April 14, 2016

Greetings on another beautiful SoCal day!

As I begin these few thoughts of mine, it’s Wednesday afternoon… and I’m getting ready for another meeting in just a little while.  Earlier today I was catching up on some of the news that’s going around.  The political situation remains unchanged… as I focus on my biblical and family values, I scratch my head in wonder, asking God, “Please help!”  Or, at times I simply say, “Lord come quickly!”

But the world of sports is quite fascinating… at least right now.  Perhaps you may not be interested, but it is a bit fun.  Tonight, Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant will play his final professional game of basketball.  Many say that he will go out as one of the greatest to ever play the game.  He will be remembered for many great shots, points scored in a single game, and probably as one who couldn’t get along with Shaq back in the day… and a few other things I won’t mention.  Then there is Vin Scully… long time Dodgers’ announcer… 67 years.  That is impressive!  But tonight is also another record setting possibility… the Golden State Warriors could have the greatest single season record of all time.  If they win, they will have 73 wins for the season against 9 losses… That’s incredible!  Perhaps, I’ll get through with my meeting in time to capture one or two of these special events…

Next week is the Tri-District Prime Time Retreat… I am going.  In fact, Leslie and I are both heading over to Murrieta for the retreat.  We look forward to this time we will spend together in worship, fellowship, and fun.  I hope to see some of you there.

ENCOURAGEMENTYou, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  (Psalm 63:1)  Each one of us knows what it’s like to thirst.  We have all been thirsty at some point in time.  You’ve had that feeling when your throat is dry, lips are parched, and you’re craving something to drink.  On Monday of this week, it was one of those special days when I didn’t have an evening meeting.  I got home at around 5:30 and told Leslie that I was going out for a run.  

I glanced real quickly on my cell phone to see what the weather was to be like.  It read, “40% showers”, so I changed clothes quickly, put my running shoes on and headed out the door.  There were a few clouds overhead, but there were also many patches of blue sky.  All of us who live in Southern California know that 40% means… NO RAIN.  The air was humid as I took off for my run.  I decided to do an easy one mile warm up and then 5 hard miles… finish at the park to do some exercise drills for strengthening before returning home.  When I came up on my fourth mile… the clouds rolled in and opened up and it DUMPED!  It was totally awesome.  Raindrops were the size of basketballs bouncing on my head and running down my face.  I opened my mouth wide, taking in as much water as I possibly could.  It really did feel good! 

In this Psalm David simply says… I yearn for you… “I thirst for You…”  There should be days in our lives when we thirst for the Lord.  There may be days when we may not feel so thirsty… but when we do, we yearn… we seek… we long for something to drink.  How awesome it is to be driving in the car and a song of praise comes to mind and I worship the Lord all alone!  How wonderful it is to be hiking somewhere in the hills contemplating God’s great creation… and I seek Him out.  I love the fact that He fills my whole being as I seek to know Him no matter where I may be located… or what I may be doing.  Do you thirst for Him today?   

DISTRICT NEWS We have now entered a new church year and many of you are in the midst of Annual Church Meetings… State of the Church messages… Elections… and more.  I pray that you are experiencing great days of transition from the old year to the new:

  • Korean Pastors’ DayLast Saturday we had nearly 20 Korean pastors from across the district gather together for worship, fellowship and instruction.  I am grateful for the leadership of our Korean Language Coordinator Pastor John Lee for his guidance in this special day together.  I wish you could have heard the testimonies and stories shared around the table of God’s grace and mercy.  But, let me share with you one high point:  Our Arise Mission Church under the leadership of Pastor Jong Whan Lee is ministering to North Korean refugees.  He shared of those who have recently come to the states… found Christ and 6 new members have joined the church.  But the message Pastor Lee kept announcing was the joy that they were experiencing in the church.  PTL!

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  La Puente SpanishLast Sunday I had the privilege of installing Pastor Wallger Gonzalez as Lead Pastor.  The church is excited for the days ahead as they begin working together along with Pastor Wallger and Gloria Gonzalez. 

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Pastors’ Day at NewhallThis past Tuesday we had 60 pastors and leaders together for our annual Pastors’ Day where we worshipped together, shared in a devotional thought by Pastor Karen Wood, and listened to a panel of 3 pastors talk on subject matters we deal with on a near daily basis.  Thank you Pastors Lamar Davis, Albert Hung and Marcos Canales for your teaching and leadership.  I am also grateful for the many others who shared reports and cast vision for the days ahead.  A special thank you to the Newhall Church for hosting the event.  Your team of leaders did an outstanding job!

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PASTOR’S REPORTSYesterday Shay emailed out the district assembly packets to each church.  Please mark your calendars for the due date of May 6.  Please help her out in getting on this material as soon as possible.  I know times flies, but we don’t want to wait until the last minute and find out there might be a problem in doing the paperwork or being able to submit the report.  Please call/email Shay if you have any questions (shay@ladistnaz.org or 626-446-7300), she is more than willing to help as best as she can. 

FAMILY PHOTOPastors… Thank you to those who sent in their family picture already, for those that haven’t, I need your help!  With District Assembly just around the corner… I am discovering that many people across the district do not know who you are.  You may know a few pastors around you… but you may not know everyone.  For District Assembly this year we are doing something different.  Would you please submit a photo of your family… one that is a close-up shot, so we can see who you are… and we plan to include it in the District Assembly handbook.  You can email me the photo, or hand deliver it to me at Pastors’ Day.  Would please also list the names of your children if you include them in the picture.  We would like these photos by the end of April.  Of course… the sooner the better.  If you don’t do it now… you may forget.  You WILL forget.  

DISTRICT ASSEMBLY:  Plans are underway for this year’s convention and assembly.  Please mark your calendars… Things are a bit different this year:  The dates are June 15-17, 2016.  Dr. Eugenio Duarte will be our presiding General Superintendent.  And our theme for the three days together is BUILDING BRIDGES…

·         Wednesday Night:  7:00 Opening Service
·         Thursday 8:30AM – 3:00PM NMI, SDMI, NYI Business
·         Thursday 3:00-4:00 Assembly Business
·         Thursday 7:00 Ordination Service
·         Friday 8:30AM – 4:30PM Assembly Business and Adjournment 

As I wrap up these Few Thoughts, allow me a moment to thank you for the many expressions of encouragement you pour out my way.  We are seeing some great ministries take shape across the district.  Churches that have been without pastoral leadership are now preparing to welcome their pastor.  Here are a few churches that are now just waiting for the date of installation to take place.  I will have the privilege of installing:
·         Pastor Albert Hung at Hillside Community in Rowland Heights on May 1, 2016 as he, along with his pastoral team, begin this multi-site adventure with Monterey Park Trinity.
·         Pastor Chad Bohi at Cornerstone in Santa Maria on May 15, 2016.  This is an exciting journey for the Bohis as they transition from an associate at Pismo Beach to Lead Pastor.
·         Pastor Tim Smith at Ridgecrest on May 29, 2016, along with his family.  The Smith come to us from Hermosa Beach on the Anaheim District.  We welcome the Smiths to Los Angeles.  

So, as you can see, the month of May is a busy month for installations on the Los Angeles District.  I appreciate your prayers on my behalf as I continue to travel throughout the district.  And thank you for the financial support to the District in the payment of your allocations (which we are still taking church 2015-2016 – just make sure to mark your check, through the month of April).  It is a joy to serve the Lord through this great Los Angeles District.  I love you and I look forward to seeing you soon! 

Greg Garman 

p.s. It’s now way past Wednesday night and I did catch the last part of the two basketball games.  Kobe Bryant had quite the finish with 60 points and a victory.  The Lakers actually won their final game of the season.  Who would have thought?  But the bigger game for many was that the Golden State Warriors made history.  They won 73 games this season against 9 losses.  And they did not lose to any team in the NBA twice this year.  That could mean trouble for any team that they play against in the play-offs.  I love basketball!