

As I reflect on my days and years on the Los Angeles District, I’m focusing on the fact that this will be my 31st journey to Pasadena for District Assembly.  I first came to assembly back in 1986.  I remember making that drive down the beautiful coastline with the crystal clear blue waters on our right.  Journeying to assembly was always a highlight… for one, I was leaving the fog along the coast to enter the land of warmth and heat with the coming of summer.  I won’t say anything about the smog though… that was never fun.  But what I remember in those early days of ministry for me was the fellowship we gained together.  There was just something special about re-connecting with others.  Some… we had gone to school with.  Others… we had already begun establishing relationships with… and then to simply come together, in the same auditorium for worship, reporting and challenge.  I loved those days. 

And I still love these days.  You know that many people have already been in prayer for next week.  Lots of people have been working endlessly around the clock, writing up reports, evaluating forms, checking on the status of our progress, gathering musicians and leaders, and getting things ready for print.  Just like in the case of David, we want to bring our very best before the Lord.  He deserves our best.  And He will be among us… He will be with us.  Please join me in praying for a special outpouring of God’s Spirit upon us next week.  From the opening song to the closing prayer may Jesus be glorified in all of the bridges we build together so that the world will know Him!

Are you coming? 

DISTRICT MATTERS Thank you pastors and churches for your faithfulness in contributing to the Unified Funds.  I know that finances can be tough, not just at times… but nearly all of the time.  Yet, so many of you have been faithful to send in your WEF and Pensions Funds to the General Treasurer, while sending us your Unified and Educational Funds to us here at the District Resource Center.  Your giving enables the district to carry-on in many areas of need across Los Angeles District.

·         L.A. First Praise Korean:  Thirty years ago the Lord planted a seed in the leadership of our district and L.A. First Church to begin a Korean Church among us.  The seed was planted and Pastor and Mrs. Sung Dae Kim began ministry on the LA First campus.  This past Sunday afternoon Leslie and I had the privilege of joining this wonderful congregation as they CELEBRATED their 30th anniversary of ministry.  WOW!  We congratulate this awesome church for what the Lord has done through them.  You may already know… many of our Korean churches and ministries have come out of LA First.  Thank you Pastor Kim and your ministry.

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  ·         Arise Mission Korean:  On Sunday morning eslie and I joined in worship where I had the privilege of preaching at Arise Mission orean.  I will be sharing a bit more about this incredible church in my D.S. Report next riday.  But allow me a moment to share with you my gratitude to Pastor and Mrs. Jong Whan Lee for their faithfulness and gifted leadership to our people here.  We were so blessed to worship and fellowship along with you.  You are loved!

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DISTRICT ASSEMBLY MATTERS: Just a few reminders as we get ready for assembly:

1.       Here is a copy of the NMI District Project for missions.  You can be prepared to make a pledge or even bring your check along with you to the Thursday Convention.

NMI 

2.       Ministers’ Choir for Ordination Service:  Pastors… PLEASE notice a huge change this year:  The rehearsal time for the Ministers’ Choir will be at the close of the business session on Thursday.  Please stay around for 15 minutes following the convention and opening of assembly.  Pastors Scott Anderson and Alan De Vries will be leading the rehearsal.   

3.       District License Ministers:  On Thursday night I would like for you to sit together on the center-left side of the sanctuary facing the platform for the Ordination Service on Thursday night.  You may have your spouse and family join you in that section.   

4.      Child Care at District Assembly:  If you are planning on needing child care at district assembly, you will need to go on PazNaz’s website to register.  Here is the link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qS6OIhCDtIi60_3XXT1o9tBMPHpwlCkEhWR5R4oAAXo/viewform.

Well… I look forward to the events up the road for us.  You are loved… and I am blessed to be working among you.  These are great and fantastic days to be actively involved in ministry.  I love you… and I will see you next week!

Greg Garman 

PLNU Night with the Sacramento River Cats!

PLNU is Coming to Santa Barbara! 

Join Us For:

  • BBQ at Shoreline Park – Tri tip & Chicken from Woody’s BBQ
  • University updates, door prizes, & a casual time connecting with other PLNU alums and friends
  • A trip to the Santa Barbara Sea Center – interactive sea life exhibits including a live shark touch pool!

11:30 AM | BBQ Catered Picnic at Shoreline Park | Shorline Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

1:00 PM | Head to Santa Barbara Sea Center | 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Adult Ticket: $16
Children (12 & under): $12
*Tickets Subsidized by the PLNU Alumni Association
 

Limited tickets available!

Purchase Tickets by July 1st!

Visit www.pointloma.edu/AreaEvents

or call 800-478-5662 

https://connections.pointloma.edu/Sacramento2015