Greetings from Murrieta Hot Springs where the skies are clear and the sun is shining!
Leslie and I have been spending a few days with the Prime Timers of the three neighboring districts (Anaheim, SoCal and L.A.) for their annual P.T. Retreat. Dr. Jim Bond has been the special keynote speaker, Song Evangelist Brian Arner – the musician… and the days have been wonderful. We have especially enjoyed getting to know many of our district family members, as well as others from the nearby districts.
So… last night I was asked to lead us in communion. As we were fellowshipping around the evening meal table, Leslie and I were sitting next to Brian Arner (song evangelist) and I asked them if they would sing a duet while the bread and cup were being distributed around the tables. They agreed. I shared a few words, and called them forward to sing. We prayed… they sang… and we all shared in communion. As we were leaving the building, a lady came up to Leslie and said, “I just loved your song, and your husband! Oh, I just love him. You must be so proud.” She replied, “Well, I am… and he works hard… traveling across the district.” To which she said, “Oh, and I just love his voice… he sings opera so well!” Leslie replied, “No, no, he’s not my husband… my husband is the one who led us in communion.”
Her answer, “You mean the skinny one! He’s nice too.”
Last night as we were gathering together for the last evening of worship I was thinking of the many churches across our district that would love this retreat setting. We have large groups of Prime Timers from PazNaz and from New Life in Pismo as well as others from various churches. I hope to see more representatives next year. And Leslie and I are already looking forward to returning next April, 2017.
ENCOURAGEMENT: Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. (Proverbs 3:13-14) And isn’t this the truth! Who doesn’t like to receive an unexpected check in the mail? But, you and I both know and realize that those funds will NOT last forever. Money won’t bring true joy and happiness… they may bring quick energy and excitement… but the wise counsel and biblical understanding is more valuable than the richest treasure.
These past few days have been fruitful for me. I have enjoyed the times spent with our Prime Timers who have paved the roads for so many of us. I especially appreciated the messages from our special speaker Dr. Jim Bond who imparted words of wisdom from God’s Word to me. In one of his messages Dr. Bond had us return to the familiar story in I Samuel 17… the story of David and Goliath. He mentioned that the message would be one of challenge as he retold the story of David making his way to the brook to pick up 5 smooth stones. Allow me the privilege of sharing with you his five points that these stones represented… as we face the giants in our day:
- Stone 1: Decide to be a positive source for good. David realized quickly… he needed to be a positive source with this problem that was at hand.
· Stone 2: Have a passion and ignite the fire… Paul said it well, “Fan the flame” because the natural tendency is for the fire to go out.
· Stone 3: Take a leap… or a risk. When is the last time you or your church dreamed great dreams? David took a huge risk as he gathered these stones to meet the giant in the battlefield.
· Stone 4: Engage the divine resources… Prayer plus faith accomplishes much! David had infinite resources that could not been seen with the naked eye.
· Stone 5: Expect the amazing from God! David went out to the battlefield expecting the Lord to do something great.
Are you expecting God to do great things through you and within you?
DISTRICT MATTERS: Life is never boring… and I trust that you are growing in your journey with the Lord. My travels through the district this week have put me in a few locations:
· Granite Ridge Christian Camp: You are aware that we have our Christian Camp up near the Paso Robles and Atascadero churches of our district. This last weekend on Friday and Saturday we had our quarterly camp meetings to pray, plan and discuss Granite Ridge. You are aware that we own the campground… you own the campground. And we are trying to be the best stewards of the land and resources that God has entrusted to us. I am grateful for the board that is meeting faithfully to cast vision for Granite Ridge.
Tujunga Church of the Nazarene: If you were to drive on I-210 and take the Sunland exit and head east about two miles… you will come upon the Church of the Nazarene. Leslie and I were there this past Sunday with Pastor Gary Armstead and the church. I am so thankful for these wonderful people in Tujunga. May God bless you as you continue to reach your community for Jesus!
· Murrieta Hot Springs: I need not say much more about this retreat with the Prime Timers. I just hope to see more of our district at the retreat next year.
· Installation Services: As April is quickly passing by… May will be here before we know it. With the arrival of May… and as I glance at my calendar I am excited to say that the month is filled with the installation of pastors:
1. May 1: I will be joining the Hillside Church in Rowland Heights and several members of the Monterey Park Trinity Church to install Rev. Albert Hung as the Lead Pastor at Hillside as we unite the two churches as one with a multi-site model. I am so pleased to see how these two teams have joined together to become one force in the San Gabriel Valley. May Jesus bless these two congregations along with Pastors Albert and Christine Hung!
2. May 15: On this date I will be in Santa Maria to install Rev. Chad Bohi as Lead Pastor of this wonderful church called Cornerstone. Pastor Chad has been serving as an Associate Pastor at New Life in Pismo Beach and he has had an incredible ministry for more than 10 years up there. And now… New Life is releasing Pastor Chad and Haley Bohi to lead the church in Santa Maria. I am beyond excited to see all that God has in store for this wonderful church.
3. May 22: PazNaz will be welcoming their new Lead Pastor as I come to install Rev. Tara Beth Leach. She, along with her husband, Jeff, will be coming to our district from the Chicago area to work here on our district. I look forward to the things Pastor Tara Beth will do as she leads Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene into the future. I am certain you will welcome the Leach family into our district family as they begin their ministry with us.
4. May 29: And finally… on the final Sunday in May, I will be installing Rev. Timothy Smith as the Lead Pastor at Ridgecrest. Pastor Tim and Bree Smith, along with their family, are coming to us from the Anaheim District where he was serving as Lead Pastor in the Hermosa Beach Church of the Nazarene. The church is very excited for their arrival, and I too am looking forward to their ministry to begin in the desert.
These are great days for us all. I am so glad to see the way the Lord is opening doors for further ministry. To God be the Glory!
ORDINANDS WORKSHOP: This is just a simple reminder to those who have been recommended by the BOM (Board of Ministry) to the District Assembly to be ordained this June… that we are having a Workshop for you and your spouses on Saturday, April 30 from 9:00-1:00 right here in the Conference Room of the District Resource Center. I hope to see you all here.
DISTRICT ASSEMBLY: Have you been passing the word around that things are changing up just a bit for assembly this year? Please remember:
· Wednesday night, June 15 at 7:00 PM NYI, NMI, SDMI Celebration Service
· Thursday, June 16: 8:30AM – 3:00PM Convention Business with lunch serve on campus (get your tickets ahead of time); 3:00PM – 4:00PM District Assembly Convenes; 7:00PM Ordination Service with General Superintendent Dr. Eugenio Duarte
· Friday, June 17: 8:30AM – 12:00 Noon District Assembly Business and D.S. Report; Lunch break on your own until 1:30; 1:30PM – 4:30PM District Assembly re-convenes until adjournment at 4:30.
PASTOR’S PACKETS: Please… ATTENTION all pastors… please go on line and fill out your materials for assembly. You have reports to be filled out. Materials for me… and other papers. These have been emailed to you, if you haven’t received them, check your junk folder and then contact Shay if you still haven’t received them. Please look everything over and get the reports and registrations all back to us by May 6. PLEASE… PLEASE… PLEASE. Thanks!
PASTOR’S FAMILY PHOTO: A very special thank you to those who have already submitted your photo for the Assembly Booklet. If you have yet to get the picture to us… please do so ASAP. It will really help us out. Thanks.
Thanks again, for your prayer support and financial contributions to the district. The Lord is always faithful to meet our needs. I am praying that He will guide you with His loving care as you have already entered a new church year. I love you and I do look forward to seeing you soon!