Pastor’s Ponderings

Dear Friends and Families of Woodmar UMC,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

WOW!  We were blessed to have an intern this summer!  Marybeth Scheibel went above and beyond her required 150 hours to hang tough with us until our Summer Reading Ministry concluded on August 1st.  She didn’t have to do that…she could have stopped coming here after July 14th. She gifted us with three extra weeks, because, for Marybeth it wasn’t just a requirement…she is truly listening to what the Holy Spirit is whispering to her about God’s call on her life.  We can see from her letter to us that she learned a lot, and we, in turn, learned a lot from her.

This summer, I was reminded that it’s good and healthy to take a step back…breathe…be still…and consider our calling with a rested, fresh perspective. When we are living life in the heat of the moment, sometimes, it’s tempting to become disheartened by roadblocks that pop up along the way.  Then, God shows up in unexpected ways…a phone call, an encounter with a Summer Reading child or one of our Community Preschool/Childcare children, a young family who decides to make Woodmar their church home, a note, a text, a hug, a stranger who has been where you are, a friend who notices something isn’t quite right in your spirit and prays with you…and God’s purposes come back into sharper focus bringing a renewed commitment to share the Good News of Jesus Christ…to bring hope into hopelessness…to bring light into the darkness…this is who we are, saints of Woodmar! God is leading us…clearing the path and walking alongside us…cheering us on every step of the way!

I have also been reminded of an important technique I learned decades ago when I played basketball: the “follow through” of shooting. When the ball is released, the hand doesn’t just stop mid-air, it follows through after the ball is released.  It’s all about form, direction, consistency, and power.   Practicing Kingdom Living requires follow through…form (the practice of Spiritual Disciplines and ministry), direction (knowing, understanding and following God’s will), consistency (hanging tough!), and power (prayer).  It also means continuing to grow deeper relationships with God, with each other and with our neighbor.  What might it look like for us to practice following through?  Reaching out to someone who has been missing from worship by a phone call, note or visit?  Tossing ministry ideas, then being willing to do the work it takes to help make it happen?  Introducing ourselves to someone new and building a relationship?  Being positive when tempted to be negative?  We are called to a LIVING FAITH in Jesus Christ that breathes new life into us, into our homes, into our church, and into our community.  We are called to a LIVING FAITH that is contagious! God calls us, and we get to follow through…how awesome is that?!

On Sunday, August 25th, I invite you to carve out some extra time for our church family.  We’ll worship at 10AM, then we will be presented with some exciting possibilities for our future that we will prayerfully discuss.  Each person’s voice is important…we want your input! So, please, plan to stay for an hour’ish after worship that day. I will make chicken salad croissants (enough for everyone!), and you are invited to bring your favorite salad to share. It’s time to “follow through,” saints of Woodmar!  (You will receive more information about August 25th during the week before.)

To God be the glory!

See you in worship!

Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,

Pastor Esta