Joy to the World (part 1) Sermon Audio, Video, and Questions

On Sunday, November 28, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 98.  This message was part one of the “Joy to the World” series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for group discussion or personal reflection.  Additionally, you will find the sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Psalm 98
  3. In your opinion, when is it too early to begin to celebrate Christmas?
  4. “Joy to the World” was written by Isaac Watts and is based on Psalm 98.  This Psalm (and Watts song) reflect on the past, present, and future of God’s people.  Take a moment to list out some of the things people can learn about God regardless of where they live in the world.
  5. Why do you think we are commanded to sing to the Lord concerning His salvation with our voices and with instruments, etc.  In other words, what do these elements ADD to our experience of relating to God?
  6. What are some ways you can “fill your home with the songs of the Lord” this Christmas?
  7. What are some evidences you see in the world today of the “curse” mentioned in Genesis 3 and “Joy to the World’s” third verse?
  8. What are you looking forward to most about the return of Jesus to the earth one day?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Audio appears here when available

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Audio appears here when available

 

To watch the stream, use YouTube online:

Video appears at 9:45AM on November 28 at this link

 

NOTE:  For Christmas 2021, we have an audio playlist prepared for the Christmas season (access it here):

For 2021 we have prepared a Christmas devotional book – “Joy to the World.”  Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.

 

Baptism Sunday – November 21, 2021 Stream

On Sunday, November 21, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, we celebrated with 23 people who professed their faith in Christ and were baptized.  Below you will find the links to the streams of these services, as well as a link to the Vimeo channel where all the testimonies can be watched that were shown this morning.

 

9:45 Worship Service (Stream of entire service):

 

8:30 Worship Service (Baptism & Testimonies only):

 

11:00 Worship Service (Baptism & Testimonies only):

 

Vimeo Channel with just the Baptism Testimonies can be accessed by clicking here.

Audio of the Sermon (listen offline):

Baptism Sunday 11.21.21

 

Audio of Sermon listen online:

The King’s Heart (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, November 14, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:28-30.  This message (focusing on the “lowly heart” of Jesus) was part 2 in the “King’s Heart” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

NOTE:  This series is also impacted by the book “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund.  You can find this book on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:28-30
  3. How much access do you anticipate having with anyone “important” or “famous”?  Why do you feel that way?  Contrast that with the access we have with Jesus Christ – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  4. Jesus calls us to COME to Him and to TAKE HIS YOKE upon ourselves.  This is a call to rest in salvation AND direction in sanctification (spiritual growth).  Have you answered this “call” in the past?  How are you answering that call today?  What motivates you or demotivates you to take those steps?
  5. What are some examples of how the world, your flesh, or satanic influence might try to obscure your view of Jesus from the picture found in the Gospels?
  6. How does being reminded of the accessibility of Jesus encourage you to pray more?  How can you apply this reminder this week?
  7. As we have walked through Matthew 11:28-30 over the past few weeks did you find yourself wanting to say, “Yes, Jesus is gentle, BUT what about  _____________ .“  In other words, did you find any internal conflict during this study of Jesus being Gentle and Lowly?  Did the concluding section of this message that tried to show how the Lion of Judah is also Gentle and the Gentle and Lowly heart is still the Lion of the tribe of Judah, help you with your concerns?
  8. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to sermon audio offline, click the link:

The King’s Heart #2 11.14.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

The King’s Heart (part 2) Sermon Preview

OK.  Take out your phone.  Open the contacts app. Now scan through it for the cell phone number you think OTHER people would most like to have?  Maybe it is the private number for a local celebrity or athlete.  Maybe it is the cell phone for a current member of congress or the leader of a major corporation.  Maybe it is just the number that allows you to bypass all the artificial intelligence greeting system when you call AT&T customer support so you can talk directly to a real life human being.  Go ahead and look.  Which number is the hottest ticket in your contact list?

In my phone, it is probably a set of Pastors who have a national and international platform, who I have met over the years in various contexts.  For many of you, these numbers mean nothing, but for a Pastor, I am surprised that I have their numbers.  Only problem is … I NEVER CALL THEM.  Not one time.  Why?  Even though I have their number, I don’t expect they would ever really want to hear from me.

Famous people are often removed from normal people.  We know who the famous person is, but they don’t really know us … and we assume they would never really WANT to get to know us.  Even if we wanted to make contact with them, we feel like a third party would need to be an intermediary to set up.  “I’ll get in touch with his people, and they can let me know if he will accept my call.”

Now, I say all this, to focus our attention on a mind-blowing concept that we often either misunderstand or take for granted.  Jesus Christ is the Creator of the Universe.  He is the King of Kings.  There is literally NO OTHER NAME in heaven or on earth that is greater than He is.  If there is anyone out there who we would assume has a “private line” it is Jesus.  Even after we came to faith in Christ, and someone told us we could pray to Him, we assume it is just like having a famous person’s number in our contact list.  We are glad it is there, but we don’t think Jesus ever really wants to hear from us.  

And yet …

Jesus is no ordinary famous person.  He is accessible.  In fact, He is the MOST accessible person in all the universe.  I have to go someplace or use some electronic device just to talk to my wife … but Jesus is accessible simply by praying silently in my head!  If we have trusted in Him, His number is on the contact list of our soul, and He is waiting for our call!!!  He even says, “pray without ceasing” … so call anytime, day or night.  And it is not just some second rate angel who answers, or a robo-answering service that we have to navigate through.  We pray, He hears.  And He will answer.  Amazing.

All of this flows out of who Jesus really is.  In His own words in Matthew 11:29, Jesus says that He is “lowly of heart.”  When He says lowly, think humble accessibility.  He has stooped to our level so that we might know Him.

This Sunday at Wildwood (November 14) in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be talking more about “The King’s Heart” toward us in part two of our series.  Last week we talked about the gentle heart of Jesus, and this week we will talk about the lowly heart of Jesus.  Can’t wait to look at this passage with you all.  Join us … and bring friends.

NOTE:  Service is also available via livestream beginning at 9:45 AM on Sunday at wildwoodchurch.org/live

The King’s Heart (part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, November 7, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:28-30.  This message is part 1 in the “King’s Heart” series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  Additionally, you will find the sermon audio/video to listen to/watch, download or share.

NOTE:  This series is also impacted by the book “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund.  You can find this book on Amazon by clicking here.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:28-30
  3. Think of an example in your life where you hesitate to approach someone.  What about that person makes you hesitate to “come to them?”  What are some examples of people who you have no hesitation “coming to them”?  What is it about them that makes them so approachable?
  4. Jesus calls us to COME to Him and to TAKE HIS YOKE upon ourselves.  This is a call to rest in salvation AND direction in sanctification (spiritual growth).  Have you answered this “call” in the past?  How are you answering that call today?  What motivates you or demotivates you to take those steps?
  5. A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  In what way do you think this statement is true?  What comes into YOUR mind when you think about God?
  6. Jesus reveals that the heart of God is GENTLE.  Based on our study of that concept this morning, what stands out to you most about the Gentle Heart of God toward you?
  7. Does the gentleness of God drive you to Him for forgiveness and provision?  Does the gentleness of God motivate you to be “yoked” together with Jesus in the direction of our lives?  What does that mean for you today?
  8. As a Christ follower, how does the gentleness of your Savior show up in the way you interact with those around you today?
  9. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here

 

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

The King’s Heart #1 11.7.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream of the service, use YouTube online:

 

The King’s Heart (part 1) Preview

It is A.W. Tozer who famously said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  This is true, not just because God created us, or even because God recreates us (and gives us new life in Christ).  This is true because our response to God determines our destiny … and how we respond to God is influenced heavily by WHO WE UNDERSTAND GOD TO BE.

So, who is God?  Who do YOU understand God to be?

Well, Jesus is fully God.  As John 1:18 tells us, Jesus has made God known to us.  As Hebrews 1:3 says, Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature.”  Therefore, if we want to know who God is, we need to come to Jesus and find out.  

Rather than just sitting in our own thoughts and imagining what we think God must be like, it is far better to turn to the person of Jesus as recorded for us on the pages of the New Testament, and get to know God as He truly is.

If we imagine God is cold and uncaring, then we will never come to Him in our most vulnerable moments.  However, if we know God to be compassionate and approachable, then there is no one we would rather turn to when the chips are down.  What we think God is like greatly influences how we approach Him.

Over the next 3 Sundays at Wildwood, we will be in a little series about who Jesus really is.  In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us what is at His core … what is in His heart.  Jesus says that He is “gentle and lowly in heart.”  Is that how you imagine the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords?  Maybe not.  Which is why we need to allow this passage to recalibrate our hearts.  As author and Pastor Dane Ortlund describes, “This is why we need a Bible.  Our natural intuition can only give us a God like us.  The God revealed in the Scripture deconstructs our intuitive predilections and startles us with One whose infinitude of perfections is matched by His infinitude of gentleness.  Indeed, His perfections include His perfect gentleness.”

So, make plans to be with us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we worship our Savior whose heart is gentle and lowly.  We will sing, pray, read God’s Word, and have communion together.  Can’t wait to see you Sunday, and bring friends!

NOTE:  Livestream of the service is available beginning at 9:45 at this link.

Sermon Questions: October 31, 2021

On Sunday, October 31, 2021 the sermon is based on 2 Thes. 3:1-2.  This message, “Winning Prayers,” by Kevin Bradford, is the conclusion to our “For the Nations” event from October 23-31 at Wildwood (find details here).  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 2 Thes. 3:1-2
  3. How would you rate your prayer life?  Do you feel that most of your prayer requests are answered with a “Yes”?
  4. What do you consider to be the keys to an effective prayer life? Have you ever tried praying the prayers of Scripture?
  5. This passage underscores the need to pray for the church’s outreach. What two facets are highlighted?
  6. Do you know any of Wildwood’s Global Outreach partners? In what ways could you personalize your prayers for those who present the Gospel to non-Christians?
  7. Although our “For the Nations” week is wrapping up, there are still many opportunities to connect with our partners, both locally and around the world. Contact the church office for more information.

For the Nations (Preview Sermon) Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, October 17, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Acts 13:1-3.  This message was the “preview” to our “For the Nations” event that will occur from October 23-31 at Wildwood (find details here).  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 13:1-3
  3. Have you ever been on a missions trip before?  What was the purpose of the trip and what are the strongest memories you have of the experience?
  4. In 13:1 we see a list of leaders from the church in Antioch.  This is a diverse group!  Have you ever been a part of a group of people with very diverse backgrounds that came together as one?  What created the unity?  How does Jesus make this kind of unity among diverse people possible inside the church today?
  5. When was the last time you prayed and fasted for the mission of Jesus in the world?  You can pray TODAY … but also you can join us as a church on October 28 as we pray for the mission of the church in the world at 6:30pm in our worship center.
  6. In what way are you personally participating in taking the Gospel to the world?  Giving, prayer, personally going, helping send others?  Join us throughout the “For the Nations Week” October 23-31 as we interact with many Wildwood has SENT to the world!
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon offline, click the link:

For The Nations Intro 10.17.21

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream of the service, use YouTube online:

 

For the Nations Preview … Sermon Preview

I am a sinful person.  My desires are not always pure and my actions not always righteous.  More often than I want to admit, the grid through which I process a situation is “what’s in it for me?”

Can anyone relate?

Because of that, I should not be surprised that in my flesh, I often think that whatever I see is for me.  Last slice of cake?  Must be mine.  Last $20 in my wallet?  Must be for MY lunch.  $50 for a birthday gift?  What do I WANT?  Our flesh puts the center of gravity in OURSELVES, putting everyone and everything around us in our orbit.

This attitude is not just present in our attitude toward things, it also even filters into the way we think about our church.  We want the best leader leading MY small group.  We want the best preacher preaching the service that I ATTEND.  We want the best worship band leading ME in worship on Sundays.  We want the coolest most amazing Youth or Children’s Pastor impacting MY KIDS.  We put ourselves at the center, and we don’t let anything get too far removed from our gravitational pull.

Because of this dynamic, we find what happens in Acts 13:1-3 quite alien.  A long time ago, in a time before ANY CHURCHES sent people out on mission trips, one church (in Antioch) released their beloved Senior Pastor and his hotshot young teaching protege out on an extended missionary journey.  They took up a collection, they released them from their Antioch specific duties, and they sent them off to lead OTHERS, to preach to THOSE WHO HAD NOT HEARD, and to lead OTHER PEOPLE’S FAMILIES to the throne of grace.  All this meant that the pulpit in Antioch and the Sunday school classes in their hallways would be led by someone else.  How amazing is this!?!?

To put this in practical terms, imagine a hypothetical situation where Wildwood gathered for worship on Sunday and had a particularly amazing time of worship and prayer … and at the end of that service, commissioned our Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess and myself (Senior Pastor) to take the Gospel to a foreign land, leaving Wildwood to serve in another field.  Now some of you might be excited by the change, but some of you would also be sad by this development!  What could enable a congregation to move past their personal agenda to take such missional action? 

People with themselves at the center would almost never send someone they like to permanently serve someone else.  They would want to keep them around to serve THEIR needs.  However, in Christ, there is another option.

If Jesus (not us) is at the center, and His glory is at the forefront, then everything exists to honor Him.  And Jesus has said that the Gospel is to go “into all the world, making disciples of ALL NATIONS …”  So, churches in sync with the Savior do not collect ministers like stamps, but instead send them out to the ends of the earth.  Instead of relegating missionary activities to those who “can’t cut it here,” the Spirit-empowered church is open to sending its best to those who have not heard.  The task is that important!

In our worship services over the next 3 weeks at Wildwood, we will have a special emphasis on the Lord’s work through Wildwood helping us be “For the Nations” following Jesus to the glory of God.  In these three weeks we will get to hear from some of Wildwood’s best and brightest who are proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth, particularly inside (or near) the 10/40 window.   Please, please, please make plans to attend.  This Sunday we will kick off this series with a preview message where I will be looking at Acts 13:1-3 and contemplating the unifying and primary task of the missionary expansion of the church, and Wildwood’s role in it.  Make plans to join us this Sunday, October 17 in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services, on online in the stream  (wildwoodchurch.org/live) beginning at 9:45.  Join us … and invite friends!

Questions for Reflection: Sunday, October 10, 2021

  1. Many of us know the experience of getting “discombobulated” while scurrying through airport security. Have you had something happen to you going through security that was funny or especially frustrating? Share some about it.

 

  1. One thing is abundantly clear in 2 Peter 2—Peter is far from politically correct in the stance he takes regarding false teachers. List some reasons why that is so.

 

  1. Peter designates false teachers in verse 17 as “springs without water.” What does he mean by that? Can you think of some real-life examples?

 

  1. Many scholars believe in verse 18 that Peter points out that the false teachers special target was newer or younger believers. Why would they target that group?

 

  1. Bruce points out that even to skilled expositors verses 20-22 are a confusing epilogue. What reason did Bruce cite for why that is? Can you summarize both the Majority View and the Minority View?

 

  1. Bruce cited two reasons why he leans toward the Minority View. What were they? (see at bottom for the answer)

 

  1. Bruce concluded by calling us to “Live what you believe.” He stated that we can do that by demonstrating 1) humility 2) authenticity  3) accountability.  Brainstorm what it would look like in practical terms for us to demonstrate those three ideas.

 

  1. Close in prayer by thanking God again for His indescribable gift of salvation.

 

 

1) the strong similarity of wording between 1:1:1-4 and 2:20 including the exact same verbal structure for “escape”   2) Paul’s closing statement later in 3:17-18 that seems to coincide with the Minority View