Authentic (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, August 18, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 21:12-17.  This message was part 1 of the “Authentic” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from the sermon to listen to online, download, and share.

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Authentic #1 8.18.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the worship service, visit our Facebook stream here.

 

Also, included in the worship service today, were video tributes to Bruce Hess (celebrating his 40 years in ministry).  Those tributes are found below:

Authentic (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, August 18, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 21:12-17.  This message was part 1 in the “Authentic” sermon series.  Below are a series of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 21:12-17
  3. Have you ever talked with someone who rejected Christianity because of their interactions with another Christian or with a church?  What was the nature of their situation?  Do you see any encouragement for that person from Matthew 21:12-17?
  4. What are some examples that you know of today where organized religion has departed from God’s plan?
  5. After “cleansing the Temple,” Jesus welcomes in and heals the blind and the lame and receives the worship of children.  What do the “blind, lame, and children” have in common?  Why do you think they could clearly “see” Jesus for who He was while the religious leaders were blind to His true identity?
  6. Is there any area of your life right now that Jesus needs to clean out?  If so, what is that area?  
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Authentic – Part 1 Sermon Preview

Have you ever known someone who rejected Jesus Christ because of an experience they had with organized religion or with someone who was a Christian?  You know, walked away from church because of the treatment they experienced there?  Ever talked to someone who chose agnosticism or atheism or some other “ism” because of what they saw as legalism or hypocritical behavior on the part of a Christian they knew?  Do you know anyone that this describes?  Does it describe you?

Friends, as I read the New Testament, I am so encouraged (and challenged) by what I see.  Jesus Christ – the Son of Man, Son of God, Savior of the World – walked into a world full of religion and religious people.  He interacted with them, and they interacted with Him.  Their conversations are recorded for us on the pages of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)  In the interactions that Jesus had with many of these religious folks, we find Him rebuking their behavior, not embracing it.  In one dramatic scene (that we will look at this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our morning sermon) He even turned over the tables of the religious elite and ran them out of the Temple because of what He saw.  Based on these accounts, do you know what I have concluded?

Jesus rejected the same version of religion that many people have walked away from today.

It is quite possible that the same things that have disgusted you about religion also have turned the stomach of the God those religions claim to worship!  Jesus came to “clean house” on religious corruption, while simultaneously “cleaning up” those who recognized their need for Him.

An authentic faith that pleases God is possible, by God’s grace, but demonstrating it requires that we avoid the imitations promoted by the religious leaders of the first century, and sadly by many today.  This Sunday (August 18) at Wildwood in our 9:45 and 11:00 services, we will be kicking off a new sermon series called “Authentic” by looking at Matthew 21:12-17 in pursuit together of a genuine and authentic faith.  Hope to see you Sunday as we begin a new school year/ministry year together!

This is Wildwood! Episode 4: For the Next Generation – Student Team

This is Wildwood! Episode 4: For the Next Generation – Student Team
For the Next Generation

 
 
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Student Team (Top Row from left to right): Abe, Kevin, Jonathan (Bottom Row from left to right): Ciera, Naomi

At Wildwood we have the great privilege of being For the Next Generation Following Jesus Together to the glory of God.  One of the expressions of this vision is our ministries to students (Middle School, High School, and College aged.)  We are blessed to have an amazing staff team of 5 that focus on these areas:

  • Jonathan Holmes (Student & College Pastor)
  • Abe Mahner (High School Minister)
  • Kevin Choate (Middle School Minister)
  • Ciera Morren (Student Ministry Associate)
  • Naomi Reyes (College Ministry Associate)

In today’s episode, we get to know this team, as well as some of the programs they lead.  In addition, we hear a couple of stories of what God did in the lives of Wildwood students over the summer.

 

For further info:

  • If you are interested in learning more about our ministries to Middle School or High School Students (we call these “Shift” for Middle School and “The Avenue” for High School) click here.
  • If you are interested in learning more about our ministries to College Students (including “Adopt a Sooner” possibilities) click here.

You can also follow on Instagram:

  • Shift & The Avenue – @wildwoodstudent
  • College Life – @wildwoodcollege

 

Following Our Shepherd (Sermon Audio)

On Sunday, August 11, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 23 entitled “Following Our Shepherd.”  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download audio:

Following Our Shepherd 8.11.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video of the service, visit the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

 

 

Following our Shepherd (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, August 11, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 23 entitled “Following our Shepherd.”  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Psalm 23:1-6
  3. Who are some of the “shepherds” in your life?  In other words, who are you trusting, listening to, allowing to guide you?  If you followed them this year, where do you think they will take you?
  4. David reminds us that THE LORD HIMSELF is our “shepherd.”  In what ways is the LORD a superior “shepherd” to any of the other voices/leaders in your life?
  5. What are some of the ways that you have seen the Lord provide for your needs in the past? How does remembering what the Lord has done in your life, encourage you to trust Him more this year?
  6. What “valley of deep darkness” are you walking through right now?  How does knowing the Lord is WITH YOU, encourage you to not fear today?
  7. In this life, we are not removed from the vicinity of our “enemies” . . . yet the Lord can still bless us even in the shadow of these challenges.  Can you think of a time when you were blessed by God, even in the midst of trials?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

 

To access these messages in pdf format, click here.

Following our Shepherd

It is the second week of August, and for many of us, this is the start of a new year . . . a new school year, a new ministry year, a new season, etc.  Anytime you start something new, it is important to pause and consider our aim.  Where do we want to end up when this year is over?  Who will we follow to get there?

Jesus is called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) in the New Testament.  This Sunday at Wildwood, I want to ask you a question . . . is the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd also YOUR shepherd?  Is He the One you are following, listening to, and depending upon?  This is the most central question for each of us to answer.

In the Old Testament times, there was man named David who was King over Israel at a critical time.  But David’s life was not all royal parties and celebrations — he went through some very challenging stuff, walking through some very dark valleys.  Perhaps in the midst of one of these dark valleys he took up a pen and wrote a beautiful song that begins with the eternity altering words – “The LORD is MY shepherd.”  The rest of the lyric focuses on the blessing that comes when we follow the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd.

Psalm 23 has been a chart topping song for 3,000 years.  This Sunday at Wildwood, we will look at this song (Psalm 23) together in our time of worship at 9:45 and 11:00.  As we remember the table He has set before us, we will conclude with a time of communion together.  Make plans to join us this Sunday . . . and bring your friends!

This year, let’s follow Jesus together to the glory of God.  See you Sunday.

 

This is Wildwood! Episode 3: Following Jesus into Ministry – The Hughes Family

This is Wildwood! Episode 3: Following Jesus into Ministry – The Hughes Family
Follow into Ministry

 
 
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Brooke Harrison with Clint and April Hughes

One of the wonderful truths of the Christian life is that Jesus grows and matures us over time.  2 Thessalonians 1:3 tells us that as we mature in Christ, we grow in our faith in God and love for others.  One of the ways that we see Jesus grow faith in our lives is as we follow Him into Ministry to others.  When we serve others, not only is God glorified and others served . . . but something happens in our lives as well!  Our faith in God grows, and our love for others increases.  This is part of the testimony of Clint and April Hughes, and in today’s episode, they share more of what God has done through their time of serving in our pre-school ministry here at Wildwood.  Also, we talk with Children’s Pastor Brooke Harrison to hear her heart for why she is so motivated to recruit people to fill the nearly 300 serving roles inside our children’s ministry each year.

Also, we reference in this episode:

 

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Baptism Sunday (August 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, August 4, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, we celebrated the baptisms of 14 people.  As a part of this service, we looked at Acts 16 together.  Below are a series of questions related to this passage for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 16:1-34
  3. What is the spiritual heritage of your family?  What “faith” or knowledge of God was passed down to you from your parents, grandparents, or extended family?
  4. In what ways is your life continuing to profess the “faith” given you from your family?  In what ways are your beliefs different?
  5. Though some have a family that pointed them to Christ and others have families that promoted a different god or atheism, responsibility still lies with each individual to determine what THEY believe.  Have you ever placed your faith in Jesus Christ?
  6. Have you been baptized with water since trusting Jesus as your Savior?  If not, why not?  Wildwood’s next baptisms services are November 24.  Let us know if you would like to be baptized then by contacting us at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

This is Wildwood Episode 2: For the Nations – Latvia!

This is Wildwood Episode 2: For the Nations – Latvia!
For the Nations

 
 
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On this week’s episode, we focus on how (as a church) we get to be for the nations following Jesus together with us to the glory of God.  By God’s grace, for the past 29 years, one nation that Wildwood has had the privilege of being “for” is the nation of Latvia.  Today’s episode features Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess and Wildwood member Tony Middleton talking about the orphan camp Wildwood has hosted in Latvia the past 7 years.  Hear the story of what God did at this year’s orphan camp in today’s episode.

 

To find out more info about Orphan Camp 2020, email Pastor Bruce Hess at brucehess@wildwoodchurch.org

 

NOTE:  

Find this podcast on this blog, or via your favorite podcasting service, including Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.