Be Diligent to Grow (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Born to Grow!” for our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Has there been an extended period in your spiritual history where there was little to no spiritual growth?  If so, share some about that period and why you may have experienced little growth.

2. It was stated in the message that spiritual growth is NOT automatic; that growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.  Is that concept new to you? Explain.  What would your response be if someone objected by saying, “Doesn’t God cause us to grow?”  What does Peter tell us in these verses?

3. How does the concept of wind surfing illustrate both what God provides for us and the role we play in the process?

4. In verses 5-7 Peter mentions seven qualities that we are to supplement to our faith in Christ.  List the seven, then highlight one as a prayer target for God to work on in your life.  If you are huddling with a small group, share which quality you have selected.

5. Bruce cited Stanley Baldwin who gave several illustrations from Scripture of brotherly affection or kindness. Reflecting on your life, is there an instance of brotherly affection or kindness which someone extended to you that was particularly encouraging?  Elaborate.

6. Bruce listed four practical benefits pointed out by Peter that come to us by actively growing in our spiritual life:
–Effective and fruitful (rather than ineffective and unfruitful) – vs. 8
–Spiritually insightful (rather than severely nearsighted) – vs. 9
–Spiritual stability (rather than instability) – vs. 10
–Special future blessing – vs. 11
Of those four, which one is new to you or most exciting to you?  Explain.

7. In conclusion by way of application, Bruce mentioned 3 principles and the 5 follows of Wildwood.  They are listed below.  Which is the top area that you believe the Holy Spirit is encouraging you to focus on this next few weeks?
–Regular Obedience to Scripture
–Everyday Reliance on the Holy Spirit
–A priority focus on honoring the Savior

Follow Him into the Word       (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Worship         ( Colossians 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Community   (Hebrews 10:19-24)
Follow Him into Ministry         (1 Peter 4:10)
Follow Him into Mission          (Matthew 28:19-20)

Sneak Peek – July 11, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, give me your honest response.  Has the Aedus Aegypti population been antagonizing you??…literally getting under your skin? Well, what say ye? They certainly have been hassling us around Hessville!

Yep, the mosquitos (Spanish for little fly) have been nearly blocking out the Sun around the Hess home.  Even after significant attempts to “stem the tide” they keep coming in multiple waves. Is this veritable winged army out to imitate the vastness of the Chinese military ranks? What we need is some good ole Oklahoma heat to dry out their lairs. Lord, bring on the summer soon!

After a fun All-in Sunday on July 4th, we will be returning to our regular schedule this Sunday with all children’s, student’s, and adult classes meeting at their respective hours.  We will also return to our July study which we launched the last Sunday of June (confusing, huh?) entitled: Be Diligent to Grow from 2 Peter chapter one.

Sunday we will dive into 2 Peter 1:5-11 (after a quick re-orientation to chapter 1).  I encourage you to read the passage before Sunday.  The message title is : “Born to Grow!” Peter will be underscoring that Christian growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.

The above truth is one that I didn’t grasp for quite a while.  I spent eight years remaining a spiritual baby after my spiritual new birth.  That isn’t normal!!  Maybe some of you had a similar experience or had some longer stretches where there was little to no spiritual growth.  Peter doesn’t want any of us to experience that!  Come and learn more. Let’s grow together!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Serve or Be Served – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 4, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Serving or Self serving??”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Share about a time when you enjoyed actively serving others. What made it an enjoyable experience?

2. We look into a mirror to see how we look NOW, not how we were in the PAST.  It seems sometimes that people can look into the mirror of God’s Word asking the question, Serving or Self Serving, And they want to talk about the past, about what they once did. What causes us to fall into such a perspective?

3. Remember the list from the message.  Ask yourself Serving or Self Serving?…
-at home                               – with wife/husband
-at work                                -with roommates
-with neighbors                  -with bros & sisters
-at church

4. What two prompter questions did Bruce mention?

5. KIDS
-draw a picture of each family member and include how you could serve them
-help younger bro/sis clean their room
-vacuum
-clear the table of dishes
-fold clothes from dryer
-give a toy in VG condition to Salvation Army for the underprivileged
-put dirty clothes in hamper
-ironing if mom says OK

6. STUDENTS
-pick up trash at a park
-give some of your money to church
-walk the neighborhood with wagon collecting canned goods for Food & Shelter
-give your parent a hug and a compliment
-give up screen time and gaming time to serve others

7. ADULTS    set the example!
-mentor a college or HS student
-babysit for a single parent for free
-deliver a meal
-serve in children’s or student ministry
-with your spouse—where do they want to eat?
—what do they want to do?

