Monthly Archives: March 2016

February 21, 2016

Greetings on yet another beautiful SoCal Day!

Where did the month of February go?  With March here so quickly, I am praying that these days are fruitful and Spirit filled for you and your ministry.  There are so many great events happening across the district right now.  Many of you are in the midst of final plans and preparations for Holy Week.  Believe it or not… Palm Sunday is only two short weeks away.

This past week I’ve been a little busy in my journeys across the district.  Earlier in the week I made my way up the coastline and met with one of our church board… and what a gorgeous drive up the 101 I had.  WOW!!! The sun was out, and the ocean was crystal clear.  The rolling hills to my right were a forest green color with many herds of cattle grazing about.

A few days later I made my way up the 395… the eastern and northern part of our district… and the scenery changed entirely.  The deep blue ocean had changed to Joshua Trees and cactus.  The green grass was now shrubs and tumbleweeds blowing about.  Yet, the mountains to my left with majestic snow-capped peaks were nothing short of amazing.  I just love God’s creative work.  And we have churches in every part of the land.  Praise His name!

Fast forward a couple more days and I’m back in the “jungle city” with traffic, high risers, freeways, and lights… meeting with church boards and committees.  I am blessed by the Lord to see His handy work all across the wonderful Los Angeles District Church of the Nazarene.  And guess what?  You are all part of the team.  Aren’t you glad?  I am.

ENCOURAGEMENT“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”  (First Corinthians 12:26)  Every day we make proclamations.  We are a people who like to tell stories.  We live to hear stories.  I don’t know a child who doesn’t like to hear a story read to them.  I recall late at night in the jungle, just as we kids were getting ready to go to bed, the lights were all out, the generator producing electricity for our small home was turned off, and a kerosene lantern was flickering in mom and dad’s bedroom.  With flashlights in hand, I’d make my way into mom and dad’s bed area, and say, “Dad, can you tell us a story?”  Dad was the best storyteller ever! 

I’d return either to my younger sister’s room, or younger brother’s bed… and we’d lay down as dad would pick up from the made up story he had started the night before.  With wide eyes staring into the dark ceiling of our jungle home, we listened to every word he spoke… envisioning each and every detail of a young native boy on the hunting path trying to learn the ways of becoming an Indian brave as he fought off bears, jaguars, and pit vipers… 

Who doesn’t like stories?  We all like to hear stories… and who was the Master Storyteller… but, Jesus!  All through the Gospels we find Jesus telling stories… some, He made up… others, may have been experiences He had learned in His journeys throughout the land.  But, Jesus told stories.  He trained His followers so well, that when He left them for heaven and gave His own Spirit to live within them… they too began to tell the story.  Look at Peter’s first and second sermons.  Then it was Stephen who told the story so well… that they stoned him for the truth he spoke. 

Even this past Sunday, while worshipping along with my brothers and sisters, as we gathered around the table… and ate the bread and drank from the cup… we were not just remembering His story, but we were’ telling His story once again.  With Holy Week just around the corner, you may soon be joining your family around the communion table.  May I encourage you to, not only reflect on the greatest story ever told… but as you eat the bread and drink from the cup… be thinking as to HOW you can continue to tell the story to others.  Let’s become PROCLAIMERS of that wonderful story that’s brought change to our lives.  Jesus Lives!

NEWNAZ PASTORIt was with great joy and blessing that I had the privilege of installing the new pastor in the very church I was honored to serve in for more than 22 years.  Welcome Pastor Josh and Courtney Johnson and baby Gracie!  We are so glad to have you at NewNaz.  I believe the lord has special plans for this great church in the days, months and years to come.  Of course, I’m quite proud of my daughter, Aubree, who is also taking lead in the worship there now that Leslie is beginning to join me in my journeys.  

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DISTRICT ADVISORY BOARDSo I decided to get a DAB photo of the group since we were all together at the same time.  And you know… whenever you get Nazarenes together… there is always a time of fellowship.  Can you name the members of the DAB? 

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SDMI“Los Angeles District’s Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International Committee (SDMI) is once again recommending Forest Home for children’s summer camp programs. Over the last 5 years, many of our churches have been using Forest Home and been experienced a robust, healthy and Christ focused camping experience.  If your church is interested in talking to Kathy Cannon, SDMI Chair, about children’s camp, please contact her at kathleenlc@aol.com as soon as possible.  Financial aid may be available.  In addition, there is one full camping scholarship for children, funded by the SDMI goodbye gift to the Ferguson’s.  If you have a camper who should be considered, regardless of the camp you are attending, please contact Kathy.”

NYI FUSIONOne of the greatest events occurred last weekend in our San Fernando Church.  A special thanks goes out to our District NYI Leaders: Pastors Aaron Caluza and Johnny D!  They delegated much of the work to the leadership team at SF… and Baltazar and Zarina, along with Pastors Adrian and Elvira Velasco put together an incredible weekend of fun, fellowship, work, food and worship.  I’m not sure how much sleep anyone received… but the youth had a blast.  More than 150 people gathered from across the district.  I was able to join in for a moment on Friday night as the kids were enjoying their time on the Go-Carts.  And then again on Saturday at noon for their closing time of fun and worship.  Great job, everyone! 

This next week I’m making a quick trip to Peru in order to check on a few details with a few superintendents as we make plans for a District Work & Witness Trip to the Amazon Jungle in October of this year.  The plan will be to do some repairs on the mission station and the District Center in Condorcanqui.  At the same time we’ll be hosting to Pastors’ Conferences for more than 250 people. I am grateful for a district that has a mind for missions… both here at home and overseas. 

