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

Questions for Reflection: November 17, 2019

On Sunday, November 17, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Remarkable Reversal” from Esther 8:1-10:3. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  Bruce shared this quote by John Calvin:
Ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries;
the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it
What practical life truths do you think Calvin was seeking to highlight by this statement?

2. Isn’t it incredibly comforting to know that God is never out of touch? He is never fretting or panicking, never bumfuzzled and bewildered, never perplexed, distressed or flustered. He is never impotent, baffled or disoriented; nor ruffled or rattled.

It is astonishingly true that He can work even in selfish, secular, and sinful settings to accomplish His providential plans. He is always at work even in hostile situations, even amidst irresponsible, greedy businesses, even in the face of selfish, misguided leaders. He is always grieved by wrong and injustice (and always holds those responsible accountable), but life is never beyond his providential control and sovereign working.

Why then is it so hard for us to trust Him?

3. God desires for each of us to influence others for His eternal kingdom. We may not ever achieve the recognition of a Queen Esther or a Martin Luther, but He desires us to influence others.

As Ephesians 2:10 highlights, there are good works that He has prepared for each of us to accomplish. To that end, He presents us with opportunities among our family, our neighborhood, our work, school, church, the community, even the world.

Where has the Holy Spirit been nudging you recently about stepping up and making a difference in the lives of others? Elaborate.

How much does the dictum “A turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out” apply to you?

4. One of Bruce’s thoughts was: “When you cannot trust what you see, you must trust who you know.”  What does that mean practically in everyday life?

5. Bruce closed in prayer citing 1 Timothy 1:17.  Take some time to praise God for who he is.

Sneak Peek: Sunday, November 17, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

Well, did your winter coat smell dusty or have an odd mothball fragrance?  I ask because I know we all grabbed our winter coats from the back of the closet to warm ourselves as the temps dipped into single digit wind-chill levels this week.  Brrr.  It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a pile of snow to frolic in!

Be sure to be praying for our nation and leaders as an impeachment investigation is under way.  Pray for truth to be heard and for justice and unity in our country.

Christmas is coming at us like a snowball rolling down a big hill. Please plan to help with our church decorations a week from Sunday (November 24) right after church.  Pizza and drinks will be served for all workers.  Please let Rebekah Key know if you and/or your family can lend a hand or two ( rebekahkey@wildwoodchurch.org )

Also, we have a wonderful opportunity to touch the lives of the disadvantaged in Norman through the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe. Opportunities include purchasing or funding gifts and volunteering in multiple ways.  To learn more, to sign up, or to volunteer check our website at wildwoodchurch.org/missionnorman.

Sunday we will conclude our Providence series on the Book of Esther by looking at chapters 8-10 (please read those chapters before Sunday) in a message entitled, “Remarkable Reversal.”  We will also address several common reactions people tend to have to the concept of God’s everyday providence.

 

See you Sunday!

Bruce