God with us (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, December 4, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on John 1:1-5, 9-13.  This message was part 2 in the “God with us” sermon series.  Below you will see questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  Additionally, you will find the audio and video for the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

 2022 Wildwood Christmas Daily Devotional, “God with us;”   the entire Christmas Devotional here.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 1:1-5; 9-13
  3. When you tell your “story” where do you start?  What influences when you start telling your story?
  4. In John 1:1-5, there are a number of things mentioned that point to Jesus being God.  What stands out to you most about “where” John begins the biography of Jesus, the Son of God?
  5. Read this quote from Bruce Milne: “If Jesus Christ shares the nature of God, we are called to worship Him without cessation, obey Him without hesitation, love Him without reservation and serve Him without interruption.”   Where are you convicted by this quote?  What are some ways you can change the way you approach Jesus this Christmas season in light of who He is?
  6. Have you received Jesus as your God and Savior?  If so, when?  If not, what is preventing you from receiving and believing in Him today?  
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

God With Us #2 12.4.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

 

God with us (part 1) Sermon Audio, Video, & Questions

On Sunday, November 27, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Isaiah 7:1-16 and Matthew 1:22-23.  This message was part 1 of the “God with us” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Additionally, you can access the daily devotional “God with us” for use during the Christmas season by clicking here.  Each daily devotion will also be posted to this blog each morning.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Isaiah 7:1-16 and Matthew 1:22-23
  3. Has there ever been a time when you have observed the celebration of Christmas and felt like “that is too much”?  What contributed to your thought process in making that determination?
  4. We are very familiar with the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.  Have you ever studied this passage to see its Old Testament context?  In what ways does knowing its Old Testament context help us to understand the significance of Jesus’ birth?
  5. The enemy armies caused the nation of Judah to have their “hearts shake like trees.”  What causes your heart to fear?  How would “placing that fear on the timeline” help you in quieting that fear?
  6. The birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary is THE sign that Jesus is not just an ordinary man, but God Himself who will deliver us from our sins.  How does the virgin birth help accomplish this (remember the reasons for the virgin birth we talked about in this morning’s message)?  
  7. Since Jesus is God, it changes everything.  What does it change for you?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

God With Us #1 11.27.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

November 2022 Baptism Sunday Recap

On Sunday, November 20, 2022 at Wildwood, we had the great joy of baptizing 22 individuals who had placed their faith in Christ.  Before each of their baptisms, we heard the story of how God had worked in their lives, then we got to witness their water baptism as an outward picture of their inner connection to Jesus.  Below you will find links to the baptisms in each service, as well as a link to the Vimeo channel that includes all of their testimonies.  Join us in praising God for His great work!  As we sang today, “How Great Thou Art!”

To watch the 8:30 service baptisms, use this YouTube video online:

 

To watch the 9:45 service baptisms (and full service), use this YouTube video online:

 

To watch the 11:00 service baptisms use this YouTube video online:

 

To access the Vimeo channel with all 22 testimonies shared this morning, click here.

 

Also, in the 8:30 service, time allowed for a longer sermon (than in the other two services).  This sermon is podcasted for those who missed it and be can downloaded or shared.

To listen offline to the 8:30AM service sermon, click on the link:

Baptism Sunday 11.20.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Baptism Sunday Preview (November 20, 2022)

At Wildwood we are FOR following JESUS together to the glory of God. Because of that, we celebrate when people begin to follow Jesus, and Baptism is a time for the church congregation to celebrate these beginnings! This Sunday (November 20) at Wildwood, we will have the privilege of seeing 22 people baptized. We will hear their stories, pray over them, rejoice with them, and witness their water baptism. We will also sing of Jesus’ goodness, open God’s Word together, and be encouraged as we head into Thanksgiving week together as a church family. Hope you can join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service!

  • NOTE: On baptism Sundays (as is our tradition) we do not run our elementary, student, college, or adult Sunday morning classes. All Kindergarten and up will be in the worship service together for these services. What a great chance for us to celebrate as a church family!
  • NOTE 2: See the attached pic with details about who is being baptized in which service.
  • NOTE 3: At noon on Sunday, we will begin decorating the church for Christmas.  If you and your family would like to stay and help with this festive event, we’d love to have you!!!  Meet in the Gathering Hall at 12:15.

 

Questions for Reflection – November 13, 2022

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 4” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. As Bruce shared the message from Ruth chapter four, what principles related to God’s Providence hit you in a fresh or significant way?  Elaborate.

2. What are some personal examples of God’s Providence in your life?  Include some details.

3. How is Boaz in his role as Kinsman Redeemer a picture or type of Christ?

4. There are some racial/ethnic issues (including an interracial relationship) in the book of Ruth. What can we learn from them?  Should we ‘lean into’ or ‘pull away from’ such relationships? What do some of those events (and how God was working in them) tell us about the heart of God?

5. King David was one who knew about difficulty and discouragement in his life.  Notice how he begins Psalm 13 in verse one.  Can you identify?  Notice how he ends Psalm 13 in verses five and six.  What can we learn from that?

6. It’s been said: Look at yourself and be depressed.  Look at others and be distressed.  Look at Jesus and be blessed. What reality about life is found in that saying?

7. One of the frequently overlooked elements in the book of Ruth is the consistent practice of prayer. There are two prayers by Naomi in 1:8 and 1:9. There is a prayer by Boaz in 2:4 and 2:12.  There are two more prayers by Naomi in 2:19 and 2:20. There is a prayer again by Boaz in 3:10.  Then there is the prayer by people in Bethlehem in 4:11-12, and by the women of Bethlehem in 4:14-15.  As you look at those verses, do you see a pattern?  How do those prayers compare with your personal practice of prayer?

8. Take some time to pray some prayers of blessing for those in your life.

Sneak Peek – November 13, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Yes, I know it’s just November 11th, but it FEELS like Christmas. The average high in OKC on December 25th is 46 degrees.  As I type this it’s 39 degrees. See, it does feel like Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, at Wildwood we have two great opportunities before us.  First, would be the opportunity to help join the team for the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe (where we aim to touch the lives of some 600 underprivileged kids). There are SO many ways to play a part, from donating funds, to purchasing gifts for underprivileged kids, to joining one of the setup, cleanup, or shopping teams.  All the information (including signups) can be found at wildwodchurch.org/missionnorman  Let’s do it!

Second, we have a unique way this year to invite folks to attend some of our Christmas services. Pastor Mark will be sharing more about this on Sunday, but it involves picking up a quick read book (we’ve ordered a bundle) entitled, The Four Emotions of Christmas (authored by a friend of mine from FamilyLife, Bob Lepine), and then, in turn, passing it on as an invitational tool to your neighbors and friends.  What a cool idea!  Listen as Mark shares about the plan.

I am VERY excited about this Sunday’s message as we conclude our series, God Behind the Seen, by unpacking chapter 4 of Ruth, and more!  As previously, please read through chapter 4 (only 22 verses) before Sunday.  As we conclude we will pull back and think through some further reflections related to God’s Providence. I can’t wait.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – November 6, 2022

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 3” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  Sometimes “playing it safe” spiritually can lead to missed blessings.  I remember back in the summer of 1990 I faced the prospect of heading off for a trip to the Soviet Union and the nation of Latvia.  Things were stirring politically in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Army was not happy. I was a 39-year-old dad of four kids aged 12, 9, 8, and 2. It was truly a risky trip. Taking a spiritual message into an atheistic nation could have serious ramifications.

As I prayed about it (and was frankly leaning toward declining the trip), it seemed as if the Lord was encouraging me to be bold and trust Him.  Indeed, that was the beginning of an amazing ministry that Wildwood has had for decades in Latvia, including helping to found Latvian Christian Radio which today reaches 120,000 listeners in Latvia, along with many Latvian speakers in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Australia, and the USA.

The point is that God can bless in ways we never could have imagined when we move out in boldness and trust Him.  We saw that Sunday in Ruth 3 as Naomi (and Ruth) move out in boldness in approaching Boaz.

Have you ever stepped out in boldness to trust God in a special way?  Share

Is it possible that the Lord is leading you right now to be bold and trust Him in some way? Ponder that and elaborate with others.

2. Naomi and Ruth were clearly counting on the integrity of Boaz. Can others in your family and around you count on your integrity?  What are some practical things you can implement to enhance your integrity before others?

3. One of the sermon life lessons was that we all need to be reminded that God works through His people to touch others.  We are His hands and feet.  Brainstorm about how God could use you to bring encouragement, blessing and compassion to someone in your world.

4. Take some time to thank and worship the Lord for his faithfulness to you over the years.  God is good!

Sneak Peek – November 6, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

We so appreciate all the prayers for my daughter Emily.  She was released from OU Medical Center Thursday afternoon and is now recovering at home. It was a big “triple” surgery, and her recovery will take a while.

If you have some extra candy leftover from Halloween, our children’s ministry can utilize it as prizes for Awana and for Sundays. Feel free to drop your excess candy off at any of the Welcome desks in our Children’s building.  Thanks!

The Father-daughter campout is scheduled for this weekend.  We wish a ‘deliciously wonderful’ time for dads and daughters down in the Wichitas.

Lots of other things going on around Wildwood.  Be sure to check your bulletin on Sunday to keep up. We will officially be launching the organization for this year’s Mission Norman Christmas on Sunday.  There are multiple ways you and your family can be involved as we seek to encourage some 600 underprivileged kids again this year.  Please check out wildwoodchurch.org/missionnorman for more scoop!

For those of you attending the 9:45 am service, there will be a baby dedication time.  That’s always a sweet time.  For ALL of us, we will be doing part 3 in our study of Ruth, the series title is God Behind the Scene.  We strongly encourage you to read through chapter 3 of Ruth before Sunday morning.  This chapter is another humdinger!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – October 30, 2022

On Sunday, October 30, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message was “Ruth Chapter 2” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.  Think back—can you remember a time in your life where you felt like you were at “Wit’s End Corner?” [when you were truly at your “wit’s end”] Share some. How did God give you grace and lead you through it?

2. Bruce suggested one subtitle of the chapter could be, What a Difference a Day Makes. Have you ever experienced a “big turn-around” from one day to the next?  Elaborate.

3. Another potential title for chapter 2 could be, The God Who Works in the Ordinary. What are some possible ways in our ordinary day where God can be at work? (for example, discussing with your kids what they learned in Sunday school, volunteering at school or at Wildwood, finding ways to get to know your neighbors).  Make a list.  Pray that God would inhabit those ordinary events.

4. Who might be a Naomi in your life (one who is facing difficult circumstances that could cause one to despair and grow bitter), or one who is a Ruth (unconnected and disadvantaged in life)? Brainstorm and pray about ways God could use you to express compassion and acceptance to them.

5. Boaz was in essence saying to Ruth, your reputation precedes you (which it usually does for all of us).  In a humble way, what reputation issues in your life might the Holy Spirit be poking/convicting you about right now?  Be transparent.

6. When is the last time you had the thought before the Lord:  Why have I found favor in your sight?  If it’s been a while, take some time to thank Him again for His mercy, grace, and faithfulness to you.

7. The story of Rahab clearly demonstrates that God can use even our painful experiences to shape us for ministry to others—He never wastes anything.  Thank Him that there is purpose in your past even if you don’t fully understand yet what that means.

Never forget that God is at work IN us (Philip. 2:13), at work WITH us (Mark 16:20), and at work FOR us (Romans 8:28)

Sneak Peek – October 30, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Wowza.  Life keeps flowing at high speed.  Halloween is on Monday and then it is Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then—double wowza—2023!  Yikes!

Many of you were aware that our #2 daughter, Emily, had very extensive cancer surgery on Thursday.  It was very long, but also seemed to be highly successful.  The Team Captain of the multiple surgeon team said it went wonderfully well. There is reasonable hope that after two months of follow-up chemo she could possibly be cancer free.  Truly amazing.

Thanks for so many of your prayers. Please keep praying as Emily goes through a difficult and painful recovery period.

We will be returning to our study of Ruth, God Behind the Seen, this Sunday as we delve into chapter 2. Please, please read chapter two ahead of time as we won’t be able to read through all the verses as part of the message.

I will say this:  chapter two is truly pregnant with God’s providence and grace.  We could subtitle the chapter, What a Difference a Day Makes. It truly is an amazing story against the bleak and black backdrop of Israel’s history during the period of the Judges.  Ever feel like in life you were at “Wit’s End Corner?”  If so, you don’t want to miss this message.

See you Sunday!

Bruce