Finding True Worshipers in Mark: Part 1

Growing up, I remember the Sunday School lessons of Jesus and the Demoniac of the Geresenes spoken of in Mark 5. It's a harrowing picture of what unchecked evil is capable of within human society: a man - naked, cast-out, living in powerful chaos, completely self-destructed (crying out and gashing himself), and, seemingly, fully at the mercy of embodied evil. Looking back, it's still a little strange that we seemed to have very few qualms about presenting what is clearly an R-rated scene, straight out of a horror film, in children's Sunday School. But, even then, I found it completely acceptable - probably, in part, because anything presented on Flannelgraph just has a lighthearted sense to it. (In fact, I say, all awful stories or bad news should be presented on flannelgraph.  

   ...or cakes. 

"the MRI results came back positive" or "You're adopted" just seem easier to bear when you get to have cake with the news.)

However, as I'm sure those who have come into contact with demon possession will attest, this experience of coming face-to-face with powerful, personal evil was anything but light-hearted.

It's here, though, that Mark presents in interesting spin on the account. As Jesus approached the demoniac, he "[...] ran up and bowed down before him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I implore you, by God, do not torment me!" (Mark 5:6b-7, NASB). First, It's fascinating that a demon would approach Jesus, running to him even, just to say "don't hurt me." Wouldn't he be running the other way if he knew Jesus was a genuine threat? (Thus, one is forced to ask the question - was it the demon who urged the man toward Jesus, or was it the man in a last-ditch effort of clarity who willed himself, despite the demon, to the only one who he knew could eliminate the evil possessing him?)

Second, however, is Mark's use of the word we translate "bowed down" in the account. While we see several people throughout Mark, touching Jesus or casting themselves at his feet, this is only 1 of 2 times that we find the Greek "proskuneo," which we often translate as "bow down," especially as an act of worship, in Mark. The other time, oddly enough, is when the Roman cohort gathers in Pilate's palace to mock-worship Jesus immediately before his crucifixion.

In fact, Mark seems to be full of these linguistic and event pairings. In Mark 1, when Jesus comes up from the baptism, the heavens are opened, or "torn apart" in the Greek, as the Spirit descends. Likewise, at His crucifixion, the veil of the temple is "torn" into two - same root word. In both Mark 5 and Mark 7, a synagogue official and SyroPhonecian woman, respectively, fall down "at the feet" of Jesus, both seeking healing for a daughter. Further, we have 2 accounts of feeding large multitudes, 5,000 (Mark 6) and 4,000 (Mark 8), as well as a 2-part healing of a blind man in Mark 8.

So what is the purpose of these couplets? What does Mark want us to see in these stories? And, specifically, in juxtaposing the Geresene demoniac and the Roman cohort, both "falling down" in worship, what might God be saying to us about the nature of true worship?

For more discussion, be watching for November's newsletter (or feel free to email me simply by responding to the newsletter and we can dialogue about the story)

Your SoCal district administration


Blue Cut Fire Disaster Fund

As mentioned in the lead article of the previous newsletter, a Razoo account (click HERE) has been set up for the ongoing care of and ministry to those communities having been integrally affected by the Blue Cut Fire. Our fundraiser goes until the end of October at which point we will offer the funds to the relief efforts spearheaded by Pastor Jeff Mosley (Phelan) and Pastor Brian Graley (Hesperia). We sincerely thank those who have already given to the effort, and we ask you to join us as we seek to bless those communities which still bear the wounds of this devastating natural disaster long after it has faded from media attention.


Summer Shorts

We've finished with our "Summer Shorts" series of videos but you can still access the videos to get a few snapshots of what God is doing on the SoCal district. We have highlighted three ministries: San Jacinto Shepherd's House, San Bernardino First, and San Diego Southeast.  Click HERE to view and download all three.


Newly Organized Church in Oceanside!

Oceanside Grace & Peace COTN organized on September 18, 2016.  Rev. Nate and Katie Wells welcomed over 25 charter members at their 5:00 PM evening service. The SoCal district has organized two churches in Oceanside this year! (The other is Renew Church with Rev. Paul Straub. Plans are in process for two more in Oceanside.) Please be in prayer for Pastor Nate and his team as they seek to be the hands of feet of Christ among the Oceanside community.


Mt. Carmel Church Fall Festival

October 30th, 5:00pm-7:00pm,Mt Carmel Church of the Nazarene will be hosting its annual Fall Festival.  Come join us for a fun time of Carnival Games, Bounce House, Candy, Marcel Belgian Waffles Food Truck and much more! Costumes are welcome. This is not just a time for us to reach out to our local community but a time to celebrate with our community at large.  If you have any questions please feel free to call (858) 484-2003 or email


Fresh Start

Fresh Start is officially planned for February 25th at The Bridge Church in Bloomington. We will be hosting a great time of worship, workshops, and wh... ww.... fellowship. (how you allude me, alliteration!). Cost is $12 and includes lunch (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!


Leadership Team Retreat

Remember, pastors and leadership teams: This year's Leadership Team Retreat is taking place October 7-9 at the Springhill Suits Marriott in Oceanside, CA. Those who have registered, please mark your calendars for the appropriate date. It will be a great time of refreshment and renewal with Dr. Stan Toler.


Teen Bible Quizzing

Our next quizzing event is the 12th annual San Diego Invitational on Oct. 8 at the Mission Church of the Nazarene in San Diego, covering Luke 1-6.  This event starts at 8:30 AM and is a Southwest Field Invitational. The registration fee is $25.

This year’s competition schedule (many locations are TBD) 

  • Oct 8, Luke 1-6, San Diego Invitational @ Mission Church
  • Nov 12, Luke 1-10, District Quiz
  • 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 (


All Local and District Licensees

To better prepare and assist ordination candidates, we are looking to set aside October 21-22 for our first District Ministerial Candidate Seminar. Please mark this date on your calendars. More information will be provided when available.


2016 Haiti Work & Witness Trips

Please remember: the deadline for the final payment for the Haiti Work and Witness trip is just around the corner (October 28th). Please be in prayer for those who will be working to assist God's vibrant and active work happening in Haiti.


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 particulars, please click HERE or go to the district website 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


Monthly Reporting

Pastors - do we have a deal for you! We are currently overstocked on our ASSOCIATE PASTORS down here at district headquarters! And, to make room for next year's models we are selling them at CRAZY prices!! Our loss is your gain!!! All you have to do regularly submit your monthly reporting stats on the district website and we'll send you 2 free!!! Remember, you can click on "Monthly Reports" under "Reports" on the district website or just click HERE


Upcoming Events

  • Leadership Team Retreat: October 7-9
  • District Ministerial Candidate Seminar: October 21-22
  • Haiti W&W trips: November 11 - 19; 19 - 27
  • Fresh Start: February 25
  • Women's Retreat: March 17-19

For a more detailed record of these and other upcoming district events please visit the district calendar, or

For a printable version of this newsletter (abbreviated) for use as a bulletin insert or wall posting, please see the attached file.

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