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!

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head that plays over and over again?  Me, too!  Ever since yesterday, an older “contemporary” song has been playing over and over again in my head.  It’s called “One Pure and Holy Passion.”  Here is a link to listen to it:

Here are the lyrics:

Give me one pure and holy passion.
Give me one magnificent obsession.
Jesus, give me one glorious ambition for my life,
to know and follow hard after You.

To know and follow hard after you,
to grow as your disciple in your truth,
This world is empty, pale, and poor
compared to knowing you, my Lord;
Lead me on, and I will run after you.

One pure and holy passion…one magnificent obsession….one glorious ambition….these aren’t words we typically use when speaking of our relationship with Jesus.  We’re more accustomed to hearing something like “growing more and more in the likeness of Christ.” When Mark Altrogge penned these lyrics, he threw caution to the wind.  This song is a prayer asking God to make Jesus our passion, and to help us be willing to take risks in following him.

What does it mean to follow hard after Jesus? Collectively, we did that well during Lent with the study and practice of some of the Spiritual Disciplines. As we

faithfully practice Spiritual Disciplines, we begin changing from the inside out.  Gradually, we begin to ask ourselves things like, “Does this help me follow hard after Jesus?”  “Do the words I’m about to speak help me and others follow hard after Jesus?”  “Am I honoring Jesus with my actions and my words?”

On April 27th, our Racial Equity Habit Building Group will be embarking on a risky journey as we study “Race and the Gospel.”  Why risky?  We are being called out of our comfort zones. Leaving our comfort zones may turn our lives upside down, but in doing so we are following hard after Jesus and bringing hope to a desperate and hurting world.

You may find this video study on RightNow Media; once you click on “Search,” type in “Race and the Gospel.”  When “Race and the Gospel” comes up, look at the bottom right and click on “Watch Now.”  A list of the video sessions will pop up, and to the bottom left you will see “Study Guide.”  Click on “View” and the study guide will come up.  If you’d like to do this study on your own and prefer a printed study guide, we’ll print one for you!  If you’d like to join our study, we’re meeting on Tuesday mornings via zoom at 10AM.  Contact me at for the zoom link.

I am grateful for our partnership in ministry!

Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,

Pastor Esta

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


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