Few Thoughts 4-28-2017

Greetings L.A. District Family!

Leslie and I have just returned from a wonderful few days with our Primetimers at the Three District Retreat in Murrieta.  What a special few days we spent together!  Dr. Jim Diehl was awesome.  The music and worship was second to none thanks to Rev. Scott & Julie Anderson and Leslie Garman.  We even celebrated a former MK, and missionary, and Bresee Church Associate Pastor, Rev. Joe Penn who completed his 100th Birthday while at the retreat.  YES, you read that correctly… 100 years!  And he is sharp, active, and even sings in a Gospel Quartet.  What a blessing this Man of God is to the church!  We love you, Brother Penn!

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ENCOURAGEMENTA merry (cheerful) heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones!”  (Proverbs 17:22)  Believe it or not… this was one of the first Bible verses I memorized way back when I was seven years old.  It’s a short verse… an easy verse to memorize… and a WHOLE LOT OF FUN to say… especially when you’re a small boy growing up with other small boys in a jungle boarding school. 

 We had the custom every morning following breakfast, where “Uncle Pete,” the boys’ dorm parent, would lead us in devotions before we cleaned up the tables, returned to our dorms to brush our teeth, and head to class.  Once we were through with breakfast, while the plates were still on the table, Uncle Pete would get up, and read a verse from the Bible for us, briefly explain its meaning, and then he would repeat the verse… not once… not twice… but several times.  And then, we’d all follow.  Next, we would return to the verse we heard the previous day, and he’d remind us of that verse, where once again, we’d recall (by memory) the words shared.  This practice would go on each and every day for 4 months straight, before we’d go home for Christmas vacation or summer vacation.  By the end of the semester we’d have nearly 50 verses memorized.  It’s amazing, now at 56 years of age, how many verses I still recall from my early days at boarding school. 

 And I will never forget Proverbs 17:22.  It became one of our ALL TIME FAVORITES.  The reason was simple.  We memorized this verse in the KJV… “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  I never understood the word “doeth” nor “drieth”… you see, we never spoke that way.  But when it came to this verse… we left the dining hall that day, running around the campus of that small boarding school yelling out,

“A merry heart DOETH good like a medicine;

But a broken spirit DRIETH the boooooooneeees!”

And when it came to the word “bones”… we’d hold out that word and howl like a wolf…  And the dorm parents allowed us to have fun with that verse as we’d run around the campus. 

 Come to think of it… they must have detected that these crazy young boys discovered what it was like to have a “merry” or “cheerful” heart.  And I began to learn that scripture memorization could be a lot of fun.   

How much fun do you have memorizing the Word of God?  Are you hiding the Word of God in your heart? 

DISTRICT MATTERSThis past Sunday was a busy Sunday for me trying to get in as many ministries as possible. But, what a special day!

  • La Puente:  I was blessed to take part in the one year anniversary celebration for Pastor Wallger and Gloria Gonzales as pastors of the La Puente Spanish Church.  They are doing such an exceptional job in ministry and the Lord is using them in great and awesome ways.  Following the morning service we enjoyed a special luncheon together where the pastoral family was honored.  Muchas gracias Pastor Wallger y Gloria por la obra de Dios en la Puente.  Somos muy bendecidos! 

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  • Rosalie Sturgis Memorial Service:  This past Sunday many of us gathered together at the Alhambra CON to remember a dear sister who served alongside her husband (Rev. James Sturgis) for so many years.  They pastored many churches in various states and districts.  Attended Pasadena College together, and went on to do so many things for the kingdom.  Thank you, Pastor Eleazar Torres and Pastor Joe Halbert, for leading the service in such a wonderful way!  

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  • Broken:  Now here’s where I get to play “Daddy” for just a moment… although, this took place on the district as well.  Following the Memorial Service, I jetted back to our home church (NewNaz) where our daughter, Aubree is the choir director, so that I could enjoy the presentation she had written up called “Broken.”  Pulling songs from various places and cantatas, and then writing up her own narrative, I sat and watch, weeping throughout, the presentation “Broken.”  He “Jesus” was broken for me.  And He is the only One who can restore… redeem broken lives and bring complete healing and wholeness! 

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  • Pastors’ Photos:  As we get ready for District Assembly, we will, once again, be putting photos of pastors and their families in the Assembly Workbook.  Some of you never got a photo into us, and we’d love to include all of our congregational pastors in this year’s booklet.  Please send them in to vania@ladistnaz.org as soon as possible.    
  • PASTOR’S REPORTS AND ASSEMBLY PAPERWORK:  Please be sure to have all you of your assembly paperwork, with payment and pastor’s report submitted online by the May 6 Thank you to all those who have submitted their pastor’s report online already.  Thank you, Paul Doctorian, for being the very first church to submit everything to the district office.  If you have any questions or issues please contact the district office.  Vania or Shay will be happy to help in any way they can.



  • May 20:  Dr. Stan Toler Seminar on Leadership in San Luis Obispo beginning at 9:00AM
  • May 26-28:  NYI Elev8 at PLNU with the entire Southwest Region
  • June 8-10:  PK Retreat… youth who are pastors’ kids are invited to the PLNU campus with other PKs from the region for inspiration and Christian formation.  Register at southwestnyi.org
  • June 20-30:  General Conventions and Assembly in Indianapolis
  • July 12-14: Los Angeles District Conventions and Assembly at PazNaz
  • July 16-21:  High School Camp at Granite Ridge
  • July 23-28:  Kids’ Camp at Granite Ridge. Some scholarships are also available for Kids’ Camp.  Please contact kathy@newnaz.org for more information.
  • July 30-August 4:  Jr. High Camp at Granite Ridge

May the Lord bless you this weekend as you come together for worship and to hear the Word of the Lord!  May is just around the corner and following that is summer.  I love you and look forward to seeing you in the upcoming district events.  I really do hope to see you soon!

 Building Bridges,

Greg Garman

Los Angeles District Superintendent

Church of the Nazarene