The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 3) Sermon Preview

We live in a world that is broken.  We all know it.  We feel the effects of this brokenness all the time.  On the personal level this brokenness manifests as addiction, severed and strained relationships, illness (mental and physical), self-destructive behavior, etc.  In the world around us, this brokenness appears as abuse, war, injustice, failed leadership, etc.  This broken and breaking world is an ever present reminder that things are not as they should be.

But what is the cause of this brokenness?  We all see it, but why is it there?  This is not just an abstract notion; how we understand the problem directly impacts the solutions we offer to solve it.

In our world today, various explanations are extended as to why the brokenness exists:

  • “The Devil made me do it.”  While these words may not always be uttered, they are certainly implied in explanations that talk of the darkness of this age (directed by the prince of darkness).  This notion has biblical roots, as Satan really is roaring about like a lion looking for prey.
  • “The System is broken.”  In today’s day and age, systemic causes are often cited to explain broken realities.  Unjust laws or widespread cultural missteps create problems downstream both now and in the future.  This explanation also has biblical roots, as the world system (personified as the “prostitute Babylon” in Revelation 17-19) is a counterfeit system that ultimately hurts (not helps) you and me.
  • “Our Leaders are crooked.”  We often want to attach the problems of this world to our human leaders … the country would be better off with a different President or congress, the state would be better off with a different Governor, our company would be better off with a different CEO, our church would be better off with a different Pastor, etc.  This idea also has biblical roots as the directions leaders set do have real world consequences for the residents of their “kingdoms.”

These are some of the working theories for the brokenness of our world.  But do they explain ALL of what we see … or is there something else at play?

What if there was a time in history when Satan was in jail, and unable to tempt people … and what if in that same timeframe, the world’s laws and systems were completely just and right … and what if in that same timeframe, the world was led by a Perfect leader?  What would happen then?  

Well, believe it or not, Revelation 20:1-10 describes this EXACT TIME.  It looks ahead to the world right after Jesus comes back and runs the clock forward 1,000 years.  What is the world like without Satan, with perfect laws and systems, and led by the PERFECT Son of God, Jesus Christ, and a supernatural/sanctified set of undershepherds.  In THAT world, will the people living in it experience Edenic bliss?  Will sin still have any sway?  

This passage has a lot to say about this … so come Sunday morning as we dive in to see what happens after Jesus returns, and what it says about the sources of the brokenness we all experience (so we can look to the right solutions).  See you Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 at Wildwood Community Church as we are in part 3 of our “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Come … and bring friends!

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, August 28, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 19:11-21.  This message was part 2 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for group discussion or personal reflection.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 19:11-21.
  3. How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime related to the events of Christmas (Jesus’ first coming)?  How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime related to Revelation 19:11-21 (Jesus’ second coming)?  Why do you think we talk about His first coming so much more than His second?
  4. In the message, we walked through the big story of the Bible.  Why do you think it matters to remember the whole story to appreciate how it ends?
  5. Read through again the description of Jesus’ coming again in 19:11-16.  What stands out to you the most about the picture of Jesus provided in these verses?
  6. Jesus here is pictured as the Warrior, King, and Judge.  Are there any ways in which your understanding of who Jesus is needs to change in response to these verses?  If we really remembered who Jesus was, how might we live differently?
  7. What are some things in this world that argue that “darkness is winning”?  How does remembering Jesus’ ultimate victory encourage you today?
  8. Have you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, what are you waiting for/what is causing you to hesitate?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

 

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #2 8.28.22

 

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To watch the sermon, use YouTube online:

 

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 2) Sermon Preview

Are you familiar with the Christmas story? I am guessing that most of you reading this post are. I am not talking about the myth concerning Santa Claus and the North Pole, I am referring to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, being born in Bethlehem.
The events related to the first coming of Jesus are some of the most familiar in all of Scripture. We have sets of figurines in our homes that we display seasonally recounting the story. We dedicate a month of sermons every year to remember Jesus arrival. And all this for good reason! The first coming of Jesus IS MASSIVE NEWS. In fact, MASSIVE GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY for ALL THE PEOPLE!!!!!
However, did you know that Jesus is planning on coming back to this earth a SECOND time? That’s right. He is coming. He is coming soon, and the wise man or woman takes this to heart.
Though you may have heard that Jesus is coming again, you may not know as much about the second coming as the first. You probably don’t have a second coming decorative that you set out every August on your mantle … you may have never heard a SINGLE sermon about the event (though you have heard thousands of Christmas messages). Because of this, knowledge of the second coming of Christ may be a mystery to many.
Our ignorance of the event is not because God has not been telling us about it. According to Pastor David Jeremiah (I have not done the independent research on this, but trust his work), one out of our every 30 verses in our Bibles makes an allusion to the second coming of Jesus. It is mentioned in 17 of the 39 Old Testament books, and in 23 of the 27 New Testament books. There are 1,845 total references in our Bibles to Jesus return! That is a LOT of material!!! There is roughly 8x the biblical references to the second coming of Jesus as to the first. God has consistently spoken of this event through the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus Himself. He obviously wants us to know what’s coming!
This Sunday, at Wildwood Community Church, we will be in Revelation 19:11-21 (in part 2 of our “The Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series) as we will be looking at the central passage on Christ’s second advent that vividly describes the day He returns to this earth.
  • If you have never heard a sermon on the second coming … come Sunday. Let’s educate our minds.
  • If you have questions about why this event matters so much … come Sunday. Let’s invigorate our faith response.
  • If you are a prophecy junky, and regularly compare headlines to Scripture … come Sunday. Let’s reconnect this message to our hearts (not just to our heads).
Apparently God wants us to know about the return of Jesus, so let’s see what He has to say together as we gather on August 28 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 service.

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 1) … One more thought

One of my favorite professors during my time at Dallas Theological Seminary was Howard Hendricks. “Prof Hendricks” (as he was affectionately known) was a walking/talking quote machine with his perspectives on life, ministry, leadership, and creativity word-smithed into memorable phrases.
One comment I often heard Prof say related to the time after the sermon each Sunday, when (in prior generations) Pastors would often stand by the door to shake the hands of congregants as they exited the sanctuary. The predictable string of “Thank you Pastors” could have a tendency to inflate the ego of the Minister, so Hendricks wanted his students (who might stand in a line like that at some point in their future) to keep things in a proper perspective. Prof humorously called those compliment lines “the Glorification of the Worm.” What did he mean by that?
Well, when a fisherman goes out to fish, he baits his hook with a worm. When a big catch follows, right thinking people don’t celebrate the worm, they compliment the fisherman! Hendricks point is clear: in ministry, we are the worm, and HE is the Fisherman! When something “catches,” He is the One who is to be praised.
I have long remembered this and contemplate it after events when I have the privilege of speaking. It helps to keep things in proper perspective.
I was thinking about this today pertaining to Revelation 19:10 … a verse I read this morning, but did not reference in my sermon. It says, “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.’ For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
After an Angel instructs the Apostle John about the upcoming “marriage of the Lamb,” John responds by falling down and worshipping the Angel! The Angel REJECTS this action, reminding John that the Angel is not the One to be celebrated here, but it is God Himself (and God only) that is worthy of our worship. The Angel’s words and prophecy simply point to the One who is to be responsible for this remarkable work.
Like John, we are often overcome with the encouragement received from other Christians. Whether it is a Christian musician that has blessed us with song, an author who has painted vivid pictures with words, a Pastor we love to stream on a podcast or hear preach on a Sunday, or small group or ministry leaders who have made a big impact in our lives … we too are tempted to hear a great message, and then praise the messenger.
While it is good and right for us to express our appreciation to those God uses to bless us, we should also save the true worship and praise for the One who was doing the “fishing” all along. We thank each other … but we worship God.
Just wanted to share this additional thought with you from our study of Revelation 19:1-10 this morning. Join us next weekend at Wildwood (in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services) as we will look at Revelation 19:11-21 and see THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST! Can’t wait.

Lord of New Heaven and Earth (Part 1) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, August 21, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 19:1-10.  This message was part 1 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 19:1-10.
  3. Given your experience, and the times in which we are now living, why do you think so many people have such a curiosity about the Apocalypse (events related to the end of the world)?
  4. In 19:1-5, the population of Heaven proclaims “Hallelujah” multiple – praising God for His judgment on the world’s system (personified as a “prostitute”).   In your understanding, why is it appropriate (even encouraged) to celebrate the judgment of the world’s ways?
  5. The world’s judgment is described in graphic terms in 19:3.  This seems to be a deterrent for us to stop following the world’s ways, and to worship the Lord alone instead.  What things are you currently devoting too much time and energy to that will one day “go up in smoke”?
  6. Have you ever considered that you were being prepared for a “Royal wedding?”  Have you forgotten that Jesus is the King?  Did you forget that you are His Bride?  How would you live your life differently if you consistently remembered who you were and who He is?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #1 8.21.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

 

Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 1) Sermon Preview

Last week I mentioned that my family went to Washington DC over the summer for vacation.  We saw all the usual sites in DC for the majority of our trip, but one day, we went to one of Washington DC’s newest attractions celebrating one of the oldest documents on earth – the Museum of the Bible.

First of all, let me strongly encourage any of you who visit Washington to tour this museum.  It is a wonderful experience.  Having gone to Israel and seen many ancient manuscripts before, I was skeptical that this museum would be all that unique.  However, I was way wrong.  The museum is not just a collection of old scrolls reminding us of the EXISTENCE of the Bible (though there is some of that) … this is a half-billion dollar building celebrating the IMPACT of the MESSAGE of the Bible on the United States and the world.  Many high tech exhibits bring this story to life.

I mention this today, to highlight one specific exhibit in the museum … a large dynamic exhibit on the YouVersion Bible App.  This app has been downloaded over 500 million times around the world, and is a big way many people are accessing the Word of God today.  In this exhibit, there is a large interactive display showing the most searched terms in the Bible app among the HALF A BILLION users of the YouVersion App in the world today.  Looking over the stats, I saw something interesting:  the THIRD MOST SEARCHED term in the Bible app was “Apocalypse.”  

Apparently, the people of this world are wondering how this ride is going to end … AND they are looking to the Scripture to find the answer.

AND … God has provided that answer.

In Revelation 19-22, the last book of the New Testament concludes with a vivid picture of where everything is headed.  The picture is not of clouds, harps, and halos, but of something much more dramatic.  A Kingdom … and  New Heaven and Earth … where King Jesus is dwelling with His people.  

If you have anything in common with the half a billion YouVersion users, you need search no further.  Come to Wildwood Community Church the next nine weeks as we see where the universe is headed, and learn to trust more and more the One who is driving us there.

This Sunday, we will be in week #1 of our series, “Lord of the New Heaven and Earth” looking at Revelation 19:1-10 in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services.  Make plans to be there … and bring friends!

The Church that Acts – Sermon Questions, Audio, and Video

On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on a survey of the book of Acts.  This message (titled “The Church that Acts”) kicked off the school year at Wildwood.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find Audio and Video from the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Review some of the key verses from Acts that we looked at today:  Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:10-37; and any other verses shared that were of particular interest to you.
  3. In what ways is a church like a museum?  In what ways is it different?
  4. When reading of the early church, there are many examples of life transformation and growth.  We talked about some of them this morning (Paul, Peter, Mark).  What are some of the transformations God has done that you have personally witnessed in your own life, or in the lives of those living around you today?
  5. The early Church grew in their faith in God and love for others.  We are called to grow in these categories as well.  We summarized some of the things God uses to grow our faith & love as:  Word, Worship, Community, Ministry, Mission.  If you desire to grow in your faith and love this year, what needs to change, what needs to stop, or should you continue to do as you seek to grow in your relationship with God?
  6. The first church made waves of impact in different groups, including inside the church, in their community (outside the church), among the other nations, and to the next generation.  Think of each of these categories and brainstorm one way that you might be partnering together with your local church to ACT in the year ahead?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to audio offline, click the link:

The Church That Acts 8.14.22

 

To listen online, use media player below:

 

To watch the service stream, use YouTube online:

 

The Church that Acts (Sermon Preview)

This past summer, we took a family trip to Washington DC. While Kimberly and I spent a couple of days there on our honeymoon years ago, this was our first trip to the nation’s capital since our son was born. We saw most of the monuments, visited Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetary, devoted a day to the Museum of the Bible, and toured sections of the Smithsonian.
As someone who likes reading and studying history, I LOVED this trip. So many things to see and learn about. Plus, it was the week leading up to the Fourth of July! Guess we were just a trio of Yankee Doodle Dandies!
Walking through memorials, monuments, and museums, got me thinking … in what way is THE CHURCH, like a museum? Museums and memorials collect important documents, mementos, and memories of important events from history. Churches ALSO look regularly to ancient documents that we hold dear and regularly recall memories of important events of years past.
Is THE Church a museum? Is OUR Church a Memorial? Or is there something more.
I believe there is something more. So. Much. More.
And this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we are going to gather and talk about it. By looking at the book of Acts as the “prototype” church, we will see that the church is not a memory factory of what is dead and gone, but a dynamic collection of people on mission today.
Together we will look to the Church of Acts (in history) to find out how to be a Church that Acts (today)!
PLUS, we will remember, through the celebration of communion together, the saving act the Risen and Reigning Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf to secure our eternity. Can’t wait to be with you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service this Sunday, August 14, 2022!
NOTE: This week is our “Promotion Sunday” for children’s and student ministry!
NOTE 2: We will be starting a new series on August 21 called “The Lord of the New Heaven and Earth” from Revelation 19-22. Make plans to join us all fall!

Baptism Sunday Preview (August 7, 2022)

At Wildwood we are FOR following JESUS together to the glory of God. Because of that, we celebrate when people begin to follow Jesus, and Baptism is a time for the church congregation to celebrate these beginnings! This Sunday (August 7) at Wildwood, we will have the privilege of seeing 13 people be baptized. We will hear their stories, pray over them, rejoice with them, and witness their water baptism. We will also sing of Jesus’ goodness, open God’s Word together, and be encouraged as we begin the month of August together as a church family. Hope you can join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service!

  • NOTE: On baptism Sundays (as is our tradition) we do not run our elementary, student, college, or adult Sunday morning classes. All Kindergarten and up will be in the worship service together for these services. What a great chance for us to celebrate as a church family!
  • NOTE 2: See the attached pic with details about who is being baptized in which service.
  • NOTE 3: We will also get to hear a special testimony from Scott Stonehocker, our dear brother in Christ who went home to be with the Lord over the summer, but recorded a powerful testimony for us to watch together this Sunday as a part of all 3 services. What a great day! See you Sunday.
  • NOTE 4:  We will also have a few very special announcements for our entire church family.  Don’t miss it!