Tomorrow (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, January 5, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, OK, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 24:1-14.  This message was part 1 in the “Tomorrow” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 24:1-14
  3. Have you ever wondered if human history was “headed somewhere?”  What have been the kinds of things you have experienced in your life that made you wonder if the world would ever “end”?
  4. What in this life looks like it will go on and on forever?  How do you take comfort from the destruction of the Temple in toppling the seemingly indestructible forces in our world?
  5. What do you see as the biggest differences between the “Old Testament” times and the “New Testament” time in which we live?  In what way is the New Covenant of Jesus better than the Old Covenant from the Old Testament? (see Hebrews 8)
  6. Jesus describes the events that will proceed the establishment of His Kingdom.  This length includes many different things that will involve difficulty for those who are on the earth in the days leading up to His second coming.  In what way do you see similarity with the events described in 24:3-14 and today?  What are some differences you see?
  7. Jesus encourages us to not be troubled by the delay in His coming, while also persevering to the end.  What does persevering in your faith look like in your life today?  Are you experiencing any difficulty or persecution because of your faith in Jesus today?  Do you anticipate any challenges or difficulties in the days ahead?
  8. Throughout history between His resurrection and HIs second coming, Jesus is proclaiming the Gospel through His people to the ends of the earth.  Who in your life right now does the Lord want to use you to reach?  What is one tangible thing you can do this week to that end?
  9. Take a moment and pray for a missionary you know around the world today sharing Christ in another culture!
  10. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Tomorrow (part 1) Sermon Series Preview

Well, it is January 1.  Another year is beginning . . . filled with a number of “tomorrows.”  As you start another year, have you made any resolutions?  Anything you want to add to your life in 2020?  Anything you want to remove from your life in 2020?  Any progress from this past year you want to sustain?

If you are like me, you probably have several goals in mind for the new year.  For me, one of the things I am looking forward to in 2020 is to complete our preaching series that have focused on the Gospel of Matthew.  Since Christmas 2016, I have been preaching through Matthew’s Gospel . . . a journey that has already encompassed 12 specific series and included 67 individual sermons.  It has been such a joy to focus on the Person and work of Jesus Christ on Sundays mornings these past 3 years.  It is a vivid reminder that Jesus really came to the earth and shows us who God is and what He is like.  

Over the next 4 months at Wildwood Community Church, we will have our final 2 series from Matthew’s Gospel covering Matthew 24-28.  These final 16 sermons from Matthew will walk us through the most critical events in all of human history.  I am so excited for us to be on this journey together!

The first of these series will begin this Sunday.  Entitled “Tomorrow: Preparing for the Son to Rise Again,” this series looks at Matthew 24-25 – Jesus’ predictions about the future and His promise to come to the earth again one day.  These words are super important for us to see.  Some view Biblical prophecy as a topic of little contemporary significance.  If that is how you view prophecy, it is likely that you may have simply avoided reading much of it out of fear or confusion, OR you have been taught prophecy only as an academic exercise.  

If you are either bored or confused by prophecy or consider it irrelevant to your current life, then let me encourage you to allow JESUS CHRIST to be your teacher on the end times over the next 6 Sundays, as we look at what He had to say about the topic.  His teaching and comments on the subject are exciting, straight-forward, and carry with them imminent personal application and response.  I can’t wait to look at these passages together.

Our outline for the next few Sundays will be:

  • January 5:  “Tomorrow – part 1” – Matthew 24:1-14
  • January 12:  “Tomorrow – part 2” – Matthew 24:15-31
  • January 19:  “Tomorrow – part 3” – Matthew 24:32-51
  • January 26:  “Tomorrow – part 4” – Matthew 25:1-13
  • February 2:  “Tomorrow – part 5” – Matthew 25:14-30
  • February 9:  “Tomorrow – part 6”  – Matthew 25:31-46

I encourage you to read ahead as we look at these passages together!

New Testament scholar Michael Green says, “The return of Christ has another important facet to it, which this chapter underlines.  History is going somewhere.  It is not meaningless.  It is not random.  It is not eternal.  There will be a real end just as there was a real beginning.  And at the end we shall find none other than Jesus Christ.”

