The Weekly Epistle 12/7/22

Hi Church,
Seen on a church sign, “We care about you, Sundays 10 AM” (only at 10 AM we care?).
Another sign said, “Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help.” Or “We love hurting people.”
Mixed messages not only show up on signs. The frown on our face and the song we sing about joy in our hearts. The values we embrace and the time we give to live those values out, don’t always line up. God continues to remind me of the importance of closing the gap between what I say is important and what is actually lived out in practice during the week.
Someone might say, “I value time with my family” but then there is very little time in the schedule for meals with the family, or sharing in the kids’ bedtime routine, or attending a child’s recital, sports activity, or achievement award night. A person might say, “fellowship with other believers is important”, yet pass on community groups, or inviting others to their home or take the time at church to connect with others. A person might say, “I want the benefits of a disciplined life, but with minimum effort.”
What if someone observed you during the week. What would they conclude about your values by watching you? A person can observe a lot about what you value by following you around during the week.
My intention is not to lay on guilt, but for each of us (that means me) to evaluate any disconnect between what we say we value and our activities during the week. How have you seen the need to live out your values more consistently? What changes need to be made to the use of our time? “Many people don’t want to make good decisions; they want to make painless ones” (Haddon Robinson). Isn’t that often the case? We know we should make some changes, but we just don’t want it to hurt.
In an earlier epistle I spoke to the stewardship of our money and the manner and attitude in which we are to give. Did you know we are to be good stewards of our time? We are to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-17). Scripture speaks often of using our time wisely.
As humans we love to “smorgasbord.” We want to do it all! We live on the notion that more is better. It has led to more stress, indecisiveness, lack of motivation, and in worse case scenarios, burn-out, depression, serious physical health problems, and depletion of energy.
Has God called us to over-extend ourselves? Has God given us more to do than we are able to do? Your pastor (me) continues to wrestle with this on a personal level. As the saying goes, “If you think I have a finger pointing at you, there are three fingers pointing back at myself.”
This is an exciting journey we are on together to make the most of the time we have, in the season of life we are in, in order to finish well!
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Small Enough for God
 1 Peter 5:1-7

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Mark Your Calendars:

The OWLS

Calling all OWLS to join together for “Love and Light,” a Christmas celebration in music, dance and drama presented by One Voice.  We will meet in the church parking lot at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, 2022 and drive over to the Interlakes Community Auditorium at Interlakes Middle/High School, 1 Laker Lane, Meredith, NH.  We look forward to this time of fun and fellowship

Christmas Eve and Christmas day services

Please join us for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service it is being held Saturday December 24th at 6:00 P.M.
(There will be no nursery at this service)
Sunday Christmas day we will have one service being held at 10:00 A.M. (There will be no nursery or Kids ministry during this service)
Sunday New Year’s Day we will have one service at 10:00 A.M.
We resume to two services on January 8th, 2023

Please take note!!
There will be no live stream for Christmas Eve or Christmas day

“The Gospel & LBGT Questions” conference on January 14, 2023

Please join us on Saturday January 14th as we offer this conference led by Rachel Gilson from CRU.
Here is some information about the Rachel and the topics she will be sharing.
 
9:00-9:45- Theological Foundation
10:00-10:45- Our children & their peers
11:00-11:45- How to reach that community as a church     

Rachel Gilson (M.Div, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves on the leadership team of Theological Development and Culture with Cru, and is the author of  Born Again This Way: Coming Out, Coming to Faith, and What Comes Next (The Good Book Company, 2020). She is pursuing a PhD in public theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has written for outlets such as Christianity Today, Desiring God, and the The Gospel Coalition. Rachel lives with her husband Andrew and their daughter in Massachusetts.

Also Coming in January:

“Celebration of Name Change” will be held between services on January 8
  A Six-week Men’s study, “Essentials for Spiritual Growth” begins on Saturday, January 21.
 “What in the world are we doing here?” sermon series in Isaiah
 (More details for these events will be available soon)

Announcements

Living  Hope  Kids

There will be no Nursery at the Christmas Eve service, also, no nursery or Kids ministry on Christmas day.  Sorry for any
inconvenience.

Trajectory Rec:

Trajectory Rec will be taking a break starting December 26th through January 23rd.

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

Reminder Deacon’s Fund

EBC has a “deacon’s fund” which is administered by the Elder’s.  This fund serves our church members as well as the community with financial needs.  You can donate to it by marking your envelope “Deacon’s fund” or give online choosing this fund as your option. 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 email office@ebclaconia.com.

Updates From our Missionaries

From Tom & Lois Jackson
Our hearts are full of thanks to God and we trust that you know how deeply appreciated you are.  Your love, prayers and interest are of great and ongoing encouragement.  Your sacrificial gifts precious and multiplied in many ways.
We thank God for progress here!

  • The little school room at Nyamukaiwa has been re-roofed.  
  • The village community at nearby Chishato will soon be receiving their water tanks and watering points.  We are thrilled that because of God’s gift of water and your gifts we will be able to supply a wide area at this location.  The water is abundant and by placing two 10,000 liter tanks on a hill, we can gravity feed the water to several village communities.  Praise the Lord!   We are learning so much as we go along about finding water and then getting the systems set up that can best make use of what God supplies. 
  • The church building at Rengwe is nearing completion and is looking beautiful.  The builders have taken such pride in their work and have worked with joy.  It has been such a testimony to the many who pass by.  Praise God for the way He has provided.  

The government offices have been working hard to complete the process of approval for building a school.  The boundaries have been informally defined by the community leaders and cover 15 hectares (37 acres) of lovely, hilly, tree-covered land.   Pray as the official boundaries are marked, the site plan drawn up, and building begins.
 
 Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for the ten churches in the district to continue to be strengthened in God’s Spirit and His Word.
  • Pray for God’s mighty hand to be at work in the hearts and lives of the leaders and children at the National Children’s Camp planned for December 12-16. Twenty from our district will be attending.
  • Pray for God’s gracious care on the drilling team and the equipment as they carry out their work and for the successful drilling at the remaining four sites.
  • Pray for the community and church leaders as they are equipped to manage their clean water systems together with their nutritional gardens.
  • Pray for the government officials to complete the task of pegging the land to be demarcated for the Nyamukaiwa school. 
  • Pray for the national church Education Committee as they take over the next step of working with the Department of Education in mapping and setting up the school.  This committee are taking on the responsibility of building and running the school as it is formally established.
  • Praise and prayer for the ongoing outreach of the churches in Hurungwe alongside each of these developmental projects.

The Weekly Epistle 11/30/22

Hi Church,
A young Californian surfer decided to try out church for the very first time.  When the service was over, he met the pastor in the back, with surfboard in hand.  After the pastor asked him what he thought of the service, the surfer replied, “Church was cool!  Especially when the dude next to me handed me a plate of money.”
 
That’s why we stopped passing the plate on Sunday mornings.  Not really!  We stopped that practice around covid and to this point have chosen to not add it back in.  Frankly, I have mixed emotions around that.  Giving is an act of worship.  In that regard, it has it’s place in a worship service. 
 
On the other hand, giving is private.  Giving is to be an expression of gratitude to our God.  Giving ought to flow out of a joyful heart and not because a plate is passed to us on a Sunday morning.  Paul says, “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).  That one verse prompts several questions.
            1) Is my giving something I have decided upon in advance to give?
            2) What best expresses my attitude in giving- “I have to give?” or “I get to give?”
            3) Do I give from a heart of joyful gratitude or from external pressure?
            4) Why doesn’t this verse mention a tithe?
 
You can work out the first three questions, but to the fourth question, let me say this: Giving that is pleasing to the Lord is motivated by God’s grace.  Grace giving replaces tithing.  But, what about tithing in the Old Testament There was the Levite’s tithe that supported the priests, who had no land (Leviticus 27:30).  This ten percent was mandatory and to not comply was considered to be robbing God. 
 
There was also a Festival tithe in which all the people were to bring a tenth of everything to these God-ordained festivals, feasts, and celebrations.  Kind of like a national “potluck.”  This 10% was required giving (Deuteronomy 12).  That’s not all.  There was a third tenth.  Deuteronomy 14:28 speaks to a tithe of every three years that was given to help the poor.  Since this was every three years it breaks down to about 3 and a third percent each year.  Again, this was not optional, but mandatory. 
 
Required giving was 23%.  In addition to this 23%, there was opportunity for freewill offerings and first fruits giving, which was voluntary.  The only requirement here was that you give to the Lord the best and give to the Lord first.  It was a real test of trust to give the Lord off the top.  That is a principle for us today.  Can you trust God by giving to Him first believing that he will provide for you what you need (Matthew 6:33)? 
 
Grace giving replaces tithing.  I dare say, that if followers of Christ gave in response to grace given, there would never be a shortage of money to support the work of God.  If we truly trusted God to provide for our needs, and that He is a God who will graciously give us all things, then our giving to God would not fluctuate with the circumstances.  Instead, we would see giving as a privilege and as a way to partner with God in building His kingdom. 
 
Pause right now or jot down these verses to read later- 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 & 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
I leave you with this, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). 
 
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Expected Visitor
 1 Peter 4:12-19

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Ryan Barton

Ryan Barton is an entrepreneur, leader, and wisdom-seeker.  He is founder and CEO of Mainstay Technologies, an IT company that has won many awards including Best Companies to Work For, Business of the Year, and Torch award for Marketplace Ethics. Ryan was recently awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” for his work in NH.
 
 He is involved in developing charities. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Laconia Christian Academy.  Ryan seeks to work at the intersection of transcendence and practicality: He is drawn to the understanding and the strategies that help us each to awaken, transform, and experience goodness.  Ryan is husband to Trish, father of Chloe, Noah, and Olivia, and is an insatiable reader!

Ryan Barton will lead us through his story of brokenness and ongoing transformation. He will share his perspective and tools he has learned as he has pursued fullness in emotional experience, in business, in ministry, and in family.
                       Please join us Friday night, December 2 @ 7:00. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas day services

Christmas Eve service will be held Saturday December 24th at 6:00 P.M.
Sunday Christmas day we will have one service being held at 10:00 A.M.
New Years Day January 1st we will have one service at 10:00 A.M.

The Weekly Epistle 11/23/22

Hi Church Family,
At the root of all sin is thanklessness. You might argue that the root of all sin is pride or living independently of God. Perhaps. I would contend that we could trace many of our sinful choices back to a thankless heart. In describing the downward spiral of the depravity of humankind, Paul writes, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).
The start of that downward descent is thanklessness.
 
If we revisited the account of the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, it was when the serpent poked at God’s restriction, calling into question the goodness of God, that temptation to sin began its work. Once Eve began to wonder what it was that God was withholding from her, she was ready for temptation’s next stage.
 
Thanklessness! “Life would be better if…” Or “I am blessed but…” Or “if only I had…”
What are the “have nots” that are robbing you of joy right now?
What is the “one tree” that you keep fixating on that is pulling you away from enjoying what God has freely given you?
 
First Timothy 4:4 tells us, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” In other words, “Enjoy, freely enjoy.”
 
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from that one tree” (Genesis 2:16-17). A good God said that! Can we trust that God is good, only good, and always good? Once we doubt the goodness of God, we are set up for thanklessness and temptation is about to do its real work in us.
 
Long before President Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday in November be a day of national Thanksgiving, God called us to give thanks to their Creator. Check out how often the word, “Thanks,” or “giving thanks” occurs in Scripture.
 
It has been said this way, “Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” This Thanksgiving Day don’t forget God. Pretty basic. On Friday, don’t forget God. This December don’t forget God. This coming year, “don’t forget God.”
 
How has God been good to you?  Are you enjoying the gifts He has given?  Do you regularly give thanks to the giver of those gifts?
 
Happy Thanksgiving! Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Ready or Not…
 1 Peter 4:7-11

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Church Workday

A big thank you to all who showed up in the frigid temperatures to clean up this past Saturday. We were able to accomplish many tasks.    

Operation Christmas Child

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s Operation Christmas Child. From those who shopped and packed shoeboxes to those who helped pack cartons and load the truck. It wouldn’t have been possible without you. We sent out 3,476 shoeboxes from our drop off center. Included are1,082 shoeboxes collected from Laconia and the surrounding areas.  We are grateful and blessed to be a part of this outreach ministry. In His service, Dave & Betsy

Ushers and Greeters Needed

We are looking for some friendly faces to join the hospitality team as ushers and greeters. This is a great opportunity to serve the body and guests of our church. Please email Susan Lyle at susan.lyle@gmail.com for more information. 

Living Hope ~~~~ Church Directory

We are updating our church directory. Please consider taking a few minutes to add or update your information for the directory. If you prefer not to be included in the directory, please email or call the office. Click the link and enter information or find paper forms on ministry counter.

Ryan Barton

Ryan Barton is an entrepreneur, leader, and wisdom-seeker.  He is founder and CEO of Mainstay Technologies, an IT company that has won many awards including Best Companies to Work For, Business of the Year, and Torch award for Marketplace Ethics. Ryan was recently awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” for his work in NH.
 
 He is involved in developing charities. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Laconia Christian Academy.  Ryan seeks to work at the intersection of transcendence and practicality: He is drawn to the understanding and the strategies that help us each to awaken, transform, and experience goodness.  Ryan is husband to Trish, father of Chloe, Noah, and Olivia, and is an insatiable reader!

Ryan Barton will lead us through his story of brokenness and ongoing transformation. He will share his perspective and tools he has learned as he has pursued fullness in emotional experience, in business, in ministry, and in family.
                       Please join us Friday night, December 2 @ 7:00. 

Aspire Women’s Center

Aspire women’s Center offers a free confidential Bible Study for women looking for post abortive healing. Women who want hope and healing in their relationship with God can bring their experience out of the dark past into His Holy light. Women who want to find peace of God’s forgiveness and freedom to forgive others.
God seeks to lovingly heal those who have been suffering when faced with the pain of their past, whether it was one month ago, 5 years ago or 50 years ago.  It takes great courage to step forward, but we can make it a little easier.
For more information see https://www.slideshare.net/CareNetHQ/lifeway-research-on-abortion-in-church

Christmas Eve and Christmas day services

Christmas Eve service will be held Saturday December 24th at 6:00 P.M.
Sunday Christmas day we will have one service being held at 10:00 A.M.
New Years Day January 1st we will have one service at 10:00 A.M.