Can you believe it? We are already into the month of June. I’m not sure just when summer actually begins… but I am so glad that the days are growing longer and the air is getting warmer. I just love the heat that summer brings. So… bring it on! I don’t think I’d survive very well in Alaska or Minnesota. Iceland? My word! Sounds freezing.
I trust you enjoyed a relaxing Monday Memorial Day… especially if you had some time off from work. Again, I am so grateful to those of you who have served our country. And of course, mindful of those who have sacrificed much for our freedom. I hope you took time to remember. And… BTW… don’t forget to participate in the elections this coming week…
ENCOURAGEMENT: Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. (Exodus 2:1-4) This is one of the great Old Testament stories many of us have heard from our childhood days. The birth of Moses when Israel was enslaved to the Egyptians. A new pharaoh had risen to power and the story of Joseph and his saving work was long past history. Few people in Egypt could tell the story of how Joseph was brought into power and saved, not just Egypt, but the entire world. Years pass… and the Israelites continue to grow… becoming powerful in numbers, until fear grips the new pharaoh causing him to decide that murdering baby boys was his only solution. Thus… the story above.
It’s interesting that this story comes to mind… immediately following the zoo incident that happened last weekend. On the news we’ve heard every possible scenario of “what should” have happened… How “they should” have handled the gorilla… And “why weren’t the parents parenting better?” Remember, Jesus was left behind in a large city with tens of thousands of people by his mom and dad who were entrusted by God to watch over the Messiah. And here in this story of Moses, we find a desperate mom doing what she can to save her small baby boy. The kid can’t swim, but she makes a basket, covers it with a water resistant substance, places her baby boy in it, and sends him into the Nile, to have his sister watch out for him. I love this story. Had something gone wrong… can you just hear the media getting hold of this story?
But, I think my favorite part of the story is found in the first phrase of the second sentence… “When she saw that he was a fine child…” Do you remember when your child was born? Can you recall when you first cradled your children in your arms? Do you remember looking into their eyes and thinking to yourself… “WOW, A PERFECT MIRACLE!” Man, I’m telling you that when our two daughters were born, I looked down at them (two years separated them) and saw that they were FINE girls. As these girls were given to us by the Lord, we wanted to do everything possible to protect them… raise them up under the instruction of the Lord and His church, and guide them as best we could. I know we made mistakes. I’m sure we all have! And the years have gone by way too quickly. In so many ways, it seems that only yesterday Aubree was born. The same for Spencer… yet they are now 27 and 25 years…
Well… the time has come, and Spencer is getting ready for her marriage to a fine young man, Logan. This past Saturday, the NewNaz Church gave Spencer a shower and I was invited to tag along. Of course, a few other men came as well. You know… you don’t want to be the only guy there. And what a joy it was to celebrate this new beginning in our daughter’s life. Even more a joy to share it with the three ladies who mean the world to me. So… I sat back and did as Jochebed (Moses’ mom) did. I had to shove my baby girl out into the river. I watched from a distance. I watched as her big sister cared for her… helped her… and blessed her. This is family at its best. Well… sorry to ramble on about family matters… but, this is where I am today. Blessed and overjoyed… God is good!
DISTRICT MATTERS: Have I mentioned to you how grateful I am for the Los Angeles District… and her people? What an encouragement I receive each time I’m out and about. I love the church!
· Casa Robles: Most of us have heard by now, last Friday Missionary Gordon Johnston went home to be with His Lord… reunited with his beloved wife, Pat. You may recall that we said our “good-byes” to Pat last fall. I know that you will remember the Johnston family in your prayers. We will do our best to inform you when the Memorial Service will be held. At the time of this writing we do not know. However, our faithful few missionaries that reside at Casa Robles continue to meet on Thursdays for Prayer Meeting. I’m privileged to join them as often as my calendar allows… and I had the opportunity to take part in their prayer gathering this morning. Let me assure you that when a need pops up on the LA District… they are in prayer for us!
· Ridgecrest: Last Sunday I drove up and through the desert to the wonderful community of Ridgecrest where I had the opportunity to install Rev. Timothy and Bree Smith as Lead Pastor of this church. I believe that God will use them for His purpose in the days to come. Will you pray, along with me, for the Smith family as they make their adjustments from the beach to the desert? We welcome you Pastor Tim, Bree, Phineas and Sukey!
· District Assembly is coming… in less than two weeks we’ll be together as we continue BUILDING BRIDGES on the Los Angeles District. I hope you are coming. Bring as many people as you can to join in on the celebrations and the happenings on the LA District. Dr. Eugenio Duarte, our presiding General Superintendent will be with us to deliver a challenge and encouragement. I, too, will be sharing my report to you on Friday morning… this will be a fantastic time together.
DISTRICT NMI PROJECT: Every year the District NMI presents a special mission’s project. This year the project is for the Amazon Jungle in Peru. We were unable to get the envelopes out to you in advance this year… but here is a scan of the envelope. If you so choose, as many of you do, you may be prepared to present your pledge and/or your check at convention time. Take a look at the project envelope this year. And if you would like to be part of the Work & Witness Team in October… dates are set. October 3-19.
CONGRATULATIONS: This is the season of graduations… and two of our pastors have recently graduated from NBC. We congratulate Pastor Tere Martinez of Rosemead and Pastor Samuel Martinez of Trinity at Rowland Heights. No relationship, by the way, they just happen to have the same last name. You two are awesome… and we love you!
SAVE THE DATE: The SDMI Committee has decided to expand our successful Youth Workers Conference of last year to include Children’s Ministry Workers also. The date of the conference is September 23/24 and we are returning to the Double Tree in Monrovia. We will begin with dinner and entertainment and then on Saturday have a keynote speaker and two breakout sessions. Each church will be able to have 2 hotel rooms and they can, of course, pay for additional rooms as needed. The SDMI Committee will pay for all meals for all attendees. Spouses are included.
Would you continue to pray for Pastor Ron Salsbury who is still in the hospital but doing better. I know that many of you are praying for one another… keep it up. I love you all and look forward to seeing you soon.
PASTORS KIDS’ RETREAT:
The PLNU Center for Pastoral Leadership is wanting to get the word out about the upcoming Pastor’s Kid Retreat. This 4-day adventure includes snorkeling, bonfires, kayaking, and nights at San Diego’s National Comedy Theater.
Below is the registration link and information for the retreat.
Please get the word out to pastors across your district!
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the number below.