First Responders (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 of the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

First Responders #1 04.15.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

First Responders part 1 – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 11:1-19.  This message was part 1 in the “First Responders” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 11:1-19
  3. Think about who John the Baptist was . . . what he had seen . . . and what his CURRENT context was (context in Matthew 11 – see also Matt 14:1-12).  Knowing these things, why do you think he was concerned that Jesus might not be “the One?”
  4. Have you ever had an experience where you (or someone close to you) had their convictions shaken by difficult circumstances?
  5. Jesus grounds His response to John’s disciples in concrete reality:  what they could see.  By observing the person of Christ, their faith would be encouraged.  In the message we talked about 3 ways to refocus our convictions:  by looking back to the person of Jesus Christ, by looking around at the testimony of others, and by looking into God’s Word more deeply.  In what ways has YOUR faith been encouraged by these things?  What do you need to focus on more today to keep the faith in the midst of challenging circumstances?
  6. Jesus stands up for John, even as John asked a hard question.  How does this encourage you to seek answers to the hard questions in your life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

First Responders – Series Preview

April 19, 1995.  I don’t think I will ever forget that day.  I was getting ready for class at the University of Oklahoma and listening to the radio.  The DJ said there has been some kind of an earthquake that had hit downtown Oklahoma City — his studio had been shook.  In reality it was not an earthquake, it was a bomb that had been detonated at the Federal Building.  Our city had been shaken and stirred to action.

Immediately First Responders arrived at the bombing site.  Police and Fire and EMT ran toward the scene.  In their response, many of us (me included) found inspiration as I found myself at a local charity that night volunteering to help pack supplies for those in need.

As Oklahomans, we have often looked to the courage and response of the first responders to the scenes of different events:  F5 tornados, floods, and wildfires.

I was thinking about this today as I prepare for a new series we are kicking off at Wildwood on Sunday.  In the Bible, when Jesus arrived, there were a number of people who ran to the scene.  In that first group of responders to Jesus, however, we see something interesting.  Instead of being inspired by all their faith, we find that many rejected Jesus instead. 

In Matthew 11-12, there are a number of “first responders” to Jesus message who struggled to understand who He was or what He was coming to do.  This included such varied groups as John the Baptist and his followers, the Pharisees, and even Jesus’ own earthly family.  By looking at the response of these first people, we can see more of how we might respond to Him as well. 

Join us this Sunday, April 15 at Wildwood Community Church for our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we begin our series: “First Responders” asking the question, “when Jesus calls . . . will we answer?”  See you Sunday!

Easter 2018 Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15.  This message was a part of our Easter services for this year.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online or share.

 

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

Easter 04.01.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Easter 2018 Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 1, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a message based on Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15.  This was the Easter Sunday sermon for this year.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 24:1-12 and Colossians 2:6-15
  3. The historical events remembered this weekend (the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ) have been called the most significant events in the history of the world.  In what way do you think that is true?  What questions does this statement bring to your mind?
  4. What makes Jesus’ death and resurrection unique?  (After all, Stephen was also martyred, yet we do not have a holiday for him . . . and Lazarus was also resurrected, yet we don’t have a day on the calendar called “Lazarus’ Re-Birthday.”)
  5. According to Colossians 2:12a, 13b-15, the death of Jesus accomplished something very important for us.  What is it?  Think of your past for a moment.  What sin that you have committed “haunts” you still today?  How do these verses indicate Jesus deals with our guilt and sin?
  6. According to Colossians 2:6-13a, Jesus’ resurrection sets us up to live a “new life” today.  In what way is your life different because you know Jesus?  In what ways are you still going back to the “tomb” of your previous life instead of living (with Christ) the resurrected life He provides?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Easter Weekend 2018 Preview

Easter weekend.  This is a BIG weekend, isn’t it?  Some of you will hunt Easter eggs.  Others will make plans to have a special meal with friends or family.  Many of you will head to church for worship services on Friday night and Sunday morning.  Several of you have bought special clothing to wear to an event this weekend (and are now taking those clothes back to find something warmer).  There is a lot going on!

In addition to the things above that are a part of Easter weekend every year, this year brings with it a few other agenda items.  The Final Four for NCAA basketball is happening in San Antonio.  Norman Youth Soccer kicks off at Griffin Park.  A walkout is planned for our local classrooms. In the midst of all this, it is absolutely possible that we have arrived at Easter weekend, and Friday night Good Friday services, and Easter Sunday morning worship are just other items on our calendars.  But if that is the case, let’s reset the stage . . .

This weekend, we are celebrating the two most important events in the history of the planet: 

Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for all my sins to be forgiven.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead made it possible for me to walk about living a “newness of life” to the full!  Were it not for these events, I would be weighed down beneath the weight of my own failure and without hope in this world, merely waiting for this old life to die and judgment to come.  However, because Jesus died on the cross, God’s wrath concerning my sins has been satisfied and thus my sins forgiven.  And, because Jesus rose, I can see the resurrection power of God provide me life today and forever. 

This weekend, we do not go to church simply because it is the cultural norm.  No, we go to church because we need to celebrate: 

His death paid for ALL my sin and His resurrection provides for ALL my life. 

This weekend we will focus our attention on the God who loves us and saves us through the work of His Son Jesus Christ.  Join us at Wildwood Community Church Friday night, March 30 at 6:00 or 7:30PM as we remember the death of Jesus in our Good Friday service, and then come back Sunday morning, April 1 at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 as we rejoice together on Resurrection Sunday.  See you this weekend!

Palm Sunday Sermon Questions

On Sunday, March 25, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Mark 11:1-11 and Zechariah 9:9, 14:1-5.  This message was a part of our Palm Sunday celebration.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Mark 11:1-11, Zechariah 9:9, 14:1-5
  3. Brainstorm a list of things you know about Jesus from His life and ministry (as recorded in the Bible).  How does this evidence support His assertion that He was the Son of God?
  4. In what ways did Jesus win “peace” during His earthly life and ministry? In what way is our world still in need of peace? 
  5. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a peaceful donkey.  When He returns to the earth, He will be riding a war horse (Revelation 19).  What are you most looking forward to about the promised “second coming” of Jesus?  What are you most fearful/concerned about regarding His second coming?
  6. Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If so, when?  If not, why not?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Relationship Status (Part 4) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, March 4, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached part 4 of the “Relationship Status” series, outlining a third option in marriage . . .  growth empowered by the Spirit of God.  Below you will find audio from the sermon to listen to, download, or share.

 

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

Relationship Status #4 3.04.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Relationship Status (part 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, March 4, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon that was part 4 in the “Relationship Status” series.  This message focused on a “third option” couples can embrace when they experience challenges in their marriage.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Have you personally (or have you known friends) who have experienced a great challenge in their marriage, and the only options assumed where stay married and be unhappy or get divorced and start over?  What are the biggest obstacles you see to the “third option” mentioned today (building the marriage you want with the person you are committed to)?
  3. In what ways is marriage harder than you expected it to be (if you are married)?  In what ways do you think the biblical passages on marriage in Matthew 19:1-12 and Ephesians 5:22-33 show marriage to be hard?
  4. What are some of the ways you have seen your personal sinfulness come out during your married life (if you are married)?
  5. How does God’s grace, demonstrated through the finished work of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit, give you hope in the midst of your marriage (if married) or for your future married (if single and hope to one day be married)?
  6. What are some ways that you can start building today for the marriage you want tomorrow?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To sign up for the “Art of Marriage” Event held April 6-7 at Wildwood Community Church, click here.

Relationship Status (part 4) Preview

As a Pastor, I often have the privilege of interacting with people in the most vulnerable moments of their lives:  birth, death, surgery, disaster, marriage, divorce, etc.  In these moments together with people I am always deeply humbled to have a front row seat to what is happening.  By God’s grace, it is always my hope to help lessen the load of grief in prayer or multiply the joy shared in those moments. 

Over the years, I have had the privilege of walking alongside a number of people who were struggling in their marriage.  The details of their experiences are different, but the arc of the story is often similar:  after some underlying problems were left unaddressed, __________ happened (affair, pornography addiction, physical altercation, something awful said, etc.), and now the couple is considering abandoning the relationship.

When couples are faced with these circumstances, they often think they have two choices:

  1. Remain married in a marriage they hate.
  2. Get divorced and start over.

At one level, this makes sense.  In the theater of much of human experience, these are the two most common options.  Be miserable in your marriage, or have hope in a new one.  Given these options, it is not surprising what many people would choose to do.

The problem with these options, however, are their failure to take into account God’s resurrection power.  If God can:

  • Part the Red Sea
  • Give sight to the blind
  • Raise Jesus from the dead
  • Forgive us from ALL our sins

AND, if this same God is at work in me . . .

THEN, we should have hope for a third option:

3)  The marriage you want with the person you committed to.

This third options is only possible through the miracle of life change.  It requires God’s grace made manifest in both forgiveness and empowerment to Christ-like behavior.  Jesus said of marriage, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matthew 19:6)”  Given this kind of commitment, followers of Jesus Christ who are married have a lifetime’s worth of incentive to see this third option built into a reality.

Gary Thomas says of marriage, “A good marriage isn’t something you find; it’s something you make, and you have to keep on making it. Just as importantly (and herein lies the hope), you can also begin remaking it at any stage.”

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be talking about making (or remaking) your marriage into the marriage you want with the person you committed to (when you said “I do.”)

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 as we will be wrapping up our “Relationship Status” series.  See you then!