The Church that Acts (Sermon Preview)

This past summer, we took a family trip to Washington DC. While Kimberly and I spent a couple of days there on our honeymoon years ago, this was our first trip to the nation’s capital since our son was born. We saw most of the monuments, visited Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetary, devoted a day to the Museum of the Bible, and toured sections of the Smithsonian.
As someone who likes reading and studying history, I LOVED this trip. So many things to see and learn about. Plus, it was the week leading up to the Fourth of July! Guess we were just a trio of Yankee Doodle Dandies!
Walking through memorials, monuments, and museums, got me thinking … in what way is THE CHURCH, like a museum? Museums and memorials collect important documents, mementos, and memories of important events from history. Churches ALSO look regularly to ancient documents that we hold dear and regularly recall memories of important events of years past.
Is THE Church a museum? Is OUR Church a Memorial? Or is there something more.
I believe there is something more. So. Much. More.
And this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we are going to gather and talk about it. By looking at the book of Acts as the “prototype” church, we will see that the church is not a memory factory of what is dead and gone, but a dynamic collection of people on mission today.
Together we will look to the Church of Acts (in history) to find out how to be a Church that Acts (today)!
PLUS, we will remember, through the celebration of communion together, the saving act the Risen and Reigning Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf to secure our eternity. Can’t wait to be with you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service this Sunday, August 14, 2022!
NOTE: This week is our “Promotion Sunday” for children’s and student ministry!
NOTE 2: We will be starting a new series on August 21 called “The Lord of the New Heaven and Earth” from Revelation 19-22. Make plans to join us all fall!

Baptism Sunday Preview (August 7, 2022)

At Wildwood we are FOR following JESUS together to the glory of God. Because of that, we celebrate when people begin to follow Jesus, and Baptism is a time for the church congregation to celebrate these beginnings! This Sunday (August 7) at Wildwood, we will have the privilege of seeing 13 people be baptized. We will hear their stories, pray over them, rejoice with them, and witness their water baptism. We will also sing of Jesus’ goodness, open God’s Word together, and be encouraged as we begin the month of August together as a church family. Hope you can join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service!

  • NOTE: On baptism Sundays (as is our tradition) we do not run our elementary, student, college, or adult Sunday morning classes. All Kindergarten and up will be in the worship service together for these services. What a great chance for us to celebrate as a church family!
  • NOTE 2: See the attached pic with details about who is being baptized in which service.
  • NOTE 3: We will also get to hear a special testimony from Scott Stonehocker, our dear brother in Christ who went home to be with the Lord over the summer, but recorded a powerful testimony for us to watch together this Sunday as a part of all 3 services. What a great day! See you Sunday.
  • NOTE 4:  We will also have a few very special announcements for our entire church family.  Don’t miss it!

Questions for Reflection – July 31, 2022

On Sunday, July 24, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Experiences – Part 5” from our sermon series“Divinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned that camels are divinely designed by God for a specific environment. Have you seen a camel up close? Every ridden one? Ever touched one? Ever smelled one? Share.

2. Bruce stated that our life experiences are often overlooked or discounted when it comes to understanding they are part of God’s plan to S.H.A.P.E. us for ministry to others. Why do you think that is?

3. We looked from the life of Paul at both a positive experience and some painful experiences that God used in designing Paul for ministry to others. What positive life experiences has God used in your life? What painful experiences has He used?

4.When we encounter a painful life experience, we face the choice of being engulfed in self-pity OR embracing it as sacred scar. Can you identify a “sacred scar” in your life? Elaborate.

5. A life principle to ponder: “Often the most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience.” Why is that?

6. Do you know anyone who turned a painful life experience into a catalyst to serve others? Explain some about it.

7. Is there a particular ministry/serving dream you’ve had…one where you wish you could someday serve others that way? Elaborate. What obstacles are keeping you from being able to serve in that way now?

​​​​​​​8. I (Bruce) ran across an interesting phrase recently. In Acts 13:36 it says, “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers.” You know, one day all of us will “fall asleep and be laid with our fathers.” The key question for each of us is: how effective will I be in serving His purposes for me in my generation? Pray that God will strengthen you, give you wisdom, and effectively use you for His glory!

Sneak Peek – July 31, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

We hope you got some rain in the last 24 hours. Isn’t it amazing how attractive rain can be when we haven’t had any for a long, long period of overly hot weeks? Some of us just wanted to walk in the rain for fun.

I was just praising God for such a wonderful, generous church family. Your faithfulness in consistently investing in the ministries of Wildwood encourages me and certainly also pleases your Heavenly Father.

If you haven’t ever done it (or haven’t done it recently), I encourage to take a stroll on the lower-level hallway (just under the offices) that contains the pictures of 36 folks on our outreach teams, people who we regularly support financially. Part of what you give every week goes to support those fine and faithful team members. That hallway contains a 2-part wonderful wooden map of the world. It is worth seeing.

Sunday we will conclude our series on Divinely Designed to Serve. This final session we will be looking carefully at how our life experiences are part of what God uses to S.H.A.P.E. us to serve others. The content of this message will be very encouraging to most all of us!

Get ready. The first Sunday of August is Baptism Sunday! It is always enjoyable to celebrate with others their public statement of having trusted in Jesus Christ as their Rescuer from sin and judgment. Those are special Sundays for our church family.

See you THIS Sunday!

​​​​​​​Bruce

Questions for Reflection – July 24, 2022

On Sunday, July 24, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Abilities/Personality – Part 4” from our sermon series “Divinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Share about an acquired ability (a skill) that you have been able to cultivate. How did it happen?

2. Share also about an ability (either a natural ability or an acquired ability) that you have seen God use to serve and encourage others.

3. In Ephesians 2:10 Bruce pointed out that when Paul discusses “the good works that God prepared for us beforehand,” he goes on to say, “that we should walk in them.” The verb “walk” is in the subjunctive mood (yes, that’s technical language talk).

It means it is not guaranteed that we will live them out. Why do you think Paul constructed the verse that way?  What are some reasons why we may NOT “walk in them?”

4. If God is truly sovereign, it only makes sense that the abilities we received when formed in our mother’s womb would be indicators of His will for us. Exodus 36 talks about individuals in whom the LORD has put skill. Why is it that people often cave to a self-perception that I have no ability to serve others?

5. Take advantage of the Personality Contrasts sheet you can find at wildwoodchurch.org/serve to gain some fresh concrete ideas of your personality. Is it easy or hard to realize God can and will use your personality when it comes to serving others?  Elaborate.

6. Share a time when someone with a complementary personality teamed up with you to accomplish a ministry task.

7. Wrestle some with the two Key Questions Bruce mentioned:  1) Am I currently serving the Lord and others?  2) How can I serve and invest in others?

8. Spend some time brainstorming about people you know to whom you can give affirmation regarding how you’ve seen God use them in ministering to others.

Sneak Peek – July 24, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Anyone noticed it’s been a tad on the warm side? Certainly, we all have!

I can guarantee you the 35 Pine Cove City leaders have noticed this week as they’ve ministered to some 180 children (serving sometimes inside and many times outside with fun water slides, climbing towers, etc.).

It’s been a great week and it is a joy to see the kids flourishing under the guidance of the Pine Cove City staff.  There have been some truly energized worship times and encouraging interactions! We are grateful for Pine Cove and look forward to a renewed adventure again next summer.

God is still at work in many ways. For example, this Sunday a group of 20 students and leaders will head for Kansas City to serve others in ministry.  Pray for their safety as they travel and for safety from all the heat!

This Sunday will be installment #4 in our series Divinely Designed to Serve. We will continue to build out our acrostic S-H-A-P-E, gaining insight into how He designs us and shapes us to serve Him and others.  This Sunday we add the A and the P by examining the truth that God uses both our Abilities and our Personality in serving others.  Encouraging stuff!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – July 17, 2022

On Sunday, July 17, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Spiritual Gifts – Part 3” from our sermon series“Divinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Most of us are passionate about a particular sports team or type of music. Briefly share about which team or style of music you are passionate about and why.

2. Part of what Bruce said was that there is no one exactly like you. Indeed, you are God’s unique handiwork/masterpiece/His special composition. Why is it we so often struggle to believe that emotionally?

3. Bruce laid out a short summary of what is meant by Heart Passion. Recall and share some of the descriptions that were given of what Heart Passion is.

4. It was stated that there are two sources for our Heart Passion: How God wired us and How God is at work in us. What have you learned about yourself from each of those sources?

5. Reflect, think through, discuss the following questions: – What ministry possibilities excite you? – What would you rather do for others more than anything else? – Who are you most excited to serve? – What would you desire to do for others if $$$ or time were not an issue?

6. Spend some time in the coming days creatively reflecting on (and praying about) filling in the blanks on the statements below:

– My ministry dream is ________.

– I would love for God to use me to ________.

-At the end of my life I’d like to be able to look back and know I’d done _________ for others.

​​​​​​​7. Praise the Lord that He has Divinely Designed you to Serve!

Sneak Peek – July 17, 2022

To many families, summer means camping…a way to break the routine and experience the fun of the outdoors. Well, summer also means camping time at Wildwood. Two camping events are on the schedule for Wildwood.

First, our Wildwood Students leave today for the WS camp. This exciting event involves some 150+ students and 31 WS leaders. Please pray for them as they travel, as they gather around God’s truth, and as they deepen relationships. Pray that there is plenty of fun too!

Second, beginning Monday, Pine Cove City camp commences at our facility as 180 children and some 35 Pine Cove staffers launch into a great week of camp. Pray for open ears for the gospel message and for another spiritual boatload of relationships and fun!

On Sunday we will continue our series on Divinely Designed to Serve with part 3. How does He S-H-A-P-E us to serve? This week we will unveil the letter H from the acrostic S-H-A-P-E. I believe you will find our time to be highly intriguing, so don’t miss it!

See you Sunday,

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – July 10, 2022

On Sunday, July 10, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Spiritual Gifts – Part 2” from our sermon series“Divinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Think of a time when something you got or bought didn’t fit what you needed it for, OR a time when you discovered something you had that no longer fit. Share a little about it. In a sense, we want our key ministry/serving activities to “fit” with the way God designed us to serve.

2. Bruce talked about the “3 V’s of Gifts” from 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. He mentioned how the “3 V’s” assist us in abstaining from the comparison syndrome. Why is that true?

3. Bruce talked about the 9 Consensus Spiritual Gifts. Which among those nine was a newer idea for you? Did you readily identify with one or more of those nine?

4. Bruce mentioned 3 Fascinating Facets about gifts. Can you recall what those were? What do you think about the idea that all the nine spiritual gifts are designed to be models or prototypes to inspire other believers?

5. How do you sense that the Holy Spirit may be encouraging you to be more active in ministry?

6. Who could you encourage this week as you’ve observed them be effective in ministering to and serving others?

7. When you take the Spiritual Gift Indicator profile, discuss the results with at least one other person.

​​​​​​​8. Take time to praise God for divinely designing you to serve Him and others.