New Power (part 2) Sermon Preview

I want to be honest with you for a moment.  I have written and rewritten a preview for this Sunday’s message 5 times already today. That is not an exaggeration.  But each time I delete it and start over.  This is not because I find this passage hard to understand.  The passage is actually straight forward and self evident.

I have struggled to write the preview today, because there is so much I want to say about these three verses, that it is hard to boil it down to one illustration!

So, rather than me giving you my words today, I want to just give you the words of Galatians 5:13-15 … the three verses I will be preaching from on Sunday.  Read them.  Read them again.  Read them again.  Memorize them.  Meditate on them.  Ask the Spirit to bring them into a reality in your life and in mine … then come Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 and let’s talk about them together at Wildwood Community Church.  Or if you are not able to join us in person, join us online at 9:45 (or anytime after) at .  Read these verses printed below, and I’ll see you Sunday, August 15!

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” – Galatians 5:13-15

New Power (part 1) Sermon Audio, Video, and Questions

On Sunday, August 8, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 5:1-12.  This message was part 1 of the “New Power” sermon series. Below you will find questions related to this 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 Galatians 5:1-12
  3. What are some “new” products you have interacted with that were TRULY “new”?  Can you think of anything “new” that really is just a slightly different VERSION of something old?
  4. In what way is the Gospel of Jesus Christ bringing in something really NEW (based on your understanding of Scripture, as well as our study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians?)
  5. What are some of the “one more things” that people want to add onto the Gospel in our culture today?  Paul is clear that salvation is through faith in Jesus alone … what are some things people want to say salvation is through faith in Jesus alone PLUS ________?
  6. Which path have you chosen?  The Jesus only path, or the Jesus PLUS path?
  7. The Holy Spirit  has come into the lives of ALL believers!  Take a moment and PRAISE GOD for this provision!
  8. For those who have placed their faith in Christ, they are WAITING for something amazing.  In your understanding, what do Christians have to look forward to in the future?
  9. While we are waiting, we are to work out our faith in love for one another.  Where does your love need a “workout” today?
  10. 10.What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.


To listen offline, click the link:

The New Power #1 8.8.21


To listen online, use the media player:


To watch the service, use YouTube stream online:


The New Power (week 1) Sermon Preview

Every fall, a new Apple falls off the tree.  By Apple, I don’t mean Honey Crisp or Red Delicious … I mean iPhone.  Each year a “new” iPhone is released.  I intentionally put “new” in quotes because (for the most part) the “new” phone is the same as the “old” phone.  The capabilities are roughly the same.  Both can make calls.  Both can send text messages.  Both can take pictures and video.  Both can run a variety of apps.  They are MOSTLY the same.  Instead of thinking of these phones as NEW, it really would be better to think of them as iterations or versions of the old.  An iPhone 1.12, instead of an iPhone 12 (if you will).  Sure, the cameras are better, the processors faster, and the networks more advanced … but they basically still do the same stuff.  Even their appearance is hard to differentiate at first glance.

I say this today because inside our Bibles there is a change that is called “New.”  The “NEW TESTAMENT” or “NEW COVENANT” describe a change in operating system governing the relationship between God and man.  The “NEW TESTAMENT” or “NEW COVENANT” (of course) replaced the “OLD TESTAMENT” or “OLD COVENANT.”  Given our experience with our phones, though, we must ask … in what way is this “NEW COVENANT” really NEW?  Is it really bringing new capabilities and a new operating system, or is it just an iteration on the old?  Is it OT Law 1.2 or is it an overhaul.

Throughout Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he has argued emphatically that Christianity is not just OT Law 1.2.  It is something NEW.  Jesus normalized a New Covenant for how people connect to God … and that New Covenant gave a New Way for living life through Jesus.  Throughout 2021 at Wildwood, we have been walking through this epic letter and highlighting these truths.  If you want to review, feel free to go back and see our “New Normal” and “New Way” sermon series, found on my blog and on our podcast from January/February and May/June respectively.  In Galatians 5, however, the Apostle Paul goes a step further to identify WHY the New Covenant is so NEW.  What makes the current era in which we live so special?

Well, the short answer is because of the presence of a New Power that is available for all who are in Christ.  By “New” I don’t mean that this Power just came on the scene – as the Power described has actually ALWAYS existed.  By “New” I mean it is “Newly” installed permanently in our very souls.  Not only has the operating system been updated, but the battery has been revolutionized as well!  

This power source I am referring to is the Holy Spirit … the third member of the Trinity … that God has implanted inside those who trust in Christ.  And this NEW development changes everything.

This Sunday, we will kick off our study of Galatians 5 in part 1 of a 5 week series entitled “The New Power.”  This week, we will be looking at Galatians 5:1-12.  Hope you make plans to join us at Wildwood in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services (or online at 9:45 in our livestream) as we launch into this study together.  See you there, and bring friends!  This is an upgrade all of us need.

New Way (part 7) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 20, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Galatians 4:21-31.  This sermon was part 7 in the “New Way” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video from the service to listen to/watch, download or share.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:21-31
  3. Can you think of an example when remembering who you were, and acting consistent with that true identity, pushed toward a new way of living/acting?
  4. We summarized 4 attitudes toward the Law:  (Law obeying/law relying, Law disobeying/law relying, Law disobeying/Law not relying, Law obeying/Law not relying.)  What do you see as the differences of these perspectives?  Which do you WANT to describe you?
  5. What kind of opposition have you experienced in life because you have followed the “Jesus Way”?  Look at Galatians 1:10 and Romans 8:17.  How do these verses help you respond when you experience opposition as you follow Christ?
  6. Why do you think Paul was so agressive his admonition for the Galatians to distance themselves from the Judeaizers?
  7. Are you believing the Gospel message for your salvation?  Are you believing that Jesus (through the work of the Spirit inside you) can empower you for Christian living?  What difference do these beliefs make in your life?
  8. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

The New Way #7 6.20.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch, use YouTube stream online:

New Way (part 7) Sermon Preview

About 20 years ago now a friend of mine challenged me to write a short devotional and include it in a weekly newsletter I was sending to our college ministry (anybody out there ever get the “In FOCUS” weekly newsletter?).  I took that challenge and for years wrote weekly essays where I took something from “our world” and used it as an analogy to explain some spiritual truth from the Bible.  Like a weight lifter gaining strength with “reps,” the discipline of writing down these “parables” each week grew my ability to see connections and patterns in the finite world around us that echo eternal thoughts.  Some of these illustrations connected with people, others of them have been a bit goofy … but this practice has actually been edifying to me, and hopefully to others as well.

The parables of Jesus are the BEST illustration of this teaching technique (since Jesus is the MASTER teacher, and since He never “misses” with a message).  Jesus would take something from the world of His audience (sheep, sons, coins, etc.) and tell a story about it to illustrate a deeper point.  Illustrations take something that we know and use it to teach us something that we need to know.  

Not only did Jesus do this, but so did the Apostle Paul.  In Galatians 3-4, over the past several weeks, we have seen Paul use the illustrations of a prison warden, a pedagogue, and a trustee to help us understand the purpose of the Old Testament Law.  In Galatians 4:21-31 (the verses we will look at this week), we will see Paul use an even more in depth illustration to help us understand the Christian life, what we can expect in it, and one surprising thing we should do as a result.  The illustration Paul uses is of the Old Testament couple Abraham and Sarah, and their servant Hagar, and two kids born in their household (Isaac and Ishmael).  

Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we should not be surprised that Paul’s illustration is profound and drives home an essential truth for us to consider.  To help us best understand this account, you may want to read Genesis 12:1-21:21 to refresh your understanding of this famous historical account.  Sunday we will see what Paul wants us to know from this story that connects to our lives today.  

Join us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church as we wrap up the “New Way” sermon series by looking at Galatians 4:21-31 in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 worship services.  Hope you can make it … and bring friends!


NOTE:  If you can’t make it, know that our livestream always goes live at 10:15 each Sunday morning at

New Way (part 6) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 13, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 4:8-20.  This message was part 6 in the “New Way” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for group discussion or personal reflection.  You will also find the audio/video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:8-20
  3. Before listening to today’s message, how would you have defined the “win” of the Christian life?  What are we supposed to be about?
  4. The Judeaizers had succeeded in making the Galatians think that their spiritual maturity came as a result of their devotion to calendars, ceremonies, and rituals.  Paul was so sad about this!  Jesus died and rose again NOT JUST so that the Galatians might attend new meetings, but so that they would really KNOW GOD and have a relationship with Him.  How are you tempted to think that your Christian life is just about attending meetings or keeping rituals?
  5. The real “win” for the Christian is to see Christ formed in themselves!  That their lives are ever moving in the direction of Christ-likeness so that when others look at us, they see Jesus.  Who are some people who have helped you get to know Jesus better?  What were some of the characteristics of their lives that contributed to this?
  6. Be honest … what do people see when they look at your life?  What are some ways that you would like to see Christ more formed in you in the year ahead? 
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

To listen offline, click the link below:

The New Way #6 6.13.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the sermon video, use YouTube online:


New Way (part 6) Sermon Preview

I grew up playing sports.  In every sport, there was a way to know if you had “won.”  If you outscore the opposing team in football, basketball, or baseball – you win.  If you underscore your opponent in golf – you win.  If you hit the tape first in a race – you win.  This kind of simple and straightforward metric always resonated with me.  Even to this day … if we are playing a game against one another – I want to know the rules, because I want to win.

In real life, it is a bit harder to know how to win.  As a Pastor, I have yet to run through the “tape” in the conclusion of a message.  There has not been a score given at the end of a counseling appointment.  I have never ended a wedding ceremony with an “eagle putt” during the pronouncement.  Wins and losses are a bit more nuanced in my current life.

Yet we all count stuff, don’t we?  Pastors are no different.  As I preach, do people look like they are “getting it,” did anyone say “amen,” what about that guy who fell asleep before I ever got to point two?  As we gather, we wonder how many are here today?  Is it more than last week?  How does it compare to last year?  I think subconsciously we all look to stuff like this trying to see if we are “winning” or “losing.”  Couple this reality with a propensity for self-doubt, and I generally feel like I have more “L’s” than “W’s.”  (I am not alone in this … I heard a stat recently that nearly a third of pastors in America seriously considered quitting at some point in the past year.  Though I am not one of those, I understand some of the dynamics that are at play.)

Yet, as I am midway through my third decade in Pastoral ministry, I need to ask myself … am I looking at the right scoreboard?

I want you all to know something.  I did not go into ministry so that people would “like” my instagram posts.  I did not go into ministry to speak to a packed room of smiling faces and have my ego stroked.  Truly … I went into ministry because I believed it is what God had for my life, and I wanted to be faithful to Him.  That calling was to see lives changed with the good news of Jesus Christ … to be a blessing to others.  Yet as life rolls on, and the church calendar moves from year to year, it is easy to lose sight of what I am truly called to do, and focus on the wrong scoreboard.

Even as I type this, I think these may be some of the most personal comments I have shared on my blog or Facebook.  And (to some degree) that is appropriate given the passage of Scripture we are going to be looking at on Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in part 6 of our “New Way” sermon series.  This week we are looking at Galatians 4:8-20, in what I think are the most personal comments Paul shares to his friends in Galatia.  In these verses, we do not see Paul the theologian, we see Paul the pastor … Paul the person.  He reaches out to the Galatians and reminds them (and him) what the “win” is for anyone in ministry.  

Want to know what the win is?  Paul defines it in Galatians 4:19 – 

“… Christ formed in you …”

Paul’s opponents wanted the Galatians to love them (instead of Paul).  The Judeaizers wanted the Galatians to attend their meetings and go to their festivals, so that their “numbers” would look good … but they really did not care about the Galatians themselves.  Paul (on the other had) was in ministry because of what he hoped would happen IN SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE, not HIS OWN LIFE.

The “win” of true Christian ministry is not how many show up on Sunday … but how many lives are transformed on Monday-Sunday.  And Pastors are called to labor like a mother in childbirth until that happens among the people for whom God allows us to serve.  

That is the mission of my life.  That is the hope of our church:  YOUR TRANSFORMATION INTO CHRISTLIKENESS.  We are praying Sunday is catalytic to that end (and to the glory of God).  We will gather at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 NOT as a form of dead religion and ceremonial formalism … not because we are slaves to a religious schedule … but because we are sons of God, being transformed into His image!  The corporate assembly on Sunday is a springboard to Monday and beyond.  Can’t wait to worship with you all and look at this amazing passage of Scripture together.

I am laboring over this text this week that Christ may be formed in you (and me) on Sunday and beyond.  Hope to see you there … and bring friends!

New Way (part 5) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 6, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 4:1-7.  This message was part 5 in the “New Way” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:1-7
  3. What are some areas in your life where you long to “mature”?  In what ways is the phrase “mature” better than just getting “older”?
  4. The ABC’s of religion are the “you need to’s”… most all religions have their own version of these kinds of commands.  In what way do these commands make you a “slave”?  How does God intend His Law to impact you?
  5. Jesus redeems us to His new way, making it possible for us to be adopted as a son of God and given His Holy Spirit.  How does this change in identity and provision of His Holy Spirit make a difference in your life today?
  6. Do you think of yourself more as a “sinner/slave” or as a “son/heir”?  How does understanding who you are in Christ change the way you think of your “ceiling” in life?
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf form, click here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

The New Way #5 6.6.21


To listen online, use the media player:


To watch service stream, use YouTube online:


New Way (part 5) Sermon Preview

I have attended six schools in my life:  Hoover Elementary, Madison Middle School, Bartlesville Mid-High, Bartlesville High School, the University of Oklahoma, and Dallas Theological Seminary.  Each school played a vital part of my development.  I learned basic math and how to read at Hoover, Algebra and American Civics at Madison, Geometry and how to write an essay at Mid-High, History and Physics at High School, philosophy and journalism at OU, and Bible and theology at DTS.  In a sense, each level of school added upon the other to prepare me for my roles in “life” … at least academically.  

There was an appropriateness to this progression of schools.  I needed to know my ABC’s before I could write a dissertation.  I needed to know 2+2 = 4 before I could apply them in AP Physics.  As I write this today, I understand and appreciate the cumulative effect of the program designed for me by educators in 6 different settings.

However, let’s just imagine for a moment, that I wanted to add a seventh school to my learning tree.  Let’s say I wanted to continue learning and pursue another program.  It would be silly for me to select Monroe Elementary School in Norman as my next place of study.  Not only would my body not fit in the desks at the school … but the principals of that school would see my presence there as totally inappropriate.  Third grade makes sense for third graders … but not for 47 year old men.  Other post-graduate or graduate programs would be the better fit for my current life stage.

I say this today, because on Sunday we will be looking at Galatians 4:1-7 at Wildwood Community Church, in our fifth installment of the “New Way” sermon series.  In these verses we will see Paul argue that a Christian wanting to return to life under the Old Testament Law makes about as much sense as a grown-up returning to third grade.  It does not fit us anymore!  The Law served its purpose in the proper progression, but now that Christ has come, we move forward in faith, not backward in time.

In making this argument, Paul points out that the ABC’s of the world and its religions (the elementary principles of the world as Paul calls them) only make us slaves to a set of rules … but in Christ, we graduate to the status of sons … empowered and authenticated by God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.  Given this massive upgrade why would we ever drift back to elementary school when we can experience so much more.

Join us this Sunday (June 6) as we look at these verses together and see what they mean for our lives today.  See you at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 or online at 10:15 (or anytime after) at

The New Way (part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, May 30, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 3:25-29.  This message was part 4 of the “New Way” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for group discussion or personal reflection.  Also you will find the sermon audio/video to listen to/watch, download or share.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 3:25-29
  3. What blessings or challenges have been a part of your life because of who your Mom and Dad were?
  4. No matter our experience with our earthly parents, we have the opportunity to be a SON OF GOD … and heir according to HIS PROMISE.  According to this passage, how does one become a Son of God, and an heir of His riches?
  5. In what way does Christian water baptism picture “putting on” Christ?
  6. Have you been baptized since trusting in Christ as your Savior?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  If you have not been baptized since trusting in Christ would you consider baptism at Wildwood on August 1?  Baptism classes are June 27, and you can let us know your interest in baptism at
  7. How do we try to divide people up into subgroups?  Paul references ethnicity, social status, and gender.  In what ways are these still areas that seek to divide us today?
  8. What are ways Jesus is glorified through the diversity of His followers today?  What are the ways in which all Christians are all blessed by Jesus?
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

The New Way #4 5.30.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the service, use YouTube online: