Sneak Peek – Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

It’s been an alarming week.  No, I’m not referring to Covid 19 issues.  I’m referring to the disturbing events in Minneapolis and the reactions around the country. It is startling that such events can happen in our country.  People are hurting, frustrated and angry. Our governmental and civic leaders need to act speedily and with wisdom. Now is a vital time for us to pray for our leaders as the Apostle Paul calls us to do in I Timothy 2:1-6.

Indeed, our Savior desires for ALL people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  There is one God and one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL. I pray that this does not simply become an opportunity for people to act out in their flesh, but rather to seek ways to love and serve one another without wrath and dissension (Galatians 5:13; 1 Timothy 2:8). Let’s pray that way!

Well, this Sunday is the last day of May…we jump into June on Monday!  Wow. Our service plan remains the same for Sunday and we are excited to have senior recognition in both services. First, we are continuing our online streaming church service which will be live at 9:30 am (although you can access it after 9:30 anytime).  Go to wildwoodchurch.org/live to access it.

Second, we are again planning an outside in-person worship service at 11 am (same music and message) in our southeast parking by the children’s building.  This is a “bring your own lawn chair/folding chair” outdoor gathering.  Weather-wise it will be sunny on Sunday so bring a hat or some sun protection.

The title of this Sunday’s message from our Anchored series is “Singing in the Storm pt. 1” from Habakkuk chapter three. This chapter is a prayer song composed by Habakkuk who also played stringed instruments (see the last phrase in the book). His song is going to praise God for how He is always at work, how He is always in control, and how He always provides salvation.

Hope to “see” you Sunday either in the Livestream or in-person at 11 am outside.

 

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, May 24, 2020

On Sunday, May 24, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “God will make it right!” it is Part 3 of our current sermon series Anchored. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. What are some of the evils or injustices you see in our world today?

As Habakkuk underscores, God’s promise is to “make it right.” How do passages like Obadiah 15 and Jeremiah 25:14 help with our perspective about this?

2. Habakkuk 2:3 emphasizes that God’s judgment and ultimate justice is already on His divine schedule—“it will not fail.”  How does that truth help us as we are affected by ungodliness and wickedness in our world today?

3. Let’s honestly apply the principles of God’s judgment on the Chaldeans (Babylonians).
Ask yourself truthfully:
Do I ever try to enrich myself at the expense of others?
Do I ever hit others and get violent to get my way?
Do I ever walk over others to reach my own selfish goals?
Do I ever use deceit and manipulation to take advantage of others?
If so, what changes must you make?

4. An idol can be anything that we turn to that takes priority over the place of God in our life.

What are some “idols” that people struggle with in our day?
What “idol” is a temptation for you to seek?

5. In Habakkuk 2:2 God emphasizes that His truth is designed to be shared. Brainstorm about some practical ways you can share God’s truth in your world.

6.  Matthew 7:13-14 emphasizes that there are two paths in life. One path is wide and leads to destruction.

Why are there so many people on the wide path? The narrow path leads to life. How does one take the narrow path?  Explain

7.  For those who like to dig deeper. The phrase, “the righteous (or just) shall live by faith” originally occurs in Habakkuk 2:4. What aspect of living by faith is the focus in the three places in the New Testament where the phrase is quoted? (see Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.)

8.  Read out loud Isaiah 26:4  Give God thanks for being our everlasting rock!

Sneak Peek for Sunday, May 24, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

So good to physically see many of you at the outdoor lawn chair service last week! I can’t wait till we can ALL gather again in-person as a large group in the worship center.

Wow.  We’ve come to Memorial Day weekend. Hard to believe it is already here. At the same time many of us will probably spend this holiday weekend in a different manner than we might normally because of all the restrictions.  Please do take some time to remember and thank those who have invested their lives to protect our freedom.

Our service plan remains the same for the next several Sundays. First, we are continuing our online streaming service which will be live at 9:30 am (although you can access it after 9:30 anytime).  Go to wildwoodchurch.org/live to access it.

Second, we are again planning an in-person worship service at 11am (same music and message) in our southeast parking by the children’s building.  This is a “bring your own lawn chair/folding chair” outdoor gathering.  Check the weekly newsletter for much more information and all the details or find them at wildwoodchurch.org/health.

Of course, we are watching the weather closely regarding the outdoor service. If somehow rain washes us out, you can be notified via text by texting wildwood1 to 95577 or by checking wildwoodchurch.org

The title of this Sunday’s message is “God Will Make It Right!” from Habakkuk chapter two in our Anchored series. Since we won’t have time to read all 20 verses this week, please read chapter two before Sunday.  Here’s the chapter outline to help:

  1. Habakkuk’s anticipation – 2:1
  2. The Lord’s admonition – 2:2-4;
  3. Judgment to come (wait and watch) – 2:5-20

 

Hope to “see” you Sunday either in the Livestream or in-person at 11am outside.

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – May 17, 2020

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message was “Why God?” it is Part 2 of our sermon series Anchored. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. We began by saying, maybe the most asked question in human history is, Why God?
Reflect back on a time when you clearly remember asking that question of God. What were some of the details of that situation?

2. Why is it that the common assumption life should be reasonably easy, innately fair, and readily understandable so widely held and assumed to be true?

3. List some parallels you see from our culture today that reflect similar situations in Judah during Habakkuk’s time.  Has God’s rule shifted in any way?  Elaborate.

4. Read again Psalm 5:4-6.  With that description of God, how do we explain His seeming lack of response to the wickedness and pridefulness of our day?

5. When life seems to unravel around us, why should we not respond like many do by either panicking, grumbling, or trying to escape in some way?

6. J.I. Packer said, God exposes us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to Him more closely.  This is the ultimate reason…why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities…to ensure that we shall learn to hold him fast. Reflect and discuss what that means in our everyday life.

7. Take some time to “take it to the Lord in prayer.”

Sneek Peak for Sunday, May 17, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

Remember how Steve Martin used to say on Saturday Night Live, “I’m a wild and crazy guy?” Well, we’ve been living a “wild and crazy” life these last number of weeks.  Right!?  It’s hard to know what is around the next turn.  Fortunately, the Great Shepherd has promised to be with us every through every twist and turn.

We are excited for Sunday for several reasons.  One is that I get to continue leading our study through the book of Habakkuk at our online streaming service.  By the way, remember that we are moving our online streaming to 9:30 am this Sunday, although you can access it also after 9:30 anytime.  Go to wildwoodchurch.org/live to access it.

Two is that, in addition, we are returning to an in-person worship service at 11 am (same music and message) in our southeast parking by the children’s building.  This will be a “bring your own lawnchair/folding chair” outdoor gathering.  Check the weekly newsletter for much more information and all the details, or go to wildwoodchurch.org/health.

Three is that we are excited to make an announcement about our student ministries this Sunday.  We hope you are able to come in-person, but if not, we fully understand.

This Sunday we will dive into Habakkuk 1:12-17 as Habakkuk raises his second complaint to the Lord, asking what may be the most asked question in history:  Why God??  It will be a very practical time together.

Hope to “see” you Sunday either in the livestream or in-person at 11 am outside.

Bruce

Questions for Reflections – May 10th, 2020

Questions for Reflection

Habakkuk 1:1-11
“Where are you God?”

 

 

  1. As humans our natural tendency is to focus on the “small story” (our own life and circumstances). List some ways that we often do that.

 

  1. God always operates from the “bigger story” (what He is accomplishing in the world). How did Paul learn to see the “bigger story” in Philippians 1:12-18?

 

How can we see the bigger story in light of the current crisis we face?

 

  1. Take time to make a full list all of your current concerns. When you are finished write over it, God is at Work.

 

  1. Close your time of reflection by doing two things:

 

  • use Psalm 25:5 as your prayer to God.

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.”

 

  • Download or look up the lyrics to the hymn How Firm A Foundation. Then go to youtube and sing along in worship to the Lord.

 

—- for a more contemporary version go to youtube and search

“How firm a Foundation Norton Hall band”

 

—- for a more traditional version go to youtube and search

“How firm a Foundation Songs of the Redeemed”

Sermon Preview – Sunday, May 10, 2020

Hey Wildwood Family!!

Man, Janet and I have missed seeing you SO much!  I am excited to be opening God’s Word with you again starting this Sunday (although it will be online only).  I find it interesting that in God’s timing I preached the FIRST online-only streaming message on March 15th. Yes, it’s been that long!  We encourage you to join us online again this Sunday as there will be information regarding the Elders’ plan for Wildwood’s return to in-person worship services.

Well, life has been wild recently, right?  We all know life tends to be hard and harsh at times and that has certainly been true the last number of weeks.  Ever wondered what God is doing?  Have you thought, Why is He allowing what He is allowing?  I don’t know about you but sometimes it feels like God is seemly silent and even inactive as far as I can see.

If you have ever thought like that, you will find encouragement from the Book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament.  Habakkuk directly addresses those issues and more, yet he also learns to worship God in His sovereignty and great character.

This Sunday we will be launching the first message in a series I’ve entitled, Anchored.  This first message is entitled, “Where are you God?”  and will be online at 11:00 am. I encourage you to search down the book of Habakkuk and read the first chapter (or all three since it is a short book). We will introduce the book and cover the first 11 verses of chapter one.

Don’t forget that this Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I know everyone knows someone they can honor on such a vital day.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Growing Up? (Part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio, Video

On Sunday, May 3, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on John 13:34-35.  This message was part 2 in the “Growing Up?” series.  Below you will find questions related to the sermon for group discussion or personal reflection, and the audio/video from the sermon to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 13:34-35
  3. What are some of the ways you have seen communication and connection with people get MORE DIFFICULT during this season?  Why have you persevered  to “pay the cost” to communicate in these ways?  What does that tell you about the way we were created?
  4. Jesus lets His disciples know that they are to love one another in the same way that Jesus loves them.  Based on that call, look at the following questions below, and evaluate your “love for one another”?
  • Do you serve, or expect to be served? 
  • Do you point others to the Truth? 
  • Do you pray for & pursue unity? 
  • Do you die to self for sake of others? 
  • Do you “show up”? 
  • Do you forgive? 
  • Do you involve others in your world?  
  1. Jesus says that His followers should be known by all for their love for one another.  How do you think Christians are most known today?
  2. The New Testament writers provide many “one another” commands.  See the lists of those “one another’s” below (in the images).  Do any of these particularly challenge you at this time?
  3. 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 to download:

Growing Up? #2 5.3.20

 

To listen to sermon audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use YouTube video linked below:

 

Growing Up? (part 2) Sermon Preview

Why is social distancing so hard?  Well, it is hard for a number of reasons.

  1. It is challenging because it makes it impossible for some of us to see our family, if they are in a vulnerable population or live in a care facility or are hospitalized.
  2. It is challenging because it makes it harder for some to do their vocations.  How do you educate from a distance?  Scores of teachers around the world are trying to figure that out right now!  How do you best lead worship services through livestreams?  Our team has evaluated and iterated on that process for two months now.  Many of you are wrestling through this in your businesses as well.  It is doable, but it is harder.
  3. It is challenging because it keeps you from gathering together with your friends.  Safer at home orders have forced people to communicate primarily through a screen.  We are thankful for that opportunity, but is is also somewhat 2-D.  You can add depth … but it is harder.
  4. It is challenging because when the meeting is over, the meeting is over.  Everyone clicks out of their screen.  No lingering in the lobby, no conversations in the parking lot, etc.  You an have a follow up phone call, but you may not have their number … it is just harder.
  5. It is challenging because humor is hard in this environment.  You can deliver a GREAT JOKE in a  conversation … your “A” material … and it goes unnoticed because you had the mute button on!  Dang it!

Social distancing is hard for lots of reasons.  But even though it is hard to communicate in this environment, we still do it, don’t we?  We put up with Zoom calls.  We tolerate extra time on the phone.  We may have even written hand written notes and mailed them to friends for the first time in years.  We put masks on and have our temperature scanned so we can go to work.  WHY?  Why are we allowing the cost to communicate to be raised, and yet we are still willing to pay it?

Well, I think there is a biblical answer to this question.  We were made for each other.  It was not good for Adam to be alone in the Garden, and it is not good for you to be alone in this life.  

I recently read about Vietnam prisoners of war who developed elaborate ways to communicate with each other while they were kept in solitary confinement for weeks on end.  Why?  Because they just needed that interaction.

Thankfully, while public health concerns can lead us to PHYSICAL DISTANCE, we will still find ways to be SOCIAL, because that is what we were created to do.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be talking more about how we can grow through this pandemic in our spiritual lives by growing in our love for others … even though the physical distance is high … even when it is hard.  We do it, because we were made for it.

Jesus Himself said, “They will know you are My disciples by the way you love one another.”  This Sunday, we will talk about how we are made to “one another” one another in part two of our “Growing Up?” sermon series.  Hope to see you there on the livestream at wildwoodchurch.org/live at 11AM.

Growing Up? (part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio/Video

On Sunday, April 26, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on James 1:2-8.  This message was part 1 in the “Growing Up” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for group discussion or personal reflection.  You will also find the sermon audio and video to listen to, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read James 1:2-8
  3. How are you viewing the COVID-19 era:  as a snow day?  blizzard?  winter?  ice age?
  4. When this current era is over, what are some of the ways you hope to have grown during this time?
  5. What are some of the “various trials” you are going through right now?  In what ways might God be developing maturity in every area of your life through your experiences in this struggle?
  6. Do you tend to view trials more as a “loss” or as “tuition”?  A loss provides no value, while tuition is paid to learn something or become something new.  How does viewing trials as  tuition help you have joy in the midst of difficulty?
  7. What are the kinds of things you typically pray for in the midst of trouble?  Is wisdom one of the things you are asking for?  Why or why not?
  8. How do you imagine God responding to your request for wisdom?  Is He attentive?  Does He hold it against you, thinking you should already know?  What does James 1:5-8 tell you about God’s attitude toward you as you pray?
  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 link to download:

Growing Up? #1 4.26.20

 

To listen to the sermon audio online, use media player:

 

To watch the sermon video, use YouTube online: