Baptism Sunday, March 7, 2021! (Preview)

This Sunday at Wildwood is such a GREAT SUNDAY!  March 7 we are celebrating the baptisms of 18 individuals over our 3 morning worship services (9:00, 10:15, and 11:30).  We cannot wait for this weekend.

Water baptism is a public celebration of people’s connection to Jesus.  All 18 people who are being baptized on Sunday are being baptized upon their personal profession of faith in Christ.

Join us as we hear their stories and celebrate what Jesus has done in their lives.  Around these 18 baptisms, we will also sing, pray, and look into God’s Word (Acts 15:19 to be exact), as we thank God for His mercy and grace toward us through Jesus Christ.

Make plans to join us!  Know that the baptism portion of each service will  be broadcast on our online channel – wildwoodchurch.org/live .  The entire worship service (as usual) will also be broadcast at 10:15.  So, here is the schedule:

If you are physically coming to Wildwood, services start at:

  • 9:00
  • 10:15
  • 11:30

 

If you are going to join us online:

Know that on Baptism Sundays at Wildwood we do not have adult, college, student, or elementary classes meeting.  All who attend Wildwood this Sunday will join us in one of our 3 worship services (with the exception of preschool aged children and below, who will have their classes still meeting this Sunday).  Hope to see you Sunday!

Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 1)

 

On Wednesday night, March 3, at Wildwood Community Church, I began a 5 part survey of the book of Acts as a part of a course presented by TBI called “Acts: Contagious Christianity.”  In part 1, we introed the book of Acts, and looked at Acts 1-9.  These verses reminded us that after His resurrection and ascension, Jesus was ALIVE AND WELL and continuing to work through His Body, the Church.  Below you will see slides from the presentation and the YouTube stream of the class for any who missed it.  Join us next week (March 10) for part 2!

 

To watch the session video use YouTube online:

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, February 28, 2021

On Sunday, February 28, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Tough Times – Part 2”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned one of the key New Testament words for Tough Times was the term “thlipsis.”  It is a rather rich word used 45 times picturing being pressed in on, squeezed, or crushed.  Think about a tough time (maybe now) when you felt pressed in on, squeezed, or crushed by circumstances. Share some about why you felt (or feel) that way.

2. How was God’s sovereignty and providence displayed in Daniel 4:29-35 and in the story of Job?

3. Real out loud Isaiah 46:9-11.  What comfort and security in Tough Times can we experience when we pause to reflect on the fact that God is indeed “large and in charge?”

4. Bruce talked about how Scripture teaches that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), the Lord is just (Psalm 37:28), and the Lord is loving (Psalm 136). What can we practically gain in the midst of Tough Times by refreshing our hearts with that perspective?

5. Read Psalm 13:1-6. How do verses 1-2 contrast with verses 5-6?  How do you think David was able to make that transition?

6. We are either in a Tough Time now or will be soon. If you’re not in the midst right now, think through those around you who may well be in the midst of a Tough Time.  How might God use you to help and encourage them?

7. God knows we are human.  So, as Bruce said, don’t crucify yourself when you experience times of doubt and struggle. We should do like the Psalmists did.  Take your struggle and frustration and discouragement to the Lord in prayer.  Do that right now.

Remember: His loving face is always facing you!!

Sneak Peek for Sunday, February 28, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Wow.  We’ve reached the last few days of February.  This is NOT a leap year, so the month runs out this Sunday.  We’re already 1/6th of the way through 2021!  Blink. Blink. It goes by fast!

I’m already excited about the first Sunday in March…it will be baptism Sunday. Some 18 followers of Jesus will be baptized.  It will be a modified all-in, only nursery and pre-school will have classes.  What a great time to plan to bring the whole family and rejoice with those being baptized.  Remember, that’s a week from this coming Sunday.

This Sunday we will be continuing the 4 part series we launched last Sunday, entitled, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering.  Tough Times are always…well, tough!  This Sunday we will be looking at two more of the seven key pivot points of perspective.  One involves God’s sovereignty and providence.  The other involves God’s consistent character and great love.

Come Sunday and together let’s get some renewed perspective that can help carry us through Tough Times.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, February 21, 2021

Questions for Reflection – Tough Times – Week one

  1. What situations in life most easily remind you that we live in a broken world? Make a list.

 

  1. Bruce said, when we face Tough Times and suffering it affects our heart and touches our soul. Agree? Why do you think that’s so?

 

  1. It was mentioned in the message that too often we succumb to “location amnesia.” What was meant by that? What contributes to our tendency to succumb to it?  Discuss.

 

  1. How can the promise of a better eternal future ahead assist us as we encounter Tough Times?

 

  1. Re-read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. What practical truth for everyday life does Paul share in those verses?

 

  1. Bruce said, “biblical waiting is not passive.” He elaborated by saying it involves actively remembering (who God is and what He has done), actively accessing (spiritual wisdom and divine resources), and actively serving Jesus. In which area do you most need to grow and why?

 

  1. Take some time in prayer before the Heavenly Father to freshly admit your limitations and to re-affirm your deep need for His perspective and strength.

Sneak Peek – Sunday, February 21, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

An old Hank Williams saying went something like this, If the Good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise.  These past few days we might have wanted to change it to: If the Good Lord’s willing and the pipes don’t freeze. 😉

Yes, it’s been a wild week.  I don’t recall ever seeing anything like the mix of bitter cold and heavy snow in my 42+ years in Oklahoma.  Shoveling snow again was a “throw-back”, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be “throw-back-out.”  Our sincere prayer is that you’ve stayed warm and healthy and that NONE of your pipes have frozen.

It will be exciting to gather again in person this Sunday after having been “stormed out” last Sunday.  I will be launching a new 4-part series entitled, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering.  Tough Times would be one way to describe the past year.  Tough Times are something we all face—sometimes when we least expect it.

Over the next four weeks we will be sharing from Scripture 7 pivotal points of perspective as we face Tough Times.  It is really amazing how much God’s Word has to say about surviving and spiritually thriving in Tough Times.  Can’t wait to see you on Sunday (at 9 am, 10:15 am, or 11:30 am) or online starting at 10:15 am.

Be in prayer for our students who are involved with the DNow event today, Saturday, and Sunday morning.  Pray for God to touch and change hearts!

 

See you Sunday!

Bruce

The New Normal (part 7) Sermon Audio, Video, and Questions

On Sunday, February 14, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 2:20.  This message was part 7 in the “New Normal” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find video from the sermon to watch or share, or audio to download or to listen to online.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 2:20
  3. In 3 sentences, how would you describe the Christian life?
  4. Do you have a hard time imagining that God loves YOU (not just people in general)?
  5. Paul personalized what Jesus had made possible … seeing both Jesus’ death and life as having massive implications for him PERSONALLY.  Have you personalized what Jesus has done and thought about what that means in your life today?
  6. If you are a Christian, your relationship with Jesus is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about you.  What are some of the other things you tend to find your identity in (besides Jesus)?  How does remembering that your “Jesus connection” is most foundational change the way you look at your life?
  7. We live out our new life in Christ at the old address of our flesh.  Therefore we need a plan that has both power and connection.  Thankfully God has given us both!  Think of a current struggle you are going through.  How does following the action steps lined out in the message today help you practically apply this verse to your life?
  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 to download:

New Normal 7

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

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

 

The New Normal (part 7) Sermon Preview

I turned 16 about one week before the start of my sophomore year of high school.  The summer leading up to that fateful day was a flurry of activities to prepare me for a major rite of passage:  getting my driver’s license!

In June I took driver’s education in summer school with Coach Shaffer.  A bit later, I passed a written exam and got my driver’s permit.  A couple of months later I located and purchased a great used car.  And then, on the morning of my birthday, I went to the DMV, took my driving test and secured my driver’s license!  

That afternoon I went home, got in my car, picked up a few friends and cruised around town.  It was one of those great “growing up” moments.

Now, imagine for a moment, though, that that afternoon went a little differently.  What if I took the class, got the permit, got the driver’s license, got the car, had places I wanted to go … but had no gas in the tank?  I’ll tell you what would have happened … I would have gone NO WHERE and the disappointment would have been written all over my face.

Now I share that story with you today because when it comes to the Christian life, all too often we:

  • Have a version of “Christian Ed” where we tell people WHAT they need to do to become a Christian.
  • Tell people things they need to permit (and avoid) as they live out their Christian life.
  • Talk about the vehicle of a new life in Christ that they get to “drive”
  • Encourage people to drive this new life with their friends 

However … many times in our conversations about Christianity, we do ALL THAT, but forget to talk about the fuel God has put in our tanks to actually power this life!  What a shame!  

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be wrapping up our “New Normal” sermon series by looking at just one verse (Galatians 2:20) as we see the incredible fuel God puts in our tank, and the key to ignite it in our everyday lives.  I can’t wait to wrap up this series with you together this weekend.  Hope to see you in our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 service (in person and with classes for students, children, and adults), or 10:15 online in the stream (wildwoodchurch.org/live).  See you Sunday (and we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together)!!

 

P.S.  This week we are singing 3 of my favorite songs (“In Christ Alone,” “His Mercy is More,” and “Amazing Grace”), looking at one of my favorite passages of Scripture (Galatians 2:20), with my favorite congregation (that’s you),  focusing on the most amazing Savior (Jesus).  What a great weekend. Hope you may it in person or online!

The New Normal (part 6) Sermon Audio/Video and Questions

On Sunday, February 7, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Galatians 2:15-21.  This message was part 6 in the “New Normal” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 2:15-21
  3. If your spiritual journey were like a “math class” what level would you consider yourself at right now?  Basic arithmetic?  Algebra?  Calculus?  
  4. Peter needed to be reminded of the basics of the Christian life by Paul in Galatians 2:15-21.  How would you summarize the most important truth he shares in Galatians 2:16 in your own words?
  5. Have you ever placed your faith in Jesus for your hope for eternal life?  If so when?  If not, what is preventing you from trusting Him today?
  6. Do you treat others as if our hope is found in the same place (in Christ) or do others perceive you think you are “better” than they are because of some other reason?
  7. Based on your understanding of Galatians 2:17-19, how would you answer the question, “If you are not saved by your good works, why would you do good works at all?”
  8. Do you believe that your soul would really be MOST CONTENT living in obedience to Jesus, or do you think “true life” is found someplace else?  Why do you feel the way that you do?
  9. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To download audio, click the link:

The New Normal #6 2.7.21

 

To listen online, use media player below:

 

To watch stream, use YouTube online:

 

The New Normal (part 6) Sermon Preview

Stuck high up in a tree outside my house sits a branch … a big tree branch that snapped off under the weight of last October’s ice storm.  This branch sits precariously balanced on another branch and needs to be removed before it falls and does some serious damage.  How will this branch come down?

Well, you might think there are hundreds of ways for the branch to fall (and my house to be saved as the branch lands softly in the yard), but really, there are only two ways:

  1. I bring the branch down through some kind of organized activity.

2.  God brings the branch down through His sovereign intervention.

Now just because there are only two basic ways the branch will fall, that does NOT mean that there are not variants inside that plan.  Under option #1, I can think of dozens of possibilities:

  • I throw a football (like Uncle Rico from “Napoleon Dynamite”) and hit the branch JUST RIGHT to knock it down into the yard (missing the house and deck.)
  • I climb the tree like an American Ninja Warrior and dislodge the branch and throw it down safely into the yard.
  • I hire a professional tree trimming crew to use a bucket truck to lift and set the branch down in just the right spot.
  • I get a long ladder and climb to an appropriate spot and use a chainsaw the remove the branch a section at a time (guiding it to the ground with a set of ropes and pulleys.)
  • This list could go on and on, but you get the point.  

On the side of sovereign intervention:

  • A bolt of lighting could strike that incinerates the branch where it hangs.
  • A gust of wind could sweep through and blow the branch down
  • Another ice storm could weigh the branch down so it falls just right.
  • God could just speak to the branch and it floats to the ground.
  • This list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Really only two options exist. 

Which will I choose?  Well, the divine intervention options sure are attractive!  After all, my organized activity is dependent upon my ability to pay a cost, figure out a plan, and execute with skill … and my skills, budget, and mind are all limited!  God (on the other hand) has limitless energy, income, and ingenuity.  I would FAR prefer Him to intervene … but will He?  Does He even want to? Because I am not sure about that, I am probably going to hire the tree trimming company to help me out.

Now, I want to transition this conversation from my backyard to all of our spiritual lives.  Our lives all sag under the weight of sin, and are precariously hanging on a moment in this life ready to fall at any time and do some serious damage.  How will we be raised up and saved from this body of death?

Well, the religions of the world seemingly offer hundreds of options, but really there are only two ways:

  1. We work our way TO salvation through some kind of organized religious activity.

2.  God steps in and saves us through His gracious work.

Now, there are just two categories, but nearly all religions offer some form of #1 … work your way to God by keeping some set of rules or commandments.  This is the plan in Islam, Hinduism … even humanism.  It also is the most common understanding of Jews … and even many people who grew up going to Christian churches.  

But Jesus actually offered a different way.  Only Biblical Christianity offers a “divine gracious work” kind of way.  Jesus offered to save us on the basis of His work, not ours … all we have to do is believe in Him, and He will give us new life.

So which will you choose?  The “my work” way (depending on our own finite strength, integrity, and devotion) or the “God’s work” way (depending on His infinite power, wisdom, and steadfastness)?  And is the God’s work way even a real option?  Can I count on it?  Does God really WANT to save us after all?

Well, this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, in part 6 of the “New Normal” sermon series, we will be looking at Galatians 2:15-21 together, as we see that justification is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ (and His work on our behalf) … not in our “works of the law.”  Hope you make plans to be with us as we explore this most important truth together!  If we don’t understand the truth we will look at Sunday, we do not understand what it means to follow Jesus.  Make plans to be with us at our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 service (in person and with classes for children, students, and adults).  Or, join us online at wildwoodchurch.org/live at 10:15.