Greetings on another Wonderful October Day! As the stores all stock up on many varieties of chocolates and candies, and children will soon be accompanied by moms and dads to parade around our neighborhoods gleaning for candy… I get excited to hear and read of the many ways you reach out to your communities with “Trunk or Treat” events… and Family Fall Festivals… and so much more. I am convinced that any opportunity we get to do outreach… we must take advantage of it. Now, on a side note… I especially love the Snickers chocolate bar. And I’m not talking about those “fun” sizes either. As for me, “fun” is not just a “one bite… and it’s done.” I think fun is MONSTER size!
ENCOURAGEMENT: … the time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus (the beggar) by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” (Luke 16:22-24) This is one of the few parables where Jesus actually uses a name in His parabolic teaching. One of Jesus’ favorite subjects to speak on was money or treasures. Yet, Jesus did not avoid the subject on “hell” in His preaching either. And right here, in the Gospel According to Luke, the physician gives us this incredibly detailed account of a rich man and a poor man… and the story is told after their deaths here on earth.
There are several things that grab my attention in this story Jesus shares:
- Heaven and Hell are real places. There is such a thing as “Hell”. There is such a place as “Heaven”. And the picture Jesus portrays of hell is a place NO ONE would ever wish someone to. It troubles me when I hear someone tell another to “Go to hell.” If they only knew!
- We take our memory with us, it appears. After death here on this land, we still take our memories with us. Later on Jesus reports that Abraham told the rich man, “Remember…”
- Once we die… it’s too late to change our minds. It’s too late to send word back to earth. We have lots of work to do today!
- Unfortunately, even miracles aren’t enough for some people to believe. Jesus communicated this very clearly.
So… you might be asking, why this story Pastor Greg? Why now? As we finish up the month of October… it means that we are approaching Halloween, and October 31st. If you turn the TV on you’ll find dozens of shows depicting scary scenes with chainsaws, monsters, killings and more. Many people will create graveyards in their front lawns. Others will make haunted houses and shacks for kids to pass through. And I’m not necessarily knocking any of this. I like fun and games as much as anyone else… but, if there is one great scary reality it’s this: There is a hell to shun. Of the many things recorded in the scriptures, this is a scary picture Jesus reveals. Nothing… NOTHING is more scary than hell.
And as much as hell is scary… Heaven is a place EVERYONE can gain. We have a great message to proclaim. A message of hope and life. I love the fact that God has invited us to be His proclaimers… and what better season to share the Good News than in this month of October.
THANK YOU: I want to take this moment to thank all of our Lead Pastors, Congregational Pastors, and Associate Pastors for your ministry of encouragement to the churches and ministries across the district. In this PASTOR APPRECIATION MONTH… I thank you for your faithful service to the Lord and His church. Thank you! And I pray that your local church is taking time, in one way, or the other to share their appreciation for you. I need you… we need you… and Jesus is using you! A million thanks!
DISTRICT MATTERS: I’ve really hit the ground running since I’ve come back from my quick trip to Peru. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of “running” in the way I enjoy… though I have donned my “running shoes” on a bit. Hoping to get some more miles in here not long from now. We’ll see. But, here are a few things going on around the district.
- LA District NMI: Many of you are aware that we had two of our own, Pastor Dan Bayer and Tim Garman, drive a rental truck filled with thousands of Crisis Care Kits from our district to Sacramento. With the many natural disasters that have been happening around the globe… thank you for the gifts and donations you have made so that these gentlemen could pick up the hundreds of banana boxes loaded with CCKs to take on up to be dispersed around the world. Great job, LA District!
- North Hollywood Armenian: Last Saturday night Leslie and I joined the N. Hollywood Armenian Church for their 15th Anniversary Banquet where we enjoyed great food, wonderful worship led by the Pasadena Armenian Church, and fabulous fellowship. May the Lord bless Pastor John Tashjian and his leadership team as they continue leading the church in this great city!
- Burbank: Last Sunday I worshipped with the wonderful people in Burbank where there is a team of leaders working alongside Pastor Joe Torosian. Thank you, church, for the ministries you lead in this great city. What a joy it was to be with you and to see a young minister in action, Matt Fruchey, and to hear a Word from the Lord through Pastor Bill Leone!
DID YOU KNOW:
- Sunday, November 19th is our annual Thanksgiving Offering Sunday? Will you prepare, even now, to share with your churches the great privilege of participating with all churches around the globe… in 162 world areas… as we receive an offering to be used for Global Missions. Our charge is to make Christ-like disciples in all the nations.
- 500 years ago this month Martin Luther nailed on the Wittenberg Church Door his 95 Theses, thus marking the Protestant Reformation. The just shall life by faith! Pastors and leaders, I don’t know what you have planned for the next two Sundays, but it may be a great idea to share a thought with your people on this great 500th year anniversary. There is thought that the posting of his 95 Theses occurred on October 31, 1517.
- District Pastors’ Day is coming soon… Tuesday, November 14 from 9:00AM – 2:00PM at the Camarillo Church. We will be covering four major items on this day. Insurance related issues… Legal matters… Financial and administrative concerns… as well as matters pertaining to Granite Ridge Christian Camp. Shay has sent out an email regarding this day, and if you have any questions or comments… especially for the three gentlemen who will be joining us in their fields of expertise (Howard Wooton, Terry Mowers, and David Morse), please email your questions or concerns to Shay so that she can forward them on to the panel of leaders. We will then devote time from 1:00 to 2:00PM for discussion on the camp. I do hope to see all of you there. And please bring your board secretary, treasurer, administrative assistants, and key leaders. This will be a great day for all.
- There’s another PK gathering scheduled on Friday night, December 1st and will end on Saturday morning, December 2nd for Senior High PKs. This means if you are a PK (Lead Pastor’s Kid, Congregational Pastor’s Kid, Associate Pastor’s Kid… you get the picture) in Senior High, we are inviting you to our home for a Christmas gathering… and it’s an all- nighter…Not that Pastor Greg will be up all night long! Leslie is getting a flyer ready to send out to all of you. It’s a pool (and yes, I will heat the pool) party with a Christmas Movie while in the water… with food, fun and fellowship. More details to come later.
- On October 24th there is a webinar that some of you may be interested in joining. The topic is: “The Role of Faith Leaders and Health Ministries in Improving the Health of Their Communities.” https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USOPHSOMH/bulletins/1be6499
Here is an announcement from Leslie Garman regarding the upcoming women’s Retreat:
HELLO FROM LESLIE GARMAN! Women, please read this. Pastors, please mention this. Office Administrators, please print this for Sunday’s bulletin.
Women, would you like to RETREAT? Your Los Angeles District is happy to announce “Arise!” Women’s Retreat, which will be held on February 2-4, 2018, at The Oaks Christian Conference Center. Please look at the attached flier and take advantage of our “Early Bird” registration. This weekend is going to be SPECIAL and we would love for you to join us! Please call/email with ANY questions:
Leslie Garman firstname.lastname@example.org
Just one final thought… as we prepare for Thanksgiving, may I remind you of the need to keep on top of you allocations to the W.E.F., Pensions, Education, and District Unified. Some of you have fallen a little behind, but we trust that you are aware, and will be participating in the giving that is to come.
I love you and I am praying for you. May Jesus bless you today! I do hope to see you soon.
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene