Pastor’s Ponderings

Dear Woodmar Family & Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
As I sit to write to you, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our Church Council. Too often, the Church Council meeting is thought of as just a business meeting, but it’s so much more than that! The United Methodist Book of Discipline states the purpose of the Church Council:

“¶ 252.1. Purpose – The church council shall provide for planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, witness, and resources in the local church. It shall also provide for the administration of its organization and temporal life. It shall envision, plan, implement, and annually evaluate the mission and ministry of the church.”

Our Church Council is a team of people who love Jesus and love our church, and we strive to run our meetings on a foundation of Scripture and prayer. Have you ever been to a Church Council meeting?
You don’t have to be a member of Church Council to attend…it’s an open meeting!
The Church Council meetings are grounded in Scripture and prayer. Last week, we practiced lectio divina with Hebrews 10:23-25:
23 “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more
as you see the Day approaching.”

There were two parts that of this passage that stood out for most of our Council:
1. “He who has promised is faithful.”
2. “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together…but encouraging one another.”
God is faithful. Even when things look bleak…God, who has promised, is faithful. The pandemic turned our world upside down, and is still happening…it’s still affecting us. Our worship attendance and our Community Preschool and Childcare enrollment aren’t back up to what they were prepandemic, but in spite of what it looks like to us, God is faithful. Knowing and believing that God is faithful gives us an opportunity to believe that a new, improved “normal” is coming our way!
Friends, it’s time to “provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together…but encouraging one another.” It was brought up that “provoke” is such an unusual word to be used in this
context as we often think of “provoke” in a negative light. Donna offered that perhaps “provoke” was used to imply a stronger action than encourage.

Merriam-Webster defines provoke as: “To call forth a feeling or an action, to stir up, to provide the needed stimulus for, to arouse to a feeling or action.”

What I’m hearing in Merriam-Webster’s definition of provoke is passion. Let us provoke one another to be passionate about our faith. Let us provoke one another to be passionate about being the hands and feet
of Jesus in our broken and hurting world. Reflecting on the Word of God and praying together is the most important business we do. I am thankful for a Church Council who is willing to keep the main thing the main thing! We hope you’ll join us on September 23rd via zoom…a link will be coming your way!

Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,
Pastor Esta


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