Good Morning Church Family!
As I begin these few thoughts of mine… it’s Thursday morning and I can see the clouds growing in the blue skies that are all around. The weather folks may have gotten this one right as they are calling for rain to hit the SoCal area tonight through Saturday. We need the rain… but I invite you to pray along with me for protection over the areas still recovering from mudslides caused by the fires. There is a lot of concern in many parts of our land.
In less than two weeks many of us from the L.A. District and beyond will toe the line at Dodger Stadium to run in the L.A. Marathon. Several of you are running for fun… others for a time… still others for a charity (we have a lot of people running for “clean water”)… and I will be running for Arise Mission Korean Church. I look forward to getting out there in a couple of weeks to run with the many needs our Nazarene Church here in the heart of L.A. does in ministry to assist the N. Korean refugees. The Lord has been so good and faithful as I have been witnessing funds coming in from several of you expressing your desire to help. If you would like to participate: 100% of the funds raised will go to Arise Mission Church to be used in tutoring, legal issues for documents needed, nutrition, and much, much more. Checks can be made out to the L A District Church of the Nazarene and sent to the District Office (225.E. Santa Clara St #300 Arcadia, CA 91006). You will receive a contribution statement in a few weeks. Many blessings on you!
A humbling story: A few Saturdays ago several of us from our running club went to Westlake to run in two races: a 10K and then 45 minutes later a 5K. I thought this would be a great way to fine tune my training for the L.A. Marathon. As we were getting back in the van, one of the guys mentioned to us that he had overheard some young people who were working the finish line, commenting to each other as I was crossing the finish line in the 5K, “Wow, look at that old man… he also ran in the 10K!” My question, “Am I THAT old?” Ouch!!!
ENCOURAGEMENT: And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God to us. (II Corinthians 8:5) What a great and inspiring verse this is to all of us! First things first! Paul recognized the poor conditions of the churches in Macedonia… they were poor… they were lacking in many things… many were persecuted, yet, they had been begging Paul to have the privilege of participating in giving an offering for the needs that the church had back in Jerusalem.
There aren’t many churches around who are begging pastors to take up another offering. But these Macedonians were dong that very thing. I love it! And Paul nearly says, “This just blew my mind!” “And they exceeded our expectations.” So how was this possible? I believe the key is found in the second part of that verse… “They gave themselves first of all to the Lord…”
When I pray “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” I’m really inviting Him to take first place in everything… my will, my family, my work, my wallet. What a joy it is to journey around the churches on the LA District, and to see so many of you joining in by giving and supporting the needs of so many others. I trust that the Lord will continue to provide for you as you trust Him with your EVERYTHING!
DISTRICT MATTERS: May I remind you to finish the church year strong! This is our final month in the financial year for the church, and I trust that you will be certain to send all of your allocations to the four groups: WEF, Pensions, Education, and District Unified. Thank you!
- Trinity: Monterey Park and Rowland Heights: On Saturday, February 24, the church gathered together in a large auditorium for a Commissioning Service for Pastors Albert, Christine Hung, and family. More than 350 of us were together to say our “thank-yous and good-byes”. What a special afternoon this was and what a fabulous job the church did by putting all of this together. Pastor Albert… we will miss you in your new journey along with your precious wife, and Co-Pastor Christine as you journey to NorCal to minister as superintendents. We will keep you very close to our hearts. May Jesus bless your every move!
- Ridgecrest: On Sunday, February 25, I had the honor of preaching in the Ridgecrest Church of the Nazarene. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to rise early in the morning to make that drive up and through the desert. I so enjoy that journey. And then to worship with the church family, and share the Word with them. God is good! Thank you pastoral team for all that you do… and thank you church board for your encouragement as we work till Jesus comes.
PRIME TIMERS RETREAT: The dates are set… APRIL 23-26, 2018 with the theme “Legacy” where the three districts will gather together at Murrieta Hot Springs for a wonderful retreat time together. Leslie and I will be there… now that I’ve been labeled “old”. We enjoy this retreat every year and we look forward to the time spent together once again. If you need further information, please check with your local church who should have the brochures for you… or check in with Vania here at the District Resource Center. We can get some brochures for you as well.
May the Lord bless you this week! I know these Few Thoughts came out a bit later than normal… and I hope to get the next ones out sooner. I love you and count it a privilege to serve the Lord on this great Los Angeles District. I hope to see you soon!
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene