Greetings on this First Day in September!
It’s been a very hot week here in SOCAL… temps have been well into the triple digits, fires are flaring up in various places, lightning and thunderstorms are striking in the deserts, valleys and mountains… and many of us are still reading about the flooding issues in Texas and Louisiana today. I am certain that nearly all of us have family or dear friends somehow affected by the floods. And they all need our prayers, support and encouragement. It is in times like these when I am so glad to belong to the Church of the Nazarene… where we have people in place, a system up and running, called Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, to provide assistance in such a time as this. Only yesterday did I receive this brief note from our Regional Director, Dr. Robert Broadbooks… and I’d like to pass along his message to us all:
I write to you today from San Antonio. I spent yesterday visiting the devastation in Houston and surrounding areas with Jeffrey Johnson; Assistant DS Sam Flores; George Sisler, NDR leader; and Dan Jeter, the videographer. It was a sobering and moving experience. It will take years for the damage to be made right. We videoed scenes and taped a plea to the church; we anticipate that it will be available to show in our churches on Sunday. It will hopefully be posted on the NCM website Friday or Saturday. The bottom line is that we are asking our people to pray for our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana and seek ways to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey by visiting NCM’s website and the South Texas District COTN website for instructions. Presently, the main focus continues to be search and rescue.
If you would like to convey this message of needed prayer and help to your congregation… this may be the greatest way to help! And as you pray, please also remember Bangladesh and India… they too, have massive flooding which has led to many deaths and millions of people affected. www.ncm.org
ENCOURAGEMENT: SUMMER IN THE PSALMS Out of the depths I cry to You, Lord; Lord hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption. He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. Psalm 130:1-8
I read this psalm the other morning and immediately thought of the devastation taking place in many parts of the world caused by storms, flooding, wars, problems and more. I thought of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, as Jesus was approaching Jerusalem on His last journey when He was making His way to the cross. Good old Bart kept calling out… “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And the crowds around him told him to keep quiet. “Jesus was too busy,” they scolded him. Yet, he pressed on… he wouldn’t quit. He kept on yelling… asking… crying out!
Don’t you love that? I do! And Jesus stopped. Whatever He was doing… wherever He was heading… whatever was on His mind… To those He may have been talking to… Jesus STOPPED and called for him. Jesus heard his cries. Jesus knew his need. But He still asked Bart, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
I am most certain that many people in Texas… in Louisiana… in Bangladesh… in India… in Syria… you name the place, are calling out. You may be calling out, right now… And I only say, “Keep on calling… Keep on crying… Keep on seeking… Keep on asking… Keep on knocking…” I believe the door will open up. Jesus hears us as we call upon Him. And may we be used by Him, as we respond to the cries for help.
DISTRICT MATTERS: Something is always happening… going on… changing… and taking place. Thank you for keeping in touch with me, sharing what’s going on in your part of the world. We, in the District Resource Center will do our best to pass along news, highlights, and needs:
- Thank You: For the churches that have stayed on top of your giving towards the WEF, Pensions, Education, and District Unified… I want to thank you for your faithful support. If you are a bit behind, it’s not too late to jump in and get started, or to get caught up. Your faithful support really does go a long way in assisting so many others… all across the world and even right here in our own Los Angeles District.
- Retired Missionary Modena Conrad: Earlier this week, Modena Conrad, retired missionary to Peru, Costa Rica and other parts of Central America went home to be with her Lord. Howard Conrad, preceded her in death some years back. Details for her service have not been shared just yet. Please be in prayer for her family.
- Montrose: Last Saturday night the Montrose Church had a giant block party on their Bresee campus where many people gathered for outdoor music, kids’ games, food and more. What a great way to invite the community to join in on some great Christian fellowship. Thank you Pastors David, Scott, and Rick and staff for inviting Leslie and me to join and for a well-done ministry!
- Lompoc Trinity: On Sunday Leslie and I were privileged to be part of the worship experience up in the northern part of our district at the Lompoc Church. What a special time we enjoyed… first of all, driving up the coastline to the beautiful community of Lompoc… then to fellowship with the people, and worship along with them. I commend Pastor Duane & Tracy Armstrong and their team of leaders in the work and ministries unfolding there. When service was complete, we quickly made our way over to see Pastor Pedro Hernandez and his family as they had just concluded worship. We praise the Lord for all that is going on there. God is alive in Lompoc!
- Pastors & Spouses’ Retreat: Attention all pastors, board secretaries… and church board members, I trust that you are doing your best to assist your pastor and spouse to attend the retreat in just a few weeks. Last year we enjoyed a great time together… and we’d love to see everyone there!
May the Lord watch over you and keep you! I love you and I look forward to seeing you soon…
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene