Easter Sunday 2022 Sermon Audio, Video, and Questions

On Sunday, April 17, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on John 20:24-31.  This message was a part of our Easter Sunday celebration.  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.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 20:24-31
  3. What are some common doubts and questions about God, faith, and Jesus that you have heard from others?  What are some of the doubts and questions that YOU have had (or currently have) about God, faith, and Jesus?
  4. What do you notice most about the way Jesus responds to Thomas?  Is there any part that surprises you?  Does it encourage you in any way?
  5. Our faith is not grounded in just some teachings, ancient writings, or impressions … but in a historical event – the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Imagine for a moment that you became convinced that the events of the resurrection and crucifixion as recorded in the Gospels were true (I believe they are, based on the historical evidence).  How does this historical event CHANGE THINGS regarding who Jesus is and how we respond to Him?  Jesus anchored His argument to Thomas based on this event, and it changed everything for Thomas.  Does it change everything for you?
  6. What does the Bible tell you that Jesus DID during His earthly life?  Make a list.  What does this reveal about who Jesus is?
  7. Have you personally decided to believe in Jesus as your Savior and God and follow Him as Lord?  Why or why not?
  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 to download:

Easter Sunday 4.17.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

 

Easter Sunday 2022 Preview

Did you know that 1 out of 42 babies born worldwide are twins?  That’s just over 2%.  That means that though the majority of us are NOT twins, we probably all at least KNOW a set of twins.  

When I think of twins, I think back to my high school basketball team.  Of the 15 or so varsity players on two state championship teams, we had TWO SETS of twins (4 out of 15!).  What are the odds?  (I know … 2.3%, but who’s counting!)  On a (possibly) unrelated note, we also faced a steady diet of zone defenses.  I think teams adopted that game plan for two reasons:  (1) It was the best way to slow us down (2) who wanted to try to play man-to-man against a lineup with so many (nearly) identical parts!?

I write today about twins, because as we prepare for Easter Sunday at Wildwood, I have been studying John 20:24-31.  These amazing verses detail the story of a man named Thomas.  You probably know Thomas from his modern nickname, “Doubting Thomas.”  His real name, however, in Hebrew meant “twin” (not “Doubter”) so his buddies nicknamed him Didymus, which means “twin” in Greek … creative, right?  All this probably stemming from Thomas being born with a twin brother or sister.  

Though Thomas probably had one biological twin, he has had millions of philosophical “twins” over the past 2,000 years.  Our “twin” Thomas is relatable to anyone who has ever played on Team Doubt.   Is the Bible accurate and authoritative to my life? Does God really exist?  Is it reasonable to have faith in Jesus?  Did Jesus really rise from the dead?  These questions (and more) have been asked by Thomases for multi-millennia.  Thomas became captain of Team Doubt by famously and honestly stating that first Easter Sunday night, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.”  That is both honest and brash. What a high standard Thomas demanded for his belief!

So how does Jesus deal with Thomas (and all of his “twins”)?  What does His response show us about God’s heart for “Team Doubt”?   And how does the ACTUAL BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST relate to all this?  Join us on Easter Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 at Wildwood.  Bring your friends and family.  Bring your doubts.  Let’s look to the resurrected Christ together.  We hope to see you there.

P.S.  On Friday night April 15, at 6:00 and 7:30 PM we will have our Good Friday services.  These services are different and distinct from our Sunday services, and will focus on John 18-19 and Jesus’ death on the cross.  We will remember His sacrifice for us in song, Scripture, and reflection.  Please join us then as well!

P.S.S.  Friday night’s service will be live-streamed at 6:00PM, and Sunday’s Easter service will be streamed at 9:45AM, both at wildwoodchurch.org/live

Palm Sunday 2022 Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, April 10, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on John 12:9-19.  This message was the center of our Palm Sunday celebration.  Below are questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read John 12:9-19
  3. Put yourself back in the shoes of a first century person who lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  Imagine that you have heard that Jesus was approaching your city.  Why would YOU be interested in going out to greet Him?
  4. Think for a moment about how you perceive Jesus personality.  Is He warm and engaging?  Aloof and distant?  Quiet and serious?  Smiling and welcoming?  Now compare your picture of Him to one who the “whole world has gone out to meet.”  Is there any part of your thoughts about Jesus that needs to be adjusted?
  5. The people expected Messiah to come and wage war against Rome.  Jesus adjusted their expectations by coming on a donkey.  Are there ways in which your expectations of Jesus have differed from your experience of Him? In what ways?  
  6. Do you approach your connection to Jesus more like a subject in school, like a client you are defending, or like the One you adore?  How does looking at this passage encourage you to look to Jesus as YOUR SAVIOR, as a real PERSON, and not just as a subject in Sunday School or the centerpiece of Bible stories?
  7. What has Jesus done for you?  How does that impact your demeanor as you approach Him? 
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to message offline, click the link:

Palm Sunday 4.10.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service, use YouTube online:

 

 

Palm Sunday 2022 Sermon Preview

Can I share with you something quasi-embarrassing?  

