Archive for June 2010


June 24, 2010


I’ve updated my technology gadgets recently. Now I can reach out and touch someone in multiple ways. Text, email, Facebook, Tweeting, and EVEN talking! I can even send the latest picture of my grandson to my mom and dad!

With every new gadget, however, there’s a downside. I’m just as reachable for everyone else as they are for me. For those of us who think that’s a pretty neat thing there’s the danger of caution zone that is about to be entered.

The ability and time to be quiet and ponder the things of God is being diminished. As I write those words I have links at the bottom of my laptop screen for my email and Facebook. I’m tempted to see if someone has sent me a message on Facebook in the past two minutes, because when you’re talking about the urgent moments of life checking Facebook ranks right up there! Right?

It’s appropriate that the theme of summer camp this year is “Unplugged.” For some young people to go six days without any on-line social networking is like going into de-tox. Wait a minute! I’m afraid the same can be said for most adults. I’m starting to quiver just thinking about it.

At camp we have a daily “FOYB” time. That stands for, ironic as it sounds, “Flat On Your Back.” I’m coming to the belief that we need a time period each day when we’re unavailable in order to be available. That is, block out a two hour time period in order to be available to the whisper of the Holy. Some people might say that is easy . . . no problem . . . done! Others would respond to that suggestion with the words “ludicrous” and “insane.” In other words, I can’t do that!

Multi-tasking results in minimal listening. It gives equal time to the mundane and the urgent.

· I read Psalms, while listening to Lady Gaga and watching Bridezilla.

· I read “Our Daily Bread” while texting my friends about what movie we’re going to that night.

· I’m talking to someone about what God wants to do in their life, while hearing someone talking to me through my Bluetooth, and deciding what extra-value meal to order.

· I’m texting someone about work on Monday while in the midst of a congregation that has just been asked to pray silently for a few moments and listen to the small still voice of God.

It’s not that multi-tasking is an evil that needs to be weeded out. It’s a potential practice that can become an obsession. The obsession can blind us to what God really desires to be about.

Let me frame it in a different context. Think back to someone you used to date that you really cared about. If you need to go current, please do. You’re sitting in a Starbucks talking to this person. The conversation starts going a little deeper. About the time you have a life-changing question to ask the person, he/she gets a text from someone with that annoying little sound that accompanies it. The interruption is brief, but it takes a few moments to get the conversation flowing again. About the time another crossroads comment is about to be made the person gets another text with an attached humorous photo. This conversational ebb and flow keeps happening until you do an inner sigh and give up. That would be frustrating, wouldn’t it be?

Imagine if in this scene God was you (just this once!) and you were the one who kept getting distracted. Is it possible that God would become frustrated with your lack of focus on what He deeply desires to share with you?

Many of us wouldn’t know to answer, because we’re oblivious to our multi-tasking ADD lives. Perhaps you, and I, might take a tech break today—unplugged here in order to be plugged in to a higher power.

Pastor Bill


June 17, 2010

WORDS FROM W.W. June 17, 2010

There’s a story in the bible about loaves and fishes. It is dependent on a young boy’s willingness to share with people he’s never seen before in his entire life. Basically, he has come prepared and no one else has. He’s brought his lunch- five really small loaves and two little fish (Think minnows!). He gives his lunch to Jesus. He’s not exactly sure what Jesus is going to do with a young boy’s lunch. After all, there’s an outside arena full of people.
Nevertheless, he takes the first step and gives it up. It’s a fascinating story of selflessness and sharing. I used the story on the first day this past week at our church’s Summer Daze day camp. We focused on four different missions/ministries during the week, one for each day of the camp. We looked at earthquake devastation in Chile, working with some churches in Japan, a summer camp ministry aimed at Native Canadians in the northern part of British Columbia, and feeding hungry people through a ministry in our own city.
I put a challenge before the 53 campers. If they collected $500 for these missions I would get a Mohawk haircut. Then one of the campers suggested a blue Mohawk if $1,000 was collected. Oh, me of little faith, believing there was no way they would reach that figure, said yes!
Thus began a modern version of the loaves and fishes story, except modernized to take the shape of a neighborhood lemonade stand. The children in one family put together their efforts, and resources to serve lemonade to people passing by. How much money can be collected by selling lemonade? $10? $20?
Try about $120! A pretty good rate of return on about a $5.00 investment.
Being willing to put our resources together to be used by the Lord, and for the Lord, can have amazing results.
On Wednesday night I thought I might have to get a Mohawk, but the “blue part” seemed a real reach.
And then the flood gates opened…or should I say the piggy banks? Today kids with smiling faces willingly put money into the giant water bottle that held the funds, instead of using the money to buy themselves ice cream.
Loaves and fishes.
We concluded the day camp with a closing gathering to see if I’d get a haircut.
And here it comes!
Can you say blue Mohawk?
Can you also say “mission support?”
I was blown away, but it tells me of the hearts of children who want to help others. When we were looking at pictures of people devastated by the earthquake in Chile, someone told me that the kids were so focused and engaged in the situation. They saw the need, and they responded.
A long time ago a miracle started with a young boy’s loaves and fishes. This week it started with a pitcher, some lemonade mix, a big stirring spoon, and some kids who wanted to help others…and see their pastor sporting a blue Mohawk!


