Episode 13: This is Wildwood! The Importance of Prayer with Natalie and Ann Marie

Episode 13: This is Wildwood! The Importance of Prayer with Natalie and Ann Marie

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Natalie, Ann Marie, and Ciera

As we follow Jesus as a church, one important thing for us always to remember is the dependence we have upon Christ.  One of the most tangible expressions of our dependence upon Him is through prayer.  Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God and our life as a church here at Wildwood.  On today’s episode of the podcast, we interview Natalie (a 7th grader) along with her Student Ministry Leader Ann Marie Hubbard and our Student Ministry Associate Ciera Morren to talk about how Natalie applied what she heard at the most recent “Rooted” Girls Ministry event by praying for her Volleyball team.  Check it out!


To find out more about Wildwood’s Student Ministry, click here.



Questions for Reflection – 10.20.2019

On Sunday, October 20, 2019, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Providence (Esther) – Introduction” from Esther 1:1-3. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Traveling back in time has been a popular technique in movies over the last 25 years or so. What movie featuring time travel to the past stands out as your favorite and why?

2. Why do so many people tend to view the Old Testament negatively and thus often avoid it?
Name a NT verse that encourages us to learn from the people and events of the Old Testament.

3. Esther is one of two OT books featuring and named after women.  What is the other?  Esther illustrates God’s ___________________  [fill in the blank]    The other book illustrates God’s ____________________ [fill in the blank]

4. Over time there have been those who have had reservations about whether Esther should be part of the canon or not.  What are some of the reasons for skepticism?

5. Give your own definition or summary of what God’s “providence” means.  What ramification does the principle of God’s providence mean for our everyday life?

6. Pray for an open heart and for the Holy Spirit to give us deeper insight into our great God’s character as we study the Book of Esther in the weeks ahead.

Sneak Peek for Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hello Wildwood Family!

Well, we’ve had our first taste of fall—what do you think? Are you ready for cooler temperatures and some shifts in what clothing you wear? One of the things I love about Oklahoma is that we get to experience four seasons. It’s fun for me! Hope it is for you too!

Time travel has been a theme of movies for a few decades now, especially going BACK in time. No doubt you have a favorite movie that features time travel into the past. Well, this Sunday we are launching a new teaching series that features us traveling back in time 2500 years. Back to the time of Queen Esther in the Medo-Persian empire. Yes, we are beginning a study of the book of Esther from the Old Testament.

I’ve entitled this series Providence: Insights from the Book of Esther. The Bible clearly sets forth God’s providence in all that happens in the world. Esther is a book that demonstrates how His providence is active in everyday life. You might want to read it. Hope you enjoy the series. I’m excited!!

Just a heads up…if you’ve never been baptized since trusting Christ as your Savior, baptism classes are being held a week from Sunday on October 27. More info will be in the bulletin this Sunday or you can go to wildwoodchurch.org/baptism to learn more.

So excited for Sunday! Hope to see you then!


Two More . . . from 10/13/19

Two more minutes with King of the Mountain (part 4) – Matthew 22:34-40 . . . 

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (22:39) – This was not the first time Jesus had been asked “what mattered most.”  In Luke 10:25-29, another Lawyer came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus gave the same answer He provided in Matthew 22:34-40 (quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 reminding them to love God completely and love others consistently.)  Upon hearing this answer, though, the Lawyer followed up by trying to limit the consistent love Jesus commanded and the Law required, by asking “Who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29).  Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), defining our “neighbor” as basically ANYONE we come into contact with.  

So the “Great Commandment” is defined as loving God completely, and loving ANY WE COME INTO CONTACT WITH consistently.  That standard is SUPER HIGH, isn’t it?  How much easier the standard would be to simply ask us to attend church, give a certain percentage, or read our bibles every day.  The standard is SO MUCH HIGHER . . . so high, when measured against it, we all fall short (Romans 3:23).  Thankfully, though our sins are many, His mercy is more!! 

“Love” and “Love” point more to a relationship, than a religion.  I LOVE that Jesus describes the “most important thing” in relational terms, not religious terms.  We are to choose to love God and commit to Him completely.  We are to choose to love others and consistently seek to serve their needs.  Relationships with God and His children are at the forefront of what matters most.  Christianity is not about me . . . it is about He and we!  We are called into a committed “marriage” with God, not just to “date” Him.   He loves us and pursues us and invites us into a relationship with Him and His children forever.

King of the Mountain (part 4) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, October 13, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 22:34-40.  This message was part 4 of the “King of the Mountain” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from this message to listen to, download, or share.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

King of the Mountain #4 10.13.19



To listen online, use the media player below:



To watch the entire worship service, view our YouTube feed:



King of the Mountain (part 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, October 13, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 22:34-40.  This message was part 4 in the “King of the Mountain” series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 22:34-40
  3. What are some times in your life when you have really sought “God’s will” regarding decisions you were making?
  4. While there ARE definitely times we want God’s direction on big decisions on particular days, it is also important to know God’s will for EVERY DAY.  Jesus articulates the direction we are to live, as He shares the Great Commandment with us . . . a commandment with 2 parts.  The first part is to “Love God Completely.”  This includes committing to obeying Him, committing our lives to Him (and trusting Him with our eternity), and committing to allowing Him to transform our minds with His thoughts.  What are some areas where you struggle to Love God Completely?
  5. Jesus also calls us to Love Others Consistently.  1 John 4:20-21 indicates why this is.  Who are people in your life that you struggle to “love”?  What would it look like for you to “love them as yourself?”
  6. While loving God completely and loving others consistently is the standard of the Great Commandment, we all fall short of always living this out.  However, Jesus ALWAYS lived out the Great Commandment . . . and His righteousness is offered to us as a gift.  Have you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  Are you trusting in Him to transform you by His love for God and others?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

King of the Mountain (part 4) Sermon Preview

What is God’s will for my life?  Most of the time when we ask this question, we have a more particular question in mind:

  • Should I marry him/her?
  • Should I buy this/that?
  • Should I quit my current job?
  • Should I take that new job?
  • Should I move here/there?

And many more questions like these. . . 

While these are all legitimate questions and we often have to make decisions about certain things, there is actually a much broader question about God’s will for us that is not answered only on “some days” but is answered “every day.”  The broader question is this:  what does God desire for my life?  What does He want me to do?  Who does He desire that I be?

Don’t you wish you could ask Jesus Himself that question?  “What do You want me to do, Jesus?  What do You desire for my life?”

Guess what?  The question has already been asked of Jesus . . . by a lawyer in Matthew 22:34-40 . . . and this Sunday we will see how Jesus answers this question in our final installment of the “King of the Mountain” series.  We hope you can join us at Wildwood in our 9:45 or 11:00 service as we dive into God’s Word together . . . and see His revolutionary answer that has great implications for our lives today.  See you Sunday!

Episode 12: This is Wildwood! Following Jesus into Community at “The Well”

Episode 12: This is Wildwood! Following Jesus into Community at “The Well”
Follow into Community

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Kelly Shockley, Kelly Skrapka, and Ali Swanson – part of the Leadership Team for “The Well”

As we follow Jesus into Community, He grows our faith in Him and our love for others.  This move AWAY from isolation and toward the Body of Christ is seen as a key component of “The Well” – a ministry of encouragement and refreshment to young moms at Wildwood Community Church.  On today’s episode, we talk with Kelly Skrapka (the Well’s Founder and Director) and two key members of her leadership team (Kelly Shockley and Ali Swanson) about how God has been at work in this ministry.  Check it out!


  • To find current information about Women’s Ministry at Wildwood (including the Well), click here.

Two More Minutes . . . 10/6/19

Two more minutes with Matthew 22:23-33 (part 3 of Wildwood‘s sermon series – “King of the Mountain”). . .

The Sadducees were an interesting mix of beliefs:

  • Politically, they were rather “pro-Roman.”  As the group that ran the Temple area in Jerusalem, they needed Roman support to maintain their powerful role in Jewish society.  
  • Financially, the Sadducees had turned the Temple into an enterprise that made them very wealthy (as we discussed when we looked at Jesus turning over the tables in the Temple in Matthew 21:12-17).
  • Biblically, the Sadducees considered their understanding of the Scriptures to be pure and undefiled.  Unlike the Pharisees who had embraced many rabbi’s teachings on the Scripture as authoritative, the Sadducees considered only the Scriptures themselves to be truly authoritative.  Strangely, in their effort to be “Bible based” the Sadducees reduced their Scriptures to ONLY the first 5 books of our Old Testament.  If something was not taught in Genesis – Deuteronomy, they did not consider it to be trustworthy.
  • Spiritually, the Sadducees were “earth-bound” in their thinking.  They did not believe in life after death, thinking the soul died with the body.  They also did not believe in the angelic realm (Acts 23:8).  

So, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question about the resurrection, attempting to show (what they believe) is the absurdity of the notion of new life after death.  Jesus answers the Sadducees . . . and (in a sense) He does so on their terms.  Using a key verse (Exodus 3:6) from one of the books they embraced (Exodus), Jesus argues for the resurrection of the dead.  This got me thinking . . .

Today, some have a high view of Jesus Christ, but a low view of much of the other Scriptures.  This position can turn into a “Sadduceean” perspective where the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have more authority to some than the rest of the Scripture (the New Testament after the Gospels, and all of the Old Testament).  Some of these arguments ignore ethical teaching from the Epistles, prophecy from the Revelation, and the supernatural nature of many events in the Old Testament — clinging only to what Jesus taught in the Gospels — “Red Letter” Only (if you will). 

So let’s imagine that someone were to come to you and say that they have a “favorable view” of Jesus, but doubt the veracity of the Old Testament.  Could you answer them?  What would you say?  Well, using only the words of Jesus and the record of the Gospels, you can make a strong argument in favor of the historicity of some of the wildest Old Testament events:

  • Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-5)
  • Cain and Abel (Matthew 23:35)
  • Noah’s Ark (Luke 17:26, Matthew 24:37-39)
  • Abraham (John 8:56-58)
  • Lot & Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-32)
  • Moses and the burning bush (Mark 12:26)
  • Israel eating manna in wilderness (John 6:32)
  • Brass serpent healing snake bits (John 3:14-15)
  • Elijah & Elisha’s miracles (Luke 4:25-27)
  • Jonah (Matthew 12:39-40)
  • Isaiah (Matthew 13:14)
  • Daniel (Matthew 24:15)

In Matthew 22:23-33, Jesus says, “Sadducees, you believe in Moses, but not the resurrection?  Look at what Moses said about the resurrection in Exodus 3:6!” 

Given what we see Jesus saying about the Old Testament, we could also say to modern day skeptics, “Skeptics, you believe in Jesus, but not the Old Testament?  Look at what Jesus says about Noah and the flood, Jonah and the fish, Moses and the burning bush, etc. in the Old Testament?”  

I am going to side with Jesus on all things.  I will take the word of the resurrected One concerning life after death . . . and I am going to take the word of the Eternal One about the things that happened long ago in the Old Testament.  

Even on “their terms” Jesus wins the day.

King of the Mountain (part 3) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, October 6, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 22:23-33.  This message was part 3 of the “King of the Mountain” series.  Below is the audio of the sermon to download, listen to, or share.


To listen offline, click the link to download:

King of the Mountain #3 10.06.19


To listen online, use the media player below:



Watch the Stream of the service on YouTube: