Sermon Questions – July 5, 2020

On Sunday morning, July 5, 2020, Student Pastor Abe Mahner’s message is “How Long, O Lord? Part 2” from Psalm 86. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Why is it important to remember God’s promises when we lament?
  2. What is difficult about holding on to God’s promises in times of pain and hardship?
  3. How are David’s laments different than how you express sadness to God?
  4. In what ways have you seen God be person, the creator, sovereign, and faithful?
  5. How can Psalm 86 help you lament this week?

Sermon Preview – July 5, 2020

Have you ever wondered if you should express to God how you are actually feeling? Have you ever been hurt, felt pain, or been confused by what is happening in your life? Last week we began a two-week mini-series on lament called “How Long O LORD?”. “What is lament?”, you may ask. Great question! Lament is the biblical practice of expressing our pain and hardship to God. Pastor Kevin Choate lead us into Psalm 13 and shared a practical blueprint for lamenting. It was a fantastic message and I would encourage you go listen to it if you have not yet.

This week, we are continuing our conversation on lament as we step into Psalm 86. David is praying to God, relying on who God has promised himself to be, and crying out to God trusting he will act. David does not run to resolve the pain himself. David doesn’t run to distract himself from the pain. David doesn’t turn away from God. David DOES run directly into the arms of our personal, sovereign, faithful, Creator God and asks Him to “incline” his ear. Have you ever had a prayer like that? We are going to dive into David’s prayer and use it to help us understand how we can honestly present our hurts to God, while still holding fast to His promises.

We hope that you all have a wonderful July 4th weekend and we look forward to seeing you all at 8 am, 9:30 am, or 11 am on Sunday whether that is in-person or online!

Abe Mahner

Student Pastor

Sermon Questions – June 28, 2020

On Sunday morning, June 28, 2019, College Pastor Kevin Choate’s message is “How Long, O Lord? Part 1” from Psalm 13. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Why is trusting in God so important to lament?
  2. What are some things in your life that need to be lamented?
  3. Have you been complaining to others or God more? Why?

Sermon Preview – June 28, 2020

This is something that can combine us all together. Since March of 2020, all of our lives have been changed drastically. We can look and see that there are things around us now that are completely different than what they were just a few short months ago (though it might feel like ages ago).

We have all experienced, seen, or shared in some level of pain or suffering. Whether it’s job loss, the loss of a loved one, or pain and strife on display on the news, one thing is certain – we can all relate to the idea of “pain”. In the past three months, we can probably look back on a certain moment, day, or conversation that revealed how deep those feelings were. Those feelings are real. They’re not only real, but the effects of that pain is real.

So what’s next? In the aftermath of pain and suffering, what can we do?

Lament is a word that is not used often in our western culture, especially in our “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” culture. Grinding it out, rubbing some dirt on it… these may be phrases of which we’re all too familiar. Could it be that God gave us a blueprint in how to deal with our pain and the pain of others?

Lament is how you live between hard experiences and God’s promises. Join us this Sunday to explore Psalm 13 and the biblical blueprint for how to deal with pain.

 

Kevin Choate

College Pastor

Are you feeling anxious? Sing!

[Note:  the following is taken from a devotional I wrote to Wildwood College Students in the wake of COVID-19.  I include it here as its principles apply to us all]

Are you anxious right now?  Feeling unsettled or uptight?  Don’t know for sure how to label it, but right now you are just “off”?  

Yeah . . . me too.

Why?  Well, our lives have just taken a disorienting turn.  In two weeks an invisible virus has gone from a punchline to a monster devouring lives, plans, and economies.  Gone is graduation, spring break trips, and March Madness.  Gone are jobs and “in person” classes and time in the dorms or sorority house.  

Let’s be honest . . . it stinks.  You may be frustrated, afraid, or mad.  You may be anxious, nervous, or bored.  Whatever it is you call it . . . it does not feel like “it is well” with us.

So what do we do?  When the virus is “after us,” the world against us, and our plans crashing down around us, where do we turn?

Well, I turn to the Psalms.  And in the Psalms I see real and honest emotion.  I see people (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) tell God that things stink.  I see people cry out about the enemies they see thriving around them.  I see people afraid and anxious and raw and real.  In the midst of it all, they are turning to God.  

And guess what?  God can take it.  God listens and loves . . . and encourages through a proper perspective and His presence.  We can go to God and be honest with Him about how we are really doing.

Many Psalms begin with honest confession, but end with praise and adoration.  It is as if the Psalmist approaches God with the particulars of their ever-changing case, but are comforted by the presence of their never-changing God.

In Psalm 30, the Psalmist  (in this case David – whose life had plenty of hardship), makes a remarkable statement.  He says – “Sing praises to the LORD, O you  His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5)”  David was able to worship God even in the darkness of struggle, because He knew that joy would come in the morning.  David praised God in hard times because he knew the sun would rise soon — that the goodness of God is always greater than our struggle . . . so we can praise Him no matter what struggles we are going through.

In this unsettling season of COVID-19, I encourage you to praise God even when you are anxious, afraid, or uneven.  So how do we do that?  Well, I have found it is helpful to do so with music.  I think David found that to be true as well . . . that is why he encourages us to “SING” praises.  In songs we take words that someone else has written, infuse them with the emotion that only music can bring, and as we proclaim them . . . something magical happens.  Our souls are lifted up.  I think the sweetest times of worship are actually when times are hard.  We are just a little more present, real, raw . . . and  in that state, the borrowed words of a song writer just mean a bit more.  We are reminded that even in the darkness, joy comes in the morning.

So, I encourage you to sing.  That’s right, sing.  Fill your apartment (or your parent’s basement, or wherever you are) with the songs of the Lord.  Be reminded of who He is and be encouraged by His presence and the perspective that a joyous morning is soon coming when the Son rises again.

Three specifics I might encourage you with to listen to today . . . go to YouTube and search for North Point Music.  This worship team out of Atlanta, Georgia is producing “house worship” sessions every couple of days.  They are phenomenal.  Listen and sing along.  Or make a Spotify or Apple Music playlist of songs that are encouraging you right now and share that list here so we can worship along together in this season.  Or third, join us for our livestream on Sundays at wildwoodchurch.org/live and SING (not just watch) with us from wherever you are.

We love you all, and can’t wait to sing with you again very soon.

In Christ,  Pastor Mark

Following Our Shepherd (Sermon Audio)

On Sunday, August 11, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 23 entitled “Following Our Shepherd.”  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download audio:

Following Our Shepherd 8.11.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video of the service, visit the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

 

 

Following our Shepherd (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, August 11, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 23 entitled “Following our Shepherd.”  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Psalm 23:1-6
  3. Who are some of the “shepherds” in your life?  In other words, who are you trusting, listening to, allowing to guide you?  If you followed them this year, where do you think they will take you?
  4. David reminds us that THE LORD HIMSELF is our “shepherd.”  In what ways is the LORD a superior “shepherd” to any of the other voices/leaders in your life?
  5. What are some of the ways that you have seen the Lord provide for your needs in the past? How does remembering what the Lord has done in your life, encourage you to trust Him more this year?
  6. What “valley of deep darkness” are you walking through right now?  How does knowing the Lord is WITH YOU, encourage you to not fear today?
  7. In this life, we are not removed from the vicinity of our “enemies” . . . yet the Lord can still bless us even in the shadow of these challenges.  Can you think of a time when you were blessed by God, even in the midst of trials?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

 

To access these messages in pdf format, click here.

Following our Shepherd

It is the second week of August, and for many of us, this is the start of a new year . . . a new school year, a new ministry year, a new season, etc.  Anytime you start something new, it is important to pause and consider our aim.  Where do we want to end up when this year is over?  Who will we follow to get there?

Jesus is called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) in the New Testament.  This Sunday at Wildwood, I want to ask you a question . . . is the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd also YOUR shepherd?  Is He the One you are following, listening to, and depending upon?  This is the most central question for each of us to answer.

In the Old Testament times, there was man named David who was King over Israel at a critical time.  But David’s life was not all royal parties and celebrations — he went through some very challenging stuff, walking through some very dark valleys.  Perhaps in the midst of one of these dark valleys he took up a pen and wrote a beautiful song that begins with the eternity altering words – “The LORD is MY shepherd.”  The rest of the lyric focuses on the blessing that comes when we follow the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd.

Psalm 23 has been a chart topping song for 3,000 years.  This Sunday at Wildwood, we will look at this song (Psalm 23) together in our time of worship at 9:45 and 11:00.  As we remember the table He has set before us, we will conclude with a time of communion together.  Make plans to join us this Sunday . . . and bring your friends!

This year, let’s follow Jesus together to the glory of God.  See you Sunday.

 

Core Truth: God is Always There! – Questions for Reflection, July 14, 2019

Sermon - Bible App

On Sunday, July 14, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “CORE Truth: God is Always There!” from Psalm 139. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

  1. Share if you have had a favorite comic strip over the years and tell why you enjoyed it so much.
  2. Bruce pointed out that life has numerous valleys, many of which are dark places with imposing shadows. Reflect on and share about a dark valley that you experienced and how God helped you through it.
  3. Linus’ line in the message’s highlighted Peanuts cartoon is: Sound Theology has a way of doing that (taking a load off of one’s mind). Why is that true?
  4. What is the difference between omnipresence and pantheism?
  5. Remember the repeating phrase from multiple passages: He will not fail you or forsake you ? Why do you think God repeats that statement so often? What are some ways that the author of Hebrews adds depth to it in Hebrews 13:5?
  6. The core truths that God knows me and He is always there when knit together underscore God’s providence in your life and mine. Yet, we can oftentimes feel abandoned by God. Why?
  7. It is exciting to ponder that no matter what happens in the future God has already been there. How best can we remind ourselves of that truth?
  8. Core Truth helps to invigorate and strengthen our worship. Spend some time worshipping God either through prayer or song.

Sermon Preview – July 14, 2019

Sermon - Bible App

If you are an NBA fan—and especially a OKC Thunder fan—the last few days have been highly disorienting.  “This is so disappointing”    “I never saw this coming”   “What do we do now?”   Those kind of reactions aren’t unlike reactions we often have when adversity and difficulty comes our way.

This is where Core Truth comes into play.  This Sunday we will continue our Core Truth series with the second installment. Last week we examined the Core Truth from Psalm 139 that God Knows Me! He knows all about me.  He meticulously designed me.  Sunday we will mine another Core Truth from Psalm 139:7-12; 17-18—God is Always There!

The Core Truth that God is Always There is a true major theme in Scripture. Life has many valleys and some of them are dark places with imposing shadows.  Come Sunday as probe deeply this wonderful core truth, along with looking closely at some profound reality that grows from it.  It will be encouraging!!

Please continue to pray for our 176 high schoolers and middle schoolers who are at camp until Sunday afternoon.  Pray that each of them grows deeply in their knowledge of Jesus.

See you Sunday!

Bruce