An Easter Malaise

I have a confession.

I went to a Coffee shop on Easter Sunday afternoon and worked for a while on district website content. 

Sacrilege. Desecration. Maybe, just the brief sideways glance...

I understand.

I felt the same way as I got into my car to make the trip downtown. I even sat in my house for about 20 minutes beforehand debating the decision, thinking "what does it say if I go do some work on Easter Sunday? Is there something in the manual about losing one's credentials if found in vocational exertion on a major Christian holiday?" I could feel my mom's exasperated protest, "On Easter Sunday? Why don't you find something more edifying to do?" I could even smell the smoldering of my "What Would Phineas Do" bracelet.

Ultimately, I made the decision to go - not for any good reason, but because it's part of my Sunday afternoon routine.* When you're single and without family in the area, most holidays end up resembling every other day. Easter is no exception.

Like most churches, the week before Easter is pedal to the floor for us: Good Friday service, a lot of music, presentation, and decoration prep for Sunday, a sunrise or baptism service early Sunday morning, then the big Easter celebration. But, once that's all done, what then? When all the people have headed home or to the local buffet; when the last hand has been shook, church doors locked, and the parking lot vacated, what happens then?

Life goes on. For good or for bad, the routines come flooding back. Even if Easter is filled with family and friends and celebration, there sits Monday - just waiting with its half-asleep, ogre-like, sarcastic disposition. What then?

I've begun to experience a new dimension to Paul's words when he declares in Romans 14, "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind." While Paul, here, is speaking largely of eating meat sacrificed to idols and not causing a brother or sister to stumble, his sentiment is based on the broader recognition that, as Christians, our lives have been revolutionized by the cross and the empty tomb. Easter has - or should - transform the way we experience even the most mundane of activities. The Spirit of the resurrected Lord sanctifies everything from the minutia of daily existence to "major" life choices, allowing us both freedom in Christ and requiring enslavement to God and to righteousness.** 

So, is going to a coffee shop and getting work done on Easter Sunday wrong? Should I have stayed home, sung a few verses of "Holiness Unto the Lord," and done a Good Shepherd paint-by-numbers kit? Maybe. However, the reality of the first Easter Sunday prompts me to look at every day with this kind of scrutiny. In light of the resurrection, does my Tuesday afternoon bear the signs of the resurrected Lord? How about my Friday night? or Thursday mid-morning? Is the creative force of Easter continuing to reshape our priorities, relationships, and time commitments?

This Eastertide, we encourage you to join with the first disciples who marvelled at the resurrected Messiah, bearing witness to the earth-shattering news that God had conquered sin and the grave. Christ has been raised and all the world is changed because of this truth!

Your District Admin Team

P.S.: In an alternate universe, this would've been an April Fool's post from Rev. Taylor announcing his resignation amidst family troubles, appointing Steve Rodeheaver as interim D.S. Happy Easter.

*Because of my pastoral position, I try to keep Saturdays for my Sabbath

** Rom. 6:15-23

 

PLNU Women's Auxiliary and Friends

The PLNU's Women's Auxiliary and Friends will host their annual spring luncheon this Sunday, April 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Talega Golf Club (990 Avenida Talega, San Clemente, CA 92673). The cost will be $25.00 per person and will feature a light buffet lunch, a devotional with Rev. Larry Pitcher, live music, door prizes, and a silent auction. Proceeds will go toward rebuilding of the Prescott Prayer Chapel. For more information or to donate please go here.

 

Prime Time Retreat

Murrieta Calvary Chapel will be hosting "The Gathering" Prime Time retreat on April 18 - 21. Our speaker will be Dr. Jim Bond, former General Superintendent and PLNU president. In addition, Brain Arner will be joining us in concert Monday evening. Please see the Prime Time retreat district webpage for registration and more information.

 

Church Plant Kick-off Dinner

Living Water Church of the Nazarene, church plant of Southeast Church of the Nazarene in San Diego, is having a fund-raising dinner on Sunday evening, April 24th. For more information on this new church initiative in East Village, downtown San Diego, check livingwaternazarene.com or email Pastor Chris Nafis personally.

 

Bilingual Discipleship Initiative

On May 11-15, Javier and Annette Mondragon, pastors of a bilingual church in Fort Wayne, IN, will be leading the Bilingual Discipleship Initiative at San Bernardino First. Along with nightly services, Wednesday through Saturday, they will be hosting a Saturday workshop from 11 AM to 3 PM. They are currently looking for workshop leaders, especially those involved in Spanish-speaking ministries. Suggested topics are:

    • Understanding and ministering to Hispanic community members
    • The importance of giving
    • How to introduce interpreting during worship
    • Creative responses to the challenges of developing a full fledged bilingual ministries
    • Best practices for outreach

Please keep Steve Martinez, the new start pastor, and the entire SB First leadership team in your prayers as they look for partnership in this new ministry venture. For more information, contact Rev. Susan Carole.  

 

Socal Roundup

The SoCal Roundup, May 20 - 22, at the Indian Hills Camp in Jamul, CA., will be a weekend packed with outdoor activities for all ages as well as inspiring times of praise and worship. Camp areas are available for churches interested in making this weekend a youth or family camping trip. Prices range from $30 - $57 per person for tent, cabin, or structure camping. For more information contact Janet Crow. And, remember - you don't need to have a Caravan program to participate.

 

Elevate

Remember, Elevate is coming up soon - May 27-30 and registration is limited to the first 1400 applicants. Early bird deadline is April 25th ($125), after which the cost goes up to $150. Payment is by online check only and can be accessed at elev8event.com. For more info on the new platform and Elevate 2016, please watch this.

 

District Assembly Update

Mark your calendars now for District Assembly 2016 at San Diego First Church & PLNU! The opening service is Sunday, June 5 at 5pm. Assembly is Monday from 8:30am-4:30pm and the ordination service is at 7pm. General Superintendent Eugenio Duarte will be presiding over Assembly and preaching at both services. Online registration for housing, nursery care, children's choir participation, and delegates will be live in the next week - so watch your email for another special District Assembly newsletter with links and promotional resources.

 

Seminar by the Sea at PLNU

Research shows that the number one factor associated with effective leadership is a high degree of personal self-awareness. This seminar will help ministry leaders identify and understand their unique God-given abilities and then how to leverage these capacities in building and empowering dynamic ministry teams.

Instructors include Dr. Norm Shoemaker, Dr. Dan Croy, Dr. Reuben Welch, and Dr. Ron Benefiel. For more information, visit HERE or call 619-849-2410.

 

Annual Report Reminder

Following are a list of links for reports due at various times before district assembly. Please note any reports you may be responsible for:

If you have any questions about reporting, please contact district secretary Steve Rodeheaver.

 

Senior-High Camp

SoCal Senior-High Summer Camp, themed "Handcrafted," will be  June 27 - July 1 at Cedar Falls Camp. Early registration has begun and will extend to June 6th (price of $280 if postmarked by June 6). All entrants after will be considered late (Postmarked after June 6 will be $290). Check out our promotional video and our District Senior-High camp webpage for registration forms and further info.

 

Mid-High Camp

District Mid-High camp will be July 25-29 at Idyllwild Pines Christian Camp. The theme this year is "Illuminate" and will feature all sorts of games, activities, and strong Biblical teaching. All campers, counsellors, and parents, please check our District Mid-High Camp webpage for registration forms and promotional materials. Hope to see you there!

 

NCM Compassion Conference

Compassion Conference, July 14-16, is a three-day global gathering sponsored by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. The event will inspire you to imagine how the church can live out God’s call to compassion and equip you for holistic, transformational ministry.

Learn together how to connect, collaborate, and create in order to change the world for those living in the margins of your community. Register now and spread the word.

 

Monthly Reporting

Pastors, please remember that the district needs your monthly church stats reported here.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated as it allows your D. S. to stop stalking all of you on facebook, posting snide comments on all of your family pictures ("I see you have time to spend a day at the beach, but still don't have time to fill out your monthly reports").

 

A Word from SoCal SDMI

What counts as discipleship? Today’s church is different than the 20th century church. Most Churches have shown decreases in Sunday School and increases in small group attendance. If you're fretting over a decrease in "traditional" discipleship attendance, don’t be afraid to take a second look at what education and discipleship can look like in your church. Let's count discipleship the way it really looks today:

  • Spending time with someone that is mentoring you in the things of God. Count it!
  • Growing in the knowledge of the scriptures. All Bible studies no matter what day of the week they meet. Count it!
  • Setting people free from bondage through groups like recovery, divorce care, grief care, etc. Count it!
  • Equipping people to be better parents, husbands, and wives (or, any family, blended family, or parenting class, etc.). Count it!
  • A New Tool: “Tell THE Story”: This is how the scriptures were shared for thousands of years. Our General Church SDMI is training, teaching, and certifying all who want to learn this great art. So, Count it!

Discipleship Ministry cannot be put into a box. Work on putting into place real, life-changing, authentic ministry. Make it Count!

Rev. Kevin O'Connor, SDMI Chairperson

 

Local church need

Holtville Church is in need of communion cup trays and bread plates. Please contact Loyda Ruiz at pastoraloyda@hotmail.com if you have extra or know of a resource for our Holtville brothers and sisters.

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