Greetings on a Gorgeous Arizona Morning! That’s right… I’ve been in Tucson for the past few days attending the District Superintendents’ Retreat. What a special time we have enjoyed together! The services were all a blessing and the discussions that took place were very meaningful. Thank you for allowing Leslie and me the privilege of taking part in this regional event. It was a joy to listen to each of our General Superintendents challenge us and speak on the matters that we deal with on a daily basis.
On Monday they gave us the afternoon off… so like any outdoorsman lover… I took off for a run up in the hills and mountains. Just behind the hotel where we were staying was this incredibly looking mountain with rock formations that were out of this world. Totally inviting… so, I made the decision to go find a trail and head up. It didn’t take me long to realize that I truly was in Arizona. Many varieties of cactus plants… scrubs… lizards… and rocks. I was hoping for a bobcat, rattlesnake or some other wild animal. But… nothing was to show up that day. Not even a rabbit. But the view was fantastic. Here are a few pics of the trail run. Whenever I run alone up in the hills anywhere… I always take my phone along with me.
ENCOURAGEMENT: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2) These words were written by the Apostle Paul to the people in Colossae many years ago. What an incredible challenge this remains for every Christian living in 2016! Three words he uses in his final message to the Colossians: Pray… Watch… Thank. Pray, watch and be thankful. Are these words what we need to hear today or what?
This week many of us have taken time to reflect on Ash Wednesday… it won’t be long before we’ll be journeying along in the week that Jesus entered Jerusalem… died on a cross and was resurrected on Easter Sunday. Holy Week is just a few days away. And however you have taken time to prepare for Holy Week, my hope is that we will all take time to:
Luke tells us in 22:39 that one of Jesus customs (“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives…” NIV) was to pray. The NASB literally says, “as was His custom”. And throughout Mark’s account we read that Jesus escaped from the crowds to pray. The question I ask myself, “How much time am I devoting to prayer?”
The second word Paul challenges his readers to do is “watch”: Be alert… be careful… arm yourselves with the full armor… watch… keep an eye on the road. I have found that I stumble most when I am not watching carefully enough. The more I keep my nose in the Word, the straighter my pathway goes with the Lord.
The final word is “Thanks”… which is a learned word. If we weren’t reminded to be thankful… we probably would not be all that thankful. That’s one of the reasons mommies and daddies are continually reminding their kids, “Now what do you say?” We have to grind that message into their little minds. And Paul does the same thing for us.
As I enter the season of Lent, I want to be more focused on prayer… to live the holy and obedient life. I am praying for the Los Angeles District that we will be a people united on winning our areas of influence for Jesus. I am also learning to watch… watch the development of the culture around me… watch to see where the Holy Spirit is moving… Watch to keep an eye on Satan’ tricks and schemes so as to always be wearing my full armor. And finally, to have a heart of thanks. As Holy Week draws nearer and nearer… I am so grateful to the Lamb of God who paid the price. It is by GRACE I have been saved. So, I am thankful to my Savior… but I am also thankful to the Lord for you… Pastors, laymen, leaders, churches… I am more than blessed through knowing so many of you. Thank you!
DISTRICT MINISTRIES: Eight months ago we had 6 churches on the district in search of pastors. Today we have 6… some are the same with a couple of new ones. (Lancaster Valley View, La Puente, L.A. Eagle Rock, Pasadena First, Ridgecrest, & Santa Maria Cornerstone). I am most certain, that we are getting closer and closer to having these churches filled with the Lord’s choice. You can continue praying along with me and these boards as we seek to know God’s will.
LA MARATHON: This Sunday morning many of you are running the marathon for water projects in Africa. Blessings on all of you who are sponsoring this great need!
HOLINESS PASTORS’ DAY: Next Thursday, February 18, is the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium at APU.
NYI FUSION: We encourage all NYI members to take a look at the special event coming up on Friday night, February 26, in the San Fernando Church.
Again, it is always a privilege to connect with you through the internet. I trust God’s greatest blessing on your life and the ministries in your church this weekend. I hope to see you around the corner… I love you and pray for you always!