Grasping God’s Word (part 2)

On Wednesday nights this fall, I have the privilege of teaching in the “Wednesday’s at Wildwood” program with Dr. Mike Strauss.  our topic (over 9 weeks) is how to study the Bible.  We are excited to not only bring this study to those in attendance, but also to present this material online.  Each week I will post the slides, notes, and link to the video stream of the teaching for those interested.  Tonight’s session (September 22, 2021) will go live at 6:00 Central Time.  Join us in person in Wildwood‘s Worship Center, tune in at that time to watch live, or use the resources in this post to join us later on this journey designed to equip us in personal Bible Study methods.  This series (titled “Grasping God’s Word”) will have installments each Wednesday night, and resources can always be found here.  (NOTE:  To watch Mike’s intro to the topic from last week’s lesson, click here.)

 

To watch the Video stream of this lesson:

 

To access the notes page for this week’s lesson:

 Week 2 Notes

To access the Revelation Chart assignment for this week’s lesson:  Blank Revelation Chart

 

Slides from this week’s lesson:

The New Love (part 3) Sermon Questions, Audio and Video

On Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 6:11-18.  This message was part 3 in the “New Love” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for further questions or group discussion.  You will also find the audio/video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 6:11-18
  3. In Galatians 6:11-18, Paul summarizes the main point of his message in this letter in one final paragraph.  Read it, then paraphrase its meaning in your own words.
  4. Throughout the end sections of Galatians, Paul has been setting a contrast between that which is fleshly and that which is spiritual.  Based on a combination of your experience and this passage, what does fleshly leadership look like?  What are some of its effects on the people led in these movements?
  5. Based on a combination of your experience and this passage, what does true spiritual leadership look like?  What are some of its effects on the people led in these movements?
  6. In your relationship with Jesus, have you suffered any “marks”?  By “mark” I mean any lasting memory or physical wound that was embedded deep as you were rejected because of your faithfulness to God’s Word?
  7. Who is your leader?  Really?  How can you tell who you are truly following?  What are the blessings found in following Jesus?  What are the perils in following anyone else?
  8. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link below:

The New Love #3 9.19.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service stream use YouTube online:

New Love (part 3) Sermon Preview

Imagine you are writing a note to a friend.  Could be an email, a text message, a social media post, or a handwritten letter.  How do you add emphasis to different sections of the letter?  Well, it depends on the medium.

If you are writing an email, you might bold face the font.  If you are sending a text, you might add an emoji.  If it is a social media post, you might go ALL CAPS in a section.  If you are handwriting a letter, you might underline sections, or add arrows pointing to it in the margin.  All these different mechanisms are there to help the reader really focus in on what you say in the highlighted portion.

This phenomena is not new to humanity.  It has been around as long as people have been writing notes to one another … at least as far back as 2,000 years ago, when the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to his friends in Galatia.  In Galatians 6:11, Paul says this:

“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand …”

What was Paul doing?  Well, since the original “autograph” copy of Galatians has been lost in history, we don’t know for sure.  Maybe Paul switched to ALL CAPS in this section, or maybe he increased the font size, or maybe he grabbed the pen out of the hand of his secretary to write this last section in his own penmanship (of a different style than the secretary’s) … we are not sure.  Though we don’t know exactly how he did it, there is a general consensus around WHY he did it.  Paul changed the visual look of the last 8 verses of this letter to add emphasis.  It is as if he leans in and says to them … DO.  NOT.  MISS.  THIS.

So, the Galatians leaned in to read the last paragraph of this long letter.  And this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will do the same.  During 2021, we have walked through every verse of Paul’s letter to the Galatians in some depth.  This Sunday will be the 21st sermon from Galatians that we have had over the past 8.5 months.  You may have been present for all 20 of the previous sermons … if so, come Sunday to hear the haymaker Paul throws at the end of the letter.  You may have heard zero of the messages on Galatians from this past year … if so, come Sunday to hear Paul recap the BIGGEST IDEA from this book – a truth we all need to hear.  

Join us for part 3 (in the “New Love” sermon series) as we look at Galatians 6:11-18 together in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service (or online in the stream, beginning at 9:45 CDT at this link).  See you September 19 … and bring friends!

New Love (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 6:6-10.  This message was part 2 of the “New Love” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 6:6-10
  3. Do a quick inventory on your year … in the next 12 months, how many hours do you have?  How many dollars do you expect to receive?  Have you ever thought of these dollars and hours as “seeds” to be planted for the purpose of reaping a particular harvest?
  4. In the message, Pastor Mark mentioned a variety of places we are to invest the resources the Lord has trusted to us.  Were there any areas of emphasis where you are currently lacking enough investment?
  5. Are you giving generously, regularly, and cheerfully to the local church?  Why or why not?  Join in this ministry partnership at wildwoodchurch.org/give
  6. What are some ways you can “do good to all, especially those in the household of faith”?  Any particular opportunities come to mind?
  7. Are you serving your church family regularly and cheerfully?
  8. What field are you primarily “sowing your seeds” in at this point in your life?  Any changes the Lord is prompting you with today?
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The New Love #2 9.12.21

 

To listen online, use the media player:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

 

New Love (part 2) Sermon Preview

Let’s say you own a farm, and it’s time to put seed in the ground.  You drive to the local feed store, and purchase a large quantity of seeds … 60,000 seeds to be exact.   You head home and you put all 60,000 seeds into the ground. What kind of seeds are you planting?  Well, let’s say that 10 of them are seeds to apple trees … and 59,990 of them are seeds to thorn bushes.  

What happens next?

Well, immediately, NOTHING happens next.  The seed lies underground … and is unseen for a season.  You water and fertilize, but for a time no plants are visible.  

While the seeds are underground, you begin to think about the crop you want to enjoy when the harvest comes.  You know that you HATE thorn bushes and you LOVE apples.  You start hoping that when the plants spring up from the ground, you will have LOTS of apples, and virtually NO thorn bushes.  When your friends come over and see your empty but unsown field, they will ask what you are growing this year.  You will proudly say APPLES!  This will be the finest apple orchard in all of East Norman!!  

Then, at the appropriate time for these plants, the seeds will bring forth shoots from the ground … eventually the shoots become stalks, then the stalks become trunks, then trunks begin to look like trees and bushes … and finally the trees and bushes begin to show forth their fruit.  At that point, your field will reveal a sea of thorns, not apples.  Surprise!

Actually, not a surprise.  This should have been expected.  It is simple science.  In this universe, if you sow the seeds of thorn bushes, you do not end up with many apples.

Now, most of you are not farmers.  Most of you would never buy 60,000 seeds of anything.  But you ALL will plant 60,000 “seeds” someplace in the next year.  At least.

  • There are nearly 9,000 hours in the year ahead … where will you “plant” them?
  • If you have a job that makes $51,000 annually … you will invest each of those dollars in something.  

Together, your time and money represent opportunities for growth in the year ahead.  The question is, how will you put them into the ground?  After all, whatever you plant, will also be what you harvest.

If you invest your time and money this year in your flesh, then expect a thorny crop.  However, if you invest your time and money in the Spirit’s work, and love others … you can have a hope of a delicious harvest.

Each day we act … but each day we do not necessarily harvest.  Small decisions today do not immediately reveal their fruit.  Like a seed sown, patience is required to see it bloom.  But eventually all around will see what tree you are actually tapped into.

As Christians, we want lots of Apples … I mean Fruits of the Spirit!  We long to have our friends look on our lives and recognize us as a Spiritually mature person.  You want the vineyard of your life to be the finest in all of East Norman (or wherever you live), and you want your friends, family, and neighbors to be nourished off of the good fruit in your life.  But how does that happen?

It happens by sowing the right seed today.  Where will you plant your 60,000?

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be in part 2 of our “New Love” sermon series as we look at Galatians 6:6-10.  Make plans to join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services (or online in the stream!)  Hope to see you there … and bring friends!

New Love (part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio, & Video

On Sunday, September 5, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 6:1-5.  This message was part 1 of the “New Love” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 6:1-5
  3. While it is obvious that the Christian is to be loving and helpful to others, it is not always lived out in our everyday experience.  In your experience, have the Christians you have known been marked by the help they have provided to others?   What are some positive or negative examples of your experience in this area?
  4. Has anyone ever challenged you on an area of sin in your life, and that challenge led to Spiritual Growth?  Did the person who challenged you offer any assistance/accountability/help in your growth?
  5. Is there someone in your life right now who could use a gentle and humble hand to help them grow through a difficult season?  What would it look like for you to move close to this person and help “mend their net”?
  6. Is there a person in your life right now that has a heavy burden that you might be able to help “lighten the load”?  What would it look like for YOU to be the vessel by which GOD comforts them in their struggle?
  7. In what ways do you need to be reminded today to continue to “carry your own pack,” taking responsibility for the things the Lord has entrusted to you?
  8. Have you personally trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, would you consider doing so today?
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The New Love #1 9.5.21

 

To listen online, use the media player:

 

To watch the stream of the service use YouTube online:

 

New Love (part 1) Sermon Preview

Have you seen the “hotels.com” commercials?  You know the ones with their spokesperson Captain Obvious?  He makes very plain comments about vacation planning … things so obvious, no one should have to say it … but he does anyway.  After making those declarations, some other person in the commercial responds – “Thanks Captain Obvious!”

Well, this week’s Sunday could be one of those commercials.

This Sunday’s message:

“Christians should help other people.”

Hearing this, someone, somewhere will be shouting out:  

“THANKS PASTOR OBVIOUS!”  

But before you stay home to watch a sermon from a different church with a much more complicated sermon … let me ask you a few questions.

  • If we are to help people HOW do we help them?  Sure we can think of SOME ways we are to help, but are we thinking of helping in ALL the ways Jesus calls us to help?
  • Are there some people who are the “helpers” while others are the “helped” or is it more complicated that that?  After all, in our culture, strangely, people are being put in castes (of sorts).  If you are one in need of “help” you will always be in need of “help” and you bear no responsibility.  If you are able to be a “helper” you always must be a “helper” and you can never do too much.  Does this modern concept jive with what Jesus says in best?

These questions (and answers) maybe are not quite so obvious.  But we need to know what God thinks about these questions!  This Sunday, we will look to unpack the statement “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” as we look at Galatians 6:1-5 in part 1 of our new series “The New Love” at Wildwood Community Church.  Hope you can join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service (or online in the stream during the 9:45 hour CDT click here to access)  Make plans to be there … and bring friends.  

Not to be too obvious … but I’d love to worship with you on Sunday, September 5.

New Power (Part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, August 29, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 5:19-26.  This message was part 4 in the “New Power” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the sermon for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 5:19-26
  3. What are some examples of your ability to identify somethings “true colors” by the “fruits” it produced?  
  4. As we saw last week in Galatians 5:17, a battle rages inside every Christian between competing desires:  the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit.  Think of your personal experiences in life.  Where have you been negatively impacted by OTHERS works of the flesh?  Where have you been positively impacted by OTHERS fruits of the Spirit?
  5. If you were to ask those who know you best, what “fruit” are they picking from your life?  Are you producing more “works of the flesh” or “fruits of the Spirit”?
  6. What fleshly acts/temptations/desires do you need to nail down tight in your life right now?
  7. What are the next few steps the Spirit is leading you to take in obedience to Him?
  8. Pray for the Lord to empower you as you nail down tight certain behaviors and begin walk upright following Him.
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link below:

The New Power #4 8.29.21

 

To listen online, use the media player:

 

To watch the stream, use YouTube online:

 

New Power (part 4) Sermon Preview

I am no botanist.  I cannot look at a tree from a reasonable distance and tell the difference between an elm and an oak … a sweet gum and a sycamore.  They all simply can be described as “tree” in my book.  While this may be technically accurate, it does not tell the whole story.

Even my untrained eye, however, can differentiate certain trees as I get closer.  I identify a sweet gum tree by looking at the God-forsaken prickly cones it produces.  I can tell something is an oak if I see an acorn.  And don’t even get me started about apple trees (or any fruit tree for that matter) … when the fruit is on the vine, the tree reveals its true colors.

None of us are God.  None of us see the inside of people’s souls.  We do not know what is fully going on inside a person from a distance.  Therefore, we cannot tell what someone really believes and who is their ultimate authority, just by looking at their outside.  After all, people of all different belief systems have different skin colors, hair colors, heights, weights, and speak different languages.  From a distance, we all just look like “people.”  While this is technically accurate, it does not tell the whole story.

Even to our non-divine eyes, however, we can differentiate between people the closer we get.  Who people really are, who they really follow, and what they ultimately believe becomes evident the closer we get to someone.  And … for the Christian who is trusting in the Holy Spirit and living in obedience following Jesus, there is a definite difference in the appearance of their life.  

At least there should be.

That is the argument Paul makes in Galatians 5:19-26.  Most people live for people … more accurately, most people live for themselves … but not the people who are following Jesus Christ and empowered by His Spirit.  If we are following Him, we are NOT living for ourselves, but we are living our lives for Christ AND AS A RESULT, living our lives in service to others.

If we are following Jesus, and dependent upon the Spirit, our lives will produce certain “fruits” that will nourish and bless those around us.  And in so doing they will reveal who we really follow.

Join us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church as we wrap up our “New Power” sermon series by looking at the end of Galatians 5 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services (or online in the stream – beginning at 9:45 CDT on August 29 at this link).  Hope to see you there as we reflect on these crucial verses together.

New Power (part 3) Sermon Questions, Audio & VIdeo

On Sunday, August 22, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 5:16-18.  This message was part 3 of the “New Power” sermon series.  Below you will see a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also see the sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 5:16-18
  3. Tell the story of how you came to follow Jesus?  As you have followed Him, have you experienced times of “camp highs” followed by “lows”?  How does this passage help you understand these dynamics?
  4. In what way do you relate to the language of a “battle” being waged inside you between the desires of the Spirit and the desires of the flesh?
  5. How does remembering the presence of the flesh impact the way you live out your “freedom in Christ” and your expectations as you relate to others in the world?
  6. Who is leading you (in your decision making) most often?  Your flesh or the Spirit?
  7. Which direction are you walking (or which direction is your life headed)?  Do you need to/want to stop, turn around and go a different path?
  8. Are you relying on the Spirit to guide you day by day?  What would that practically look like in your life?
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The New Power #3 8.22.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream, use YouTube online: