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 MINISTRIES: Life 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!
- 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.
- 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.
CALENDAR: We 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…