Questions for Reflection – Sunday, March 21, 2021

  1. Bruce mentioned how sometimes a tough time can “knock the breath out of us,” or “leave us gasping for emotional oxygen.” Share about a time in your life when you felt much like that and why.

 

  1. Since we began the series on Tough Times has some new adversity or difficulty surfaced in your life?  Elaborate.

 

  1. Bruce stated that when in the midst of Tough Times we need to preach to ourselves the truth of the gospel of God’s presence.  Why is this so necessary?

 

  1. Bruce cited many passages during this message: Joshua 1:5, 9; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 139:7-10; Matthew 28:20b; Hebrews 13:5b-6a; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Isaiah 49:14-16a; Isaiah 46:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:23-25; 2 Timothy 2:1; Habakkuk 3:17-19.  Pick two of them you can reflect on more, or, perhaps choose as theme verses for you over the next month.

 

  1. Bruce mentioned three expressions of His grace toward us. What were they (answer is at the bottom of the page).  How can you better tap into those three expressions of His grace in your life?

 

  1. What might be the top principle you have learned from the Tough Times series?

 

  1. In Isaiah 49:16a (NIV) God says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” What was the background of engraving on palms in the culture of that day? What an amazing picture. Take a few moments to thank your Lord that He has engraved your name on the palms of His hand.  “His loving face is always facing you!”

 

  1. Our series ended with the music video “Even If” by Mercy Me. Watch it again on YouTube (the official lyric video) and express your heart to your King.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

So far March has been a little “lion-like” weatherwise.  I don’t know about you, but after a heavy pre-Christmas freeze-out and the two strong snowfalls we had, I am more ready than I normally am for some warm, storm-free spring weather.  Lamb-like weather—come on down!

The year 2021 seems to be screaming along. Easter comes early this year which just hastens the sensation. Palm Sunday is a week from this Sunday on March 28 and Easter is April 4. We again want to encourage you to plan ahead to invite your friends for our special services:  Good Friday (April 2) at 6 pm and 7:30 pm, and four services on Easter—7:30am outdoor sunrise service in the back parking lot and our normal three services at 9:00; 10:15; and 11:30 am.

Easter historically has been one of those times of the year where people in our culture seem to be more open to attending church and seeking the Lord.  This past pandemic year could very well heighten that perspective. Be in prayer for God to lead you to folks who might well respond to a personal invite to join us at Easter time. Lord, change some lives!!

This Sunday we will be concluding our series, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering, with part 4. As I stated at the start of the series, my biggest concern was being able to cover all the biblical perspectives in four sessions.  This week’s message will again be packed with verses as we look at some of the resources (His presence and His grace) that are available for us as we face Tough Times.  I think at least one aspect of His grace might surprise some of us.

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, March 14, 2021

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Tough Times – Part 3”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned four common reactions to Tough Times (all of which are spiritually
counterproductive):
– Grin and bear it (grunt and plod through it)
– Get mad (at God and others)
– Withdraw (from God and others and start the pity party)
– Spend the rest of your life in the WHY? zone (demanding explanations)

When you find yourself facing a Tough Time, what has been your most common response?  Elaborate.

2.  One reason why God allows Tough Times in the life of a believer is to deepen our spiritual character. Name some passages in the New Testament that reveal that information. In His spiritual development plan for every follower of Jesus, what is the primary work God is seeking to accomplish?  [hint is found in Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 4:10b]

How have you experienced spiritual development in your life by walking through a Tough Time?

3. Another reason why Tough Times come in our lives is to expand our ministry in serving and encouraging others.  Re-read out loud 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Think about some of your Tough Times. Can you name an instance where what you went through enabled and equipped you to more effectively comfort and encourage someone else?

Ponder this: Ask God how he might turn your mess into ministry or turn your Tough
Time into a testimony. Look around you for those who might need comfort and encouragement.

4. Two more reasons for Tough Times in our life may be 1) to discipline us when we drift significantly, or 2)  to point us to His sufficiency.  Can you identify any Tough Times where God has worked in that way in your life?  Explain.

5. Finally, Bruce said some reasons for Tough Times are part of the mystery of His will. We may never know the “why” this side of heaven.  What Tough Time in your present, or past, would you most like to have “why?” answered?  Explain some.

6. Turn off your phone and the TV.  Read aloud Proverbs 28:13 and Psalm 139:23-24.
Prayerfully reflect on how God may be speaking to you.

7. Close by reading aloud 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, March 14, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, traditional spring break is next week.  Yet, it won’t follow normal tradition for all.  While public schools are “breaking,” OU isn’t. Another blow for Covid!

Guess there might be more room if you desire to make an impromptu trip to the beach. Last one in is a rotten egg!  Wait.  I’m preaching this week.  Oh, well.

I checked and my pool temp is up to 62 degrees.  Maybe I’ll do a quick jump-in.  On the other hand…

Two significant things to take note of:  First, daylight savings “springs forward” this Sunday (actually 2 am Sunday).  This is the “tricky” time change where if we forget, we show up an hour late. Sooo…be sure to set your clocks forward on Saturday night!

Second, Easter comes early this year. Palm Sunday is March 28 and Easter is April 4. So, plan ahead now to invite your friends for our special services:  Good Friday (April 2) at 6 pm and 7:30 pm, and four services on Easter—7:30 outdoor sunrise service in the back parking lot and our normal three services at 9:00; 10:15; 11:30.

This Sunday we will be continuing our series entitled, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering.  In part three we will look at four common (spiritually counterproductive) reactions to Tough Times, and then we’ll take a closer look at revealed reasons while God allows trials, troubles, life storms, and Tough Times in our lives.  This is good perspective for all of us.

Hope to see and worship with you on Sunday!!

Bruce

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

Sermon Questions – Sunday, December 27, 2020

On Sunday, December 27, 2020, Global Outreach Director, Kevin Bradford’s message is based on Luke 24:44-47 and is entitled “What The World Needs Now” After reading the passage and asking for the Spirit’s guidance, the following questions may assist your personal reflection or group discussion.
Sermon Questions:
  1. What do you see as the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the church in the United States?
  2. What does it mean for Jesus to describe His teaching as being based upon “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms?”
  3. Can you think of a time when the Lord “opened your mind” to understand the Scriptures in a new way? What was the result of that experience?
  4. Verse 46 focuses on the death and resurrection of Jesus. What is the significance of Jesus directing the disciples’ attention to these events?
  5. Verse 47 speaks of a message being “proclaimed,” and the next verse of disciples being “witnesses.” Are these the same things? If not, how are they different?
  6. What role is Wildwood playing in proclaiming Jesus’ message “in all nations?” What role are you playing? What more do you think could be done with the Spirit’s empowerment (v. 49)?

Questions for Reflection – November 15, 2020

On Sunday, November 15, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Eternal Rewards, Part 3”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. The prospect of future reward can be very encouraging, empowering, and comforting.
How  would the prospect of eternal reward impact:

  • A teen, or 20 something, who is seeking to remain sexually pure?
  • A person who is caring for a spouse or parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s?
  • A parent who is raising a special needs child?
  • Parents who are seeking to be spiritual models for their children?
  • An individual who is considering downsizing their cost of living to make more eternal investments?
  • A young person who wants to follow Jesus despite the poor example of their parents?
  • A person who has long suffered physically with disability or pain?

One thing is certain, all of our struggles in faithfully serving and following Jesus will one day be worth it!

2. Bruce asked: Will every believer experience joy in eternity? And he stated emphatically YES!

  •  Read I John 2:28.  John proposes that it is possible for a Jesus follower to experience shame when Jesus returns. How does that “jive” with Bruce’s statement above? Discuss.
  • After some discussion evaluate Samuel Hoyt’s statement: “To overdo the sorrow aspect of the judgment seat of Christ is to make heaven hell.  To underdo the sorrow aspect is to make faithfulness inconsequential.”

3. Do you feel prepared to stand before the Bema of Christ?
Are there attitudes that should be altered?
Are there habits or patterns of sin that need to be addressed?
Are there areas where you have yet to yield your will to His?

4. List the resources God has graciously provided for you (education, abilities, spiritual gifts, life experiences, positions of influence, finances, opportunities to serve Jesus and others). Then take some time to prayerfully consider how you might better utilize each of those resources for eternal benefit.

5. All of us may be in differing places in our spiritual journey:

  • Some may be in “comeback mode.” Maybe you’ve drifted in your spiritual walk and spent some time off in “the spiritual weeds.”  If so, always remember His arms are ever open wide to you.  Draw near to Him, and he’ll draw near to you (James 4:8). It is never too late to build well, manage well, and run well.
  • Others have maybe enjoyed a series of significant spiritual accomplishments and victories. If so, stay humble, remain faithful, keep your focus on the finish line and continue to exalt Jesus.

6. First Corinthians 10:12 warns us, Let him who thinks he stands, take heed that he does not fall.
Prayerfully read Psalm 139:23-24 and ask God to reveal any hidden issues in your heart.

“We were made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place”
– Randy Alcorn

Recommended book for digging deeper into Eternal Rewards:
Going for the Gold by Joe L. Wall