The first is Wes Neal
When I was in high school, our congregation got its first intern.
Interns are young men and women between their second and third years of seminary who spend a year getting real life experience in a church before their final year of preparation to be a pastor.
They are usually really wonderful people, a bit wet behind the ears, who often show signs of having recently spent too many hours in libraries and not enough out in the sun.
That was our low level of expectation in the youth group when we heard that an intern named Wesley
was coming to lead us the following year - and so we were absolutely not prepared for the arrival of Wes Neal
, an exuberant body builder and weight lifter who drove a shiny red Corvette - the kind with the white scoop in the side - and had connections with people in Hollywood.
was an enthusiastic Christian who was with us for just a year, but it was a galvanizing year in which God used him to open our eyes to the Gospel and the possibilities of what God can do in young lives.
He ended up joining the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, was on their weight lifting team, and started a group called Athletes in Action.
Over the years, I lost track of Wes
, but ten days ago, while we were in Columbus, Ohio, we tracked him down.
I recognized him in an instant - the same dynamism, the same light-up-the-room smile.
But there were also the crutches.
A couple of you St Tim's members are former weight lifters and have told me about discovering the hard way how bad weight lifting can be for the body.
Twenty-year-olds think they're indestructible and all that.
But what struck me about Wes
crutches was the complete lack of feeling sorry for himself.
No time for that.
still a disciple, still a Bible teacher and conference speaker, still enthusiastically writing Christian books on athletics and coaching - and Judy and I came away from that meeting energized, with the same sense of challenge and enthusiasm that I remember from 45 years ago.
No ordinary life.