Last December, in the midst of all they hype and speculation that the University of Oklahoma was going to name a new Head Football Coach, I got a text from a friend that indicated that the announcement was imminent, the new coach was on campus, and that a stage was being constructed near the stadium for a late night concert by an “A List” celebrity and announcement of the new ball coach.  

Now to fully appreciate this text, we need to understand the context of that moment.  First of all, I am both an alumnus and fan of OU’s athletic teams.  Second, like many, I had been checking and rechecking Twitter and other media outlets to follow the coaching search several times each day for over a week.  Third, I had seen the celebrity in question on television the night before at an OKC Thunder game.  

So, what did I do?  [NOTE:  this is the embarrassing part]  I loaded up my entire family.  That’s right.  My wife, my son, AND my dog, and headed over to campus (at 10PM on a school night) to look for the celebration.  So there we were … all 4 of us in a Chrysler mini-van, looking for the party.

We never found it.  Nothing was really happening that night.

What this story DOES demonstrate, though, is how a crowd can assemble quickly with high expectations.  If people care about something, are looking for signs of its coming, and see a glimmer of their hopes embodied in a person – they tend to show up!

I was thinking about that experience today, as I read John 12:9-19 in advance of Palm Sunday this weekend at Wildwood Community Church.  In this section of God’s Word, we are transported back to the Sunday before Jesus’ would die on the cross.  The Jewish people cared about the future of their nation, had a hope that Messiah would one day come, and saw in Jesus a glimmer that He just might be the One!  So in great numbers, the people showed up when they heard He was passing through Bethany and headed over the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem.

Were they RIGHT to show up that day, or would they ultimately be embarrassed by where they had placed their hope?  We will explore that this Sunday at Wildwood in our Palm Sunday sermon … AND we will explore how WE can/should respond to the knowledge that Jesus is coming.  Can’t wait to look at this passage of Scripture together.  Make plans to worship with us at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 … or online in the stream.  See you Sunday … and bring friends!

Questions for Reflection – April 3, 2022

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On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “Final Perspective” from our sermon series“Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. A fun trivia question. In how many non-Terminator movies has Sylvester Stallone reprised the line, I’ll be back?   Never.  Twice.  Four times.  Eight times.  Ten Times?
[either google the answer or look at the bottom of the page]

2. Bruce stated that Scripture indicates that the Body of Christ, the church, will not be subject to the End Times Wrath of God.  What passages were cited to support that?

3. Noting that a pre-tribulation Rapture effectively snatches the church out of this world before the Day of the Lord commences, what insight does that give us into why Paul would describe the future rapture as “the blessed hope” in Titus 2:11-13?  Discuss.

4. Some critics of the pre-tribulation Rapture claim that promoters of it are misleading believers by actively implying that they won’t experience great difficulty and persecution. How would you respond to that claim?

Not being subject to God’s End Times Wrath does not mean that a believer won’t be subject to “wrath” from other sources.  What would some of those other sources be?  Elaborate.

5. Why is it that integrity for a follower of Jesus is so important?

6. Have you ever witnessed some teacher distorting/twisting Scripture, yanking it out of context to get it to say what they desire it to say?  If yes, expand on that some.

7. Peter concludes with a double parting exhortation in vs. 17-18
1) Be on your guard (17)               2) Keep on growing (18)
Why are those exhortations so vital?
Practically, how do we continue to Be on Guard?
Practically, what does it look like to Keep on Growing?

8. If you were to write a short job description for a royal ambassador of Jesus here on earth, what are some the elements you’d include?

9. Take time to give praise and honor to Jesus as Peter does in 3:18b.

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Sneak Peek – April 3, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

Go ahead.  Take a deep breath. Yes, it is true.
One quarter of the year of 2022 has already passed!  It never ceases to amaze me as I age—time just seems to speed up every year. It is an ongoing reminder for all of us to remember to “redeem the time” as Paul puts it in Ephesians 5:16. Some translations put it this way: making the most of your time; taking advantage of every opportunity; making the most of every living and breathing moment. A great reminder for each of us no matter our age!

Further evidence that time is marching on is that Sunday, April 10 is Palm Sunday, and, of course, Easter follows that.  You can check on Wildwood’s Easter schedule (including Good Friday services) by going to wildwoodchurch.org/easter.

There is some WCC church apparel available to order for a few more days.  You can check out the options at wildwoodchurch.org/shop. Also, Worship Pastor Greg Hill has team openings for drummers, guitarists, and a cellist.  If that’s a skill of yours, feel free to check with Greg to learn more (greghill@wildwoodchurch.org).

Also, remember the church green belt cleanup (in conjunction with OU and the city of Norman) tomorrow (Saturday) from 10-2 pm.  We’d love to see you and your family pitching in on the cleanup!

On Sunday we will conclude our Remember, Judgment is Coming series from 2 Peter chapter 3.  This week’s message is entitled, Final Perspective and we will be taking a close look at 3:14-18.  I encourage you to read the passage ahead of time. Pete’s conclusion to his second letter contains some pivotally important perspectives for each of us.

See you Sunday!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – March 27, 2022

On Sunday, March 27, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The End Ahead” from our sermon series “Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Have you ever heard of the New Madrid fault zone before?  Generally, where is it and how does it compare to the San Andreas fault zone in California?  If another 8.8 quake (like in 1812) were to happen now how much more damage do you think might occur? [Note that the modern city Memphis was founded in 1819].

2. Bruce mentioned at the start that God has always been orchestrating history (He’s large and in charge).  He then read from Revelation 1:1 and 4:1 where God states these future events “must take place.”  Why must they?  What does this tell us about our God?

3. Bruce spent some time clarifying the nature of The Day of the Lord (it’s mentioned in verse 10).  If you had to explain its significance to someone else—how would you explain it? Expand on it some.

4. What are some of the reasons why the nation of Israel existing back in their land is such a super sign of approaching end time events?

5. Verse 10 and verse 12 stress that one day the heavens and the earth are going to be dissolved and destroyed with fire.  Knowing that God gave stewardship over the earth to Adam and that we are called to be stewards of what God has given—what is the balance between concern for the environment and the truth that this world is temporary?  Discuss.

6. Bruce said prophetic truth is not given to us by God merely for information. Rather, He does it for our spiritual motivation.  What does that mean for our everyday lives?

7. Take some time to pray:  1) to thank God for His sovereignty  2) to pray for one person that you know who does not know Jesus as their Rescuer.

Sneak Peek – March 27, 2022

Hey Wildwood Family!

If you’ve ever been to my house, you would know that we have two large trees in the front yard (one a maple and the other a sycamore)—both of which are some 45 or more years old.  Because they cast such looming shade, I have discovered that I can only grow fescue grass in my yard.

What that means is that every spring I have to “overseed” my yard—plant fresh fescue seed to help additional sprouts to form since fescue doesn’t spread like bermuda grass does. I look for a time when the weather is warming enough for the seed to sprout, but well before the weather turns hot.

As I was doing that this week, I was thinking about how we have the privilege of planting seed in people’s lives…the seed of His truth, the seed of our testimony, and the seed of the gospel message. Funny thing about planting seed, sometimes life is so busy we might forget to even do it. On the other hand, we might not even be looking for a good opportunity to plant seed.  Here’s a spring thought:  pray for God to alert you to good opportunities to share God’s Truth with a neighbor, friend, co-worker, fellow student, or family member.

Part of our assignment is to sow seeds.  God through the Spirit is the one who can germinate that seed, water it, and cause growth to happen (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-7). So, let’s be looking for—asking God for—opportunities to share a word of testimony with those in our world.  It is always exciting to see what grows from planting seed!

Here’s a timely heads up—please pray for Wildwood’s College Life spring retreat tomorrow, this Saturday. Pray for unity among the students and that the Lord might give them a special time before Him and to reflect on how they can be used to further reach the OU campus. We LOVE our college students!

This Sunday we will continue our series from 2 Peter 3 entitled, Remember-Judgment is Coming.  This week we will delve into 3:10-13…some startling verses.  Be sure to read them before Sunday.  I’ve entitled the message, The End Ahead.

 

See you Sunday!!

Bruce

Questions for Reflection – March 20, 2022

On Sunday, March 20, 2022, Teaching Pastor Bruce Hess’ message is “The World’s Looming Appointment” from our sermon series “Remember, Judgment is Coming”. Below are some questions for your personal or group reflection.

1. Bruce reflected on a time early in his life growing up in the 50s and 60s when there were widespread fears of the world ending due to atomic warfare. Can you remember a time or times in your life when you also found yourself concerned that something could well happen to bring a sudden end to this world?  If so, share some about the when, the what, and the why.

2. Peter in chapter 3 is addressing a coming future era when God’s wrath is to be poured out on this world. Bruce shared a definition of God’s wrath. As best as you can recall—how should we describe God’s wrath?  Bruce also identified three aspects of God’s wrath in Scripture. List them out and identify a bible passage that describes that aspect.

3. In verse 8 Peter explains that God has a more advanced view of time than we do as humans.  If you were speaking with a brand-new believer, how would you explain the differences?

4. Bruce shared the quote, God is never in a hurry, but he’s also never late.  How does that idea bring us encouragement and patience in the ups and downs of our everyday life?

5. Why hasn’t God pulled down the curtain on human history as He has promised to do?
Expand on what Peter says in verse 9.  What other Bible verses support what Peter is saying in verse 9?

6. Bruce shared some of the story of Charles Spurgeon’s conversion at 15 while listening to a severely underqualified speaker.  What does that story tell us about what is most important in communicating the gospel message with others?

7. Review some of the lyrics (below) that we sang on Sunday:
(Death was arrested)
Released from my chains, I’m a prisoner no more
My shame as a ransom He faithfully bore
He canceled my debt and He called me His friend

Take some time in prayer to worship and thank the Living God for loving us so and for extending the free gift of salvation that we so clearly could never afford.