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Happy New Year!

Dear Family & Friends of Woodmar,

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

Happy New Year! Yes, Advent is the beginning of the new year on the Christian calendar. (Advent began on November 27th.) Just as the new year that we celebrate as a culture (January 1st) ushers in opportunities to re-evaluate our lives and life choices, Advent gives us the opportunity to spend time reflecting on our faith journeys.

During this season, the world screams at us, “Buy more! Decorate more! Charge more on your credit card…you can always pay it off later! Be busy! There’s no time to be still to prepare your hearts for Christmas! There are things that MUST BE DONE OR YOU WON’T BE READY!” According to our consumeristic, materialistic culture, there is no time to “Be still and know that God is God.” There’s only time to bury ourselves in a frenzy of all-consuming activity that leaves us in debt and exhausted.

Friends, I have good news! Life doesn’t have to be that way. We just spent six weeks studying what it means to be good stewards…what it means to carefully and responsibly manage something entrusted to one’s care. We reflected on different aspects of stewardship: prayer, Bible reading, worship, being a witness for Jesus, giving our tithes/offerings to the church, and serving. Each week we filled out commitment cards…we have lots of room to grow in our stewardship aka our discipleship, and that is exciting! When we are actively growing and inviting the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will see God doing amazing things all around us and through us!

As we begin the New Year, let’s invite each other to grow more and more in our discipleship. Stewardship aka discipleship doesn’t end with the conclusion of a sermon series…it continues until we transition from this earthly life into God’s Eternal Kingdom, and we get to encourage each other along the way! What a blessing! What a joy! What a privilege!

I hope you will attend the “Merry Methodist Christmas Cantata” at Ridge United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 18th at 3PM. Singers from Woodmar, Hammond First, Hyde Park, Ridge, Hobart First, Gary Marquette Park, and Faith Churches have been practicing 1-2 times per week preparing our voices and our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Babe born in Bethlehem. What an uplifting experience this has been…for brothers and sisters in Christ to come together to encourage each other through song! Please come and celebrate with us!

I am praying for you as you make time to be still during this Advent Season and the New Year. May your heart, mind, and soul be filled with awe and wonder as you reflect on the beauty of God’s gift of love.

See you in worship!

Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,

Pastor Esta

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Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ, I love how Paul uses those words to open many of his letters to the Christian believers at that time. Paul begins his letters with the unmistakable message

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