Spiritual Life (Part 6) Preview

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Have you ever heard someone say:

“Be careful what you ask for?  After all you might get it!” 

Have you ever heard someone apply that notion to their prayer life?   In other words:

“Don’t ask God for the wrong thing, because He might give it to us!”

While this attitude is commonly held by many, we need to consider if it is valid.  Perhaps the best example (or most often cited example) biblically of this line thinking comes from the appointment of Saul as King of Israel (1 Samuel 8-10).  The people of Israel wanted a King like the other nations . . . a King who “looked the part.”  So God obliged and gave them Saul — a decision that led to many difficulties for the nation.  So, at first glance, this story appears to prove the previous point . . . if we ask God for the wrong thing, He just might give it to us — and through it teach us a lesson.

Doesn’t that encourage you to pray more?  Me neither!  I am scared to ask for the wrong thing, so I might not ask for anything at all!

What is interesting to me, is that in Romans 8:26-30, the Apostle Paul lets all of those who are Christ followers know that a new dynamic exists in our prayer life.  As Christians, when we pray we have One who COMMUNICATES the true desires of our hearts to God, AND who even CORRECTS our prayers if they are misguided – bringing them back in line with God’s will. 

The example of Israel in the days of Saul and Samuel shows what prayer was like BEFORE Christ . . . but not after Christ.  For those who are Christians, the Holy Spirit has come to take residence in our hearts communicating and correcting our prayers before they ever reach the ears of our Heavenly Father. 


Doesn’t this encourage you to pray more?  Me too!  We need not fear asking for the wrong thing if we are praying “in Jesus name.”  The Spirit makes it right.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at Romans 8:26-30 together in part 6 of our “Spiritual Life” series.  We hope you make plans to join us in our 9:30 or 11:00 worship service as we see more of God’s Spiritual provision for us as we live out the Christian life.  Hope to see you there!

Spiritual Life (part 5) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, May 1, 2016, I preached a message on Romans 8:18-25 at Wildwood Community Church. This message was part 5 of the “Spiritual Life” series.  The sermon audio and video are posted below for you to listen to/watch or share.

 

To listen to the sermon audio offline, download the file here:

The Spiritual Life #5

 

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

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

Spiritual Life (part 5) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, May 1, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message on Romans 8:18-25.  This message was part 5 in the “Spiritual Life” Series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 8:18-25
  2. What are some of the areas of your life where you currently are experiencing suffering or hardship?  How “light” or “momentary” do those experiences feel to you?
  3. In what way is our hope for tomorrow “Not worth comparing” to the suffering we are experiencing today?
  4. Have you ever stopped to consider the physical evidence of sin’s effect on this world (all creation groans)?  What are some of the ways in which you see the creation around us “groaning” under the effects of sin’s curse?
  5. What are some of the ways in which you personally groan today under the effects of living in a sinful/fallen world?
  6. What does it look like for you to live in hope and patience today while you wait for tomorrow?
  7. What stood out to you most from this message/passage?

 

To download a pdf copy of these questions, click here.

Spiritual Life (Part 5) Preview

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Have you ever noticed that the description of many things requires some kind of comparison? To my 9 year old son, I am “tall,” while on my basketball team in high school I was “short.”  Same person.  Same 5’10” in height.  But two opposite descriptions.  Which one is right?  Well, it depends on whose perspective you are evaluating through.


Take another example.  I would consider my Subaru Impreza “heavy.”  Compared to my house, though, my car is “light.”  If an F3 tornado hit my home with my car in the driveway, the Subaru might be thrown about like a rag doll while at least some measure of my house might remain. 

Tall/short.  Heavy/light.  These terms only mean something when we know the context and when they are compared to something else. 

I was thinking about this today as I read Romans 8:18 which says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  This verse reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:17 which says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”  In these verses, Paul calls the suffering and struggle in this life “light.”  I don’t know about you, but that bugs me a bit!  The suffering and struggle that we go through in this world does not feel “light.”  It also does not appear “momentary.”  Cancer, divorce, persecution, misunderstanding, losing your job, being alienated from a friend or child or parent, an untimely death . . . all these things weigh HEAVY on our hearts, and some of these pains go on and on and on.  In what possible way could the Apostle call them “light” and “momentary”? 

Paul can make such statements by shifting our perspective.  He is not saying that the suffering of this life is easy . . . he is saying it “does not compare to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  In other words, our sufferings may look tall compared to our past, but they are short compared to our God promised future.  Our struggle may seem heavy today, but it is light when compared to our inheritance in Christ.  Our difficulties may seem to drag on today, but they are “momentary” when compared to eternity.

The Spiritual Life of a Christian is not free from suffering.  We know that.  But our suffering does to compare to all that God has promised us.  We will talk about that perspective more this Sunday morning as we continue our “Spiritual Life” series (part 5) by looking at Romans 8:18-25 together at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:30 and 11:00 services.  We hope to see you there!

Spiritual Life (Part 4) Sermon Audio/Video

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This morning at Wildwood Community Church, Kevin Bradford (Wildwood’s Director of Global Outreach) preached a sermon based on Romans 8:12-17.  Kevin continued our “Spiritual Life” series delivering part 4 of this series.  Below you will find the sermon audio and video from this message to listen to/watch or share with others.

 

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

Spiritual Life part 4

 

To listen to the message online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

Spiritual Life (part 4) Sermon Questions

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This morning’s message at Wildwood Community Church from Kevin Bradford came from Romans 8:12-17, the fourth in our current “Spiritual Life” series. Below you will find questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 8:12-17
  2. Paul builds this section on the foundation of the previous passage. Since the believer no longer faces condemnation for sin (8:1), but is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (8:11), Paul says that we are “under obligation” (8:12). What does this mean, and what is the difference between this and legalism?
  3. In verses 13 and 14, Paul emphasizes that it is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that a believer can “put to death” the deeds of the body, and be led to walk with God. We affirm that only by trusting Jesus can a person be saved, but why is hard to trust God for our sanctification?
  4. The latter verses of this section have several references to the believers’ relationship as “sons of God”. Reflect upon the influence that earthly fathers have on our knowledge of God. Do you believe that the institution of fatherhood is in decline in our society? If so, how can Christians seek to correct this?
  5. Stu Weber writes about the need for a human father to serve his children as would a King, Warrior, Mentor, and Friend. Which of these roles are portrayed in this passage? Is any missing? If so, can you think of another Biblical passage that portrays God in this light?
  6. Finally, the following link connects to brief video displaying the care of Jim Redmond for his son Derek in the 1992 Olympics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2G8KVzTwfw Millions of people have commented that this was one of the most emotional sports scenes they had ever watched. What connections do you see with this passage?
  7. What is the main application you derive from this passage?

For a pdf copy of these questions, click here.

Spiritual Life (part 4) Preview

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by Kevin Bradford

Fathers are not only important members of a family, but the institution itself can provide us with special insight into the character of God. The Bible tells us that God is not only a Father for Jesus Christ, but also for those who believe in Him.

But what does it mean for God to be our “Father”? We don’t want to be guilty of that which some non-believers claim, that Christians are merely “projecting” a collection of preferences (and prejudices) onto God (i.e. making God in our image).

One of the obvious difficulties with such an approach is that people have such a wide range of experiences with the fathers of their own family–from good, to bad, to even ugly.

Thankfully, God’s revealed Word fills out the meaning of the concept. And few passages of Scripture provide as much as insight into the character and actions of our Heavenly Father as the one which will be explored this Sunday: Romans 8:12-17 at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that God, our Father:

  • Makes it possible for us to say “No” to sin;
  • Enables us to draw close to Himself;
  • And provides hope for a better future.

What a privilege it is to be able to call God, the Creator of the Universe, our Father!

NOTE:  Kevin Bradford (Wildwood’s Director of Global Outreach) will be preaching on Sunday at Wildwood as we continue our series on the Spiritual Life from Romans 7-8.

Spiritual Life (part 3) Sermon Audio/Video

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On Sunday, April 17, 2016 I preached a message at Wildwood Community Church based on Romans 8:1-11.  The sermon was part 3 in the “Spiritual Life” series.  Below the audio and video have been posted for you to watch/listen or share.

 

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

Spiritual Life (part 3)

 

To Listen to the audio online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the sermon video, use the Vimeo video below:

Spiritual Life (part 3) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, April 17, 2016 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Romans 8:1-11.  This message was part 3 of the “Spiritual Life” series.  Below are a set of questions for further reflection or group discussion related to the message.

 

Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Romans 8:1-11
  2. At the end of LAST WEEK’s sermon, we looked at Romans 7:24-25 and saw Paul crying out for Jesus to save him from his struggle with sin in this life.  What is a current area of your life where you are “crying out to Jesus” to save you from an ongoing struggle with sin?
  3. In 8:1, Paul says that there is “no condemnation” for those who are in Christ Jesus.  The passage does NOT say, there are “no sins” among the Christians, or “no temptation” among the Christians, but “no condemnation.”  What does it mean for there to be “no condemnation” for tempted/sinful people like you and me?
  4. In 8:4 we see that we are saved in order that “the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us.”  This is a statement promising our sanctification and progress in holy living.  God has secured this by giving us His Spirit to empower us in this direction.  This is a commitment God has for every Christian.  What evidence have you had in your Christian life that God has been maturing you in your faith?
  5. How does someone live their life “according to” the power of the Holy Spirit and not “according to” the flesh?
  6. What stood out to you most from this message/passage?

To download a pdf copy of these questions, click here.

Spiritual Life (part 3) Preview

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Have you ever started a home repair project?  Do you remember the feelings of exhilaration as you drew up the plans, or how you couldn’t wait to tear down that first cabinet or put the first strokes of a new paint color on the wall?  Yeah, most of us have been there.

I remember one of the first home improvement projects I ever undertook was redoing some kitchen cabinets in our home.  Kimberly and I had decided to take down a set of cabinets that interrupted site lines into the kitchen in our old house.  Rather than hire someone to do the work for us, I decided to tackle this project on my own.  Boy, was that a mistake.  I lacked the skill and tools to do the job correctly.  Though I was able to demolish a poor unsuspecting cabinet with ease, I was unable to rebuild it into anything beautiful or useable on my own.  I realized my limits and cried out to a skilled friend who helped me correct my errors and build the cabinet system we desired.

I share this story with you today because our home is not the only thing we want to renovate.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we all have received His Word through the Bible and have a new desires to see our lives remodeled in His image.  With great gusto and enthusiasm, most of us have left church camp, a worship service, or a quiet time committed to life change.  After a period of time, however, we find ourselves stuck in the same patterns of disobedience and destruction.  We need help if we are ever to see our lives evoke their true beauty and be used in God’s plans.  Realizing our limits, we must cry out to our Savior — the most skilled Friend — to do through us what we are unable to do on our own.  We need His work to sanctify us, to make us holy.

When we cry out, Jesus responds.  In fact, it is exactly what He WANTS to do.  He is responsive to our cries for help and comes with the skill and knowledge necessary to perfect us in grace.  How does He do this?  We will see that this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church as we continue our sermon series, “Spiritual Life,” together in our 8:15, 9:30 and 11:00 service.  This week we will be in Romans 8:1-11 together.  We hope to see you there!