June 12, 2010

WORDS FROM W.W. June 10, 2010

I recently got an e-mail from Mike Oldham, who is on the staff of the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains. He was inquiring about my doctorate degree. Just call me Doctor Wolfe, or just “The Doctor” like it’s my disc jockey call name.
For the past three years or so I’ve been getting correspondence from our denominational headquarters in Pennsylvania addressed to “Dr. William Wolfe.” I don’t know how I got elevated to that next degree level, but there it is…every time. Even the mission giving certificates our church receives has my name embossed on it in bold letters as “Dr. William Wolfe.”
I’m going out on a limb here, but could it be that I received an honorary doctorate from an institution of higher learning and no one told me? Could it be that I was suppose to give the commencement address at the Gluten-free Cooking School of Spiritual Leadership and the invitation got lost in the mail?
If that’s the case, I humbly apologize…but please send me my framed honorary degree so I can mount it on my office wall.
I told Mike, who by the way will be a “Doctor” in the not too distant future, that I have not been, nor probably ever will be a “Doctor.”
I am willing to consider it if there’s a senior discount rate involved.
These days it seems like it’s easy to pretend to be something that you aren’t. Ever gotten a breakfast at Denny’s or a hamburger at Burger King and said to the person serving you, “No, I want the one that is in your menu picture. This looks completely different.”
There seems to be a loss of salvation between the end of the worship service and the exiting of the church parking lot.
“Hey! Isn’t’ that Deacon Smith who’s yelling at the Safeway cashier.”
Sometimes people even make you something that you aren’t without any effort on your part. I recently attended my sister’s church and was asked to give the closing prayer. I think that I must have given the appearance that “I could pray good.” It did roll out of my mouth and was honoring of the presence and personal nature of God…I think. At least no one threw anything at me when I said “amen.”
Evidently there are several people in this world who desperately want to make me a doctor. Thirty-one years in the ministry should get me something besides higher blood pressure, cholesterol, and closer in time proximity to higher places.
There was a good devout Unitarian that people wanted to make a Baptist because she brought the best baked beans to church potlucks. Belief systems were of secondary importance when a taste of the sweet sauce of the baked beans touched the tongues of the congregation.
There was a man who grew pot in his backyard, but he was an amazing shortstop for the Lutherans. Knowledge of his “side job” gave double meaning to the term “high chopper.”
We can masquerade as something that we really aren’t, but sometimes people have us arrive there even before we’ve even thought about it.
“Dr. Bill” sounds too much like “Dr. Phil” (I wonder if his is real!). I think I’ll just stay with Pastor Bill and Coach Wolfe.
It’s who I am.


June 3, 2010

In the first decade of my previous pastorate, there was a big framed picture of Jesus in the main hallway of the church. It was a three dimensional picture of our Savior.
It had a light behind it, that when turned on, gave the Son of God an eerie look about Him. It was like He was always looking at you no matter where you were in the hallway. He had that wavy three-dimensional look to Him.
“3-D Jesus” was a part of the scenery. Those of us who frequented the building each Sunday were used to Him, even to the point that we no longer noticed Him.
The guest sign-in book was on a podium directly in front of Him . . . facing Him. I wondered if anyone was ever scared away by looking at Jesus.
We had some “Jesus humor” among a number of us in the church about 3-D Jesus. We joked about “turning Jesus on” when we arrived at the building on Sunday morning, and then making sure that we “turned Jesus off” when we left. You can probably follow our train of sarcasm in those statements.
3-D Jesus had been mounted on the wall in our church for so long that even when the light switch was turned off you could still see the tracings of His face. It was our version of the Shroud of Turin, except we called it “The 3-D Jesus of Mason.”
No museums requested special engagements.
I don’t know who had given 3-D Jesus to the church, but I believe He was a memorial gift. Sometimes churches get rid of Jesus before giving up something given in memory of someone. Thus, 3-D Jesus stayed . . . and stayed . . . and stayed. It was only in re-painting the main hallway that He didn’t show up again after the paint dried.
I’m not sure, but I think there were a few people who didn’t show up again after that as well.
Sometime Jesus becomes part of the scenery until He’s not there anymore. Then He’s noticed. Of course, that never really happens—He is always there. It’s when our world gets rocked or the scenery of our life gets changed that we suddenly realize that we’ve been missing Him, even though He’s always been there.
Perhaps that’s when the light really goes on.
Pastor Bill