Questions for Reflection – Sunday, July 3, 2022

On Sunday, July 3, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Spiritual Gifts” from our sermon series “Devinely Designed to Serve”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

  1. What are some of your favorite aspects of God’s divine handiwork in this world?  Bruce mentioned majestic mountain scenes, sunsets ablaze with colors, and the intricacies of individual snowflakes.  What others might you include?  Explain some
  2. The core passage from part 1 of our series on being Devinely Designed to Serve is Ephesians 2:10.  Read it out loud.  Read it again and this time put your name in the verse (e.g., Bruce is His workmanship… so that he would walk in them.  Do you believe that?  Why do we sometimes struggle believing that concept?
  3. Ray Stedman said, “The whole subject of spiritual gifs is the lost treasure of Christianity.”  Why is that?  What should we do to “recover” that lost treasure?
  4. Bruce stated that the truth about each one of us receiving a spiritual gift(s) alleviates what he called the “I have nothing to offer syndrome.” Why do we sometimes feel like we have little to offer in serving others?
  5. Bruce cited several verses that exhort believers about spiritual gifts. As honestly as possible, might the Holy Spirit be using one of the verses below as directed at/or descriptive of you?  Elaborate
    1. Don’t neglect the spiritual gift that is in you (1 Timothy 4:14)
    2. As you’ve received a spiritual gift employ it in serving one another (1 Peter 4:10)
    3. Rekindle the gift of Gid which is in you (2 Timothy 1:6)
  6. Prayerfully be asking yourself this week: How can I serve and invest in others?

Sneak Peek – Sunday, July 3, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

This has been a “different” week for the Hess family.  Our 42-year-old daughter, Emily, started chemo treatment on Tuesday for stage 4 mucinous adeno carcinoma which she’s been diagnosed.  Em has been a traveling surgical technician for some years now.  Currently she is staying with us as she undergoes treatment.

Emily likes to tease that she is following in her daddy’s footsteps as I’ve battled prostate cancer twice.  The prognosis is unclear at this point, but we would covet your prayers for minimal side effects and maximum effectiveness in the chemo process.  Thank you.

My goodness, you blink your eyes and it’s July!  Better hang onto your hat…it’ll be Christmas soon!! 😉

I’m excited to be speaking in the month of July as we start a new series I’ve entitled, Divinity Designed to Serve.  This is a series for all ages and for all followers of Jesus.  We will be mining the phenomenal truth that as followers of Jesus we are true masterpieces that God has specifically designed to serve Him and others.

Part of what we will be looking at on Sunday will be what Ray Stedman described as “the lost treasure of Christianity.”  What is that?  Well, come Sunday and we’ll investigate together!

Please note that this Sunday is one of our rare “All-in” Sundays, an opportunity for the whole family to attend church together.  This Sunday there will no nursey, children’s, student or adult groups meeting.  Let’s ALL huddle at 8:30; 9:45 or 11:00 and worship together!  All classes will resume as normal next week.

Also, for families with students – please note that Wildwood Students camp registration closes soon.  Don’t miss out!

See you Sunday,

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – April 3, 2022

$$first_name$$,

On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Final Perspective” from our sermon series“Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. A fun trivia question. In how many non-Terminator movies has Sylvester Stallone reprised the line, I’ll be back?   Never.  Twice.  Four times.  Eight times.  Ten Times?
[either google the answer or look at the bottom of the page]

2. Bruce stated that Scripture indicates that the Body of Christ, the church, will not be subject to the End Times Wrath of God.  What passages were cited to support that?

3. Noting that a pre-tribulation Rapture effectively snatches the church out of this world before the Day of the Lord commences, what insight does that give us into why Paul would describe the future rapture as “the blessed hope” in Titus 2:11-13?  Discuss.

4. Some critics of the pre-tribulation Rapture claim that promoters of it are misleading believers by actively implying that they won’t experience great difficulty and persecution. How would you respond to that claim?

Not being subject to God’s End Times Wrath does not mean that a believer won’t be subject to “wrath” from other sources.  What would some of those other sources be?  Elaborate.

5. Why is it that integrity for a follower of Jesus is so important?

6. Have you ever witnessed some teacher distorting/twisting Scripture, yanking it out of context to get it to say what they desire it to say?  If yes, expand on that some.

7. Peter concludes with a double parting exhortation in vs. 17-18
1) Be on your guard (17)               2) Keep on growing (18)
Why are those exhortations so vital?
Practically, how do we continue to Be on Guard?
Practically, what does it look like to Keep on Growing?

8. If you were to write a short job description for a royal ambassador of Jesus here on earth, what are some the elements you’d include?

9. Take time to give praise and honor to Jesus as Peter does in 3:18b.

​​​​​​​
[8 times]

Sneak Peek – April 3, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Go ahead.  Take a deep breath. Yes, it is true.
One quarter of the year of 2022 has already passed!  It never ceases to amaze me as I age—time just seems to speed up every year. It is an ongoing reminder for all of us to remember to “redeem the time” as Paul puts it in Ephesians 5:16. Some translations put it this way: making the most of your time; taking advantage of every opportunity; making the most of every living and breathing moment. A great reminder for each of us no matter our age!

Further evidence that time is marching on is that Sunday, April 10 is Palm Sunday, and, of course, Easter follows that.  You can check on Wildwood’s Easter schedule (including Good Friday services) by going to wildwoodchurch.org/easter.

There is some WCC church apparel available to order for a few more days.  You can check out the options at wildwoodchurch.org/shop. Also, Worship Pastor Greg Hill has team openings for drummers, guitarists, and a cellist.  If that’s a skill of yours, feel free to check with Greg to learn more (greghill@wildwoodchurch.org).

Also, remember the church green belt cleanup (in conjunction with OU and the city of Norman) tomorrow (Saturday) from 10-2 pm.  We’d love to see you and your family pitching in on the cleanup!

On Sunday we will conclude our Remember, Judgment is Coming series from 2 Peter chapter 3.  This week’s message is entitled, Final Perspective and we will be taking a close look at 3:14-18.  I encourage you to read the passage ahead of time. Pete’s conclusion to his second letter contains some pivotally important perspectives for each of us.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – March 27, 2022

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The End Ahead” from our sermon series “Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Have you ever heard of the New Madrid fault zone before?  Generally, where is it and how does it compare to the San Andreas fault zone in California?  If another 8.8 quake (like in 1812) were to happen now how much more damage do you think might occur? [Note that the modern city Memphis was founded in 1819].

2. Bruce mentioned at the start that God has always been orchestrating history (He’s large and in charge).  He then read from Revelation 1:1 and 4:1 where God states these future events “must take place.”  Why must they?  What does this tell us about our God?

3. Bruce spent some time clarifying the nature of The Day of the Lord (it’s mentioned in verse 10).  If you had to explain its significance to someone else—how would you explain it? Expand on it some.

4. What are some of the reasons why the nation of Israel existing back in their land is such a super sign of approaching end time events?

5. Verse 10 and verse 12 stress that one day the heavens and the earth are going to be dissolved and destroyed with fire.  Knowing that God gave stewardship over the earth to Adam and that we are called to be stewards of what God has given—what is the balance between concern for the environment and the truth that this world is temporary?  Discuss.

6. Bruce said prophetic truth is not given to us by God merely for information. Rather, He does it for our spiritual motivation.  What does that mean for our everyday lives?

7. Take some time to pray:  1) to thank God for His sovereignty  2) to pray for one person that you know who does not know Jesus as their Rescuer.

Sneak Peek – March 27, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

If you’ve ever been to my house, you would know that we have two large trees in the front yard (one a maple and the other a sycamore)—both of which are some 45 or more years old.  Because they cast such looming shade, I have discovered that I can only grow fescue grass in my yard.

What that means is that every spring I have to “overseed” my yard—plant fresh fescue seed to help additional sprouts to form since fescue doesn’t spread like bermuda grass does. I look for a time when the weather is warming enough for the seed to sprout, but well before the weather turns hot.

As I was doing that this week, I was thinking about how we have the privilege of planting seed in people’s lives…the seed of His truth, the seed of our testimony, and the seed of the gospel message. Funny thing about planting seed, sometimes life is so busy we might forget to even do it. On the other hand, we might not even be looking for a good opportunity to plant seed.  Here’s a spring thought:  pray for God to alert you to good opportunities to share God’s Truth with a neighbor, friend, co-worker, fellow student, or family member.

Part of our assignment is to sow seeds.  God through the Spirit is the one who can germinate that seed, water it, and cause growth to happen (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-7). So, let’s be looking for—asking God for—opportunities to share a word of testimony with those in our world.  It is always exciting to see what grows from planting seed!

Here’s a timely heads up—please pray for Wildwood’s College Life spring retreat tomorrow, this Saturday. Pray for unity among the students and that the Lord might give them a special time before Him and to reflect on how they can be used to further reach the OU campus. We LOVE our college students!

This Sunday we will continue our series from 2 Peter 3 entitled, Remember-Judgment is Coming.  This week we will delve into 3:10-13…some startling verses.  Be sure to read them before Sunday.  I’ve entitled the message, The End Ahead.

 

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – March 20, 2022

On Sunday, March 20, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The World’s Looming Appointment” from our sermon series “Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce reflected on a time early in his life growing up in the 50s and 60s when there were widespread fears of the world ending due to atomic warfare. Can you remember a time or times in your life when you also found yourself concerned that something could well happen to bring a sudden end to this world?  If so, share some about the when, the what, and the why.

2. Peter in chapter 3 is addressing a coming future era when God’s wrath is to be poured out on this world. Bruce shared a definition of God’s wrath. As best as you can recall—how should we describe God’s wrath?  Bruce also identified three aspects of God’s wrath in Scripture. List them out and identify a bible passage that describes that aspect.

3. In verse 8 Peter explains that God has a more advanced view of time than we do as humans.  If you were speaking with a brand-new believer, how would you explain the differences?

4. Bruce shared the quote, God is never in a hurry, but he’s also never late.  How does that idea bring us encouragement and patience in the ups and downs of our everyday life?

5. Why hasn’t God pulled down the curtain on human history as He has promised to do?
Expand on what Peter says in verse 9.  What other Bible verses support what Peter is saying in verse 9?

6. Bruce shared some of the story of Charles Spurgeon’s conversion at 15 while listening to a severely underqualified speaker.  What does that story tell us about what is most important in communicating the gospel message with others?

7. Review some of the lyrics (below) that we sang on Sunday:
(Death was arrested)
Released from my chains, I’m a prisoner no more
My shame as a ransom He faithfully bore
He canceled my debt and He called me His friend

Take some time in prayer to worship and thank the Living God for loving us so and for extending the free gift of salvation that we so clearly could never afford.

Sneak Peek – Sunday, March 20, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, spring break week is coming to an end.  I hope you and yours had the opportunity to take a break even if it was for a day. Janet and the Key family took a day trip on Wednesday to Frontier City.  Janet related that while it was great to be outdoors, Frontier City was vastly understaffed that day and many of the rides weren’t yet functioning.  Add to that, FC has significantly increased all their prices. Janet’s verdict:  buy a season pass, you spend nearly as much with a one-day regular ticket and parking.

For some of us, this time of year means:  March Madness basketball!  Our church staff is participating again this year in a group Tournament Bracket. Truth be told, I tend to just pretend I know what I’m doing 😉   Later on I’ll report on how my bracket fared and which staff member won.

Lots going on at Wildwood despite it being spring break week.  If you have kids, signups are active both for VBS and the Pine Cove City day camp this summer.  Don’t delay as both events can fill up. College retreat is also on the horizon (March 26) along with the startup this Wednesday of ‘Wednesdays at Wildwood,’ this time with Mike Strauss tackling questions about science and Christianity.  Much more is happening:  check the bulletin!

On Sunday we will be continuing our 2 Peter 3 series—Remember, Judgment is Coming—by looking at chapter 3:7-9 and a message I’ve entitled, “The World’s Looming Appointment.”  Be sure to read the passage ahead of time. As part of the message, I’ll be sharing a highly memorable part of my growing up years in the 50s and 60s.  I’m looking forward to it, hope you are too.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, March 13, 2022

On Sunday, March 13, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Embrace Biblical Prophesy” from our sermon series “Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce pointed out that people in the church usually have different perspectives on Biblical prophecy of the end times. Some view prophecy on the return of Jesus and the coming judgment of the world as too frightening and negative.  They prefer not to think about it, much less study it.

Others feel prophetic passages seem too cryptic and confusing since there seems to be so many interpretations, so why bother investigating them?

Still, others fancy themselves as a PNT…a prophecy nerd type.

Which perspective do you most identify with and why?  Be transparent. Elaborate.

2. Bruce shared three positive aspects that flow from studying Biblical prophecy of the end of the age.  Try to list them and share which one stands out to you.
[note: if you struggle, the points are listed below]

3. Peter states that his desire is to stir up the believers by way of reminder about prophetic truth.  Why is that important for us?  Why do we need to be reminded?

4. Have you ever interacted with someone who poked fun at the notion of Jesus’ return to earth and the idea of an eventual day of reckoning for the whole world?
If so, share some about it.
What drives people to take that viewpoint?  Does Ephesians 4:18-19 provide any insight?

5. What were some of the reasons why Bruce concluded that the flood of Noah’s day was a global flood rather than a local flood?

6. Based on the truth Peter shares in 3:1-6, are there any attitudes, actions, or activities that the Holy Spirit is nudging you to address or alter?  Be honest.

7. Take time to pray and thank God for the Truth He has revealed to us.

[Breeds confidence that God is truly the ruler of the universe; Calms our fears about the future; Motivates us to remain “on mission”]

Sneak Peek – Sunday, March 13, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Time flies, doesn’t it?  It was two years ago today that the Utah Jazz-OKC Thunder game was canceled with fans in the stands when star Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid.  That was our initial entrance into “Covid-ville” where we’ve spent some 24 months in pandemic darkness.

SO glad there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I hope we never have to go through such a confusing, conflict-laden time again.  I hope I never again have to pick up one of the myriad of masks that I have stacked in a pile.  I’m confident you feel the same.

While we celebrate relief from Covid, the people of the Ukraine are suffering at the hands of an evil tyrant.  Please pray for them.  I pray every day for God to confound the Russian army.  I pray for judgment on Mr. Putin.

I’ve been told that the Ukraine has more evangelical churches than any nation in Europe.  I’ve also heard that the Ukraine was the number one missionary sending nation in Europe. The Enemy of souls no doubt has them directly in his sights.

Certainly, our brothers and sisters in Christ covet our prayers.  Pray for God’s spiritual kingdom to continue to spread even amidst these times of painful suffering. On Sunday we will share about how Wildwood plans to help some.

I haven’t had the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you since last October.  I’m excited that we will be launching on Sunday a 4-part series from 2 Peter chapter three, a series I’ve entitled, Remember, Judgment is Coming.  The title for this Sunday’s message is Embrace Biblical Prophecy.  Please read 2 Peter chapter three before Sunday.  We will be focusing on 3:1-6.  My two previous series on 2 Peter, chapters one and two, are available on brucehess.com  Check it out!

Meanwhile, enjoy the snow!  No doubt it will be the last of the winter.

See you Sunday!

Bruce