From the Publisher
Praise for Average Joe
“In celebrating ‘the average Joe’ with remarkably compelling stories, Troy Meeder proves that there’s really no such thing as an average Joe and that the closer he gets to Jesus, the less average any Joe will seem or be. Every man will be used greatly by God if he allows himself to be broken and shaped into the Lord’s image, no matter how unheralded his title or setting.”
—Fred Stoeker, coauthor of Every Man’s Battle
“Men love to succeed, and we run from anything that has a high probability of failure associated with it. Rather than heap a bunch of guilt on guys, Troy has collected stories and reflections that most men will relate to—and which inspire us to consider what we’re living for. Sharing from his own life as an average Joe, Troy suggests ways we can reframe how we’re measuring success—and make the most of life. I’m really glad he wrote this book and will be giving a copy to each of my two college-age boys!”
—John Fuller, vice president, Focus on the Family
“Troy Meeder’s heartfelt accounts from both his own personal experience and those of friends and family touch a raw nerve in your soul. More than once I found my eyes welling up—sometimes because of the sincerity of the story, other times because I realized it was me in the story. Average Joe reminds us that living a life focused on faith, family, and friends is what makes a man exceptional.”
—Rick Wiggers, average Joe and account manager
“Troy Meeder speaks prophetically to God’s favorite group of men, which He likes to use to foment spiritual evolutions: average Joes. This book echoes the blueprint in the book of Acts, where God fills and forms ordinary men with a powerful spiritual word for their time as well as liberates them from synthetic, broken male culture into an authentic, powerful life in Christ.”
—Kenny Luck, president of Every Man Ministries, author of the God’s Man Series, and men’s pastor of Saddleback Church
“Troy Meeder nails it. Average Joe is a must-read for any guy who questions whether his life can make a difference in the world. Honest and straightforward, Troy reminds us that being ‘average’ does not equate with mediocrity and that with God nothing is impossible.”
—Eric Close, actor, director, CBS
“Real heroes are desperately needed in our society today. Troy Meeder’s book serves as an inspiration to any man who doubts his significance and desires to be a hero in God’s eyes.”
—Ryan Dobson, author, speaker, and host of Grounded Radio
“An excellent read—like having a cup of ‘joe’ with your best friend and being infused with hope and destiny! I know it is time for ‘iron to sharpen iron,’ but this takes true courage. Troy Meeder dynamically opens this realm up in himself. Going through the study guide gave me the give and take I needed to feel as if Troy and I were truly looking into each other’s heart. We men need to require more of ourselves, and this means we must take the chance and go deeper. After reading Average Joe, I face life with a new focus and purpose.”
—Rafael Olgine, average Joe and safety specialist
“This book is dynamite! If you are an average Joe, Troy will biblically blow up the lie that your existence and your life are not significant. And if you think you’re not an average Joe, then you have an even deeper problem! Either way, this book is strong medicine that counters diseased thinking. The best men’s book I’ve read in a long time.”
—Steve Farrar, speaker, author of Point Man
Read an Excerpt
The beginning of another week of…normalcy. Life as an average Joe is once again about to start its familiar grind.
If you are like me, we go through the same—often life-numbing—motions every day. We crawl out of bed at 0-dark-thirty to the sound of a screaming alarm clock, then stub our toe on our kid’s “perfect” Christmas gift—the very one that last year cost us two days’ pay! The dog needs to go outside. The kids are asleep but will definitely need some “dad time” later. The washer that sprang a leak still needs repair. The milk in the fridge is sour. The next-door neighbor parked his extra car in front of our driveway—again.
Oh, man, this is not the life you and I probably thought we would live!
As a boy I certainly had bigger plans than working in a cramped cubicle from eight to five, building widgets on the late shift at the local mill, or flipping burgers at the corner diner. My boyhood dreams never included a mortgage, diapers, traffic tickets, or cleaning out the gutters. Perhaps, like you, I dreamed of saving a life, flying a fighter jet, finding a cure for cancer, or even walking on the moon. As boys, we had such high hopes to accomplish something great,
to make a difference, to live a life that left a mark on those around us. We marveled at men like Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the Reverend Billy Graham. We wanted to ride like John Wayne, lead like Ronald Reagan, drive like Mario Andretti, and win like the 1973 Miami Dolphins. All of us longed to be James Bond; instead we ended up looking and acting a bit like Archie Bunker. Maybe you are asking the same question I ask: What happened to my life?
What happened for most of us is reality. Instead of finding fame and fortune, normalcy and “never enough” found us. We are average Joes, but is that really a problem? Definitely not! So-called average Joes are the ones who make the world work.
God seems to have a special fondness for average Joes. Before they accomplished extraordinary deeds, normal guys like Gideon, David, Peter, and Paul went about their farming, sheep herding, fishing, and tent making. Even Jesus, our Redeemer, Healer, and coming King, started out using a hammer and saw in a carpenter’s shop.
You’ll find average Joes are everywhere. Good men, honest men. They are hard working, genuine, and steadfast. More often than not, they are absent from the great halls of debate, the ivory towers of scholastic achievement, or the family trees of aristocracy. Instead they mow grass, sell insurance, build furniture, drive trucks, manage restaurants, and fix plumbing. They can be found serving coffee at the local diner, selling tires, or pastoring a small church. In our hurried pace we often pass them by as we rush off to our next appointment or event.
I suppose we might find an average Joe on Wall Street or in a government building in Washington DC, but if we did, he might be there only to fix, paint, or build something. Sometimes looked down upon, even dismissed as “less than,” average Joes are the stable, dependable, resolute backbone of an ever-so-wavering society.
In a day when compromise and political correctness rule, these simple men—average Joes—seek truth and have an unshakable commitment to doing what is right. Ask them their opinion, and you will get an earful of resolute beliefs in God, country, and family. Strong in character, integrity, and principle, these are the unsung heroes of everyday life in America.
Average Joes Make a Difference
Being an average Joe is awesome, and I’m proud to call myself one. Too often, though, we average Joes feel ashamed of who we are. For some reason we don’t seem to quite measure up. Why is that? What lies are we hearing and believing about our place in the world? Many in contemporary society want to tell us our average Joe life is irrelevant, maybe even inconsequential. What? Are you kidding me? Tell that to the son who thinks his dad is the greatest. Tell that to the wife who has such deep respect and love for a husband who, day in and day out, goes to work at an unglamorous, demanding job to ensure his family is fed and sheltered. In fact, tell that to a savior named Jesus who chose twelve average Joes to help Him change the world.
Who cares if a man ever rafts the Colorado River, plays college football, or makes a million dollars before he’s forty? That guy may never leave that cubicle he calls home forty-plus hours a week. He may always drive a minivan, sell appliances, and live in a suburban tract house. Is he any less a man?
Labeled “average,” this Joe is that steadfast example of simple faith, honor, integrity, and character. He is the man who goes home at night to his wife and children. He mows the lawn, fixes the deck, reads to his kids, loves his wife, helps his friends, and serves his Lord. He’s the kind of neighbor who will lend you his tools and watch your house when you’re out of town. You trust him with your kids. He pays his bills and taxes. If he says he will be somewhere, he will be there—and on time. He’s got his problems, and he owns them. Quite simply, average Joe is the very best of who we are.
This book is a challenge to look deep within yourself, to better understand the man God has made you to be, to find contentment in the life God has blessed you with. I will urge you to finally let go of boyish or unrealistic dreams and replace them with the wise passions, wisdom, and discipline of a man. It’s time to make sure that integrity, honor, and moral steadfastness describe who you are. Later in this book I will share some stories of average Joes that none of us will ever see on the front page or hear about on a cable news show. But in the world that really matters—God’s kingdom—they are heroes of the faith, true examples of how God uses ordinary men to change the world.
Before we go on, I want to make something really clear: when I use the word average, I don’t mean lazy, sloppy, inept, mediocre, or anything like that. A true average Joe works hard, give his all, makes a difference. And he does it without whining or feeling sorry for himself. An average Joe isn’t expecting to get rich or famous. He’s content knowing that the One whose opinion really counts is pleased with him.
While the world around us implies that we are nothing without fame, fortune, and recognition, we daily and without fanfare answer the call to perform the routine. As average Joes, we make a difference. The life we are living does have purpose, meaning, and honor.