For (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, January 21, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Jeremiah 29:1-14 and Acts 19:1-41.  This message was part 2 in the “For” series and focused on our opportunity to be “FOR Norman.”  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Jeremiah 29:1-14
  3. The Jews are in exile in Babylon and reluctant to really “settle in” and live their lives.  Jeremiah tells them that they are to dig in and live out Genesis 1:28 because they will are there for 70 years.  In what way are you ever tempted to NOT invest in your current surroundings because you think your time here is short?  What would it look like to really begin to invest in the welfare of the city where you are planted?
  4. Interested in opportunities to unpack your bag and invest in the welfare of our city?  Text: outreach18 to 95577 to get a monthly update.
  5. Scan Acts 19:1-41
  6. What happens when the Gospel enters Ephesus?  What would happen in our city if thousands of people were to place their faith in Jesus Christ?
  7. Think back to last week . . . who can you share the Gospel with this year?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from these passages/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

For (part 2) Sermon Preview

Inside virtually every hotel room sits a small chest of drawers.  These drawers are almost entirely empty.  Their only purpose is to create a space where you can put your stuff while you stay there. 

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?  Do you use this chest of drawers?  If so, what is the length of stay where it is worth it for you to unpack your bag, organize the drawers, then repack before leaving?  3 nights?  5 nights?  a week?

I ask this question, because it demonstrates a point.  The shorter our stay, the less we “move in.”  The longer our stay, the more we try to make the most of our accommodations.  I don’t use the drawers in a hotel on an overnight stay . . . but I certainly unpacked my stuff during the week of camp my family participated in last summer.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are far from home while we are in this world.  We are citizens of heaven, and will spend eternity in a place that is not “here.”  In a sense, our time in this world is but a few nights in a hotel compared to the length of our residency in heaven.  Our connection to Jesus defines our identity, and our home we have not yet seen, but we will be there soon.  Given this reality, how much do we “move in?”  To say it another way, do we unpack our bags and make the most of our accommodations, or do we keep things packed away, sleeping (but not really living) in our current environment?

This is not a new dilemma for the people of God.  From the very start, God’s people have had to deal with the challenge of residing in one location while being a citizen of another.  In the Old Testament, during the time of Jeremiah the Prophet, God’s people were in exile in Babylon.  Their home was Israel, but they found themselves in a distant place.  What were they to do?  Were they to keep their “bags” packed, or enjoy engage in their new setting (even knowing they would not be there forever)?  Further, in The New Testament, as the followers of Jesus went into new cities that had different values and beliefs, did they stay packed into ghettos, or seek to transform their surroundings?  Looking at these examples will help us understand what it looks like for us to operate today in the city where we are staying.

On Sunday, January 21 at Wildwood Community Church, we will continue our “For” series by looking at what it means for us to be “For Norman.”  We will use Jeremiah 29:1-14 and Acts 19:1-41 as our guide.  Make plans to join us at Wildwood this weekend for worship.  We will be having the Lord’s Supper together, singing songs of praise together, and looking at these verses together.  See you in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services.

For (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Acts 17:16-34.  This message was part 1 of the “For” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

For- part 1

 

To listen online, use the  media player below:

 

 

For (Part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Acts 17:16-34.  This message was part one of the “For” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 17:16-34
  3. What are some of the things that Christians are famous for being against?  Why do you think that the caricature of Christians is more about what they are against, and not what they are For?
  4. Why do you think Christians hesitate in talking about Jesus with their non-Christian friends?  What were some of the reasons why Paul might have been hesitant to share his faith with the Athenians?  How do you draw encouragement from his example?
  5. Who “happens to be there” in your life right now (in the “marketplace”/neighborhood/natural rhythms of your life?
  6. What are some of the ways you can “open your mouth” and talk to them about Jesus?  Think about where they are at, what they are dealing with, and how Jesus meets their deepest needs.
  7. Who are some of the people God is prompting you toward having the “second conversation” with right now?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

“For” (part 1) Preview

All too often, Christians are known by what they are against.  I have heard it described as the  “fun police.”  In other words, if there is something that looks fun, Christians are probably against it.  This (of course) is a caricature.  The true followers of Jesus I know do not define themselves by what they are against, but primarily by what they are FOR . . . based on who is ultimately FOR them. 

Think about it:

FOR God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

“‘FOR I know the plans I have FOR you, declares the Lord, plans FOR welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

“And we know that FOR those who love God all things work together for good, FOR those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

FOR I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life FOR the sheep.”  (John 10:10-11)

If God is FOR us (something that is dramatically and factually proven by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection FOR us), then (as His followers), we are invited to join Him in being FOR others.

Being FOR someone, obviously involves steering them clear of destructive behaviors and patterns (as any parent could attest to), but this kind of correction is constructive, not destructive.  It’s desire is not just to make a stand, but to make a difference.

As followers of Jesus, we exist to be FOR Him . . . FOR His glory . . . FOR His direction.  Following Him wherever He goes.  As we follow Him, we find that Jesus invites us to join Him in serving those around us by helping them follow Jesus as well.  As we walk into 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, we are reminded of “Four FORs.”  These represent four spheres of people that we can be FOR as a church in 2018 – four groups we can help follow Jesus.  These four groups include:

  • Neighbors
  • Norman
  • Nations
  • Next Generation

Over the next four weeks at Wildwood in our Sunday morning worship services (8:30, 9:45, and 11:00), we will be looking at these four spheres, remembering our mission, and what we are here FOR.  Join us this Sunday, January 14 as we look at part of what it means to be FOR OUR NEIGHBORS (using Acts 17:22-33 as our guide.)  Hope to see you Sunday!

“Wrestling in Prayer” Sermon Audio

On Sunday, January 7, 2018, at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message titled “Wrestling in Prayer.”  It was based on Ephesians 6:10-20.  Below you will find the sermon audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Wrestling in Prayer

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

“Wrestling in Prayer” Sermon Questions

On Sunday, January 7, 2018, I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church based on Ephesians 6:10-20.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group interaction.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Ephesians 6:10-20
  3. Are you conscious of the fact that we have a real spiritual enemy?  How does remembering that impact your thoughts about the new year?
  4. Even though we have this real enemy, we need not fear because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.  Read through the different pieces of the “armor of God” that Jesus has given to us as referenced in today’s verses.  What stands out to you most about this list?
  5. In what ways do you think remembering the spiritual battle that is waging encourages us to pray more?
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your prayer life heading into the new year?  What is your plan to pray more, in the Spirit, for all the saints in the new year?
  7. Join our text group, where we will send a daily prayer prompt for each day from January 8-13.  Text: Pray18 to 95577 to begin receiving these prayer prompts.
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

“Wrestling in Prayer” Sermon Preview

Well, it is January 4.  Three days ago, at halftime of the Rose Bowl, it looked like my beloved Sooners would be playing four days from now in the national championship game.  My how much changed in just a couple of hours!  Georgia played a near perfect second half of football, and earned their ticket back to Atlanta to play in Monday’s title tilt.  As an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma I was proud of our team, coaches, and school.  As I told my son after the game, “We are fortunate enough to be affiliated with just one of four schools that played a truly meaningful football game today.  We should never take participation in these types of games for granted.”  I meant that.

What is interesting to watch, however, is the reaction of fans (including myself) in the days following the game.  Many conversations have been held around water coolers this week second guessing play calls and game time decisions. 

“Why the squib kick?” 

“Why didn’t we throw a pass in the first overtime?”

“Why didn’t we run for the first down on third and two with just under a minute left?” 

These questions have been asked over and over.  And they have been asked with the kind of clarity only a “Monday Morning Quarterback” can have.  If the OU staff and players had known that the squib kick was going to hit a Georgia player, they would have certainly kicked it deep.  If they had known that we were not going to get the first down with a run, they would have passed it . . . and vice versa!  Seeing the reality of what actually happened, educates us on what SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE.  Of course, the coaching staff did not have the luxury of seeing the play’s results before they called them, so they had to simply make a call and hope for the best. 

I was thinking about this today as I prepare for my sermon on Sunday.  I was thinking about all the myriad of decisions you and I have to make this year.  We have to make a bunch of calls on a variety of issues . . . and we hope they are the right ones! 

Seeing the reality of what is actually happening around us educates us on what we SHOULD BE DOING this year.  Now, when I say this, I am not indicating that there is a crystal ball out there that will tell us the future on each and every issue.  What I am saying, though, is that the Bible tells us of a reality that most of us don’t see. 

What is that reality?  It is the reality of things that are happening in the spiritual realm.

The Apostle Paul goes so far as to say that in this life we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against a spiritual enemy and his demonic connections.  Satan wants nothing more than to destroy our relationships, minimize our faith in God, wound our physical and spiritual well-being, and tear apart the reputation of Christ-followers.  This is the enemy we face . . . and his influence impacts most of the areas of our life that we hold most dear.

So, as we start a new year together, we can begin with the clarity that only a “Monday Morning Christian” can have.  We know that there is an enemy that seeks to destroy and divide.  Knowing that, what play are you going to call?

Paul tells us what play we are to call.  We are to remember the armor God has offered us in Christ, and we are to pray – asking God to work on our behalf.  This is what we will be talking about this Sunday in our message, “Wrestling in Prayer” from Ephesians 6:10-20. 

Make plans to join us this week as we return to three Sunday services at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00.  Also know that our children’s ministry, student ministry, and adult classes resume this Sunday.  Make plans to join us at Wildwood this weekend.

Reflecting on God’s Faithfulness Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 31, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I facilitated a sharing time when a number of people were able to share how God had worked in their lives over the past year.  Below you will find the audio from that message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

His Story 12.31.17

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

His Story Preview

“Where are the nine?”

One day Jesus healed 10 lepers from their horrible disease (Luke 17:11-19).  In a moment, the lepers went from being defined by their illness to being defined by their healing . . . from brokenness to wholeness.  After experiencing this miracle, nine of the ten former lepers went their own way.  Only one came back to say thanks to Jesus for His mercy and grace.  Only one.  Prompting Jesus to ask:

“Where are the nine?”

This Sunday, December 31, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:45 and 11:00 worship services, we will be sharing stories of some of the ways we have seen God work in our midst this past year.  As we do so, we will be saying “thank you to the Lord.”  We want to follow the example of the one thankful man, not the 9 who went their own independent way.  Looking forward to seeing you Sunday in one of our “All In” worship services this weekend.  See you then!