Thank you for the many prayers offered up for the families, churches, and people who are caught in the middle of these messy fires. Boy, it has been one very tough week! I know that many of you are helping, providing food and shelter, and praying for so many who are affected by the scattered fires spreading throughout the Southland. On Monday night, in the middle of our District Christmas Dinner, the Santa Paula Team had to leave Temple City to return to the church to pull files, computers, and other equipment from the church. We thank the Lord that nothing was lost or damaged as the flames departed elsewhere.
Unfortunately, “elsewhere” meant Ventura… and Pastor Dan Hull has informed me that one of their member’s houses burned down while several others are still evacuated from their homes. We have also learned that one of our Newhall member’s home burned down in Ventura only three days after they closed escrow. Pastor Josh Johnson is assisting this family who is also in need. I spoke again with Pastor Ismael Joaquin from Santa Paula and he says that there are still several families in the church who have yet to return to their homes. And then to learn of all these others fires flaring up across the Southland. Please continue in prayer for the many who are now without a home during the advent season.
PERSONAL NOTE: On behalf of Leslie and our family, I want to share our appreciation to you for your many cards, concerns, and expressions of love towards us since the passing away of Dearl Caulk (Leslie’s father). Dearl was a Faithful Churchman… a Committed Christian… Devoted Father and husband… and an Encouraging person. He IS and will be missed. The Memorial Service for Dearl will be on Saturday, December 9 at 10:00AM in the Porterville Church of the Nazarene.
ENCOURAGEMENT: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14) Do you ever focus on the Cross of Christmas? Have you ever thought about the Cross of Christmas? Did you know that there is such a thing as the Cross of Christmas?
The Apostle Paul recognized the value of the Cross of Jesus. In fact, remember when he reminds us that each time we come to the Lord’s Table to be served, and we eat the bread and drink… he tells us what we are doing: When we take communion we are “proclaiming the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, we all become preachers for the cross. Jesus tells us in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave…” In His giving of life He knew that we would become a redeemed people. That’s the Cross of Christmas!
Don’t you just love the story of the old man Simeon entering the Temple on the very day Joseph and Mary came to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifice and offering? When He spots Mary carrying Jesus, he hurries over to the parents, takes the baby boy in his arms and celebrates the very fact that he can NOW die because he came in contact with the Christ-Child. And then he turns to Mary and gives her the prophecy… and she learns of the reason why Jesus had come. That’s the Cross of Christmas!
As we journey our way through this Advent season… let’s not forget the Cross of Christmas. It has been our tradition for many years to place the three crosses in the middle of our Christmas Tree to remind us of the love God has for us… especially at Christmastime. Thank God for the Cross of Christmas!
DISTRICT MATTERS: As we enter this second week in advent, I pray the Lord’s anointing on all of our churches as we share the Good News of Christmas!
- NYI… JNI…: Last Saturday night many of the NYI members from across the L.A. District got together at L.A. First for an awesome evening of worship, fellowship, fun, and food! District NYI President and Pastor Josh Johnson along with his team of leaders did an outstanding job in this great ministry where the sanctuary was jam packed with youth worshiping the Lord together. Great job, young people! We love you!!
- Glendora: I was blessed to be with our wonderful people in Glendora where Pastor Mike Platter is doing an incredible job in ministry along with his team of leaders. What a joy it was to bump into Pastor Jerry Ferguson while worshipping there! May the Lord bless our Glendora Church as they minister this advent season!
- District Christmas Dinner: On Monday night we had a host of pastors and leaders together for our annual Christmas Dinner in Temple City Immanuel where Pastor Jeff and Louise Lin provided such great leadership hosting the event. Thank you TC Immanuel for doing an excellent job! What a special night we all enjoyed together!!! And thank you Pastor Ariel Babikian for emceeing the event… Pastor Karen Wood for your Devotional thought – may we not waddle like ducks through the advent season but learn to soar with wings of power! Thank you Koreans for the special number and the Altadena Church for the worship… and so much more. Leslie and I also thank you, the Los Angeles District, for your generosity and love expressed to us this Christmas season. We love you!
- District Center: You are aware that we have been doing a lot of work on the district center (building) preparing it for new tenants. I am most grateful for the diligent work of Shay Pierson overseeing this project and caring for the building. We are nearly full now, with tenants occupying and leasing floor space. Last night we had a great get-together with the tenants and brokers to “show-case” the two remaining suites. God is good and faithful to provide.
May the Lord bless you with His holy presence as you shine your light for Him this second week in advent! I love you and I look forward to the next gathering we’ll have that will bring us together.
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene