Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 3) Video and Slides

On Wednesday night, March 24, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, I led another installment in our “Contagious Christianity” study of the book of Acts.  This week we were in week 3 of the study and it covered Acts 15:36-18:22, focusing on Paul’s second missionary journey.  Below you will find a video of the class (going live at 6:07 on 3/24/21) for you to watch, and copies of the key slides for further review.

NOTE:  To access info on parts 1 & 2 of the course click below:

To watch the video for part 3:

 

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, March 21, 2021

  1. Bruce mentioned how sometimes a tough time can “knock the breath out of us,” or “leave us gasping for emotional oxygen.” Share about a time in your life when you felt much like that and why.

 

  1. Since we began the series on Tough Times has some new adversity or difficulty surfaced in your life?  Elaborate.

 

  1. Bruce stated that when in the midst of Tough Times we need to preach to ourselves the truth of the gospel of God’s presence.  Why is this so necessary?

 

  1. Bruce cited many passages during this message: Joshua 1:5, 9; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 139:7-10; Matthew 28:20b; Hebrews 13:5b-6a; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Isaiah 49:14-16a; Isaiah 46:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:23-25; 2 Timothy 2:1; Habakkuk 3:17-19.  Pick two of them you can reflect on more, or, perhaps choose as theme verses for you over the next month.

 

  1. Bruce mentioned three expressions of His grace toward us. What were they (answer is at the bottom of the page).  How can you better tap into those three expressions of His grace in your life?

 

  1. What might be the top principle you have learned from the Tough Times series?

 

  1. In Isaiah 49:16a (NIV) God says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” What was the background of engraving on palms in the culture of that day? What an amazing picture. Take a few moments to thank your Lord that He has engraved your name on the palms of His hand.  “His loving face is always facing you!”

 

  1. Our series ended with the music video “Even If” by Mercy Me. Watch it again on YouTube (the official lyric video) and express your heart to your King.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

So far March has been a little “lion-like” weatherwise.  I don’t know about you, but after a heavy pre-Christmas freeze-out and the two strong snowfalls we had, I am more ready than I normally am for some warm, storm-free spring weather.  Lamb-like weather—come on down!

The year 2021 seems to be screaming along. Easter comes early this year which just hastens the sensation. Palm Sunday is a week from this Sunday on March 28 and Easter is April 4. We again want to encourage you to plan ahead to invite your friends for our special services:  Good Friday (April 2) at 6 pm and 7:30 pm, and four services on Easter—7:30am outdoor sunrise service in the back parking lot and our normal three services at 9:00; 10:15; and 11:30 am.

Easter historically has been one of those times of the year where people in our culture seem to be more open to attending church and seeking the Lord.  This past pandemic year could very well heighten that perspective. Be in prayer for God to lead you to folks who might well respond to a personal invite to join us at Easter time. Lord, change some lives!!

This Sunday we will be concluding our series, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering, with part 4. As I stated at the start of the series, my biggest concern was being able to cover all the biblical perspectives in four sessions.  This week’s message will again be packed with verses as we look at some of the resources (His presence and His grace) that are available for us as we face Tough Times.  I think at least one aspect of His grace might surprise some of us.

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, March 14, 2021

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Tough Times – Part 3”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned four common reactions to Tough Times (all of which are spiritually
counterproductive):
– Grin and bear it (grunt and plod through it)
– Get mad (at God and others)
– Withdraw (from God and others and start the pity party)
– Spend the rest of your life in the WHY? zone (demanding explanations)

When you find yourself facing a Tough Time, what has been your most common response?  Elaborate.

2.  One reason why God allows Tough Times in the life of a believer is to deepen our spiritual character. Name some passages in the New Testament that reveal that information. In His spiritual development plan for every follower of Jesus, what is the primary work God is seeking to accomplish?  [hint is found in Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 4:10b]

How have you experienced spiritual development in your life by walking through a Tough Time?

3. Another reason why Tough Times come in our lives is to expand our ministry in serving and encouraging others.  Re-read out loud 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Think about some of your Tough Times. Can you name an instance where what you went through enabled and equipped you to more effectively comfort and encourage someone else?

Ponder this: Ask God how he might turn your mess into ministry or turn your Tough
Time into a testimony. Look around you for those who might need comfort and encouragement.

4. Two more reasons for Tough Times in our life may be 1) to discipline us when we drift significantly, or 2)  to point us to His sufficiency.  Can you identify any Tough Times where God has worked in that way in your life?  Explain.

5. Finally, Bruce said some reasons for Tough Times are part of the mystery of His will. We may never know the “why” this side of heaven.  What Tough Time in your present, or past, would you most like to have “why?” answered?  Explain some.

6. Turn off your phone and the TV.  Read aloud Proverbs 28:13 and Psalm 139:23-24.
Prayerfully reflect on how God may be speaking to you.

7. Close by reading aloud 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, March 14, 2021

Hey Wildwood Family!

Well, traditional spring break is next week.  Yet, it won’t follow normal tradition for all.  While public schools are “breaking,” OU isn’t. Another blow for Covid!

Guess there might be more room if you desire to make an impromptu trip to the beach. Last one in is a rotten egg!  Wait.  I’m preaching this week.  Oh, well.

I checked and my pool temp is up to 62 degrees.  Maybe I’ll do a quick jump-in.  On the other hand…

Two significant things to take note of:  First, daylight savings “springs forward” this Sunday (actually 2 am Sunday).  This is the “tricky” time change where if we forget, we show up an hour late. Sooo…be sure to set your clocks forward on Saturday night!

Second, Easter comes early this year. Palm Sunday is March 28 and Easter is April 4. So, plan ahead now to invite your friends for our special services:  Good Friday (April 2) at 6 pm and 7:30 pm, and four services on Easter—7:30 outdoor sunrise service in the back parking lot and our normal three services at 9:00; 10:15; 11:30.

This Sunday we will be continuing our series entitled, Tough Times: Finding Perspective in the Face of Suffering.  In part three we will look at four common (spiritually counterproductive) reactions to Tough Times, and then we’ll take a closer look at revealed reasons while God allows trials, troubles, life storms, and Tough Times in our lives.  This is good perspective for all of us.

Hope to see and worship with you on Sunday!!

Bruce

Acts Contagious Christianity (part 2) Slides and Video

On Wednesday night, March 10 at Wildwood Community Church, we had the second part of our “Contagious Christianity” study of the book of Acts.  This lessons provides an overview of Acts 9:32-15:35 in a section we titled “Growing and Going.”  Below you will find slides from this lesson and the video of the teaching. [NOTE: to access part 1 in this study, click here.]

Video:

 

Slides:

Baptism Sunday, March 7, 2021 – Sermon Questions & Video

On Sunday, March 7, 2021 at Wildwood Community Church, we celebrated the baptisms of 18 individuals.  Before these baptisms, I preached a message from Acts 15:7-19.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the video from the services to watch.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Acts 15:7-19
  3. What are some of the things you have had to do to take the next “first step” in different areas of your life (not just your spiritual life, but all areas)?
  4. We are not to “trouble” those who are turning to God by complicating the next first step.  What are some of the ways you see people being “troubled” before they are “allowed” to take the next first step?
  5. Have you been baptized since professing faith in Christ?  If so, when?  If not, why not?  Is the Lord leading you to pursue water baptism?  If so (or even if you just have questions about baptism) contact us at wildwoodchurch.org/baptism and we will follow up before our next baptism service in August 2021.
  6. What is the “next step” the Lord would have YOU take in your spiritual life?
  7. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon audio offline, click the link:

The Next “First” Step 3.7.21

 

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

 

To watch the 9:00 baptisms, use this video from YouTube:

 

To watch the entire 10:15 service (including sermon), use this video:

 

To watch the 11:30 baptisms, use this video:

 

Baptism Sunday, March 7, 2021! (Preview)

This Sunday at Wildwood is such a GREAT SUNDAY!  March 7 we are celebrating the baptisms of 18 individuals over our 3 morning worship services (9:00, 10:15, and 11:30).  We cannot wait for this weekend.

Water baptism is a public celebration of people’s connection to Jesus.  All 18 people who are being baptized on Sunday are being baptized upon their personal profession of faith in Christ.

Join us as we hear their stories and celebrate what Jesus has done in their lives.  Around these 18 baptisms, we will also sing, pray, and look into God’s Word (Acts 15:19 to be exact), as we thank God for His mercy and grace toward us through Jesus Christ.

Make plans to join us!  Know that the baptism portion of each service will  be broadcast on our online channel – wildwoodchurch.org/live .  The entire worship service (as usual) will also be broadcast at 10:15.  So, here is the schedule:

If you are physically coming to Wildwood, services start at:

  • 9:00
  • 10:15
  • 11:30

 

If you are going to join us online:

Know that on Baptism Sundays at Wildwood we do not have adult, college, student, or elementary classes meeting.  All who attend Wildwood this Sunday will join us in one of our 3 worship services (with the exception of preschool aged children and below, who will have their classes still meeting this Sunday).  Hope to see you Sunday!

Acts: Contagious Christianity (part 1)

 

On Wednesday night, March 3, at Wildwood Community Church, I began a 5 part survey of the book of Acts as a part of a course presented by TBI called “Acts: Contagious Christianity.”  In part 1, we introed the book of Acts, and looked at Acts 1-9.  These verses reminded us that after His resurrection and ascension, Jesus was ALIVE AND WELL and continuing to work through His Body, the Church.  Below you will see slides from the presentation and the YouTube stream of the class for any who missed it.  Join us next week (March 10) for part 2!

 

To watch the session video use YouTube online:

Questions for Reflection – Sunday, February 28, 2021

On Sunday, February 28, 2021, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Tough Times – Part 2”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce mentioned one of the key New Testament words for Tough Times was the term “thlipsis.”  It is a rather rich word used 45 times picturing being pressed in on, squeezed, or crushed.  Think about a tough time (maybe now) when you felt pressed in on, squeezed, or crushed by circumstances. Share some about why you felt (or feel) that way.

2. How was God’s sovereignty and providence displayed in Daniel 4:29-35 and in the story of Job?

3. Real out loud Isaiah 46:9-11.  What comfort and security in Tough Times can we experience when we pause to reflect on the fact that God is indeed “large and in charge?”

4. Bruce talked about how Scripture teaches that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), the Lord is just (Psalm 37:28), and the Lord is loving (Psalm 136). What can we practically gain in the midst of Tough Times by refreshing our hearts with that perspective?

5. Read Psalm 13:1-6. How do verses 1-2 contrast with verses 5-6?  How do you think David was able to make that transition?

6. We are either in a Tough Time now or will be soon. If you’re not in the midst right now, think through those around you who may well be in the midst of a Tough Time.  How might God use you to help and encourage them?

7. God knows we are human.  So, as Bruce said, don’t crucify yourself when you experience times of doubt and struggle. We should do like the Psalmists did.  Take your struggle and frustration and discouragement to the Lord in prayer.  Do that right now.

Remember: His loving face is always facing you!!