History . . . including OUR history . . . is headed someplace; ultimately headed to Someone.  Are we prepared for that meeting?  And how should we live our lives today knowing where we are going?  That is the subject of this month’s sermon series.  Hope you make plans to be with us on Sunday mornings this January at 9:45 or 11:00!

Questions for Reflection – Keep the Gospel Central!

On Sunday, December 29, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Keep the Gospel Central” from 2 Timothy. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Did you have someone who filled a role as a spiritual mentor to you?  How do/did you feel about them?  Elaborate.

2. Timothy had been shepherded for 17 years by his spiritual father/mentor Paul. What kind of emotions do you imagine Timothy had as Paul penned his last words to him before facing execution?  How carefully do you think Timothy repeatedly poured over Paul’s last words to him?

3. Why do we often tend to view the gospel—the truth that Jesus died for our sins—as merely a past event (though a significant one) in our lives?

4. Bruce cited several reasons why we should preach the gospel to ourselves regularly.  One was our tendency to let feelings rule our life.  What did he mean by that?  Explain.

5. Another reason cited was we often stumble spiritually. How does the gospel and the truth of the cross help us there?

6. A final reason Bruce cited was that the gospel assists us in our everyday relationships.  How does that work?

7. What are some practical ways to help us embrace the cross, revel in it, and rest in it on a regular basis?

8. Consider memorizing the song “Who Killed Jesus?” like Bruce has.
You can find the lyrics at this blog post by Charlie Dyer:  http://thelandandthebook.blogspot.com/2011/03/who-killed-jesus.html

Keep the Gospel Central! Sneak Peek – December 29, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

We hope each and every one had a restful and encouraging Christmas time with friends and family.  I guess I’m getting older because it just flat seems that Christmas creeps up on me faster and faster each year.

On another front, can you believe that the year 2020 is right around the corner?  Utterly amazing!  It made me smile today when I thought back to how 20 years ago (with the coming of the new millennium) how many folks were prognosticating that the technology world would likely unravel with Y2K.  Computers everywhere would cease to function!!!
Of course, nothing happened. That was now 20 years ago.  Wow.

This Sunday we will have two worship gatherings at 9:45 am and 11:00 am with both of them being “All-in” services.  That means there will be no adult groups, no student groups, no children’s classes and no nursery provided. This is one of those Sundays where we will give our volunteer staff a break from normal responsibilities.

However, we will still have a great time in our services.  Please bring your family or visiting friends with you. The message title is Keep the Gospel Central!  We will be digging into the mind of Timothy as he received the final correspondence from Paul, his spiritual father, who would soon be executed by the Romans.  Among the things that Paul communicated to Timothy, we will highlight a very vital and practical truth that EACH of us should heed as we go into a new year.

Communion will also be a part of our time…a great way to end the year. In addition, I will be sharing one of my favorite memorized songs that was written by a friend many years ago.  You don’t want to miss that.

We look forward to seeing you Sunday at either 9:45 or 11:00.  Happy New Year!

Bruce

Christmas Light (part 4) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 22, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, OK, I preached a sermon based on Luke 2:8-20.  This message was part 4 in the “Christmas Light” sermon series.  Below is the audio from this morning’s sermon to listen to, download or share.

 

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

Christmas Light #4 12.21.19

 

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use the YouTube stream:

 

 

Christmas Light (part 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 22, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Luke 2:8-20.  This message was part 4 of the “Christmas Light” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Luke 2:8-20
  3. When was the last time you found yourself going through a big moment while playing a “road game”?
  4. In what ways is the birth of Jesus “Good News of Great Joy” from your perspective?
  5. Who are some people you know who may be tempted to feel that the good news of Christmas is “not for them”?  How does this passage encourage those who may feel far away from God?
  6. Jesus is God, but He also humbled Himself to take on humanity at His birth . . . something that eventually make it possible for Him to die for our sins.  How does remembering the identity of Jesus help you understand more the significance of what we celebrate at Christmas?
  7. Have you ever responded by faith to God, trusting Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  Would you consider trusting Him this Christmas?
  8. Following the example of the shepherds, who might God have you “shine” Christ’s light in their direction by loving them, serving them, and telling them about the person of Jesus Christ this year?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Christmas Light (part 4) Sermon Preview

I still remember the morning our son was born.  Though the event occurred many years ago, I still have great clarity of that day – it is a time my wife and I treasure.  

It was the “spring forward” day of Daylight savings time, and our doc had attended a rock concert the night before – forgetting to “spring forward” her clock.  So, even though the birth day was planned several days in advance, Josh entered the world one hour later than expected!  

Josh was born at 31 weeks, and would need to spend the first month and half of his life in the NICU at Children’s Hospital in OKC.  Because of this, we had to play a “road game” . . . out of town and away from family and friends.  Any visitors had to be invited and planned out.  This meant that our birth experience looked a bit different than some . . . but it was still special to us.  

This Sunday morning at Wildwood we will be continuing our “Christmas Light” sermon series by looking at Luke 2:8-20.  In these verses we are reminded that Mary and Joseph were playing a “road game” when Jesus was born.  They lived in Nazareth, but Jesus was born in Bethlehem (a week’s journey away).  Though Bethlehem was Joseph’s ancestral home, they were far from what was “normal” for them.  

Even though they were miles from home, the Lord still planned some special visitors to see the new born baby.  By special invite, shepherds came.  By divine plan, angels attended. In the night sky, the darkness of an entire era was broken by the Christmas Light of the glory of God.  And through it all – Mary treasured all these experiences in her heart.

As we gather for worship this Sunday morning, we are adding one additional worship service (at 8:30).  So, we will have 3 services at 8:30, 9:45 or 11:00 where we will treasure the birth story of Jesus and see how we are also invited to worship Him this Christmas season.  Make plans to join us!

 

NOTE:  We will have normal children’s programming, student programming, and adult classes during the 9:45 and 11:00 services.  At 8:30, we will only have the worship service running.  If you are able to come early to worship on Sunday, please do — and worship with your entire family (we have some amazing things planned with our worship team — including the annual presentation of “Carol of the Bells.”)  The added service on this day will create more space for you to invite and include many in your network to come and worship with us this Christmas season.  See you Sunday!

 

NOTE 2:  Wildwood will also have 3 Christmas Eve Services on Tuesday night, December 24 at 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00PM.  These services will feature candlelight, singing, and a short reflection on Matthew 2.  Can’t wait to see all of you Sunday AND Wednesday!

 

Christmas Light (Part 3) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 15, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, OK, I preached a message based on Isaiah 42:1-7.  This message was part 3 of the “Christmas Light” series.  Below is the audio from this message to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Christmas Light #3 12.15.19

 

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

 

To watch the stream of the entire service, visit the Youtube Video:

 

Christmas Light (part 3) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 15, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Isaiah 42:1-7.  This message was part 3 of the “Christmas Light” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions connected to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Isaiah 42:1-7
  3. What are some examples you can think of where you have felt “stuck”?  Could be stuck in a circumstance, stuck in a sin, etc.?
  4. Jesus has come to unstick the stuck!  We see that in Isaiah’s “servant song” looking towards the person and work of Jesus.  This song talks about Jesus as bringing justice to the world.   Where in our world do you see things “stuck” in injustice?  Don’t you long for a day when this injustice will come to an end?
  5. Jesus also is said to come bringing compassion.  He cares for the weak and wounded.  What does this tell you about God’s heart for you . . . and for those around you?
  6. Jesus also “turns on the light” so that we can see spiritually.  Think of that moment when you first came to faith in Christ.  How did Jesus “turn on the light” for you to come into a relationship with Him?  Who/what did He use to get your attention?  
  7. Jesus has come to set the captives free from their sins.  Do you feel “chained” to any particular sin in your life right now?  How does this passage encourage you as you deal with the failures of your past (and present)?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.