Questions for Reflection – June 27, 2021

On Sunday, June 27, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Be Diligent to Grow – Something More??”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Read 2 Peter 1:1-4 out loud.

2. Reflect back on your spiritual walk.  Was there ever a period where you felt spiritually inferior?  Where you felt more like a 2nd class Christian lacking the so-called spiritual experiences that others claimed to have? Elaborate.

3. What was happening in Peter’s life to spur him on to write 2 Peter?

4. Why would Peter be a good candidate to help mentor us when we’ve messed up spiritually and our attitude is deflated and discouraged?  Reflect.

5. In 2 Peter 1:1, Peter states that our faith is of the “same kind,” as legitimate and valuable as those who like him were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ glory on the Mt. of Transfiguation.  How can that be so?

6. Peter declares in vs. 3-4 that God has “granted us” (perfect tense; action in the past with ongoing results) two key provisions.  What are those two?  Explain.

7. Name two of God’s promises that are most precious to you.

8. The tools Bruce mentioned (Who am I Really?? & 33 Riches of Divine Grace) can be located at:

9. Give God praise for His Great Provision!

Sneak Peek – Sunday, June 27, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Wow.  What a surprise and shock to see on the news the collapse of the 12-story condo in Miami, FL. At least one person at Wildwood has a friend who lived there.  Please pray for all the families who have missing members yet to be accounted for. Pray too that a reminder like this of the fragileness of life would make people think more deeply about life, eternity, and Jesus.

Have you ever felt spiritually inferior, maybe like a 2nd class Christian?  Have you ever found yourself thinking: Maybe I need “something more?” Maybe I need some sort of greater spiritual experience or some kind of additional blessing of the Spirit?  If you emotionally feel, or have felt, spiritually impoverished or inferior then this Sunday’s message will be an encouragement!

On Sunday (yes, I know it is still June) we will be launching a July sermon series entitled, Be Diligent to Grow from 2 Peter chapter 1.  Sunday’s message is entitled, Something More?? We will be mining 2 Peter 1:1-4. I will be sharing some exciting truth that has played a key part in my personal spiritual walk.

Also, on Sunday we will hold our baptism classes at 9 am hour.  The Children’s class will be in the downstairs Children’s theater, and the Student/College/Adult class will be in Room 4 downstairs.  Come to learn more about what the Bible says about baptism!

One final note:  next Sunday July 4 will be an “All-in” Sunday for our three services.  There will be no Adult, Student or Children’s classes (nor will nursery be available).  I will be bringing a special message that Sunday appropriate for all ages.

See you Sunday!


New Way (part 7) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 20, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Galatians 4:21-31.  This sermon was part 7 in the “New Way” 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 from the service to listen to/watch, download or share.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:21-31
  3. Can you think of an example when remembering who you were, and acting consistent with that true identity, pushed toward a new way of living/acting?
  4. We summarized 4 attitudes toward the Law:  (Law obeying/law relying, Law disobeying/law relying, Law disobeying/Law not relying, Law obeying/Law not relying.)  What do you see as the differences of these perspectives?  Which do you WANT to describe you?
  5. What kind of opposition have you experienced in life because you have followed the “Jesus Way”?  Look at Galatians 1:10 and Romans 8:17.  How do these verses help you respond when you experience opposition as you follow Christ?
  6. Why do you think Paul was so agressive his admonition for the Galatians to distance themselves from the Judeaizers?
  7. Are you believing the Gospel message for your salvation?  Are you believing that Jesus (through the work of the Spirit inside you) can empower you for Christian living?  What difference do these beliefs make in your life?
  8. 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 the link to download:

The New Way #7 6.20.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch, use YouTube stream online:

New Way (part 7) Sermon Preview

About 20 years ago now a friend of mine challenged me to write a short devotional and include it in a weekly newsletter I was sending to our college ministry (anybody out there ever get the “In FOCUS” weekly newsletter?).  I took that challenge and for years wrote weekly essays where I took something from “our world” and used it as an analogy to explain some spiritual truth from the Bible.  Like a weight lifter gaining strength with “reps,” the discipline of writing down these “parables” each week grew my ability to see connections and patterns in the finite world around us that echo eternal thoughts.  Some of these illustrations connected with people, others of them have been a bit goofy … but this practice has actually been edifying to me, and hopefully to others as well.

