First Responders (part 5) Preview

I have a good friend who used to live in Norman.  In many ways, he looked like “one of us.”  His clothes were not odd, his accent not distant, his interests not dissimilar.  In fact, he lived in our fair city for a decade, and had a positive and productive influence on many while he was here. 

Despite all the ways he “fit in,” there was something about him that was very odd.  He was a UT grad.  In fact he was a Longhorn FAN . . . an apologist if you will.  On Saturdays, when everyone else would wear Crimson, he would wear orange. For some strange reason he insisted on calling the Red Rival Rivalry the “Texas/OU game” not “OU/Texas.”  The decal on his car had the ‘Horns right side up, not upside down.  In short, he had to learn to live in a land that rejected something he loved.


I was thinking about that (humorous) example today as I thought of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  From the very first days when Jesus came to the earth, people rejected Him.  The Scribes and the Pharisees formed a very famous and powerful opposition to Jesus’ earthly ministry.  In the millennia since then people from various cultures have unintentionally mimicked the response of the first century religious elites in their rejection of the Son of God.

As Christians, we must learn how to live in a world that rejects the Jesus we love.  Jesus was teaching that lesson to the “First Responders” in Matthew 12-13.  Over the months of April and May at Wildwood we have been looking at Jesus’ interactions with those who first responded to Him.  This Sunday, we will conclude our series by looking at Matthew 12:33-50 together as we learn how to wear His colors in a land that thinks we are quite odd.  See you Sunday!

From Womb to Tomb Sermon Audio

On Sunday, May 13, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on the Gospel of Luke and focusing on Jesus’ treatment of women.  Below you will see the audio from this message for you to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

From Womb to Tomb 05.13.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

“From Womb to Tomb” Sermon Questions

On Sunday, May 13, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, as a part of our Mother’s Day Worship services, I preached a sermon based on the Gospel of Luke entitled “From Womb to Tomb:  Jesus FOR women in Luke’s Gospel.”  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. What are some of the ways you have seen women discriminated against or mistreated in the world?
  3. In today’s message, we surveyed a number of instances of Jesus’ interactions with women in Luke’s Gospel.  What stands out to you most about the way Jesus interacted with women?
  4. Several groups of people in the world today are “dismissed” in certain situations due to their race, religious background, gender, economic standing, etc.  How does Jesus’ invitations to women help you understand His heart for ALL people?
  5. Are you following Christ today?  That is the most important part of your life beyond your role in your workplace, family, or neighborhood.  Are you finding your identity in HIM or in something else?
  6. Who are some of the women who have had a big impact in your life for Christ?  How have they impacted you?  Consider writing them a letter or note of encouragement this week!
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

From the Womb to the Tomb (Sermon Preview)

This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  For many, this day is a day of rejoicing . . . celebrating “Moms” for all they do and who they are.  For others, this day is hard . . . a reminder of the brokenness in their relationship with their mother.  Still, for others, the day is sad . . . empty arms that have become a heavy burden due to infertility, or mom (or child) passing away.  This Sunday will evoke a variety of emotions for some.

As a Pastor, I have heard some women who avoid church on Mother’s Day due to the hard or sad reminders it brings up.  I get it — I really do.  But, as a church we need to be reminded that Jesus is not just FOR “mom’s” (though He certainly was) . . . He is even more importantly FOR women!

In Luke’s Gospel we see Jesus introduced as the Son of God . . . the Savior of the world . . . but also as a radical change agent in the way He valued, included, and involved women in His most significant work.  From the time Jesus was in the womb to the empty tomb, He was FOR women, and we will see that this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:45 or 11:00 services.  I hope you all can join us for worship this Sunday!

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:20-30.  This message was part 2 of the “First Responders” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online or download and share with others.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #2 04.22.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:20-30.  This message was part 2 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:20-30
  3. Have you ever seen an event happen that needed an immediate response (car accident, medical emergency, etc.)  Who first responded?  What do you think prevents some people from responding in these types of circumstances?
  4. Jesus desired for the people who witnessed His earthly ministry to respond to Him.  In what ways do you see people (including yourself) fail to respond to the person of Jesus Christ today?
  5. 21st century Americans have an incredible wealth of “revelation” at our disposal about the person of Jesus Christ.  Brainstorm some of the ways Americans today know about who Jesus is.  What does Jesus say is expected of people for whom much revelation is given?
  6. Have you “come to Jesus” for your salvation rest?  If so, think of some of the benefits that trusting Christ for your eternity have brought to your life.  If not, what is keeping you from coming to Jesus today?
  7. In what areas are you resisting “walking with Jesus” in your life today?  What is preventing you from submitting to His will in different areas of your life?  How would walking with Jesus bring “rest” to your everyday life?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Preview

On November 16, 2010, popular television personality Bill Nye “the science guy” was walking onto a stage at USC to give a lecture.  En route to the podium, Nye collapsed and was out for at least 10 seconds.  While this was certainly a difficult medical situation for Mr. Nye, it was also a fascinating study in sociology in the digital age.  What do I mean?

According to Alastair Fairbanks (a USC student in attendance – as reported by the LA Times) what happened next was surprising:  “Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed — that just perplexed me beyond reason, Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.”

Did you catch that?  the first response of USC students to a medical emergency was to tweet it to the world, instead of to run to his assistance.  What a strange world we are now living in!

Before we are too hard on the students of USC, or write this off as a product of the “millenial” generation, we need to remember that this behavior is not new.  As a matter of fact, people have been offering the wrong first response to life or death issues for at least 2,000 years now.  Don’t believe me?  Look at Matthew 11:20-30.

In these verses we see Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . the Savior of the world, show up on the scene.  When He does so, He demonstrates His identity through authoritative teaching and powerful miracles of great compassion.  The historical theater in which Jesus performed these miracles was the region of Galilee.  Jesus walked onto this stage and offered eternal life, but instead of running to Him and receiving this message, it seems the people of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida (some of the cities Jesus visited) simply “tweeted out to their friends” that a new “show” was in town.  Instead of personally responding, they simply remained indifferent.

Sadly, today billions of people, when presented with the life giving Person of Jesus Christ, still sit idly by and watch, instead of running to Him and receiving Him as Savior and Lord. 

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be continuing our series on Matthew 11-12 called “First Responders” by looking at the response of the region of Galilee and Jesus offer of rest in Matthew 11:20-30.  We will also be celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.  Hope you can join us at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00!

First Responders (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 of the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #1 04.15.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders part 1 – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:1-19
  3. Think about who John the Baptist was . . . what he had seen . . . and what his CURRENT context was (context in Matthew 11 – see also Matt 14:1-12).  Knowing these things, why do you think he was concerned that Jesus might not be “the One?”
  4. Have you ever had an experience where you (or someone close to you) had their convictions shaken by difficult circumstances?
  5. Jesus grounds His response to John’s disciples in concrete reality:  what they could see.  By observing the person of Christ, their faith would be encouraged.  In the message we talked about 3 ways to refocus our convictions:  by looking back to the person of Jesus Christ, by looking around at the testimony of others, and by looking into God’s Word more deeply.  In what ways has YOUR faith been encouraged by these things?  What do you need to focus on more today to keep the faith in the midst of challenging circumstances?
  6. Jesus stands up for John, even as John asked a hard question.  How does this encourage you to seek answers to the hard questions in your life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders – Series Preview

April 19, 1995.  I don’t think I will ever forget that day.  I was getting ready for class at the University of Oklahoma and listening to the radio.  The DJ said there has been some kind of an earthquake that had hit downtown Oklahoma City — his studio had been shook.  In reality it was not an earthquake, it was a bomb that had been detonated at the Federal Building.  Our city had been shaken and stirred to action.

Immediately First Responders arrived at the bombing site.  Police and Fire and EMT ran toward the scene.  In their response, many of us (me included) found inspiration as I found myself at a local charity that night volunteering to help pack supplies for those in need.

As Oklahomans, we have often looked to the courage and response of the first responders to the scenes of different events:  F5 tornados, floods, and wildfires.

I was thinking about this today as I prepare for a new series we are kicking off at Wildwood on Sunday.  In the Bible, when Jesus arrived, there were a number of people who ran to the scene.  In that first group of responders to Jesus, however, we see something interesting.  Instead of being inspired by all their faith, we find that many rejected Jesus instead. 

In Matthew 11-12, there are a number of “first responders” to Jesus message who struggled to understand who He was or what He was coming to do.  This included such varied groups as John the Baptist and his followers, the Pharisees, and even Jesus’ own earthly family.  By looking at the response of these first people, we can see more of how we might respond to Him as well. 

Join us this Sunday, April 15 at Wildwood Community Church for our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we begin our series: “First Responders” asking the question, “when Jesus calls . . . will we answer?”  See you Sunday!