Questions for Reflection – July 25, 2021

On Sunday, July 25, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Treasure the Scripture!” from our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce began by pointing out that we have a natural human tendency to stray from God’s truth.  He mentioned how virtually all seminaries were founded with a solid belief in the Scripture and how historically most departed from that position within 50 years. Why is that? What contributes to that?

2. Bruce also mentioned that he can trace a similar drift from God’s truth in his family line. Have you witnessed such a drift in your family line or with some individuals you have known? Elaborate on why and how that may have happened.

3. Psalm 119 emphasizes that Scripture is 1) the way of blessing (vs.1-2); 2) a source of strength (vs. 28b); 3) a treasury of wisdom and counsel (vs. 24, 98-100); and 4) never outdated (vs. 89,160).  Reflect and share some times when Scripture has proven to be that in your life.  Why do people develop the perspective that Scripture is at times outdated?

4. Verse 19 tells us that Scripture is like a lamp shining in a dark (murky, dingy) place.  What makes our world, our culture, murky and dingy?

5. Bottom line, why is Scripture a reliable lamp in this murky world?

6. Based on our study (from 2nd Peter 1 and 2 Timothy 3), describe the process of how the apostles and prophets came to write Scripture.  Cite some phrases from those passages.

7. In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul states that the Scripture is profitable for four things.  Note them and explain what each means.  What is the ultimate aim (hint: note vs. 17).

8. Take some time to pray and thank God for the wonderful provision of His Word.

Sneak Peek – July 18, 2021

One thing I’ve observed over multiple decades is that life always involves changes. And some of those changes can catch us off guard and be truly surprising. One change that seems to be looming on the horizon is the likely change involving OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 Conference.  Now, that one caught me totally off guard.  How about you?

Some changes are good changes—like having Pine Cove City in our facility this week with 177 elementary campers attending, nearly half of which aren’t Wildwood attenders. We believe God has been at work this week in many young hearts.  Special thanks to the Pine Cove staff for serving our Norman kids.

Some changes are…well…changes.  One of those is Wildwood will be shifting back to our pre-Covid worship service times beginning again in the month of August.  From August 8thon that means a return to 8:30am; 9:45am; 11:00 worship gatherings.  Be sure to check the bulletin for all class and Sunday Groups information. Sunday August 1st is a baptism Sunday.  Cool. We can do this!

This Sunday we will be wrapping our series (from 2 Peter chapter one), entitled, Be Diligent to Grow! This week I have the privilege of delving into one of my favorite subjects ever—the Scripture!  We will be diving into 2 Peter 1:19-21 (a classic passage on the Word of God).  The message is entitled, Treasure the Scripture!  You don’t want to miss this one!  So practical!

See you Sunday!


Questions for Reflection – Sunday, July 18, 2021

On Sunday, July 18, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Be Encouraged!” for our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. As Bruce stated, while there is no Scriptural admonition for us to choose a ‘life verse,’ still some Jesus followers have done so.  If you have chosen a life theme verse, share what it is and why you have chosen it.  If you haven’t selected a ‘life verse’ for some reason,  what verse stands out to you as especially encouraging in your spiritual life?  Elaborate on why that is.

2. Bruce postulated that events and counsel from Jesus in Luke 22:31-34 and John 21:15-19 likely had significant long-term impact on Peter.  Imagine you are relating Peter’s experience to someone new to their faith.  How would you elaborate on the cause-and-effect impacts of those events on Peter’s life and ministry after Jesus’ ascension?

3. We often find ourselves thinking—Well, I’ve heard that verse before or I’ve heard teaching on that subject before.  Yet Peter goes out of his way to stress the spiritual importance of us being reminded of spiritual truth.  List several reasons why it is vital to be reminded of truth we “already know.”

4. Bruce quoted legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s “eight” laws of learning. Can you remember them?  What is unique about those “eight” laws?

5. Think of a biblical truth that might often slip from your everyday life focus.  What is the truth and why do you think it is so easy to lose practical focus on that truth?

6. In Philippians 3:1 Paul wrote that saying the same things again is a “safeguard for you.”  Why would that be true?

7. Several times Peter referred to leaving his ‘earth tent’ (vs. 13, 14) and having an ‘exodus’ from this world (vs. 15). What practical things can we learn for our life from what Peter is discussing?

8. The Bible says there are only two destinies in this world (see Matthew 7:13-14).  How confident are you about your future spiritual destiny? What have you done with Jesus?

9. Give God praise that our faith is not based on cleverly concocted fables but on rock solid historical facts.

Sneak Peek – July 18, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

I was truly encouraged today.  I observed as some 150 middle school and high school students (along with 20+ leaders) climbed aboard four buses to head off for a week of Wildwood Students camp.  Many of the students I know well, many are less known to me. But as they excitedly hurried off to jump on the buses, I was thinking:  there goes much of the future of Wildwood.

God has been good to give us such a fine group of students.  Please be praying for them this week.  Pray for safety, for sure.  But also pray for the Spirit of God to touch and change young hearts this week.  Pray that God raises up guys and gals who will be spiritual difference makers in their generation.  James warned us:  You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2). Let’s ask with some passion and vigor this week!!

Sunday we will continue with message #3 in our series from 2 Peter chapter one.  This week’s message covers 1:12-18 and is entitled: Be Strengthened!  Be sure to read the section over before Sunday.

As part of the message, I’m going to share some about my ‘life verse’ and how I came to choose it.  Plus, I will share what I suspect was Peter’s choice of a ‘life verse.’  I’m excited about Sunday and hope you are too!

See you Sunday!!


Be Diligent to Grow (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Born to Grow!” for our sermon series “Be Diligent to Grow”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Has there been an extended period in your spiritual history where there was little to no spiritual growth?  If so, share some about that period and why you may have experienced little growth.

2. It was stated in the message that spiritual growth is NOT automatic; that growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.  Is that concept new to you? Explain.  What would your response be if someone objected by saying, “Doesn’t God cause us to grow?”  What does Peter tell us in these verses?

3. How does the concept of wind surfing illustrate both what God provides for us and the role we play in the process?

4. In verses 5-7 Peter mentions seven qualities that we are to supplement to our faith in Christ.  List the seven, then highlight one as a prayer target for God to work on in your life.  If you are huddling with a small group, share which quality you have selected.

5. Bruce cited Stanley Baldwin who gave several illustrations from Scripture of brotherly affection or kindness. Reflecting on your life, is there an instance of brotherly affection or kindness which someone extended to you that was particularly encouraging?  Elaborate.

6. Bruce listed four practical benefits pointed out by Peter that come to us by actively growing in our spiritual life:
–Effective and fruitful (rather than ineffective and unfruitful) – vs. 8
–Spiritually insightful (rather than severely nearsighted) – vs. 9
–Spiritual stability (rather than instability) – vs. 10
–Special future blessing – vs. 11
Of those four, which one is new to you or most exciting to you?  Explain.

7. In conclusion by way of application, Bruce mentioned 3 principles and the 5 follows of Wildwood.  They are listed below.  Which is the top area that you believe the Holy Spirit is encouraging you to focus on this next few weeks?
–Regular Obedience to Scripture
–Everyday Reliance on the Holy Spirit
–A priority focus on honoring the Savior

Follow Him into the Word       (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Worship         ( Colossians 3:16-17)
Follow Him into Community   (Hebrews 10:19-24)
Follow Him into Ministry         (1 Peter 4:10)
Follow Him into Mission          (Matthew 28:19-20)

Sneak Peek – July 11, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, give me your honest response.  Has the Aedus Aegypti population been antagonizing you??…literally getting under your skin? Well, what say ye? They certainly have been hassling us around Hessville!

Yep, the mosquitos (Spanish for little fly) have been nearly blocking out the Sun around the Hess home.  Even after significant attempts to “stem the tide” they keep coming in multiple waves. Is this veritable winged army out to imitate the vastness of the Chinese military ranks? What we need is some good ole Oklahoma heat to dry out their lairs. Lord, bring on the summer soon!

After a fun All-in Sunday on July 4th, we will be returning to our regular schedule this Sunday with all children’s, student’s, and adult classes meeting at their respective hours.  We will also return to our July study which we launched the last Sunday of June (confusing, huh?) entitled: Be Diligent to Grow from 2 Peter chapter one.

Sunday we will dive into 2 Peter 1:5-11 (after a quick re-orientation to chapter 1).  I encourage you to read the passage before Sunday.  The message title is : “Born to Grow!” Peter will be underscoring that Christian growth will not occur apart from our diligent participation in the process.

The above truth is one that I didn’t grasp for quite a while.  I spent eight years remaining a spiritual baby after my spiritual new birth.  That isn’t normal!!  Maybe some of you had a similar experience or had some longer stretches where there was little to no spiritual growth.  Peter doesn’t want any of us to experience that!  Come and learn more. Let’s grow together!

See you Sunday!


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!


Romans in 9 Movements


Over the past 16 months, we have preached through the book of Romans at Wildwood Community Church.  The 43 sermons walked us verse by verse through Romans 1:1 – 16:27.  We arranged our study in 9 different series, represented in the graphic above.  It is our hope that these 9 divisions will help you remember the truth God has given us inside Paul’s masterful Epistle.

Below is a a summary of Romans in a single paragraph, using the series titles as keywords:

There is Good News for people everywhere!  This good news (or gospel) shows the power of God which is able to deliver salvation to those who believe.  In Christ, the righteousness of God is given to sinful people like you and me.  We receive this gracious gift of salvation NOT by our works, but by faith.  This is the way it has always been in God’s economy.  From Abraham to Christ (the ABC’s of Faith), we have seen that the righteous live by faith.  When we come into a relationship with God by faith, we are Set Free from sin’s necessary rule in our lives.  We now have a choice to live out a new life in Christ.  However, there is a problem.  As we try to live out our new life in Christ, we do so inside the old address of our flesh.  Therefore, we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a truly Spiritual Life, walking with the God who loves us.  Now, if our hope is tied to God and His work in our lives, how do we know He will be faithful to make good on His promises?  We find out the faithfulness of God by looking at the way He has dealt with other members of His spiritual Family Tree.  By seeing how God has been faithful to His children Israel, we can have faith that He will make good on His promises to us as well.  Once we realize all that God has done for us in Christ, we want to respond and Aim our lives – pointed towards His purpose for us, laying down our lives as a living sacrifice before Him.  As we do this, we will live out our lives in a secular world but inside of His sovereignty as we live in Nations Under God.  We are truly to honor our government, but we are to Walk in Love with our fellow Christian, limiting our freedoms to not tear down our brother or sister who Christ is building up.  All this knowledge of Christ leads to our involvement with Christ in His great Co:Mission, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  The Gospel is the power of God that is able to strengthen us . . . and those around us.  Given this incredible truth, it is not a surprise that Paul ends praising God – “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!  Amen!” (Romans 16:27)

Let us thank God together for the power of the Gospel — the Good News of Jesus Christ!


Series Titles:

Spiritual Life (part 7) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Romans 8:31-39.  This message was the seventh (and final) part of the “Spiritual Life” series.  The audio and video from this message are posted below.


To download the sermon audio, click on this link:

The Spiritual Life #7


To listen to the sermon audio online, use the media player below:


To watch the video, use the Vimeo video below:


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Spiritual Life (part 7) Preview

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I have lived nearly my entire life in Oklahoma (38 of my nearly 43 years).  Being a Sooner born and Sooner bred means a few things:

  1. It means I follow the weather like a new retiree follows the stock market.  Every time the tornado siren blows, I find myself on my front porch joining my neighbors looking at the sky.  What can we say . . . we are Okies.  If you don’t like the weather in one moment, just wait a few minutes and it will change!
  2. It means I actually know what the price of oil is ($48/barrell) and what that means (budget shortfalls in the state and layoffs.)  Growing up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (the one time home of Phillips Petroleum Company) I have felt the impact of the ebb and flow of our state’s greatest export.
  3. It means I am getting used to earthquakes.  Thankfully we have not had any big ones, but the ground around our state shakes from time to time.  I need to call State Farm!

These three examples remind me that life as an Oklahoman can feel unstable sometimes.  However, as I talk to friends in other parts of the country, I am reminded that life as a human (regardless of the state in which you live) can feel shaky.  What can we truly count on in life?

In Romans 7-8, the Apostle Paul writes a description of the Spiritual Life for Christians.  This life is full of hope, power, and opportunity . . . but it is also lived out in a world that is groaning like an EF-5 tornado, feels like it is falling into uncertainty at times, and quakes with temptation to sin.  After describing this life for two chapters, Paul concludes this section of God’s Word by encouraging those of us who are experiencing difficulty in life by pointing us to Christ. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, we will be wrapping up our Spiritual Life series by looking at Romans 8:31-39.  Of these verses John Stott says,

“We urgently need them (the assurances of Romans 8:31-39) today, since nothing seems stable in our world any longer.  Insecurity is written across all of human experience.”

If you are feeling insecure in any way, join us Sunday as we look at Romans 8:31-39 together in our 9:30 and 11:00 worship services.