Study Guide: New Beginnings

Sunday January 1, 2017 | Seth McCoy

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

This weekend service recognized our teaching pastor and dear friend, Seth McCoy, as he gave his last sermon here. Seth and his family will be transitioning from Woodland Hills to serve God’s Kingdom in another capacity. We celebrate and thank the McCoy family for serving, loving and participating in our larger Woodland Hills family. In this sermon, Seth discusses his affection for Woodland Hills and for the process of following your calling through three lenses: A telescope, a microscope and a rearview mirror.

Extended Summary:

Seth describes for us what his experience with Woodland Hills has been, is, and will be by articulating the purposes of a telescope, a microscope and a rearview mirror. Through his personal experience we are encouraged and exhorted to dream, to vision, to discover, to grow in our individual and corporate calling as disciples of Christ.


A telescope is used to look at the stars, to catch sight of the larger vision. In looking through a telescope you see the highlights of possibilities; you see the big, grand visions of what could be. The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Philippi that we are to do everything without complaining, “so that we may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which we shine as stars in the world.” But overtime, sometimes we can forget. We can forget to look at the stars, to dream, to think about what could be. Sometimes we forget how good God is and how good people can be. And so, we need to look once again through the telescope. Set exhorts us to never stop changing. Just never stop. When we stop changing, we stop growing. Change and growth can feel scary, or threatening. But just don’t stop changing; it’s so very worth it. You’re never too old to look at the stars, to think about what could be, what might be, what’s next. And we are to remember that it’s not about us. Not primarily. Our calling in the Kingdom is about the hopeless, for the families that are breaking apart, those who are desperate for community; it’s about people who are forgotten. So never stop looking at the stars.


Unlike the big picture of a telescope, under a microscope you see everything. Seth shares with us how he once saw Woodland Hills through a telescope, from afar. But then he got to see it through a microscope. And through this opportunity, he saw the miracle of growth close-up. Through up-close participation, a person is invited to experience the beauty of people making amazing sacrifices to serve others, to see healings and restored relationships. Through a microscope you see the complexity and messiness of life. And in so doing, the bride of Christ may be “cleansed by the washing with water through the word.” The microscope is where you see flaws and blemishes. And it’s not always fun to let others see into your life this closely. But it’s worth it. Once again Seth encourages us to live life with people under a microscope, to commit to listening to your calling through a microscope. To go under the microscope means you need to share, to be willing to listen, and to be willing to go when the Spirit says move. This means you can no longer be in control of your own life. If you get deeply into community, maybe you can put your calling under a microscope. And you can make your contribution to making the bride radiant. Let others look at your life through a microscope.

Rearview Mirror:

Seth closes his message by describing his experience with Woodland Hills as though looking in a rearview mirror. As he and his family follow God’s calling on their life, he will look at Woodland Hills through a rearview mirror with immense gratitude. “I thank my God every time I remember you.”

To Seth and the McCoy family, we thank God every time we remember you as well. Thank you for the great sacrifice, energy, creativity and love you poured into our Woodland Hills family. Grace and peace to you in your next adventure!

Reflection Questions:

  1. In what ways have you nullified your spirit for big-vision dreaming? How can you reignite the practice of dreaming, changing and growing? How can you, once again, look through the telescope into the Kingdom of God?
  2. Have you invited others to look at your life under a microscope? If not, why? If so, in what ways could you possibly be more intentional about the practice?