Greetings on a much Cooler Winter’s Day! Following that one rain storm a little over a week ago we’ve encountered some great and warm sunshine until now. But… no rain I am told. Looks like we will need to wait for another day to get more rain.
ENCOURAGEMENT: Again He asked, “What shall I compare the Kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed it into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Luke 13:20-21) In the Gospel according to John we find that one of the titles he uses to describe Jesus is The Bread of Life. Luke, the physician, even mentions the place where Jesus was born… Bethlehem, or “House of Bread. Both Matthew and Mark include the stories of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with loaves of bread. So… I take it, that bread, and the preparation for making bread, was very well known in the day of Jesus. And who doesn’t like bread! I love to eat bread… all kinds of bread. Toast goes with everything! Dinner rolls… French Bread… Pita Bread… Sourdough… all pastries… Donuts… Fruitcake… and my favorite, PANETÓN.
My mom and dad just gave me this photograph of where I was raised in the Amazon Jungle. This is a picture of our home and the clinic that was next to our house on the corner of the two rivers, Kusú and the Marañón. What a place to grow up… it was truly a boy’s paradise! Fishing anywhere out front of our house… any time and all the time. Water skiing… canoeing… messing around on the jungle trails. The jungle was a perfect place to grow up. No television… no phones… no stores… no restaurants… but mom could sure cook and bake! And Saturdays were always her baking days, especially hot cinnamon rolls and bread rolls. Oh my word!
For us kids in the jungle, Monday was just like any other day… but when Saturday rolled around, we always knew what was coming. The sun would rise in the east… coming up over the Marañón River, shining down upon us. I’d take off with my native friends to our favorite mud pit to dig up large earthworms as we’d head off for the river to do some fishing. Hooks… sinkers… lines… and worms… we were ready. Searching for the best spots in the river where the back current was strong, we’d throw out our lines into the deep waters, tie the fishing line to a tree… and take off to play minawai (mee-NAH-way). Periodically, we’d check on the lines… pull in a fish or two… and head back for the waters.
All at the same time… mom would be in the house… baking. She’d go up the stairs to the barrel containing the flour, sugar and other ingredients… and return to the kitchen, where she’d begin the process of baking bread. I can remember, at times, stepping into the house when the hot water was boiling and the yeast was added. It smelled! And it always had a smell that made me think, “How in the world does bread taste so good coming from that odor?”
Then the mixing of the flour and yeast… and the kneading of the dough. Mom would rub her fists into that dough… and rub… and knead… back and forth. She would let it sit on the countertop for a while with a cloth over the bowl, as the dough would rise… only to return to the lump of dough, and knead it all over again. But this time, mom would cut off a large portion of dough, roll it out, rub butter and place sugar and raisins all through it… slice it up and place them all in a large cake pan to make cinnamon rolls. With the left over dough, she’d cut off small pieces and place on cookie sheets for dinner rolls.
There were times I’d come running into the house… the screen door would slam behind me as I darted to my room, and mom would yell out, “Greg, don’t bump the table… the dough is rising!” Okay, mom… and I’d stop to take a look at the expanding dough. And it was cool!
And Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is just like the working that take place inside the dough once the yeast is added. And boy, as a jungle boy… I saw that very thing at work. I would watch that dough rise and get bigger, and bigger, and bigger as I’d come in from fishing or swimming. The odor changed from yeast in hot water to warm fresh baked bread and cinnamon rolls aroma sifting its way across the room. I am convinced that when we catch the power of the Holy Spirit of God working in us… we begin to change… and the environment around us changes as well… and it changes for the good! What difference is the Holy Spirit making in you to impact the world around you? How much yeast do you have inside of you?
- Board of Ministry: Last week the BOM spent two lengthy days together interviewing candidate after candidate for District Ministerial Licenses. I am grateful for these ministers of the district who took their time all day on Friday and Saturday to come and spend these hours interviewing. May the Lord bless you for your work and love for the Kingdom!
- Lone Pine: We are still in the process of searching for the next Lead Pastor in this church, but I sure enjoy each trip I make to Lone Pine. What a beautiful place! This past Sunday we were privileged to have as our special speakers, a couple who had been serving in Swaziland for several years, Rev. Matt and Sarah Marshall. What a joy it was to be with the people of Lone Pine once again!
- Holiness Summit: Attention all pastors and leaders… you are invited to participate in this great day of teaching provided by the SoCal District. This upcoming February 17th, Riverside Arlington Ave. Church of the Nazarene will be hosting a “Holiness Summit” specifically designed for pastoral staff* in the greater Southern California area, regardless of district. Beginning at 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM, we will hear from General Superintendent Emeritus J.K. Warrick and Dr. Roger Hahn, Professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary on preaching holiness and the centrality of holiness in the New Testament, respectively. PLNU’s concert choir will also be joining us, providing times of music and worship. Mark your calendars and plan to be with us for this formative event. Please visit www.socalnaz.org for more information.
- PazNaz: One of my favorite things to do is catch a glimpse of some of the materials and books that our pastors are putting out. And here we have, once again, another author from one of our churches… PazNaz. Pastor Tara Beth Leach has recently written a book entitled Emboldened… a vision for empowering women in ministry. I’ve just picked up the book and I am looking forward to reading it.
- LA First Spanish: From Friday night through Sunday January 19-21, La Primera is hosting a Holiness Campaign. Friday at 7:00PM. Saturday and Sunday at 6:00PM Special evangelist is Rev. Leonel De Leon, Missionary to Mesoamerica. Pastores… hermanos… todos son invitados a la Campaña de Santidad!
LADTC: LADTC Announces New Testament Gospels (BIB-2033)
January 19 – 20 (Fri.-Sat.)
February 16 – 17 (Fri.-Sat.)
Deadline for registration: Friday, January 5.
Please visit www.LADTC.org for all forms and information. There you will also find our annual academic calendar.
All LADTC courses are required for ordination, and they are all accredited by Nazarene Bible College for B.A. degrees.
Peter Lundell PeterLundell.com
Hello Youth and Children’s Pastors/Directors!
If you’re looking for a weekend of fun and adventure….Please RSVP now to this FREE event for Youth and Children’s Pastors/Directors and Spouses!! Event begins Friday, January 26th at 6:00 pm (dinner will be provided) and ends Saturday, January 27th at noon. There will also be an “Escape Room Adventure” taking place on Friday night. We need RSVPs immediately, so please don’t hesitate!
Pastors – please make sure to pass this information along to your youth pastors and directors!
For questions or more information, contact Kathy Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818.807.2928
I love you and trust that you are off to a great start for 2018.
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene