Baptism Sunday November 22, 2020: Sermon Questions & Audio/Video

On Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, we celebrated the baptisms of 10 individuals.  Before the baptisms, I preached a sermon based on 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio, and videos of the worship services to listen to/watch, download, or share.  Also, you will see slides from the message.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
  3. What are some of the things that have struggled to “celebrate” this past year due to the pandemic?
  4. In the message, we reviewed some of Paul’s second missionary journey, and reflected on how that impacted him by the time he arrived in Corinth.  Are you struggling in this era as Paul was?  What was it that encouraged Paul (seen in 1 Thess. 3:6-8)?  How does that same dynamic encourage you today?
  5. In what specific ways does it encourage you to hear the testimonies of others (as we did today before baptisms)?
  6. Baptisms are a celebration of new life in Christ.  Baptism is not the end, but the beginning!  God wants to continue to grow our faith in Him and love for others throughout our lives.  How have you seen your faith in God and love for others increase over the years you have followed Christ?
  7. How do you sense God wants to use YOU to “fill out what is lacking” in the faith of another?
  8. Have you been baptized since professing faith in Christ?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  Is the Lord leading you to pursue water baptism?  If so (or even if you just have questions about baptism) contact us at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism and we will follow up before our next baptism service in March 2021.
  9. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

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

Baptism Sunday! 11.22.20

 

To listen to sermon audio online, use media player:

 

To watch the worship services, use YouTube stream online:

Full service (with 10:15 baptisms):

Baptisms from 9:00 Service:

Baptisms from 11:30:

 

Questions for Reflection – November 15, 2020

On Sunday, November 15, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Eternal Rewards, Part 3”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. The prospect of future reward can be very encouraging, empowering, and comforting.
How  would the prospect of eternal reward impact:

  • A teen, or 20 something, who is seeking to remain sexually pure?
  • A person who is caring for a spouse or parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s?
  • A parent who is raising a special needs child?
  • Parents who are seeking to be spiritual models for their children?
  • An individual who is considering downsizing their cost of living to make more eternal investments?
  • A young person who wants to follow Jesus despite the poor example of their parents?
  • A person who has long suffered physically with disability or pain?

One thing is certain, all of our struggles in faithfully serving and following Jesus will one day be worth it!

2. Bruce asked: Will every believer experience joy in eternity? And he stated emphatically YES!

  •  Read I John 2:28.  John proposes that it is possible for a Jesus follower to experience shame when Jesus returns. How does that “jive” with Bruce’s statement above? Discuss.
  • After some discussion evaluate Samuel Hoyt’s statement: “To overdo the sorrow aspect of the judgment seat of Christ is to make heaven hell.  To underdo the sorrow aspect is to make faithfulness inconsequential.”

3. Do you feel prepared to stand before the Bema of Christ?
Are there attitudes that should be altered?
Are there habits or patterns of sin that need to be addressed?
Are there areas where you have yet to yield your will to His?

4. List the resources God has graciously provided for you (education, abilities, spiritual gifts, life experiences, positions of influence, finances, opportunities to serve Jesus and others). Then take some time to prayerfully consider how you might better utilize each of those resources for eternal benefit.

5. All of us may be in differing places in our spiritual journey:

  • Some may be in “comeback mode.” Maybe you’ve drifted in your spiritual walk and spent some time off in “the spiritual weeds.”  If so, always remember His arms are ever open wide to you.  Draw near to Him, and he’ll draw near to you (James 4:8). It is never too late to build well, manage well, and run well.
  • Others have maybe enjoyed a series of significant spiritual accomplishments and victories. If so, stay humble, remain faithful, keep your focus on the finish line and continue to exalt Jesus.

6. First Corinthians 10:12 warns us, Let him who thinks he stands, take heed that he does not fall.
Prayerfully read Psalm 139:23-24 and ask God to reveal any hidden issues in your heart.

“We were made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person. Heaven is the place”
– Randy Alcorn

Recommended book for digging deeper into Eternal Rewards:
Going for the Gold by Joe L. Wall

Sneak Peek – Sunday, November 15, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!

I hope some of you have had the opportunity to check out my webpage at brucehess.com

Again, we have uploaded a number of sermon series I’ve done and you can either listen by streaming, listen by downloading the mp3 to your device, or you can read the transcription of the message.  I will soon be uploading the Eternal Rewards series once the transcriptions are completed.  We will also continue to add more and more series and messages from past years.

I’ve received some kind comments about the site being easy to navigate.  I’m always open to suggestions for improvement. If you do visit, please click on “Contact us” and leave a comment (we hope it will be a positive one!). I’m excited to utilize the website to reach more and more folks with teaching from God’s word.  Please pass along the website address to friends and feel free to link it in your social media. Thanks!

This Sunday we will conclude our study of Eternal Rewards with the third and final message. This one was somewhat of a struggle for me as I had SO much I wanted to include.  We hope you find this concluding message beneficial—we will be examining three analogies of the Christian life from Scripture, plus looking at some specific rewards that the Bible highlights.  It will be fun and informative!

A week from Sunday (the 22nd) will be a modified ALL in Sunday (Birth—Pre-K will meet as normal).  Elementary and up will get to enjoy the baptism worship service.  Don’t miss being a part of that Sunday as we celebrate as a church family a number of baptisms.  Indeed, it’s a GREAT celebration we get to experience together!

I also want to remind everyone of how quickly the Mission Norman Christmas store outreach (to many disadvantaged folks in our community) is coming upon us.  This year’s Shoppe will be more of a drive-up pick-up style store. Collecting gifts for 600 kids is a tall order.  We also will need all sorts of volunteers to make the outreach a success.  Don’t put it off!  Visit wildwoodchurch.org/missionnorman to learn more or to sign up. Let’s keep making a difference right here in our community!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – November 8, 2020

On Sunday, November 8, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Eternal Rewards, Part 2”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. George Whitfield was an English preacher and a significant voice during the first Great Awakening (a spiritual revival during the mid-1700s).  He has been called “the father of modern evangelicalism.” A plaque by his grave cites a quote by him:
After I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, “Here lies G.W.
What sort of a man he was the Great Day will discover.”

What is the Great Day?  As best you can, what do you think he was really saying?  Discuss.

2. The Bible teaches that Christ could return for you (or call you home via death) at any time.
How much does that truth affect you on a daily basis? How should it affect you?
What needs to change?

3. Bruce cited Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:9, “Therefore, we have as our ambition…to be pleasing to Him.”  A penetrating question for all of us is, am I pleasing God?
— in how I handle my money?
— in my family/marriage relationships?
— in my friendships?
— in my vocational life?
— in how I’m investing my time?
— in serving Jesus and others rather than just myself?

4. On a personal level—is the Holy Spirit convicting you about any of your attitudes or actions (sins of commission)?  Is He convicting you of something that He’s been urging you to do that you have failed to do (sins of omission)?  If so, read 1 John 1:7-9 and take some time to practice 1 John 1:9 before Him.

Sneak Peek – Sunday, November 8, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!

As I write this there are clouds of confusion, consternation and controversy swirling around the aftermath of our national election.  Whatever the outcome of the election we need to remind ourselves that:

Jesus still is the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He still is the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty, who is, who was, and who is to come

He still is far above all rule, authority, power and dominion.

He still holds all things together

He still works all things after the counsel of His will

He still is our Shepherd who restores our soul and leads us in paths of righteousness

He still will never leave us nor forsake us

He still is at work in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.

We still are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise

Jesus still is the way, the truth, and the life

He still is patient, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

He still is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world

He still is rich in mercy and grace

He still is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him

The gospel still is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes

The gift of God still is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

The Bible still is the Word of God, alive and powerful

The tomb still is empty.

We still are to proclaim His name and make Him known among the nations

We still are to let our light shine before others

We still are called to walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.

We still are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might

We still are ambassadors for Christ, co-workers in God’s service

It is still true—how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news

Let’s not lose focus!

This Sunday we will continue the series on “Eternal Rewards” (which we launched last Sunday) with message #2, where we will zoom in for a closer look at the Bema of Christ.  Don’t miss it!

Bruce

Sermon Preview for Sunday, November 1, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!

It sure has been a difficult week.  Nope, not so much Covid-based, as has been the story for a while, but STORM based.  We were among the many that lost power due to the storm. Pastor Mark still is without power on Friday as I write this.  Whenever we lose power, I’m always reminded of how much I take electricity for granted.  Life is SO much better with electricity!

Janet and I also lost a very significant part of our two 50-year-old trees…even more branches down than in the ice storm in December of 2007.  More leaves on the trees this time, thus more for ice to stick to.  Can’t say it’s been a boring week.

I’m excited to launch a new study this week entitled, Eternal Rewards.  From my observation the idea of eternal rewards in a believer’s life is often a neglected or unexplored biblical truth. What does the Bible say about eternal rewards and how should we live in light of that?  I’ve been planning this short series for a while so I’m looking forward to it.  I hope you are too.

I want to remind you of two things: First, we “fall back” this Saturday night so we get that extra hour of rest [ theoretically 😉 ].  Second, our Christmas outreach to the less fortunate via the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe is directly ahead.  That ministry can’t happen without adequate volunteers to serve (and some of our regular volunteers are unable to serve due to Covid issues).  Please visit wildwoodchurch.org/missionnorman to volunteer and help staff this year’s outreach ministry.  There are a number of different roles to fill. Many people in our community will be grateful for your help.

See you on Sunday!

Bruce

Attitude of a Servant (part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, October 25, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Philippians 2:19-25.  This message was part 4 in the “Attitude of a Servant” series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Philippians 2:19-30
  3. Who are some of the people you have “followed” in life as they “followed Christ?”
  4. Timothy is an example of someone who genuinely cared for the spiritual lives of people.  On a scale of 1-10, how would you consider your current concern for the spiritual growth of others?  How is that concern demonstrated in your life?
  5. Epaphroditus was willing to risk his life for the advancement of the Gospel.  Are there any “risks” you are reluctant to take today that are inhibiting your ability to be fully involved in Jesus’ mission?
  6. In what way are you tempted to “hang on” to resources and not share them with others — for their good?  Paul was a great example of generously giving what he had for the benefit of others.  Where are you challenged to share what you have been keeping?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to sermon audio offline, click the link:

Attitude of a Servant #4 10.25.20

 

To listen online, use the media player:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

 

Attitude of a Servant (part 4) Sermon Preview

For 30 years now, I have been following Jesus.  Three decades ago, I understood the gravity of my sin, and my need for a Savior … and God (in His grace) led me to Jesus, and my life has forever been changed.

Though my journey began in the basement of East Cross United Methodist Church, it did not stay there.  Following Jesus has taken me to Bartlesville, Norman, Nevada, Russia, Dallas, Ovilla, Coppell, Norman (again), Mexico, France, and beyond.  It has taken me into the Scriptures, church and small group communities, worship services, hospital rooms, housing projects, and summer camps.  I have followed Jesus while single, married, and as a father.  It has been joyous, difficult, life-giving, death-requiring, jubilant, lamenting … and more.

Throughout these years of following Jesus, I often found myself in a parade of sorts … Jesus was leading it, but there were a string of people following after Him.  Often I found myself following someone who was following Jesus.  In this way, they helped connect me to Him:

  • My mom and Dad raised me in the church.
  • Dwight Nash and Debra Villiger introduced me to Jesus.
  • Dwight Darrah prayed for me to follow Jesus, and ultimately to be a Pastor.
  • David Croninger listened to me and encouraged my faith.
  • David and Hazel Kirchman taught me to pray.
  • Kimberly Robinson showed me unconditional love.
  • Todd Stewman introduced me to discipleship.
  • Bill Boldt showed me what fearless evangelism looked like.
  • Bruce Hess introduced me to faithful biblical exegesis.
  • Tom Robbins showed me what it looked like to care for your flock.
  • Wayne McDonald gave me a chance.
  • Bob Reed pointed me to God’s grace.
  • Mashall Brackin taught me generosity.

… and on and on I could go.  I do not mean to leave anyone off this list, but simply want to remember in a moment the faith of those who have gone before me … and memorialize how it has impacted me.  

As Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  Like Paul, these all (and many more) have invited me to “follow them as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).”  And I have been blessed as I followed.  

Who has impacted your life?  What are their names and how has God used them in your life?  

For the Philippian Christians, they had many they were following.  They were certainly following Jesus (see Philippians 2:5-11), but they also were following Paul the Apostle and the examples of a few other choice servants as they followed Christ.  In this Sunday’s final message in the “Attitude of a Servant” series, we will look at Philippians 2:19-30, as we see the examples of servant heartedness demonstrated by two men: Timothy and Epaphroditus.  May we all add the names of these two servants to our list of those whose example has aided us in our walk with the Lord.  Hope to see you Sunday in our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 worship services (inside and with children, student, college, and adult classes running), 8AM in our outdoor chapel service, or 10:15 online (wildwoodchurch.org/live).

Attitude of a Servant (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video and Questions

On Sunday, October 18, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Philippians 2:14-18.  This message was part 3 in the “Attitude of a Servant” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  Also, you will find the sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Philippians 2:14-18
  3. What are some of the examples of the “darkness” that you see in the world today?  In what ways does Jesus “light this up”?
  4. How might Jesus use you and your fellow Christians to light up the world around us?
  5. What are some of the things Paul mentions in 2:14-15 that might inhibit our ability to shine as Jesus’ light?  Which of these do you most struggle with?
  6. Are you holding fast and holding forth the word of life to those around you?  What are some ways you can do that this week?
  7. Whose faith can you celebrate this week?  How will you celebrate it?
  8. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to audio offline, click the link:

The Attitude of a Servant #3 10.18.20

 

To listen to audio online, use the media player:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

 

Attitude of a Servant (part 3) – Sermon Preview

I want you to look at the nearest unnatural light near you.  (By this I mean NOT THE SUN.  Don’t lookout the sun.  That could do some real damage.)  Look at the nearest lamp, overhead light, etc.  Now, imagine that you were to take the cover to that light, and put a dark tint over it (like you would on a car window.)  What would be the effect?  Would the light bulb produce less light?  No, the bulb would have the same wattage.  But the effect of the light would be greatly reduced.  The tint on the shade or cover would cause the environment around the lamp to not be as illuminated as it otherwise would be.

Of course, you are probably wondering WHY I would ask such a weird question.  People get lamps to provide light.  Why would anyone put a dark tint on their lamp?  Good question.

I use this illustration today because in Philippians 2:14-18 Paul refers to Christians as lights that are intended to shine into the darkness of this world.  Jesus’ intended mission for you and me is that we would shine His life and light to a world that is dark and dying. Therefore He has placed His light inside us.  However, when we spend our lives complaining and focused on personal agendas, it is like we are putting a dark tint on the Gospel.  The Gospel is still powerful, but if we remain selfish and proud, the Gospel’s illumination might be dimmed in our culture.  This passage is a call for us to remove the tint of our sin so that the Gospel may shine in all its brilliance. 

This Sunday at Wildwood in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 services (indoors and with classes for children, students, college, and adults), 8:00 (outdoor chapel service) or 10:15 online (wildwoodchurch.org/live), we will be in part 3 of our “Attitude of a Servant” series as we will learn how to shine in this world for Christ.  Make plans to join us this weekend!