I love you all, and I look forward to seeing you sometime soon!

Greg Garman

February 18, 2016

Greetings on a gorgeous rainy February Wednesday afternoon from Arcadia!

That’s right… following some incredibly beautiful warm days, and for wintertime we could simply say “hot”… I just peeked outside and noticed that it is raining.  I love it.  It will, of course, make for some slick roads… so be careful out there.

ENCOURAGEMENT Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  (Hebrews 12:1-2a)  Did you get a chance to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials this past Saturday?  Did you know that for both the Men’s and Women’s Trials, they were held here in Los Angeles?  L.A. won the bid to host the Olympic Trials, for the Marathon only, on the same weekend as the L.A. Marathon.  Trials on Saturday… L.A. Marathon on Sunday.  Two separate courses… but the exact same distance… 26.2 miles.  As I had written a couple of weeks ago, several of our churches, pastors, and individuals were running for water projects in Africa.  Congrats to all of our finishers and to those of you running for great causes.  I especially enjoyed reading all of the facebook postings of so many of you.  Pastor Joe Halbert went way above and beyond the running of a marathon as he included in his Saturday workout a 100 mile bike ride and the carrying of (I can’t remember how many) gallons of water for who knows what distance.  Great job, Pastor Joe and Team!!!

To run a marathon takes patience… practice… perseverance… pursuit.  One cannot just go out and determine to run a marathon.  You can get away with it in a 5K… maybe a 10K… but certainly NOT a marathon.  A marathon is 42K… or more than 8 times longer than a 5K.  It’s 26.2 miles.  And these people had to do a lot of training.  They needed to be motivated to run.  They needed patience.  They persevered through months of training.  Many of them lost weight as they prepared themselves.  Some of them wanted to give up.  And I heard a number of testimonies of those who had children in Africa on their minds… and every step they took meant funds were coming in for these water projects… and children. 

And just as there were thousands of fans cheering from the sidelines… that’s how it is in life.  Wherever you are in your Christian journey, there are thousands of people by your side.  You may not always see them… but they are there.  Don’t give up… do not throw in the towel… but keep on going.  The Lord is on your side.  Your sin is forgiven and He lives in you.  As you study His Word, stand alone on the Word of God… His Holy Spirit will guide you. 

I love what Joshua instructed the priests to do just before the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River.  He said in 3:8, “Stand Firm!”  If there is ever a time in our lives when we as leaders need to STAND FIRM… it is today.  It takes patience… it requires practice.  Are you on your knees today?   

DISTRICT MINISTRIESLife is busy… you know it and so do I.  As you continue ministering in your church and ministry group, there are many others doing the same right here on the L.A. District.  And yet… you are part of the same team.  We are all in this together!

  • Pasadena Armenian Church:  Leslie and I were invited to take part in an incredibly wonderful Valentine’s Day Banquet last week.  So yes, I did take my bride out to dinner.  What a special time we enjoyed with our Armenian speaking brothers and sisters!  The meal was fantastic and the fellowship was super.  I had a chance to share in some great Valentine’s memories and encourage us in certain challenges our marriages face today.  Again…don’t give up!

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  • L.A. FIRST MCB (Multi-Congregational Board):  This past Saturday the leadership of the MCB at LA First, along with Dr. Ron Benefiel, met for several hours as we cast vision, remembered the history of LA First, spent time in discussion, and dreamed of the great potential that lies ahead.  I love these men who joined me in fellowship around the meal table as well.  Thank you Pastor Lim, for your leadership in getting lunch set up… and to Howard Wooton, for assisting us in covering the expenses.

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  • L.A. Eagle Rock:  This past Sunday I was honored to preach in this church and enjoy, yet another, Valentine’s Dinner… Mexican style:  We had Carne Ranchera preparada and Pollo… con arroz y frijoles… What more can you ask for!  Muchas gracias mis hermanos y hermanas allí en Eagle Rock!  We are still in the process of searching for a new pastor.  

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CALENDARWe are gearing up for a busy time in the year with lots of events and ministries to appear on the district:

  • Thursday, February 18:  Wesleyan Holiness Pastors’ day at APU.  I am looking forward to being with the nearly 30 L.A. District Pastors in attendance.
  • Sunday, February 21:  The Installation Service for Pastor Josh Johnson in Newhall.
  • Tuesday, February 23:  DAB meeting at the District Office.
  • Thursday, February 25:  Ministerial Interviews for ordination and first time…
  • Friday-Saturday, February 26-27:  NYI Fusion at San Fernando… looks like an exciting time for the youth… I’m even going for part of it!

As you can see, there is a lot going on across the district.  But at as I wrap up these Few Thoughts of mine may I encourage us to finish the church year strong!  Please, check over your treasure’s reports and determine just where you are in your allocations.  With just over 5 weeks to go in the church year, there is still time for all of us to get current on our giving.  Let me remind you that the percentages are the following:

  • World Evangelism Fund:              5.5%
  • District Unified:                              3.0%
  • Education:                                        2.25%
  • Pensions:                                          2.25%

My hope is for every church to become an active participant. Everyone taking an active part in giving.  I love you and I am so excited to see all of the ministries the Lord is opening up for us around the district.  Thank you so much for those of you who are giving to the District Unified Budget.  It’s a great day to be in active ministry!

Grace and Peace…
Greg Garman