Questions for Reflection – November 13, 2022

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 4” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. As Bruce shared the message from Ruth chapter four, what principles related to God’s Providence hit you in a fresh or significant way?  Elaborate.

2. What are some personal examples of God’s Providence in your life?  Include some details.

3. How is Boaz in his role as Kinsman Redeemer a picture or type of Christ?

4. There are some racial/ethnic issues (including an interracial relationship) in the book of Ruth. What can we learn from them?  Should we ‘lean into’ or ‘pull away from’ such relationships? What do some of those events (and how God was working in them) tell us about the heart of God?

5. King David was one who knew about difficulty and discouragement in his life.  Notice how he begins Psalm 13 in verse one.  Can you identify?  Notice how he ends Psalm 13 in verses five and six.  What can we learn from that?

6. It’s been said: Look at yourself and be depressed.  Look at others and be distressed.  Look at Jesus and be blessed. What reality about life is found in that saying?

7. One of the frequently overlooked elements in the book of Ruth is the consistent practice of prayer. There are two prayers by Naomi in 1:8 and 1:9. There is a prayer by Boaz in 2:4 and 2:12.  There are two more prayers by Naomi in 2:19 and 2:20. There is a prayer again by Boaz in 3:10.  Then there is the prayer by people in Bethlehem in 4:11-12, and by the women of Bethlehem in 4:14-15.  As you look at those verses, do you see a pattern?  How do those prayers compare with your personal practice of prayer?

8. Take some time to pray some prayers of blessing for those in your life.

Sneak Peek – November 13, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Yes, I know it’s just November 11th, but it FEELS like Christmas. The average high in OKC on December 25th is 46 degrees.  As I type this it’s 39 degrees. See, it does feel like Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, at Wildwood we have two great opportunities before us.  First, would be the opportunity to help join the team for the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe (where we aim to touch the lives of some 600 underprivileged kids). There are SO many ways to play a part, from donating funds, to purchasing gifts for underprivileged kids, to joining one of the setup, cleanup, or shopping teams.  All the information (including signups) can be found at  Let’s do it!

Second, we have a unique way this year to invite folks to attend some of our Christmas services. Pastor Mark will be sharing more about this on Sunday, but it involves picking up a quick read book (we’ve ordered a bundle) entitled, The Four Emotions of Christmas (authored by a friend of mine from FamilyLife, Bob Lepine), and then, in turn, passing it on as an invitational tool to your neighbors and friends.  What a cool idea!  Listen as Mark shares about the plan.

I am VERY excited about this Sunday’s message as we conclude our series, God Behind the Seen, by unpacking chapter 4 of Ruth, and more!  As previously, please read through chapter 4 (only 22 verses) before Sunday.  As we conclude we will pull back and think through some further reflections related to God’s Providence. I can’t wait.

See you Sunday!


Questions for Reflection – November 6, 2022

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 3” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  Sometimes “playing it safe” spiritually can lead to missed blessings.  I remember back in the summer of 1990 I faced the prospect of heading off for a trip to the Soviet Union and the nation of Latvia.  Things were stirring politically in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Army was not happy. I was a 39-year-old dad of four kids aged 12, 9, 8, and 2. It was truly a risky trip. Taking a spiritual message into an atheistic nation could have serious ramifications.

As I prayed about it (and was frankly leaning toward declining the trip), it seemed as if the Lord was encouraging me to be bold and trust Him.  Indeed, that was the beginning of an amazing ministry that Wildwood has had for decades in Latvia, including helping to found Latvian Christian Radio which today reaches 120,000 listeners in Latvia, along with many Latvian speakers in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Australia, and the USA.

The point is that God can bless in ways we never could have imagined when we move out in boldness and trust Him.  We saw that Sunday in Ruth 3 as Naomi (and Ruth) move out in boldness in approaching Boaz.

Have you ever stepped out in boldness to trust God in a special way?  Share

Is it possible that the Lord is leading you right now to be bold and trust Him in some way? Ponder that and elaborate with others.

2. Naomi and Ruth were clearly counting on the integrity of Boaz. Can others in your family and around you count on your integrity?  What are some practical things you can implement to enhance your integrity before others?

3. One of the sermon life lessons was that we all need to be reminded that God works through His people to touch others.  We are His hands and feet.  Brainstorm about how God could use you to bring encouragement, blessing and compassion to someone in your world.

4. Take some time to thank and worship the Lord for his faithfulness to you over the years.  God is good!

Sneak Peek – November 6, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

We so appreciate all the prayers for my daughter Emily.  She was released from OU Medical Center Thursday afternoon and is now recovering at home. It was a big “triple” surgery, and her recovery will take a while.

If you have some extra candy leftover from Halloween, our children’s ministry can utilize it as prizes for Awana and for Sundays. Feel free to drop your excess candy off at any of the Welcome desks in our Children’s building.  Thanks!

The Father-daughter campout is scheduled for this weekend.  We wish a ‘deliciously wonderful’ time for dads and daughters down in the Wichitas.

Lots of other things going on around Wildwood.  Be sure to check your bulletin on Sunday to keep up. We will officially be launching the organization for this year’s Mission Norman Christmas on Sunday.  There are multiple ways you and your family can be involved as we seek to encourage some 600 underprivileged kids again this year.  Please check out for more scoop!

For those of you attending the 9:45 am service, there will be a baby dedication time.  That’s always a sweet time.  For ALL of us, we will be doing part 3 in our study of Ruth, the series title is God Behind the Scene.  We strongly encourage you to read through chapter 3 of Ruth before Sunday morning.  This chapter is another humdinger!

See you Sunday!


Questions for Reflection – October 30, 2022

On Sunday, October 30, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message was “Ruth Chapter 2” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  Think back—can you remember a time in your life where you felt like you were at “Wit’s End Corner?” [when you were truly at your “wit’s end”] Share some. How did God give you grace and lead you through it?

2. Bruce suggested one subtitle of the chapter could be, What a Difference a Day Makes. Have you ever experienced a “big turn-around” from one day to the next?  Elaborate.

3. Another potential title for chapter 2 could be, The God Who Works in the Ordinary. What are some possible ways in our ordinary day where God can be at work? (for example, discussing with your kids what they learned in Sunday school, volunteering at school or at Wildwood, finding ways to get to know your neighbors).  Make a list.  Pray that God would inhabit those ordinary events.

4. Who might be a Naomi in your life (one who is facing difficult circumstances that could cause one to despair and grow bitter), or one who is a Ruth (unconnected and disadvantaged in life)? Brainstorm and pray about ways God could use you to express compassion and acceptance to them.

5. Boaz was in essence saying to Ruth, your reputation precedes you (which it usually does for all of us).  In a humble way, what reputation issues in your life might the Holy Spirit be poking/convicting you about right now?  Be transparent.

6. When is the last time you had the thought before the Lord:  Why have I found favor in your sight?  If it’s been a while, take some time to thank Him again for His mercy, grace, and faithfulness to you.

7. The story of Rahab clearly demonstrates that God can use even our painful experiences to shape us for ministry to others—He never wastes anything.  Thank Him that there is purpose in your past even if you don’t fully understand yet what that means.

Never forget that God is at work IN us (Philip. 2:13), at work WITH us (Mark 16:20), and at work FOR us (Romans 8:28)

Sneak Peek – October 30, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Wowza.  Life keeps flowing at high speed.  Halloween is on Monday and then it is Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then—double wowza—2023!  Yikes!

Many of you were aware that our #2 daughter, Emily, had very extensive cancer surgery on Thursday.  It was very long, but also seemed to be highly successful.  The Team Captain of the multiple surgeon team said it went wonderfully well. There is reasonable hope that after two months of follow-up chemo she could possibly be cancer free.  Truly amazing.

Thanks for so many of your prayers. Please keep praying as Emily goes through a difficult and painful recovery period.

We will be returning to our study of Ruth, God Behind the Seen, this Sunday as we delve into chapter 2. Please, please read chapter two ahead of time as we won’t be able to read through all the verses as part of the message.

I will say this:  chapter two is truly pregnant with God’s providence and grace.  We could subtitle the chapter, What a Difference a Day Makes. It truly is an amazing story against the bleak and black backdrop of Israel’s history during the period of the Judges.  Ever feel like in life you were at “Wit’s End Corner?”  If so, you don’t want to miss this message.

See you Sunday!


Questions for Reflection – October 23, 2022

On Sunday, October 23, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 1” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  The book of Ruth occurs during the era of the Judges in Israel’s history. Judges 21:25 describes that era with nine words: “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” As we observe our culture today, what are some current examples of people ordering their lives by those same nine words. Share.

2. There is an intriguing verb used in 1:6 where it says, “the Lord had visited His people in giving them food.” The idea seems to be that the Lord met them in their crisis and came to their aid. Interestingly, James communicates a similar idea in James 1:27. He states, Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress. Orphans and widows were the most vulnerable ones in the culture.

Shift to today.  Who would be among the most vulnerable in our culture?  Since we are the hands and feet of Jesus, what are some ways we might be able to meet them in their crisis and come to their aid?

3. Bruce shared this definition of Providence: God’s purposeful acts in governing the world in accordance with His eternal plan and for His ultimate honor and glory.
Is God’s Providence always active?  Elaborate.
How does embracing God’s Providence assist us when we face difficult adversity in our life?

4. Bruce quoted the axiom, ‘the decisions you make, make you.’ What factors can lead us to make poor decisions?  What factors can aid us in making wise decisions?

5. Like we can tend to do, Naomi became spiritually nearsighted. She was so focused on the circumstances and her pain that she became bewildered and bitter. What are the dangers of bitterness?  How can we avoid falling into bitterness when we are face-to-face with painful adversity?

6. What was Naomi overlooking as chapter one comes to an end?

7. Bruce said that when we stare hardship in the face, we should do three things:
* Remember who He is
* Recount what He has done
* Review His promises
Take some time in prayer to do those three.

Sneak Peek – Oct. 23, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

​​​​​​​With a projected high temperature of 87 degrees for today (October 21st) one could logically conclude that what has often been called ‘Indian summer’ is upon us.  Interestingly, Indian summer is a phenomenon that is a hallmark of North America.

As many would know, Indian summer refers to a very warm spell that sometimes occurs in late October and November. References to the concept of Indian summer can be traced back to the late 1700’s. One suggested origin of the term is credited to Native Americans who first described the phenomenon to early European settlers.

No matter what all the facts are—this one thing is true: approaching 90 degrees in the latter part of October is NOT our most common experience.  Take heart though,  cooler weather shall come!!  Trust me. 😉

I am very excited to start a new four-part sermon series this Sunday on the Old Testament Book of Ruth.  The title I’ve given the series is, God Behind the Seen: The Book of Ruth. Ruth is a fascinating book for many reasons, not the least of which is God choosing to highlight the story of several women during one of the darkest periods of Israel’s history. God has always highly valued women (note how many women were a prominent fixture in Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection)

As we will share on Sunday, one of the major themes of Ruth is the Providence of God…it is woven through all four chapters.  Sunday we will share a definition of Providence and begin to examine this fascinating book by unpacking chapter one.  I strongly urge you to read at least chapter one before Sunday…it only has 22 verses. You might also just read ahead and get oriented to the whole book (it contains only 85 verses).

If you are interested in having a child dedicated at Wildwood, there will be a Baby Dedication class this Sunday at 11 am in the children’s downstairs theater.  They tell me participation in the class is required to participate.

Hope to see you Sunday!


Questions for Reflection – July 31, 2022

On Sunday, July 24, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Experiences – Part 5” from our sermon series“Divinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned that camels are divinely designed by God for a specific environment. Have you seen a camel up close? Every ridden one? Ever touched one? Ever smelled one? Share.

2. Bruce stated that our life experiences are often overlooked or discounted when it comes to understanding they are part of God’s plan to S.H.A.P.E. us for ministry to others. Why do you think that is?

3. We looked from the life of Paul at both a positive experience and some painful experiences that God used in designing Paul for ministry to others. What positive life experiences has God used in your life? What painful experiences has He used?

4.When we encounter a painful life experience, we face the choice of being engulfed in self-pity OR embracing it as sacred scar. Can you identify a “sacred scar” in your life? Elaborate.

5. A life principle to ponder: “Often the most effective ministry will flow out of our most difficult experience.” Why is that?

6. Do you know anyone who turned a painful life experience into a catalyst to serve others? Explain some about it.

7. Is there a particular ministry/serving dream you’ve had…one where you wish you could someday serve others that way? Elaborate. What obstacles are keeping you from being able to serve in that way now?

​​​​​​​8. I (Bruce) ran across an interesting phrase recently. In Acts 13:36 it says, “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers.” You know, one day all of us will “fall asleep and be laid with our fathers.” The key question for each of us is: how effective will I be in serving His purposes for me in my generation? Pray that God will strengthen you, give you wisdom, and effectively use you for His glory!

Sneak Peek – July 31, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

We hope you got some rain in the last 24 hours. Isn’t it amazing how attractive rain can be when we haven’t had any for a long, long period of overly hot weeks? Some of us just wanted to walk in the rain for fun.

I was just praising God for such a wonderful, generous church family. Your faithfulness in consistently investing in the ministries of Wildwood encourages me and certainly also pleases your Heavenly Father.

If you haven’t ever done it (or haven’t done it recently), I encourage to take a stroll on the lower-level hallway (just under the offices) that contains the pictures of 36 folks on our outreach teams, people who we regularly support financially. Part of what you give every week goes to support those fine and faithful team members. That hallway contains a 2-part wonderful wooden map of the world. It is worth seeing.

Sunday we will conclude our series on Divinely Designed to Serve. This final session we will be looking carefully at how our life experiences are part of what God uses to S.H.A.P.E. us to serve others. The content of this message will be very encouraging to most all of us!

Get ready. The first Sunday of August is Baptism Sunday! It is always enjoyable to celebrate with others their public statement of having trusted in Jesus Christ as their Rescuer from sin and judgment. Those are special Sundays for our church family.

See you THIS Sunday!