The Christmas Carols Week 4 (Sermon Questions)

On Sunday, December 23, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I  preached a sermon based on Luke 2:6-14, John 3:1-16 and 1 Peter 1:3-5.  This message was part 4 of “The Christmas Carols” series and was also based on the carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  Below are some questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew Luke 2:6-14, John 3:1-16, 1 Peter 1:3-5
  3. If “Charlie Brown” were to ask you “Can you tell me what Christmas is all about?” how would you answer him?
  4. The Angels declarations from Luke 2:10-14 serve as a summary of the Christmas story.  How would you summarize their message in your own words?
  5. Imagine your WORST moment from the past 7 days.   If Angels showed up in your room shining the glory of God at that moment, would you expect their message to be “good news of great joy” or some form of judgment?  Do you know how to have peace with God ALL the time, that would allow you to long for His appearing?
  6. Have you ever heard the term “born again”?  Before this morning’s message, what did you think the term meant?  Have you been born again?  If not, read John 3:15-16 again and consider the provision of God for your “re-birth.”
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

The Christmas Carols Week 4 (Sermon Preview)

While the rest of the neighborhood is busy anticipating the arrival of the Christmas holiday, Charlie Brown is depressed.  Expressing his despair to his pal Linus, elicits this classic response, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest!”  This “encouragement” aside, our round-headed protagonist sees little in the world around him to change his mood.  His dog only wants to win the cash prize for a decorating contest.  His sister only wants piles of presents.  His co-director for the Christmas pageant wants only personal acclaim and an aluminum Christmas tree.  Surrounded by commercialism and self-centered ambition, Charlie Brown eventually exclaims, “CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?”

Can you relate to this classic setup from the 1965 classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?  What is Christmas all about?

As Linus tells Charlie Brown, Christmas is all about the birth of a Child:  Jesus Christ.  Christmas is a “birthday” celebration.  This is reflected in both the words “Noel” and “nativity” (words of both Latin and French origins meaning “arisen by birth”).  Christmas is about the celebration of life that arises from Jesus’ birth.


At Christmas, though, we do not simply celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded of many, many other “re-births” made possible by Him.  As the third verse of the Charles Wesley song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” says, “Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.  Mild He lays His glory by, born that men no more may die.  Born to raise the sons of earth.  Born to give them second birth!”

What is this “second birth” spoken of in this song?  How can we celebrate the birth of Jesus AND the re-birth of millions (including our own lives) this Christmas?  We will take a look at that this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services.  We will be in part 4 of “The Christmas Carols” series, focusing on the song “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and its roots in Luke 2:8-14, John 3:1-16, and 1 Peter 1:3-9.  Make plans to worship with us as we open the “present” of new birth this Sunday morning.  See you there . . . and bring your friends and family with you!

“What Child is This” Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 16, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 2:1-10 (and select other passages).  This message was part 3 in “The Christmas Carols” series and highlighted the hope behind the song, “What Child is This?”  Below is the audio from the sermon to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

The Christmas Carols #3 12.16.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To view the livestream of the service on Facebook, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwildwoodchurch%2Fvideos%2F270425596927095%2F&show_text=0&width=560
 

 

“What Child is This” – Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 16, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 1:1, 2:1-2, 10-11.  This message also focused on the chorus of the song “What Child is This” and was part 3 in “The Christmas Carols” 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 1:1, 2:1-2, 10-11
  3. Jesus is “the Christ.”  What is your best understanding of what this title means?
  4. Jesus is the promised One who brings victory over Satan, righteous rule among the nations of the earth, and forgiveness from our sins.  In the past 30 days, brainstorm some challenges you have faced.  Then take a moment to thank God for how (in Christ Jesus), these challenges are addressed.
  5. What is the revelation that you have received about Jesus Christ.  Make a list.
  6. In what ways do you need to reorient your life to make your relationship with Jesus Christ a priority for you?
  7. What are some tangible ways in which you can “bow before Jesus” this year?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

The Christmas Carols Week 3 (Sermon Preview)

At the church where I grew up, we had a number of traditions to help us celebrate the Advent season.  One tradition was the “Hanging of the Greens” service, held early every December.  This Sunday evening service featured a number of Christmas musical presentations on the night when we decorated the church for the holiday. Our church was really blessed by a Music Director (Lauren and his wife Juanita) who did a fantastic job leading the choir and musicians for this special night.

On this night each year, Lauren would make the same joke . . . and it would make me laugh every time.  Lauren would make sure we understood the true meaning of the name of that service.  “Hanging of the Greens” referred to the placement of the holly, not an execution of the Music Leader – Lauren GREENE and his wife Juanita (the featured vocalist).  Worship wars are real inside churches (i.e. “sing more hymns” vs. “sing more current songs”) but at Christmas time it was “Peace on earth” and goodwill toward the greens AND the GREENES!

While no one at East Cross United Methodist Church ever REALLY made that mistake, it was funny to joke about.  In church circles, we do use a lot of jargon and terminology that can be misunderstood.  Take the word “Christ” for example.  What does it mean?  Is it Jesus last name?  Is it something else?  Does it matter?

Well, it does matter what that word means, and at CHRIST-mas time, it is especially important for us to know its definition.  This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be continuing our “The Christmas Carols” series by looking at the song “What Child is This?”  This song asks a question and provides an answer.


Q:  What child is this?


A:  This, this is CHRIST the King!

So, what is the “Christ” that this song sings about?  Sunday, December 16 we will see.  Hint – it is NOT Jesus’ last name, but a title full of rich significance.  Join us as we look at that together this Sunday in our 9:45 and 11:00 services.  Also, make sure you stay to the end of the services, as our worship team will be performing their special rendition of “Carol of the Bells” this weekend.  Make plans to be with us Sunday . . . and bring your friends!

“O Come All Ye Faithful” Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 9, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on John 1:1-5, 9-14.  This message was part 2 in “The Christmas Carols” series and helped further our understanding of the song “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share with others.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

The Christmas Carols #2 12.09.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the worship service, use the Facebook live stream:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwildwoodchurch%2Fvideos%2F296283684336580%2F&show_text=0&width=560
 

“O Come All Ye Faithful” – Sermon Questions

This morning, December 9, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on John 1:1-5, 9-14 and the words of the Christmas hymn “O Come all Ye Faithful.”  This message was part 2 in “The Christmas Carols” series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 1:1-5, 9-14
  3. Jesus birth in Bethlehem was not His “beginning.”  Have you ever considered this before today?  What thoughts do you have about the Eternal nature of Jesus Christ?
  4. Have you ever imagined Jesus to be different in attitude from God the Father?  If so, in what way?  How does this passage address that idea?
  5. What are some of the reasons why you think people reject Jesus?
  6. Have you received Jesus in faith?  If so, what does this passage tell us is true about you?
  7. What would it look like for you to come in faith and adore Jesus this Christmas season?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

“The Christmas Carols” Part 2 – Sermon Preview

Later today, I will have the distinct privilege of leading the Memorial service of my friend Mike Hargis.  Mike lived his life well, as evidenced by the obvious influence he has had in his family, community, and church.  We also know that Mike is experiencing eternal life today in heaven.  However, Mike is not present in heaven today because he lived his life well . . . He is in heaven today because of the grace of a loving God who sent Jesus to die in His place to take the penalty for his sins, and to forever reconcile Mike to God.  Mike received that gift from Jesus by faith, and as a result, He is now alive forevermore — though his earthly life failed, his eternal life in Jesus continues.

As I prepare for this Memorial service, and reflect on the life of my friend, because of the truths stated above, I also cannot help but reflect upon the life of Jesus Christ . . . who came to us full of grace and truth in Bethlehem and beyond, giving us the chance to become sons and daughters of God.  John 1 states, “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believed in His name.”  This verse is an invitation to “Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!  Come and adore Him!”  If we embrace by faith what Jesus has done for us (like Mike did) we can approach death triumphantly and adore Jesus, not just for the season but for all eternity.

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be continuing our “The Christmas Carols” series by looking at the song “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  We will specifically be looking at John 1:1-14 as an anchor for the truth that this song proclaims.  We also will welcome all the kids into a portion of the worship services to sing some carols to us this weekend.  Should be a great Sunday!  Join us in our 9:45 or 11:00 service . . . and bring friends!

 

“Joy to the World” Sermon Audio

On Sunday, December 2, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 98.  This message was part one in “The Christmas Carols” series and focused on the meaning of the song “Joy to the World.”  Below is the sermon audio from the message to listen to or share.

 

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

The Christmas Carols #1 12.02.18

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

“Joy to the World” Sermon Questions

On Sunday, December 2, 2018 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Psalm 98 and the song “Joy to the World”.  This message was part 1 in “The Christmas Carols” series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Psalm 98
  3. In your opinion, when is it too early to begin to celebrate Christmas?
  4. “Joy to the World” was written by Isaac Watts and is based on Psalm 98.  This Psalm (and Watts song) reflect on the past, present, and future of God’s people.  Take a moment to list out some of the things people can learn about God regardless of where they live in the world.
  5. Why do you think we are commanded to sing to the Lord concerning His salvation with our voices and with instruments, etc.  In other words, what do these elements ADD to our experience of relating to God?
  6. What are some ways you can “fill your home with the songs of the Lord” this Christmas?
  7. What are some evidences you see in the world today of the “curse” mentioned in Genesis 3 and “Joy to the World’s” third verse?
  8. What are you looking forward to most about the return of Jesus to the earth one day?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.