Share (part 3) Sermon Questions

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This morning at Wildwood Community Church I preached a message based on John 1:35-42.  This message was part 3 of the “Share” series. Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion based on the message.  A pdf copy of these questions is also included in this post in case you would like to print them for future use.

 

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection:

  1. Read John 1:35-42
  2. What is one invitation you have given (or received) that has had a major impact on your life?
  3. Why do you think we tend to minimize the power of the invitations we offer to others?
  4. John called Jesus the “Lamb of God.”  What do you think he meant by giving Jesus that title?
  5. **Andrew and the other disciple seem to enter a process of finding more out about Jesus as they spend time with Him.  Jesus’ invitation for the men to spend time with Him provides them the opportunity to get to know Him before they truly left all to follow Him.  What are some of the ways people can “get to know Jesus” today before choosing to follow Him completely?
  6. Have you ever chosen to follow Christ with your life?  If so, how did that relationship begin?  What “invitations” were extended to you in your early days that helped lead you to follow Christ.  If not, what is keeping you from following Christ today?
  7. Andrew excelled at inviting people to come to Jesus.  He is a great example for us.  Who might God want you to invite to come follow Jesus?  What is something you could invite them to first?
  8. In Jesus is the power to become something greater.  Jesus says to Andrew’s brother – “You are Simon . . . but you will be Peter.”  What would you like God to do in and through your life this next year?
  9. What stood out to you most from today’s message?

** Note:  If you only have time for one question, consider asking/answering the question marked by the two stars.

To download these questions in pdf format, click here.

Share (part 3) Preview

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There is power in an invitation.  Think about it.  So many of the momentous things that have happened in your life began with an invitation:

  • A first date that turned into a marriage.
  • A job offer that turned into a career.
  • A play date that turned into a lifelong friend

All of these life shaping things began with an invitation.  We all have felt the power of invitations in our lives, yet we still minimize the effect the invitations we EXTEND could have in the lives of others.  It seems minor to invite another family over for dinner, to invite a friend to church, or to invite someone to join you in serving the needs of others . . . but you have no idea what lies on the other side of that invitation.  For all you know, the person you are inviting to dinner may be to their wits end and just need to know that someone out there still cares.  The friend you invite to church might trust Christ this weekend, changing not only their weekend — but their eternity.  The person you ask to help teach the 4 year old Sunday school class with you may go on to impact hundreds through serving in that venue or another area.  You just never know what hangs in the balance of that invite.

Want a real life example?  There once was a guy named Andrew who decided to invite his brother Simon to meet his new friend . . . Jesus Christ.  Andrew’s brother Simon would be given a new name (Peter) by Jesus and would go on to be one of the pillars of the early church and the author of portions of the New Testament.  I don’t think there is any way Andrew knew what hung in the balance of his decision to invite Simon to follow Jesus . . . but we ALL can agree there was tremendous power in that invitation!

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services, I will be preaching through John 1:35-42 as we look together at the power of an invitation in part 3 of our “Share” sermon series.  Join us on Sunday!  Accept this invite because you never know what hangs in the balance.

Share (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based out of Mark 5:21-43.  This message was part 2 in the “Share” series. To listen to the message or share it with others, utilize the various formats found below.

To download the audio to listen to offline, click the link below:

Share #2

To listen to the audio online, use the media player below:

To watch the video, use the Vimeo video below:

Share (Part 2) Sermon Questions

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This morning at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon out of Mark 5:21-43.  It was the second part in the “Share” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion based on this message.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection:

  1. Read Mark 5:21-43
  2. The statement was made today that many people have an “on/off” switch when it comes to human interaction.  Do you find this to be true of people you know?  Do you find this to be true of yourself?  If it is true of yourself, in what arenas of your life are you more likely to have your people switch “on” and where are you more likely to have your people switch “off”?
  3. An extended time was spent today comparing and contrasting Jairus and the woman in Mark 5:21-43.  What stands out to you most about the comparison between these two people?
  4. What do you learn from Jesus’ treatment of these two people (Jairus and his family and the woman who was bleeding)?
  5. What would it look like for you to be engaged with those around you at church on Sundays?
  6. Who did you see at church this week that you can pray for today?
  7. **What is one arena of your life where you need to “turn on” your people switch this week?  What would it look like for you to show Christ’s love to those in that arena?**
  8. What stood out to you most from today’s message?

** Note:  If you only have time for one question, consider asking/answering the question marked by the two stars.

To download a pdf copy of these questions click here.

Share (part 2) Preview

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Lamps are wonderful things.  Though they are small appliances, they have the ability to illuminate the darkness, open opportunities for discovery, and calm frightened hearts.  All that potential sits in the metal base and cloth shell on my desktop.

Though lamps possess all of this amazing potential, they also have the ability to do nothing.  Lamps are created to give light, but if they are not turned on, they become merely trip hazards for those stumbling about in the dark.

I was thinking about this phenomena today as I reflected upon Jesus’s statement in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).”  Christians are recreated by Jesus to shine as lamps in the dark room of this world.  We have the potential inside us (by the work of the Holy Spirit) to illuminate dark moral issues, help people discover the person and work of Jesus Christ, and calm and encourage souls in distress.  All that potential sits inside the bodies of you and I.

Though we possess this amazing potential, many times we do little with it.  We hide our light “under a bushel” and keep our switch flipped “off.”  In doing so, we make ourselves stumbling blocks to the blind, instead of beacons. 

How do we do this?  I believe many of us have a people “switch” inside of us.  Too much of the time, we live with this switch turned off.  When we are “off” we avoid others, see the needs of others as distractions, and try to live an anonymous life.  When the switch is “on” we are warm, caring, and considerate of others.  When it is off, we tend to care only about ourselves.

Our switch is often “on” when we are functioning inside of a role that demands it to be “on”.  We are “on” when we are teaching the Sunday school class, coaching the team, or having a planned conversation with a member in our family.  We are almost always “on” in these moments.

However, we turn “off” many times in the stretches BETWEEN appointments.  We may be “on” in the office, but “off” while on the way to lunch.  We may be “on” in the classroom, but “off” around roommates or family.  When we turn our people switch “off” we sometimes miss the biggest “appointments” of our lives.

In order to be the light of the world, we must engage the world around us.  We must learn to keep our switch “on” for longer stretches, and trust God to work through us even when we have no worldly title or earthly job description.  It is between appointments that God often works through us in unexpected ways.

This Sunday, we will reflect on that more together at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services as we look at Mark 5:21-43 . . . one of the New Testament’s clearest examples of God doing something awesome BETWEEN appointments when we engage with others in the moment.  This message will be part 2 in the “Share” series.  Hope you can join us for this time of worship together! 

Share (part 1) Sermon Audio/Video

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This past Sunday, at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based out of 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.  This message was part 1 in the “Share” series.  Below you will find the audio and video of this message in case you want to listen to it again, share it with others, or hear/watch it for the first time.

 

To download the audio to listen to later offline, click on the link below:

Share #1

 

To listen to the audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video of the sermon, use the Vimeo video posted below:

Share (part 1) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday morning January 10, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I gave a sermon based on 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.  This message was the first part in the “Share” series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection:

  1. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.
  2. What are some examples you can think of in life where someone is given an overflowing amount of something with the expectation that they would share it with others?
  3. What are some of the words that you would use to describe God’s love toward us?
  4. Have you ever prayed that God would fill you to overflowing with HIS LOVE for others?
  5. What would it look like for you to love those in your life INSIDE THE CHURCH with God’s type of love?
  6. What would it look like for you to love those in your life OUTSIDE THE CHURCH with God’s type of love?
  7. What is one application that you can put into practice THIS WEEK to love others with God’s love?
  8. Will you commit to pray each day this week that God’s love would increase and overflow in your life?

To download these questions in pdf format, click here.

P.S.  If you only have time for one or two questions, use the one’s highlighted in bold.  Thanks!

Intended to SHARE

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Some people are just way cooler than I am.  When you ask them who their favorite bands are, they mention some indie group you’ve never heard of.  When you ask them where they buy their clothes, they attribute them to an online reseller who donates all their proceeds to feeding children in subsaharan Africa.  When you ask them what their favorite movie is, it is something that was never released in the “mainstream.”  And when you ask them their favorite restaurant, it is always a one of a kind place (never a national chain) serving ethnic food you cannot pronounce.  Some people are just cooler than me.

I like Bon Jovi, buy my clothes at the mall, loved the new Star Wars movie, and enjoy eating at Cheesecake Factory.  I told you I wasn’t cool.

Now that you know I am not cool, I want to talk a bit more about Cheesecake Factory.  If you have never been to one of these restaurants before, I want to offer my sincere apologies.  It really is a sight to behold.  Beyond the signature desserts at this place, the main menu is both diverse and delicious.  I have never had something here I did not like.

One of the cool features of this restaurant, though, is that their food is social.  No matter what you order on the menu, it will be enough to share . . . the servings sizes are just that large.  The first time Kimberly and I went to Cheesecake Factory with some friends, they told us that we would only need one dinner to share.  I thought they were exaggerating until our waitress told us the same thing!  Their menu was meant to be shared.

I was thinking of this today as I was reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 and preparing for Sunday’s worship services at Wildwood (8:15, 9:30, and 11:00).  In this passage Paul prays for the grace of God to be poured out into the lives of Christians in a manner he described as “increasing” and “overflowing.”  As I thought about these words, the portion size at Cheesecake Factory flashed before my mind’s eye (maybe I’m hungry.)  They give you so much food INTENDING you to share it with others.  In a similar way, God has poured out His blessing into our hearts increasing it to overflowing INTENDING us to share it with those around us . . . those sitting beside us on the chairs in the Worship Center at 8:15 on Sunday morning, but also those who office in the cubicle across from us on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM (or who sit in the desk next to ours in the classroom or volunteer on the PTA with us at the kid’s school, etc.) 

God loves us with an everlasting love, and He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places . . . and He has done so (in part) because He wants us to SHARE this love with others.  Over the next four weeks at Wildwood Community Church, as we begin 2016 together, I want to pray a prayer over the church . . . the same prayer Paul prayed for the Thessalonians.  I want to pray that God increases to overflowing the love we have for one another and for all we come in contact with.  Would you join me in that prayer?  Would you join me Sunday as we talk more about that together? 

I think it’s pretty cool.

Thanks Bruce

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At the core of my favorite movies, there usually are men who have forged a bond through shared struggle.  Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae in “Lonesome Dove.”  Jim Braddock and Joe Gould in “Cinderella Man.”  Major Winters and Easy Company in “Band of Brothers.”  I am drawn to these stories of partnership and friendship.  In real life, God has given me a band of several brothers (and sisters) with whom I have been able to grow with, learn under, and serve alongside.  One of those people in my life is Bruce Alfred Hess.

For nearly 37 years Bruce has faithfully served as the Senior Pastor of Wildwood Community Church.  I have been blessed to have been a part of this church for nearly a quarter of a century.  I was encouraged by Bruce’s leadership and teaching for nearly a decade before I ever joined the staff here.  Many of you know that I attended Dallas Theological Seminary for graduate school.  I chose that school for one reason:  Bruce Hess.  Bruce never told me to go to DTS.  In fact, we never talked about it.  But, when I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, and a back row attender listening to his sermons, I knew that I wanted to learn to teach like he could teach.  I had entered college with a sense of calling into pastoral ministry and had planned on attending seminary after OU graduation.  When I found out Bruce went to DTS, I applied to only one school.  Bruce knew his Bible, and I knew I needed to learn it as well.

Most of my college years, Bruce was preaching through the Gospel of Mark.  It was the first time I had been exposed to extended expositional teaching of God’s Word.  I learned so much from each message and was inspired to read the Bible on my own and personally apply what I was seeing.

While I was in my first year of seminary, Kimberly and I came back to Norman for a weekend and attended Wildwood to worship with friends.  After church was over, I remember walking back to our car and saying to Kimberly, “Wouldn’t it be great to one day be on staff at a church like Wildwood?”  Four years later, this dream came true when I was asked to join the team at Wildwood working with College Students and Small Groups.  Bruce (together with Wildwood’s Staff and Elder teams) helped to create a steady influence for Christ in our community.  Not many things about Norman are the same as they were in 1992 when I started at OU . . . but Wildwood still feels the same to me, and I am blessed by that steady influence.  Bruce has not run a sprint in Norman, but a marathon, and a generation of people like me have been impacted as a result.

After joining staff, I was initially quite nervous to be around Bruce.  We had never really interacted socially, and all I really knew him for was his razor sharp sermon outlines, perfectly gelled hair, and “life response” points.  I will never forget at some point during my first couple of weeks on the job, Bruce came into my office (a converted copy room at the time) and slowly closed the door behind him.  I began to sweat, wondering what was coming next.  He pulled up a chair and asked me what I thought about OU’s new recruiting class for football.  I was both relieved and delighted.  Not only did we have a love of football in common, but I was not being fired!  Bruce was a real guy, and it was that day that I began to know Bruce as a friend, not just a pastor.

About a month after I started at Wildwood my grandmother passed away.  My family asked me if   I would officiate the funeral.  I was honored and terrified.  I had never officiated a funeral before, and somehow had missed “How to do funerals” day at seminary.  After saying “yes” to my family, I phoned a friend – B.A. Hess – and quickly went to school on his experience leading families through grief.  He shared many things with me that day . . . insight that has shaped how I have led funeral services ever since.  Bruce was just that way.  Always generous with what he knew.  Always willing to explain it when asked.

I have had the privilege of having a front row seat watching Bruce deal with trials inside the church and inside his own life.  Whatever the circumstances, Bruce’s God is always bigger than the problems he is facing, and that inspires hope and faith in all of us.  From battling cancer to confronting congregational challenges, he always keeps trusting God.

For all the ways God has used Bruce at Wildwood, He has used him even more around the world.  Hundreds have trusted Christ at Family Life events he and Janet have spoken at over the years.  Thousands hear his teaching weekly on Latvian Christian Radio.  Many more have been ministered to through seminars he has led in Mexico.  God has truly used Bruce all over the world. 

Over time, I have seen my role shift from College and Small Groups Pastor to Executive Pastor and now to Senior Pastor (a job I just began January 1, 2016).  At each phase of the game, I have been blessed to have Bruce support and cheer for me.  It takes a secure leader with his eyes focused on Christ to allow another to lead beside him the way Bruce has welcomed me.  Bruce always made sure there was room for me at the table and opportunities for me from the pulpit.  It is a generosity most never know but that Bruce has given to me.

Bruce is not retiring.  There are many years of ministry ahead of him.  He also is not leaving Wildwood.  We are excited that Bruce will continue as a full time member of our staff team and be a regular part of our teaching team (in the worship services about a third of the Sundays, as well as teaching in a variety of other contexts around the church and around the world).    However, after 36.5 years of faithful service as Wildwood’s Senior Pastor, he is transitioning roles and handing me the baton of Senior Pastor.  It is a job that simultaneously makes me giddy with excitement and scares me to death . . . twenty years of Pastoral ministry experience will do that to a person.  As I take that baton, however, I want to say two things:

  1. I hope I can run with perseverance the race laid out for me, following the example set before me.
  2. Thanks Bruce.  I speak for many when I say how blessed we all are for what God has done in our lives through you.  I am looking forward to many more years trusting Christ together for bigger things.  I am thankful for the story of partnership and friendship God has given us together.  It is easy to be in your company.

In Christ,

Mark Robinson

Righteous Christmas: Right Plan (Sermon Audio/Video)

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On Sunday morning, December 27, 2015, I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on Luke 2:8-20 entitled “Right Plan.”  This message was the fifth and final message in the “Righteous Christmas” Series.  Below is the sermon audio/video for you to listen to or share related to the message.

 

To download the audio to listen to later, click on the link below:

Righteous Christmas #5

 

To listen to the audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video posted below: