The Weekly Epistle 11/20/19

When there is a job to do around the house, it helps if you have the right tool.  I don’t have many tools in my toolbox at home, but usually have the right tool for the type of tasks I am capable of handling.  If it helps me to accomplish the job, it is a good choice. There is no value in using a tool for the tool’s sake.  
 
This is also true spiritually speaking.  There are many tools to help us grow, but there is very little sense to use it if it doesn’t move us toward growth as a follower of Christ.  But have you noticed, everyone seems to have certain tools that have helped them grow and then turn that into a rule for everyone else to follow?  
 
For example, a great tool for some has been the spiritual discipline of journaling.  Frankly, I am terrible at it. Hopefully you don’t think less of me, but I hardly journal.  I find that from one entry to the next we have had three different presidents. That is a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.  The tool of journaling is just that- a tool. Just don’t turn that into a rule.
 
Same can be said for the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, scripture memorization, meditation and other tools that are helpful for our growth.  I remember in my early years of walking with the Lord hearing about men of God getting up at 4 AM to pray and felt guilty that my prayer time was a few hours later when I could actually put two intelligible sentences together.  Or hearing about those who memorized the entire book of Romans or read through the Bible in a year or began and ended their day by reading Scripture. More guilt!  
 
A careful study of Scripture presents spiritual disciplines as tools rather than rules.  We often confuse the prescriptive with the descriptive. There are passages in Scriptures that simply describe what others did.  There are passages in Scriptures that are prescriptive for they clearly tell us what we are to do. But when we turn every story in the Bible into this template, we are to follow rather than pull out principles to learn from we miss the Bible’s point.  
 
What is my point?  Don’t turn tools into rules.  As long as the tools don’t contradict Scripture, then it is ok to try them and I would encourage you to do so.  But if it isn’t working, then try something else. The value in the tool is that it works for you. What are the best tools for you?  Answer that by asking a second question, “Where do I most need to grow?” Answering that can help you pick the right tool for the job.
 
This is on my mind because of this past week’s sermon on the importance of God’s Word to our growth.  What was conspicuously absent from that sermon were some specifics related to Bible study. That was intentional because I did not want to take a tool and turn it into a rule.  It was a sermon meant to persuade you of the Bible’s value in building your life. Each one of us must work that out as to what it looks like in our lives. I hope you have given more thought to your plan for growing in your relationship with Christ through the use of Scriptures.  
 
Wanting to know Him better, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Triumphant Epitaph

2 Timothy 4:1-8

Last Sunday’s Sermon

New Sermon Series

Connecting the Dots This Christmas
Begins December 8th

Business Meeting

Business meeting tomorrow Thursday 11/21 at 7pm.

Momentum Mid-Week Hiatus

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. Alas, all great things must come to an end. Many of our leaders have had to move into new seasons of life and ministry. We’re sad to lose them, but so thankful for their service. With that, the youth ministry will also move into a new season. In preparation for this new season, Momentum Student Ministries is taking a break from our mid-week program to focus on team development and will return sometime after the new year. 

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 Key Inventory

If you have a key or keys to EBC, please contact Corianne at the office with the following information: the letter M, S, G and the number on the key and any other keys you have. Email to corianne@ebclaconia.com

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. 

Operation Christmas Child 

We will begin collecting Operation Christmas Child boxes beginning November 17th.The hours for collection that week will be 11/18-11/22 4pm-6pm at the gym. 11/23 and 11/24 12pm-5pm and 11/25 11am-5pm. Any questions please contact the office or Jay and Bette Moreau.
You can still pick up your boxes this Sunday at the Ministry Counter.

Save the Date
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!

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”.

The Weekly Epistle 11/13/19

“Prayer is hard work.”  That thought occurred to me as I was praying with other leaders around the table at our weekly prayer time.  Scriptures use words like, “wrestling,” and “agonizing” and “labor” to describe prayer.  St. Benedict of Nursia coined the phrase, “Ora Labora” to speak of prayer.  The slogan, “Ora Labora” comes from two Latin words, “Ora” meaning pray and “labora” meaning work.  To pray was to work and to work was to pray.  
 
When we pray, we are fighting against our inner struggle to view it as inactivity.  We really do have to push through the attitude that we aren’t doing anything when we pray.  There are emails to write, phone calls to make, people to meet, and spread sheets to create.  There are many practical things we must do.  What happens?  Prayer gets preempted.  Prayer is work.  Some might even say it is the most important work we will do all day.  
 
Another reason it is such hard work is because we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).  When we pray, we are in the midst of a raging spiritual battle in which souls are at stake.  No wonder it feels like work when we pray.  It is work!  Hard work.  Our chief work!  
 
When I think of posture of prayer my mind goes to arms stretched out and hands open.  It is a picture of surrender- we give up our human efforts and openly submit to God.  Whether we physically position ourselves that way in prayer, it is to be the posture of our hearts.  
 
It was back in 2010 and I was talking to the Lord in prayer as I walked around the church in Westerlo, NY.  I cried out, “Lord, I am in over my head in leading this church.”  And I heard his still voice say to my spirit, “That is right where I want you!”  10 years later, in a different church, in a different location, with different people, I am still in over my head.  Church, so are you.  We must pray.  
 
In 2020 I will present to you opportunities to pray as a church.  For now, pray.  Gather others with you to pray.  It is work, but do not grow weary in it.  
 
Check out what is happening in the church to the end of the year.  I do ask that you set aside Sunday evening, December 15 for our Christmas Extravaganza.  We will be singing Christmas carols to our church neighbors and others, enjoying hot cocoa, celebrating together our Savior’s birth, and fellowshipping as a church family.  
 
Of course, we should not zip past Thanksgiving for Scripture repeatedly calls us to give thanks.  We are to be the most thankful people around for we have abundant life in Christ Jesus.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
 
In continual need of Him, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Continuing and Convinced

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Last Sunday’s Sermon

New Sermon Series

Connecting the Dots This Christmas
Begins December 8th

Business Meeting

We will have a business meeting on Thursday 11/21 at 7pm. We will be voting on Mark Petrozzi as Elder.

Momentum Mid-Week Hiatus

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. Alas, all great things must come to an end. Many of our leaders have had to move into new seasons of life and ministry. We’re sad to lose them, but so thankful for their service. With that, the youth ministry will also move into a new season. In preparation for this new season, Momentum Student Ministries is taking a break from our mid-week program to focus on team development and will return sometime after the new year. 

Communion

We will be celebrating communion this Sunday.

EBC Key Inventory

If you have a key or keys to EBC, please contact Corianne at the office with the following information: the letter M, S, G and the number on the key and any other keys you have. Email to corianne@ebclaconia.com by 11/11.

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. 

Women’s Ministry Gratitude Dinner

Join the Women’s Ministry on Friday 11/15 from 7pm-9pm as they gather together and give thanks, enjoy a delicious meal, and fellowship together.

Operation Christmas Child 

We will begin collecting Operation Christmas Child boxes beginning November 17th.The hours for collection that week will be 11/18-11/22 4pm-6pm at the gym. 11/23 and 11/24 12pm-5pm and 11/25 11am-5pm. Any questions please contact the office or Jay and Bette Moreau.
You can still pick up your boxes this Sunday at the Ministry Counter.

Save the Date
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!

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”.