For the Nations (Preview Sermon) Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, October 17, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Acts 13:1-3.  This message was the “preview” to our “For the Nations” event that will occur from October 23-31 at Wildwood (find details here).  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 13:1-3
  3. Have you ever been on a missions trip before?  What was the purpose of the trip and what are the strongest memories you have of the experience?
  4. In 13:1 we see a list of leaders from the church in Antioch.  This is a diverse group!  Have you ever been a part of a group of people with very diverse backgrounds that came together as one?  What created the unity?  How does Jesus make this kind of unity among diverse people possible inside the church today?
  5. When was the last time you prayed and fasted for the mission of Jesus in the world?  You can pray TODAY … but also you can join us as a church on October 28 as we pray for the mission of the church in the world at 6:30pm in our worship center.
  6. In what way are you personally participating in taking the Gospel to the world?  Giving, prayer, personally going, helping send others?  Join us throughout the “For the Nations Week” October 23-31 as we interact with many Wildwood has SENT to the world!
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon offline, click the link:

For The Nations Intro 10.17.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream of the service, use YouTube online:

 

For the Nations Preview … Sermon Preview

I am a sinful person.  My desires are not always pure and my actions not always righteous.  More often than I want to admit, the grid through which I process a situation is “what’s in it for me?”

Can anyone relate?

Because of that, I should not be surprised that in my flesh, I often think that whatever I see is for me.  Last slice of cake?  Must be mine.  Last $20 in my wallet?  Must be for MY lunch.  $50 for a birthday gift?  What do I WANT?  Our flesh puts the center of gravity in OURSELVES, putting everyone and everything around us in our orbit.

This attitude is not just present in our attitude toward things, it also even filters into the way we think about our church.  We want the best leader leading MY small group.  We want the best preacher preaching the service that I ATTEND.  We want the best worship band leading ME in worship on Sundays.  We want the coolest most amazing Youth or Children’s Pastor impacting MY KIDS.  We put ourselves at the center, and we don’t let anything get too far removed from our gravitational pull.

Because of this dynamic, we find what happens in Acts 13:1-3 quite alien.  A long time ago, in a time before ANY CHURCHES sent people out on mission trips, one church (in Antioch) released their beloved Senior Pastor and his hotshot young teaching protege out on an extended missionary journey.  They took up a collection, they released them from their Antioch specific duties, and they sent them off to lead OTHERS, to preach to THOSE WHO HAD NOT HEARD, and to lead OTHER PEOPLE’S FAMILIES to the throne of grace.  All this meant that the pulpit in Antioch and the Sunday school classes in their hallways would be led by someone else.  How amazing is this!?!?

To put this in practical terms, imagine a hypothetical situation where Wildwood gathered for worship on Sunday and had a particularly amazing time of worship and prayer … and at the end of that service, commissioned our Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess and myself (Senior Pastor) to take the Gospel to a foreign land, leaving Wildwood to serve in another field.  Now some of you might be excited by the change, but some of you would also be sad by this development!  What could enable a congregation to move past their personal agenda to take such missional action? 

People with themselves at the center would almost never send someone they like to permanently serve someone else.  They would want to keep them around to serve THEIR needs.  However, in Christ, there is another option.

If Jesus (not us) is at the center, and His glory is at the forefront, then everything exists to honor Him.  And Jesus has said that the Gospel is to go “into all the world, making disciples of ALL NATIONS …”  So, churches in sync with the Savior do not collect ministers like stamps, but instead send them out to the ends of the earth.  Instead of relegating missionary activities to those who “can’t cut it here,” the Spirit-empowered church is open to sending its best to those who have not heard.  The task is that important!

In our worship services over the next 3 weeks at Wildwood, we will have a special emphasis on the Lord’s work through Wildwood helping us be “For the Nations” following Jesus to the glory of God.  In these three weeks we will get to hear from some of Wildwood’s best and brightest who are proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth, particularly inside (or near) the 10/40 window.   Please, please, please make plans to attend.  This Sunday we will kick off this series with a preview message where I will be looking at Acts 13:1-3 and contemplating the unifying and primary task of the missionary expansion of the church, and Wildwood’s role in it.  Make plans to join us this Sunday, October 17 in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services, on online in the stream  (wildwoodchurch.org/live) beginning at 9:45.  Join us … and invite friends!

Grasping God’s Word (part 4)

On Wednesday night, October 13, Wildwood offered part 4 of the “Grasping God’s Word” study, helping equip us in how to study the Scriptures for ourselves.  Below you will find the handout of notes for the session, a pdf of the slides used in presentation, and a link to the video stream.  Dr. Mike Strauss led the presentation this night.

 

Handout from the session: GGW Week 4 Handout

Slides from the session: GGW week 4 Slides

 

Video stream of Session 4:

Questions for Reflection: Sunday, October 10, 2021

  1. Many of us know the experience of getting “discombobulated” while scurrying through airport security. Have you had something happen to you going through security that was funny or especially frustrating? Share some about it.

 

  1. One thing is abundantly clear in 2 Peter 2—Peter is far from politically correct in the stance he takes regarding false teachers. List some reasons why that is so.

 

  1. Peter designates false teachers in verse 17 as “springs without water.” What does he mean by that? Can you think of some real-life examples?

 

  1. Many scholars believe in verse 18 that Peter points out that the false teachers special target was newer or younger believers. Why would they target that group?

 

  1. Bruce points out that even to skilled expositors verses 20-22 are a confusing epilogue. What reason did Bruce cite for why that is? Can you summarize both the Majority View and the Minority View?

 

  1. Bruce cited two reasons why he leans toward the Minority View. What were they? (see at bottom for the answer)

 

  1. Bruce concluded by calling us to “Live what you believe.” He stated that we can do that by demonstrating 1) humility 2) authenticity  3) accountability.  Brainstorm what it would look like in practical terms for us to demonstrate those three ideas.

 

  1. Close in prayer by thanking God again for His indescribable gift of salvation.

 

 

1) the strong similarity of wording between 1:1:1-4 and 2:20 including the exact same verbal structure for “escape”   2) Paul’s closing statement later in 3:17-18 that seems to coincide with the Minority View

Sneak Peek – Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

I hope you were able to make it to the Wildwood Church Picnic last Sunday evening.  We had delightful weather and a bundle of fun!  I heard many rave reviews about the food trucks and our children had a blast at the many games. Wow…the cake walk sure was popular.  Imagine walking away with a full cake of your choice!  I was envious.  It was great to see so many.

It’s Fall break and a few of our families are off taking advantage of the break.  No doubt some are headed to Dallas for the OU-Texas game.  We hope OU can teach the Longhorns “who’s on top.” We also hope your family is enjoying some time off from school.

On Sunday we will be showing a short video testimony from the author of the New York Times bestseller book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi.  In addition, we will conclude our series Be Aware! From 2 Peter 2.  The title of Sunday’s message is “A Final Autopsy” and I would invite you to read 2 Peter 2:17-22 before Sunday.

See you then!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection: October 3, 2021

On Sunday, October 3, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The Inevitability of Judgment” from our sermon series “Be Aware!”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Does Peter’s extremely direct and harsh assessment (i.e., ‘like unreasoning animals’, ‘stains and blemishes’) of false teachers surprise you?  Why?

What reasons might Peter cite for his frank assessments?  Elaborate.

2. What would you say are some current examples of false teaching in our day?

3.  Paul clearly urged the Elders of Ephesus to “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock…be on the alert” (Acts 20 28; 31).  Why is it that so many believers and churches fail to do this?

4. What were the three motivations for false teachers found in Scripture?  Have you seen examples of each in the lives of any particular false teachers?  Expand.

5. Peter stressed that the rebellious and unrighteous are reserved for judgment, while believers will be rescued (vs. 9).  Take some time to again thank your Savior for His provision for you.

6. Some Bible teachers claim the Genesis flood was local.  What are some evidences that it was indeed a world flood?

7. Rejoice afresh in the truths of John 5:24

8. Bruce encouraged us to pray for (and share the gospel with) those in your world who don’t know Jesus.  He listed friends, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students. Think of one person from at least two of the categories and pray for them right now.

Sneak Peek – Sunday, October 3, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

What was that sound?  Could it have been T-H-U-N- D-E-R?  Yes, it was!  What a welcome, wonderful sound.  It has been a dry-dry September.  Finally, some precipitation.  We are ready, Lord, for some significant moisture.  Please, bless us!

Anyone already tired of seeing Halloween displays?  Some in my neighborhood have had theirs up for weeks.  The stores, some since July.  Really? Time moves fast enough by itself, right?

This Sunday afternoon will be the Wildwood Church Picnic at our facility from 5pm – 7pm. The weather looks to be fabulous. Come!  There will be live music, $5 food trucks, fun for the kids, etc.  A great time for all ages to gather and fellowship together.  It will also be an opportunity to meet some of our local outreach partners.  Sounds fun to me!

On Sunday we will continue our series entitled, Be Aware! as we dive into 2 Peter 2:3-16.  This is a long passage, so I encourage everyone to read it before Sunday.

Have you ever wondered:  what motivates false teachers?  Well, the New Testament gives us at least three difference motivations—can you name them?  Come and found out on Sunday as we present a message entitled, “The inevitability of Judgment.”  I look forward to gathering around God’s Word together.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Grasping God’s Word (Part 3)

On Wednesday night, September 29, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, Wildwood offered part 3 of the “Grasping God’s Word” course.  This week’s lesson is from Dr. Mike Strauss.  Below you will find the link to the video of the class session, the handout from the session, and key slides.

To watch the stream use YouTube via link below:

 

Access the notes from this week’s session below:

Week 3 Notes in pdf format

 

NOTE:  To access week 2 of this study (NOTE the link to week 1 of the study is also found there) … click here.

Questions for Reflection – September 26, 2021

On Sunday, September 26, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The Reality of Danger” from our sermon series “Be Aware!”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Peter paints a picture that false teachers will come and should be anticipated by followers of Jesus.  What causes that and why do you think Peter was so assured it would happen?

2. How aware of the Secular Social Justice Worldview were you before Sunday’s message?
What, if any, manifestations of the tenets of the SSJ Worldview have you seen/heard?  Elaborate.

3. Were you aware that the SSJ Worldview traces directly back to the atheistic secularists at the Frankfurt school in Germany? Should that make a difference?  Why or why not?

4. How does Ezekiel 18:20 apply to some of the rhetoric popular in some circles today?

5. In what ways does false teaching discredit and defame the gospel?  (vs. 2b)

6. As a follower of Jesus how should Colossians 2:8 be applied in our life?  Share ideas.

7. What are some practical ways you can live out our call to be salt and light in our world?

8. Pray 2 Timothy 2:24-26 before the Lord for you and your family.

Sneak Peek – Sunday September 26, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Anybody out there enjoy our recent temperature dip into the 50s?  I gotta admit I love the seasonal changes we experience in Norman.  My wife Janet is somewhat sad to see fall come each year because she truly loves being able to be in the swimming pool…when younger she even did synchronized swimming!  I don’t blame her. But, alas, fall marches on.

Pastor Mark has done a wonderful job of walking us through the book of Galatians these last number of months.  My appreciation for Galatians went up!

This Sunday we will be launching a three part series from 2 Peter chapter 2 which I’ve entitled, Be Aware!. Very few would identify 2 Peter 2 as their favorite chapter because of all the discussion of false teaching and future judgment.  On the other hand, it is intriguing to think that Peter—as he was soon anticipating leaving this life—took significant time to warn us of a danger that is often out of our everyday awareness.

Sunday’s message is entitled, “The Reality of Danger. “  As part of the message we will look at a present-day example of false teaching as we examine the Secular Social Justice Worldview against a biblical backdrop.  You can’t miss this!

A reminder: our church picnic is on the horizon, coming up a week from Sunday on October the 3rd  at Wildwood from 5-7 pm. The picnic is for all ages and should be a fun time to gather together outside.  I miss gathering together!  Details are in the newsletter and the bulletin.

See you Sunday!

Bruce