November 30: The Gift – Two-fold take on a 2,700 year old story

This devotional is part of the 2020 Christmas Devotional Book, “The Gift.”  Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.

November 30

Two-fold take on a 2,700 Year Old Story (Isaiah 7)

700 years before the birth of Jesus, King Ahaz ruled over the nation of Judah.  This reign was not marked by peace and prosperity, but by difficulty and war.  Judah was being attacked by the armies of Israel (the Kingdom was divided at this time) and Aram.  Ahaz, fearing the stability of the nation and his future legacy, turned to the feared Assyrian army to try to buy some help to fight off Aram and Israel.  For a King who was leading God’s chosen people, Ahaz’s choice of an ally was very peculiar.  God had made promises to protect Judah and provide for her needs, and He had delivered on those promises time and time again in her history.  Ahaz, however, did not trust in the Lord, instead looking to other men to secure the stability He desired.

In Isaiah 7, God speaks to Ahaz and dares him to trust God (not man) for his deliverance.  In 7:9-11, God says to Ahaz, “‘If you (Ahaz) want me (God) to protect you, learn to believe what I say. . . Ask me for a sign Ahaz, to prove that I will crush your enemies as I have promised.  Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want.’”

I firmly believe that Ahaz thought that this dare from God was a test.  Ahaz did not want to fail the test, so he says back to God in 7:12, “No, I wouldn’t test the Lord like that.”  Ahaz must have puffed out his chest a bit as he said he would never put God to the test.    What Ahaz thought was a pious rejection, however, was actually a good depiction of his spiritual allegiance.  Ahaz would not put the Lord to ANY use in his real life.  He wanted God on his side, but he assumed that in order to maintain the nation’s stability, he would have to impress God with his self-directed wisdom, not a declaration of his utter need for dependence.  Ahaz did not want to show God any weakness, thinking that God wanted him to be strong (or at least have strong friends).

After rejecting God’s call for a sign, Ahaz is confronted by the prophet Isaiah who spoke God’s response in 7:13-16: “Then Isaiah said, ‘Listen well, you royal family of David!  You aren’t satisfied to exhaust my patience.  You exhaust the patience of God as well!  All right then, the Lord Himself will choose the sign.  Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – God with us!  By the time this child is old enough to eat curds and honey, he will know enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong.  But before he knows right from wrong, the two kings you fear so much – the kings of Israel and Aram – will both be dead.’’”  In this verse, God is telling Ahaz that God will extract Judah from underneath the oppression of the armies of Israel and Aram in a short amount of time.  Indeed, God sets a time sensitive “sign” in place that says when God’s people see a child named Immanuel born to a woman who was still a virgin at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, it will be less than two years until the kings of Aram and Israel will die and their threat to Judah will be subdued.  In this way, Ahaz and Judah were called to renew their trust in God alone to provide deliverance from their enemies.  

This prophecy was given in 735 BC.  Just 3 years after this prophecy was given (in 732 BC), the kings of Israel and Aram were dead and the threat to Judah from these two “enemies” was subdued.  God had made good on his promise.  There most likely was a woman who was not married in 735 BC who met a man shortly after Isaiah’s prophecy, married him, and they had a child together.  (NOTE: This would not have been an immaculate conception.  The “virgin” referred to the fact that the woman was not married yet at the time of Isaiah’s original prophecy.)  Before that child grew to be old enough to eat more than just baby food, Judah’s threats had been eliminated by God Himself.  God had shown Himself worthy to be trusted.

Fast forward 700 years from the events of King Ahaz, and you will find a young virgin woman pregnant with a child named Jesus.  Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Matthew, as he writes his Gospel, is directed to draw a connection between Isaiah 7 and the birth of Jesus.  Matthew 1:21-23 says, “‘She (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.’”  Though undoubtedly there was a contemporary application to Isaiah 7 in Ahaz day, ultimately, the words of Isaiah were looking to a day seven centuries away . . . when another baby born, this time by a woman who was still a virgin, would be a sign that an even greater deliverance was forthcoming for God’s people.  Jesus did not just come to rid His people of two pesky foreign kings . . . He came to deliver people from their sins!!

As someone who gets to read both stories from the comfort of the 21st century, I am so glad that Immanuel means more for us than just temporary military conquest.  Ahaz got temporary relief from Aram and Israel 2 years after a child was born.  We get to have permanent relief from the consequences of our sin 2,000 years after Jesus was born.

In our lives, like Ahaz, many times we assume that victory over our chief enemies (sin and its consequences) is found in our own self-righteous behavior.  Real victory, however is not found in ourselves, it is found in a child who was born to a virgin.  Jesus alone can deliver us from our sins.  When it comes to the forgiveness of our sins, God is daring us to trust Him.  He gave us (as Ahaz 2,700 years prior) a sign showing He is able to do marvelous things and is worthy to be trusted.  ”The virgin shall conceive a child” . . . and she did. . . and we can be saved as a result.  Immanuel . . . God with us!  Remember that blessed truth this Christmas season.

Suggested song for today:  “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

In this Christmas devotional, there is a song referenced for each day.  All these songs, are included in a playlist found on Apple Music and Spotify at the following links:

November 29: The Gift: “Preparing for the Required Course”

This devotional is part of the 2020 Christmas Devotional Book, “The Gift.”  Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.

 

November 29

Preparing for the Required Course (Galatians 4:4-5)

When I arrived at the University of Oklahoma in the summer of 1992 to begin my college education, I was excited to take every class on my schedule . . . except one.  Attending college meant the end of the 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM school day and the advent of the three day a week lecture rotation.  As an aspiring procrastinator, committed intramural athlete, and John Madden football playing (on the Sega Genesis mind you) enthusiast, I was looking forward to all that free time!  All of my classes had that three day-a-week rhythm except one . . . Spanish 1.  The required five day-a-week mandate of this class cramped my style.   No me gusto.

Now, truth be told, I did not have to take Spanish 1 at OU.  My degree program only required me to take one 3 hour (read 3 day a week) foreign language course in the “2000” level.  The reason I did not simply sign up to take that Spanish reading course first semester my freshman year was simple . . . I did not speak Spanish.  I needed to learn the basics before I could read poetry and short stories.  My five day-a-week year long Spanish marathon was a prerequisite necessary for me to understand the material I would read in the one required reading course my sophomore year.

I was thinking about this experience today as I reflected further on the Law that God gave to His people in the Old Testament through His servant Moses.  Moses went up on the mountainside and God gave him 10 commandments that would form a contract (we know it now as the Old Covenant) for how people in that era would relate to God.  This Law was given to the Jewish people and governed humanity’s relationship with God for roughly 1500 years until God would establish a New Covenant with His Church through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  When Christ came, God tells us through the book of Hebrews that salvation had always been through the person and work of Christ for all people.  In a sense, the required course for salvation for people has always been about what Jesus has done and become effective as people take Christ into our hearts by faith.

If Jesus Christ had always been humanity’s required course, then why did God establish a 1,500 year period governed by the Law?  The answer from Galatians 3:24 is clear, the Law was the prerequisite to people understanding Christ.  Galatians 3:24 says, “So then, the Law was our pedagogue to Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith.”  The idea of a pedagogue is one of a teacher who would come alongside a parent and help train a child, maturing them for adulthood.  God gave the Law for 1,500 years to teach His people something in preparation for Christ.  What does the world learn through the Law that prepares it for Christ?

In the Law we learn that God is holy and we are not.  The Law shows us that the standards of God are lofty and perfect.  Humanity’s problem is that we cannot perfectly live out God’s perfect standard.  In a sense, the 10 Commandments are a document that condemns all of humanity.  The Law says do not lie, yet even Abraham Lincoln told a lie at some point in his life.  The Law says honor your father and mother, yet all parents (and children) know how impossible this is every moment of every day.  Jesus goes so far as to apply the 10 commandments to our thought lives, effectively making virtually all of us murderers and adulterers!  The Law shows us what Romans 3:23 famously states, “All have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s perfect standards.”

The Law also informs us that the result of sin is death.  Think of all the bloody animal sacrifices the Old Testament demands as temporary coverings for the guilt of sin.  Every lamb sacrificed on Passover, every sacrifice offered in the Temple was a reminder of what Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death.”

The period of the Law also shows us the power and character of God.  For 1500 years God poured out miracles and messages on the earth through supernatural means and the pen of the prophets.  These prophecies, signs, and wonders helped people understand just how powerful the God of the Bible really is.

All these works of the Law helped prepare people for the truth of Christ.  Jesus came into the world to seek and save the lost . . . the people who understood that they were not self-righteous enough to perfectly adhere to the Law and save themselves.  The Law prepared people for their NEED for a Savior.  Further, the Law prepared people for the understanding that death was the result of sin, so when Jesus died on the cross to take the payment for humanity’s sins, we would know why that needed to happen.  Finally, the supernatural demonstrations of God in the Old Testament help us to recognize the presence of God in the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament.  The Law was given as a prerequisite to teach humanity so that they would understand Christ!

This Christmas, as you worship with your family, probably reading a lot from the first chapter or two of the first four books of the New Testament, allow yourself to skim back over the 39 books of the Old Testament.  This prerequisite will help you understand the meaning of Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.”  The fullness of time came when the world had gone through the necessary prerequisite training under the Law to receive the new-born King.

Suggested song for today:  “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”

 

In this Christmas devotional, there is a song referenced for each day.  All these songs, are included in a playlist found on Apple Music and Spotify at the following links:

The Gift (part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio and Video

On Sunday, November 29, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Isaiah 11:1-9.  This message was part 1 in “The Gift” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also see the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Isaiah 11:1-9
  3. Giving gifts at Christmas time is a part of holiday celebrations in our culture.  In what ways do you think this is appropriate? 
  4. In Isaiah 11:1, Jesus is described as the “shoot from Jesse’s stump.”  In context, God was promising that even though the nation of Israel looked decimated at the moment Isaiah wrote, something (read SOMEONE) great was still coming!  In what ways does the world you are living in right now look like a “stump”?  How does remembering that God will be faithful to fulfill His promises encourage you today?
  5. When Jesus returns to this earth, He will reign in righteousness and faithfulness over the earth … including delivering justice to the poor.  How does this instruct you regarding how Christians should relate to people today?  How does it give you hope for the future?
  6. The description of life under the Kingdom rule of Jesus in Isaiah 11:6-9 is quite different from our world today.  What area of your world today do you most desire to see transformed by God today?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon audio offline, click the link to download:

The Gift #1 11.29.20

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube stream online:

 

This sermon is part of the 2020 Christmas series at Wildwood.  We have also prepared a Devotional Book, “The Gift.”  Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.

Wildwood has put together a list of Christmas songs in a playlist found on Apple Music and Spotify at the following links:

The Gift: FREE Christmas Devotional 2020

Christmas is an amazing gift-giving time of year.  In 2019 alone, Americans spent (on average) $1,000 per person on Christmas.  WOW!  While we may debate the amount spent on each gift, we cannot deny that gift giving is a very relevant way for people to celebrate the Christmas holiday.  At Christmas, we remember THE GIFT that was given by God to you and me.  THE GIFT, of course, is Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus came to the earth, we have experienced the most amazing collection of blessings:  

  • Hope, in the face of despair
  • Life, in the event of death
  • Peace, instead of war
  • Intimacy with God, instead of separation from God
  • Forgiveness, instead of wrath
  • Power, in place of weakness

We have been given all these (and more) through the person of Jesus Christ.  As Ephesians 1:3 reminds us, we have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and as John 1:16 explains, “from His (Jesus) fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

But how do I know that these gifts are for me?  After all, most Christmas presents purchased every year are NOT for us.  Many of those gifts were for others.  How do I know the gift of Jesus is intended for me?  

When I look at presents under our Christmas tree, I can determine which gift is for which person by looking at the tag on each gift.  When I see my name in the “to” column, I know that gift is for me.  When Jesus was born that first Christmas night, God “tagged” THE GIFT with the names of many who would represent the types of people Jesus came for.  Amazingly, when we look at these different groups of people, we see that THE GIFT of Christmas is intended for all of us!

  • The prophecies of the Old Testament remind us that Christmas is for the “Distressed.”  Those experiencing the ill effects of this world can find their hope in Jesus.
  • In Mary and Joseph (Jesus’ earthly parents) we see two very “Decent” people.  They were morally exceptional in their day.  But even the “Decent” need a Savior and the supernatural intervention of God.
  • In the invitation of the shepherds of Bethlehem, we are reminded that the “Dirty” are also given the gift of Christmas.  Shepherds lived their lives being told by religious folks that they were “unclean” and could not enter the Temple … but the night Jesus is born, they are invited to the manger.
  • In the star in the sky lighting the way for the Magi, we are reminded that the “Distant” are also given this gift.  The Magi lived in a far away land that worshipped other gods, but the one true God, wanted them to know that they were invited to open this Christmas gift as well.
  • Jesus Christ is “THE GIFT” and the biblical accounts show us that He was given by our loving Heavenly Father to ALL of us!

This 2020 season at Wildwood Community Church, we are inviting you to join us in opening by faith THE GIFT of Christ this Christmas.  To help us in doing that, we have a number of opportunities:

Sunday Worship Services (each Sunday morning at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30):

  • November 29:  To the Distressed (Isaiah 11:1-9)
  • December 6:  To the Decent (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38)
  • December 13:  To the Dirty (Luke 2:8-20)
  • December 20:  To the Distant (Matthew 2:1-12)

December 24 Christmas Eve Services (3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00)

  • Singing of carols
  • Candlelight
  • Scripture reading of the Christmas story
  • For the whole family!

Daily Devotionals:

  • I have prepared a daily devotional for each day from November 29 – December 25. These are included in a free book, found:
  • On my blog each morning, you can also find that day’s devotional (you can also subscribe to the blog to have all new posts sent straight to your inbox … see the “subscribe” area on the blog – pastormarkrobinson.com)

Christmas Playlist:

We hope and pray that these resources help you worship Jesus this holiday season!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Baptism Sunday November 22, 2020: Sermon Questions & Audio/Video

On Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, we celebrated the baptisms of 10 individuals.  Before the baptisms, I preached a sermon based on 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio, and videos of the worship services to listen to/watch, download, or share.  Also, you will see slides from the message.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
  3. What are some of the things that have struggled to “celebrate” this past year due to the pandemic?
  4. In the message, we reviewed some of Paul’s second missionary journey, and reflected on how that impacted him by the time he arrived in Corinth.  Are you struggling in this era as Paul was?  What was it that encouraged Paul (seen in 1 Thess. 3:6-8)?  How does that same dynamic encourage you today?
  5. In what specific ways does it encourage you to hear the testimonies of others (as we did today before baptisms)?
  6. Baptisms are a celebration of new life in Christ.  Baptism is not the end, but the beginning!  God wants to continue to grow our faith in Him and love for others throughout our lives.  How have you seen your faith in God and love for others increase over the years you have followed Christ?
  7. How do you sense God wants to use YOU to “fill out what is lacking” in the faith of another?
  8. Have you been baptized since professing faith in Christ?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  Is the Lord leading you to pursue water baptism?  If so (or even if you just have questions about baptism) contact us at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism and we will follow up before our next baptism service in March 2021.
  9. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon audio offline, click the link:

Baptism Sunday! 11.22.20

 

To listen to sermon audio online, use media player:

 

To watch the worship services, use YouTube stream online:

Full service (with 10:15 baptisms):

Baptisms from 9:00 Service:

Baptisms from 11:30:

 

Baptism Sunday: November 22, 2020!

Are you looking for something to celebrate?  I sure am!  And what better to celebrate than the greatness of Jesus Christ, and people turning to Him as their Lord and Savior.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, in all 3 of our morning worship services, we will be:

  • Singing praise and worship to God
  • Looking at 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13 to see encouragement for ALL OF US, young and old.
  • Celebrating the baptisms of 11 Wildwood people!

As always at Wildwood, baptism Sundays take a special rhythm.  We will still offer our early childhood program (for birth – preK) during all 3 services, but EVERYONE ELSE will be ALL IN as one church family in the worship center to celebrate God’s faithfulness.  We will have 3 morning services this weekend (in person, and all indoors) at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30.  The schedule for the baptisms will be as follows:

9:00 Service:

  1. Peyton Williams
  2. Grayson Williams
  3. Moses Bisel
  4. Callaway Payton

10:15 Service:

  1. Logan Wise
  2. Zac Sheriff
  3. Maleia Sarantakos

11:30 Service:

  1. Caitlin Rahmoeller
  2. Hunter Middleton
  3. Chloe Edmunds
  4. Patrick Murphy

I know that anytime we have disruptions to our “normal,” it can throw us for a loop.  2020 has “taught” all of this lesson again and again (can I get an AMEN?)  So, with our Sunday this week slightly altered (with no adult, student, college, or elementary classes meeting), some might be tempted to just stay home.  Resist that urge!!!  We are not taking this Sunday off.  We are intentionally gathering together to remember God’s faithfulness to us as a church family.  These Sundays are some of my favorites each year, and we want to worship with YOU and your entire household this weekend!  We hope to see you Sunday.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

P.S.  Like normal, our 10:15 service will be live-streamed for all who want to join us online at wildwoodchurch.org/live   … however, because this is a baptism Sunday, we will also be streaming the baptism portions of all 3 services!  All three streams will be available online at wildwoodchurch.org/live .  I know this could be a bit confusing, so here is the STREAMING schedule:

  • Around 9:40, the stream will begin for the first service, and include only the baptism section of the service.
  • 10:15 – the full livestream of the entire worship service (like normal).
  • 12:10 – the stream will begin for the third service, and include only the baptism section of the service.

8AM Service …

Dear Friends,

None of us could have foreseen the events of 2020 11 months ago.  In December 2019, I sat in staff and elder meetings and prayed and dreamed about the year we were beginning.  We had big dreams and were developing exciting plans (at least from our vantage point) … but as the year unfolded, the Lord guided us into different waters.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways: personally, professionally, recreationally, and even ecclesiastically (related to the church).  For some of you who have lost loved ones to the virus, this year has brought great sorrow.  For others, you have seen your businesses torn asunder by lockdowns and closures.  Compared to your hardships, the things we have endured corporately as a church family seem more trivial, but have been (nonetheless) consequential.

The virus, and everyone’s differing responses to it, led to creativity in how we gathered for worship:

  • Though we were already streaming our worship services entering this year, we had few congregants using that forum weekly.  For obvious reasons, attendance online has dramatically increased this year, with new services going live each Sunday at wildwoodchurch.org/live at 10:15AM.
  • As we began the year, we never dreamed we would have a weekly outdoor worship service.  Yet, as I write this post, we have been doing so every Sunday for seven months (most recently at 8AM)!  It has been a tremendous privilege to gather with many of you to worship in this environment over this span.  I know that many do not yet feel comfortable worshipping indoors, and this outdoor environment has been a “home” for a portion of our congregation these past several months.
  • Given the need for social distancing, we have also added additional worship services once we moved back indoors. We have three different services at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 (with children’s ministry, student ministry, and college and adult classes meeting concurrently).  These continue to be great opportunities to worship together!
  • Additionally, we erected a tent in front of the church where we have hosted overflow seating for the 10:15 service since early August.  We also have turned our coffee bar area into an additional overflow seating environment as needed.

Through these variety of venues, we have continued to “not forsake meeting together as is the habit of some.”  What a blessing to worship with each of you in this time and season.

As the winter months are now upon us, however, we are adjusting our Sunday morning worship options slightly, recognizing the cold weather making outdoor events less tolerable.  Beginning NEXT SUNDAY, November 22, we will be stopping the 8AM outdoor chapel service.  The remainder of our worship options will carry on as normal, but this outdoor option is ceasing for this season.

We know that this will make it harder for some of you who are still not able to enter our facility to gather together for worship.  We are so sorry for this!  However, we would love to invite you to join us online in the livestream at wildwoodchurch.org/live.  Additionally, know that some of our adult classes still offer Zoom options, and we have a number of resources for our families if you are not able to gather with us in person at this time.  You can find all these options on our website at wildwoodchurch.org.

Thanks for continuing to follow Jesus together with us to the glory of God at Wildwood in 2020 … and beyond.  See you Sunday, November 15 for one last outdoor chapel at 8AM … or (as always) indoors at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30, or on the stream.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Attitude of a Servant (part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, October 25, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Philippians 2:19-25.  This message was part 4 in the “Attitude of a Servant” series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Philippians 2:19-30
  3. Who are some of the people you have “followed” in life as they “followed Christ?”
  4. Timothy is an example of someone who genuinely cared for the spiritual lives of people.  On a scale of 1-10, how would you consider your current concern for the spiritual growth of others?  How is that concern demonstrated in your life?
  5. Epaphroditus was willing to risk his life for the advancement of the Gospel.  Are there any “risks” you are reluctant to take today that are inhibiting your ability to be fully involved in Jesus’ mission?
  6. In what way are you tempted to “hang on” to resources and not share them with others — for their good?  Paul was a great example of generously giving what he had for the benefit of others.  Where are you challenged to share what you have been keeping?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to sermon audio offline, click the link:

Attitude of a Servant #4 10.25.20

 

To listen online, use the media player:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

 

Attitude of a Servant (part 4) Sermon Preview

For 30 years now, I have been following Jesus.  Three decades ago, I understood the gravity of my sin, and my need for a Savior … and God (in His grace) led me to Jesus, and my life has forever been changed.

Though my journey began in the basement of East Cross United Methodist Church, it did not stay there.  Following Jesus has taken me to Bartlesville, Norman, Nevada, Russia, Dallas, Ovilla, Coppell, Norman (again), Mexico, France, and beyond.  It has taken me into the Scriptures, church and small group communities, worship services, hospital rooms, housing projects, and summer camps.  I have followed Jesus while single, married, and as a father.  It has been joyous, difficult, life-giving, death-requiring, jubilant, lamenting … and more.

Throughout these years of following Jesus, I often found myself in a parade of sorts … Jesus was leading it, but there were a string of people following after Him.  Often I found myself following someone who was following Jesus.  In this way, they helped connect me to Him:

  • My mom and Dad raised me in the church.
  • Dwight Nash and Debra Villiger introduced me to Jesus.
  • Dwight Darrah prayed for me to follow Jesus, and ultimately to be a Pastor.
  • David Croninger listened to me and encouraged my faith.
  • David and Hazel Kirchman taught me to pray.
  • Kimberly Robinson showed me unconditional love.
  • Todd Stewman introduced me to discipleship.
  • Bill Boldt showed me what fearless evangelism looked like.
  • Bruce Hess introduced me to faithful biblical exegesis.
  • Tom Robbins showed me what it looked like to care for your flock.
  • Wayne McDonald gave me a chance.
  • Bob Reed pointed me to God’s grace.
  • Mashall Brackin taught me generosity.

… and on and on I could go.  I do not mean to leave anyone off this list, but simply want to remember in a moment the faith of those who have gone before me … and memorialize how it has impacted me.  

As Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  Like Paul, these all (and many more) have invited me to “follow them as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).”  And I have been blessed as I followed.  

Who has impacted your life?  What are their names and how has God used them in your life?  

For the Philippian Christians, they had many they were following.  They were certainly following Jesus (see Philippians 2:5-11), but they also were following Paul the Apostle and the examples of a few other choice servants as they followed Christ.  In this Sunday’s final message in the “Attitude of a Servant” series, we will look at Philippians 2:19-30, as we see the examples of servant heartedness demonstrated by two men: Timothy and Epaphroditus.  May we all add the names of these two servants to our list of those whose example has aided us in our walk with the Lord.  Hope to see you Sunday in our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 worship services (inside and with children, student, college, and adult classes running), 8AM in our outdoor chapel service, or 10:15 online (wildwoodchurch.org/live).

Attitude of a Servant (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video and Questions

On Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Philippians 2:14-18.  This message was part 3 in the “Attitude of a Servant” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  Also, you will find the sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Philippians 2:14-18
  3. What are some of the examples of the “darkness” that you see in the world today?  In what ways does Jesus “light this up”?
  4. How might Jesus use you and your fellow Christians to light up the world around us?
  5. What are some of the things Paul mentions in 2:14-15 that might inhibit our ability to shine as Jesus’ light?  Which of these do you most struggle with?
  6. Are you holding fast and holding forth the word of life to those around you?  What are some ways you can do that this week?
  7. Whose faith can you celebrate this week?  How will you celebrate it?
  8. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

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The Attitude of a Servant #3 10.18.20

 

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