"In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance."
Can you believe it's been a year since we launched EChurch? In just a month we will mark the fourth anniversary (March 19) of The Wartburg Watch. As some of you know, we began this website because we were deeply troubled by the hyper-authoritarianism we were observing in conservative corners of Christendom. During the early stages of blogging, we began to hear from those who have been deeply hurt and realized that many of those wounds were inflicted by shepherds whom God has charged to protect the flock.
Some of our readers have stepped away from the organized church or even left the faith due to injuries they have sustained (spiritual or otherwise). We felt a heavy burden to care for them by providing worship experiences that will hopefully bring spiritual nourishment and restoration.
On Valentine's Day 2012 we introduced the concept of EChurch, which has been republished below for those who may be new to TWW. We are grateful to Wade Burleson and Emmanuel Enid for allowing us to feature weekly sermons. In case you missed our introductory remarks about Wade, you can read them here. Finally, we conclude with our very first EChurch post.
We are grateful to Almighty God for His influence in this endeavor, and we want to thank those of you who have participated by sending us links to songs/hymns. We are always open to suggestions for prayers and/or music for our EChurch posts. Just send us your recommendations in an e-mail and we will take them into consideration.
TWW Post – February 14, 2012
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
Galatians 5:13 (ESV)
Announcing EChurch@Wartburg (Link)
Valentine's Day is a special occasion set aside to recognize those whom we love dearly. Dee and I are blessed to have wonderful husbands who heartily support our ministry here at The Wartburg Watch. Some of our readers have expressed gratitude to our hubbies for encouraging us to stand for God's truth and to reach out to our to our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who have been hurt or marginalized by the church.
To enhance our proclamation of God's truth, we are overjoyed to announce a NEW ministry that will begin here this weekend called EChurch@Wartburg. We have been listening to you, our loyal TWW family, and we believe God has inspired us to help enrich your walk with Him. Dee and I will be posting an order of worship once a week (at the start of each weekend), consisting of worship music, Scripture readings, prayers, and the preaching of God's Holy Word!
We are very pleased to be offering the teaching of Pastor Wade Burleson, a wonderful friend who hails from Enid, Oklahoma. The "E" in EChurch@Wartburg has a dual meaning — it stands for "electronic", as in the technology that makes this possible, and for "Emmanuel", which is the name of the church where Wade pastors. Wade has shown us incredible grace as we have explored the possibility of this new ministry outreach. In fact, he invited Dee and me to participate in Emmanuel's weekly staff meeting, which we did this morning via Skype. Did we say how much we LOVE this technology?! We praise God for it!!!
Each week we will feature the message Pastor Wade delivers to his wonderful congregation. For those who are not familiar with Wade Burleson, we will be introducing him in our Thursday post. Then on Friday we will provide more details about our internet worship experience, which we hope will serve as a refuge for those who are disenfranchised from the organized church, as well as an option for those who are living in remote areas where churches are not plentiful. And if you are ever out of town on business or vacation, please consider this option for worship. We are not live streaming Wade's message, but instead are featuring the previous week's sermon. This gives you total freedom to tune in when it suits your schedule. We are so excited to provide another way to enrich your worship of Almighty God!
I want to dedicate one of my favorite IL DIVO songs to both Wade Burleson and my BFF Dee because they have helped to restore my faith. I never lost it, praise God, but I have had my own struggles with the organized church. Thankfully, my husband and I have found a wonderful congregation that brings joy to our lives.
I hope this inspirational video will encourage you, too! Thanks Margie (whoever you are) for putting together such a beautiful display of God's glory.
Please join us in rejoicing about our new ministry outreach here at TWW.
To God be the glory!
Our First EChurch Post – February 19, 2012
Welcome to the first gathering of EChurch@Wartburg (Link)
This first song may be unfamiliar. It is our greeting to all of you.
Join is in a prayer from the Syrian Clementine Liturgy (1st Century) Link
O God, Who are the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, Who sends peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of Your love, and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Your grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace. Kindle in us the fire of Your love; sow in us Your fear; strengthen our weakness by Your power; bind us closely to You and to each other in one firm bond of unity; for the sake of Jesus Christ. AMEN.
Join in a prayer on prayer
Lord, teach us to pray. Some of us are not skilled in the art of prayer. As we draw near to you in thought, our spirits long for your Spirit, and reach out for you, longing to feel you near. We know not how to express the deepest emotions that lie hidden in our hearts.
In these moments, we have no polished phrases with which to impress one another, no finely molded, delicately turned clauses to present to you. Nor would we be confined to conventional petitions and repeat our prayers like the unwinding of a much-exposed film. We know, our Father, that we are closest to you when we have left behind the things that have held us captive so long.
We would not be ignorant in prayer and, like children, make want lists for you. Rather, we pray that you will give unto us only what we really need. We would not make our prayers the importuning of you, an omnipotent God, to do what we want you to do. Rather, give us the vision, the courage, that shall enlarge our horizons and stretch our faith to the adventure of seeking your loving will for our lives.
We thank you that you are hearing us even now. We thank you for the grace of prayer. We thank you for yourself. Amen. – Peter Marshall. Link
Join us in The Lord's Prayer (KJV)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Dear EChurch@Wartburg Viewers,
My name is Wade Burleson. Rachelle, my wife of thirty years, and I are friends of Dee and Wanda (aka Deb) at The Wartburg Watch. We are participating in the formation of EChurch@Wartburg because we have a heart for people who love Christ but have been hurt by the church. In a moment you might choose to watch today's video message, and it is only fair that I tell you a few things about myself before you take the time to listen.
First, you will be joining the fourth Sunday morning worship service of the church I serve in Enid, Oklahoma. I realize that the visual of me wearing a suit and standing on a platform may trigger some bad memories. If I could, I'd be casual and relaxed sitting across a coffee table from you and we'd simply talk about Jesus, life, and the Scriptures. Try to ignore the venue. If it helps, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of tea and relax as you listen. I will personally welcome you and all the EChurch viewers at the beginning of this video because you are important to us. Our church believes that people who have been burned by organized religion and have either opted out of going to church or are in transition are as important to Christ as faithful, dedicated members of any organized church. We would like to play just a small role in your healing process as you reorient to what is really important in your walk of faith.
Second, I am not a professional entertainer. I won't use props or gimmicks to get you to like either the message or myself. May we find our source of life in Jesus Christ. I will go verse by verse through the Scriptures and talk of Him. Feel free to disagree with me! Yell and scream at what I'm saying if you feel like it! I am nobody's spiritual authority, nor do I have some special insight into spiritual things. I am just an ordinary Jesus-lover who believes the Truth will set you free. If you make it through the 30 minute message and come away knowing a little more about Christ and find Him a tad more satisfying, then I will have succeeded.
Third, we at EChurch@Wartburg are NOT trying to control you, fix you, change you, or get something from you. We just want you to know that somebody really does care for you. We are like you — we love Christ and His Word, but we believe the church and organized religion have a tendency to screw things up! If at some point you can enter into personal relationships with people in your area who share a love for Christ, we want to encourage you to develop those relationships! Until then, we welcome you to EChurch@Wartburg for some spiritual refreshment and encouragement.
One Sacrifice of Christ Is Sufficient
1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very [a]form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
“SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED,
BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;
6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE.
7 “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME
(IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME)
TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’”
8 After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Join in a prayer to combat fear
You know, Father, the things of which we are afraid, the terror by night, the arrow by day that takes us unawares and often finds us without a vital, ready faith.
We know that you have not promised to surround us with immunity from all the ills to which flesh is heir. We only pray that when they come, if come they must, they shall find us unafraid and with adequate resources to meet them. Give us a constant faith and a steady courage, that we may neither whimper nor in peevish petulance complain before you.
We thank you that you still rule over the world that you have made. Kings and emperors come and depart. All the shouting and the tumult, the screaming hurricanes of time have not deviated you from your path.
Help us to remember, O Christ, that you are victorious-Christus Victor-reigning over all; that in due time, in your own good time, you will work all things together for good to them that love you, who are called according to your purpose.
May we find our refuge in that regnant faith, and so face the future without fear. Give to us your peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. – Peter Marshall
We encourage you to comment on the sermon or ask questions. Look at this as a kind of Sunday school, blog style. Thank you for bearing with us as we experiment and make mistakes in figuring this thing out. Remember, if you have specific questions or you have need for counseling, please refer to the contact information on our new page for EChurch@Wartburg.
Thank you for spending your precious time with us.