Pastor’s Ponderings

Dear Families and Friends of Woodmar UMC,

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

This summer has been a whirlwind of change for our family: Antonio graduated from high school; we put our Valpo home on the market; Ricardo is getting married; Olivia and Antonio will be moving to IU Bloomington; and once the house sells, Miguel will be the one commuting to work. As I reflect on these transitions, I am reminded that life keeps moving full steam ahead! And, that’s a good thing…healthy…something to celebrate!

These things are visible, but what about that part of life which cannot be seen by the naked eye? John Wesley was compelled to ask people, “How is it with your soul?” So, I ask all of us, “How is it with our souls?” Are we, as individuals, positioning ourselves to be molded and shaped by our Savior? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to transform and recreate us each day? Or, have we become compla-cent…satisfied with the way we are and not too concerned about growing in our discipleship?

How is it with our church? Are we, as a church, positioning ourselves to be molded and shaped by our Savior? Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to transform and recreate us each day? Or, have we become complacent…satisfied with the way we’ve always done things?

I can’t answer the “How is it with your soul?” question for anyone but myself…reflecting on this question individually and answering honestly is a solid first step in opening ourselves up to the trans-forming power of the Holy Spirit. While I can’t speak for any individuals, I can speak to the “How is it with our church?” question. Friends, the Holy Spirit is moving in our church. The Holy Spirit is helping us with our “follow-through.” (Please refer to the August Pylon.)

Along with growing in our discipleship, relationship building is an important aspect of making disciples of Jesus Christ. There’s a saying that rings true: “Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.” Many years ago, Woodmar decided to fulfill our denomination’s mission by growing hope, embracing the community, and nurturing the spirit through following Jesus. We had a glimpse of this on Sunday, August 11th when we prayed for the students, teachers, and staff as they prepared to begin a new school year. A few families from our Summer Reading Ministry allowed their children to read and sing in worship…what a blessing to have them worship with us! We are just beginning to get to know these families…the momentum is building!

On Saturday, August 10th we had over 200 people in our Community Center for Kids Closet and the backpack giveaway. We coordinated with the YMCA’s Back to School Event, and it was a beautiful day…a testimony of what we can do when we pull together in the same direction. How will we follow through with these families? How will we get to know them? Let’s keep pulling together in that direction…building relationships with our neighbors.

One opportunity we will have for this is Midweek Recharge! beginning Wednesday, September 4th. Read more about it at the bottom of this page. Another opportunity we have for connecting with our neighbors is FIRST FRIDAYS in the basement, beginning Friday, September 6th. Read more about it on page 5. What about offering SMART Wednesdays? SMART stands for Students, Mentors And Resource Time. Are we willing to follow through with our Summer Reading families? To continue to walk alongside them as they raise their children? And, what about our beautiful Community Garden? Are we inviting our neighbors to participate in partaking of the beautiful produce? If not, why not? Do you like to read to children? Contact Cyndi and volunteer to read to the Community Preschool and Childcare children! Let’s get to know the families who enter our facilities several times per week!

Yes, Friends, the Holy Spirit is moving in this place. Will we join in the joy of following where we are led? My prayer is that, collectively, we will
answer this question with a resounding YES!!! For the glory of God, may this be so! Full steam ahead! Amen!

Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,

Pastor Esta