The Weekly Epistle 1/19/21

Have you ever noticed that your gas gauge on your car stays on “Full” for a while even before the needle moves?  Have you noticed how quickly it then moves as it moves toward “Empty”?  Have you noticed how it sort of stays on empty for a bit until that warning light comes on?  
 
From what I have read, the engineers have calibrated them to do that because the customer doesn’t want to see the needle depart too quickly from “F.”  It gives them the illusion that they are getting better gas mileage.  The customer also doesn’t want to run out of fuel as soon as they hit “E.”  They feel better about having some reserve of gasoline even when they hit empty, but not too much reserve so that they run out.  Terry Shea, writing for AOL Autos says this, “Apparently, there is this sweet spot where customers are happy to be fooled by their gas gauges, but not too much.  We customers are a fickle bunch.”
 
We customers are a fickle bunch!  That can be true for churchgoers as well.  And sadly, some pastors and teachers have re-engineered the gospel and succumbed to the pressure to accommodate “the customer.”  Do you have a “sweet spot” where you are willing to accept a lie and tolerate a little compromise in your life? 
 
Andy Stanley’s video series addresses the need for guardrails in our lives to protect us from going off the edge.  On February 6, the adult discipleship team will be leading a 5-week study for men and women, high school age and up.  It will be from 9:00-10:00 on Sunday mornings in the fellowship hall.  I would encourage you to add this to your Sunday morning routine for 5 weeks.  
 
Also, the adult discipleship team is hosting a breakfast for men and women on Saturday, February 19 @ 8:00.  Pancakes, meat, eggs, and drinks will be provided.  Please sign-up so we know how many to plan for and for what you can bring (pastries, fruit, etc).  
 
Don’t forget about “prayer 30” tomorrow night (Thursday) from 7:00-7:30 in the gym building.  The focus of our prayer will be taken from 1 Timothy 2:1-5.  
 
We continue in our sermon series this Sunday on True North- beliefs that define who we are.  In a world of relativism and theological compromise, we must embrace the uncompromising truths of the Word of God.  It is knowing what we believe that keeps us from being fooled.  Let’s not be a fickle bunch, but lovers of the truth.  May God’s Word fill your life with everything you need this week!  
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Message
1 John 1

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Bible references on the Triunity of God

Divine qualities and functions ascribed to Jesus
  Matthew 10:37; Mark 2:5-7; John 1:1; 5:18; 5:18; 8:54-59; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 
Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 5:20.
 
Divine qualities and functions ascribed to the Holy Spirit
  Genesis 1:2; Mark 3:29; John 15:26; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Hebrews 9:14. Also, the Holy Spirit is set alongside God the Father and God the Son in a way that assumes their equality: Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2.

Sanctity of Human Life

This Sunday in your bulletin is a flyer entitled “The Miracle of Creation” from the Aspire Women’s Center telling of what they offer to the Lakes Region.  This is a wonderful follow-up to Pastor’s message last week on Psalm 139.  Be sure to pick up a bulletin.

Prayer 30

The next Prayer 30 will be tomorrow Thursday, January 20th from 7:00 -7:30 in the gym.  

Guardrails Bible Study

On February 6th the adult discipleship team will be leading a 5-week Bible study for men and women entitled Guardrails by Andy Stanley.  This will be in the Fellowship Hall downstairs from 9:00 – 10:00.

Community Groups and Adult Breakfast Sign-ups

A signup sheet will be available on the coffee counter for community groups for the next two Sundays.  Also, there is a signup sheet for the Adult Breakfast (men and women) taking place on Saturday, February 19th at 8am.

Giving and Online Giving

There is the option of online giving.  Go to the website (laconiachurch.com) and click on “give” and proceed from there.  If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 524-2277 or office@ebclaconia.com.

The Weekly Epistle 1/12/21

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them” (Psalm 139:17).
 
As I have been preparing for the last two sermons on what we believe about God, I am reminded of how much I am in over my head.  Language is insufficient to communicate the greatness of all that God is.  But that isn’t to say then, that speaking of what we do know about God is useless or insignificant.  Even though we cannot grasp him fully, we can know Him truly.  Also, what we do know about God gives direction to what we don’t know.
 
That is particularly true when it comes to explaining and understanding that we believe in one God to be three distinct persons of one true essence.  We call this the “trinity,” though that word is found nowhere in the Bible.  The word may not be used, but the teaching of one God eternally existing in loving unity of three equally divine Persons, is seen throughout Scripture. 
 
Does it really matter that we believe in a triune God?  The triunity (trinity) is necessary because only the sacrifice of a perfect being, the divine Son of God, the Lord Jesus, could pay for our sin.  The triunity is necessary because only the Perfect Divine Spirit could indwell each of us.  And God the Father Himself must be distinct to execute such a plan.  In the announcement section of this epistle, I will provide some Scriptures that you can check out that support the belief that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are spoken to have divine qualities and to be equal with God, the Father.  
 
What we believe matters and that is why our present sermon series, “True North” is more than simply exploring the EFCA’S statement of faith, it is to be our fixed reference point as we navigate this life in such a changing world.  We will take the next two Sundays looking at what we believe about the Bible.  
 
Also, mark your calendars for a new study, “Guardrails” a video series by Andy Stanley, to begin on Sunday, February 6 at 9:00.  
 
I remember once many years ago, traveling down a steep and winding road when I hit a patch of ice, lost control of my car and although I never actually hit the guardrail, I was comforted knowing the guardrail was there as my car was headed straight for it.  The only thing that would have protected me from going off the edge of that steep cliff was that guardrail.  Honestly, I never really thought of the guardrails on that road until that moment and every time following that incident.  
 
“Guardrails” study will challenge us to stop flirting with disaster and establish personal guardrails.  It is a six-week class led by the adult discipleship team and is for men and women, high school age and up.  What a great way to start your Sunday morning before attending worship! 
 
Meeting together on Sunday mornings continues to be the highlight of my week.  I love seeing you and being with you each week.  I also love praying with you.  There is something absolutely beautiful about being in the same room with you talking with our Father in heaven about His church, this community, and the needs we have as His children.  So, don’t forget “Prayer 30” on January 20 from 7:00-7:30PM in the gym building.  
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Message
1 John 1

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Bible references on the Triunity of God

Divine qualities and functions ascribed to Jesus
  Matthew 10:37; Mark 2:5-7; John 1:1; 5:18; 5:18; 8:54-59; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 
Philippians 2:5-7; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 5:20.
 
Divine qualities and functions ascribed to the Holy Spirit
  Genesis 1:2; Mark 3:29; John 15:26; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Hebrews 9:14. Also, the Holy Spirit is set alongside God the Father and God the Son in a way that assumes their equality: Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2.

Sanctity of Human Life

This Sunday in your bulletin is a flyer entitled “The Miracle of Creation” from the Aspire Women’s Center telling of what they offer to the Lakes Region.  This is a wonderful follow-up to Pastor’s message last week on Psalm 139.  Be sure to pick up a bulletin.

Prayer 30

The next Prayer 30 will be on Thursday, January 20th from 7:00 -7:30 in the gym.  Mark your calendars.

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 bother of our services. EBC will notify of cancellation using the following: WMUR TV*, Church website news feed www.laconiachurch.com, Email (weekly epistle list), and EBC private and public Facebook pages. *(If 1stservice is cancelled, it will say “No Early Services”, if both services cancelled, it will say “No Sunday Services” on WMUR)

Giving and Online Giving

There is the option of online giving.  Go to the website (laconiachurch.com) and click on “give” and proceed from there.  If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 524-2277 or office@ebclaconia.com.

The Weekly Epistle 1/5/21

Years ago, when I was serving as pastor in Portland, Maine, my dental hygienist, knowing I was pastor of an Evangelical Free Church, was puzzled by the name of the church.  So, she asked, “Does Evangelical Free mean that it is free of Evangelicalism?”   That seem to make sense to her like “caffeine free” is free of caffeine and gluten free is free of gluten.  I gave a rather brief and concise answer since I was sitting in a dentist’s chair with her hands in my mouth.
 
Perhaps many ideas come to your mind around the name, ‘Evangelical Free.”  Does it mean we don’t have to give because it is free?  That isn’t it either.  Some of you have expressed concern that “Free” sounds “new agey” or open to any and every teaching.  This is not the case at all.  On the contrary, the EFCA has stood solid over their history to hold to the essentials of the faith without wavering.  
 
What does Evangelical Free Church actually mean?  Here is a quick explanation.  
 
1. “Evangelical” = gospel centered.  The word “evangel” simply means good news of Jesus Christ.  The Evangelical Free Church from its origins have been all about spreading the good news of Christ to a lost world.  
 
The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) will only increase our ability to demonstrate the presence of Christ and proclaim the message of the gospel throughout New England and beyond, by equipping our church, helping to develop our leaders, and supporting our efforts to carry out our mission.
 
2. “Free” = self-governing.  With roots in Scandinavia, the Free Church broke away from the state because of their conviction that the local church should be autonomous and free to govern its own affairs.  That is true of us as a Conservative Baptist Church, so nothing changes here.  EFCA looks to work cooperatively with us in what we are doing rather than impose on us a certain way ministry must be done.  We are free to carry out our mission and strategy for ministry, but with resources and support needed to multiply our mission.  
 
3. “Church” = the local body of Christ.  Often, I greet you on Sunday morning with the words, “Good morning church.”  Obviously, I am not speaking to the building, but to the spiritual body of Christ in which Jesus Christ is the head.  The word “church” simply means called out.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been called out of the world and sin into a relationship with Christ.  We are also called out in that we are no longer a “part of the world”, but “in the world” to bring the good news to the lost.  
 
I hope that gives you a better understanding of the meaning behind the Evangelical Free Church name.  A change in affiliation is not a move at all away from what we believe as a church.  This is one reason we are working through what we believe in the present sermon series, using EFCA’s statement of faith as a guide.  Like you, as leaders, we take doctrinal purity very, very seriously.  The EFCA helps us preserve that purity through greater accountability for staying on track through resources, networking with other churches and pastors, conferences, personal and regular contact and prayer from the District Superintendent, and so on.  
 
Church, my heart for you is that you know what you believe so that you stay afloat amidst the tumultuous, stormy sea of a culture that has lost it’s way. 

Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Created and Cherished
Psalm 139

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Outreach Opportunity

Help distribute batteries and church invitations to our neighbors this Saturday, January 8th at 10am.

Prayer 30

The next Prayer 30 will be on Thursday, January 20th from 7:00 -7:30 in the gym.  Mark your calendars.

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 bother of our services. EBC will notify of cancellation using the following: WMUR TV*, Church website news feed www.laconiachurch.com, Email (weekly epistle list), and EBC private and public Facebook pages. *(If 1stservice is cancelled, it will say “No Early Services”, if both services cancelled, it will say “No Sunday Services” on WMUR)

Giving and Online Giving

There is the option of online giving.  Go to the website (laconiachurch.com) and click on “give” and proceed from there.  If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 524-2277 or office@ebclaconia.com.