Rev. Annette (Andi) Wolf has been Pastor of Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Oshkosh since February 2010. Prior to coming to Emmanuel, she served a lengthy pastorate in Louisville, KY. Originally from Pittsville, Wisconsin, Andi holds a Bachelor Degree from Lakeland College in Sheboygan and a Master of Divinity Degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.
Andi is passionate about preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. She strives to show how both the church and scripture continue to be relevant for today’s world. Her sermons mix scripture with everyday life, personal stories and (hopefully) a bit of humor.
Andi has three children; Zach, Becca and Hannah. In her limited free time, Andi enjoys reading, sports and traveling.
Contact Pastor Andi at: email@example.com
Words from Pastor Andi
As I was preparing a time of opening worship for the clergy retreat last month, I decided to center around Psalm 23. In the midst of my prep, I came across a responsive prayer written by Stacey Gleddiesmith, who is the Director of the Worship Arts Program at Columbia Bible College. Her opening response to the first verse, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’ caused me to pause and reflect. It was an ‘ah-ha!’ moment for me. In response to the psalmist’s assertion that we want or lack nothing when we are with the Good Shepherd, she writes: ‘Although sometimes we feel we lack everything. Sometimes we cannot see what we you have given us through the lie of what has been taken away.’
For me that summed up much of the societal angst plaguing us today. We are so focused on what has changed and what has been taken away that we have completely missed the blessings in our midst. We are so consumed with lamenting on what we are missing out on that we have chosen to miss out on all the good going on around us. Not seeing our blessings ‘through the lie of what has been taken away’ fuels our anger and discontentment. It robs us of our ability to sing praises. Afterall, it is nearly impossible to sing praise to the tune of a lament!
Don’t get me wrong--I am not a fan of the year 2020! I have a whole list of complaints I could give to the manager about how this disappointing year adversely affected my whole family. I want my money back a letter of apology! But the reality is, if I stay in that place, I am robbed of my joy. I have come to believe that these areas of discontentment are exactly where our faith derails. In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the Evil One. I think the Evil One hangs out is the difficult places of our life and revels in our disappointment and feeds our negative responses. He surrounds us with people that help us stoke the flames of anger until we are eventually consumed.
Those flames eventually burn us and those around us. There is only one way to extinguish those flames of anger, fear, and discontentment. We need to follow the Good Shepherd and walk beside the still waters.
We need to dig deep into the Balm of Gilead and allow ourselves to be healed. We need to remember that it was the faithful silence of Jesus that confounded his accusers and amazed Pilate. Oftentimes, I have found, the discipline of our discipleship that challenges us most is to tame our own tongues (and keyboards and minds), lest they be full of deadly poison.
I have no control over this big world around me. But I do have control over what thoughts I allow to take up residence in my heart and mind. Yes, there are times when my frustration gets the best of me. But my fervent prayer is that I spend the vast majority of my time counting my blessings and singing praises to my God. If you want that sort of a cloud of witnesses around you, come on over and sit here by me!
Cell Phone: 920-216-3622