Well… it’s another blue sky, picture perfect, absolutely gorgeous SoCal morning today! Every now and then I glance outside to take a look at the Pasadena Hills behind me… and I love it! I love seeing the traffic on the 210 moving along (and am so glad that I’m not in it at this moment). You know… it sort of reminds me of the song written and recorded by Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now”, though, there is one huge difference… no rain for us to say “the rain is gone…” Yet… the rain is gone. And I’m told that it may be gone for quite some time ahead of us. Well, just another prayer request.
There’s been a lot happening in our lives these recent weeks. Leslie and I have been away for nearly 10 days now, and let me say… it is good to be back home. Our dog, Bailey, was so excited to see us upon our entrance in the house. She was absolutely, beside herself with joy. I love it!
ENCOURAGEMENT: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2) I count it a blessing to wake up each and every day… to rise early and see the sun climbing its way up and over the horizon. For me, there are few things in life more beautiful than to watch the sunrise in the early hours of the day. And I am most certain that as we begin our day seeking the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and for His direction in our lives for every step we take, we WILL see the darkness diminish and we WILL experience His holy presence even in the midst of storms.
Earlier last week, Leslie and I were away at Lake Tahoe for meetings with other superintendents and leaders. It was my first time visiting that region. I had heard a lot about Lake Tahoe, and its beauty. Stories of the lake and surrounding mountains… pictures of the pines and streams… and of course, Little Joe and Bonanza (after all, isn’t that what we all think of when someone says “Lake Tahoe”). And then I learned that the Winter Olympic Games were held there in 1960 (the year of my birth). I wasn’t even born until 6-7 months later. Those Winter Games were a lonnngg time ago. I also learned that only 33 countries participated in the Games and that all athletes slept and ate under one roof. WOW!
On the first morning in Tahoe, since we had the morning free, I decided to go out for a run. You know… it’s early September… still sort of summer… I kissed Leslie a quick “good-bye” after donning on my shorts, shirt and running shoes, and headed out the hotel door. It was 6:20 AM! As soon as I stepped outside, the COLD just grabbed me. Oh my word! I returned to grab my gloves, and put on a long sleeve shirt… and I was still freezing. It wasn’t until after the run did I discover that the temps were 27 degrees. No wonder!
But, oh… the beauty. The sun had yet to climb up over the hills. And as I ran along the trail, the Truckee River was to my left and towering pine trees surrounded me… I took in the natural beauty of God’s handiwork. As I meandered my way around, I thanked God of His sustaining grace, and guiding hand. He is an ever present help in our time of need. And as the darkness was swallowed up in the light of day, Jesus revealed Himself more and more.
Meetings soon began, and immediately, God’s presence was among us. I’m thankful to the Lord for the Church of the Nazarene. I’m grateful for the leadership He provides for us. I love the local churches. And I am thankful for the Southwest Team we have on our region. God is good… and He shines upon those who look to Him daily. I am a blessed man!
DISTRICT MATTERS: The Los Angeles District is diverse in so many ways. Language… culture… geography… and more… and these are just a few things that make us so special. I love the people that make up the L.A. District. I am grateful for every local church.
Bishop: Leslie and I spent the night with Eddie and Jen Davis, having enjoyed a wonderful evening with both families (Mark & Callie Dunn) in the church parsonage. And what a joy it was to hang out… then worship with the Bishop Church on Sunday morning! We thank the Lord for the work He is doing through these young couples under the leadership of Pastor Leslie Smith.
Oxnard: Earlier this week Mary Santin (Pastor Josh Santin’s wife) was taken to the hospital for a problem with diabetes… and an allergic reaction causing the kidneys to not function properly. She was placed in CCU for a day or so, and has recently been discharged from the hospital. I am certain that the Santins would appreciate your prayer support during these days. As a result of this most recent journey, they were unable to attend the Pastor & Spouse retreat.
· Pastors & Spouses’ Retreat: Following the meetings held in Tahoe, we made our way westward and then south to Pismo Beach where the retreat was being held. Our special speakers were Dr. Carla and Chuck Sunberg (NTS)…and what a fabulous job they both did sharing the Word with us, encouraging and challenging, all at the same time. And let me say… it was good to be together. We had more than 90 present for the retreat… times were filled with encouragement, fellowship and worship. If you missed it this year… please try and make plans to join the team next year.
· SDMI 2016 LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: The annual SDMI District Leadership Conference is open to all district superintendents, district SDMI chairs, district adult/children/youth directors, and district CLT directors. Spouses are also invited to attend. Click here for additional information about the DLC program, speakers, and registration. In addition to amazing and inspiring speakers and worship sessions, we are planning ministry area breakouts presented by experienced “workers in the field.” Go online today to register at the early bird rate! Let us know if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Lord bless you today and grant you a fabulous weekend as you join together with your local body for worship. I love you and look forward to seeing you.