The Weekly Epistle 4/29/20

God is in control!  Sound trite?  Is it simply a cliché to talk ourselves off the ledge?  Is it just part of the language we adopt as a Christian?  What does it mean that God is in control?  
 
When we speak of God being in control, we are referring to God providentially superintending all of life situations and events.  In other words, God knows where he is going and knows how to get there.  He is in control of all situations in such a way that he can use whatever material he has to work with to accomplish his good and perfect purposes.  Nothing is powerful enough to get in the way of where He is going.  
 
Does this mean that God disregards human responsibility and choices?  Does he coerce human will?  Do we really have a choice?  The Bible does not teach determinism that God controls our choices.  The Bible teaches God’s sovereign control of the consequences and outcomes of our choices, not His control of those choices.  
 
So, Joseph can say, “You intended to harm me, but God will use it for his good.”  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can say, “God will deliver us, but even if he doesn’t, we will not bow down to other gods.”  In other words, they trusted God with the outcome of their choice and with their situation.  
 
This becomes very practical.  Trusting that God is in control is liberating.  How so?  First of all, I may not know why God allows certain things to happen, but I am certain of His loving guiding hand in the process.  I have an imaginary file that is labelled, “Things I don’t understand.”  I may wonder why or how or what is going to be the outcome, all the evidence will not be in until the curtain is closed upon history, but I know this- God is always up to something. And whatever He is up to comes from a heart that is good! 
 
Secondly, my choices mean something.   God not only knows how to fit my choice into where He is going, he also has the power to use that choice in whatever way he so chooses.  I do not need to know how God will use a choice of mine, I just need to do what is right, trusting that God will use it.  
 
One of the best books written on the subject of God’s sovereign control of life events is the book of Esther.  I get to preach on this in a couple of weeks (Mother’s Day).  In a book in which God isn’t mentioned at all, God is everywhere in that book.  God used Esther’s choice to accomplish His purposes though at the time she didn’t know the impact of that one choice.  What a privilege to participate and partner with him as we walk by faith each day with the particulars.  
 
Faith is my responsibility in every circumstance regardless of the possible outcome.  We are all responsible to God for every action and attitude.  We can leave the outcome, the consequences, of our actions to God.  These present circumstances?  We need to leave with Him.  We can speculate, we may wonder, we can go out on a limb and predict, but we do not need all the answers in order to move on in our faith.  
 
We will look at this some more this week in our Wednesdays in the Word as we unpack Romans 8:28.  Here is the bottom line:  Knowing the whys and the what ifs of the past or the what will be of the future are not necessary for me to exercise faith in the present.  
 
The true story is told of Ivan Denisovich when he was enduring all the horrors of a Soviet prison camp. One day he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answers, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.”
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Return

Psalms 126 & Books of Ezra and Nehemiah

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Wednesdays In The Word
What We Can Know
Romans 8:28-30

Join Pastor Brian Wednesday evenings at 7pm. 
A video will be available on Facebook, our You Tube channel and our website. 

Bible Reading Plan

We are on week 19 in the Bible reading plan that was given out at the beginning of this sermon series. 

EBC Spring Work Day

Miss coming to church? Well, we have a number of projects we could use your help with. You can volunteer at the church building and social distance at the same time. Email Bill Wixson at buildings@ebclaconia.com or call 524-8580 to sign up for your time slot!
Check out the video for more details 

EBC Facebook Page and Email List

If you are not currently on our EBC Bulletin Board on Facebook or receiving our communications via email, please contact Corianne at corianne@ebclaconia.com 

Community Groups

We are now hosting community groups via Zoom. Please contact your facilitator if you have not already been set up with this app. 
If you are not currently involved with a community group, please contact Tim Whitman tawhitman@liberty.edu and get plugged in!

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 

The Weekly Epistle 4/22/20

God loves you, and he has a special plan for your life. It just might not feel very special; actually, it can feel pretty awful. 

To illustrate this, we need to look no further than the earliest saints. Peter left everything to follow Jesus, and he was crucified, upside down. Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he was shipwrecked, three times. Moreover, many first Century Christians were martyred, by the tens of thousands. 

Trials and hardships are an inevitable reality of the Christian life. And when we fail to embrace those moments, we’re actually buying into a subtlety deceitful version of the prosperity Gospel. We think that as long as we’re not praying for mansions and limousines, then our faith is rock solid. But let me ask you, when you get angry with God because your car broke down (again), why are you mad? You’re angry at God because he has failed to meet your expectations. And he’s failed to meet your expectations because, at some level, you buy into the prosperity Gospel.

Does this mean that we should reject the prosperity Gospel altogether? No, it just means we need to change our understanding of what it means to prosper. We need to redefine the prosperity Gospel.

In James 1:2-4, the Apostle James exhorts us to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Here James presents the true prosperity Gospel. The Gospel prospers, not when our circumstances conform to our desires, but when the essence of who we are conforms to the nature of God.

In his classic hymn, Henry Lyte wrote, 

“Go, then, earthly fame and treasure, 
Come disaster, scorn and pain 
In Thy service, pain is pleasure, 
With Thy favor, loss is gain” 

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, that sounds awfully fatalistic.” And you might be right if it were not for the fact that Lyte concludes with this biblical principle.

“I have called Thee Abba Father, 
I have stayed my heart on Thee 
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather; 
All must work for good to me.”

Believer, God is working all things together for your good and his glory. And that is the prosperity gospel redefined. Embrace it that truth today.
 
Blessings, Pastor Dan

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
I Kings 20 – 2 Kings 25

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Wednesdays In The Word
God’s Most Prized Creation

Psalm 139:13-16

Join Pastor Brian Wednesday evenings at 7pm. 
A video will be available on Facebook, our You Tube channel and our website. 

Food Drive

We will be hosting another Food Drive to help benefit The Christ Life Center at the Lakes Region Vineyard Church. Drop off times are Friday 4/24 4pm-6pm and Saturday 4/25 9am – 11 am.
 Please contact Susan Lyle with any questions susanlyle@gmail.com or 892-2998

EBC Facebook Page and Email List

If you are not currently on our EBC Bulletin Board on Facebook or receiving our communications via email, please contact Corianne at corianne@ebclaconia.com 

Community Groups

We are now hosting community groups via Zoom. Please contact your facilitator if you have not already been set up with this app. 
If you are not currently involved with a community group, please contact Tim Whitman tawhitman@liberty.edu and get plugged in!

EBC Campus Work Projects

Miss coming to church? Well, we have a number of projects we could use your help with. You can volunteer at the church building and social distance at the same time. Check out the video for more details Click HERE

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