Monthly Archives: April 2017

Few Thoughts 4-14-2017

Good Friday Greetings to you… and Happy Easter!!!

Last Sunday morning when I woke up, got dressed, and Leslie & I were headed to church, we listened to the news only to learn of the attacks on two churches in Egypt.  Upon our arrival, the pastor led in prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, the issues surrounding Syria, and more…  It has been my tradition to read, and re-read the story as recorded in the Gospel According to Mark, each day during this Holy Week.  On Tuesday as I was reading Mark 13, in answering His disciples’ comment on the mighty construction of the temple and building’s walls, Jesus took time to share the details of events to take place at the end of times.

Wars… rumors of wars.  Earthquakes… famines.  Nation against nation… kingdom against kingdom.  Floggings… arrests… betrayals and trials.  And then I read in Matthew, once again, 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”  Unfortunately, direct translations don’t always sound the best, for the better translation would be, “On account of my coming…”  Could we be living in the last days?

And then on Tuesday, right here… nearly in our backyard, (San Bernardino) the school shooting that took place when a man comes in to take two lives and then his own.

If there is ever a time for the church to stand up and proclaim a message of hope… now is the day!  So, once again I say, “There’s no better time for the church to be the church than at this very moment in time.”  In a world filled with hurt and pain… we have reason to live because there is hope in Jesus Christ God’s Son.

ENCOURAGEMENTWhen the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!”  (Matthew 27:54)  A lot can happen within six short hours… the time from when Jesus was nailed on the cross and His death.  A long time to be suffering.  But to see all that transpired within that period of time is amazing!  That’s not even a full day’s work.  It takes longer to drive from here to San Francisco.  Hey… sometimes it takes that long to drive from Pasadena to Downtown L.A.

 The centurion was there… from the beginning to the end.  Overseeing the events of the crucifixion… making certain that everything was done accordingly.  He witnessed the floggings… the beatings and may have even participated in the placing of the crown of thorns upon Jesus’ head.  He saw his soldiers spit in Jesus’ face.  He heard the mockings… and then he marched alongside of Jesus as He carried His own cross to Golgotha.  This centurion may have even handed the nails to the soldiers who pounded those spikes into Jesus’ hands and feet… then raised the cross up, only to drop it into its place in the ground. 

 And then… one word, from the cross… then another.  He listened…

  • “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:43)
  • “I tell you the truth, today you’ll be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
  • “Dear woman, here is your son.  Here is your mother.”  (John 19:26)
  • “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?”  (Mark 15:34)
  • “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
  • “It is finished.”  (John 19:30)
  • “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”  (Luke 23:46)

 Not once does Jesus retaliate.  The Roman Centurion never hears Jesus on the attack.  He hears words of forgiveness to those doing Him harm.  He hears words of hope to a sinful, yet redeemed, dying man on a cross next to Him.  He hears tender words of concern to a grief stricken mom.  And he hears quotes from an unfamiliar Psalm… and perhaps hears the crowds speaking of this meaning… And finally he hears Jesus’ final statement of commitment into the God of the universe’s hands.  And THAT did it.  What a confession!  “Yes, He is the King of the Jews.  Yes, He is the Savior for mankind.  Yes, He is the peace that can break down every wall.  Yes, He is the Chief Cornerstone.”  And as the earth shook… “Yes, He is Lord of Creation.  Yes, He is the Son of God!” 

 A few years ago, when Leslie and I stood at the very place many scholars believed to be Golgotha, I stood silently…  wept… reflected… and thought of this centurion’s testimony 2000 years ago.  Yes, Jesus IS who He said He was!  He is the One John the Baptist proclaimed saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”   IMG_6498

 Man of sorrows – what a name, For the Son of God who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah!  What a savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood,

Sealed my pardon with His blood, Hallelujah!  What a savior!

Guilty vile, and helpless we; spotless Lamb of God was He,

Full atonement – Can it be, Hallelujah!  What a savior!

Lifted up was He to die, “It is finished” was His cry,

Now in heaven exalted high, Hallelujah!  What a savior!

When He comes our glorious King, All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew, this song we’ll sing, “Hallelujah!  What a savior!


DISTRICT MATTERSWhat’s going on in your ministry area? 

  • Eggstravaganza:  I was invited to participate in the great outreach event that took place in Rowland Heights by our Trinity Church of the Nazarene (Merger of Monterey Park and Rowland Heights) on the Saturday before Palm Sunday… and what an event they had!  Wow!!!  It was amazing.  There was a pancake breakfast (compliments of IHOP who donated all the batter), vintage car show, bouncing houses, wagon rides, ministry booths, raffles, and a giant Easter Egg Hunt.  Pastors Albert and Christine Hung, along with their team of leaders, did an outstanding job pulling this day together.  And I know that many of you are having similar outreach events in your church.  May you have a fantastic time together!  







  • Palm Sunday:  Leslie and I were privileged to be in two church services on Palm Sunday as we came down to PazNaz for the first 8:00AM service before heading back to our hometown church at NewNaz for the 10:30AM Service.  It was great to be with both pastoral teams of leaders and to be part of the Palm Sunday celebration.  Thank you Pastor Tara Beth Leach and your team, who are doing an exceptional job in ministry there at PazNaz… and to Pastor Josh Johnson and your team a NewNaz for outstanding ministry!  We love our churches on the L.A. District!      





  • April 24-27:  Prime Time Retreat at Murrieta Hot Springs with Special Speaker: Dr. Jim Diehl
  • 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
  • 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
  • July 30-August 4:  Jr. High Camp at Granite Ridge

May the Lord bless you this weekend as you, and your congregation, join together in one great celebratory event.  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!  I love you and I look forward to seeing you soon…

He is Risen!

Greg Garman

Los Angeles District Superintendent

Church of the Nazarene



Few Thoughts March 10, 2017

Greetings on a beautiful Summer Day towards the end of Winter!

And yet again… another gorgeous day between storms of rain and snow in the mountains.  This past weekend I made my way up the coast for meetings and simply had to stop along the way… not once or even twice… but several times just to absorb the beauty of it all.  Reservoirs and lakes are filling up… hills are green and lush… and the air is so clean.  I just love it!

ENCOURAGEMENTFinally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything , to standStand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”  (Ephesians 6:10-14)  This is one of the more familiar passages in the Bible.  Many of us have memorized these words… studied them in Sunday School… heard and even preached sermon after sermon… for we know that our enemy is none other than Satan, who will do anything he can to get us on “wobbly legs”. 

And here, Paul reminds us to put on the full armor of God… and not just to put one part of it on… but to put on the FULL armor of God… and not just to put it on once… but to put on the full armor of God daily.  Each and every day, when we wake up, we ought to dress ourselves with His full armor.  In this way I will be able to STAND FIRM against all of Satan’s strong attacks against me.  This is the only way.  

 The picture I have of one standing firm is the great image King David paints in Psalm 1:3 when he describes the tree firmly planted.  Storms rise… rivers crash up against it… winds blow… lightning strikes… but the one that is firmly planted… STANDS!  One of my favorite trees to observe are the oaks.  They grow large.  They grow slow.  They grow wide.  They grow strong.  In these past few weeks, we’ve seen and heard of trees crashing down on streets, homes, cars, and even people.  And most of these trees are eucalyptus and different kinds of pines… but not the oak tree.  Their root structure goes deep.  They are tough….strong… and connected.  I’m not a botanist nor an arborist… but check out this tree I photographed this weekend along Highway 101.  She’s not moving!  How tough are you?  How strong are you?  Are your spiritual roots growing deep?  Are you planted by the stream of Living Water?  Are you dressing yourself daily with the full equipment God has for you so you will win in this battle of life? 

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DISTRICT MATTERSLife is also to be enjoyed… and I am one of the first ones to try and have some fun.  Yeah… there are meetings to attend… and services to be part of… and even in the midst of it all, we can celebrate. 

  • Birthdays:  There’s a birthday every day.  Someone you know is having a birthday today.  Go on Facebook and you will see.  And I can’t keep up with them all.  So sorry if I have forgotten to send a birthday greeting.  But this past week we had a brief meeting at the District Center and our own Brother Bill Alajaji was celebrating his birthday on that day.  I didn’t know until then… so I scrambled to find some cookies and treats… a candle… and we sang the birthday song as he blew out the candle.  He is more than one year old! 


  • Baby Shower:  I typically have not attended Baby Showers… but… on our floor at the District Center we were celebrating the arrival of a baby boy.  He’s not quite here just yet… well sort of, he is… we just haven’t seen him… but we ate and enjoyed a moment of celebration for God’s gift of life as we prayed for this child and the family that will be receiving him in.IMG_0569IMG_0567
  • Spanish Pastors’ and Family Day:  This past weekend on Saturday many of our Spanish speaking churches gathered together in Santa Paula for a morning of encouragement and fellowship.  I’m so grateful for Pastor Ismael & Suzanna Joaquin and their team of leaders for hosting this day.  What a special time we enjoyed worshipping, sharing, growing and in fellowship!  And thank you Pastor Vicente Cadenas for organizing it. 


  • El Morro:  I was honored to preach in the wonderful church at El Morro this past Sunday… this is where Leslie and I started when we first came on the district way back in 1985.  Pastor Ron Fay invited us to be Youth Pastors and we spent nearly 4 incredible years in this church.  Pastor Ron Schmidt has resigned to journey on towards other ministries, so I was privileged to be there this weekend.  I decided to continue my way on north following the Spanish Pastors’ Day in Santa Paula… so when I arrived in Los Osos, I saw that there was just enough time to go for a run… a run to one of my favorite spots in the area: Spooner’s Cove at Montaña de Oro.  So I parked my car in Los Osos, and forgot that the park was further away than I had remembered.  Another thing I had forgotten… the hilly road to get there… and then back.  But, I took my phone with me to snap some pictures… What a gorgeous run!  And then three great services the following morning.  God is so good!IMG_0559IMG_0530IMG_0532IMG_0544

PASTORS’ DAYJust a quick reminder to all pastors across the district… we will gather together at the New Life Church in Northridge this Tuesday, March 14, from 9:00-3:00.  I look forward to this time with all of you.  You will get a chance to hear from many people of how God is moving across the district. 

 IGNITE Conference:  The next and final conference will be held in Ridgecrest on Saturday, March 25.  If you missed one of the other two, you may want to do your best to try and be part of the last conference. 

 As I wrap up these Few Thoughts for the week… allow me a moment to thank all of our churches and ministries throughout the district.  You are all so loved and prayed for.  As we continue through this season of Lent that leads us to the cross of Jesus, and ultimately to the empty tomb… let’s not forget our message of hope.  These are the greatest of days and opportunities for the church to shine the light. 

 In just a few weeks we’ll be closing the books on another fiscal year… gearing up for Annual Church Meetings and elections of new church officers and delegates… and I want to THANK YOU for your part in this great teamwork of Building Bridges across the district and beyond.  You are faithful in your support.  Thank you!  If you need to get caught up in your support… it’s not too late… you can still make it. 

 In closing… may I share one final thing?  DID YOU KNOW… the Church of the Nazarene has just entered three new countries… and this now makes us have a presence in 162 world areas:  PTL!  Our three newest are: Curacao, Singapore, & Mongolia.  Because you give…  Because you pray…  Because you send…  The Gospel is being proclaimed and lives are being transformed.  “The sun never sets in the morning.” 


I love you and look forward to the next time I bump into you…

 Building Bridges,

Greg Garman

Los Angeles District Superintendent

Church of the Nazarene