Posted tagged ‘Normal’

“Mr. Wolfe, Your First Name Is…William?”

February 22, 2020

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                  February 22, 2020


The class was about to begin and I was fiddling with my laptop, trying to get a connection with the classroom projector. (Using the term “fiddling” is a hint of my advanced age. It’s not often associated with computers and other technology.) I finally am able to display the image from my laptop to the screen at the front of the classroom, and then the question is asked.

“Your first name is…William?” There’s a tone of disbelief in how he asks it, turning his head from side to side looking at the screen and then back at me sitting behind my desk. 

“What?” I ask, not sure what he’s getting at.

“It says your first name is William.”

I stare at the screen and then notice in the upper right hand corner that my name appears on the slide I’m projecting: William Wolfe.

“Yes, it is,” I say with a calmness.

“I didn’t know that was your first name!”

“What, did you think my first name was Mister or Coach?”

“No, but I didn’t think it was William!” He draws out the pronunciation of the seven letters like a bungee cord. “Why is it William?”

“That’s like asking why the sky is above us?”

“I just never thought…you’d be William!”

He walks away amazed and dazed. Kids are often perplexed when their teachers are possessors of “normal things”, like hiking boots, trumpets, contact lenses that never get worn in the classroom, and families. They’ve associated their teachers with a classroom, a school, and an academic routine. 

Suddenly, they meet their science teacher in the produce section of the local supermarket and their life equilibrium is thrown off. As Ms. Brown is checking out the peaches they stand there perplexed and, depending on the teacher, happy. Their teacher is being seen in another place! The student has a sudden release of endorphins that tells him he has been blessed in some odd way.

My oldest daughter, who teaches third grade, experiences this quite often when she goes to the mall and sees one of her students. It’s like a rare bird sighting for the youngster. Mrs. Hodges actually goes shopping!

My student remains amazed for the first few minutes of our class period together. It’s almost like his teacher is…human!

Being Blessed By Normal People

June 5, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                   June 4, 2015


It was ingenious of Jesus to call normal guys to be his first disciples. Talk about your average Joe’s! Average might actually be a compliment. Jesus started a movement with men who were mediocre fishermen.

Why was it ingenious? Because more prominent men with bulging egos might have thought they were responsible for changing the world. Sometimes talented people let their talent get in the way of the workings of God.

In my years as a pastor I’ve seen spiritual movements begun as a result of a few inspiring words by the most unlikely of people. At a homiletics conference I was recently at one of the things that was said by a keynote speaker resonated with me. He made the point that we (preachers) all know how to create a sermon. The difference is whether our preparation of that sermon is immersed in prayer. Prayer takes it out of the hands of control freaky pastors, and places it back with the One who gives us the words.

And once again it comes back to talented people letting their eloquence get in the way of the workings of the Holy Spirit.

I believe there is a battle going on in “church world” these days. The gospel gets treated too many times like it is a product that needs to be wrapped in attractive packaging so people will buy it. Jesus gets portrayed as “way cool.” We become so determined to make the church look relevant that we risk inventing a gospel of outer looks and appearance instead of a gospel that changes hearts.

Now that I’ve entered into my sixty-first year on this earth I’m fairly certain that I’m an average pastor who seeks to serve the Lord the best he can. I’m not way cool…I don’t even use hair gel! The closest I am to cool is driving a 2008 Civic Hybrid. I’m just an average Joe…like James and Thomas, Philip and Andrew…nothing really special about me. I brush with Colgate and say certain words funny. I’ve been called to be a pastor who serves a church filled with great people who will not be in Time magazine, and almost all of them will never even be in the local newspaper. We have a desire to serve the Lord by serving the community around us. It’s a picture of average fueled by hope.

And I’m okay with that!