Questions for Reflection – Sunday, May 24, 2020

On Sunday, May 24, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “God will make it right!” it is Part 3 of our current sermon series Anchored. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. What are some of the evils or injustices you see in our world today?

As Habakkuk underscores, God’s promise is to “make it right.” How do passages like Obadiah 15 and Jeremiah 25:14 help with our perspective about this?

2. Habakkuk 2:3 emphasizes that God’s judgment and ultimate justice is already on His divine schedule—“it will not fail.”  How does that truth help us as we are affected by ungodliness and wickedness in our world today?

3. Let’s honestly apply the principles of God’s judgment on the Chaldeans (Babylonians).
Ask yourself truthfully:
Do I ever try to enrich myself at the expense of others?
Do I ever hit others and get violent to get my way?
Do I ever walk over others to reach my own selfish goals?
Do I ever use deceit and manipulation to take advantage of others?
If so, what changes must you make?

4. An idol can be anything that we turn to that takes priority over the place of God in our life.

What are some “idols” that people struggle with in our day?
What “idol” is a temptation for you to seek?

5. In Habakkuk 2:2 God emphasizes that His truth is designed to be shared. Brainstorm about some practical ways you can share God’s truth in your world.

6.  Matthew 7:13-14 emphasizes that there are two paths in life. One path is wide and leads to destruction.

Why are there so many people on the wide path? The narrow path leads to life. How does one take the narrow path?  Explain

7.  For those who like to dig deeper. The phrase, “the righteous (or just) shall live by faith” originally occurs in Habakkuk 2:4. What aspect of living by faith is the focus in the three places in the New Testament where the phrase is quoted? (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.)

8.  Read out loud Isaiah 26:4  Give God thanks for being our everlasting rock!

Sneak Peek for Sunday, May 24, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

So good to physically see many of you at the outdoor lawn chair service last week! I can’t wait till we can ALL gather again in-person as a large group in the worship center.

Wow.  We’ve come to Memorial Day weekend. Hard to believe it is already here. At the same time many of us will probably spend this holiday weekend in a different manner than we might normally because of all the restrictions.  Please do take some time to remember and thank those who have invested their lives to protect our freedom.

Our service plan remains the same for the next several Sundays. First, we are continuing our online streaming service which will be live at 9:30 am (although you can access it after 9:30 anytime).  Go to wildwoodchurch.org/live to access it.

Second, we are again planning an in-person worship service at 11am (same music and message) in our southeast parking by the children’s building.  This is a “bring your own lawn chair/folding chair” outdoor gathering.  Check the weekly newsletter for much more information and all the details or find them at wildwoodchurch.org/health.

Of course, we are watching the weather closely regarding the outdoor service. If somehow rain washes us out, you can be notified via text by texting wildwood1 to 95577 or by checking wildwoodchurch.org

The title of this Sunday’s message is “God Will Make It Right!” from Habakkuk chapter two in our Anchored series. Since we won’t have time to read all 20 verses this week, please read chapter two before Sunday.  Here’s the chapter outline to help:

  1. Habakkuk’s anticipation – 2:1
  2. The Lord’s admonition – 2:2-4;
  3. Judgment to come (wait and watch) – 2:5-20

 

Hope to “see” you Sunday either in the Livestream or in-person at 11am outside.

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – May 17, 2020

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message was “Why God?” it is Part 2 of our sermon series Anchored. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. We began by saying, maybe the most asked question in human history is, Why God?
Reflect back on a time when you clearly remember asking that question of God. What were some of the details of that situation?

2. Why is it that the common assumption life should be reasonably easy, innately fair, and readily understandable so widely held and assumed to be true?

3. List some parallels you see from our culture today that reflect similar situations in Judah during Habakkuk’s time.  Has God’s rule shifted in any way?  Elaborate.

4. Read again Psalm 5:4-6.  With that description of God, how do we explain His seeming lack of response to the wickedness and pridefulness of our day?

5. When life seems to unravel around us, why should we not respond like many do by either panicking, grumbling, or trying to escape in some way?

6. J.I. Packer said, God exposes us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to Him more closely.  This is the ultimate reason…why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities…to ensure that we shall learn to hold him fast. Reflect and discuss what that means in our everyday life.

7. Take some time to “take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Sneek Peak for Sunday, May 17, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

Remember how Steve Martin used to say on Saturday Night Live, “I’m a wild and crazy guy?” Well, we’ve been living a “wild and crazy” life these last number of weeks.  Right!?  It’s hard to know what is around the next turn.  Fortunately, the Great Shepherd has promised to be with us every through every twist and turn.

We are excited for Sunday for several reasons.  One is that I get to continue leading our study through the book of Habakkuk at our online streaming service.  By the way, remember that we are moving our online streaming to 9:30 am this Sunday, although you can access it also after 9:30 anytime.  Go to wildwoodchurch.org/live to access it.

Two is that, in addition, we are returning to an in-person worship service at 11 am (same music and message) in our southeast parking by the children’s building.  This will be a “bring your own lawnchair/folding chair” outdoor gathering.  Check the weekly newsletter for much more information and all the details, or go to wildwoodchurch.org/health.

Three is that we are excited to make an announcement about our student ministries this Sunday.  We hope you are able to come in-person, but if not, we fully understand.

This Sunday we will dive into Habakkuk 1:12-17 as Habakkuk raises his second complaint to the Lord, asking what may be the most asked question in history:  Why God??  It will be a very practical time together.

Hope to “see” you Sunday either in the livestream or in-person at 11 am outside.

Bruce

Questions for Reflections – May 10th, 2020

Questions for Reflection

Habakkuk 1:1-11
“Where are you God?”

 

 

  1. As humans our natural tendency is to focus on the “small story” (our own life and circumstances). List some ways that we often do that.

 

  1. God always operates from the “bigger story” (what He is accomplishing in the world). How did Paul learn to see the “bigger story” in Philippians 1:12-18?

 

How can we see the bigger story in light of the current crisis we face?

 

  1. Take time to make a full list all of your current concerns. When you are finished write over it, God is at Work.

 

  1. Close your time of reflection by doing two things:

 

  • use Psalm 25:5 as your prayer to God.

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.”

 

  • Download or look up the lyrics to the hymn How Firm A Foundation. Then go to youtube and sing along in worship to the Lord.

 

—- for a more contemporary version go to youtube and search

“How firm a Foundation Norton Hall band”

 

—- for a more traditional version go to youtube and search

“How firm a Foundation Songs of the Redeemed”

Sermon Preview – Sunday, May 10, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

Man, Janet and I have missed seeing you SO much!  I am excited to be opening God’s Word with you again starting this Sunday (although it will be online only).  I find it interesting that in God’s timing I preached the FIRST online-only streaming message on March 15th. Yes, it’s been that long!  We encourage you to join us online again this Sunday as there will be information regarding the Elders’ plan for Wildwood’s return to in-person worship services.

Well, life has been wild recently, right?  We all know life tends to be hard and harsh at times and that has certainly been true the last number of weeks.  Ever wondered what God is doing?  Have you thought, Why is He allowing what He is allowing?  I don’t know about you but sometimes it feels like God is seemly silent and even inactive as far as I can see.

If you have ever thought like that, you will find encouragement from the Book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament.  Habakkuk directly addresses those issues and more, yet he also learns to worship God in His sovereignty and great character.

This Sunday we will be launching the first message in a series I’ve entitled, Anchored.  This first message is entitled, “Where are you God?”  and will be online at 11:00 am. I encourage you to search down the book of Habakkuk and read the first chapter (or all three since it is a short book). We will introduce the book and cover the first 11 verses of chapter one.

Don’t forget that this Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I know everyone knows someone they can honor on such a vital day.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Sermon Questions – 3/15/2020

On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Avoiding the Pitfall of Failure” from Matthew 26:30-35; 69-75. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

  1. Failure is a part of life. What well-known failure pops into your mind when you think of the whole topic of failure?
  2. We all have personally failed at one time or another. Share about a time when you experienced a failure. Elaborate.
  3. Why do we commonly fear failure so much?
  4. What missteps did Peter make that contributed to his personal failure? [we mentioned three]
  5. Jesus gave a warning to the disciples before they came face-to-face with the potential of failure. Think of some warnings given to us that surface in the New Testament. Elaborate on why you think God has issued such a warning.
  6. Bruce said, “Pride mushrooms in an environment of comparison.” Expand on what you think that means.
  7. One principle that surfaces from our passage is the idea, “pray up or trip up.” Review through the suggested core prayers that Bruce listed:

Lead me               Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:18

Teach me             John 14:26; 16:13

Use me                Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10-11

Strengthen me   Ephesians 1:18-20; 3:20

Embolden me     Philippians 1:20; Ephesians 6:19

8. “His grace and mercy are greater than our failures.” Take time to give Him thanks!

Sneak Peek – 3/15/2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

Wow, it has been wild out there with all the talk and gyrations related to the Coronavirus.  I have no idea where all this is going, but wherever it leads, our God is still fully in charge.  Aren’t you thankful?  Knowing the shepherd is always there with us and always guiding and leading is SO comforting.  Thank Him for loving and caring for you the way He does!!

Talk of the Coronavirus surfaces all kinds of questions.  Be sure to check a subpage on our website  wildwoodchurch.org/health to learn more about both precautions Wildwood is taking and any scheduling adjustments that might arise.  Pray for God’s clear leading on the responses that would be wise for us to implement as a church in the days ahead.

How many of us have experienced personal failure on one level or another?  Yep, ALL of us.  What makes us vulnerable to failure?  What preventative steps can we take to minimize the potential for personal failure?  Those and other perspectives will be our focus on Sunday as we examine the infamous failure of Peter in denying Jesus in Matthew 26.

We will be continuing the Defeating Death series Mark has been leading in Matthew.  I would encourage you to read Matthew 26:30-35 and 26:69-75 before Sunday.  My message is entitled, “Avoiding the Pitfall of Failure.”  Come and join us as we seek to learn truth that can help us more effectively steer around the prospects of personal failure.

 

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Keep the Gospel Central!

On Sunday, December 29, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Keep the Gospel Central” from 2 Timothy. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Did you have someone who filled a role as a spiritual mentor to you?  How do/did you feel about them?  Elaborate.

2. Timothy had been shepherded for 17 years by his spiritual father/mentor Paul. What kind of emotions do you imagine Timothy had as Paul penned his last words to him before facing execution?  How carefully do you think Timothy repeatedly poured over Paul’s last words to him?

3. Why do we often tend to view the gospel—the truth that Jesus died for our sins—as merely a past event (though a significant one) in our lives?

4. Bruce cited several reasons why we should preach the gospel to ourselves regularly.  One was our tendency to let feelings rule our life.  What did he mean by that?  Explain.

5. Another reason cited was we often stumble spiritually. How does the gospel and the truth of the cross help us there?

6. A final reason Bruce cited was that the gospel assists us in our everyday relationships.  How does that work?

7. What are some practical ways to help us embrace the cross, revel in it, and rest in it on a regular basis?

8. Consider memorizing the song “Who Killed Jesus?” like Bruce has.
You can find the lyrics at this blog post by Charlie Dyer:  http://thelandandthebook.blogspot.com/2011/03/who-killed-jesus.html

Keep the Gospel Central! Sneak Peek – December 29, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

We hope each and every one had a restful and encouraging Christmas time with friends and family.  I guess I’m getting older because it just flat seems that Christmas creeps up on me faster and faster each year.

On another front, can you believe that the year 2020 is right around the corner?  Utterly amazing!  It made me smile today when I thought back to how 20 years ago (with the coming of the new millennium) how many folks were prognosticating that the technology world would likely unravel with Y2K.  Computers everywhere would cease to function!!!
Of course, nothing happened. That was now 20 years ago.  Wow.

This Sunday we will have two worship gatherings at 9:45 am and 11:00 am with both of them being “All-in” services.  That means there will be no adult groups, no student groups, no children’s classes and no nursery provided. This is one of those Sundays where we will give our volunteer staff a break from normal responsibilities.

However, we will still have a great time in our services.  Please bring your family or visiting friends with you. The message title is Keep the Gospel Central!  We will be digging into the mind of Timothy as he received the final correspondence from Paul, his spiritual father, who would soon be executed by the Romans.  Among the things that Paul communicated to Timothy, we will highlight a very vital and practical truth that EACH of us should heed as we go into a new year.

Communion will also be a part of our time…a great way to end the year. In addition, I will be sharing one of my favorite memorized songs that was written by a friend many years ago.  You don’t want to miss that.

We look forward to seeing you Sunday at either 9:45 or 11:00.  Happy New Year!

Bruce