Baptism Sunday August 1, 2021 (Sermon Questions, Audio, Video)

On Sunday, August 1, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church we celebrated the baptism of 11 individuals.  The sermon this day focused on Ephesians 4:4-6.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio/video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Ephesians 4:4-6
  3. What are some of the things that make people different?  How has focusing on those differences led to divisions (in your experience)?
  4. In Ephesians 4, Paul is admonishing Christians to live in unity by focusing on THE NAME on the “front of their jersey” instead of the differences on their backs.  In what way do you find unity with other Christians?
  5. What are some practical ways you can live out the unity Jesus has provided for you with other Christians this week?
  6. Baptism is one of the ways that we celebrate the unity we have in Christ.  Have you been baptized since placing your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, when was that?  If not, what is keeping you from being baptized now?  NOTE:  To express interest in baptism at Wildwood in the future, let us know at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism
  7. What is one way you can “live for the name on the front” of your jersey this week?
  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 sermon audio offline, click link:

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To listen online, use the media player below:

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Watch the stream of service at YouTube online:

 

August 2021 Baptism Sunday Preview

This Sunday is August 1. That means the first day of school is right around the corner.  It also means we are right in the middle of the Summer Olympics!  If your home is anything like mine, you’ve probably spent some time watching swimming, diving, and gymnastics over the past few days.  USA … USA … USA.  To make it even more fun, my son has learned to play the national anthem (quite well I might add) on the piano.  It is very patriotic around the Robinson house these days.

Every time I watch the Olympics, I am reminded of a number of moments from previous Olympic years.  From Mary Lou Reton in ’84 to Greg Louganis in the late 80’s/early ‘90s to the Dream Team of ’92, I have a lot of gold medal memories from my youth.  Movies, however, have helped me celebrate other Olympic moments I was too young to fully appreciate at the time.  

Take the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” in Lake Placid.  I was alive at that moment, but not really watching hockey, so I missed this drama in real time.  Thankfully Disney revived it through the movie “Miracle” starring Kurt Russell.  I love this movie.  There is a particularly powerful scene in that movie that I was thinking about the other day.  The U.S. Hockey team was made up of young amateur players from a variety of rival colleges (some from Minnesota, others from Boston, etc.)  They were having a hard time gelling as a team, and the lack of chemistry was showing on the ice.  After one particularly poor performance in an exhibition game, Coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell in the movie) had his players return to the ice for an exhausting session of conditioning.  Periodically throughout their exercises, he would call on a player and ask them what team they played for.  Player after player would say their name and then their college.  Eventually, with his team nearing full physical collapse from fatigue, their captain finally spoke up and shouted out his name:  “Mike Eruzione from Winthrop, Massachusetts.”  Brooks then asked his captain, “And who do you play for?”  Instead of saying his college, Eruzione says proudly, “The United States of America.”  

And Brooks had proven his point.  The name on the front of the jersey is way more important than the name on the back.

I share this Olympic memory today (channeling my inner “Mike Tirico”) in order to make an important point.  “Out there” there are many things that can divide a team.  Our names are different, and they simply remind us that WE are different.  As long as we focus on our differences, we have no hope at unity.  Any cursory journey through 2020-21 should remind us of this fact.  

However, teams of different people form because something greater unites them.  Athletic teams unite around a city, a town, a nation, and a common cause.  This “name on the front” takes different people and unites them in mission together.  And this principle is not just applicable in sports.  It applies in our churches as well.

Some people look at a church and assume that everyone in that church is the same.  As someone who has served as a pastor for 25 years, I can honestly tell you that this is not true!  There are many different “names” on the BACK of our “jerseys.”  Different ideas, different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different genders, different gifts, different socio-economic status … the list goes on and on.  Churches are not made up of people who are all the same.  However, true members of THE CHURCH all have the same name on the FRONT of our “jersey” (and it is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than the name on the back).  JESUS is the name front and center in the church.  He is who unites us into “one new man” as Ephesians 2:15 states, regardless of our backgrounds.

As people come to faith in Christ, they don’t really get a jersey (that would be cool though, don’t you think?)  Instead, they get something even better.  They become identified with Jesus Christ, and we celebrate HIS NAME on the front of our lives through water baptism.  As Ephesians 4:5 states, in Him we have “ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM.”  

Join us this Sunday as we worship Jesus and celebrate with 11 of our new “teammates” as they profess faith in Christ through water baptism.  This baptism reminds us of our oneness together.  In a divided world, let’s come together as a church family to remember this great truth together of where our unity lies!

This week we will have two worship services (9:45 and 11:00) at Wildwood Community Church, and we hope you and your family can join  us.  Remember, on baptism Sundays we do not offer regular elementary, student, college, or adult classes (only early childhood is operating).  The rest of us will be uniting together in one of our two services.  Join us as we celebrate THESE BAPTISMS:

9:45

  1. Wristen Arnold
  2. Anna Ofthsun
  3. Eleanor Stauss

11:00

  1. Mendy Dixon
  2. Kason Hughes
  3. Melanie McCollum
  4. Carson Rehkop
  5. Emily Rehkop
  6. Henry Talkington 
  7. Sam Weddle
  8. Zoe Sheriff

See you Sunday!  And make note of our new worship service times (9:45 and 11:00).

Questions for Reflection – July 25, 2021

On Sunday, July 25, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Treasure the Scripture!” from our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce began by pointing out that we have a natural human tendency to stray from God’s truth.  He mentioned how virtually all seminaries were founded with a solid belief in the Scripture and how historically most departed from that position within 50 years. Why is that? What contributes to that?

2. Bruce also mentioned that he can trace a similar drift from God’s truth in his family line. Have you witnessed such a drift in your family line or with some individuals you have known? Elaborate on why and how that may have happened.

3. Psalm 119 emphasizes that Scripture is 1) the way of blessing (vs.1-2); 2) a source of strength (vs. 28b); 3) a treasury of wisdom and counsel (vs. 24, 98-100); and 4) never outdated (vs. 89,160).  Reflect and share some times when Scripture has proven to be that in your life.  Why do people develop the perspective that Scripture is at times outdated?

4. Verse 19 tells us that Scripture is like a lamp shining in a dark (murky, dingy) place.  What makes our world, our culture, murky and dingy?

5. Bottom line, why is Scripture a reliable lamp in this murky world?

6. Based on our study (from 2nd Peter 1 and 2 Timothy 3), describe the process of how the apostles and prophets came to write Scripture.  Cite some phrases from those passages.

7. In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul states that the Scripture is profitable for four things.  Note them and explain what each means.  What is the ultimate aim (hint: note vs. 17).

8. Take some time to pray and thank God for the wonderful provision of His Word.

Sneak Peek – July 18, 2021

One thing I’ve observed over multiple decades is that life always involves changes. And some of those changes can catch us off guard and be truly surprising. One change that seems to be looming on the horizon is the likely change involving OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 Conference.  Now, that one caught me totally off guard.  How about you?

Some changes are good changes—like having Pine Cove City in our facility this week with 177 elementary campers attending, nearly half of which aren’t Wildwood attenders. We believe God has been at work this week in many young hearts.  Special thanks to the Pine Cove staff for serving our Norman kids.

Some changes are…well…changes.  One of those is Wildwood will be shifting back to our pre-Covid worship service times beginning again in the month of August.  From August 8thon that means a return to 8:30am; 9:45am; 11:00 worship gatherings.  Be sure to check the bulletin for all class and Sunday Groups information. Sunday August 1st is a baptism Sunday.  Cool. We can do this!

This Sunday we will be wrapping our series (from 2 Peter chapter one), entitled, Be Diligent to Grow! This week I have the privilege of delving into one of my favorite subjects ever—the Scripture!  We will be diving into 2 Peter 1:19-21 (a classic passage on the Word of God).  The message is entitled, Treasure the Scripture!  You don’t want to miss this one!  So practical!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, July 18, 2021

On Sunday, July 18, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Be Encouraged!” for our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. As Bruce stated, while there is no Scriptural admonition for us to choose a ‘life verse,’ still some Jesus followers have done so.  If you have chosen a life theme verse, share what it is and why you have chosen it.  If you haven’t selected a ‘life verse’ for some reason,  what verse stands out to you as especially encouraging in your spiritual life?  Elaborate on why that is.

2. Bruce postulated that events and counsel from Jesus in Luke 22:31-34 and John 21:15-19 likely had significant long-term impact on Peter.  Imagine you are relating Peter’s experience to someone new to their faith.  How would you elaborate on the cause-and-effect impacts of those events on Peter’s life and ministry after Jesus’ ascension?

3. We often find ourselves thinking—Well, I’ve heard that verse before or I’ve heard teaching on that subject before.  Yet Peter goes out of his way to stress the spiritual importance of us being reminded of spiritual truth.  List several reasons why it is vital to be reminded of truth we “already know.”

4. Bruce quoted legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s “eight” laws of learning. Can you remember them?  What is unique about those “eight” laws?

5. Think of a biblical truth that might often slip from your everyday life focus.  What is the truth and why do you think it is so easy to lose practical focus on that truth?

6. In Philippians 3:1 Paul wrote that saying the same things again is a “safeguard for you.”  Why would that be true?

7. Several times Peter referred to leaving his ‘earth tent’ (vs. 13, 14) and having an ‘exodus’ from this world (vs. 15). What practical things can we learn for our life from what Peter is discussing?

8. The Bible says there are only two destinies in this world (see Matthew 7:13-14).  How confident are you about your future spiritual destiny? What have you done with Jesus?

9. Give God praise that our faith is not based on cleverly concocted fables but on rock solid historical facts.

Sneak Peek – July 18, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

I was truly encouraged today.  I observed as some 150 middle school and high school students (along with 20+ leaders) climbed aboard four buses to head off for a week of Wildwood Students camp.  Many of the students I know well, many are less known to me. But as they excitedly hurried off to jump on the buses, I was thinking:  there goes much of the future of Wildwood.

God has been good to give us such a fine group of students.  Please be praying for them this week.  Pray for safety, for sure.  But also pray for the Spirit of God to touch and change young hearts this week.  Pray that God raises up guys and gals who will be spiritual difference makers in their generation.  James warned us:  You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2). Let’s ask with some passion and vigor this week!!

Sunday we will continue with message #3 in our series from 2 Peter chapter one.  This week’s message covers 1:12-18 and is entitled: Be Strengthened!  Be sure to read the section over before Sunday.

As part of the message, I’m going to share some about my ‘life verse’ and how I came to choose it.  Plus, I will share what I suspect was Peter’s choice of a ‘life verse.’  I’m excited about Sunday and hope you are too!

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Be Diligent to Grow (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Born to Grow!” for our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Has there been an extended period in your spiritual history where there was little to no spiritual growth?  If so, share some about that period and why you may have experienced little growth.

2. It was stated in the message that spiritual growth is NOT automatic; that growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.  Is that concept new to you? Explain.  What would your response be if someone objected by saying, “Doesn’t God cause us to grow?”  What does Peter tell us in these verses?

3. How does the concept of wind surfing illustrate both what God provides for us and the role we play in the process?

4. In verses 5-7 Peter mentions seven qualities that we are to supplement to our faith in Christ.  List the seven, then highlight one as a prayer target for God to work on in your life.  If you are huddling with a small group, share which quality you have selected.

5. Bruce cited Stanley Baldwin who gave several illustrations from Scripture of brotherly affection or kindness. Reflecting on your life, is there an instance of brotherly affection or kindness which someone extended to you that was particularly encouraging?  Elaborate.

6. Bruce listed four practical benefits pointed out by Peter that come to us by actively growing in our spiritual life:
–Effective and fruitful (rather than ineffective and unfruitful) – vs. 8
–Spiritually insightful (rather than severely nearsighted) – vs. 9
–Spiritual stability (rather than instability) – vs. 10
–Special future blessing – vs. 11
Of those four, which one is new to you or most exciting to you?  Explain.

7. In conclusion by way of application, Bruce mentioned 3 principles and the 5 follows of Wildwood.  They are listed below.  Which is the top area that you believe the Holy Spirit is encouraging you to focus on this next few weeks?
–Regular Obedience to Scripture
–Everyday Reliance on the Holy Spirit
–A priority focus on honoring the Savior

Follow Him into the Word       (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Worship         ( Colossians 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Community   (Hebrews 10:19-24)
Follow Him into Ministry         (1 Peter 4:10)
Follow Him into Mission          (Matthew 28:19-20)

Sneak Peek – July 11, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, give me your honest response.  Has the Aedus Aegypti population been antagonizing you??…literally getting under your skin? Well, what say ye? They certainly have been hassling us around Hessville!

Yep, the mosquitos (Spanish for little fly) have been nearly blocking out the Sun around the Hess home.  Even after significant attempts to “stem the tide” they keep coming in multiple waves. Is this veritable winged army out to imitate the vastness of the Chinese military ranks? What we need is some good ole Oklahoma heat to dry out their lairs. Lord, bring on the summer soon!

After a fun All-in Sunday on July 4th, we will be returning to our regular schedule this Sunday with all children’s, student’s, and adult classes meeting at their respective hours.  We will also return to our July study which we launched the last Sunday of June (confusing, huh?) entitled: Be Diligent to Grow from 2 Peter chapter one.

Sunday we will dive into 2 Peter 1:5-11 (after a quick re-orientation to chapter 1).  I encourage you to read the passage before Sunday.  The message title is : “Born to Grow!” Peter will be underscoring that Christian growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.

The above truth is one that I didn’t grasp for quite a while.  I spent eight years remaining a spiritual baby after my spiritual new birth.  That isn’t normal!!  Maybe some of you had a similar experience or had some longer stretches where there was little to no spiritual growth.  Peter doesn’t want any of us to experience that!  Come and learn more. Let’s grow together!

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Serve or Be Served – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 4, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Serving or Self serving??”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Share about a time when you enjoyed actively serving others. What made it an enjoyable experience?

2. We look into a mirror to see how we look NOW, not how we were in the PAST.  It seems sometimes that people can look into the mirror of God’s Word asking the question, Serving or Self Serving, And they want to talk about the past, about what they once did. What causes us to fall into such a perspective?

3. Remember the list from the message.  Ask yourself Serving or Self Serving?…
-at home                               – with wife/husband
-at work                                -with roommates
-with neighbors                  -with bros & sisters
-at church

4. What two prompter questions did Bruce mention?

5. KIDS
-draw a picture of each family member and include how you could serve them
-help younger bro/sis clean their room
-vacuum
-clear the table of dishes
-fold clothes from dryer
-give a toy in VG condition to Salvation Army for the underprivileged
-put dirty clothes in hamper
-ironing if mom says OK

6. STUDENTS
-pick up trash at a park
-give some of your money to church
-walk the neighborhood with wagon collecting canned goods for Food & Shelter
-give your parent a hug and a compliment
-give up screen time and gaming time to serve others

7. ADULTS    set the example!
-mentor a college or HS student
-babysit for a single parent for free
-deliver a meal
-serve in children’s or student ministry
-with your spouse—where do they want to eat?
—what do they want to do?

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Thank Him and imitate Him!

Sneak Peek – Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Just got back from Mississippi (are you impressed that I remembered how to spell it: M-I-S-S ~ I-S-S ~ I-P-P-I?).

Janet and I along with my oldest daughter, Rebekah, left on Sunday afternoon and drove down to help my #2 daughter, Emily, make an important move back to Oklahoma. We helped her go through a large storage place she had rented, box up all her belongings, load a 20-foot truck with a trailer and then make a three-vehicle caravan trip to Oklahoma.  We got back Thursday late afternoon.

So grateful for a team of folks who helped us unload the truck. Whew! I’m not getting any younger.   😉   We made the trip because we wanted to serve Emily in getting her from Mississippi back to the land of red clay, 4 true seasons, and a wind that comes sweeping down the plain.  It’s great to be back.

Just a reminder:  This Sunday July 4 is not only the celebration of our independence and the founding of our country, but it is also an “All-In” Sunday.  We will still have our three Sunday services at 9:00am, 10:15am, and 11:30 am but there will be no Adult, Student, nor Children’s classes offered on the 4th.  Bring the whole family to the service which will have a family friendly message for all from Mark 10!

Our topic for Sunday is:  “Serving or Self-serving?”  As we gaze into our spiritual mirror, which is truer of me (whether I’m young or old)?  Am I more like Jesus, or more like the disciples in Mark 10?  Of course, we’re called to be more like Jesus. It’ll be a great look for everyone!

 

See you Sunday!

Bruce