Advent: Obedience Amidst Chaos

Our lives can be chaotic sometimes. turbulent even. overwhelming occasionally. Some days it feels like everything is all out of sorts or like we can't get our bearings straight. Some days it seems all we can see is everything negative in our surroundings or everything good we're sure is elsewhere. We fill our hours with crying, moping, complaining, sighing, wishing, panicking, and despairing - and then go to bed hoping tomorrow might look better. We spin our wheels, beat our heads against a wall, push water uphill with a rake, and rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Things seem hopeless. useless. pointless.

This is likely how the disciples felt in Matthew 14. Jesus had just finished teaching, and had sent them in a boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while he went up to pray. The disciples set out but apparently didn't get very far, before their boat was "battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary." In fact, they were likely pushing and straining - trying to get somewhere - for hours, because "in the fourth watch of the night (at about 3 in the morning) [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea."

What's fascinating to me is not that Jesus met them, walking on the sea, but that his first words weren't a pronouncement of "peace, be still" to the storm. Instead, they were directed at the disciples: "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Now, while this could certainly be comforting, we need to be careful not to gloss over what appears to be really happening in the passage. The phrase "it is I" is a bit of a paraphrase. When we read this in the original Greek, we find the phrase actually reads: "Take courage. I am. Do not be afraid."

This is the only place in Matthew we find the divine pronouncement of I AM from the mouth of Jesus. And, as such, we need to ensure we recognize the gravity of the situation. While the storm is eventually calmed, the message of primary importance appears to be that the disciples (and, thus, we as well) recognize that Jesus is indeed the great I AM.

See, when we come to the point where we begin to trust that Jesus is who He says he is, our perspective changes. We change. The storm that surrounds us loses its power. We start to recognize, much like Peter, that what matters is our nearness to Jesus. If Jesus is indeed the Word made flesh, God incarnate, Immanuel, my most pressing concern isn't removing myself from the storm, but being moved toward Jesus in the storm. And, much like Peter, as I fix my eyes upon my Savior, pressing in upon Him, I find the authority of my storm no longer has control over me.

If you find yourself this Advent season feeling hopeless, crying out for change, feeling like you're pushing against the oars but getting nowhere. If you can't see a way out or a light through, take courage. the I AM is coming. And he's calling you to be near him.

Your SoCal district administration

 

Youth Fund-raising for Haiti

Rooted Youth Group at Las Flores Church is making a difference in Haiti! These middle and high school students have set themselves a fund-raising goal of $500 by Christmas for True Shepherd Ministries. That’s enough to provide a flock of sheep to a local pastor, and send 2 children to school for 8 months! Founded by Tim Hickson and Antony Duclos, True Shepherd provides support to local communities in Haiti through micro-loans, education scholarships, and community development projects like clean water. For more info and ways to give, contact AJ Wolf (949) 300-6758 or visit trueshepherd.com

 

Fresh Start: Connecting the Dots

We will be hosting "Fresh Start" 2017 on February 25th at The Bridge Church in Bloomington. Our theme this year is "Connecting the Dots" and will focus on seeing the connections between people and ministry. The Cost is $12 per person if paid before Feb. 14, and $15 per person if paid after Feb. 14. (we are asking each church to pay registration for their attending members). Please mark your calendars accordingly!

Our keynote speaker this year will be Rev. Scott Daniels, former lead pastor of Pasadena First Church and current Lead pastor at Nampa College Church of the Nazarene. We are excited about how God will use this time to energize His church and equip His leaders for service. Hope to see you there!

Registration is coming soon!

 

Teen Bible Quizzing

Please note this year’s quizzing competition schedule (many locations are TBD) 

  • Dec 3, Luke 1-12 (material estimate), Grizzly Tournament @ Fresno area
  • Jan 14, Luke 1-16, District Quiz
  • Feb 11, Luke 1-20, District Quiz
  • Mar 18 (date estimate), Luke 1-24, Prescott Tournament @ Prescott AZ
  • Apr 8, Luke 1-24, District Finals @ Mission Church
  • May 26-29, Luke 1-24, Elev8 @ PLNU

For more information, contact District Teen Quiz Director, Jerry Goodwin (jerrygoodwin@wildblue.net).

 

Funding the Mission Workshop

On Saturday, December 10th Dr. Mark Lail, Director of Stewardship Ministries, will be with us for a workshop on "Funding the Mission," especially designed for pastors and treasurers.  We will meet at Murrieta Gateway Church of the Nazarene (23560 Jefferson Ave., Murrieta 92562) from 10 AM to 2 PM. We are inviting all pastors, church board secretaries or treasurers, and any others involved with this important task.  

Unfortunately the churches below are not showing church entered activity this year.  We feel this would be a great time to get training on how to use "Funding the Mission".  Dr Lail will train and also answer questions that you may have. Please RSVP w/Bettina at the District Office.

No church entries on Funding the Mission as of 11/15/16

  • AnzaCentroCristiano
  • Banning
  • Barstow
  • Blythe   
  • Brawley
  • Chula Vista, Parkway Hills
  • Hemet   
  • Hesperia
  • Highland Community Cross
  • Holtville
  • Lakeside Community
  • Menifee Valley Community   
  • Oceanside Grace & Peace
  • Oceanside Renew
  • Palm Springs   
  • Phelan New Life
  • Rialto
  • San Bernardino Samoan
  • San Diego Clairemont Celebrate
  • San Diego First
  • San Diego Mid-City Cambodian
  • San Diego Mid-City English   
  • San Diego Mid-City French
  • Spring Valley Hispanic
  • Victorville First
  • Vista Hope
  • Yucaipa Valley
  • Yucca Valley

 

Children's Quizzing Calendar: 2016-17

  • Invitational Quiz: December 3 @ Las Flores
  • Invitational Quiz: January 28 @ Gateway Murrieta
  • Invitational Quiz: March 11 @ TBD
  • District Quiz: April 8 @ Mission
  • Regional Quiz: May 2017 @PLNU (for those who qualify)
  • World Quiz: June 2017

For more information, contact Karisa May

 

Local Missionary Presidents

We are asking all local NMI presidents (Missionary presidents) to email Darla Bridges (SoCal District LINKS Secretary) at socallinks@outlook.com. She's needing a more complete list in order to get out appropriate information to all applicable parties. Additionally, pastors - please make sure that your local NMI president has access to this information and Darla's email

 

Christmas Outreach

Unfortunately, children around the world often do not have the supplies needed for school. In countries with economic challenges, families cannot afford to purchase supplies, or siblings are often required to share the supplies. School Pal-Paks provide students in Nazarene primary schools with the supplies they need to facilitate learning, such as pencils, scissors, etc.

Can youth and children participate? Since children and youth identify with the need for school supplies, School Pal-Paks is a great way to involve children and youth in missions. Of course, adults can participate in Pal-Paks, too!

For more information about how your Sunday School class can help, please contact http://nmi.nazarene.org/10098/story.html

 

Youth In Mission

Youth in Mission has some exciting mission opportunities for young adults (18-25yrs) in 12 locations across the region for June-July 2017: 

 

What is YiM? An initiative of the USA/Canada Region Church of the Nazarene whose mission is to engage young adults in the mission of Christ through the community of the Church in the diversity of Culture. Learn more at: www.youthinmission.org 

 

Could you help get the word out locally? Especially to those young adults going to community or state colleges and universities. Maybe they are doing something else in life? (Nazarene school students are always welcome to apply) Let them know there is a mission option for them!  

 

Know anyone you’d like to recommend? E-mail yim@nazarene.org

 

 

 

Youth Worker Day

On Friday, March 17th, (9 AM to 1:30 PM), Point Loma's Center for Pastoral Leadership (CPL) will be hosting a Youth Worker Day. Please join us for a chapel service, interview, and luncheon with Doug Fields as well as a time of fellowship with youth workers from throughout California. This is a free event but the CPL needs an RSVP at HERE as soon as possible. (Please see the attachment for more information)

 

Women's Retreat

Ladies, registration for the spring 2017 Women's Retreat has officially begun. Taking place March 17-19 at the S.D. Town and Country Resort, 2017 women's retreat will host Olivia Metcalf (chaplain @ Northwest Naz. Univ.) as its key speaker.

For more info on registration, dates, times, or event particulars, please click HERE or go to socalnaz.org under Ministries (Adult). 

 

SoCal Round-Up

May 19-21, 2017 we will hold our annual SoCal Roundup at Indian Hills Camp in Jamal, CA. We rent the entire campground for the weekend and have a great time swimming, hiking, doing derby car races, zip-lining, obstacle course racing and engaging in wonderful times of praise and worship.  Contact Janet Crow now if your church is interested in doing "Family Camp" at this event.  A tour of the site can be arranged to help with your planning!  Janet's e-mail is janetloma@cox.net

 

General Assembly Update

General Assembly housing is now available to everyone. To register or reserve housing, click HERE, or visit ga2017.com. If you have any problems on the website while registering or reserving housing, please get in touch with Experient Housing Bureau Customer Service at 1-800-424-5249

 

Monthly Reporting

Pastors! D.S. Tom Taylor has a running bet with all the General Superintendents that if he has 100% church reporting for December, they will all shave their heads, get an ear piercing, and compete for a Mr. Clean look-alike contest.* Do your part to get our G.S. as the new face of clean!

*has not been verified and may not be true

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