The Weekly Epistle 12/11/19

“Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.  And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.  Olive the other reindeer.”  Who?  Who is Olive?  I am sure there is a caroler out there who thinks one of the reindeers is named Olive.  You might hear this uttered, “Deck the Halls with Buddy Holly.”  I don’t think that is how it goes, but someone likely has sung it.  Or as one child sang Silent Night!  Holy Night! It went like this, “Sleep in heavenly peas, sleep in heavenly peas.”  Heavenly peas?  I hope they are better than earthly peas.  And of course, there is “round John Virgin.”  
 
While there is some confusion around the wording of songs sung in the Christmas season, you will also find great spiritual truths taught in them as well.  Ok, not in Rudolph or one of my favorites, ‘Drummer Boy,” but there is a richness to be found in some of them.  The problem is, we can sing them without thinking about what they are saying.  
 
I agree with J.C. Ryle who wrote, “Familiarity with sacred things has an awful tendency to make men despise them.”  If you grew up singing the Christmas carols (as I did), attending Christmas Eve services year after year, and you knew that if you answered “Jesus” to every question in Sunday School you would be right most of the time, then you run the risk of being bored at Christmas!  That’s right, I did say bored at Christmas.  
 
David Mathis with Desiring God ministries put it this way, “It’s possible to become so familiar with Jesus that we know him as a Sunday school answer rather than a mind-blowingly great, heart-meltingly beautiful Lord, who makes His claim upon our lives, to whom we owe everything, who alone gives us lasting joy, and who deserves all our worship.”  
 
When we think of Jesus this way, how can we possibly be bored at Christmas?  Familiarity doesn’t have to lead to contempt, it can lead to greater joy!  When we see Jesus for who He really is, it leads us to worship which leads us to a greater longing to know Him more.  Will you commit to knowing Him better this Christmas?  Will you open your heart to seeing Him for who He really is?  Between now and Christmas Day, read through at least one of the four gospels (Mark might be the best choice).  As you read, let your mind be engaged with who Jesus is!
 
Speaking of Christmas carols, we will go Christmas caroling this Sunday.  We will also enjoy some food, a skit, and fellowship with one another as we celebrate as a church family the birth of our Savior!  The sign up is very strong!  This is going to be one great night!  
 
We continue our sermon series this Sunday on Connecting the Dots this Christmas which will finish up at our Christmas Eve service on December 24 at 6:30. In some ways, there will be a continuation of that theme as we move into the New Year looking at the story of redemption from cover to cover.  God’s plan of salvation is more than a New Testament idea.  It had its beginnings as far back as the book of Genesis.  
 
I am getting ahead of myself.  I need to brake for Christmas to see the One who brought us peace.  And all who come to Him will find rest for our souls!  We really can sleep in heavenly peace because the Savior has come!  
 
Peace to all, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Connecting The Dots To The Servant

Isaiah 42:1-9 & Mark 10:35-45

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Advent 

Advent comes from the Latin adventus which means, “coming.”  The main event is the coming, or birth, of Jesus our Savior.  As the saints of old anticipated with great expectation Jesus’ first coming, we too eagerly anticipate His return.  The four weeks of Advent represent the remembering of the thousands of years God’s people were longing for the coming of God’s salvation.

Christmas Eve Service

Tuesday December 24th at 6:30 pm

Communion

We will be celebrating communion this Sunday.

EBC’s Christmas Extravaganza

Join us this Sunday, December 15th from 4pm-7pm for a family friendly Christmas Extravaganza. This is a church ministry wide event. This evening will be filled with a chili & cornbread dinner, Christmas caroling in our neighborhood and to our shut in’s, story time, cookies, cocoa and more! For those interested, the story book we will be reading will be available to purchase that evening. 

Trajectory REC Basketball

Trajectory REC Monday Night Basketball is Back and BETTER than ever! Beginning Monday December 16th from 7pm-9pm at the gymnasium.

7 Things Every Church Member Needs To Know About Charitable Giving  

Available at the Ministry Counter.

Trajectory REC Basketball

Trajectory REC Monday Night Basketball is Back and BETTER than ever! Beginning Monday December 16th from 7pm-9pm at the gymnasium.

Cancellation Procedure for Sunday Mornings

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, timing of the weather event, and whether roads, walkways, parking areas will be cleared. A decision will be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or both of our services. Events in the afternoon or evening will be dealt with separately. EBC will notify of cancellation using the following:  WMUR TV, Church website news feed www.laconiachurch.com , Email (weekly epistle list), and EBC public and private Facebook pages. 

The Weekly Epistle 12/4/19

Hope!  We use that word in many ways.  “I hope the roads aren’t icy.”  “I hope my brother can visit this Christmas.”  “I hope the Pats win the super bowl this year.”  “I hope I can go some place warm this winter.”  “I hope the pastor’s sermon isn’t too long today” (dream on).  When we use the word ‘hope” we are expressing uncertainty.

The Biblical meaning of hope is more than just a desire for something good to happen.  It is more than crossing our fingers wishing for the best.  It is a confident expectation.  It not only expects it to happen, it is certain that it will happen. 

When we light the advent candle of hope, we are reminded that the prophecies spoken of in the Old Testament have come true in the person of Jesus Christ.  It wasn’t just wishful thinking on the part of the prophets to speak of the coming of the King who would rule on David’s throne forever, it was a certainty.  All their hopes were pinned on the coming of the Messiah.  Their hope was in God to do great things and He did the greatest thing in meeting our greatest need for a Savior! 

Where is your hope?  What can you be sure of as a child of God?  What certainties are yours as you look to the future?  Take time this Christmas season to unwrap the great things God has promised you.  Read through Psalm 42 sometime.  I love verse 5 where the Psalmist talks to himself.  He says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him my Savior and my God.”  John Piper calls this “a sermon to preach to yourself: hope in God!”  Preach to yourself that no matter the situation, you can trust in God to see you through it.  Keep calling yourself back to hope in God. 

I hope you plan on attending the Christmas Extravaganza on Sunday, December 15 form 4:00-7:00.  You do need to sign up for this church family event!  We will be doing some caroling and celebrating together our Savior’s birth. 

“Connecting the Dots This Christmas” is the theme of our Christmas sermon series.  We will look at some passages from the book of Isaiah that connect the prophet’s words to the first coming of Christ.  This series will urge us to trust God with the future by looking backwards to the One who was once a baby, became a man, and died for us that we may be reconciled to God! 

Our Christmas Eve service is on Tuesday, December 24 @ 6:30.  We will end the night as usual with candles burning brightly for Him as we sing of Jesus as the light who came into the world of darkness! 

Did you know that Jesus’ coming is woven throughout Scripture?  The story of Redemption is what the Bible is all about.  In the new year, we will explore together how the stories of the Bible fit the story of the Bible.  More details to come…

Have a great rest of the week.  Hope to see you Sunday!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Connecting The Dots To The Manger

Isaiah 7 & Matthew 1:18-23

Last Sunday’s Sermon

New Sermon Series

Connecting the Dots This Christmas
Begins this Sunday

Advent 

Advent comes from the Latin adventus which means, “coming.”  The main event is the coming, or birth, of Jesus our Savior.  As the saints of old anticipated with great expectation Jesus’ first coming, we too eagerly anticipate His return.  The four weeks of Advent represent the remembering of the thousands of years God’s people were longing for the coming of God’s salvation.

Christmas Eve Service

Tuesday December 24th at 6:30 pm

EBC’s Christmas Extravaganza

Sunday December 15th from 4pm-7pm join us for a family friendly Christmas Extravaganza. This is a church ministry wide event. This evening will be filled with a chili and cornbread dinner, Christmas caroling in our neighborhood and to our shut in’s, story time, cookies, cocoa and more.

Sign up this Sunday if you haven’t already.

For those interested, the story book we will be reading will be available to purchase that evening.

Caroling Bags

Please remember to bring back this Sunday the caroling bags you picked up at the Christmas Extravaganza booth.

Young Families Community Group

Due to the expansion of community groups the Wednesday night group “Young Families Community Group” is in need of more paid childcare workers. Please contact Tim Whitman at 540-986-6625, tawhitman@liberty.edu, or message him if you are able. 

Trajectory REC Basketball

Trajectory REC Monday Night Basketball is Back and BETTER than ever! Beginning Monday December 16th from 7pm-9pm at the gymnasium.

Cancellation Procedure for Sunday Mornings

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, timing of the weather event, and whether roads, walkways, parking areas will be cleared. A decision will be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or both of our services. Events in the afternoon or evening will be dealt with separately. EBC will notify of cancellation using the following:  WMUR TV, Church website news feed www.laconiachurch.com , Email (weekly epistle list), and EBC public and private Facebook pages. 

The Weekly Epistle 11/27/19

Back in my day, we didn’t have video streaming and on-demand TV. We had three VHF stations and Saturday morning cartoons. After the cartoons went off the air I would switch to PBS out of sheer boredom and watch a goofy afro sporting artist paint portraits of picturesque landscapes. That artist was, of course, Bob Ross. 
 
