Sink or Stand (part 2) Sermon Preview

In the spring of 1995, I pulled into the circle drive in front of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house at OU to drop my girlfriend off after a date.  After she exited my 1986 Prelude, I continued to watch her walk toward the side entrance to the house, simultaneous to my car rolling forward through the circle drive.  Oblivious to my surroundings, I was rocked back to reality with a crunching sound . . . I had rolled my driver’s side door into the rear bumper of a car parked on the inside of the circle drive.  Thankfully, the car I hit was just fine and after talking it over with that car’s owner, no signs of damage were present.  However, the ’86 Prelude was a different story.  My door was bent, rendering it inoperable.  From then on, my only entrance to the car was Bo and Luke Duke style (through the window).  As cool as that sounds, it was actually kind of annoying – and left my car broken and in need of repair.  All that because my eyes were not where they should be.

Now, in the story mentioned above, though my car ended up darkened, my future turned out bright.  The young woman my eyes followed turned out to be my wife (Kimberly) 16 months later.  However, the story illustrates an important point:  what we look at and focus on matters.

In Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus approaches His disciples while walking on top of the water.  Upon seeing Jesus, Peter calls out to Jesus and asks if he can join Jesus riding the waves.  Jesus invites Peter out of the boat, and momentarily, Peter is a walking miracle!  However, Peter soon takes his eyes off Jesus to look at the circles of waves swirling around him, and begins to sink – denting his pride in the process.  When Peter was focused on Jesus, he did the impossible.  When Peter focused on the circumstances around him, he sunk like a rock.

This story serves as a helpful encouragement for you and me.  What we focus on in our world matters.  But even MORE importantly, WHO we focus on in the world matters.  This Sunday at Wildwood we will welcome back the college students, as we continue our “Sink or Stand” series by looking at Matthew 14:22-33 and learning to keep our eyes on Him this year.  See you Sunday in our 9:45 or 11:00 service.

Sink or Stand (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 14:13-21.  This message was part 1 of the “Sink or Stand” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from this sermon to listen to online, download or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Sink or Stand #1 08.12.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Sink or Stand (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, August 12, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 14:13-21.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 14:13-21
  3. How would you answer the question, “I don’t have enough _________” ?
  4. Where in your life do you sense God inviting you to be a part of His work?  What is your response to that calling?
  5. When was the last time you were reminded that you are inadequate for the ministry God might be leading you towards?  How does this passage encourage you in light of that discouraging realization?
  6. What would it look like in your life to dynamically depend on Jesus (like the disciples did in Matthew 14:13-21)?
  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 1) Sermon Preview

There are several schools of thought regarding teaching someone to swim.  Some are taught to swim by taking classes with an instructor.  Others are taught to swim by gradually weaning off of the aids of flotation devices as more comfort is developed in the water.  Still for others, a more radical approach is taken . . .

Sometimes people just throw a non-swimmer into the water and then watch as they either “sink” or “swim.”  The idea being that survival instincts and motivation will align and require someone to figure out a way to stay afloat. 

While this kind of radical process may be antiquated in today’s day and age, it was somewhat employed by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry.  Jesus was not so much concerned with people’s ability to swim, as He was in people developing a radical trust in HIM to do great things through THEM.  What do I mean? 

  • When Jesus sent His disciples on a short term mission trip, He did not give them an easily attainable goal (i.e. “be nice to people.”)  Instead He told them to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons (Matthew 10:8).”
  • When Jesus found a group of 10,000+ people on a secluded beach, He did not ask the disciples to sing some songs to entertain the crowds.  Instead He told them, “You give them something to eat (Matthew 14:16).” 
  • When Jesus goes for a walk ON TOP OF the Sea of Galilee, and Peter recognizes Him, He does not tell Peter to take a “selfie” with Jesus in the background.  Instead He invites Peter to walk on the water as well.
  • And many other examples could be given.

How did Jesus teach His disciples how to serve Him?  By calling them onto the water, and asking them to stand NOT swim.  Swimming is something they could do . . . or could learn to do in their own strength.  But STANDING ON THE WATER?  This is a task that would require divine intervention. 

Jesus was preparing His disciples to change the world- something that would take not just Divine inspiration, but Divine participation.  And, He is still in the business of training His followers (you and I) to do the same.  By calling us into situations where we either “Sink or Stand” we learn the awesome truth that Jesus can do more through us than we ever thought imaginable.

Over the next 5 weeks at Wildwood Community Church, in our 9:45 and 11:00 worship services, we will be looking at Matthew 14-15 to see how Jesus taught His followers to stand on the water in a new series called “Sink or Stand.”  We hope you join us this week as we begin the series by looking at Matthew 14:13-21, and the Feeding of the 5,000.  See you Sunday!

NOTE #1:  This Sunday is Promotion Sunday at Wildwood for our Children’s and Student Ministry.  Several fun things are planned as your kids check out their new classrooms.

NOTE #2:  We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a part of this week’s worship service as well.

Like (part 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 1, 2018 a Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46.  This message was part 4 of the “Like” sermon series.  Below are a series of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46
  3. What kinds of things in the world today cause you to doubt that Jesus is REALLY the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
  4. The Kingdom grows from small to big and from invisible to visible.  How does this encourage you in the midst of a challenging world?
  5. Think of your own spiritual story.  Has your journey to Christ been more like a “treasure you stumbled upon” or a “pearl you searched out?”
  6. In what ways is it WORTH IT to follow Jesus, regardless the cost?  Write out a list of as many ways as you can think.
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Like (part 4) Preview

In every stage of life, we learn to save for something we cannot see.  When we are kids, it might be saving for a new toy or a summer camp.  When we are students, the piggy bank points to that first car.  As adults, there is that moment when we start contributing to an IRA. 

At each stage, a similar process happened:

  1. Someone promised you something you wanted or needed that you did not already possess:  that BIG Lego set, the used pickup, or the ability to one day move to “Del Boca Vista.”  A compelling vision was painted of a future reality that was worth your sacrifice today for your satisfaction tomorrow.
  2. Someone showed you it was real.  Saving money for a fantasy is not very compelling.  If I put $5 a month away to be able to buy my mom and dad tickets to my first NBA game, I would be wasting an opportunity.  The sentiment is nice, but I have no chance of REALLY needing that money to buy a ticket to a game I would play in.  Someone had to show you that the promise would become a reality one day in order to keep your commitment high.  Someone had to do the math, show the projections, or let you see the price tag of the item you desired and show you it was within reach.
  3. You had to stay convinced that it was worth it.  Since the item you want was not visible and was not immediate, and because you had other competing agendas vying for your attention, you had to stay focused on how the goal was totally worth it.  Sometimes it was a fear of what failing to save would mean (walking to the prom, homeless in our old age).  Other times, it was the excitement of the promise that kept you going (a vision of leaving a financial legacy to a future generation, seeing your friend’s smile as they drove their friends to Sonic for the first time). 

If you saw a vision of something that you wanted/needed, knew it was REALLY POSSIBLE, and was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT, you would persevere to see that dream into your future.

Now, I say this today, because as I look at 4 parables in Matthew 13, I see Jesus talking about a future reality that we want and need — to be a part of eternal life in Christ’s Kingdom.  However, in this present age, we cannot see the full effect of this Kingdom, so we are tempted to wonder if it is REALLY going to happen, and (even if it is) is it REALLY WORTH IT?  Jesus tells the parables of the mustard seed, leaven, treasure, and pearl to tell us that what we cannot see is worth giving everything for.  Instead of asking us to save for the future, He wants to SAVE US into the future . . . will you trust Him?

Sunday at Wildwood in our 9:45 and 11:00 services we will be “ALL IN” to see these parables as we conclude our “Like” series together.  Hope to see you there!

Like (part 3) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, June 24, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50.  This message was part 3 in the “Like” sermon series.  The audio from the sermon is available below to listen to online or download.

 

To download the audio, click on the link:

Like #3 06.24.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Like (part 3) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, June 24, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, and 47-50.  This message was part 3 of the “Like” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this sermon for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
  3. Do you believe that God’s judgment is REALLY coming to the earth?  If someone were to take an audit of your time and what you really care about, would it reveal the reality of God’s judgment as a priority?
  4. What are some of the reminders you see in the world today that “wheat and weeds” are growing in the same field?  How does this passage encourage you/effect you about this reality?
  5. Knowing that judgment is coming, have you trusted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, PLEASE DO before it is too late and the harvest comes.
  6. Who is God prompting you to reach out to and share the Gospel in light of the coming judgment?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Like (part 3) Sermon Preview

Think back to the last time you flew on an airplane.  After boarding the plane, finding your seat, and buckling your seat belt, a stewardess came over the loud speaker and began talking about the emergency procedures should your plane have a problem while mid-flight.  Have you ever noticed how few people pay attention to these instructions?  While potentially life-saving information is shared, people are reading that terrible “in flight” magazine, listening to a song they have heard 1,000 times through their ear buds, or talking to the person they just met in the seat beside them (and who they will most likely never see again after the flight is over). 

Why do people check-out while the safety speech is happening?  While I can’t speak for everyone, I do have a theory.  People fail to listen because they assume the plane will not crash.  If they half of all flights crashed, you better believe people would be paying closer attention to their stewardess!  Even if they had flown 1,000 times, they still would have high incentive to listen to the speech to make sure nothing had changed. 

Now, I want to draw a parallel between the “safety speech” on an airplane, and our spiritual lives.  Throughout Scripture, the “Gospel speech” is shared (“In the event that judgment comes, Jesus is the only life saving option!”)  We have heard it a number of times, but do we listen to it?  Do we apply its message?  Why not?  Well, one reason we ignore the Gospel’s message is because we assume judgment is not coming.  We assume this because we have not seen anyone struck by lightning when the moment they sinned!  Because of our experience, we are tempted to think that judgment for our sins is not likely, so we tune out when the message that will lead to our Eternal Safety is shared.

Brothers and sisters, this should NOT be the case!  Our “plane” is guaranteed to crash.  100% of us will one day have to stand before the Lord in judgment, so we would do well to heed the message of the Gospel today while there is still time. 

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will look at the certainty of coming judgment as we study Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50.  In these verses Jesus tells two parables to remind us of the crash that is in front of us all . . . while there is still time.  Join us for part 3 of the “Like” sermon series in our 9:45 and 11:00 worship services.

Like (part 2) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, June 17, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.  This message was part 2 of the “Like” series and focused on the Parable of the Sower.  Below you will find the audio from the sermon to listen to or share.

 

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

Like #2 06.17.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below: