Few Thoughts 3-19-2021
LOS ANGELES DISTRICT
Greetings, Los Angeles District Family! 

The rain appears to have come and is now gone. I just glanced at the 10-Day forecast and it looks like blue skies, sunshine, and no wind for the next couple of weeks. Not bad as we are gearing up for Palm Sunday and Holy Week!
 
You all know that we are about to finish up the church year in only two more weeks. My daughter reminded me last night, as we were having dinner together, that it was one year ago on Tuesday of this week, when 8 of us got “stuck in Peru” and were unable to return to the states because of the pandemic and shutdowns everywhere. So yes, it has now been one year since we have been experiencing these major challenges at home, at work, in our churches, and everywhere! Yet, I can say this: Following my early morning run on Monday of this week, I went inside the coffee shop to pick up my cup of coffee, when I discovered that they had taken off the tape on the tables and chairs. I asked the server if I could sit down, and she replied, “Yes, you may sit! We are finally open for the first time in a year.” This happened at 6:05 in the morning and I was the first one to sit inside this coffee shop in a year. A few moments later my running friends joined me.
ENCOURAGEMENT: 

Jesus answered, “It is said: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit, and news about Him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues and everyone was praising Him. (Luke 4:12-15) 

There’s just something awesome and powerful that comes to us after spending time with the Lord in prayer. We know how that it is when we’re going… going… and going and we forget to eat anything. Our bodies become weaker, but as soon as we stop to get something to eat, all of a sudden we are refreshed and re-energized. When running a marathon, it is vitally important to replenish our bodies with Gatorade or some other drink while racing the marathon. Our cars will suddenly die on the road or highway if we don’t keep refueling the tanks at service stations. 
 
Immediately following Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, He took off for the wilderness to spend time in prayer for 40 days. Yes, He prayed and fasted, and I am certain His body, physically, was weak. He had to have been exhausted. But He was spending time with His Father in Heaven, empowered by the Spirit of God. The devil has been observing and watching His every move. As we all know, the very first temptation was a real and physical temptation Satan brought to the Lord. “Hey, since You are the Son of God, why don’t you turn these stones into bread?” And I love Jesus’ answer, “Man shall not live on bread alone.” Jesus was so in tuned to God and the Holy Scriptures, He knew just what to answer when being tempted by the devil. 
 
We all know that Jesus had two other temptations that came His way while Praying and Fasting in the wilderness, and each time He answered Satan with just the right words. Why? Because He had been spending time with His Heavenly Father in prayer and the Holy Spirit gave Him the exact words to reply. Following the third temptation from the devil, Luke informs us that Satan left Him. After reading the entire passage it is quite clear that Jesus never got nourished physically, for he didn’t turn any stone into physical food. He just kept on in prayer. And when the temptations from the devil ceased, Jesus returned to Galilee. And here is my favorite part to the story: As Jesus came down from the wilderness, after spending 40 days in Prayer and Fasting, Dr. Luke says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit…” 
 
Here’s my question for you and me: How many of us are looking for some power in our lives today? Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you feeling down? Are you looking for strength? Are you in need of guidance and direction? The answer is simple: Spend time in prayer. In fact, take some time to Pray and Fast, because it is then when the Holy Spirit of God will give you the power you need to answer the needs you may have today. As we read through the Gospels it is quite clear that nearly every time Jesus grew tired and weary, He went away to a solitary place to pray. And when He did, He was always re-energized, renewed, and empowered by the Spirit. 
 
As we prepare for Palm Sunday and Holy Week, may I encourage you to spend some time in Prayer… Prayer and Fasting, because God WILL re-strengthen you and give you POWER!
  • Pastor Robert Bray of The Glory Barn in Wildomar, passed away on Wednesday, March 17th. I had been in communication with His son, Rev. Mark Bray, several times in these recent weeks, and I received the call from Mark that his dad went home to be with Jesus at 6:30AM. Please keep Joan and the family in your prayers.

  • We have lost a number of people in various churches since January. I have nearly two memorial services each week for the next three weeks. It is a very busy time for many of our pastors. Let’s lift each other up these days!

  • Lots of flooding due to heavy rains in many parts of Peru right now. Damages are hitting many jungle towns and cities. 

  • Pray for our pastors and leaders as they prepare for some very special weeks leading up to Easter. May Jesus be praised!
Northridge New Life: Pastor Josh Santin has resigned from our church in New Life, and I had the privilege of preaching this past Sunday in this great place. Thank you, Pastor Josh and Mary Santin, for your wonderful years of leadership and ministry in this church. We look forward to seeing the Lord’s leading in your lives as you continue to serve Him on our L.A. District. Thank you, Pastors Kathy Cannon and Bonnie Traylor, along with your team of leaders for the work you are doing during this time of transition. We’ve already started the first steps in our pastoral search. May the Lord lead and guide us along the way. 
Perú Work & Witness Trip
Anyone who is interested in joining us for a Mission’s Trip to the Amazon Jungle is welcomed to send me their name and email so that I can get material to you on the trip this summer. We will be heading to Perú on Tuesday, July 6, immediately following our L.A. District Assembly. The cost will depend on how long you would plan to be there with us. You have the option of going to visit the ancient ruins of Cusco and Machu Picchu, and also going to Pucallpa. The total cost for EVERYTHING will be less than $2,000 per person. If you choose to go on the entire trip, we will return to the states on Wednesday, July 21. Please let me know very soon if you are interested. The main purpose for this trip is a giant Memorial Service for my mom, Missionary Addie Garman, and the dedication of 6 new church buildings in various villages in the jungle. Come on and join us! I will need to know if you are planning to join us on this trip by Monday, April 19.   
PASTORS' ZOOM PRAYER MEETING: 

Just a reminder that we are having our Zoom prayer meetings at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. Please join us this Wednesday, March 24. You will be receiving an email with a link to the meeting. Looking forward to seeing you all!
Hybrid District Assembly: Please remember that we will be having our hybrid assembly on Thursday, July 1 beginning at 8:30AM at PazNaz. At this point in time I am asking for one pastor and one lay delegate to join us in person while the remaining delegates will connect online. We will be having our Ordination Service at 7:00PM that same evening. More details on the assembly to come to you later.
I sure love and appreciate all of you! Leslie and I are praying for you each and every day as we lift up our district to the Lord in prayer. God is good and He is the One leading even during times like these. I love you and hope to see you soon!
 
Empowered by Him,
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene