Foundations (part 1) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, February 12, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 3:1-12.  This message was part 1 in the “Foundations” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 3:1-12
  3. At the beginning of the message today, I asked the question: “Do you want to be a part of a meeting or a movement?”  What are some of the differences between these two categories?  Which is more appealing to you?
  4. John prepared the way for Jesus’s arrival by preaching a message of repentance in the wilderness.  Have you ever had any “wilderness” periods of your own life?  What did God teach you in the midst of the “wilderness”?
  5. Repentance is more than just sorrow about our sin . . . it is a change of direction.  Can you think of any examples of repentance from sin in your own life?  Are there things in your life today that you need to repent of?
  6. Have you ever been baptized since trusting Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, what is stopping you from being baptized (NOTE:  Wildwood’s next baptism service is April 2.  Sign up for more details at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism )
  7. Why do you think people flocked out to John to meet with him in the wilderness?  Contrast the harshness of John’s location, presentation, etc. with your modern church experience.
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Foundations (Part 1) Preview

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Origin stories are interesting aren’t they?  We enjoy finding out where our heroes came from.  Before they made history, their foundation was poured over a series of seminal events. 

It is interesting to hear about “the Steves” (Wozniak and Jobs) in the garage in Los Altos dreaming up products that would change the world.  The story of Michael Jordan getting cut from the varsity basketball team in his early days of high school has been told and retold for decades now.  We even enjoy hearing the origin  stories of our fictional characters: the popular Broadway musical “Wicked” introduces us to the cast of the “Wizard of Oz.” 

In each of these instances, knowing where they came from, helps us make sense of their purpose and the ultimate impact of their life. 

The same is also true of the early days of Jesus of Nazareth.  Years before He walked out of an empty tomb near Jerusalem (yet years after His birth in Bethlehem) the origin story of Jesus’ ministry is told by the Gospel writer in Matthew 3-4.  In these two chapters, several key events sit like piers over which the foundation of Jesus ministry would be poured.  Over the next four Sundays at Wildwood Community Church, we will be studying these chapters in a new series we are calling “Foundations.”  In this series, we will see the groundwork of a Gospel movement laid.

Join us as we check out the origin story of Jesus to see His purpose and reflect on the ultimate impact of His life.  Join us this Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00.  See you there!

Generous Living (part 2) Sermon Audio

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On Sunday, February 5, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  This message was part 2 of the “Generous Living” sermon series.  Below, you will see the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click on the link to download the file:

Generous Living Part 2

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To see a number of the summary slides used in connection with this message, click here and visit this post.

Generous Living (part 2) Slides

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On Sunday, February 5, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  (You can access the sermon audio by clicking here.) Below are a number of slides from this message that summarize the main points.  In addition, at the bottom of this post, you will see a few references I have found helpful on this topic.

 

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Books on the topic:

 

Online article:

 

Additional Resource:

Generous Living (part 2) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, February 5, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  This message was part 2 in the “Generous Living” series.  Below are a set of questions for personal reflection or group discussion related to this message.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19
  3. By your own definition, what does it mean to be “rich”?  Do you consider yourself “rich”?  Why or why not?
  4. What are some examples you have seen that demonstrate the perishability of earthly riches?
  5. According to 1 Timothy 6:17-19, rich people are to do GOOD.  A number of things were mentioned in the sermon today that were examples of doing “good” with your resources.  Think through your own finances for a moment.  Are there any particular areas where you were challenged to give more?
  6. What does it mean for you to be “generous” in your giving?  Are there areas where you sense God wanting you to increase your generosity?
  7. What are some of the things you have given generously to in the past that have brought joy to your heart, and have brought “eternal rewards?”
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Generous Living (part 2) Preview

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Imagine for a moment that you are going on a trip to Disney World.  As you prepare for the journey, you decide to buy a book to help you plan your vacation.  You hop onto Amazon and purchase a copy of the 2017 Guide to Disney World from a respected tour company.  2 days later, the book arrives in your mailbox and you begin to read in preparation for your trip.

Chapter 1 of the book focuses on how much the trip will cost, including budgeting information about how much to save over a 2-5 year period to pay for this vacation.  Chapter 2 explains the many different ways to get Orlando by plane:  what routes are serviced by Delta, American, United, etc.  Chapter 3 unpacks the different ways to get to Disney World via train, by showing the most recent Amtrak schedule.  Chapter 4 contains road maps of all the different paths to drive to the Magic Kingdom (including projected drive times from different cities in the U.S.A.). Finally, chapter 5 concludes with a comparison chart of each of the different ways to get to Disney in 2017.

Now, let me ask you . . . If this was the travel guide you purchased, how many stars would you give this book in the review?  For my money, this kind of travel guide would only get 1 out of 5 stars.  Why such a severe rating?

I would downgrade this travel guide because it only told me how to GET to Disney World without any instruction about what to do when I got there.

I mention this today, because I see a parallel with this kind of travel guide and good chunk of the counsel I have seen (even from Christian circles) about managing finances.  Much of what has been written about money has focused on how to “get rich” . . . but seldom do I see instruction about what to do when God provides more than what I need.  To put it another way, how am I supposed to live AS a rich person?

Now, I know when I say that, many of you are concerned that I have either stolen from the church treasury or am deluded.  After all, Pastors are not supposed to be rich.  By comparison to many in our community, I certainly am not rich (as many make considerable more money than I do).  However, when we compare our standard of living to that of most people in the world today, we see that most all Americans are indeed “rich.”  We have enough food to eat, a choice in what we wear, live in a house with indoor plumbing, heat and air conditioning, etc.  The Lord has provided MORE than what I need . . . so what am I supposed to do with that?  How are we supposed to live as “rich people?”

Believe it or not, God has given us great insight into this topic in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.  In this passage of Scripture, Paul instructs Timothy on how to live as someone who is “rich in this present age” (in other words, what do we do when “get there.”)  This Sunday, as we conclude our two part series on “Generous Living” we will explore this passage in more depth.  Join us at Wildwood Community Church at our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service as we talk about living generously together.  See you Sunday!

Generous Living (part 1) Sermon Audio

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On Sunday, January 29, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Mark 10:17-31.  This message was part 1 in the “Generous Living” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Generous Living (part 1)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Generous Living (part 1) Sermon Questions

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On Sunday, January 29, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Mark 10:17-31.  It was part 1 in the “Generous Living” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Mark 10:17-31
  3. If someone wanted to make an argument that you “had everything” what evidence might they point to?
  4. How does “having everything” make it more challenging for you to obey Christ?
  5. Think of the areas of your life where you tend to depend more on you or your “stuff” than on Jesus.  In what ways is relying on Jesus better?
  6. What would it look like for you to trust Jesus to develop generosity in you?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Generous Living (part 1) Preview

insta-gl-001Have you ever been in a “what do I have to lose” scenario?  You know one of those moments where taking a risk is not all that risky because of the desperation of your situation — ever been in a spot like that? 

I think about the night in August of 1994 when I asked Kimberly (now my wife) if she was interested in dating me.  My desire to be “more than friends” was strong enough that the potential awkwardness of rejection was eclipsed, so I asked her out.  (By the way . . . she said “no”.  Seriously.  Though, thankfully she reconsidered a couple of days later!)  The night I drove over to her house to pick her up, I thought – “What do I have to lose?”

At times, though, we do take risks with things that we hold dear:

  • Sometimes we leave the comfort of our hometown to attend school or take a job in another state.
  • Other times we reach out and show love to a person who is rejected by our friends, and risk relational loss as a result.
  • Also, financially at times we liquidate our savings to invest in a new venture we really believe in.

In each of these cases, we feel like we are taking a big risk . . . because we have something to lose!

Back when Jesus was walking on the earth, a person who had a lot to lose approached Jesus.  This person was “rich,” “young,” and a “ruler.”  Not only that, he had good morals, good manners, and was standing next to the most important Man who ever lived.  This guy seemed to have it all!  Or, at least He had it all to lose.  And that dilemma caused him to break into a cold sweat when Jesus asked him to do something radical.  What did Jesus ask him to do?  Well, I’m not going to tell you.  🙂

You can read about it yourself (if you want) in Mark 10:17-31, then come to Wildwood this Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 as we will look in depth at what it means to experience “Generous Living” as we will be in part 1 of this short two week series.  We may not always feel like it, but when compared to the rest of the world, we are rich people.  Materially speaking, many times we feel as though we have something to lose.  This feeling of risk prevents us from living generously with those around us.  For the next couple of weeks, we will be reflecting on what a true connection with the Living God does for our attitude about the “things” in our lives.  When we understand who He is and what He is offering, investing in His agenda does not feel so risky.

Looking forward to worshipping with you this weekend, and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.  See you Sunday!

Living Words Preview

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I have a good friend who trusted Jesus as her Savior at a missions conference.  That’s right.  In the midst of a call to a group of 1,500 (mostly) Christian college students to “Go and make disciples of all nations” my non-Christian (at the time) friend decided to trust Christ!

I have been a Pastor long enough to know that in the midst of ANY sermon on ANY topic, the LORD can get His message out to people . . . but this story still makes me smile thinking about it.  At first glance, it seems odd that someone would decide to follow Jesus at a missions conference . . . there is not much that feels very “seeker sensitive” about that.  I mean if it had been a message about our sinfulness and the forgiveness available through Jesus’ death, it would have made more sense to me.  If it had been a message about the uncertainty of the future and the assurance of the Gospel, I would “get it,” but this message was a call to evangelism that many Christians were backing away from . . . yet my friend decided in that moment to run towards the call of Christ, and has never wavered since then — serving years in foreign mission work and sharing Christ in every setting where she has found herself.  At first glance, this seems surprising . . . but is it?  I think for two reasons, this story should not be surprising at all:

  1.  Her main struggle in NOT placing her faith in Christ had to do with the eternal fate of non-Christian people.  At this conference (as the Great Commission was shared) she realized that Jesus KNEW of these lost people and had a plan to reach them with the Gospel . . . and that plan involved us!  In a strange way, the missions conference was just the apologetic she needed to trust Christ with her all in all.
  2. The “normal” Christian life is a life of mission.  Missions is not a secondary part of the Christian life, or an extra for the radical fringe.  Missions is at the core of our new identity in Christ.  We are connected to a missional God, following a Risen Savior who is still “seeking and saving the lost.”  If we are abiding with Him, we will join Him on that mission in this life . . . a mission that is globally minded but locally engaged.

I was thinking about that this week because we are at the front end of an 8 day “Missions Emphasis Week” at Wildwood that we are calling “Living Words.”  As we head into this week, I want to remind all of us of two very important things:

  1.  Jesus has a plan to reach the lost . . . and that plan involves you and me.
  2. This plan is for ALL of us, not just vocational missionaries or Pastors.  Mission is a part of the “normal” Christian life.  Therefore, let’s all participate in this week and see what God is up to around the world and how we can join Him!

That said, there are a few opportunities to get involved this week that I want everyone to be aware of:

  • “Living Words” Preview Event (January 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM in the Fellowship Center at Wildwood):  Come meet a number of our global missionary partners who are here this week and hear a vision for world missions from Wildwood’s staff and missionaries.
  • Sunday mornings (January 15 and 22 in all 3 Worship Services and a number of our Adult, Student, and Children’s classes):  Our programming for each of these two Sundays will feature Wildwood’s missionary involvement and be led by a combination of Wildwood staff and missionary partners.  Make plans to join us in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 services and support programming!
  • Wednesday Night Vision Night (January 18 from 6 – 7 PM in the Worship Center):  Come hear from a number of our missionary partners share about how to cultivate a vision for world missions in your home.  Following this event there will be refreshments and a reception for our missionary partners in the Gathering Hall.
  • Next Steps (January 20 at 6:30 at the Wyatts- for details and directions contact Zack at zpadgett3@gmail.com):  College students and other young adults are encouraged to join us at this meeting for a meal and informal discussion with several of our global partners about practical advice for getting to, and serving effectively, on a foreign field.
  • Discovery Roundtables (Wednesday nights beginning January 25 from 6:05 – 7:25PM at the Hallbrooke Clubhouse 2110 Hallbrooke Dr.):  Join us in a series of presentations and discussions, taught by Kevin Bradford and several of Wildwood’s global partners, Wednesdays, January 25-March 8 as we examine God’s Word, get a status update on His World, and consider how both individuals and our church can be involved in His Work, impacting the nations for Christ.  Sign up at wildwoodchurch.org/discovery.

 

I look forward to seeing you at many of these events over the next week or so!