Relating to Leadership (Sermon Audio)

On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 20:20-28.  This was the 8th and final part of the “Relating to ____” sermon series and focused on “Relating to Leadership.”  Below you will find the audio from the sermon to listen to or share.

 

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

Relating to Leadership 2019.02.24

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the livestream, see the Facebook feed:

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Relating to Leadership (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, February 24, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 20:20-28.  This message was part 8 in the “Relating to ______” series and focused on “Relating to Leadership.”  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 20:20-28
  3. How does the world’s definition of leadership differ from Jesus’ definition/example of leadership?
  4. In what way have you ever experienced “sharing in the suffering” of Christ? 
  5. In what ways have you seen Christian leaders serve others?
  6. What are some ways you can serve those around you this week?
  7. Why did Jesus have to die?  What did His death accomplish for you?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Relating to Leadership (Sermon Preview)

Who are the best leaders you have ever been around?  What made them great?

When I think about these questions, my mind floats to several people who I have the privilege of working with now.  I really mean that.  Wildwood is blessed with a truly remarkable set of leaders at the staff, elder, and lay leadership levels. What makes these leaders great?  Many things:

  • They certainly are talented at some core skill (teaching, administration, ability to deliver wise counsel, cast vision, etc), but skill alone does not a leader make.  After all, there are plenty of “all star talents” that no one else wants to play alongside. 
  • They also have a very high level of personal integrity (their public and private lives match up), but integrity alone does not make one a leader.  Without integrity, lasting leadership is impossible, but personal integrity alone does not mobilize the masses. 
  • They also all have a high emotional IQ (an ability to read a room and grasp what others may be going through), but a high EQ does not make one a leader either.  High emotional intelligence can just as easily lead to manipulation as it does true leadership. 

So what really makes a leader someone we want to follow? 

I think (in part) great leadership flows from how the leader thinks about leadership.  A leader who thinks that their position exists to give themselves more stuff or status, is not worth following.  That kind of leader will utilize all their talent and relational skill to advance their own selfish interests.  Great leaders, however, see their leadership as a vehicle to bless others by serving and sacrificing for their good. 

This idea of leadership is not unique to Wildwood.  It is actually found many places, including many churches . . . which makes sense . . . because the ultimate model for GREAT LEADERSHIP comes from the One who made every place and is the Head of the Church:  Jesus Christ.

As Charles Spurgeon says of Jesus, “His was a life of giving, and the giving of a life.”  In Jesus’ own words, He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” 

This Sunday at Wildwood we will conclude our “Relating to _____” series by seeing Jesus’ instruction to His followers about how they should relate to being a leader.  The message will be anchored in Matthew 20:20-28.  We hope you will make plans to join us this Sunday as we see the model for leadership in God’s economy (Jesus), what He has done for us, and what He is calling leaders in His church to do for others.  Hope to see you Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:45 or 11:00 services.

Related to Blessing (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 20:1-16.  This message was part 7 in the “Relating to____” series and focused on “Relating to Blessing.”  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 20:1-16
  3. “God pays on the scale of grace, not the rate of merit.”  To the best of your understanding . . . what does this mean? 
  4. Think of your own life . . . in what ways has the Lord pursued you?  (i.e. through the witness of friends or family, life circumstances, Scripture, etc.)
  5. What “hour of the day” do you think you are in right now (stage of life)?  If you have already trusted in Jesus, how has that decision been a blessing to you over the years?  If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, you can do so now!  It is not too late!
  6. In the message, I made this statement, “Jealous hearts (toward others we think God has blessed more than us) do not understand salvation or the God who gives it.”  What do you think I meant by that statement?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Relating to Blessing (Sermon Preview)

Most everyone reading this post knows what it means to have a job.  In a job, you work a defined task and are paid for your efforts.  Often this payment is attached to an hourly wage (my first job working the Hawaiian Shave Ice Hut paid $3.50 per hour), or to the accomplishment of a project, regardless the length of time ($20 to mow the lawn . . . or 5% commission on the sale).  This system fuels our economy and funds our lives. 

Given this system, we have come to understand the correlation between our work and our reward . . . and this system dictates a lot of how we think.  In a noble sense, we want to “earn our own way” . . . seeing a wage earned as better than a gift given, as it teaches us responsibility and hard work.

This mentality that we learned in the workforce is often imported into our spiritual lives.  We think of our religious involvement and good works as our “work” and the “wage” is eternal life.  If we do enough good things and attend enough church activities, then God must give us eternity.  This was the mentality of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-30) that we looked at last Sunday at Wildwood in our sermon.  Jesus challenges the thinking of the man by demonstrating that his wage is actually death, not life, because he had not perfectly kept the letter AND SPIRIT of the entire Law.  The disciples (who no doubt thought the rich young ruler was AT least their moral equal if not superior) said, “If that dude can’t be saved . . . WHO CAN?”  Jesus responded by letting them know that eternal life is not something we can earn.  Our only hope is for God to do FOR US what we are INCAPABLE of doing on our own.  In short . . . the wage we deserve is death . . . but by God’s grace, the gift He gives is eternal life (Romans 6:23).

After making that point, Peter wants to talk about the wage he thinks he is due because he has followed Jesus.  Jesus affirms to Peter that the blessing indeed is his . . . BUT that he may one day be surprised to find out that the same blessing Peter has will be extended to BILLIONS MORE.  To drive that point home, Jesus tells a story in Matthew 20:1-16 about the gracious blessing He gives to His people.  This Sunday at Wildwood we are going to look at that story in part 7 of our “Relating to _____” series as we look at “Relating to Blessing.” 

Make plans to join us, and bring friends . . . this is a message for all of us . . . in our 9:45 and 11:00 services.  We will also spend time lifting up the name of Jesus in song, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.  See you Sunday, February 17 at Wildwood Community Church!

Relating to Eternal Life (Sermon Audio)

On Sunday, February 10, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 19:16-30.  This message was part 6 of the “Relating to _____” sermon series and focused on “Relating to Eternal Life.”  Below you will find the audio from the sermon to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Relating to: Eternal Life 2.10.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the livestream, view via Facebook Live:

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Relating to Eternal Life (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, February 10, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 19:16-30.  This message was part 6 of the “Relating to _____” sermon series and focused on “Relating to Eternal Life.”  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 19:16-30
  3. If someone came up to you today and asked you, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” how would you answer them?
  4. How does your answer from question 3 above compare to Jesus dialogue with the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-26?
  5. What (in your life) are you tempted to place before Jesus as the ultimate authority in your life?  What does this passage indicate to you about that?
  6. God is able to do what is impossible for man.  If this was not so, then salvation of any person would be impossible, because it is not possible for mankind to be perfected on our own.  Is that a new idea for you?  Why is this idea (that Jesus promotes) so hard for us to embrace?
  7. How does the idea of future rewards encourage you to follow Jesus now (even if life is hard)?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Relating to Eternal Life (Sermon Preview)

From the beginning of time, people have been searching for paradise.  When we look at the Scriptures, we understand why — people once lived there.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in a paradise created for them by God.  However, they sinned, and were kicked out of paradise . . . yet the echo of this environment still sounds inside our souls.

The pursuit of paradise has taken many forms:

  • Religious leaders arrange morals and standards to point the path to paradise.
  • Explorers sailed to distant worlds in pursuit of the city of gold.
  • Authors and film makers write stories about looking for the fountain of youth.
  • Scientists and doctors seek discoveries to allow us to live longer, look younger, and experience life better than we have it now.

Across multiple disciplines, humanity seems on a quest to El Dorado. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just stop and ask the Creator of the world how we can get back to the paradise lost?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone DID ask the Creator of the world the path to eternal life, and the Creator’s response was recorded for us to read?

Well, we are in luck.  Someone did ask Jesus the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

. . . AND . . .

Jesus did answer him!

. . . AND . . .

That response was recorded for us in the New Testament so we can read it today.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at Matthew 19:16-30 together at how Jesus answers the question about how we can relate to eternal life.  Hope to see you Sunday as we look at this great passage of Scripture together.

Relating to Your Spouse (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, February 3, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 19:1-12.  This message was the fifth part in the “Relating to ______” series and focused on relating to your spouse.  Below are a set of questions connected to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 19:1-12
  3. If you are married (or have watched closely the marriages of others) what kinds of challenges have you observed about married life?
  4. The Pharisees want to talk to Jesus about divorce, but mostly Jesus talks to them about marriage.  What does this tell you about Jesus’ perspective on marriage and divorce?
  5. Jesus talks of husbands and wives being “one.”  What do you think He means by this, and what are the implications of this idea?
  6. What are some of the reasons people state for getting divorced today?  How does that connect with what Jesus says in Matthew 19 (and what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7)?
  7. If you are single (either never married or divorced/widowed and not yet remarried) how do  Jesus’ words in 19:10-12 personally effect you?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Relating to Your Spouse (Sermon Preview)

Over the past 22 years, I have been blessed with opportunity to serve as a Pastor, the past 18 of those years at Wildwood Community Church.  Over that span, I have had the great privilege of officiating over 125 weddings.  What a blessing to be with couples as they begin their married life together! 

One thing I always do with couples before they marry, is I give them a Word document with their wedding vows written out for them to review before they recite them.  Why do I do that?  Because I do not want wedding vows to be like the “terms and conditions” on the last contract they signed for their iTunes account (terms no one really reads, but all simply and blindly “click yes”).  Before you marry you should REALLY KNOW what you are committing to.  Wedding vows, in a systematic and step-by-step fashion commit to your spouse without exception: in sickness and in health . . . in good times and in bad . . . in riches and poverty . . . forgiving you as Christ has forgiven me, etc.  That level of commitment requires serious reflection.

In Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus talks with His disciples about the commitment of marriage.  When he finished, the disciples said, “If that’s the way it is, maybe we should remain single!” 

WOW.  That is intense. 

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will look at what Jesus said about “Relating to Your Spouse” from these 12 verses.  While not a comprehensive discussion of marriage, Jesus shares a perspective here that we all need to consider both before (and after) we have clicked “yes.”

See you Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in the fifth installment of our “Relating to _____” series.