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Thank Him and imitate Him!

Sneak Peek – Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Just got back from Mississippi (are you impressed that I remembered how to spell it: M-I-S-S ~ I-S-S ~ I-P-P-I?).

Janet and I along with my oldest daughter, Rebekah, left on Sunday afternoon and drove down to help my #2 daughter, Emily, make an important move back to Oklahoma. We helped her go through a large storage place she had rented, box up all her belongings, load a 20-foot truck with a trailer and then make a three-vehicle caravan trip to Oklahoma.  We got back Thursday late afternoon.

So grateful for a team of folks who helped us unload the truck. Whew! I’m not getting any younger.   😉   We made the trip because we wanted to serve Emily in getting her from Mississippi back to the land of red clay, 4 true seasons, and a wind that comes sweeping down the plain.  It’s great to be back.

Just a reminder:  This Sunday July 4 is not only the celebration of our independence and the founding of our country, but it is also an “All-In” Sunday.  We will still have our three Sunday services at 9:00am, 10:15am, and 11:30 am but there will be no Adult, Student, nor Children’s classes offered on the 4th.  Bring the whole family to the service which will have a family friendly message for all from Mark 10!

Our topic for Sunday is:  “Serving or Self-serving?”  As we gaze into our spiritual mirror, which is truer of me (whether I’m young or old)?  Am I more like Jesus, or more like the disciples in Mark 10?  Of course, we’re called to be more like Jesus. It’ll be a great look for everyone!

 

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – June 27, 2021

On Sunday, June 27, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Be Diligent to Grow – Something More??”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Read 2 Peter 1:1-4 out loud.

2. Reflect back on your spiritual walk.  Was there ever a period where you felt spiritually inferior?  Where you felt more like a 2nd class Christian lacking the so-called spiritual experiences that others claimed to have? Elaborate.

3. What was happening in Peter’s life to spur him on to write 2 Peter?

4. Why would Peter be a good candidate to help mentor us when we’ve messed up spiritually and our attitude is deflated and discouraged?  Reflect.

5. In 2 Peter 1:1, Peter states that our faith is of the “same kind,” as legitimate and valuable as those who like him were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ glory on the Mt. of Transfiguation.  How can that be so?

6. Peter declares in vs. 3-4 that God has “granted us” (perfect tense; action in the past with ongoing results) two key provisions.  What are those two?  Explain.

7. Name two of God’s promises that are most precious to you.

8. The tools Bruce mentioned (Who am I Really?? & 33 Riches of Divine Grace) can be located at:

9. Give God praise for His Great Provision!

Sneak Peek – Sunday, June 27, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Wow.  What a surprise and shock to see on the news the collapse of the 12-story condo in Miami, FL. At least one person at Wildwood has a friend who lived there.  Please pray for all the families who have missing members yet to be accounted for. Pray too that a reminder like this of the fragileness of life would make people think more deeply about life, eternity, and Jesus.

Have you ever felt spiritually inferior, maybe like a 2nd class Christian?  Have you ever found yourself thinking: Maybe I need “something more?” Maybe I need some sort of greater spiritual experience or some kind of additional blessing of the Spirit?  If you emotionally feel, or have felt, spiritually impoverished or inferior then this Sunday’s message will be an encouragement!

On Sunday (yes, I know it is still June) we will be launching a July sermon series entitled, Be Diligent to Grow from 2 Peter chapter 1.  Sunday’s message is entitled, Something More?? We will be mining 2 Peter 1:1-4. I will be sharing some exciting truth that has played a key part in my personal spiritual walk.

Also, on Sunday we will hold our baptism classes at 9 am hour.  The Children’s class will be in the downstairs Children’s theater, and the Student/College/Adult class will be in Room 4 downstairs.  Come to learn more about what the Bible says about baptism!

One final note:  next Sunday July 4 will be an “All-in” Sunday for our three services.  There will be no Adult, Student or Children’s classes (nor will nursery be available).  I will be bringing a special message that Sunday appropriate for all ages.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

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