50th Anniversary (part 3): Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 30, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message looking at the “4 Fors” of Wildwood.  This message was a part of “Looking Ahead” and concluded our 50th Anniversary Celebration.  Below you will find the audio from the message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Celebrating 50 Years #3 9.30.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the entire service, view via our Facebook Live stream:

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50th Anniversary (part 3): Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 30, 2018, I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church highlighting the “4 Fors” as a part of “Looking Ahead” as a church.  This message was the third installment in our 50th anniversary celebration. Below you will see a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. In Matthew 16:18b, Jesus says He is building His congregation.  Though we often think of the “church” as a physical location (i.e. Wildwood is at 1501 24th Ave. NE), the church Jesus was building was a BODY that was alive!  Therefore, church is not just a place you attend, but a life you live together with others.  How do you primarily view church involvement?  Attendance only, or something more?
  3. Think of your relationship with God over the past decade.  In what ways has God grown you spiritually over that period of time?
  4. Who are 3 people in your “sphere of influence” that God wants you to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
  5. Have you considered hosting or co-hosting a block party in the next 6 months with Wildwood?  Details:  wildwoodchurch.org/blockparty
  6. Who are some missionaries you have had the privilege of praying for over the past 12 months?  If you don’t know anyone to pray for, visit http://wildwoodchurch.org/global-outreach/ for ideas.
  7. How are you helping to pass along your faith to the next generation?  Why do you think this is so important?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

Access these questions in pdf format by clicking here.

50th Anniversary: A Look Ahead (Sermon Preview)

In prominent cities around the world, museums exist to tell stories of the past.  Artifacts, plaques, and presentations combine to instruct and to inspire.  Whether the subject matter of the museum is art, history, or science, one thing each museum has in common is that they are all D-E-A-D.  The items in the halls of these buildings may inspire those in the present to make a better future, but the very nature of a museum is a chronicling of the past. 

As you probably know, this month we are celebrating Wildwood’s 50th anniversary as a church.  As a part of any anniversary, you spend some portion of time looking backward.  This gives us a chance to remember God’s work in the past to inspire us for our present and our future.  However, there is something significant we cannot forget . . .

The church is not a museum. 

Mistakenly, translators of our English Bibles failed to properly translate Matthew 16:18b into accurate English.  In Matthew 16:18b, Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  In this verse, the Greek word “Ekklesia” is translated “church” by modern English Bible translators.  The word “church” is actually a word with German roots that means “the Lord’s House” . . . and could even be translated the “Lord’s Temple.”  The only problem is, Jesus did not speak German when He spoke the words of Matthew 16!  The Greek behind that statement is better translated into English as “congregation” or “assembly of people.”  For a variety of reasons (most of them political) the first translators of the English Bible (save William Tyndale who was killed for his translation!) called it a “church” and that translation has been the tradition ever since. 

Why do I give that piece of history here?  I give it because if the church is a PLACE . . . a BUILDING . . . it could be a museum – a place to simply look back and remember.  However, the Ekklesia Jesus is building is a gathering of people.  A Body.  And it is ALIVE!

Remembering this, we know the church does not just have a past, it has a present and a future!  This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be wrapping up the celebration of our 50th anniversary by looking ahead to some exciting opportunities we have as a church to invite the church, the community, the nations, and the next generation to follow Jesus together with us to the glory of God.  Make plans to be at Wildwood this Sunday, September 30, 2018, at 9:45 or 11:00 as we worship together.  O Church arise!

50th Anniversary: Mission of the Church (Sermon Audio)

On Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon refocusing our congregation on the Mission of the Church.  This message was part 2 in the 50th Anniversary celebration.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Celebrating 50 Years #2 9.23.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the entire worship service from our livestream, view the Facebook Live event:

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50th Anniversary – Mission of the Church (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, September 23, 2018, I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church on the mission of the church.  This message was the second Sunday of our 5oth anniversary celebration.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. What value have you seen in understanding the “mission statement” of an organization (any organization you have been a part of)?  What are the potential challenges with organizations that do not know their core mission?
  3. The Church is led by Jesus Christ.  What are some of the verses you can think of in the Bible that help us to understand the mission of the Church?
  4. 87 times in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the word “Follow” is used in conjunction with people’s response to Jesus . . . 26 times as a command – Jesus saying “Follow Me.”  Why do you think this was the most common descriptor of the first Christians? 
  5. What would it look like for a church (and Christians) to be more concerned with God’s glory than their own? 
  6. 5 ways were mentioned today of how we can follow Jesus:  Following Him into His Word, Worship, Community, Ministry, and Mission.  Think of your own life for a moment in light of these 5 areas.  How has God used these 5 things to grow your faith in the past?  Is there any particular area where you would like to grow more this year?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

50th Anniversary (part 2 – The Mission of the Church)

Think of any organization where you are a member.  What is its purpose?  Why does it exist?  The answer to that question is meaningful and has real world consequences.  Often times organizations summarize their purpose in a single mission statement to help unite the group around its common cause.  A quick survey of some of the organizations my family is connected to reveals the following mission statements:

Norman Youth Soccer Association:

“To encourage, promote and stimulate interest and participation in the game of soccer by organizing recreational and competitive soccer teams; developing our players, coaches and referees; promoting sportsmanship; maintaining proper playing facilities; and operating in a financially responsible manner.”

Norman Public Schools:

“To prepare and inspire all students to achieve their full potential.”

Cleveland County YMCA:

“To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”

Reading these statements gives you a sense of what these organizations are all about.  For prospective members, the mission helps them decide if they want to align with the group.  For existing members, the purpose reminds the regulars what they are collectively trying to accomplish.

As interesting and informative as the above statements are, it is also important to stop and think about what the mission statement is for the Church.  What is our purpose?  What are we called to unite around?

In Matthew 16:18b, Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!”  This statement is critical on so many levels, but one thing Jesus makes clear here is that the church (the true church) is HIS.  As a Pastor, if I view Wildwood as MY church, then I am building something that has an uncertain future, resting on a faulty premise of ownership.  But, if I rightly view the Church as JESUS’ Church, then I can rest confidently in the glorious future He has guaranteed! 

As it pertains to mission statements, the above principle of ownership makes a clear and important application:  since the church is Jesus’ then He sets the mission, not us.  And, since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the mission He set out for His church in Matthew 28:19-20 still holds true today.  Our mission is to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold I am with you always to the end of the age.” 

Though the mission of the Church has not changed for 2,000 years, the articulation of that purpose can morph from time to time to refocus us (through contemporary language) on its original meaning.  So, with Jesus as our captain, and Wildwood’s 50th anniversary as our catalyst, we want to take this Sunday (September 23, 2018) to remind us anew of the mission of Wildwood Community Church.  This Sunday we will introduce some new language pointing to an ancient purpose for our church. 

If you are new to Wildwood (either only been a Sunday or two or not yet attended) this Sunday is a GREAT Sunday to come and check us out.  You will hear our understanding of our mission.  If you have been around Wildwood for a long time, this Sunday is a GREAT Sunday to come and refocus on why we are here and the importance of our assembly.

Hope ALL of you can be with us Sunday in our 9:45 or 11:00 service as we remind each other of our mission together.  Hope to see you there! 

Sink or Stand (part 5) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 9, 2018, I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on Matthew 15:32-16:12.  This message was part 5 of the “Sink or Stand” sermon series.  Below is the audio from the sermon to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Sink or Stand #5 09.09.18

 

To listen online, use the audio player below:

 

Sink or Stand (part 5) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 15:32-16:12.  This message was the fifth and final part in the “Sink or Stand” sermon series.  Below you will find a series of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 15:32-16:12
  3. What limitations do you (or others you know) put on God today?  (i.e. God can’t _________ or God won’t __________?
  4. In this passage, Jesus demonstrates that He wants the disciples to be His ministers of grace, even among people considered “outsiders.”  Who is someone in your life that God wants you to serve or love that you have been ignoring or neglecting in some way?
  5. There is a danger in the Legalism of the Pharisees, the Liberalism of the Sadducees, and the “Littleism” of the Disciples.  Which of these 3 sinkholes to faith are you most afflicted by today?
  6. What would it look like for you to stand in great faith in your great God today in your life? 
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Sink or Stand (part 5) Sermon Preview

I remember as a kid buying my first pair of Air Jordan basketball shoes.  The “jumpman” is all the rage in the Sooner nation today, but back then, Jordan was just a rookie playing for a mediocre Chicago Bulls team fighting to make the playoffs.  As a 12 year old, though, I didn’t care.  I thought that if those red, white, and black basketball shoes could help him fly through the air of the Boston Garden, surely they could help me dominate on the playground. 

Interestingly enough, I bought the shoes, but still could not dunk (shocking, I know, to those of you who know me.)  So I moved on to imitating other traits of his “Airness,” even sticking my tongue out as I played.  Sadly, all this got me was a lifelong scar down the middle of my tongue when I accidentally bit through it after taking a charge in a pickup game.  One scar, no 60 point stat sheets. 

I even wore Jordan’s #23 on my middle school basketball team, but still was not a step quicker!  As a middle schooler I was learning a valuable lesson . . . the key to Jordan’s success was not the shoes (“You money, its gotta be the shoes!), the tongue, or the number . . . it was Him!  I could not secure his power apart from his presence.

Now, I say all this because as I look at Matthew 15:32 – 16:12, I see the disciples struggling with a similar issue.  Jesus’ disciples desperately wanted Jesus’ power, but they were tempted to look for it in a number of things or locations, instead of in Him.  As they did so, they missed the obvious point.  They could not secure His power apart from His presence.  No matter where they went, no matter how much they had or didn’t have, they would always have what they needed IN HIM. 

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will conclude our “Sink or Stand” sermon series by looking at Jesus’ feeding the 4,000.  We can’t wait to gather for worship, celebrate the Lord’s supper, and look into this section of God’s Word together.  See you then in our 9:45 or 11:00 services.

Sink or Stand (part 4) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 2, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 15:21-28.  This message was part 4 of the “Sink or Stand” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from this sermon to listen to, download or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Sink or Stand #4 09.02.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below: