First Responders (part 5) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, May 27, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 12:33-50.  The message was part 5 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to share, listen to online or download.

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #5 05.27.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders Part 5 Sermon Questions

On Sunday, May 27, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 12:33-50.  This message was part 5 in the “First Responders” series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 12:33-50
  3. What are some kinds of things that you typically DON’T respond to (junk mail, telemarketers, etc.)  What kinds of things do you feel like you MUST respond to?  When it comes to responding to the Person of Jesus Christ, do you feel the need to respond to Him?
  4. According to today’s verses, how we respond to Jesus matters.  What are the consequences at stake for how we respond to Him?
  5. In what way do your words reveal your heart about things in your life?  What do your words tell you about what you believe about Jesus?
  6. Have you ever asked God for a “sign” to reveal to you that He is real?  What does Jesus say about the most important “signs” that He gave the world to confirm His identity?
  7. Jesus concludes this section by pointing out the need to invite Him INTO our lives, and then follow Him.  Have you done this?  If so, when?  If not, why not?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders (part 5) Preview

I have a good friend who used to live in Norman.  In many ways, he looked like “one of us.”  His clothes were not odd, his accent not distant, his interests not dissimilar.  In fact, he lived in our fair city for a decade, and had a positive and productive influence on many while he was here. 

Despite all the ways he “fit in,” there was something about him that was very odd.  He was a UT grad.  In fact he was a Longhorn FAN . . . an apologist if you will.  On Saturdays, when everyone else would wear Crimson, he would wear orange. For some strange reason he insisted on calling the Red Rival Rivalry the “Texas/OU game” not “OU/Texas.”  The decal on his car had the ‘Horns right side up, not upside down.  In short, he had to learn to live in a land that rejected something he loved.


I was thinking about that (humorous) example today as I thought of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  From the very first days when Jesus came to the earth, people rejected Him.  The Scribes and the Pharisees formed a very famous and powerful opposition to Jesus’ earthly ministry.  In the millennia since then people from various cultures have unintentionally mimicked the response of the first century religious elites in their rejection of the Son of God.

As Christians, we must learn how to live in a world that rejects the Jesus we love.  Jesus was teaching that lesson to the “First Responders” in Matthew 12-13.  Over the months of April and May at Wildwood we have been looking at Jesus’ interactions with those who first responded to Him.  This Sunday, we will conclude our series by looking at Matthew 12:33-50 together as we learn how to wear His colors in a land that thinks we are quite odd.  See you Sunday!

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:20-30.  This message was part 2 of the “First Responders” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online or download and share with others.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #2 04.22.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 22, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:20-30.  This message was part 2 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:20-30
  3. Have you ever seen an event happen that needed an immediate response (car accident, medical emergency, etc.)  Who first responded?  What do you think prevents some people from responding in these types of circumstances?
  4. Jesus desired for the people who witnessed His earthly ministry to respond to Him.  In what ways do you see people (including yourself) fail to respond to the person of Jesus Christ today?
  5. 21st century Americans have an incredible wealth of “revelation” at our disposal about the person of Jesus Christ.  Brainstorm some of the ways Americans today know about who Jesus is.  What does Jesus say is expected of people for whom much revelation is given?
  6. Have you “come to Jesus” for your salvation rest?  If so, think of some of the benefits that trusting Christ for your eternity have brought to your life.  If not, what is keeping you from coming to Jesus today?
  7. In what areas are you resisting “walking with Jesus” in your life today?  What is preventing you from submitting to His will in different areas of your life?  How would walking with Jesus bring “rest” to your everyday life?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders (part 2) Sermon Preview

On November 16, 2010, popular television personality Bill Nye “the science guy” was walking onto a stage at USC to give a lecture.  En route to the podium, Nye collapsed and was out for at least 10 seconds.  While this was certainly a difficult medical situation for Mr. Nye, it was also a fascinating study in sociology in the digital age.  What do I mean?

According to Alastair Fairbanks (a USC student in attendance – as reported by the LA Times) what happened next was surprising:  “Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed — that just perplexed me beyond reason, Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.”

Did you catch that?  the first response of USC students to a medical emergency was to tweet it to the world, instead of to run to his assistance.  What a strange world we are now living in!

Before we are too hard on the students of USC, or write this off as a product of the “millenial” generation, we need to remember that this behavior is not new.  As a matter of fact, people have been offering the wrong first response to life or death issues for at least 2,000 years now.  Don’t believe me?  Look at Matthew 11:20-30.

In these verses we see Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . the Savior of the world, show up on the scene.  When He does so, He demonstrates His identity through authoritative teaching and powerful miracles of great compassion.  The historical theater in which Jesus performed these miracles was the region of Galilee.  Jesus walked onto this stage and offered eternal life, but instead of running to Him and receiving this message, it seems the people of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida (some of the cities Jesus visited) simply “tweeted out to their friends” that a new “show” was in town.  Instead of personally responding, they simply remained indifferent.

Sadly, today billions of people, when presented with the life giving Person of Jesus Christ, still sit idly by and watch, instead of running to Him and receiving Him as Savior and Lord. 

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be continuing our series on Matthew 11-12 called “First Responders” by looking at the response of the region of Galilee and Jesus offer of rest in Matthew 11:20-30.  We will also be celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.  Hope you can join us at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00!

First Responders (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 of the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #1 04.15.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders part 1 – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:1-19
  3. Think about who John the Baptist was . . . what he had seen . . . and what his CURRENT context was (context in Matthew 11 – see also Matt 14:1-12).  Knowing these things, why do you think he was concerned that Jesus might not be “the One?”
  4. Have you ever had an experience where you (or someone close to you) had their convictions shaken by difficult circumstances?
  5. Jesus grounds His response to John’s disciples in concrete reality:  what they could see.  By observing the person of Christ, their faith would be encouraged.  In the message we talked about 3 ways to refocus our convictions:  by looking back to the person of Jesus Christ, by looking around at the testimony of others, and by looking into God’s Word more deeply.  In what ways has YOUR faith been encouraged by these things?  What do you need to focus on more today to keep the faith in the midst of challenging circumstances?
  6. Jesus stands up for John, even as John asked a hard question.  How does this encourage you to seek answers to the hard questions in your life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders – Series Preview

April 19, 1995.  I don’t think I will ever forget that day.  I was getting ready for class at the University of Oklahoma and listening to the radio.  The DJ said there has been some kind of an earthquake that had hit downtown Oklahoma City — his studio had been shook.  In reality it was not an earthquake, it was a bomb that had been detonated at the Federal Building.  Our city had been shaken and stirred to action.

Immediately First Responders arrived at the bombing site.  Police and Fire and EMT ran toward the scene.  In their response, many of us (me included) found inspiration as I found myself at a local charity that night volunteering to help pack supplies for those in need.

As Oklahomans, we have often looked to the courage and response of the first responders to the scenes of different events:  F5 tornados, floods, and wildfires.

I was thinking about this today as I prepare for a new series we are kicking off at Wildwood on Sunday.  In the Bible, when Jesus arrived, there were a number of people who ran to the scene.  In that first group of responders to Jesus, however, we see something interesting.  Instead of being inspired by all their faith, we find that many rejected Jesus instead. 

In Matthew 11-12, there are a number of “first responders” to Jesus message who struggled to understand who He was or what He was coming to do.  This included such varied groups as John the Baptist and his followers, the Pharisees, and even Jesus’ own earthly family.  By looking at the response of these first people, we can see more of how we might respond to Him as well. 

Join us this Sunday, April 15 at Wildwood Community Church for our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we begin our series: “First Responders” asking the question, “when Jesus calls . . . will we answer?”  See you Sunday!