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:

Easter Sunday 2017 – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 16, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on John 21:1-19.  This message was part of our Easter Sunday celebration.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 21:1-19
  3. Have you ever stopped to consider that Christianity is anchored in a historical event, not just a philosophy?  How does the resurrection of Jesus give credence to Christianity over other world religions?
  4. Peter knew that Jesus was resurrected, yet still went back to fishing.  Why do you think Peter returned to fishing even though he knew Jesus was no longer dead?
  5. What are the greatest challenges to your hope today?  How does the resurrection of Jesus provide hope for your life?
  6. Have you trusted in Christ for your salvation?  If so, when?  If not, what is keeping you from trusting in Christ this Easter?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

He is Risen! Reflections from the Empty Tomb

Kimberly and I at the Garden Tomb
Kimberly and I at the Garden Tomb

18 months ago, Kimberly and I got to go to Israel.  I wrote the following post after visiting the empty tomb.  Join us at Wildwood this weekend as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection together and its implications for our lives.  Join us Good Friday at 6:00 or 7:30 or Easter Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00.

Just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s old city, nestled between mosques, coffee shops, parking lots, and a cemetery sits the most historically important location in the history of the world.  It is here (at a location now called “The Garden Tomb”) that Jesus most likely was crucified, buried, and resurrected.

Of course, we cannot know for certain that this is the actual location of these events, but it is very probable.  The Romans typically crucified their prisoners outside the city walls along major highways.  This was meant to both humiliate those being executed and serve as a deterrent to all who passed by.  The traditional site of the crucifixion (the Church of the Holy Sepulcher) is actually inside the city, making it unlikely that Jesus was killed there.

Furthermore, three of the four Gospel writers describe Jesus death as occurring at the “place of the skull” or “Golgotha.”  Inside the “Garden Tomb” complex is a hillside with three distinct caves located on it side facing Jerusalem . . . that look like the openings of two eyes and a nose on a human skull.

Also, this skull-like hill set alongside a prominent highway in the first century . . . the Road to Damascus.  Again, this makes this site consistent with the kinds of places where Romans crucified prisoners. 

Finally, in close proximity to Golgotha was a Garden where Joseph of Arimathea would have buried Jesus quickly after His death.  Archaeological evidence has confirmed various olive presses in this “garden” as well as a cave like tomb.

Not a great picture, but this is Golgotha. The large cave on the left is one of the three caves making the hill have the appearance of a skull.
Not a great picture, but this is Golgotha. The large cave on the left is one of the three caves making the hill have the appearance of a skull.

All this makes it probable that the Garden Tomb (or someplace like it close by) is the location of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection.  Or course, I say “probable” because we cannot really know for sure.  The reason why we can’t know for sure is because JESUS IS NOT THERE!  HE IS RISEN!!!!!

In the summer of 1995 I was a part of a 6 week mission trip to Russia.  On our way out of the country, we stopped in Moscow and visited Red Square.  While there, I walked inside Lenin’s Tomb and saw the father of Soviet communism literally floating in formaldehyde.  His tomb was occupied.  This made my visit to Red Square historical, but but holy.

Visiting the Garden Tomb however, was totally different.  The tomb was empty, therefore my eternity can be full.  Jesus was indeed the Son of God, punctuated by His triumph over the grave.  The resurrection is an overwhelmingly powerful piece of historical evidence pointing to the fact that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised Savior of the world.

As we visited the tomb, one by one, we entered the tomb, then emerged (most of the time with tears in our eyes.)  I sat there watching all 40 of my travel mates walk into and out of the tomb.  It was a reminder to me of Romans 6:3-4.  These verses say:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

When we trust in Christ, it is as if we were buried with Christ.  We walk with Him into the tomb and leave behind all our sin.  Then we get to walk out of the tomb identified with Christ and able to live in a newness of eternal life.  It was a tomb baptism of sorts.

How about you?  Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins?  Have you identified with His death, burial and resurrection?  If not, you need not enter the Garden Tomb literally.  By faith, you can spiritually identify with Him and be saved. 

He is not there.  He is risen just as they said!

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Palm Sunday 2017 Audio

 

On Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 118:19-29.  This message was a part of our Palm Sunday services for 2017.  The sermon audio from this morning’s message is posted below to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Palm Sunday 2017

To listen online, use the media player below:

Palm Sunday Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 118:19-29 and Mark 11:8-10.  This message was the basis of our biblical study on Palm Sunday 2017.  Below are a set of questions based on the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Psalm 118
  3. Do you have a favorite Easter tradition in your house?  Any favorite Easter music?
  4. Psalm 118 was a song sung over Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  What stands out to you about this song?  Beyond tradition, why do you think they were singing this song?  What does it reveal about what they were hoping Jesus would do?
  5. Though the crowds sung this song on Sunday, they shouted “CRUCIFY HIM” on Friday.  I mentioned this morning that often times people will reject Jesus for a couple of reasons, one of them being “what He does” and the other “what He doesn’t do.”  What are some examples of people rejecting Jesus because of what He does?  What are examples of rejecting Jesus for what He does not do?
  6. The One who was rejected has become the cornerstone.  What does this tell you about the value of following Christ, even when it does not look popular and many are rejecting Him?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.