Monthly Archives: April 2016

April 9, 2016

Greetings from 35,000 feet above sea level… no, I’m not climbing any mountain (highest Mt. in the world is only 29,000), but I am in a Southwest plane somewhere over the Midwest returning home.  I was in Indy for one night visiting with a few leaders on the subject of compassionate ministries… seeing and experiencing the work of the Lord at the Shepherd Church and Community Center.  I praise the Lord for what He is doing through the many ministers there!

Here’s a funny one… while in the airport, I decided to get a small cup of coffee.  I got in line (I discovered long ago that there is danger in looking at the prices of things while standing in line at ANY airport), and as I approached the barista, the gentleman in front of me had ordered a bottle of water.  As he handed the water to the cashier, he heard, “That will be $5.63.”  The guy said, “I just have this water.”  Again the cashier said, “5.63.”   The gentleman again said, “No, I just have this one bottle of water.”  For the third time, the cashier said, “Yes, I know… that’s 5.63.”  He paid for his water as he walked away shaking his head.  I’m not sure just why that cracked me up… that poor man must not travel that often, or he has never purchased anything in an airport.

ENCOURAGEMENT“O Lord, in the morning will you hear my voice; in the morning I will offer my prayer unto Thee, and will keep watch.”  (Psalm 5:3)  Jesus did a lot of praying in the early morning hours. We find Him rising up early, even while the disciples were sleeping, and heading out to pray.  Seems like the psalmist also enjoyed the early morning prayer time.  It happens to be my favorite time to pray as well.  Though… the scriptures show that ANY time is the right time to pray.  

Yet, what intrigues me the most about this verse is found in the last phrase, “keep watch”.  When I am done with my prayer time, I am not to stop what I am doing.  Even after I’m through praying… I’m still active in my spiritual journey forward.  Sometimes I wonder if we get up from our kneeling position and think to ourselves, “Okay, I’ve done it… I’ve prayed, and given it into the Lord’s hands… I’m through!”  But the psalmist says that we are to “keep watch”.  Paul says that we are to “keep alert”.  Always watching.  Only a few weeks ago I was traveling on the Marañon River visiting a few native churches.  It had rained quite a bit up in the mountains the day before, so the river was rising.  Whenever the river rises, the water current will pick up logs and debris alongside the river.  Natives will clear away land near the river’s edge, leaving the debris to be picked up as the river rises.  These logs can be very treacherous for a motorist traveling on the river.  If the driver is not keeping watch, one of those logs can hit the prop, or damage the lower unit.  With rising conditions in the river, whirlpools and other rapids areas called pongos, can be incredibly dangerous.  Many lives have been lost in the river.   

No wonder the Apostle Paul called for every believer to put on the full armor of God… even when we are finished with our prayer time.  Satan would like to devour you.  Are you keeping watch today? 

DISTRICT MINISTRIES There is always something exciting taking place somewhere on the district.  And quite often it is hard for me to keep up with the great and many ministries happening all around.  Yet, the Lord is at work and we are still basking in the joy of life after death.  With Easter 2016 in the rearview mirror… we live in the light of His glorious presence today because He lives.  Thank you for the way you serve… minister… and continue to lead on the Los Angeles District!
·         Glendale:  Pastor Hrag and Fabia Karagoezian, along with their team of leaders, are doing an outstanding job leading in this great church.  This past Sunday Leslie and I had the privilege of worshipping and preaching in two services:  Most recently they have begun an English speaking service where there was a great group of younger families gathered for worship and celebration.  As I preached in the second service my words had to be translated, but what a joy to see the impact people like Rev. Habib and Ruth Alajaji have had over the years.  Praise the Lord for the faithfulness of our Armenians who have endured great hardship through war-torn conditions, genocide, and persecution through the years. 

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·         La Puente Spanish:  I can hardly wait for this Sunday as I make my way over to La Puente Spanish Nazarene this Sunday, April 10 to install Pastor Wallger Gonzalez along with his wife, Gloria and their family.  Pastor Wallger was ordained last year at the Ordination Service in Pasadena, and has been serving with Pastor Samuel Martinez at Hillside in Rowland Heights… but most recently has been assisting me with the pulpit supply at La Puente Spanish.   Estoy agradecido a Dios por lo que él está haciendo en La Puente.  Gracias Pastor Wallger por aceptar la invitación de pastorear esa iglesia.  Mil bendiciones!
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Pasadena First:  It has been a long journey… nearly 10 months… but the Lord has led us (the PazNaz board, search committee, and the entire church body) to Pastor Tara Beth Leach.  She, along with her husband, Jeff, and two children will begin their ministry as Lead Pastor to the Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene on Sunday, May 29.  I’m certain that many of you have already begun to read the welcoming comments on Facebook.  But, would you join me in giving Pastor Tara Beth a great and warm L.A. District welcome as she comes to us from the Chicago area?   

PASTORS’ DAYPastors and leaders… I do hope that you will plan to be with us this next week in Newhall for our annual Pastors’ Day.  You will be glad you are there.  I will be glad you are there.  If you have been to one of these in the past… you will know that there will be some great food along with coffee, tea, and juice to welcome your arrival.  The kitchen committee always does a superb job in ministering to us.  Breakfast goodies will be ready between 8:00-9:00AM.  We will start right at 9:00 with worship and praise led by members of NewNaz.  In the morning session we will hear a panel of three pastors speak on subjects we deal with on a daily basis:  There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. 
·         Pastor Lamar Davis will speak on Conflict Resolution
·         Pastor Marcos Canales will speak on Reaching the Millennials
·         Pastor Albert Hung will speak on ministering to a Multi-Cultural Church 

We will break for lunch at noon… and once again, you will be treated with a great feast.  These ladies always go above and beyond!  And… they always have dessert!  In the afternoon we will resume to discuss matters pertaining to Pastor’s Reports, District Assembly, and other related items that you need to be aware of.  You will be on the road back home by 2:30PM.   

FAMILY PHOTOPastors… 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:  June 15 @ 7:00PM; June 16 @ 8:30AM; Ordination Service on Thursday night, June 16 @ 7:00PM; Friday 8:30AM – 4:00PM adjournment 

I am so grateful for your prayer and financial support to the Los Angeles District.  As you know… we have now entered the new church year, yet if you are still needing to get that final Unified District payment in, please do so as soon as you can.  It is a real blessing belonging to such a great and awesome team!  As we roll into the new fiscal year, I am looking forward to seeing the various ways the Holy Spirit will guide us together.  These are truly great days to be in ministry.  He’s the God of the city! 

I love you all…
Greg Garman

March 31, 2016

Good Morning!  It’s the week following Easter… and He is STILL Risen!  Wow!  Aren’t you so glad to be alive in Him?  New life!  New hope!  New meaning!  He makes all things NEW.

I’m glancing out the office window right now and what I see are clear blue skies… Mt. Wilson looks like I can reach out and touch it… and even the I-210 is moving freely in both directions.  Must be spring break.  Tomorrow begins a new month… I can hardly believe that April is already near.  I can now say, “In two months we will meet together for our annual District NMI Convention and Assembly”, but what I want to add to that statement is that THIS year we are combining all conventions into one.  So, come Wednesday night, June 15… we’ll be combining NYI, SDMI with the NMI… it’s going to make for an exciting few days together.  More on this later…

I pray that you enjoyed a wonderful week of fantastic ministries in your local church.  Some of you have reported great Easter Services… from Sunrise to brunches… to combined worship experiences to packed houses… God is good!

ENCOURAGEMENTEarly in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered.  (John 21:4-5)  I’ve noticed several things in the fishing stories of the disciples and Jesus. 

·         First of all, it seems that nearly every time we find the disciples going out fishing… they don’t do so well UNTIL Jesus shows up.
·         Second thing I discover is that these disciples seem to tell the truth… unlike some modern day fishermen.  Have you ever asked someone, “How big was the fish?”  THAT fish is always bigger than what the picture shows.  Yet, these disciples responded with “we got skunked once again!” 
·         The third element to this story is that Jesus takes an interest in the things His disciples take an interest in.  They cared about fishing… Jesus cared about fishing.  He cares for the similar things we care about.  It matters to Him also.

We’re not quite sure just when this story takes place, except that it happens within the 40 day period between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension.  It couldn’t have taken place the first week of Jesus’ resurrection, because it seems that the disciples had remained in Jerusalem for at least a week since Jesus had appeared to them, twice, in the upper room… once without Thomas and once with Thomas. 

So… sometime, perhaps 10 days, or more, later after the resurrection… the disciples decide to return to Galilee in obedience to the message Jesus had given to Mary to convey to them.  Once in Galilee, seven of the disciples decide to go fishing… so they fish all night… and come up empty.  Just as the sun was coming up over the horizon Jesus appears and calls out to them.  He knows they haven’t any fish.  He knows they probably haven’t put great effort into it that night.  He knows their minds are preoccupied.  He knows they are still somewhat confused.  But He comes to them. 

Jesus had informed them to go on to Galilee and that He would meet them there.  They went… He came.  As they obeyed… Jesus was faithful.  Jesus is always faithful to fulfil His promises.  He IS interested in our business…

Last night I had the great opportunity of fellowshipping with the church and people of Skid Row at L.A. Central City.  And let me begin by saying… What a joy to see the work and ministry of Pastor Tony Stallworth… to see the blessing of what Pastor Scott Chamberlain began so many years ago (and continues to serve as the Executive Director of the Outreach)!  God is good.  In the midst of the Karaoke Coffee Club… Pastor Tony invited anyone with prayer needs to join him for prayer in one of the back rooms.  I, too, joined in.  And to hear the reports… the needs… were incredible.  But, there was this one lady… she blessed my heart!  After a dozen or so testified to needs and concerns, she spoke by saying, “Pastor Tony, I don’t have any prayer requests… I’m here to simply say ‘Praise the Lord’ and that He is so good to me.  I am so blessed… I have so much.” 

This lady has discovered that the joy of the Lord is her strength!  He is faithful and promises to meet us in our time of need.  Her glass was not “half full… it was over filled.  Testimonies like these are always exciting!  Take a look at the ministries found at Central City… I love to see what God is doing!

P.S. Also take a look at NCM magazine, pages 10-13, great article on LA Central City.  Also pages 14-18 on the Bresee Youth Center.

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Esther FrancoSome of you have heard and read that Esther Franco went home to be with the Lord.  Our prayers are with Dr. Sergio Franco and the family.  She was a special lady and a gift to the L.A. District while they both served here some years back. 

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/esther-franco-obituary?pid=1000000178429413%2F

EASTER REPORT I share great words on a brief report of three churches I was part of on Easter:

·         Combined Sunrise Service of our Glendale Armenian and Pasadena Armenian:  I loved being with Pastors Hrag and Paul for their early morning gatherings.  We welcomed Easter Sunday morning together at the Verdugo Park in Glendale.  How awesome!

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·         I then slipped over to our Los Angeles Eagle Rock Church to share with them in their service and had the privilege of installing Pastors Francisco and Guillermina Valenzuela as interim Pastors of the church.  May Jesus bless both of you!

LA Eagle Rock 

·         Finally, I made my way over to the NewNaz church to rejoice with them in their service and watch the kids in what they called “An Easter Egg Hunt”.  I guess I have a different definition of what the word “hunt” means.  Can you spot the eggs?

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PASTORS’ DAYPastors and leaders, please don’t forget to come for our Pastors’ Day at Newhall on Tuesday, April 12.  It will all begin at 8:30 with coffee and goodies.  We will be through by 3:00 that afternoon.  I hope to see you there!

END OF CHURCH YEAR:  Today marks the end of the 2015-2016 church year.  Thank you to those who have been faithful with their allocation.  Just for information we will be closing our financial books April 30, 2016, so we will take monthly tithes through the end of April, (but please mark your checks clearly).  Again thank you for your generosity. 

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. 

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

May the Lord bless you as you begin this month of April!  I love you all and I hope to see you soon!

Greg Garman