Another Pastoral Epistle 9/5/18

It was thirty-five years ago (August 27) that I stood in front of a room full of people and unreservedly said, “I do” to the woman who had swept me off my feet.  There were many guests in that room, but as corny as it may sound, it was as if it was only Donna and me. I learned later that there were unseen guests at that altar that day.  The unseen guests of “expectations.”  
 
In my premarital counseling, I ask couples to write out 15-20 expectations of their marriage.  Anything from, “I expect my spouse to be faithful,” to “I expect my spouse to go out on dates with me.”  At first pass, the couple figures it will be difficult to arrive at 20 expectations. But soon discover that they had expectations they hadn’t even thought of until then.  We all have expectations- for our marriage, our friendships, how we should be treated by others, people who wait on us at the restaurant, and yes, the church. 
 
A visitor to the church has expectations.  When we arrive on Sunday mornings for worship we hope for certain things to happen (or not happen).  Think about this, on a given Sunday there may be 200 expectations for what will take place before, during, and after worship.  
 “I expect the coffee to be hot.”
 “I expect to sit in my familiar seat.”
 “I expect the worship set to include some of my favorite songs.”
 “I expect the pastor’s sermon to be done in 30 minutes” (dream on).  
 
What are we to do with expectations?  There is some biblical counsel to help us.  In Philippians 2 we are told to consider others better than ourselves.  We can manage our expectations by remembering it isn’t all about us. Romans 8 speaks of how in this life we groan as we wait eagerly for our glorification.  We are to lower our expectations in this life and raise our expectations for the next. Over and over in Scripture we are called back to contentment and joy. The problem isn’t in having expectations, it is in what we do with them when they aren’t met.  And what helps to keep our expectations in check is to live confidently that our Sovereign God is in complete control. 
 
For our hope in Christ transcends all present circumstances; all unmet expectations.  As Leslie Newbigin put it, “I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!”
 
We will rejoice this Sunday for those who have been changed by the Risen Christ not only in our worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also those 5 individuals who will be baptized! Join us at Opechee point following worship.  Bring your own lunch, lawn chairs and games. Baptism will begin at 2:00. 
 
There is a lot going on this month and next and we don’t want you to miss out.  Check out the announcements in the epistle, bulletin, and EBC Facebook page, as we continue to strive for better communication.  And we do “expect” you to do your part in following along. 
 
Serving Him who exceeds all our expectations,
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

“The Church that Nauseates God”
Revelation 3:14-22

New sermon series coming

“In the Shadow of Hope”
Revelation 4-12

Last Sunday’s Sermon

audio

video

ELMM

The next meeting of the Military Ministry (ELMM) will be Saturday Sept. 8th@ 0800 in the Fellowship Hall. Veterans, retirees, active duty military, men, women and all denominations are welcome. So please join us in fellowship, prayer and discussion of our common bond of those who serve.

Discovery Class

Starts THIS Sunday, September 9th.  Meets at 8:30am in the Fellowship Hall and will meet for 4 weeks. This class is for those who desire to become members or anyone who would like to learn more about our church.

» Learn More

Church Picnic

THIS Sunday, September 9that Opechee Point after the 2ndservice. 
Bring some chairs, a picnic for your family and outdoor games to share! 
Baptism will take begin at 2:00 pm.


The following people will be baptized this Sunday during the picnic:
Eleck Lyle, Triaunna Dyer, Kaleena Dyer, Grace Hoehn, and Michelle Thorin.

Please pray for them and rejoice with them as they take this next step.

» Learn More

Community Groups

Community Groups will begin week of September 23rd. Signups start this Sunday.

» Learn More

Help Needed

We are looking for some volunteers to help transport Ella Eshelman to and from church on Sunday mornings. Bill Wixson has offered to organize a schedule and is looking for 5 volunteers. Please contact Bill at buildings@ebclaconia.com or 524-8580 if you are able to help.
 
We also have a young lady who is new to Laconia and is looking to attend EBC. She needs transportation to and from church on Sunday mornings. She lives on South Main St. If you are able to offer assistance, please contact the office.

EBC Kids Step Up Sunday

Sunday September 16th. Kids will graduate or “Step Up” into the appropriate classroom for the new school year.

Another Pastoral Epistle 8/29/18

Why?  Why? Many of the questions of a preschooler begin with that one word, why.  “Toothpaste is for brushing your teeth, not for eating,” and the little one asks, “Why?”  A parent says, “It is time to go to sleep,” and the response is, “Why?” All through the day, it is the same thing; “Why does a cat have fur?”  “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have to share?” And on and on it goes to the point you start singing the Billy Joel song, “Don’t ask me why.”  
 
I know that it can be exasperating to hear the why question, and at times it can even be an act of defiance, but their curiosity about the world around them is refreshing.  To a child, mystery and wonder are all part of their make-up as they grow and develop. I can’t help but ask, “Have we lost our capacity for wonder?” Scripture says, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”  Are we still astonished by its beauty? We can sing, “Amazinggrace, how sweet the sound,” but are we still amazed by His grace?  Are we still stunned by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that He has taken up His residence in us?  
 
A book that I pick up and read certain sections of repeatedly is one written by Mark Buchanan called, “Your God is too Safe.”  The sub-title of that book is, “Rediscovering the Wonder of a God You Can’t Control.” Might there be a connection between wonder and control?  Do we secretly wish for a God that is safe and predictable? Do we prefer to reduce the Christian journey to formulas, seven-steps, and some kind of how-to manual?  The life-changing movement of God cannot be controlled and even predicted. That is why it leaves us breathless and wonder-struck! Church, let’s not lose the wonder of God, but continue to be amazed at what he is doing and wants to do in His church!  
 
We have a chance at the picnic and baptism on September 9 to witness several people publicly profess the name of Christ.  Are you part of a community group?  If not, I urge you to sign-up for a group in the weeks to come as they officially start up again on September 23.  Why community groups? Because the leadership of this church believes that the best way to carry out the “one-another” admonitions of Scripture is through smaller groups than our gathering time on Sunday mornings.  We believe that it is through smaller groups that relationships are established, and community is truly experienced. 
 
Soon you will be hearing about the Network workshop.  Consider attending this workshop.  Why? It is our desire as elders to move the right people into the right places of service.  Our growth as disciples of Christ is dependent upon being equipped for service and serving in the right place of ministry.  Is it time for you to discover your spiritual gift, personal style, and passion for serving? 
 
In the months to come, you will be asked to participate in the raising of funds as we enter into phase two of our capital campaign.  Phase one was back several years when EBC relocated to this facility.  Many of you have commented how the hand of God was evident in providing what was needed to get into this building.  Now we ask, “What’s next?” What is next for greater impact on our community? What is next in growing disciples at EBC?  What is next in strengthening our families? What is next in upgrading and enhancing our facility to facilitate growing deeper and having greater impact?  Your prayers are needed as we take our next steps!
 
Speaking of prayer, don’t forget prayer builders meets this Sunday from 10:05-10:25 in the room behind stage.  
 
Members, hope to see you tonight at the business meeting at 7:00.  We will meet in the fellowship hall. 
 
Blessings to you,
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

“Opportunity knocks… on an open door” Revelation 3:7-13

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Office Hours

The office will be closed on Monday, September 3rd, in honor of Labor Day

Business Meeting
Tonight @ 7pm

Vote on budget, prospective elder, and “What’s Next” for EBC’s vision and campus. 

We will be meeting downstairs in the Fellowship Hall

Prayer Builders

Sunday 9/2 10:05 am – 10:25 am 
Meets in the room behind the stage.

Momentum

Will not be meeting next Tuesday 9/4

Discovery Class

Meeting in the Fellowship Hall
This class is for those who desire to become members or anyone who would like to learn more about our church.

Church Picnic

Will be held on Sunday, September 9th at Opechee Point after the 2nd service.

Bring some chairs, a picnic for your family and outdoor games to share!

Baptism will take place between 2-2:30pm weather permitting.

EBC Kids Step Up Sunday

Sunday September 16th. Kids will graduate or “Step Up” into the appropriate classroom for the new school year.

Guest Speaker: Tom Jackson [video]

Tom and Lois Jackson are missionaries with TEAM Global Missions to Zimbabwe. In this message, Tom describes the work, the people he ministers to, and the power of the gospel to bring hope an dchange lives. He also issues a challenge and invitation to a younger generation of missionaries to embrace the Great Commission command issued by Jesus. Indeed, the fields are ready for harvest, but the workers are few.

Take the time to watch the video linked here. Tom does a good job of giving viewers a taste of the culture of the people of Zimbabwe. It’s a mix of beautifully joyous people, wonderful scenery, visible poverty, and the heart of God for the Nations.