August 11, 2016

Greetings on yet another wonderful summer day!

Last week we were away for a few days to share in the celebrated moment of our daughter, Spencer’s wedding.  Our travels took us straight up the Interstate 5, into Oregon near Grants Pass, just past Medford.  And oh… how beautiful that place is.  The Rogue River meandering its way through the forested landscape with rolling hills and towering mountains in the background was picturesque.  The place was gorgeous.  I can see why many people would like to move to this land.

I’ve decided to share a few photos of the day before… and the day of, with you.  Thank you for allowing us this time away.  It was truly a special blessing to be with the family at the wedding.  In fact, just one more highlight for you:  I have officiated in many, many ceremonies, but I can’t remember the last time I was honored to have both sets of parents AND all four sets of grandparents present all at the same time.  I thought that I had a photo of the grandparents, but I don’t.  Perhaps the photographer captured it.  But, what a special blessing that was.  And in the middle of the ceremony, I called up all 8 grandparents to the platform overlooking the river.  Logan (the groom) had previously gone out and collected 130 smooth stones.  He wanted to use them in the ceremony… so we had everyone present throw a stone in the river.

I had explained the effect a stone tossed in the river can have on the water… the waves that roll and keep on rolling.  And what we saw in Spencer and Logan… started way back, before the moms and dad… with grandmas and grandpas… and all of them were present.  So… after the vows, and the exchanging of the rings… all 8 of the grandparents took their stones and tossed them into the river… some, barely made it to the waters… others skipped across the water making a great splash in the river.

My challenge to Logan and Spencer were to make a great SPLASH in their journey through life together!

spencer8 spencer7 spencer6 spencer4 spencer5 spencer3 spencer2 Spencer1 spencer

ENCOURAGEMENT You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.  (II Timothy 2:1-2)  Pass it on!  We hear it… receive it… experience it… and pass it on to others.  That is life!  That stone, when it skips across the water… bouncing as it travels along… at some point, it slows down… the skips decrease in length… and the momentum shrinks… until at last… the stone sinks.  But when it sinks… it makes a splash… and that splash causes a ripple in the water… and that ripple grows… and continues… Don’t you just love the picture Paul portrays for us.  

Have you been watching the Olympic Games?  Today while I was visiting in the hospital, I glanced up at the TV and caught one of the swimming relay races in the pool.  It was the 4X200 Freestyle where all four legs swam 200 meters.  Just as soon as the swimmer touched the wall for the 4th time, the next teammate was in the water swimming for all their worth… then the third leg… and finally the anchor.  Passing it on…  That’s what it’s all about.  

Just like the grandparents in the wedding mentioned above… they’re passing on the gift of life to the parents who in turn pass it along to the children… and the wave continues.  

How thankful I am for those who invested time in my life… teaching… training… equipping.  May I have the courage to continue the same.  How are you doing?  Is there anyone in your life whom you are preparing for life’s journey? 

MEMORIAL SERVICEOn Sunday morning, July 31, we said good-bye to a beloved pastor, churchman, friend, and brother in Pastor Ron Salsbury, who went home to be with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He was a man of encouragement and incredible optimism.  A man of faith and joy.  A truly gifted pastor and teacher.  He, along with his wife Cathi and two children Jeff and Sara have been a part of the Los Angeles District since Pastor Ron’s days back in L.A. First.  

We will all miss Pastor Ron, and we lift up his family in our prayers these days, as we also pray for our Pismo Beach Community Church in their time of mourning as well.  The memorial service will be held at the Pismo Beach Church on Saturday, August 20 at 11:00AM.  I know that your cards are welcomed and may be sent to:  990 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. 

PASTORS AND SPOUSES’ RETREATPastors… are you coming?  Church Boards… are you sending your pastor and spouse to the retreat?  There’s not much time left to register.  The dates are Monday – Wednesday, September 12-14 at Pismo Beach.  The cost is $400 per couple for two nights, two dinners, two breakfast and a full program with our special guest speaker Dr. Carla Sunberg, President of NTS.  Come join us for a time of relaxation… Refreshment… Recharge… Restoration… Re…  It’s going to be fun! 

DISTRICT NMI MISSIONS’ PROJECT:  Two months ago while at PazNaz for our annual convention and assembly, we were all challenged to participate in the District Missions’ Project… Amazon Work.  The L.A. District Work & Witness Team is headed to the Amazon October 3-18 to hold two Pastor’s Conferences and do repair work on the mission stations.  You help is needed.  If you made a pledge and have yet to make payment, would you do so ASAP.  If your church did not make a pledge, we could still use your help with any contribution possible.  Please make the checks payable to L.A. NMI and send them to 225 E. Santa Clara St. #300, Arcadia, CA. 91006.  Thank you! 

YOUTH & CHILDREN’S WORKERS:  Our district SDMI council is hosting  a retreat for youth and children’s pastors. Please see attached flyer.  Rsvp to Kathy Cannon at kathy@westwoodumc.org.  The deadline to rsvp is September 12.  

DID YOU KNOW?

·         Today in history, August 11, 1880, Uncle Buddy Robinson gave his heart to the Lord.
·         For the first time in nearly 5 years your district building here on Santa Clara St. in                 Arcadia is filled with tenants.  PTL!
·         Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian since Leonidas in the second                         century B.C.  That’s a long time.
·         During your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools.                   Anyone want to go swimming? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  These are great days to be a blessing to someone.  Go out there… and do it.  I love you and hope to see you down the road.

Greg Garman