Watching Bob paint was captivating. Hearing him talk was soothing. Using his brush to stretch a woody perennial against the sky, he would say things like, “I’m just going to put a happy little tree right here. Or “In your world, you can do anything that you want.”, as he built a cabin with hues of van dyke brown and dark sienna in the low point of a valley. But inevitably something would go wrong. A brushstroke would go off in an unintended direction. Or the paint he chose didn’t blend quite right with the color already on the canvas. In those moments he would say his most memorable line, “There are no such thing as mistakes, only happy accidents.” In Bob’s world, every misfortunate turn of events was an opportunity to paint something unexpectedly wonderful. 
 
The same is true in God’s world. A failed fishing expedition turns into a miraculous catch in which more than just fish are caught (Luke 5:1-11). Poor party planning produces the most palatable wine. (John 2:1-12) A late arrival turns into an opportunity to see the glory of God, a view that only the scenic route could reveal. (John 11:1-45) 
 
A few weeks ago we shared that Momentum was going on a hiatus into the new year. We shared that over the past six years, we have had a great team of volunteers who have served the youth of EBC faithfully from week-to-week, but many of those leaders had moved into new seasons of life and ministry. Simply put, we were understaffed and as a result, the program was not sustainable.
 
The paint stroke went off in a direction I did not expect.
 
With that said, I view this as an opportunity for us to take a step back. To evaluate the needs of our families and youth. To evaluate our vision and mission as a ministry. To recreate something unexpectedly wonderful. 
 
If you’re the parent of a teen, would you please help us in this endeavor by taking a few moments to complete the survey linked at the end of this paragraph? It will give us a much better sense of the actual needs of our families and the best way we can serve those needs. https://forms.gle/Npb4nEy2cWehxhRJ6
 
For everyone else, would you please consider praying for the ministry during this time of transition? Email me at dan@ebclaconia.com and I will share some specific ways you can be praying.
 
Looking forward to the picture that will emerge, 
 
Pastor Dan

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Relationships! Sweet and Sour!

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Last Sunday’s Sermon

New Sermon Series

Connecting the Dots This Christmas
Begins December 8th

Advent Beginning This Sunday

Advent comes from the Latin adventus which means, “coming.”  The main event is the coming, or birth, of Jesus our Savior.  As the saints of old anticipated with great expectation Jesus’ first coming, we too eagerly anticipate His return.  The four weeks of Advent represent the remembering of the thousands of years God’s people were longing for the coming of God’s salvation.

Christmas Eve Service

Tuesday December 24th at 6:30 pm

Prayer Builders

Prayer Builders will be meeting this Sunday from 10:20-10:40 in the room behind the stage.

OWLS

Join us on Wednesday, December 4th at 1pm in the Fellowship Hall. We will be learning about the Christmas Blessing Project that Love INC does at Christmas time. You will have an opportunity to participate in doing a small project that will be used as part of that celebration for some of the clients of Love INC. Come and be a part of the blessing this is to our community. Following the completion of the project, Mary Collins will join us and lead us in singing Christmas carols and songs and then we will enjoy refreshments. Contact Norma Phillips, Jay or Bette Moreau with any questions.

EBC’s Christmas Extravaganza

Sunday December 15th from 4pm-7pm join us for a family friendly Christmas Extravaganza. This is a church ministry wide event. This evening will be filled with a chili and cornbread dinner, Christmas caroling in our neighborhood and to our shut in’s, story time, cookies, cocoa and more!

Operation Christmas Child

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped this year with Operation Christmas Child. We couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to Jay and Bette Moreau, who for the past 5 years have been Central Drop off Coordinators.

This year’s relay numbers:
EBC brought in 1,276 boxes up 237 from last year. Total boxes brought in 3,709

Young Families Community Group

Due to the expansion of community groups the Wednesday night group “Young Families Community Group” is in need of more paid childcare workers. Please contact Tim Whitman at 540-986-6625, tawhitman@liberty.edu, or message him if you are able. 

Adult Bible Study

Sunday mornings at 9am we are offering an adult bible study meeting in room 102. This study is on the book of James, “Faith that Works”.

Cancellation Procedure for Sunday Mornings

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, timing of the weather event, and whether roads, walkways, parking areas will be cleared. A decision will be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or both of our services. Events in the afternoon or evening will be dealt with separately. EBC will notify of cancellation using the following:  WMUR TV, Church website news feed www.laconiachurch.com , Email (weekly epistle list), and EBC public and private Facebook pages.