Romans in 9 Movements

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Over the past 16 months, we have preached through the book of Romans at Wildwood Community Church.  The 43 sermons walked us verse by verse through Romans 1:1 – 16:27.  We arranged our study in 9 different series, represented in the graphic above.  It is our hope that these 9 divisions will help you remember the truth God has given us inside Paul’s masterful Epistle.

Below is a a summary of Romans in a single paragraph, using the series titles as keywords:

There is Good News for people everywhere!  This good news (or gospel) shows the power of God which is able to deliver salvation to those who believe.  In Christ, the righteousness of God is given to sinful people like you and me.  We receive this gracious gift of salvation NOT by our works, but by faith.  This is the way it has always been in God’s economy.  From Abraham to Christ (the ABC’s of Faith), we have seen that the righteous live by faith.  When we come into a relationship with God by faith, we are Set Free from sin’s necessary rule in our lives.  We now have a choice to live out a new life in Christ.  However, there is a problem.  As we try to live out our new life in Christ, we do so inside the old address of our flesh.  Therefore, we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a truly Spiritual Life, walking with the God who loves us.  Now, if our hope is tied to God and His work in our lives, how do we know He will be faithful to make good on His promises?  We find out the faithfulness of God by looking at the way He has dealt with other members of His spiritual Family Tree.  By seeing how God has been faithful to His children Israel, we can have faith that He will make good on His promises to us as well.  Once we realize all that God has done for us in Christ, we want to respond and Aim our lives – pointed towards His purpose for us, laying down our lives as a living sacrifice before Him.  As we do this, we will live out our lives in a secular world but inside of His sovereignty as we live in Nations Under God.  We are truly to honor our government, but we are to Walk in Love with our fellow Christian, limiting our freedoms to not tear down our brother or sister who Christ is building up.  All this knowledge of Christ leads to our involvement with Christ in His great Co:Mission, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  The Gospel is the power of God that is able to strengthen us . . . and those around us.  Given this incredible truth, it is not a surprise that Paul ends praising God – “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!  Amen!” (Romans 16:27)

Let us thank God together for the power of the Gospel — the Good News of Jesus Christ!

 

Series Titles:

Aim (Part 4) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, September 4, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Romans 12:14-21.  This message was part 4 in the “Aim” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio and video to listen to or share with others.

 

To download the audio, click this link:

Aim Part 4

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon, use the Vimeo video below:

Aim (Part 4) Sermon Preview

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When crime is committed in Gotham City . . . the court system or chief of police are not usually your best choice of protection.  Instead, the people often look to the sky and shine a signal shaped like a bat, and wait for the caped crusader to arrive.  Batman is the epitome of civilian vigilante justice.  He arrives right on time and rectifies the situation without having to wait on the judicial system.  Batman’s character is so appealing, it has been a part of American pop culture for nearly 80 years.

At some level, we love the idea of swift justice for crimes committed — and while most of us don’t consider ourselves a vigilante, we are tempted to use certain measures of “street justice” from our emotional utility belts.  When we feel like we have been wronged, we are tempted to retaliate by spraying the offending party with passive aggressive repellant, shooting them with destructive words, or trapping them beneath a web of retribution.  Often we feel as though these actions will make us feel better . . . but do they?  It has been my experience that they do not.  After we lash back, the pain remains.  So what are we to do?

As followers of Christ, we are promised ultimate justice concerning the things that happen in this world.  In fact, we are even promised eternal protection (not saying that bad things won’t happen, but ultimately, in Christ our future is secure).  But, we do not get these things by punishing those who wrong us ourselves . . . we get it by looking up to the sky and remembering that one day Jesus will shine through those clouds, return to this earth, and set things right.  Knowing that is the ultimate climax of justice, we are called to respond to our tormenters today . . . with love.

This topic is relevant to all, challenging to all, and liberating to all.  Join us Sunday at Wildwood Community Church as we wrap up our “Aim” sermon series by looking at Romans 12:14-21 together.  See you Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service!

Aim (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, August 28, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message on Romans 12:9-13.  This message was part 3 of the “Aim” sermon series.  The audio and video of the sermon are posted below for you to listen to/watch or share.

 

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

Aim (Part 3)

 

To listen to the sermon audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video, use the Vimeo video below:

Aim (Part 3) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, August 28, 2016 I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church.  This message was part 3 of the “Aim” series and was based on Romans 12:9-13.  Below you will find questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Read Romans 12:9-13
  2. Why do you think Paul often followed his discussion of spiritual gifts with a call to love?  (He does so in both 1 Corinthians 12-13 and Romans 12.)
  3. In your opinion, what is the difference between a love that is full of hypocrisy and a love that is genuine?
  4. Has your experience in churches contained a “family kind of feeling/love”?  Why or why not?
  5. Have you lost any zeal in serving the Lord?  What can you do to rekindle the flame and joy of serving the Lord?
  6. Prayerfully consider if there are any opportunities the Lord is giving you right now to share some of your time, money, etc. with another.
  7. What applications did you take from this Sunday’s sermon?

To access a copy of these questions in pdf format, click here.

Aim (part 3) Preview

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We recently had a need to replace some windows in our house.  Over time, the hot and the cold of Oklahoma had caused our windows to expand and contract to the point that several of them had broken — inviting unwanted 6 and 8 legged “friends” to join us in our humble abode.  We decided to replace these broken windows . . . but what would we replace them with?

Like so many areas of life, there is a whole world of options that sit behind seemingly simple decision.  Should the windows be made of plastic, wood, or a hybrid?  Did we want grids in the windows?  Would we like the windows to open?  And if so, how did we want to open them?  What color should they be?  And on, and on.  I know, I know . . . these are first world problems, and a blessing to be able to HAVE options for ANY window . . . much less windows that we liked . . . but the decisions still had to be made.

Though each window had its own unique contribution to bring, they all had a few things in common — including the glass that filled the frame for us to peer through.

I was thinking about this today as I read through Romans 12:9-13.  In Romans 12, Paul has just been talking about all the “options” that make Christians different from each other — a difference that is by design.  Some of us have gifts of speaking, while others have gifts of serving.  However, despite our differences in WHAT we do when we serve, there is an incredible similarity in HOW we should do our WHAT in service.  We are to have service that is characterized by love.  Paul makes this clear everywhere he talks about spiritual gifts.  He did so in 1 Corinthians 12 (where he talked about gifts) and 13 (where he talked about love), and here in Romans 12:3-8 (where he talks about gifts) and 12:9-13 (where he talks about love). 

When people peer through the life of a Christian (regardless of their gifting) they should see the agape love of Christ.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will continue our series called “Aim” by looking at Romans 12:9-13 together as we see the love we should be aiming at in our Christian lives.  Join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service as we worship Jesus together, continue our sermon series, and partake of the Lord’s Supper.  See you Sunday . . . and bring a friend!

“Having gifts . . . let us use them!”

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In yesterday morning’s worship services, I preached on Romans 12:3-8.  In these verses we saw that we need to:

  • Get the right measurement (on our lives).
  • Give the right service (according to our divine design).

By this, we saw that we need to have an accurate estimate of who we are in Christ – sinners in need of grace, BUT forgiven in Christ and equipped by the Holy Spirit.  As such, as believers in Jesus Christ we should all have an expectation that God wants to use us in HIs work this coming year.  “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. . .” (Romans 12:6a)

At the end of the service, I encouraged all of us to serve others this year.  While many of those opportunities occur in our community, we have several serving opportunities available right here at Wildwood!  Below are a few of the opportunities for serving that we have at Wildwood right now, and how you can connect in each of these areas.  Opportunities are arranged by ministry area.

Children’s Ministry (birth – 5th grade)

Our children’s ministry exists to connect children with Christ: His worship, His community & His mission.  Whether you serve in the early childhood classrooms, elementary classrooms, welcome desks or Awana program, God can use an everyday hero, like you and me, to help shape eternity for a child. Every single time our doors are open to children & families here at Wildwood, God has given us an opportunity to help connect kids to Christ while they are most open to this relationship. What a privilege!

Here are our current children’s ministry volunteer openings:

  • 11am Service–2 Openings in Nursery (every other month)
  • 11am Service–1-2 Openings in Toddler (every other month)
  • Wednesday Evenings (6-7:30pm)–Several openings with our Cubbies (preschoolers) or Sparks (Kindergarten-2nd grade); our Wednesday evening programming is only thru April & takes breaks for the holidays

Please contact Brooke Harrison  bharrison@wildwoodchurch.org  if you have any questions about these opportunities! Thank you!

Student Ministry (6th – 12th grade)

Wildwood’s Student Ministry helps connect middle school and high school students to Christ on a daily basis. Our middle school students connect in SHIFT and our high school students connect in The Avenue. Both of these ministries are only a reality because of a team of volunteer leaders that serve on a weekly basis. Currently, we have opportunities in both SHIFT and The Avenue:

SHIFT Middle School Ministry

  • Wednesday 6-7:30 SHIFT Group Leader – We are always looking for adults, young and old, who have a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ and a calling to student ministry. Our Group Leaders are incredible servants who lead every week in our small group environments
  • Sundays 9:45-10:45 Worship Leader – Can you play the guitar and sing? On Sunday mornings we are looking for someone who is gifted in musical ability to help on occasion in SHIFT. This is not a weekly serving opportunity, rather a need for someone to help fill in gaps. We have incredibly people already leading music in SHIFT, but there are times that they are unavailable and would love to expand our list!
  • Event Help – we do a lot of things together in SHIFT, so we are always looking for a little extra help. It might mean hosting, driving, cleaning, preparing, or even cooking but if you love to serve behind the scenes, then come talk to us!

The Avenue High School Ministry

  • Events – We have a lot of events for The Avenue that need a little extra help. if you are interested in serving behind the scenes in different seasons, then we would love to hear from you!

College Ministry

Wildwood’s College Ministry ministers to hundreds of University Students, helping to connect them to Christ and His community here at Wildwood.  We have a few needs for how you can get involved in reaching students for Christ at OU.

  • A huge advantage Wildwood has for college students is an opportunity to connect college students to our families! We would love for you to consider joining our adopt-a-sooner program and become a home away from home for many students! More info at wildwoodchurch.org/adoptsooner 
  • A second need is Sunday morning van drivers. Many students don’t have cars and so we ran vans before college life (10:30) to pick up students and then drop them off afterwards (12:15). This is a HUGE blessing to our students, we are just short of drivers!  To sign up for this serving opportunity, contact Jeremy Horton at jeremy@wildwoodchurch.org 

Adult Small Groups

Wildwood exists to glorify God by connecting people to Christ:  His Worship, His Community, His Mission.  Our Adult Small Groups are designed to help connect people to an active and vibrant community.  We are always recruiting leaders to launch new small groups for adults at Wildwood.  If you are interested in leading or hosting one of these small groups for adults, contact Community Pastor Brian Hayes at brianhayes@wildwoodchurch.org

Technical Teams

Our AV team members are essential in creating an environment for people to worship God through song as well as support the messages each week.  If you are experienced or would like to explore running sound, lights or projection on Sundays, with Wednesday rehearsals, contact Greg Hill at greghill@wildwoodchurch.org for more information.

Hospitality

Each weekend well over 1,000 people walk through our doors to worship Jesus Christ.  This is a tremendous privilege for us as a church, and we want to host them well!  We have a variety of needs in our hospitality ministries (openings on Wednesday nights and during all 3 services Sunday morning: 8:30, 9:45, 11:00) – 

  • Welcome Team – help open doors for people and/or serve as a guide to help first time people navigate our facility when they first arrive.
  • Ushers  – In each worship service, we have service hosts (also called ushers) who welcome people into our services, pass out bulletins, help collect the offering, pass communion, and help people find seats when needed.
  • A-Team – Help Wildwood stay aware, of what is happening in our building on Sundays and Wednesday nights as a part of this security focused team.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, contact Lisa Goering at ( lisagoering@wildwoodchurch.org

Care Ministry

There are many opportunities to show the love of Christ in tangible ways to those that are hurting.

Areas where you might be led to serve:

  • Making and delivering a meal to someone going through a hard time
  • Helping with meals for funerals
  • Sharing what God has done in your life as an encouragement (even to someone going through the a similar issue)
  • Giving rides to church, the supermarket or to Women’s Bible Study
  • Calling, writing cards or praying for and with people.

If you are interested, please send an email to Care Pastor John Abernethy ( john@wildwoodchurch.org )with your information and your area(s) of interest and and I’ll contact you soon!

Local Outreach

There are many opportunities to reach out and show the love of Christ in our community.  Three opportunities are:

  • Wildwood has a regular presence at Kennedy Elementary School.  We mobilize volunteers to serve as Mentors to individual students, reading buddies for students needing extra attention with reading skills, and general teacher support.  These roles help us show the love of Christ to a segment of our community, and builds relationships that we pray help connect people to Christ.  For more info on our outreach at Kennedy, contact Lisa Goering  lisagoering@wildwoodchurch.org 
  • On the second Friday of each month, Wildwood helps prepare and serve lunch at Food & Shelter for Friends — a service to those in financial need in our community.  If you would like to help serve on this team, visit our signup page by clicking here.
  • Panera Bread donates leftover bread to Food and Shelter for Friends.  You can help by picking this bread up and delivering it to Food and Shelter.  You can find out more about this and sign up by visiting this sign up page.

Global Outreach

Wildwood plays an active role in supporting a number of missionaries around the world partnering with them to share Christ with every tribe, tongue, and nation.  Some opportunities to get involved with Global Outreach include:

  • “Adopting” a missionary as an individual, a family, or community group to pray for them regularly, and welcome them when they return from the mission field.
  • Going on a short term mission trip
  • Helping organize Wildwood global outreach efforts as a part of our “GO Team”

For more information about Wildwood’s Global Outreach efforts contact Global Outreach Director Kevin Bradford at kevin@wildwoodchurch.org

Conclusion:

We hope and pray that these opportunities help connect you to the right service for you this year, using the gift God has given you to bless others.  As I concluded the message yesterday, I told the story of Floyd “Money” Mayweather who has 3 homes in the U.S. that EACH have a garage in it filled with $15.3 million of automobiles that he does not ever drive.  We may see that as excessive or a waste!  How much more so would it be to not “drive” the wealth of blessing God has built into each of us – His children.  Let’s drive them in ministry together this year!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Aim (part 2) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, August 21, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 12:3-8.  This message was part 2 of the “Aim” series.  I have included the sermon audio and video below for you to listen to/watch or share.

 

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

Aim (part 2)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

Aim (Part 2) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, August 21, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message from Romans 12:3-8.  This message was part 2 in the “Aim” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for group discussion or personal reflection.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Read Romans 12:3-8
  2. In what way do you struggle with having an inflated view of yourself?  In what way do you overly discount the value Jesus Christ has built in you?
  3. In what ways is the church diverse?  How does Jesus use this diversity to accomplish His plans in the world?
  4. What are some of the ways God has gifted you for ministry to others?  Are you using those gifts?  What are some ways you can use the gifts God has given you in the school year/ministry year ahead?
  5. What applications did you take from this Sunday’s sermon?

To access a copy of these questions in pdf format, click here.

Aim (part 2) Sermon Preview

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I grew up watching the “Price is Right.”  Long before Netflix and “on demand” television programming, all of America watched the same shows at the same time — regardless of age or interest.  So, if I found myself home sick from school, or enjoying a summer weekday morning watching television at 10AM on CBS, I was watching a showcase showdown refereed by Bob Barker.  Some of you know what I am talking about.

Before they could ever compete on the higher levels of the show, contestants would join a lineup of several people who would estimate the cost of an individual item.  The one closest to the price of the item (without going over) would win the prize and get to compete for the bigger prizes.  Most contestants would try to estimate the exact price of the item up for grabs.  If the item really cost $800, people would guess $650 or $850 trying to win it.  Occasionally though, someone would try to win the prize by lowballing their estimate at $1.  If everyone else overestimated their value, then someone could win the prize with a $1 bid, because at that low cost . . . they had no way of “going over” the price of the prize.

I was thinking about that as I read Romans 12:3-8 this week.  In this section of God’s Word, we are called to give an estimation of our lives.  What are our lives worth?  After calling all believers to lay down our lives as a living sacrifice to God in 12:1 and be transformed through the renewal of our minds in 12:2, Paul now asks us to “value our lives” . . . and not to “go over.”

In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to estimate himself more highly than he ought to estimate, but to estimate with the right price, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Sadly, many of us struggle with thinking of ourselves more highly than we should.  This is the root of so many human maladies, including racism, pride, and self-centered behavior.  Some of our self estimations go over our true value.  Others estimate our value at merely $1 . . . feeling we have nothing to add.  In either case, we are determining our value based on comparisons with others in an unhealthy way. 

Paul calls believer’s in Jesus Christ to give a true estimation of themselves.  We are not to overestimate our value in relation to others, or to underestimate it, feeling we have nothing to add.  Instead, we are to measure our lives by faith, according to Gospel truth, which demonstrates our equality with all believers, yet our diversity in gifting.

Join us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we get a fair estimate of our lives and realize what God is doing through us together in part 2 of the “Aim” sermon series.  See you Sunday . . . and invite your friends!