Author Archives: Shay

Few Thoughts 9-1-2017

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

ENCOURAGEMENTSUMMER 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! 

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  • 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

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  • 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! 

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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

 

 

Few Thoughts 8-25-2017

Greetings!  It’s a bit hazy out there these recent days with temps cooling off a little as we enter the fall months.  Perhaps, there is still time left for one more hot summer day…

Again, Leslie and I want to thank you for your prayer support and encouragement as we continue on this road to complete recovery.  Leslie is still fighting daily headaches, but she is returning to the things in life that have kept her moving and busy.  She works a lot with the local high school choirs, and right now… she is returning home from 3 days in Houston with her sister who is undergoing an experimental treatment for mesothelioma.  As for me, the report from the orthopedic surgeon is “severe shoulder injury” with torn cartilage, tendons and rotator cuff.  However, we are trying to NOT have surgery, and see if I can heal on my own.  We will know better in 4 weeks.  So for now, I will try and run (slow jog) so long as my shoulder and calf allow.  Doc says that running will not injure the shoulder anymore.

ENCOURAGEMENTSUMMER IN THE PSALMS   Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.  We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.  Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  (Psalm 124:6-8) I’ve always been afraid of teeth.  Have you ever been bitten by a dog?  I remember days back in the jungle when my friends and I would journey out to Kashibo Cocha to go fishing… Piranha fishing.  That was always the best.  Before placing the bait of caiman (alligator) meat on the hook, we’d get copper wire and wind it up the nylon fishing line about an inch up from the hook so that when the fish would bite… they wouldn’t bite through the line.  We’d then paddle our way out in our small wooden canoe to the reeds of the lake where the water was calm and warm.  Then we’d splash the water, bang our paddles against the canoe drawing all piranha to hang out underneath us… and we’d drop our lines that were tied to the end of a bamboo cane.  Within seconds we’d pull in a fish.  As soon as we brought one in… took the hook out of its mouth, and placed the bait back on the hook… we were ready to go again.  And one thing I remember… I hated to get bit by a piranha… it’s not that it hurts a ton… their teeth are sharp… and they are quick.  But… when we would get careless, taking the hook out of its mouth… inevitably, we’d get bitten.  And we’d bleed.  Of course… that’s what our mouths were for, to suck the blood off our fingers… and get back to work.  

Never fun to be bitten… I was always afraid of getting bitten by a bat… for fear of rabies.  One time I was high up in the Andes of Ecuador, and my friends and I trapped this mink looking like animal… I was closest to it, so I reached down and grabbed him.  He did not like to be grabbed, as his neck cranked around and his mouth connected with my hand, he took a chunk out of me.  I dropped him and he was on his way to freedom.  I had a few pet caimans growing up… they too, have sharp teeth.  And then there are monkeys… their teeth are not so sharp… but when they don’t want to be played with… they too, will bite.  And that’s, yet, another story… 

So I echo these words of David when he writes, “Praise the Lord who has not let us be torn by their teeth…”  Of course, everything described above was all my fault… and through it all, I was protected.  But, what I really love in this psalm are the final words… “Maker of heaven and earth.”  Many of us took a few moments out of our day on Monday to don those silly looking glasses… as we passed them around, for one simple reason… to see the solar eclipse.  And wow!  It was a pretty neat experience.  I loved it… though we did not get a 100% blocked view… it was still quite amazing.  Those living up in the north or east of us may have had a better and more full view… but this did not all come about by chance.  It didn’t just happen to get this way.  I praise the Lord for His complete control and creative power over all the land… water… skies… and universe.  My God is an awesome God!  And He IS IN CONTROL. 

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DISTRICT MATTERS:  Most of our schools are back in full session… though there are a few that have yet to begin.  With this mindset, we return to many of our routine things in life.  I am praying that the Lord will use us to be effective ministers in all of our places of influence.  God has us where we are for a purpose.  And I want to do my best to glorify Him in everything!

  •  Allocations:  Allow me this moment to remind all of our churches to stay on top of the WEF, Pensions, Educational and District Unified Allocations.  We are called to belong to the team… and many missionaries, hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, retired pastors, and the Los Angeles District rely on your support.  For those churches who have stayed with it through the summer months… thank you!  If you are behind in your giving to these ministries, would you please take a close look and do your best to get caught back up?  Thank you for your faithfulness! 
  • PK BBQ & POOL Party:  Leslie and I had an AMAZING time last Saturday with 22 PKs in our back yard eating hot dogs, chips, junk food and swimming.  Thank you moms and dads for bringing them our way.  We hope that it was a nice time for the kids to connect and to reconnect with each other.  We love our PKs! 

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  • North Hollywood: This past Sunday I was with our people in North Hollywood, spending a brief moment with the Armenian Church and privileged to preach in the Spanish speaking Church.  Pastors John Tashjian and Carlos Perla, along with their leadership teams are working to find new ways to reach their community for Christ.  Please join me in praying for these two congregations as they work to win N. Hollywood for Jesus!   

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  • Pastors & Spouses’ Retreat:  I’m looking forward to our time together in a few weeks as we meet up at Pismo Beach for this retreat.  Rev. Ron Fay will be our special speaker and as I glance over the schedule to our time together… we are in for an awesome time!  If you have yet to sign up… please do so, NOW!!!

 

I love you and I hope to see you soon.  May Jesus shine through you as you shed His light on others!

 

Greg A. Garman

Los Angeles District Superintendent

Church of the Nazarene