EChurch@Wartburg – 9.9.12

Welcome to Our Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

Enhanced Rainbow by Barb Ver Sluis

A Prayer of John Stott
The Complete Book of Christian Prayer #509

O Lord Jesus Christ
Who didst invite the heavy lade to come to thee,
And didst promise to give them rest and never to cast them out,
help us so to come to thee that we may find rest in thee,
and so to believe thy promise that we may know that thou hast received us,
for the glory of thy name,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit art ever worthy to be trusted and adored.

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Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:11-12 (NASB Bible Gateway)

 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

A Prayer by Thomas a Kempis (c.1380-1471)
The Complete Book of Christian Prayer #524

O God the Holy Ghost, most loving Comforter of the fainthearted,
I beseech thee ever to turn that which is evil in me to good
And that which is good into that which is better;
Turn my mourning into joy,
My wandering feet into the right path,
My ignorance into knowledge of thy truth,
My lukewarmness into zeal,
My fear into love,
All my material good into a spiritual gift,
All my earthly desires into heavenly,
 All that is transient into that which lasts forever,
Everything human into that which is divine,
Everything created and finite into that sovereign and immeasurable good,
Which Thou Thyself art,
O my God and Saviour

Discussion Questions

(1)   What changes about relationships when one begins to realize nobody can be responsible for anybody else's faith?

(2)   Does your faith move God to act or is God acting and your faith is evidence of It?

(3)   How can your faith in God be strengthened?

A Southern Gospel Hymn

Benediction: Church of England Book of Common Prayer 1928
The Complete Book of Christian Prayer #1174
Go forth into the world in peace;
Be of good courage;
Hold fast that which is good;
Render to no man evil for evil;
Strengthen the fainthearted;
Support the weak;
Help the afflicted;
Honour all men;
Love and serve the Lord,
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And the blessing of God almighty,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
Be upon you,
And remain with you forever.

Thank you for spending your precious time worshipping the Lord.


EChurch@Wartburg – 9.9.12 — 38 Comments

  1. Thanks to all for another beautiful service!

    For me, faith is one of the most difficult doctrines to understand. I know I’ve got faith, 🙂 but the definition eludes me. Some speak of faith more in terms of “the power of positive thinking.” Maybe its more like trust. Even though it’s kind of a “mysterious” concept for me, I do so appreciate the messages in Hebrews and perhaps by the time we’ve finished chapter 11, I’ll have a better understanding.

    I noticed the word is used over 230 times in the NASB, and all except 2-3 are in the NT which is interesting.

    I’m rambling… Anyway, I appreciate this e-church as it challenges me to think and search scripture for answers.

  2. 20 years ago I used to blame my husband for my spiritual problems…if only he did this or that, I could be what God wanted me to be. When he changes then I will get it together too. After that didn’t get me anywhere the Lord showed me it was me and Him…not me and my husband. I had to be what God wanted me to be regardless of my circumstances or situation.

    Fortunately I chose to believe Him and then He spoke to me through Sarah’s huband Abraham…. and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God…James 2:23 another version says “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    I substituted my own name in that scripture instead of Abraham and it has been Him leading me ever since. When I realized that I was righteous before God because I chose to believe HIM then my spiritual life drastically changed.

    Sarah believed God and she changed the world immeasureably.

    Thanks for a great message.

    And the songs were wonderful: )

  3. Wade!!!!!!!!! I’ve been looking forward to this message since Deb mentioned a comment to me earlier this week. After having just listened to it, my brain is about to explode. You may not have been addressing this specifically to those of the Patriarchal camp, but this message has the capability to shut down that camp entirely.

    The Patriarchal camp that I have experienced has the belief that my husband has control of my faith and is responsible for my faith. We’ve been taught that we must obey our husbands as the spiritual leaders of our families. We are under the covering or umbrella of his “protection”, that we are not to not question his authority, the man God has placed over us. No wonder the feelings of entrapment, the feelings of no liberty. So many women are in bondage to that philosophy, afraid to walk in the faith that God has given them for fear that it might surpass the faith of her husband and she might take the lead. This is clearly behind the common teaching that “women must not talk in church or ask questions” because if they do, they are preventing the husband from being the spiritual leader as God intended. Instead, the wife must ask the husband the question in private who then may ask the question on behalf of his wife. It forces him to look for answers himself, thus gaining more knowledge for himself so that he can better lead the family.

    But is that not really forcing the wives to be manipulating and playing games? It seems to be implying that the wife’s behavior of wanting answers is responsible for her husband’s faith. So Patriarchal teachings actually acknowledge the power of a woman’s faith or influence, but treats it as the enemy causing strife in the home claiming she is trying to take the lead from the man.

    It seems to me the Patriarchal camp is projecting and actually creating this strife between man/woman. I’m sure I will be thinking more about this, but those are my thoughts as of 9/9/12 🙂 Thank you, Wade, so much for this very enlightening message. I am certainly not done with this topic . . . . you can be sure of that.

  4. Julie Anne, I am so disturbed by this ungodly teaching in the patriarchal camp. Thank you for describing it so well. I promise we will continue to focus on the issues you have explained so succinctly because we are greatly alarmed!

  5. Victorious, I so appreciate your candidness about not completely understanding faith. I'm sure you express the sentiments of many Christians. Wade will be addressing the concept of faith again in next week's message.

  6. I appreciate what Victorious said, as well.. I have been struggling to understand ‘faith’ for a while, now. Is faith a feeling? Or is it an idea held firm in the mind? I don’t always ‘feel’ like I have faith in God, yet during my day to day life, I find myself inexplicably drawn to think about God, to give Him praise for a beautiful day, or to thank Him for my life. I think I’ve said it before in another comment, that it seems that I believe in God despite myself, despite my doubts. Maybe that’s God, keeping His promise to me.

    I appreciated your sermon today, Wade.. it gave me much to think about. Thank you.

  7. All,

    Your comments are pretty moving and enlightening on many fronts. Thanks for taking the time to write. Julie Anne, it’s amazing to me how an entire system of theology is built on presumptions and prejudice without any basis in the sacred text. I have no grandiose idea that somehow my message is unique. It is the Scripture’s message and if men would be faithful to the text instead of their traditions they’d preach the same way.

  8. Searching –

    God keeps his promises to us and is always faithful. Psalms and Proverbs and many other places in Scripture point us over and over again to God’s faithfulness and his “steadfast” love . . . sometimes simply love, but most often his STEADFAST love. He does no leave us nor foresake us. Jesus is even seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:31-39). . . I love to remind myself of these things 🙂

  9. I’ve been wondering, as well, what the “Refuge” service is that Wade mentions each week. Just curious….

  10. Victorious,

    Emmanuel Enid has two services at 11:00 – the one we feature and Refuge. When Dee and I attended the church back in December, we attended the Refuge service with Wade’s wife. That service is held in a large auditorium in the church. It is a contemporary service with live music. Wade’s sermon Is shown on large screens, and I believe it is live. Toward the end of the service we see each week, Wade walks down the hall to the Refuge service where he says some closing words and a prayer. It’s a great way to provide two different worship experiences simultaneously.

    Great question! I hope my explanation makes sense.

  11. I have no grandiose idea that somehow my message is unique. It is the Scripture’s message and if men would be faithful to the text instead of their traditions they’d preach the same way.

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    The reason the truths are so powerful is that they ARE THE ETERNAL TRUTH. I personally find Wade’s teaching powerful because he sticks to The Text. So it is The Scriptures speaking that make the message profound and powerful.

  12. Thy Peace, what you say if definitely true, but there’s more to it imo. I could read the same scriptures Wade does and you’d be asleep in no time. There is an understanding of scripture that’s unique (but he’s far too humble to admit it) and an annointing that brings the scripture on the pages to life with examples, metaphors, and analogies that bring clarity to difficult passages. An example of this in today’s message was his relating the story of a young mother talking to her mother about labor pains or “pressure.” You remember the mother’s reply and I, for one, will never forget it! lol It brought Sarah’s pregnancy at 90 yrs. that much more of a miracle. And reminding us of the conditions in the desert life compared to ours today brought a greater understanding as well.

    His gift is teaching for sure…. and we are blessed by his ministry.

  13. Deb, thanks for that explanation of the Refuge service and yes, it surely is an interesting and efficient way of holding two services simultaneously!

  14. Victorious,

    It’s a good thing Dee and I have attended Emmanuel once and sat in the Refuge service. If not, I’d be asking the same question!

  15. Victorious,

    I’ll answer your question about why the name “Refuge.”

    It comes from Psalm 9:9: “The Lord is a REFUGE to the oppressed; a stronghold in times of trouble.”

    Our design for the REFUGE service is to have a place that is casual and informal (many bring coffee into the service and wear casual clothes) and provide an atmosphere of safety and REFUGE for people who have either been burned by organized religion, hurt by Christians who place church before relationships, or have found themselves struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups and need a place where they can grow in their faith without any judgment or condemnation over the struggles they face.

    Hope that helps! By the way, we have TWO Refuge services now (9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) I teach LIVE at 9:30 (after our 8:30 a.m. auditorium service) and via video at the 11:00 a.m. REFUGE. My favorite service of our four Sunday morning services is the 9:30 REFUGE – it is the smallest and most intimate, and I can be far more conversational and personal.

  16. Thy Peace,

    You really do amaze me. I have no idea how you pick up on things as keenly as you do. By the way, what you said about sticking to the text is the greatest compliment any teacher of the Word could be given.

    Psalm 119:103 says, “Thy words are sweet unto my TASTE.” I like to point out that God’s words are sweet to one’s TASTE – not hearing! The Bible is the only book that could be compared to meat — something you eat (i.e. bread). Shakespeare may be sweet to the hearing, but only the Word of God can be eaten to the nourishment of the soul. When a teacher in any church doesn’t stick to the text, it’s like going to the banquet and being given only kool-aid to drink and nothing on the plate. 🙂

  17. Wade – I wish more churches would pick up on the “refuge” idea.

    Thanks to you and all involved for thinking of those of us who’ve been hurt and doing something so positive!

  18. Thank you Wade for this message. I could tell it was coming straight from God. Thank you for explaining Sarah’s faith. I can now pray for loved ones and really, REALLY, believe God hears and will respond. I no longer have to sit back, go thru the motions of prayer, and believe that God will still do only what he planned to do anyway. thank you for empowering my prayer life and helping my faith grow.

  19. I really appreciated Wade’s reference to the unbiblical “umbrella” notion, starting at about 10:17 of the video. While many of the posts here at TWW deservedly focus on the adverse impact on women, this concept can be devastating to men trying to live up to that standard. When one of my four teens fell into immorality not only were we devastated by the child’s sin, but we were told by our pastor “you allowed this to happen.” Salt was rubbed in the wounds when the integrity of our other child still at home was questioned without cause on account of the actions of the sibling. It has taken me a long time to work through that, and even today I don’t like to talk about it. This patriarchy business is no good for us men either.

  20. Lee – Thank you for sharing your experience with Patriarchy. I'm sorry to hear about the pain it caused you and your family. So, you are saying based on one child's sin, you and another child of yours were put on the judgment seat by your pastor? That is ridiculous. Please tell me you are no longer in that church. Your story makes me angry and sad.

  21. Lee

    It never ceases to amaze me that with all we know about man's sin nature, some church leaders seem to teach that, if we follow their program, we will raise kids that are perfect. But, we need to go back to Genesis. It was perfect in the Garden.

    Of course, God was the perfect father. Yet, Adam and Eve rebelled, big time. So, would your pastor say to God "You allowed this to happen?" If God didn't do it, why should we expect that we would be able to do it?

    Please know I am praying for you and for your peace.

  22. The reason why this is getting me all worked up is because this is the environment in which my daughter, Hannah, was raised. Hannah couldn’t handle it any more at our spiritually abusive church/home and abruptly left our home at the age of 21. At the time, we thought she was in rebellion. She burst my bubble by leaving. This meant that we would not have any influence in her future relationships (courtship – yes, we were into that), she would be out in the world, etc. I blogged Hannah’s story here: In Honor of Hannah

    We weren’t in it as deep as others, but it certainly was Patriarchal. And now I’m seeing her peers as adults. They are beginning to work through their controlling and sometimes abusive childhoods. I think we are only beginning to see the “fruit” of these young adults as they leave that environment and learn to make their own decisions.

    Hannah and I have had long talks about how we raised her. I’m so thankful for our relationship, that everything is on the table. She has been painfully honest with me and I’ve had to apologize a number of times already. I told her that she will most likely come across other things that we did wrong as parents and I’m very glad to hear her story. I’m sure there will be more tears and more apologies. I am so proud to be her mom. My adult daughter who abandoned her faith has demonstrated more grace to me than many life-long Christians I know.

  23. Julie Anne, Victorious & Dee, thanks for the encouragement. We stayed with that church for several years after we got our “talking to” only because we were part of a really special overseas mission team. When the team’s ministry was terminated in a change in missions philosophy we left.

    In the meantime we told this pastor that we were going to get our counselling elsewhere, and we found a Christian psychologist. Between him and good supportive friends and a lot of prayer we came through the storm.

    Our son came back to the Lord while serving in Iraq. He married the girl and we determined to love her in spite of the rough start to the relationship. It was actually our daughter who really reached out to her new sister. They have been happily married for 8 years now and I couldn’t be prouder.

    BTW, we found a church where we can continue to serve.

  24. Wade,

    This is the first time I have ever heard a pastor say that it is my own faith, not someone else’s, that mattered. (And a Southern Baptist pastor, at that!) I was married for almost 25 years to a man who used to control and punish me (including physical abuse) because he believed it was his responsibility to make me godly. I used to think it was just him that was crazy until, after 20-some years of marriage, I finally went to the pastors of the large Southern Baptist church we had attended for 22 years for help. Their response was to not believe me, blame me for the problems in our marriage (yes, the words “submission”, “umbrella”, and “covering” were used”), and I was basically ignored.

    The only reason that I survived the breakup of my marriage and leaving the church with my faith intact (actually stronger) is that I knew I was responsible for my own faith, not my husband or my pastors. But it is ironic that it was because I believed it was my own faith and not anyone else’s that mattered that I was essentially thrown out by both my husband and my church. However, the whole ordeal did not leave me emotionally unscathed. I ended up leaving the (small letter “c”) church in order to heal and, many years later, I still have to push through a lot of anxiety and tears just to listen to your sermons online.

    It’s immensely frustrating that my emotions will not listen to my brain because I know you and TWW e-church are safe places and that, if I am ever able to attend a church again, it will be in large part because of you.

    Nevertheless, such is the nature of trauma and it makes it worse that the trauma was, supposedly, “in the name of Christ”. (Of course, it clearly was not!) So, thank you for remaining true to the Word. That’s why your sermons are so healing to me.

  25. Lee – What a wonderful "end" to your story. I'm so glad you shared it.

    Abigail – I'm struck by the fact that you were able to stand firm because of your faith, and understand completely why you find it difficult to attend church. I need to do more promoting of eChurch on my blog because there are so many who are in your shoes. I, too, have been blessed every time I have listened to a sermon here.

  26. Julie Anne,

    When I came to Christ at 17 years old through the ministry of Dr. Billy Graham, I had no Christian fellowship. However, I instinctively knew (by the Holy Spirit) that just being saved from sin wasn’t all there was to the Christian life and I used to beg God to show me what was missing. When I went to college and came in contact with a somewhat legalistic para-church ministry that pushed the disciplines of Bible study, scripture ministry, prayer, etc, I soaked it up! Yes, I “performed” well but I was too naïve to understand anything about legalism. All I knew was that God had saved me and I loved Him and His Word. I did what I believed in, ignored the rest, and sometimes got into confusingly into trouble for not “towing the line” on some things. But I am convinced with all my heart that God’s graciousness in allowing me to get established in my relationship with Him and the Word at that young age and continuing in that relationship is what allowed me to survive all that I went through. God was also gracious in allowing my children to come out with their faith intact, although certainly wounded.

    “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV

  27. Pingback: A woman’s faith is her own – Sarah in Hebrews 11:11-12 |