For the Nations Week 1 Weekend Preview

Which would you rather be a part of …

A meeting or a movement?

My guess is “movement.”  At least that is how I would answer that question.  I would far rather be a part of something that has a positive direction and that is making a meaningful difference instead of simply attending a meeting.  Most I know would echo that sentiment.

So, let me ask you … when it comes to your church involvement, would you rather be a part of a Sunday/Wednesday meeting, or would you rather be a part of a Spirit/Word movement of God?  Yeah … me too.

That is why it is with great enthusiasm that I invite you to join us at Wildwood over the next week as we will be aligning our meetings with a major movement of God in the world.  By His grace and in His mercy, Jesus is pursuing the nations of the world, offering them eternity and sharing with them His love.  How is Jesus doing this?  Through the mission of His church, of which Wildwood is a part.  

At Wildwood, we talk about being “For the Nations” following Jesus to the glory of God, and we partner with individuals and organizations all over the world to plant churches, preach the Gospel, train pastors and missionaries, and minister God’s love and grace.  

Make plans this weekend to join us Saturday night, October 23, 2021 at 6:30 in our worship center as we hear from one of the men God is using the most for Christ in the Middle East.  At this kickoff event, we will hear more about what God is doing in some of the hardest to reach places on earth.  

Then on Sunday morning, October 24 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, this same man will be guiding us into a study of Colossians 1:24-29.  We will also hear from other Wildwood missionary partners.  We can’t wait for Sunday!  Find out more about these events and the rest of the festivities in our “For the Nations” Week by visiting wildwoodchurch.org/nations2021.

Let’s be a part of this movement together to the glory of God.  See you Saturday and Sunday!

 

Grasping God’s Word (part 5)

On Wednesday night, October 20, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I taught the fifth session of the “Grasping God’s Word” study.  This lesson focused on Interpretation Skills, and was a part of the “Wednesday’s at Wildwood” program.  Below you can find a link to the video stream of the presentation, a pdf of the slides used, and a pdf of the notes page used for this study.  Additionally, you can find the Interpretation Resources mentioned in the study linked on this page (click here).

 

To watch the stream of the class, use YouTube online:

 

Slides – Grasping God’s Word 5 slides

Notes – Grasping God’s Word 5 Notes

For the Nations (Preview Sermon) Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, October 17, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Acts 13:1-3.  This message was the “preview” to our “For the Nations” event that will occur from October 23-31 at Wildwood (find details here).  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 Acts 13:1-3
  3. Have you ever been on a missions trip before?  What was the purpose of the trip and what are the strongest memories you have of the experience?
  4. In 13:1 we see a list of leaders from the church in Antioch.  This is a diverse group!  Have you ever been a part of a group of people with very diverse backgrounds that came together as one?  What created the unity?  How does Jesus make this kind of unity among diverse people possible inside the church today?
  5. When was the last time you prayed and fasted for the mission of Jesus in the world?  You can pray TODAY … but also you can join us as a church on October 28 as we pray for the mission of the church in the world at 6:30pm in our worship center.
  6. In what way are you personally participating in taking the Gospel to the world?  Giving, prayer, personally going, helping send others?  Join us throughout the “For the Nations Week” October 23-31 as we interact with many Wildwood has SENT to the world!
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon offline, click the link:

For The Nations Intro 10.17.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream of the service, use YouTube online:

 

For the Nations Preview … Sermon Preview

I am a sinful person.  My desires are not always pure and my actions not always righteous.  More often than I want to admit, the grid through which I process a situation is “what’s in it for me?”

Can anyone relate?

Because of that, I should not be surprised that in my flesh, I often think that whatever I see is for me.  Last slice of cake?  Must be mine.  Last $20 in my wallet?  Must be for MY lunch.  $50 for a birthday gift?  What do I WANT?  Our flesh puts the center of gravity in OURSELVES, putting everyone and everything around us in our orbit.

This attitude is not just present in our attitude toward things, it also even filters into the way we think about our church.  We want the best leader leading MY small group.  We want the best preacher preaching the service that I ATTEND.  We want the best worship band leading ME in worship on Sundays.  We want the coolest most amazing Youth or Children’s Pastor impacting MY KIDS.  We put ourselves at the center, and we don’t let anything get too far removed from our gravitational pull.

Because of this dynamic, we find what happens in Acts 13:1-3 quite alien.  A long time ago, in a time before ANY CHURCHES sent people out on mission trips, one church (in Antioch) released their beloved Senior Pastor and his hotshot young teaching protege out on an extended missionary journey.  They took up a collection, they released them from their Antioch specific duties, and they sent them off to lead OTHERS, to preach to THOSE WHO HAD NOT HEARD, and to lead OTHER PEOPLE’S FAMILIES to the throne of grace.  All this meant that the pulpit in Antioch and the Sunday school classes in their hallways would be led by someone else.  How amazing is this!?!?

To put this in practical terms, imagine a hypothetical situation where Wildwood gathered for worship on Sunday and had a particularly amazing time of worship and prayer … and at the end of that service, commissioned our Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess and myself (Senior Pastor) to take the Gospel to a foreign land, leaving Wildwood to serve in another field.  Now some of you might be excited by the change, but some of you would also be sad by this development!  What could enable a congregation to move past their personal agenda to take such missional action? 

People with themselves at the center would almost never send someone they like to permanently serve someone else.  They would want to keep them around to serve THEIR needs.  However, in Christ, there is another option.

If Jesus (not us) is at the center, and His glory is at the forefront, then everything exists to honor Him.  And Jesus has said that the Gospel is to go “into all the world, making disciples of ALL NATIONS …”  So, churches in sync with the Savior do not collect ministers like stamps, but instead send them out to the ends of the earth.  Instead of relegating missionary activities to those who “can’t cut it here,” the Spirit-empowered church is open to sending its best to those who have not heard.  The task is that important!

In our worship services over the next 3 weeks at Wildwood, we will have a special emphasis on the Lord’s work through Wildwood helping us be “For the Nations” following Jesus to the glory of God.  In these three weeks we will get to hear from some of Wildwood’s best and brightest who are proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth, particularly inside (or near) the 10/40 window.   Please, please, please make plans to attend.  This Sunday we will kick off this series with a preview message where I will be looking at Acts 13:1-3 and contemplating the unifying and primary task of the missionary expansion of the church, and Wildwood’s role in it.  Make plans to join us this Sunday, October 17 in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services, on online in the stream  (wildwoodchurch.org/live) beginning at 9:45.  Join us … and invite friends!

Grasping God’s Word (part 4)

On Wednesday night, October 13, Wildwood offered part 4 of the “Grasping God’s Word” study, helping equip us in how to study the Scriptures for ourselves.  Below you will find the handout of notes for the session, a pdf of the slides used in presentation, and a link to the video stream.  Dr. Mike Strauss led the presentation this night.

 

Handout from the session: GGW Week 4 Handout

Slides from the session: GGW week 4 Slides

 

Video stream of Session 4:

Grasping God’s Word (Part 3)

On Wednesday night, September 29, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, Wildwood offered part 3 of the “Grasping God’s Word” course.  This week’s lesson is from Dr. Mike Strauss.  Below you will find the link to the video of the class session, the handout from the session, and key slides.

To watch the stream use YouTube via link below:

 

Access the notes from this week’s session below:

Week 3 Notes in pdf format

 

NOTE:  To access week 2 of this study (NOTE the link to week 1 of the study is also found there) … click here.

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: