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!

Follow (part 7) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:26-42.  This message was part 7 of the “Follow” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

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

Follow (part 7)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Follow (part 7) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:26-42.  This message was part 7 in the “Follow” series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 10:26-42
  3. What are some examples you can think of where being a Christian is not a popular thing to be?
  4. Have you ever spoken out as a Christian and experienced rejection or persecution as a result?  If so, how did you react?  Were you tempted to back down and be quiet about your faith?
  5. According to Jesus in Matthew 10:26-33, there are several reasons why we should continue to proclaim Jesus regardless of the opposition we face.  What are these reasons and how are you encouraged by what Jesus says here?
  6. What are some areas where you need to “pick up your cross and follow Jesus”?
  7. Think of someone you know who does not know Jesus as their Savior.  What are some of the blessings this person is missing because they do not know Christ?  How does remembering this help encourage you to reach out and share Christ with them?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (Part 7) Sermon Preview

Are you familiar with the term “bandwagon fans”?  Bandwagon fans are people who become supporters of a team when that team is doing well, but show no interest the rest of the time.  Back in 2000, when the University of Oklahoma won its last national championship, suddenly the Sooner Schooner was crowded with people who claimed to be HUGE OU fans, but knew nothing about the team in the 90’s.  These are fans who bought season tickets after the 2002 Rose Bowl victory, but sold them after our quarterback separated his shoulder in 2009.  We might think of “Bandwagon Fans” as opportunists, people who want to share in the excitement but skip out at the first sign of loss.

Interestingly enough, Jesus talks about bandwagon fans in His sermon preached at the ordination of the 12 disciples before their first mission trip.  Jesus gathered His followers and told them that they were going to experience a few “losses” as they followed Him.  Because they follow Jesus, they may be rejected by their family, arrested by their government, or disciplined by their “church.”  Because of those losses, His followers might have been tempted to hop off the schooner at the next turn, and find the next exciting opportunity to leach onto.

As Jesus continues to preach, though, He clarifies to His disciples why they should still Proclaim Him in the light, and not cower in the dark; why they should Prioritize Him in their life above all else, and wait for His greater reward. 

How about you?  Are you a true follower of Jesus, or simply a “Bandwagon Fan”?  Will you follow Christ even in hard times, or only when it is easy or exciting?  As Charles Spurgeon said:

“Lord, let me never blush to own Thee in all companies!  Work in me a bold spirit by Thy Holy Spirit.  Let me confess Thy truth whatever the spirit of the age may be, uphold Thy church when she is most despised, obey Thy precepts when they cost most dear, and glory in Thy name when it is most reproached.”

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be wrapping up our “Follow” series by looking at Matthew 10:26-42 and seeing how we can have no fear and put Jesus in a position without rival in our lives.  Join us for worship this week as we praise the Lord through song, celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, unite our hearts in prayer, and look deeply into God’s Word to see what He has for us.  Join us this Sunday!

Follow (part 6) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 17, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:5-25.  This message was part 6 in the “Follow” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 10:5-25
  3. What are some examples of persecution of Christians that you are aware of in the world today?
  4. Have you ever reached out to someone in the name of Christ, and had them reject you in a way that still leaves you “dusty”?
  5. Christians are to be as “wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”  What do you think this means for your life today?
  6. Have you ever experienced any opposition from others as you lived out your Christian life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (part 6) Sermon Preview

150 years after His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ was still building His Church.  Jesus had not retired to heaven, He had ascended – and as He did, He sent His disciples into all the world to make more followers of Him.  This Gospel expansion had taken the Truth to modern day Tunisia, and had seen a young woman named Perpetua place her faith and trust in Jesus by the end of the second century.  This conversion brought eternal security to Perpetua, but it also brought temporal trouble.  The Romans began a new round of persecution in her city and she was arrested for her failure to worship Caesar.  Perpetua’s father (a non-Christian) begged her to renounce her faith in Jesus and save her life.  Perpetua refused to do so, telling her father that just as a vase cannot be anything other than what it is, she could not deny Jesus because a Christ follower was who she was.  Ultimately, Perpetua (still nursing a young child at the time) handed her father her child and was thrown into the arena to be attacked by animals and killed by gladiators.  Though her earthly life was rough, her testimony still echoes in eternity, where Perpetua now lives eternal at the side of her Savior.

Fast forward 1200 more years to the early 1400’s.  The city of Prague was being greatly blessed by a priest by the name of John Huss.  Huss taught the Scriptures faithfully and passionately to his people – pointing them to salvation in Christ alone.  Sadly, Huss’s message was at odds with the leadership of the Catholic Church at the time – particularly the Pope.  Huss cried out against the expoitative practices of the selling of indulgences to fund personal pet projects.  Like John Wycliffe before him, Huss became a voice crying out against the twisted doctrine of the church about 100 years before the Protestant Reformation would take full bloom.  Ultimately Huss was arrested and brought to trial for preaching “heresy.”  The church leaders who were presiding over the trial of Huss mocked him, stripped him of his clothing and dignity, and sent him to be burned at the stake . . . using copies of Wycliffe’s writings as kindling for the fire.  Though they lashed out against him, Huss simply prayed “Lord Jesus, it is for Thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray Thee to have mercy on my enemies.”  As Huss (whose name meant “goose” in Bohemian) went to the stake, he said, “You may cook this goose, but a century from now, you will have a swan that you can neither roast nor boil.”  100 years later, Martin Luther (known as the swan) would read Huss’s writings, and find in them the kindling for a Gospel Reformation movement that Jesus has used to change the world and continue to build His church.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus commissioned His disciples to share the Gospel with others.  The “training run” for this mission was conducted inside the (relatively friendly) confines of Galilee in Matthew 10.  But as Jesus sent the disciples out, He knew that though their first trip would be easy, subsequent trips (most likely) would not be.  Jesus wanted to prepare His disciples for the rejection that awaited them down the road.  I believe not only was Jesus thinking of the rejection the 12 Apostles would experience (imprisonments, martyrdom, etc.) but also He was thinking of people like Perpetua and Huss who would die for their faith down the road.  Not wanting His followers to be surprised by the opposition they might face, Jesus preached a sermon to His disciples in Matthew 10:5-42 to prepare them for what lay ahead. 


This Sunday morning at Wildwood Community Church, we will be continuing our “Follow” sermon series by looking at the first half of this sermon (from Matthew 10:5-25).  Like Perpetua and Huss before us (and countless contemporaries who are persecuted because of their faith in Christ around the world today) we need to hear the words of Jesus who not only tells us of trouble that we may encounter, but also encouragement for how to deal with it.  Make plans to join us at Wildwood this Sunday morning in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship service.  We will even hear from some missionary partners who are serving in an environment where persecution is “normal” today.  Let’s make plans to Follow Jesus into worship, community, and mission this weekend!

Follow (Part 5) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:35-10:4.  This message was part 5 of the “Follow” sermon series.  Below is the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

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

Follow (Part 5)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Follow (part 5) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:35-10:4. This message was part 5 in the “Follow” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 9:35-10:4
  3. How do you see the compassion of Jesus demonstrated in today’s passage?  How do you see the compassion of Jesus demonstrated in the lives of those you know today?
  4. To what degree does the compassion Jesus has for the lost motivate and drive you to share about Jesus with others?
  5. Think of an area of the world that seems particularly “lost” to you.  Could be a place in your own city, in the nation, or a foreign country.  Take a few moments and pray that God would send laborers to that area to help connect people to Christ.
  6. Have you ever considered yourself a person who is “sent” by Jesus into a particular Harvest Field?  How would understanding this change the way you look at your life?
  7. Do you know anyone currently who is serving Jesus in a foreign field?  Take a moment to pray for those folks.
  8. Do you feel the Lord calling you to take the Gospel to a new “field”?  If so, where?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.