Perspective (Part 1): Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, April 11, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Acts 17:16-34.  This message was part 1 in the “Perspective” series, and focused on the statement, “The God who IS is greater than the God I IMAGINE.”  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video from the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 17:16-34
  3. What are some of the ways your “boat has been rocked” by the waves of culture this year?  How have you responded?  Where have you tried to “anchor” and weather the storm?
  4. The Gospel message was relevant and necessary in both the religious synagogue, as well as Pagan Athens.  From your own perspective, is our culture in America today more like the synagogue or a place like Athens?  Why do you say that?
  5. What are some of the “gods” to which people try to anchor to “steady their boat” in today’s world?  What problems have you seen from people anchoring to the wrong thing?
  6. Are you anchoring to the rock of God’s Word?  Which of the 4 kinds of responses best represents your response to this message:  (1) No way I will tie to that Rock! (2) I made the decision long ago to fix to the Rock.  (3) I am fixed to the Rock through others.  (4) I am fixed to the Rock and tie the knot each morning.
  7. How can you help remind others to be fixed to the Rock this week?
  8. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

Perspective #1 4.11.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

 

Perspective: Series Preview

Have you ever participated in a game of “dizzy bat”?  This relay is straight from the pit of Hades if you ask me.  In this game, people run down to a stationary baseball bat, place one end of the bat on their forehead, the other end on the ground, then spin around as quickly as possible 10 times before “running” back to the start line.  I say “running” because it is next to impossible to run after spinning around that tight of a circle that fast.  When you stop spinning, your world doesn’t … your brain sufficiently scrambled … you either stumble back to the start line like a drunk at the end of a bender, or (if you are like me) fall flat on your back and beg for mercy.  Only after I stop moving can I gain sufficient perspective to get back up and move without falling apart.

I tell you this story because figuratively, I think our society has been playing a professional level game of “dizzy bat” the past 12 months.  With our heads on a “stick” of P’s (pandemics, politics, and protests) we have spun ‘round and ‘round at a disorienting pace in recent days.  As we head into the spring of 2021, many are stumbling toward a new start line, while others are flat on their backs trying to catch their bearings.  Can you relate?

How do we gain PERSPECTIVE in this moment to stop the world from spinning and make sense of what is happening … and (even more importantly) as Christ followers how do we understand our times through a Christian lens and know how we can respond in a God glorifying way in this moment?

Well, over the next 4 weeks at Wildwood Community Church, I am going to do my best to orient us to 4 absolutely critical-to-remember truths to maintain the proper perspective in our day.  These four truths help us maintain a Christian worldview in the midst of a society that wants to keep us spinning.

Most all sermons we preach at Wildwood are parts of larger series of messages, but these next 4 weeks are especially important to hear together.  In a sense, this series is one message in four parts.  I hope you make plans to join us for each of the four weeks for this series entitled, “Perspective:  Viewing today’s world through a Christian Lens.”  The outline of the series is as follows:

  • April 11:  The God who IS vs. the God we IMAGINE (Acts 17:16-34)
  • April 18:  The Human Race, part 1:  Created ON purpose and FOR a purpose (Genesis 1-3, Psalm 139)
  • April 25:  The Human Race, part 2:  What Happened?  (Romans 1-5)
  • May 2:  The BEST Solution (John 3:1-17, Matthew 5:13-16)

In this series, not only will we be looking at these core truths, but also seek to apply these truths to our current dilemmas to see how we might make sense of what is happening around us, and understand the path Christ is calling us to walk.  

I hope you all will join us in person in one of our 3 identical services at Wildwood Community Church – 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 AM or online at wildwoodchurch.org/live.  I will also be posting some additional thoughts and links to resources on this blog throughout the series for those who want to go deeper.  See you Sunday … and invite any friends you know who are also wrestling with these issues.  Let’s look together to see what God says about who He is, who we are, and what we are to do.

Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 5) Video and Slides

On Wednesday night, April 7, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I wrapped up a 5 week survey of the book of Acts entitled “Contagious Christianity.”  This week’s installment looked at Acts 21:27-28:31.  Below you will find the video of the class, and the slides from the presentation.

 

To access previous weeks of the study:

 

To watch part 5, use the video on YouTube:

 

Easter Sunday 2021 – Sermon Questions Audio & Video

On Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Luke 24:13-49.  Below you will find questions related to the sermon for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to, watch, download or share … plus you will also see the slides from the message.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 24:13-49
  3. What images and ideas do you associate with Easter today?  How about when you were growing up?  How do those ideas mesh with the description provided in Luke 24:46-48?
  4. If someone were to ask you, “How do I KNOW that Jesus was the Savior of the world?” – how would you answer them?
  5. Jesus explains His identity to the disciples through the Scriptures.  If this is how we can come to know Jesus, how are you investing time in getting to know Jesus through reading the Bible?  What daily habits are you practicing to help you get to know who Jesus really is?
  6. The bodily resurrection of Jesus provides for us a new identity, a new life, and a new eternity.  Of all the “new” that Jesus makes possible, what excites you the most?  How can you live in light of this “new” this year?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link below:

Easter Sunday 4.4.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the worship service, use YouTube online:

 

Easter Weekend 2021 Preview!

Dear Friends,

It is Easter week!  We are looking forward to the chance to worship with you at Wildwood this weekend, as we remember Jesus’ death on the cross for us and His triumph over the grave!  To aid in our worship, we have a number of opportunities that we wanted to make sure you were aware of:

Good Friday Service – Friday, April 2 (6:00  & 7:30PM)

Join us for one of our two identical Good Friday services this Friday night.  This time of worship will include reading the Scriptural account of Jesus trial and crucifixion, singing songs remembering the significance of His death on our behalf, sharing in communion together, as well as praying and reflecting upon what all this means for us.  NOTE 1:  There is no children’s ministry during this service.  All in attendance will be in our worship center.  NOTE 2:  The 6pm Good Friday Service will also be live-streamed and available at wildwoodchurch.org/live .

 

Easter Sunrise Service – Sunday, April 4 (7:30AM)

Join us in our back parking lot as we watch the sun rise and celebrate the Son of God who is risen!  This outdoor worship service will include the same elements as our indoor services later in the day (same music, message, and communion) and provides an option for people to spread out more outside or start their day early!  NOTE 1:  There is no children’s ministry during the 7:30 service.  All in attendance will be in the parking lot for this sunrise service.  NOTE 2:  This is a “bring your own chair” event.

 

Easter Sunday Services- Sunday April 4 (9:00, 10:15, 11:30AM)

Join us in our main worship center for one of our Easter Sunday services.  We will remember the resurrection, sing praise to God, look at Luke 24:13-49, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.  Should be an amazing morning!  NOTE 1:  Full children and student ministry programming (birth – 12th grade) running during the 9:00 and 10:15 service.  Nursery/Toddler/Preschool classes also offered during the 11:30 hour.  College Life meets at 10:15.  Adult classes meet during their normal schedules all morning long.  NOTE 2:  As always, the 10:15 service will also be live-streamed and can be found at wildwoodchurch.org/live .

 

Help us get the word out about these services!  All are invited, but most respond best to a personal invitation.  We have 6 worship opportunities in person and two online this weekend. Share this post to help us get the word out.  Let’s gather together, invite others we know to join us, and celebrate that He is risen!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!!!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 4) Video and Slides

On Wednesday night, March 31, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I taught part 4 of the 5 part overview of the book of Acts titled, “Contagious Christianity.”  This session covered Acts 18:23-21:26.  Below you will find the video of this presentation, as well as the slides from the session.

To access previous lessons in this series:

 

To watch the video, use YouTube online:

 

Palm Sunday 2021 Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, March 28, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message as a part of the Palm Sunday celebration.  This message focused on Luke 19:28-44.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video from the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 19:28-44
  3. What are some of your favorite Easter Holiday memories over the years?  Do you remember when you first realized that Easter was all about Jesus and what He has done for us through His death and resurrection?
  4. Have you ever stopped to personalize the crowd that gathered around Jesus on Palm Sunday?  These were not “faceless” people but people whose lives had been revolutionized by Jesus Christ.  They were worshipping Him out of their gratitude and experience (not just their expectations).  When you worship God, do you personalize that worship, reflecting on what God has done for you personally in Christ?  Make a list of things God has done for you in your life and have that list be a springboard to a time of worship before Him this week.
  5. Who are some in “authority” or positions of prominence in your life who do not share your understanding of who Jesus really is?  Have you allowed their opposition to quiet your allegiance to Christ?  How does the picture of the Pharisees on Palm Sunday remind you that those in powerful positions or advanced educations are not always “right” about Jesus?
  6. How does the picture of Christ weeping over Jerusalem motivate you about His feelings for you?  For those around you?  If you have not trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, might you do so RIGHT NOW?  For those already following Jesus, who might you invite to follow Jesus with you this week?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to sermon audio offline, click the link:

Palm Sunday 3.28.21

 

To listen to sermon online, use media player:

 

To watch stream of worship service, use YouTube online:

 

Palm Sunday Preview 2021

Just East of the city of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley and dotted with olive groves, stands a very famous hill.  This hill is appropriately named the Mount of Olives.  Many approaching Jerusalem from Jericho in the East would walk up and over this hill to get to the “city of peace.”  2,000 years ago, a very special approach was made over the Mount of Olives by a very famous Person – Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The particular journey of Jesus I am referring to is what we know of today as “Palm Sunday” – one week prior to His resurrection two millennia ago.

I have been to Israel and stood on the Mount of Olives, looking at the city of Jerusalem from that angle.  If you were to stand on the Mount of Olives western slope and look at the city of Jerusalem, you would notice something peculiar about your surroundings … you would be surrounded by graves!  As a part of the “Social Security” program in Israel today, the government will pay for their citizen’s burial expenses in most circumstances.  I say “most,” because people can pay for an upgraded location for their burial.  Many, many Israelis have paid the fee to be buried on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city of Jerusalem.  Now why would they do that?  Because of the view?  Well, yes … and no.

The view of the city IS impressive, but it is not the current scenery that has people paying the up charge.  It is the view IN THE FUTURE that has people investing their inheritance.  According to Zechariah 14, when the Messiah returns to Israel, He will land on the Mount of Olives and approach the city of Jerusalem from the east.  Devout Jews, in anticipation of their Messiah’s arrival, are buried, feet facing the city, so that when Messiah comes and raises the faithful dead, they will be ready to join Him in a triumphal procession on the last day.

To commemorate and honor the dead buried on the hillside of the Mount of Olives, modern Jews place rocks (not flowers) on the stone enclosures in which their loved ones are buried.  

So, on the Mount of Olives, there are graves covered in rocks, of expectant (yet deceased) Jews awaiting their Messiah’s return.  Seeing this scene adds a bit of poignant irony to what Jesus said as He was entering the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

That day many were singing and shouting praises to Jesus as their hopeful Messiah and King.  The Pharisees saw what was developing and came to Jesus and said, “rebuke your disciples and tell them to be quiet” (the obvious implication being that the Pharisees did not believe Jesus was the Messiah so it was inappropriate for Him to receive this praise.)  But Jesus responded:

“I tell you, if these were silent the VERY STONES would cry out!”

Whoa.  

In a general sense, Jesus was saying, “it is RIGHT for these people to honor me this way because I AM the Messiah and all of creation knows it … even the rocks!”  

However, as I think about that hillside, I am reminded of those rocks I saw on the graves of people waiting for Messiah to come … He already came, and they missed HIM!  Those rocks cry out for a Messiah that came 2,000 years ago, walking down that very hill … in some cases, walking past those very stones.

Thankfully He is coming again for all the world to see, but in the mean time, let’s not let another moment go by when we don’t recognize Jesus for who He really is and worship Him with all our hearts.  We will try to do that this Palm Sunday, March 28, at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 services as we look at Luke 19:28-44 in our Palm Sunday celebration.  Hope to see you then … and bring friends!

NOTE:  The 10:15 service will be live-streamed at wildwoodchurch.org/live

 

NOTE 2:  If you are interested in going to Israel with myself and Mark Burget  as guides over Spring Break 2022, message me and I will get you the details.  We still have a few spots left on that trip!  Would love to stand on the Mount of Olives with you and talk about this again!

The view from the Mount of Olives today … those stone boxes in the foreground are all graves with small rocks set on top.

Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 3) Video and Slides

On Wednesday night, March 24, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I led another installment in our “Contagious Christianity” study of the book of Acts.  This week we were in week 3 of the study and it covered Acts 15:36-18:22, focusing on Paul’s second missionary journey.  Below you will find a video of the class (going live at 6:07 on 3/24/21) for you to watch, and copies of the key slides for further review.

NOTE:  To access info on parts 1 & 2 of the course click below:

To watch the video for part 3: