Easter Weekend Preview

Last night I put in some work to usher “spring” into our home’s exterior. 

I began by pulling weeds in the yard and flower beds.  (I cannot seem to grow a bush underneath our bedroom window, but by golly, I can sure grow weeds and clover!)

Once the garden was clean, I began spreading mulch over all the flower beds.  Once again, I was amazed at what $3.18 per bag can accomplish!  

With this (now clean) canvas, my wife put flowers in hanging baskets and in pots by the front door.  Suddenly, the front of our house had come alive . . . just in time for Easter!  I really do love this time of year.

While I was doing these tasks, my mind was thinking about bigger things.  I was reflecting on this Holy Week of remembrances and celebrations — Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  

On Good Friday, we remember that Jesus came to “clean the garden” of our lives.  On our own, we cannot grow even a “bush” of righteousness, but the weeds of sin blanket our lives.  Jesus came to gather up all those sins, and the punishment those sins deserve, and have them die with Him on the cross.  In an amazing transaction, not only are the wages of our sin pulled out from the ground of our life, but also the righteousness of God in Jesus is spread over our souls – hiding us in Him.  Isn’t it amazing what grace can accomplish?

Then on Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Jesus’ resurrection not only demonstrates His authority over death, but it also makes it possible for His fruit to blossom by the doors of our lives!  On the clean canvas that His death provides, His resurrection flowers love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our souls!  

I do not mean to be trite with this analogy.  It really moved me last night, so I wanted to share it with you.  I also wanted to invite you to worship with me and our church family at Wildwood Community Church this Easter season.  We have several opportunities to do so:

Good Friday Service

  • Friday, April 19
  • Two identical Services: 6:00 & 7:30 PM
  • Reflect on Jesus march to the cross where He laid His life down for you and me.  Scripture reading, music, communion.  No children’s ministry running — all join in this worship service.

Easter Sunday Services

  • Sunday, April 21
  • Three Identical Services:  8:30, 9:45, 11:00 AM
  • If you are able to join us at the 8:30 service, we would love to have you come join us at that time!  Full children’s ministry and Adult groups running during the 9:45 and 11:00 services.  Student Ministry (6th – 12th grade) meeting during the 9:45 hour.  We will sing and celebrate the resurrection this day, and look at how Jesus has something to do with our past, our present, and our future.  See you Sunday!

Palm Sunday 2019 Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 14, 2019, I preached a sermon on Matthew 21:1-11 at Wildwood Community Church.  This message was on Palm Sunday.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Palm Sunday 4.14.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the Facebook Livestream, click here.

 

Palm Sunday 2019 – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 14, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message for Palm Sunday.  This message focused on Matthew 21:1-11.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 21:1-11
  3. What are some of the most memorable things to you about Palm Sundays (or Easter weekends) that you have experienced in your life?
  4. On the first Palm Sunday, the people of Jerusalem were most intrigued by the PERSON at the center of it all – Jesus Christ.  Matthew 21:11 tells us what the crowds in Jerusalem were thinking about Jesus on that first Palm Sunday.  What stands out to you from their description (as well as the exposition of their descriptions from the message today)?  In what ways do you hear the same descriptions of Jesus TODAY, 2,000 years later?
  5. Jesus is more than just a prophet from Nazareth, as we were reminded today.  What are some of the prophecies you see Jesus fulfilling as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?  How do these fulfillments challenge you to rethink or add to your understanding of who Jesus is?
  6. Jesus is the King of Kings and the Savior of the World.  What are some of the implications of these truths for you today?
  7. Complete these sentences:  “It He is the King (and MY KING), then ___________.”  “If He is the Savior (and MY SAVIOR), then __________.”
  8. C.S. Lewis famously said that only 3 options exist for our assessment of who Jesus is.  We can either say He is a lunatic, a liar, or Lord.  How would you answer Lewis’s “multiple choice” question?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Palm Sunday Preview

What makes Easter so special for you?  Is it time with family?  Egg hunts?  Easter bunnies?  Time with friends?  A special meal?  Going to church in your finest spring attire?  All of those things may hold special significance for you, but for followers of Jesus, Easter is far more than those things . . . it is the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection that secures our forgiveness and our hope for eternity!  While there are many things that we may associate with Easter, we cannot (or at least should not) leave Jesus out!

Now, I write this just a few days before Palm Sunday.  So, let me ask you . . . what makes Palm Sunday, Palm Sunday?  Is it the donkey?  The waving of palm branches?  The singing?  The penultimate moment of the Easter season?  What is it?  Certainly all of these things play a part, but what makes Palm Sunday so special is JESUS CHRIST.

In Matthew 21:1-11, we see the historical record of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on that first “Palm Sunday.”  Yes, He was riding a donkey.  Yes, people were waving palm branches.  Yes, they were singing Psalm 118 all around Him.  Yes, it was simply days before Jesus’ arrest and death and resurrection . . . but if we only look at the PARTS of this story, we miss the most important thing — the PERSON of Jesus Christ.  Matthew makes this clear when he describes the effect of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the people of the city ask, “WHO is this? (Matthew 21:10)”  They were not asking, what was He riding?  Or what were we waving?  Or what was the soundtrack?  They wanted to know WHO caused such a stir.

This Palm Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we are going to look at Matthew 21:1-11 together and seek to answer the question, “Who is this Jesus, who set the city astir?”  See you Sunday in our 9:45 or 11:00 services. 

Easter 2018 Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15.  This message was a part of our Easter services for this year.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online or share.

 

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

Easter 04.01.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Easter 2018 Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a message based on Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15.  This was the Easter Sunday sermon for this year.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15
  3. The historical events remembered this weekend (the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ) have been called the most significant events in the history of the world.  In what way do you think that is true?  What questions does this statement bring to your mind?
  4. What makes Jesus’ death and resurrection unique?  (After all, Stephen was also martyred, yet we do not have a holiday for him . . . and Lazarus was also resurrected, yet we don’t have a day on the calendar called “Lazarus’ Re-Birthday.”)
  5. According to Colossians 2:12a, 13b-15, the death of Jesus accomplished something very important for us.  What is it?  Think of your past for a moment.  What sin that you have committed “haunts” you still today?  How do these verses indicate Jesus deals with our guilt and sin?
  6. According to Colossians 2:6-13a, Jesus’ resurrection sets us up to live a “new life” today.  In what way is your life different because you know Jesus?  In what ways are you still going back to the “tomb” of your previous life instead of living (with Christ) the resurrected life He provides?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Easter Weekend 2018 Preview

Easter weekend.  This is a BIG weekend, isn’t it?  Some of you will hunt Easter eggs.  Others will make plans to have a special meal with friends or family.  Many of you will head to church for worship services on Friday night and Sunday morning.  Several of you have bought special clothing to wear to an event this weekend (and are now taking those clothes back to find something warmer).  There is a lot going on!

In addition to the things above that are a part of Easter weekend every year, this year brings with it a few other agenda items.  The Final Four for NCAA basketball is happening in San Antonio.  Norman Youth Soccer kicks off at Griffin Park.  A walkout is planned for our local classrooms. In the midst of all this, it is absolutely possible that we have arrived at Easter weekend, and Friday night Good Friday services, and Easter Sunday morning worship are just other items on our calendars.  But if that is the case, let’s reset the stage . . .

This weekend, we are celebrating the two most important events in the history of the planet: 

Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for all my sins to be forgiven.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead made it possible for me to walk about living a “newness of life” to the full!  Were it not for these events, I would be weighed down beneath the weight of my own failure and without hope in this world, merely waiting for this old life to die and judgment to come.  However, because Jesus died on the cross, God’s wrath concerning my sins has been satisfied and thus my sins forgiven.  And, because Jesus rose, I can see the resurrection power of God provide me life today and forever. 

This weekend, we do not go to church simply because it is the cultural norm.  No, we go to church because we need to celebrate: 

His death paid for ALL my sin and His resurrection provides for ALL my life. 

This weekend we will focus our attention on the God who loves us and saves us through the work of His Son Jesus Christ.  Join us at Wildwood Community Church Friday night, March 30 at 6:00 or 7:30PM as we remember the death of Jesus in our Good Friday service, and then come back Sunday morning, April 1 at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 as we rejoice together on Resurrection Sunday.  See you this weekend!

Palm Sunday Sermon Questions

On Sunday, March 25, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Mark 11:1-11 and Zechariah 9:9, 14:1-5.  This message was a part of our Palm Sunday celebration.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Mark 11:1-11, Zechariah 9:9, 14:1-5
  3. Brainstorm a list of things you know about Jesus from His life and ministry (as recorded in the Bible).  How does this evidence support His assertion that He was the Son of God?
  4. In what ways did Jesus win “peace” during His earthly life and ministry? In what way is our world still in need of peace? 
  5. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a peaceful donkey.  When He returns to the earth, He will be riding a war horse (Revelation 19).  What are you most looking forward to about the promised “second coming” of Jesus?  What are you most fearful/concerned about regarding His second coming?
  6. Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, when?  If not, why not?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Palm Sunday 2018 Sermon Preview

Zechariah’s tomb in the Kidron Valley

Just east of the old city of Jerusalem runs the Kidron Valley.  The western slope of this valley runs up against the walls surrounding the Temple Mount.  The eastern slope of this valley runs up (past the Garden of Gethsemane) to the top of Mount of Olives.  The Kidron Valley is both ancient and famous.  Pilgrims have crossed its rugged terrain for thousands of years as they head up to Jerusalem for worship.  If you were to visit Jerusalem today, you would notice something very interesting about this area — not only is it swamped with tourists, but it is also covered . . . with tombstones.

The Israeli equivalent of Social Security, actually covers the burial expenses for all its citizens.  Israeli citizens can be buried for free in any cemetery throughout the country EXCEPT on the Mount of Olives (headed down into the Kidron Valley).  Citizens buried here must pay a premium price.  At this point, we want to ask a question:  WHY are so many people paying money to be buried in this particular location?

The answer to this question is found in Zechariah 14:1-5.  In these verses, Zechariah (a prophet) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit talked about the promised Messiah — the Savior of the world — approaching Jerusalem by walking down the western slope of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, and entering Jerusalem’s Eastern Gates.  A portion of present-day Jews believe a resurrection will accompany the entrance of the Messiah to the city.  Therefore, wealthy Jews who hold this belief want to be buried on the Mount of Olives with their feet facing the Eastern gates of the city.  This way, when Messiah comes, they will rise with Him and enter the city again triumphantly!

Interestingly enough, there is even a tomb in the Kidron Valley ascribed to the Prophet Zechariah.  This way the prophet would be one of the first to rise and enter the city with the Messiah . . . an event he wrote about but did not experience in his lifetime.  Zechariah’s tomb sat between the Garden of Gethsemane (on the western slope of the Mount of Olives) and Jerusalem’s Eastern Gate. 

Here is where this really gets interesting . . . 2,000 years ago when Jesus approached Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He did so walking down the Mount of Olives, past the Garden of Gethsemane, and past the tomb of Zechariah, riding on a donkey (something Zechariah ALSO talked about in Zechariah 9:9). 

How was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem a fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy?  What ELSE did Zechariah say, and how come those things have not come true yet?  What is the significance for us today of the events of Palm Sunday?  Join us this Sunday, March 25 at Wildwood Community Church as we will be looking at the events of Palm Sunday through the lens of the prophecy of Zechariah.  In preparation for Sunday, you may want to read Mark 11:1-11 and Zechariah 14:1-5.  We look forward to seeing you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service. 

 

 

Easter Sunday 2017 Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 16, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a message entitled “Resurrection.”  The message was based on John 21:1-19 and was a part of the Easter Sunday celebration.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share.

To download the audio to listen later, click on the link below:

Resurrection

 

To listen online, use the media player below: