Questions for Reflection: November 10, 2019

On Sunday, November 10, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Providential Flip” from Esther 5-7. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Can you remember a time in your life when you or someone you loved experienced circumstances that felt much like random luck or mere chance? Share some about that time.

2. Bruce said, God, is the Lord of the random, that God’s providence is always on duty. Name some ways that are demonstrated in the story of Esther.

3. What influenced Esther to shift from hesitation to determination? What lessons might there be for you and me today?

4. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?  Elaborate.

5. Why is pride such a dangerous attitude to have? How have you witnessed pride creating havoc in someone’s life…or you own?

6. How does the concept of divine providence fall short of the notion of fatalism or determinism?  Explain how the theological concept of concurrence sheds light on this issue. Why can these principles be so hard for us to grasp?

7. God is always at work, always in control, always moving in circumstances and events.  Even when He seems absent, He’s present.  Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you trust Him even when things are difficult and confusing.

Sneak Peek: Sunday, November 10, 2019

Have you noticed?  The culture seems to be pushing things earlier and earlier. At the end of October, I saw major stores selling Christmas items at 50% off.  I also saw winter gear (coats, gloves, etc.) going for 50% off.  We used to always see that stuff discounted in December and January. (Tongue in cheek) there’s plenty enough change going on all around us without tampering with and re-writing all the sacred laws of sales.  Yikes!  Let me know if you see any Easter clothes on sale this month. 😉

Sunday we will continue our Providence series with a message entitled, “Providential Flip”. We will be tackling chapters 5-7 of Esther so please read through those chapters before Sunday. Keep an alert eye out for all the providential evidence of God’s hand.

Please be sure to get involved with the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe as we seek to touch the lives of 600 kids. 600! Visit wildwoodchurch.org/missionnorman for more info AND check out the latest Wildwood podcast (wildwoodchurch.org/thisiswildwood) to hear some great testimony about how God works through the Christmas Shoppe.

A note for future reference…mark your calendar to assist with decorating the church at noon on Sunday, November 24 (free pizza and drinks provided).  Janet and I will be in Sacramento, CA at a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember, so help make up for our absence.  The more hands, the merrier!  If you can lend a hand (it’s a big job) RSVP to rebekahkey@wildwoodchurch.org

Stay warm and stay dry and, Lord willing, we’ll see you on Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection: November 3, 2019

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Down and Dirty” from Esther 3:1-4:17. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Think of a time in your life when you faced very difficult circumstances, circumstances that maybe disoriented and overwhelmed you as you faced them.  If you are comfortable, share some about that time.

2. In life when we face times where we can feel God seems invisible and disconnected from us, what biblical truths help to counter those feelings?

3. Do you think Mordecai should have just bowed to Haman?  Why or why not?

4. List some specific ways that Haman personified Proverbs 6:16-19

5. What aspect of God’s providence stood out the most to you in chapters 3 and 4?

6. Bruce stated that God works through people.  Therefore, the job we have, the resources we’ve been given, our gifts and abilities, even our health, are not primarily for ourselves.  God has given them to equip us to point people to Christ, to develop others spiritually, and to help meet needs.
What are some ways right now you can better leverage your God-given resources to accomplish those ends?

7. Take some time to pray that God would further train you to recognize, rest in and trust in His sovereign providence in your life.

Sneak Peek – November 3, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

Brrrr.  It’s been a tad chilly the last couple of days. In fact, it’s been chilly in my office (along with Brian’s and Jonathan’s) as one of our heating units has been on the fritz. I hope your home and workplace have been warm and comfy. Warm and comfy is a great blessing on days like these!!

This next Sunday we will continue our Providence series by delving into Esther chapters 3-4 with a message I’ve entitled, Down and Dirty. Please read through those chapters before Sunday.  You’ll get your first glimpse of Snidely Whiplash, er… Haman. It is exciting to see the providence of God played out in real life.

Sunday is also a standout day for two reasons.  One, we “fall back” then as daylight savings time shifts for the winter. Two, we will have a special church family prayer gathering at 8:30 am in the Gathering Hall.  Our Elders and staff will be there and we hope you bring your family for this church-wide prayer time. Refreshments will be available. Our services and classes will be at their normal times.

Sunday there will also be a video introducing this year’s Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe. You’ll learn a little more about it and hear about multiple ways you and your family can be involved.  This ministry makes for a great Christmas outreach for both young and old.

Keep warm and see you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection: October 27, 2019

On Sunday, October 20, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Two Queens” from Esther 1:3-2:23. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. It was stated by Bruce that the Book of Esther is frequently overlooked.  Why do you think that is? Explain.

2. What’s the biggest banquet you ever attended?  Elaborate

3. From your perspective, what were some of Ahasuerus’ motivations for these banquets?

4. What mistakes did Ahasuerus make in this banquet disaster?  Could or should have Vashti responded differently?  If so, how?

5. In the Book of Daniel, Daniel and his captivity friends Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego)—at the risk of their lives—took strong stands against demands placed upon them by their captors (see Dan 1, 3, 6).  Should have Mordecai and Esther also taken a strong stand against the King’s beauty contest (which also included participation in a night of unmarried sex with the King)?  If so, why do you think they didn’t?

6. On the other hand, as did Daniel and his friends, Esther and Mordecai found favor with their captors.  What was the common element that they each displayed?

7. Bruce stated that embracing God’s providence has three benefits:
– it eliminates certain notions (list some)
– it neutralizes certain negative reactions to life (list some)
– it breeds certain positive responses to life (list some)

8. Pray for God’s favor in your life at school, at work, at home.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, October 27

Hello Wildwood Family!

Forty-five years ago, the Carpenters released a song entitled, Rainy Days and Mondays. Well, it’s not Monday (actually it’s Thursday), but indeed we have a rainy day before us. In Bruce’s book of life, rainy and chilly don’t go together. As I write this it is 43 degrees with a wind chill feel of 35.  Yikes.

The reality is, however, just a few thousand feet up the sun is shining.  Sometimes life has its hard twists and turns and gloom to it, but the Son is always on the throne and always shining.  So wonderful!!  Life is truly about perspective.

Speaking of perspective, we will continue our new Providence series by looking at Esther chapters 1-2.  I hope you carve out the time to read those chapters before Sunday.  The message this week is entitled, Two Queens.

Just a reminder, our baptism classes will be on Sunday.  The Children’s class will be at 9:45am in the downstairs children’s theater, with the Student/Adult class at 11 am in The Avenue.  More info can be had at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism.

Also, if you know of someone new to Wildwood please encourage them to get to Starting Point (4 sessions total) which also launches this Sunday at 9:45 am in Room 4.  This is an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about Wildwood.

Lots of things happening in the next few weeks.  Be sure to check your bulletin on Sunday!

See you Sunday (and I understand that it will indeed be a Sun day)!

 

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – 10.20.2019

On Sunday, October 20, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Introduction” from Esther 1:1-3. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Traveling back in time has been a popular technique in movies over the last 25 years or so. What movie featuring time travel to the past stands out as your favorite and why?

2. Why do so many people tend to view the Old Testament negatively and thus often avoid it?
Name a NT verse that encourages us to learn from the people and events of the Old Testament.

3. Esther is one of two OT books featuring and named after women.  What is the other?  Esther illustrates God’s ___________________  [fill in the blank]    The other book illustrates God’s ____________________ [fill in the blank]

4. Over time there have been those who have had reservations about whether Esther should be part of the canon or not.  What are some of the reasons for skepticism?

5. Give your own definition or summary of what God’s “providence” means.  What ramification does the principle of God’s providence mean for our everyday life?

6. Pray for an open heart and for the Holy Spirit to give us deeper insight into our great God’s character as we study the Book of Esther in the weeks ahead.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

Well, we’ve had our first taste of fall—what do you think? Are you ready for cooler temperatures and some shifts in what clothing you wear? One of the things I love about Oklahoma is that we get to experience four seasons. It’s fun for me! Hope it is for you too!

Time travel has been a theme of movies for a few decades now, especially going BACK in time. No doubt you have a favorite movie that features time travel into the past. Well, this Sunday we are launching a new teaching series that features us traveling back in time 2500 years. Back to the time of Queen Esther in the Medo-Persian empire. Yes, we are beginning a study of the book of Esther from the Old Testament.

I’ve entitled this series Providence: Insights from the Book of Esther. The Bible clearly sets forth God’s providence in all that happens in the world. Esther is a book that demonstrates how His providence is active in everyday life. You might want to read it. Hope you enjoy the series. I’m excited!!

Just a heads up…if you’ve never been baptized since trusting Christ as your Savior, baptism classes are being held a week from Sunday on October 27. More info will be in the bulletin this Sunday or you can go to wildwoodchurch.org/baptism to learn more.

So excited for Sunday! Hope to see you then!

Bruce

Two More . . . from 10/13/19

Two more minutes with King of the Mountain (part 4) – Matthew 22:34-40 . . . 

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (22:39) – This was not the first time Jesus had been asked “what mattered most.”  In Luke 10:25-29, another Lawyer came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus gave the same answer He provided in Matthew 22:34-40 (quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 reminding them to love God completely and love others consistently.)  Upon hearing this answer, though, the Lawyer followed up by trying to limit the consistent love Jesus commanded and the Law required, by asking “Who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29).  Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), defining our “neighbor” as basically ANYONE we come into contact with.  

So the “Great Commandment” is defined as loving God completely, and loving ANY WE COME INTO CONTACT WITH consistently.  That standard is SUPER HIGH, isn’t it?  How much easier the standard would be to simply ask us to attend church, give a certain percentage, or read our bibles every day.  The standard is SO MUCH HIGHER . . . so high, when measured against it, we all fall short (Romans 3:23).  Thankfully, though our sins are many, His mercy is more!! 

“Love” and “Love” point more to a relationship, than a religion.  I LOVE that Jesus describes the “most important thing” in relational terms, not religious terms.  We are to choose to love God and commit to Him completely.  We are to choose to love others and consistently seek to serve their needs.  Relationships with God and His children are at the forefront of what matters most.  Christianity is not about me . . . it is about He and we!  We are called into a committed “marriage” with God, not just to “date” Him.   He loves us and pursues us and invites us into a relationship with Him and His children forever.

King of the Mountain (part 4) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, October 13, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 22:34-40.  This message was part 4 of the “King of the Mountain” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from this message to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

King of the Mountain #4 10.13.19

 

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

 

To watch the entire worship service, view our YouTube feed: