The Weekly Epistle 1/20/20

Can God create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it?  If we say yes to that, then we concede that there is something God can’t do.  God couldn’t lift the rock.  If we say no to that, then we are saying God can’t create a rock, he can’t lift.  It is a trick question meant to affirm that God is not all-powerful.  So, the argument goes.
 
Trick questions are not unfamiliar to Jesus.  Many times, in the gospels the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus in a no-win situation.  It was on the heels of those kind of questions that we often find the words, “Then no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
 
Do you remember the time when Jesus was asked, “Should we pay taxes to the Romans?”  Would he side with the Romans by saying yes and turn the Jewish people who hated the Romans against Him?  Or would he say no and get in trouble with the Romans?  Seems like a No-win!  Check out Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:21-25 to see how Jesus beautifully handles this predicament.  
 
Let me draw out one conclusion from this true story in Jesus’ life.  Jesus puts politics in its place.  Jesus does not merge God and Caesar.  Our primary allegiance is to Christ and His kingly rule.  We belong to a heavenly kingdom and Christ is our king.  Jesus is not an American king!  His realm is global.  
 
This is a tough week for many Christians.  But when is our hope ever to be in a person or a politician?  Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place” (Matthew 18:36).  Church, at the risk of being redundant, our primary allegiance is to Christ.  Let’s not take what is secondary and make it primary. 
 
We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all the other things we often get all worked up about will be taken care of.  If that is our preoccupation, then we won’t have as much time to fill our minds with secondary things.  We have the gospel that is more powerful than any weapon of this world.  We serve an all-powerful God who stamped His image on us to represent Him in this world.  What banner are we lifting for all to see?  What is the hope that lies within us?  Does the world know what king we are following?  
 
May our allegiance be clear to all- Jesus is our Savior and king!  May our witness never be compromised, and the gospel message obscured because we, myself included, have made a secondary allegiance primary.  
 
I leave you with this.  No matter how much we love our country and thankful for where we have come from, we look forward to the kingdom in which Christ reigns.  It says in Revelation 11:15, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign for ever and ever.”  The kingdom in which Christ reigns is made up of all the nations of the world under His authority.  
 
Now that is what helps me sleep at night…well most of the time!
 
Blessings to you, church!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Living with Gospel Confidence
1 John 5:6-13

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

New Sermon Series

A Bright Spot in a Dark World
A study in the Book of Daniel
Begins February 7th

EBC Sunday Study

We’re excited to offer two four-week adult studies this February. Each study will meet at EBC, Sunday morning from 9-10:15 AM. See below for a detailed description of each study.
 
Take The World, But Give Me Jesus
 With Adam Hayes
Overexposure is one of the greatest threats to peace in the modern church. With access to every corner of the world and into the living rooms of so many individuals, church members often willingly put themselves in the way of fear and envy. While this feels like a modern problem, the heart of the matter is ancient. This class will be an opportunity to turn your attention away from all that’s robbing you and others of peace and reconnect you with your God who promises to protect and provide.
 Objectives for this study: 
·      Address the temptations of fear and envy that stir when we dwell on the world’s prosperity and progress apart from God. 
·      Replace rumination with God’s eternal promises, so that we can live our calling confidently; trusting that He is our strength and portion forever.
 
Living Grace
With Susan Lyle
 The Living Grace Class is a discipleship growth experience intended for people who struggle with mental and emotional challenges (e.g., anxiety, panic, depression, and/or other diagnoses). As a group, we will explore biblical truths, scientific research, and practical tools to cultivate healthy hearts and minds. Topics include identity in Christ, renewing your mind, managing stress, and relaxation and joy.
Objectives for this study:
·      To better know and understand who we are in Christ specifically as it relates to our mental and emotional struggles. 
·      To help build individual resilience in navigating mental and emotional challenges.
·      To cultivate a safe and supportive network of individuals with mental and emotional challenges.

Community Groups

Sign up in the back of the sanctuary this Sunday for the next round of Community Groups, or contact Tim Whitman at tawhitman@liberty.edu 

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated. We have designated a section in the back right of the sanctuary for those who prefer to wear a mask throughout the service. 
Signs will be posted on the designated seats, please leave these seats available for those who choose to wear a mask during the entire service.

Change in Service

Reminder, for the time being we are offering one in person service at 10:45 am.
Our livestream will also be at 10:45 am as well. Nursery will be provided from birth to age 5.

EBC Cancellations

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

Prayer and Praise

If you have any prayer requests or needs, please email Corianne at: corianne@ebclaconia.com 

The Weekly Epistle 1/13/20

What occupies your mind?  Reasonable concerns we may have about the political unrest and tension in our country, can occupy our every waking thought.  And even invade our minds when we are sleeping.  Or trying to sleep.  I get that.  
 
We are told in Colossians 3 to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things” (see 3:1-3).  In the section of Scripture that reminds us to pray for those in authority, it says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4).  
 
One of the issues facing us as a church in these times is the question, “What is going to occupy us?”  That question is not unique to the day in which we live, but it seems more pressing than ever.  What is going to occupy us?  The church only has so much energy and resources.  Over the years, I have seen Christians passionate to change social issues, fund political endeavors, and fight for our rights as Americans.  I am not suggesting that those causes are not important.  There is a place for speaking against sin, injustice, and to defend the cause of the weak and helpless.  
 
What should occupy us?  The souls of lost men and women, young and old.  What should occupy us?  Cultivating forever friends.  What should occupy us?  Building up of the church so that in unity and power we make an eternal difference in the Lakes Region and beyond.  
 
If Jesus is our all in all and is our life, then the starting place is to be occupied with Him.  Every time I say “Yes” to how I will spend my time, energy, and resource is a “Yes” to Jesus.  What I choose to get involved in this week, or choose to read or listen to, or set my mind on, should be a “yes” to Jesus.  
 
Church, stay occupied with Jesus.  For me, that has meant turn the music off in the car and instead pray (with my eyes open of course).  Or more intentionally practice Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”  Frankly, too many things that have occupied my mind lately could not pass through the filtering system of Philippians 4:8.  
 
One way to help us stay focused on the right things in a world turned upside down is to stay connected to each other around God’s Word.  If you are not part of a community group, you can sign-up this Sunday or contact Tim Whitman. 
 
Also, for the month of February, there will be Sunday School classes offered at 9:00.  With the one service format for this season, it opens Sunday mornings for some focused Bible teaching.  Even if we return to two services in February, these classes will be offered.  More details to come.  
 
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
 
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Have To or Want To?
1 John 5:1-5

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

New Sermon Series

A Bright Spot in a Dark World
A study in the Book of Daniel
Begins February 7th

EBC Sunday Study

We’re excited to offer two four-week adult studies this February. Each study will meet at EBC, Sunday morning from 9-10:15 AM. See below for a detailed description of each study.
 
Take The World, But Give Me Jesus
 With Adam Hayes
Overexposure is one of the greatest threats to peace in the modern church. With access to every corner of the world and into the living rooms of so many individuals, church members often willingly put themselves in the way of fear and envy. While this feels like a modern problem, the heart of the matter is ancient. This class will be an opportunity to turn your attention away from all that’s robbing you and others of peace and reconnect you with your God who promises to protect and provide.
 Objectives for this study: 
·      Address the temptations of fear and envy that stir when we dwell on the world’s prosperity and progress apart from God. 
·      Replace rumination with God’s eternal promises, so that we can live our calling confidently; trusting that He is our strength and portion forever.
 
Living Grace
With Susan Lyle
 The Living Grace Class is a discipleship growth experience intended for people who struggle with mental and emotional challenges (e.g., anxiety, panic, depression, and/or other diagnoses). As a group, we will explore biblical truths, scientific research, and practical tools to cultivate healthy hearts and minds. Topics include identity in Christ, renewing your mind, managing stress, and relaxation and joy.
Objectives for this study:
·      To better know and understand who we are in Christ specifically as it relates to our mental and emotional struggles. 
·      To help build individual resilience in navigating mental and emotional challenges.
·      To cultivate a safe and supportive network of individuals with mental and emotional challenges.

Community Groups

Community Group signups begin this Sunday January 17th. Sign up in the back of the sanctuary or contact Tim Whitman at tawhitman@liberty.edu 

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated. We have designated a section in the back right of the sanctuary for those who prefer to wear a mask throughout the service. 
Signs will be posted on the designated seats, please leave these seats available for those who choose to wear a mask during the entire service.

Change in Service

Reminder, for the time being we are offering one in person service at 10:45 am.
Our livestream will also be at 10:45 am as well. Nursery will be provided from birth to age 5.

EBC Cancellations

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

Prayer and Praise

If you have any prayer requests or needs, please email Corianne at: corianne@ebclaconia.com 

The Weekly Epistle 1/6/20

Do you remember what you had for lunch on December 15?  How about dinner on December 12?  Or what you ate each day three weeks ago?  Unless you eat the same thing every day, or it was a special occasion, you likely do not remember what you ate.  But it is safe to assume you did eat!
 
What’s my point?  Even though you can’t remember what you ate, I can look at you and conclude you did eat- no offense.  Spiritually, you may not remember the exact sermon you heard, or the Bible passages you read in 2020, but eventually your spiritual diet would be obvious.  You are what you eat!  We are shaped by what we read.  
 
How was your Bible reading in 2020?  I shared a quote on social media recently from David Mathis.  He said, “None of us were barred access by civil authorities from the Scriptures or from the throne of grace in prayer.  Yet, how did 2020 affect you?”  In other words, with all the challenges of this past year and especially the loss of precious Sundays with God’s people, we have not been locked out or locked down from the words of God in the Bible.  Are you spiritually the better for 2020?  
 
As we turn the page to 2021, what’s your plan for hearing from God in His word this year?  As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  What are you aiming for in terms of Scripture intake this year?  And it must go deeper than a New Year’s resolution.  
 
I have heard from several of you about your commitment to reading through the Bible this past year and have been super encouraged by your follow through.  I know that some of you followed the reading plan that went along with our sermon series this past year.  If you are following that reading plan and are a little behind, this is the month to catch up, as our study in Daniel won’t begin until February 7.  
 
My challenge to you is to make Bible reading not merely a new year’s resolution, but a lifelong pursuit.  And by reading it, I mean, applying it to your life.  How wonderful it is that God gave us 66 books, about 775,000 words in English, to make Himself known to us!  He has not left us to ourselves to find our way in 2021 but provides us with the greatest resource ever to teach us how to live.  And not only live, but live abundantly, live triumphantly, live above the circumstances.  
 
What’s your plan for hearing from God in His word this year?  We cannot live without it.  Often someone will ask me, “Does it bother you that people might not remember your sermons?”  Not really!  I am tasked with the privilege of giving out spiritual food, of feeding the church (and my own soul), and while the church may or may not remember the food they ate, my hope and prayer is that it shows in our lives.  
 
I remain committed to feeding you, but let’s commit to gathering food for ourselves as well.  Like the sloth of Proverbs, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15).  Let’s fight against any laziness to gather food for ourselves in 2021.  
 
Blessings to you!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

When Love Has Done It’s Work
1 John 4:17-21

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Change in Service

Reminder, for the time being we are offering one in person service at 10:45 am.
Our livestream will also be at 10:45 am as well. Nursery will be provided from birth to age 5.

Communion

We will be celebrating communion this Sunday. If you are worshipping with us at home, please have your elements ready to participate with us.

EBC Cancellations

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

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

Giving Envelopes

2021 giving envelopes will be located at the back of the sanctuary Sunday mornings. If you are unable to make it to church to pick up your envelopes, please contact Corianne at the office to coordinate a time to pick up.

Giving

You can continue to give either online on our website www.laconiachurch.com and clicking on the green Give button or by mailing your checks to the office. 50 Washington St Laconia, NH 03246

Prayer and Praise

If you have any prayer requests or needs, please email Corianne at: corianne@ebclaconia.com