God with us (part 1) Sermon Audio, Video, & Questions

On Sunday, November 27, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Isaiah 7:1-16 and Matthew 1:22-23.  This message was part 1 of the “God with us” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Additionally, you can access the daily devotional “God with us” for use during the Christmas season by clicking here.  Each daily devotion will also be posted to this blog each morning.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Isaiah 7:1-16 and Matthew 1:22-23
  3. Has there ever been a time when you have observed the celebration of Christmas and felt like “that is too much”?  What contributed to your thought process in making that determination?
  4. We are very familiar with the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.  Have you ever studied this passage to see its Old Testament context?  In what ways does knowing its Old Testament context help us to understand the significance of Jesus’ birth?
  5. The enemy armies caused the nation of Judah to have their “hearts shake like trees.”  What causes your heart to fear?  How would “placing that fear on the timeline” help you in quieting that fear?
  6. The birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary is THE sign that Jesus is not just an ordinary man, but God Himself who will deliver us from our sins.  How does the virgin birth help accomplish this (remember the reasons for the virgin birth we talked about in this morning’s message)?  
  7. Since Jesus is God, it changes everything.  What does it change for you?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

God With Us #1 11.27.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

November 27- Jesus is God: Sign #1

The year was 1957.  IBM had created a device which would change the world as we know it.  This device was large by today’s standards, taking up several cabinets of space.  This machine was also expensive, costing nearly $80,000 to purchase.  What is this large and expensive machine that changed the world?  An electronic calculator.

Now, I realize that we do not normally consider the calculator to be a world changing device, but that is because we have grown up with it.  We have grown accustomed to it, and thus we take it for granted.  If you were born prior to 1957, all math was done in your head.  If you are like me, you grew up in elementary school learning to add, subtract, multiply, or divide by hand.   And if you are like me, math became difficult for you when dealing with numbers that outstretched your number of fingers and toes!  Because of my difficulty with math, I welcomed the day I got to use my first calculator to aid in solving problems in school.  It was as liberating as it was accurate.  It also opened new vistas into deeper fields of mathematics (things like trigonometry and calculus) which would be nearly impossible without the use of a machine.  The machine IBM invented in 1957 did not invent math … it was based on the same numbers and truths as long division … but it did reinvent how higher math was computed, placing a powerful tool in the hands of people everywhere.   

In John 2:1-11, Jesus performed a miracle filled with symbolism to reveal to His followers that He was creating a New Covenant by which mankind would relate to God.  For centuries, God’s people had related to Him under the Old Covenant based on the Old Testament Law which was filled with the Ten Commandments, ritual cleansing, and animal sacrifices.  While the miracle of John 2 may look like Jesus was simply providing some good wine to a few thirsty guests at a wedding feast, a closer look reveals that Jesus was actually highlighting a significant truth about His identity and the gift He was offering.  By taking the water from the Old Covenant ceremonial jars and turning it into something new (and better), Jesus was actually foreshadowing the fact that He was creating a New Covenant that would change the spiritual lives of all who would embrace it.  This New Covenant would be very expensive, costing Jesus His blood.  This New Covenant that Jesus was establishing was what we know of as Christianity.  

Now, I realize that as Americans, we can take for granted the amazing revolution that life in Christ creates, but that is because many of us have grown up with it.  If you lived your life before the time of Christ, all spiritual interaction with God was based on strict adherence to the Law.  If you are like me, you find God’s Law beautiful but too lofty to adhere to 100 percent of the time.  Because of our inability to keep God’s Law, we should welcome the amazing extension of God’s grace to us in Christ.  It is as liberating as it is holy.  It provides forgiveness for our sins once and for all in Christ and opens new vistas for our spiritual lives including mission, purpose, a close and personal relationship with God, and gracious provision to actually live out the Christian life.  The New Covenant did not invent holiness—it was based on the same righteousness prescribed in the Law—but it did reinvent how our spiritual lives would be lived out, placing the powerful life of Christ in the hearts of people everywhere.

Like wine out of water, Jesus has saved the best for last.  Take a moment and praise God for creating us as people who are arriving at the feast of history at this time.  Like wedding guests in Cana, we can enjoy the blessing that Jesus creates out of an old pot.  

Turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana was the first “sign” of Jesus’ divinity referenced by John.  Only God Himself could initiate this new covenant.  This miracle, and its symbolic significance pointed to Jesus’ true identity.

 

This devo is a part of the 2022 Wildwood Christmas Daily Devotional, “God with us.”  You can find the entire Christmas Devotional here.

Episode 36: This is Wildwood! For the Next Generation with Abe Mahner our Student Pastor (6th-12th grade)

This is Wildwood
This is Wildwood
Episode 36: This is Wildwood! For the Next Generation with Abe Mahner our Student Pastor (6th-12th grade)
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Here at Wildwood we are For the Next Generation Following Jesus Together For the Glory of God! One specific way we do this is with out Student Ministry! For this week’s podcast, welcome on Abe Mahner our student pastor! Abe serves as the student pastor for students ranging from 6th-12th grades here in Norman. Join us as we discuss with Abe the ins and outs of being a servant leader here at Wildwood’s Student Ministry.

To learn more about student ministry at Wildwood click this link: https://wildwoodchurch.org/ministries/students/

November 2022 Baptism Sunday Recap

On Sunday, November 20, 2022 at Wildwood, we had the great joy of baptizing 22 individuals who had placed their faith in Christ.  Before each of their baptisms, we heard the story of how God had worked in their lives, then we got to witness their water baptism as an outward picture of their inner connection to Jesus.  Below you will find links to the baptisms in each service, as well as a link to the Vimeo channel that includes all of their testimonies.  Join us in praising God for His great work!  As we sang today, “How Great Thou Art!”

To watch the 8:30 service baptisms, use this YouTube video online:

 

To watch the 9:45 service baptisms (and full service), use this YouTube video online:

 

To watch the 11:00 service baptisms use this YouTube video online:

 

To access the Vimeo channel with all 22 testimonies shared this morning, click here.

 

Also, in the 8:30 service, time allowed for a longer sermon (than in the other two services).  This sermon is podcasted for those who missed it and be can downloaded or shared.

To listen offline to the 8:30AM service sermon, click on the link:

Baptism Sunday 11.20.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Episode 35: This is Wildwood! Following Jesus on Mission with Tom Brewster from Christian Hands in Action (CHIA)

This is Wildwood
This is Wildwood
Episode 35: This is Wildwood! Following Jesus on Mission with Tom Brewster from Christian Hands in Action (CHIA)
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At Wildwood we believe one of the ways we grow in our faith in God and love for others is by following Jesus on mission. For this week’s podcast we had Tom Brewster who has been working with CHIA for 10 years! CHIA’s mission is to make disciples of all nations and taking part in the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:18-20. Check out how CHIA and Tom take part in making disciples in our latest episode!

Here is a link to learn more about CHIA and Tom’s Ministry: https://www.chiamissions.org

If you have an interest in going on Wildwood’s mission trip to Mexico with CHIA in June 2023, email our director of Global Outreach Kevin Bradford at profkevin@hotmail.com.

Baptism Sunday Preview (November 20, 2022)

At Wildwood we are FOR following JESUS together to the glory of God. Because of that, we celebrate when people begin to follow Jesus, and Baptism is a time for the church congregation to celebrate these beginnings! This Sunday (November 20) at Wildwood, we will have the privilege of seeing 22 people baptized. We will hear their stories, pray over them, rejoice with them, and witness their water baptism. We will also sing of Jesus’ goodness, open God’s Word together, and be encouraged as we head into Thanksgiving week together as a church family. Hope you can join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service!

  • NOTE: On baptism Sundays (as is our tradition) we do not run our elementary, student, college, or adult Sunday morning classes. All Kindergarten and up will be in the worship service together for these services. What a great chance for us to celebrate as a church family!
  • NOTE 2: See the attached pic with details about who is being baptized in which service.
  • NOTE 3: At noon on Sunday, we will begin decorating the church for Christmas.  If you and your family would like to stay and help with this festive event, we’d love to have you!!!  Meet in the Gathering Hall at 12:15.

 

2022 Christmas Devotional Guide – FREE!!!

Imagine you were to get a phone call this afternoon from someone who is really famous (in a circle or industry you care about).  Could be a politician, a famous sports star, an author, an actor, or a titan of industry.  This is a hypothetical, so you get to decide which famous person is calling you.  Upon answering the call, they inform you that they are coming to YOUR HOUSE to celebrate Christmas with YOU!  Now that would be quite a phone call … wouldn’t it?

If you got that call, what would you do next? 

Well if you are like me, you first would want to make sure that the phone call was ACTUALLY from the famous person and not from an impersonator.  You might check the caller ID, request written documentation, evaluate whether their voice sounded like the person they said they were, etc.  I’d be looking for signs to determine if this person really was who they said they were.   

After seeking signs of verification as to their identity, I would next begin to wonder what it was going to be like to have THAT PERSON in MY HOME.  What would we talk about?  What would we serve for dinner?  Should I get them a gift?  Will they bring me one?

These are just some of the things we might do if a famous person announced they were coming over to spend the holidays. Truth is, though, for most of us, we will not get that call this Christmas season.  However, I want to let you know something even more amazing to light up your holidays:  God came to your house.  That’s right … the One who created all things has come to us at Christmas.  

Now hearing that statement, you might ask a couple of questions.  First, how do I KNOW that God really came to earth on that first Christmas?  Second, if God really did come at the first Christmas, what was it like?  What did He do?  What can we learn from it?

Well, this Christmas at Wildwood Community Church, we will be exploring one of Jesus’ nicknames – Immanuel.  This Hebrew word (translated “God with us”) is attributed to Jesus in both Matthew 1:22-23 and Isaiah 7:14.  Christmas is the story of God coming to be with us!  

But how do we know that Jesus is really God?  Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at evidence to answer this question in daily devotionals (from November 27-December 11).  These 15 daily readings will explore 15 Scripture passages revealing that Jesus is indeed God.  These 15 passages are all rooted in the Gospel of John.  John (one of Jesus’ close earthly friends and followers) wrote His Gospel “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)  John organized His Gospel around 7 miraculous signs, 7 revelatory statements, and one exclamation point (the resurrection) that all made the case of Jesus’ divine identity.  We will explore these 15 passages of John’s Gospel from November 27-December 11.

And … what is it like for God to be with us?  We will explore this in 14 daily readings (from December 12-25).  We will explore many excerpts from the historical account of the first Christmas to see what the experience of “God with us” is trying to teach us about what it is like to live in relationship (and in close proximity) to Almighty God.  

This daily devotional is intended to help you understand more of what it means to say “Immanuel” this holiday season.  Join us on this journey!  Oh, and make plans to be with us on each of the Sundays at Wildwood between November 27 and January 1, as we will have a sermon series exploring these same concepts.  

In addition, Wildwood has produced a Spotify and Apple Music playlist of some of our favorite Christmas songs to help serve as the soundtrack for our season.  We also have a number of different ways for us to serve our community together this time of year.  Find out more about all these opportunities on our website – wildwoodchurch.org/christmas.

We look forward to worshipping with you and your family this Christmas season!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark Robinson

 

NOTE:  The devotional will post one reflection each day from November 27-December 25 to this blog and on my Facebook page.  However, you can also access the entire devotional for download:

To have each day’s devotional emailed to you each morning during Advent, subscribe to this blog in the form located in the right hand column when you access this page from a desktop or laptop.

Questions for Reflection – November 13, 2022

On Sunday, November 13, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Ruth Chapter 4” from our sermon series “God Behind the Seen”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. As Bruce shared the message from Ruth chapter four, what principles related to God’s Providence hit you in a fresh or significant way?  Elaborate.

2. What are some personal examples of God’s Providence in your life?  Include some details.

3. How is Boaz in his role as Kinsman Redeemer a picture or type of Christ?

4. There are some racial/ethnic issues (including an interracial relationship) in the book of Ruth. What can we learn from them?  Should we ‘lean into’ or ‘pull away from’ such relationships? What do some of those events (and how God was working in them) tell us about the heart of God?

5. King David was one who knew about difficulty and discouragement in his life.  Notice how he begins Psalm 13 in verse one.  Can you identify?  Notice how he ends Psalm 13 in verses five and six.  What can we learn from that?

6. It’s been said: Look at yourself and be depressed.  Look at others and be distressed.  Look at Jesus and be blessed. What reality about life is found in that saying?

7. One of the frequently overlooked elements in the book of Ruth is the consistent practice of prayer. There are two prayers by Naomi in 1:8 and 1:9. There is a prayer by Boaz in 2:4 and 2:12.  There are two more prayers by Naomi in 2:19 and 2:20. There is a prayer again by Boaz in 3:10.  Then there is the prayer by people in Bethlehem in 4:11-12, and by the women of Bethlehem in 4:14-15.  As you look at those verses, do you see a pattern?  How do those prayers compare with your personal practice of prayer?

8. Take some time to pray some prayers of blessing for those in your life.

Sneak Peek – November 13, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Yes, I know it’s just November 11th, but it FEELS like Christmas. The average high in OKC on December 25th is 46 degrees.  As I type this it’s 39 degrees. See, it does feel like Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, at Wildwood we have two great opportunities before us.  First, would be the opportunity to help join the team for the Mission Norman Christmas Shoppe (where we aim to touch the lives of some 600 underprivileged kids). There are SO many ways to play a part, from donating funds, to purchasing gifts for underprivileged kids, to joining one of the setup, cleanup, or shopping teams.  All the information (including signups) can be found at wildwodchurch.org/missionnorman  Let’s do it!

Second, we have a unique way this year to invite folks to attend some of our Christmas services. Pastor Mark will be sharing more about this on Sunday, but it involves picking up a quick read book (we’ve ordered a bundle) entitled, The Four Emotions of Christmas (authored by a friend of mine from FamilyLife, Bob Lepine), and then, in turn, passing it on as an invitational tool to your neighbors and friends.  What a cool idea!  Listen as Mark shares about the plan.

I am VERY excited about this Sunday’s message as we conclude our series, God Behind the Seen, by unpacking chapter 4 of Ruth, and more!  As previously, please read through chapter 4 (only 22 verses) before Sunday.  As we conclude we will pull back and think through some further reflections related to God’s Providence. I can’t wait.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Episode 34: This is Wildwood! For the Community with Bryce Bouchard from Navigators

This is Wildwood
This is Wildwood
Episode 34: This is Wildwood! For the Community with Bryce Bouchard from Navigators
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At Wildwood we are For the Community Following Jesus Together to the Glory of God. One way we do this is with our local outreach partners! This week we had Bryce Bouchard who has been working with The Navigators for 28 years! Since the ministry began in 1933, the Navigators shares the gospel of Jesus Christ and helps people from all over the world grow in their relationship with Him through discipleship, creating spiritual generations of believers. Furthermore, Bryce created Noblemen Ministries which is a 12-week discipleship program that gives men the impetus to learn and live out their influence for God’s Kingdom. Check out what Bryce has to say in our latest episode!

Here is a link to learn more about the Navigators and the Noblemen Ministries: https://www.navigators.org/blog/men-who-change-the-world/