Sneak Peek – July 2, 2023

Hey Wildwood Family!

It truly has been hot in recent days, but not as hot as some places in our nation. Recent days in the Big Bend National Park area of Texas the temperature reached 119 degrees, hotter than Death Valley. The “real feel” temperature was even higher. Yikes! Suddenly our recent high temperature of 99 degrees seems much more reasonable.  At the Hess house we needed an extra shot of freon to keep our upstairs AC unit functioning well.

It was a wonderful treat on Wednesday night to attend the free Wildwood gathering at the Westwood Family Aquatic Center.  Some 420 folks came out.  I truly enjoyed drifting along in the lazy river for about 90 minutes, some of that time alongside my granddaughter Summer.  She’s a delight! Thanks to WCC’s Children’s and Student ministries for sponsoring a fun evening for families.

Just a reminder, this Sunday (yes, it is the 2nd of July) is an ‘All-In Sunday’ at Wildwood. We are giving our children’s ministry, our student ministry, and our adult ministry a break.  There will be no children’s, student, or adult classes.  Bring the whole family and join us at 8:30, 9:45 or 11:00am.

We will be concluding our series entitled Unpacking the Gospel as we focus on “Celebrating the Cross.” We will have the privilege of diving into Psalm 103, one of the top five best known Psalms. It is an amazing song of praise.

We understand that there was a snafu of sorts on Sunday and some were unable to pick up a bulletin that contained the handout on bringing folks One Step Closer to Christ and the Connection Points sheet with helps for connecting with others.  We will have plenty of copies available on Sunday at the Welcome Desk if you missed receiving one.

See you Sunday!!


Questions for Reflection – June 25, 2023

On Sunday, June 18, 2023, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Choosing to Embrace the Cross” from our sermon series “Unpacking the Gospel”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1.Read out loud John 4:10 and John 7:37-38.  What are some ways that Christ, the Living Water, has quenched the thirst of your soul?  Share, if applicable.  Then take a moment to praise and thank Him.

2. If you have never made the choice to trust in Jesus as your personal Rescuer, what is holding you back?  Put it into words. Perhaps it is time for today to become that day!

3. What are some examples of “confusing ‘Christianese’ lingo” that are often heard when communicating how an individual is to personally embrace the good news of the gospel? What is the clear and prominent biblical term for our response?  Explain more of what that term means and doesn’t mean.

4. Bruce spoke of a particular function, a ministry, a spiritual partnership, that Jesus has called each and every one of his followers to practice.  What is it (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20) and what does it mean to live it out in our everyday life?

5. People frequently can wonder: Who am I? and What difference can I make? Yet Jesus has appointed His followers to this highly regarded role by direct appointment. Why is it we often overlook this calling?

6. As an Ambassador of Jesus Christ, how would you respond to someone who says, “I believe there are many ways to God, Jesus is just one of them?

7. Bruce said part of our calling is to view people around us as God sees them: living in darkness, without hope in the world, in the process of perishing.  Why is it that we often fail to have that perspective?

8. From the ‘Connection Points’ handout (in the section entitled, Questions to gauge where someone is spiritually), pick out two questions that you plan to utilize with someone this week.

9. Pray for at least one person by name that God could use you to help bring them “one step closer to Christ” this next week.

Sneak Peek – June 25, 2023

Hey Wildwood Family!

Something very special to me happened 50 years ago today. Fifty years ago today, I was married to my dear wife, Janet!  I find it hard to calculate: how could 50 years have flown by? As I said to Janet, it feels more like maybe 30 years to me.  She said, maybe even 25. 😊

But there’s no denying it…we are celebrating our Golden Anniversary today!  We laughed some about it.  I told her I don’t know what’s happened.  When we were growing up all the people I knew who were celebrating a Golden Wedding Anniversaries were really, really old. We can’t be “really old!”  I guess that’s part of what growing older does to us.

Anyway, I mentioned all this because marrying my wife was one of the top two decisions I ever made. It has been a joy and a privilege to walk through life with such a special person. I love you, Janet!

Just a reminder about this Sunday: if you haven’t been baptized since trusting in Jesus as your Rescuer from sin and judgment—why not now??  On Sunday there will be two baptism classes (explaining what the Bible says about baptism and giving some insights into how baptism is practiced at Wildwood).  The Children’s class will be during the 11am hour in the downstairs theater room (the Lodge).  The Student/Adult class will be at noon (after our last worship service) in Room 5 downstairs in the main building. Lunch will be served at this class.  So, don’t procrastinate—let’s follow Jesus’ guideline to be baptized and publicly let others know that Jesus is your Savior!

Another cool aspect this Sunday will be the opportunity to meet Wildwood’s latest world outreach team members, Satya and Prasha Maharjan. You will want to see them and hear a short summary of the outreach that the Lord has called them to.

Finally, we will continue our series “Unpacking the Gospel” by opening up part #3, “Choosing to Embrace the Gospel.” In this message, we will be giving special opportunity for any who haven’t trusted in Jesus for forgiveness to do so (please be in prayer about that!).  Also, we will unpack the incredible truth that God has called each of us to serve as His personal ambassadors to our world.  This is exciting stuff!!

See you Sunday.


Questions for Reflection – June 18, 2023

On Sunday, June 18, 2023, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “God’s Work at the Cross” from our sermon series“Unpacking the Gospel”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. What has stood out to you in the first two messages of this series?

2. If someone asked you— Why was it necessary for Jesus to come to earth as a man?
— what would you say?

3. Spurgeon called 2 Corinthians 5:21 ‘the Heart of the Gospel.’  Why did he say that?

Bruce noted that 2 Corinthians 5:21 has been described as ‘the Great Exchange.’ What makes it so?  Elaborate.

4. What are three key New Testament passages that underscore how Jesus is the ONLY solution to our spiritual dilemma?

5. Bruce referred to a hymn from 1920, “How Could Jesus Love Me So?”
The verses are like this:

1  How could Jesus love me so,                          2  From the world of glory bright,
While in sin I wandered?                                        Jesus came to save me;
Careless, heedless to His call,                                In His power by His might
While His grace I squandered;                             Life eternal gave me;
Wonderful it is to know,                                        Wonderful it is to know,
That my Savior loved me so.                                That my Savior loved me so.

3  I’m unworthy of the grace                             Refrain:
He bestows each day,                                              How could Jesus love me so?
Of His tender love and care                                   This is more than I can know;
All along my way;                                                    I was lost in sin and woe,
Wonderful it is to know,                                         How could Jesus love me so?
That my Savior loved me so.                                 How could Jesus love me so?

Read the lyrics out loud and then spend some time giving Jesus praise from the heart.

Sneak Peek – June 18, 2023

Hey Wildwood Family!

A word of congratulations to the OU Softball team for dominating and winning their third consecutive national championship—three in a row after the canceled Covid year!  I have been impressed with the spiritual heart of many of the players.  Check my Facebook page for a link to a press conference where some of the players spoke of Jesus’ key role for them on the team.

I’m writing this on Thursday.  It appears there will be some strong, strong weather in central Oklahoma tonight.  We pray that you and yours are spared any significant damage.  You can never let your guard down when living in our great state!

Sunday we will move into part #2 of our sermon series entitled, ‘Unpacking the Gospel.’  The message focus this week is on God’s Work at the Cross.  What glorious truth we will be wading into this Sunday…remembering and celebrating how Jesus came to rescue us out of our spiritual dilemma, from which we were powerless to extricate ourselves…a chance to celebrate His mercy and grace. I’m looking forward to it!

See you Sunday,


Sneak Peek – June 11, 2023

Hey Wildwood Family!

It has been a wonderful week at Wildwood as some 650 kids were encouraged to ‘set sail’ in following Jesus at WCC’s 2023 VBS.  So much energy, and so much great teaching!  A big feature of the week was the children giving offerings every day to help provide water filters for families in Mexico that don’t have clean water.  It was truly amazing to see the offering totaling just under $3,000!  That will help some 100 families get clean water (while also hearing about the good news of the cross).  Thanks to our 300 volunteers who made it happen. It’s been a GREAT week indeed.

Speaking of hearing the gospel, I am excited to launch a new 4-part sermon series on Sunday that I’ve entitled Unpacking the Gospel.  As we will share on Sunday, every time we hear the gospel delineated is a fresh opportunity to worship our great God.  Regular gratitude for the gospel catalyzes a daily attitude of worship, energizes our drive to serve God, and stimulates our desire to share the gospel with others.

I’ve been waiting months to launch this series!!  Come on Sunday as we examine ‘The Need for the Cross.’ Each Sunday we will be ending our service with the same classic song.  It will be encouraging!  Invite your friends to join us!!

See you Sunday!!


Mission:Endure – Series Recap

Despite the fact that the Apostle Paul endured “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, and hunger,” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5) he still “did not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16).  The phrase “do not lose heart” renders the idea “I do not quit.”  Paul is a model of one who endured on Mission with Christ.  Over the past 8 weeks at Wildwood, we have seen a variety of perspectives shared by Paul from 2 Corinthians 4-7 that help us know how we might endure on mission as well.  In order to endure we are helped by remembering:

  1. What our point of reference is (4:16-18) … compared to the glory that is to come, our trials are light and momentary – so we endure on mission even when things are hard.
  2. To focus on the inner man that is being renewed and built up, rather than the outer man which is withering away.  (4:16-18) – so we endure on mission even when time takes its toll on our bodies.
  3. That Jesus dealt death a fatal blow and offers us life after death (5:1-8) – so we endure on mission, even in the face of death.
  4. That there are relational implications of life after death … we will see Jesus again one day, so we live our lives awaiting that meeting (5:6-10) – so we endure on mission, even when we wonder if we are making a difference.
  5. That the fear of God and the love of God motivate us  (5:11-15) – so we endure because these are constant.
  6. That God is making all who trust in Christ into new creations, so we should consider people according to the flesh no longer (5:16-17) – so we endure on mission in order to observe the ongoing creation work of God in the transformation of human lives.
  7. That God (in Christ) is reconciling the world to Himself, and knowing He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation (5:18-21) – so we endure on mission remembering the importance of our role as ambassadors for Christ.
  8. That we partner with the Lord and allow Him to work through us in ministry to others (6:1-10) – so we endure on mission even when we feel inadequate for the job.
  9. That we can appreciate those God uses in our lives (6:11-13) – so we can open our hearts to those God has used to bless us to encourage THEM to endure on mission.
  10. That we would not allow others to co-opt the mission of the church by trying to yoke leadership in the church to non-Christian people who are headed in different directions (6:14-16) – so we can endure on mission by staying tied to leaders and churches who share our same spiritual DNA.
  11. That we would patch the holes in our holiness and cleanse ourselves of all unrighteousness (6:16-7:1) – so that we might endure on mission and not be distracted away by lesser things.
  12. That we would feel God’s familiar “hand” through the ministry of presence provided by our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (7:2-6) – so we might endure on mission knowing God will comfort us when we are downcast through His presence through the agency of His people.
  13. That we would respond to God by repenting of sin when we see it our lives (7:7-13) – so that we might endure by turning back on mission when we are wandering astray.
  14. That we would realize the interconnected nature of Christian joy (7:13-16) – so that we might endure on mission by rejoicing in others success, and being encouraged by others growth.

LOTS of encouragement to keep going in the midst of difficulty!  Thankful to the Lord for this great section of His Word!  We will be back in 2 Corinthians beginning July 9 at Wildwood Community Church.  Any takeaways you had from this series?  I’d love to hear it!


Mission: Endure (part 8) Sermon Questions, Audio, and Video

On Sunday, June 4, 2023 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 2 Corinthians 7:2-16.  This message was part 8 of the “Mission:Endure” sermon series.  Below are questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 7:2-16
  3. How has God used others in your life … to comfort you in times of your distress?
  4. What are some ways that you feel God might be prompting you to encourage those around you as Titus encouraged Paul?
  5. What role do you understand repentance to play in the Christian life?  What role has it played in YOUR Christian life?
  6. Repentance impacts our emotions, our motions, and our relationships.  Do you have any sin in your life right now from which you need to repent of?  How is this impacting your emotion, your motion, and your relationships?
  7. Is your world large enough to allow you to rejoice with the joy of others, and be encouraged with the growth of others?  What are some ways you have been led to joy and encouragement based on what is happening in others lives?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

Mission: Endure #8 6.4.23


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch the stream, use YouTube online:


Mission: Endure (part 8) Sermon Preview

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  – Mike Tyson

The former heavyweight boxing champ shared that bit of wisdom in response to a question about his concern about his opponent’s (Evander Holyfield) fight plan.  The idea is pretty straight forward … lots of people can plan and talk a good game.  Our ACTIONS and plans may be loud … but our REACTIONS are even louder.

Want to know what is really on the inside of someone?  See how they REACT to things in the moment.  This is not just true about others … it is true about us.  We show our true colors in our reactions as much as our actions.

In 2 Corinthians 7:2-16, the Apostle Paul continues his letter to the Corinthian church, and once again is imploring them to stay open to him … to stay in relationship with him … for their mutual encouragement and for the growth of the gospel.  Discord between the Corinthians and Paul would lead to impediments to the Gospel … so Paul again implored them to “open their hearts to him.”  But his desire to keep the relationship with them strong did not prevent him from saying hard things.  In fact, it was his great love for them that compelled him to speak up and challenge them on sin that was festering in their midst.  In a sense, the Corinthian church had a plan … but they got hit in the mouth with a stern letter from the Apostle Paul.  How would they react?

Well, the Corinthians responded with repentance and growth … thus demonstrating their true character.  This greatly encouraged Paul, and it should greatly challenge us.

How do we respond when we are confronted with sin in our lives?  Do we “attack the messenger”?  Make excuses?  Justify the behavior?  Minimize its significance?  Beat ourselves up with a “whoa is me” attitude?  When we get punched in the mouth with confrontation from a  brother or sister in Christ, how do we react?

This Sunday in the 8th and final part in our “Mission:Endure” series at Wildwood Community Church, we will look at these verses and see for ourselves the need and place for repentance in enduring on mission with Christ.  Hope to see you there in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service … and bring friends!

Mission:Endure (part 7) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, May 28, 2023 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.  This message was part 7 of the “Mission:Endure” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
  3. Has there been a time when those you were partnered together with made a POSITIVE impact on your life?  How about a NEGATIVE impact on your life?
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:14 is an oft quoted section of God’s Word.  Have you ever heard this verse taught, used before?  What was the primary emphasis of that teaching?  Did anything we talked about this morning add to your understanding of this passage (given its context)?
  5. What are some of the “worldly yokes” you (or our church) are tempted to be unduly influenced by?
  6. What are some things in your life that you need to “cleanse yourself” from in your pursuit of holiness?
  7. Would you describe yourself as “maturing in holiness/godliness”?  Compare this year’s version of yourself with previous iterations of yourself in your assessment.
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.


To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Mission: Endure #7 5.28.23


To listen online, use the media player below:


To watch, use YouTube online:

Sadly, our livestream did not work for this message!  Audio only.