The parables of Jesus are the BEST illustration of this teaching technique (since Jesus is the MASTER teacher, and since He never “misses” with a message).  Jesus would take something from the world of His audience (sheep, sons, coins, etc.) and tell a story about it to illustrate a deeper point.  Illustrations take something that we know and use it to teach us something that we need to know.  

Not only did Jesus do this, but so did the Apostle Paul.  In Galatians 3-4, over the past several weeks, we have seen Paul use the illustrations of a prison warden, a pedagogue, and a trustee to help us understand the purpose of the Old Testament Law.  In Galatians 4:21-31 (the verses we will look at this week), we will see Paul use an even more in depth illustration to help us understand the Christian life, what we can expect in it, and one surprising thing we should do as a result.  The illustration Paul uses is of the Old Testament couple Abraham and Sarah, and their servant Hagar, and two kids born in their household (Isaac and Ishmael).  

Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we should not be surprised that Paul’s illustration is profound and drives home an essential truth for us to consider.  To help us best understand this account, you may want to read Genesis 12:1-21:21 to refresh your understanding of this famous historical account.  Sunday we will see what Paul wants us to know from this story that connects to our lives today.  

Join us this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church as we wrap up the “New Way” sermon series by looking at Galatians 4:21-31 in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 worship services.  Hope you can make it … and bring friends!


NOTE:  If you can’t make it, know that our livestream always goes live at 10:15 each Sunday morning at

New Way (part 6) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 13, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 4:8-20.  This message was part 6 in the “New Way” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for group discussion or personal reflection.  You will also find the audio/video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:8-20
  3. Before listening to today’s message, how would you have defined the “win” of the Christian life?  What are we supposed to be about?
  4. The Judeaizers had succeeded in making the Galatians think that their spiritual maturity came as a result of their devotion to calendars, ceremonies, and rituals.  Paul was so sad about this!  Jesus died and rose again NOT JUST so that the Galatians might attend new meetings, but so that they would really KNOW GOD and have a relationship with Him.  How are you tempted to think that your Christian life is just about attending meetings or keeping rituals?
  5. The real “win” for the Christian is to see Christ formed in themselves!  That their lives are ever moving in the direction of Christ-likeness so that when others look at us, they see Jesus.  Who are some people who have helped you get to know Jesus better?  What were some of the characteristics of their lives that contributed to this?
  6. Be honest … what do people see when they look at your life?  What are some ways that you would like to see Christ more formed in you in the year ahead? 
  7. 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 the link below:

The New Way #6 6.13.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the sermon video, use YouTube online:


New Way (part 6) Sermon Preview

I grew up playing sports.  In every sport, there was a way to know if you had “won.”  If you outscore the opposing team in football, basketball, or baseball – you win.  If you underscore your opponent in golf – you win.  If you hit the tape first in a race – you win.  This kind of simple and straightforward metric always resonated with me.  Even to this day … if we are playing a game against one another – I want to know the rules, because I want to win.

In real life, it is a bit harder to know how to win.  As a Pastor, I have yet to run through the “tape” in the conclusion of a message.  There has not been a score given at the end of a counseling appointment.  I have never ended a wedding ceremony with an “eagle putt” during the pronouncement.  Wins and losses are a bit more nuanced in my current life.

Yet we all count stuff, don’t we?  Pastors are no different.  As I preach, do people look like they are “getting it,” did anyone say “amen,” what about that guy who fell asleep before I ever got to point two?  As we gather, we wonder how many are here today?  Is it more than last week?  How does it compare to last year?  I think subconsciously we all look to stuff like this trying to see if we are “winning” or “losing.”  Couple this reality with a propensity for self-doubt, and I generally feel like I have more “L’s” than “W’s.”  (I am not alone in this … I heard a stat recently that nearly a third of pastors in America seriously considered quitting at some point in the past year.  Though I am not one of those, I understand some of the dynamics that are at play.)

Yet, as I am midway through my third decade in Pastoral ministry, I need to ask myself … am I looking at the right scoreboard?

I want you all to know something.  I did not go into ministry so that people would “like” my instagram posts.  I did not go into ministry to speak to a packed room of smiling faces and have my ego stroked.  Truly … I went into ministry because I believed it is what God had for my life, and I wanted to be faithful to Him.  That calling was to see lives changed with the good news of Jesus Christ … to be a blessing to others.  Yet as life rolls on, and the church calendar moves from year to year, it is easy to lose sight of what I am truly called to do, and focus on the wrong scoreboard.

Even as I type this, I think these may be some of the most personal comments I have shared on my blog or Facebook.  And (to some degree) that is appropriate given the passage of Scripture we are going to be looking at on Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in part 6 of our “New Way” sermon series.  This week we are looking at Galatians 4:8-20, in what I think are the most personal comments Paul shares to his friends in Galatia.  In these verses, we do not see Paul the theologian, we see Paul the pastor … Paul the person.  He reaches out to the Galatians and reminds them (and him) what the “win” is for anyone in ministry.  

Want to know what the win is?  Paul defines it in Galatians 4:19 – 

“… Christ formed in you …”

Paul’s opponents wanted the Galatians to love them (instead of Paul).  The Judeaizers wanted the Galatians to attend their meetings and go to their festivals, so that their “numbers” would look good … but they really did not care about the Galatians themselves.  Paul (on the other had) was in ministry because of what he hoped would happen IN SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE, not HIS OWN LIFE.

The “win” of true Christian ministry is not how many show up on Sunday … but how many lives are transformed on Monday-Sunday.  And Pastors are called to labor like a mother in childbirth until that happens among the people for whom God allows us to serve.  

That is the mission of my life.  That is the hope of our church:  YOUR TRANSFORMATION INTO CHRISTLIKENESS.  We are praying Sunday is catalytic to that end (and to the glory of God).  We will gather at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 NOT as a form of dead religion and ceremonial formalism … not because we are slaves to a religious schedule … but because we are sons of God, being transformed into His image!  The corporate assembly on Sunday is a springboard to Monday and beyond.  Can’t wait to worship with you all and look at this amazing passage of Scripture together.

I am laboring over this text this week that Christ may be formed in you (and me) on Sunday and beyond.  Hope to see you there … and bring friends!

New Way (part 5) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, June 6, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 4:1-7.  This message was part 5 in the “New Way” sermon series.  Below are a set of 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 or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 4:1-7
  3. What are some areas in your life where you long to “mature”?  In what ways is the phrase “mature” better than just getting “older”?
  4. The ABC’s of religion are the “you need to’s”… most all religions have their own version of these kinds of commands.  In what way do these commands make you a “slave”?  How does God intend His Law to impact you?
  5. Jesus redeems us to His new way, making it possible for us to be adopted as a son of God and given His Holy Spirit.  How does this change in identity and provision of His Holy Spirit make a difference in your life today?
  6. Do you think of yourself more as a “sinner/slave” or as a “son/heir”?  How does understanding who you are in Christ change the way you think of your “ceiling” in life?
  7. What stands out to you most from this message?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf form, click here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

The New Way #5 6.6.21


To listen online, use the media player:


To watch service stream, use YouTube online:


New Way (part 5) Sermon Preview

I have attended six schools in my life:  Hoover Elementary, Madison Middle School, Bartlesville Mid-High, Bartlesville High School, the University of Oklahoma, and Dallas Theological Seminary.  Each school played a vital part of my development.  I learned basic math and how to read at Hoover, Algebra and American Civics at Madison, Geometry and how to write an essay at Mid-High, History and Physics at High School, philosophy and journalism at OU, and Bible and theology at DTS.  In a sense, each level of school added upon the other to prepare me for my roles in “life” … at least academically.  

There was an appropriateness to this progression of schools.  I needed to know my ABC’s before I could write a dissertation.  I needed to know 2+2 = 4 before I could apply them in AP Physics.  As I write this today, I understand and appreciate the cumulative effect of the program designed for me by educators in 6 different settings.

However, let’s just imagine for a moment, that I wanted to add a seventh school to my learning tree.  Let’s say I wanted to continue learning and pursue another program.  It would be silly for me to select Monroe Elementary School in Norman as my next place of study.  Not only would my body not fit in the desks at the school … but the principals of that school would see my presence there as totally inappropriate.  Third grade makes sense for third graders … but not for 47 year old men.  Other post-graduate or graduate programs would be the better fit for my current life stage.

I say this today, because on Sunday we will be looking at Galatians 4:1-7 at Wildwood Community Church, in our fifth installment of the “New Way” sermon series.  In these verses we will see Paul argue that a Christian wanting to return to life under the Old Testament Law makes about as much sense as a grown-up returning to third grade.  It does not fit us anymore!  The Law served its purpose in the proper progression, but now that Christ has come, we move forward in faith, not backward in time.

In making this argument, Paul points out that the ABC’s of the world and its religions (the elementary principles of the world as Paul calls them) only make us slaves to a set of rules … but in Christ, we graduate to the status of sons … empowered and authenticated by God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.  Given this massive upgrade why would we ever drift back to elementary school when we can experience so much more.

Join us this Sunday (June 6) as we look at these verses together and see what they mean for our lives today.  See you at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 or online at 10:15 (or anytime after) at

The New Way (part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, May 30, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Galatians 3:25-29.  This message was part 4 of the “New Way” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for group discussion or personal reflection.  Also you will find the sermon audio/video to listen to/watch, download or share.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Galatians 3:25-29
  3. What blessings or challenges have been a part of your life because of who your Mom and Dad were?
  4. No matter our experience with our earthly parents, we have the opportunity to be a SON OF GOD … and heir according to HIS PROMISE.  According to this passage, how does one become a Son of God, and an heir of His riches?
  5. In what way does Christian water baptism picture “putting on” Christ?
  6. Have you been baptized since trusting in Christ as your Savior?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  If you have not been baptized since trusting in Christ would you consider baptism at Wildwood on August 1?  Baptism classes are June 27, and you can let us know your interest in baptism at
  7. How do we try to divide people up into subgroups?  Paul references ethnicity, social status, and gender.  In what ways are these still areas that seek to divide us today?
  8. What are ways Jesus is glorified through the diversity of His followers today?  What are the ways in which all Christians are all blessed by Jesus?
  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 the link to download:

The New Way #4 5.30.21


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the service, use YouTube online:


The New Way (part 4) Sermon Preview

I am a big University of Oklahoma fan.  I may not have been Sooner born or Sooner bred … but I am pretty sure when I die I’ll be a Sooner dead.  At this point in my life – cut me, and I’ll bleed crimson and cream.

When I have the opportunity, I love going to OU sporting events … and nothing has as much pomp and circumstance as a home football game.  The stadium … the team … the schooner … all contribute to a nostalgic celebration of my college years.

One thing I love about home games is the OU band – the PRIDE OF OKLAHOMA.  I love it when they run out onto the field, play the same set of songs for the pregame, and march across the field in the giant “O” formation!

As a longtime Pastor in Norman, I have known a number of students over the years who have participated in the Pride.  Every time I know a member of the band, I always look for them during their on field performances.  But in all my years, you know how often I found a band member I was looking for?  Exactly zero times. 

And that is by design. 

Not by MY design, but by the band’s design. 

All members of the Pride wear the same uniform.  From a distance, they all look the same.  To be clear, there are differences between the band members.  Some play one instrument, others play another.  Some are freshmen, others are seniors.  Some are men, others are women.  But in their uniform, they all receive the same reception and ovation, and are individually somewhat indistinguishable.

I say this today, because Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our Sunday morning services, the sermon will focus on Galatians 3:25-29.  This message is part 4 of the “New Way” sermon series.  This week we will see that all Christians have “put on” a particular uniform.  This uniform (by God’s design) cloaks all of us in the identity of an adult child of God.  And with this identity comes an amazing reception before our Heavenly Father.

Join us this Sunday at 9:00, 10:15 or 11:30 as we cover our differences under the uniform blessing of God in Christ Jesus.  See you then … and bring friends!


NOTE:  You can watch the service online beginning at 10:15 AM CDT May 30, 2021 at