The Weekly Epistle 6/16/21

To say that there is confusion today around human sexuality would be an understatement.  It saddens me to see how God’s great gift of human sexuality has been twisted.  At times, it downright angers me to watch our children wrestle with misguided information from the media and the messiness that exists for them because they are bombarded with lies about human sexuality. 
 
Genesis 1:27 informs us that, “God created us male and female.”  Male and female reflect God’s created order and God’s perfect design for a monogamous marital relation between one man and one woman.  Further in Genesis 2:24 marriage between a woman and a man is declared to create a “one flesh” union (see also Matthew 19:5).  This one flesh union between a man and a woman is to be a picture of the union between Christ and His body, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).  This is one reason that I even cringe to hear the phrase, same sex “marriage,” for that is an oxymoron that goes against a biblically defined marriage.
 
As we know, all of life from the creation to the created beings have been affected by the fall.  That includes our sexuality.  What was created good has been damaged by sin.  Homosexuality is not what God intended.  All acts of homosexuality are sinful in the sight of God (Genesis 19:4-11; Judges 19:22-25; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11).  We cannot then equate biblically a committed heterosexual relationship within marriage with a committed homosexual relationship. 
 
It is the gospel that offers grace and forgiveness to all sinners.  In the church there are people from all walks of life who have one thing in common- we are redeemed, and our identity is now “in Christ.”  Paul says to the believers in Corinth, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves not the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  That is quite a list.  But then he adds, “And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirt of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). 
 
That is what you were!  That suggests that all sinners are welcomed into the family of God.  That means that a change takes place of identity and lifestyle when a person comes to faith.  That means that while we cannot condone homosexuality and will not compromise the biblical standard for sexuality, we are to welcome unbelievers from all lifestyles with the hope of introducing them to the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, we are to treat everyone, including those who identify as LGBT, with love and dignity while pointing them to the truth of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As one evangelical church puts it, “We will be welcoming but not affirming.”
 
There are many reasons I chose to touch on this in this epistle.  Not only because it is such a pervasive topic in our culture today that the church must be prepared in its response, but also because I want to hold up God’s good gift of biblical marriage.  Let’s celebrate marriage which mirrors the bond between Christ and His Church.  Let’s recognize and rejoice in our Creator’s design of our sexuality as male or female as a gift from Him. 
 
And church, let’s pray for the marriages of our church.  Let’s pray for each other that we will walk in wisdom, truth, love, and gentleness as we encounter individuals who are confused about their sexuality.  Let’s walk in the transforming power of lives changed by the gospel!
 
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Two Voices
Proverbs 1:10-33

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Men’s Study on Mentoring

A new men’s study on mentoring will begin Saturday July, 10th from 7am-8am and will run for 4 weeks. 

Church Picnic

Our annual Church Picnic and Baptism is scheduled for Saturday August 28th at Ellacoya State Park Pavilion from 10 am – 4pm. Please begin signing up at the back counter. We have a limit on attendees, signups are required. We look forward to coming together for a time fellowship and celebration.

On Goal Soccer Camp

On Goal Soccer Camp begins next Tuesday, have you registered yet?
Camp Dates: June 22-26, 2021
Location: Leavitt Park, Laconia
Ages: Entering grades K-9
Click Here to Register: Registration Site
There is still time to register! Praise God we have over 100 kids signed up!
Our largest camp yet!

Volunteers needed for On Goal

We could still use some extra hands assembling lunch boxes on Friday morning and Saturday morning. Please email the office if you are available to help office@ebclaconia.com

Need financial assistance?

Scholarships available! Please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.

Prayer and Praise

If you have any prayer requests or needs, please email the office at office@ebclaconia.com

The Weekly Epistle 6/9/21

“Practice makes perfect.”  Is that true?  If I repeatedly do a certain skill, then does that mean I will improve on that skill?  When one of the basketball players I am coaching wants to improve their shooting and practices every day by taking 50 shots twice a day will she attain her goal?  Will she get better at shooting?  Not necessarily.  
 
Improvement would assume they are practicing the right things, the right way.  If that player’s form were off no amount of repeating a bad shot technique would make her a better shooter.  On the contrary, she would actually form a bad habit that would make her shot worse.
 
I think you know where I am going with this.  What kind of habits are we forming in our lives?  What disciplines are we practicing?  Allow me to return to basketball for just a minute longer.  What any player (and this translates into any skill) is hoping to achieve by practicing the right things, the right way, is that those habits become a part of who they are.  That after a while, they become so woven into their play on the court that they do it almost without thinking about it.  
 
Isn’t that how it works with forming spiritual habits?  That they become a part of who we are, so that more instinctively we pray. They are woven so deeply into the rhythm of our lives that they carry us in those times when we are struggling.  What kind of habits are you forming in your life that move you closer to Him?  It might be journaling or fasting or practicing solitude or regular Bible reading and prayer or meditating or memorizing scripture.  
 
It might be meeting together with your church family for edification.  Have you thought of that as a spiritual habit?  In the book of Hebrews, it says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).  Why is meeting together so important?  Several answers for that.  But in that Hebrews passage it is for the purpose of spurring one another on toward love and good deeds.
 
But did you notice, we can actually get out of the habit of meeting together.  One thing the pandemic taught us is that we don’t have to meet in the church to be the church.  That is the plus side.  We were able to attend Sunday worship without leaving our homes.  
 
The downside to that, is it meant that we can attend Sunday worship service without leaving our homes.  I have talked to other pastors, and they too have seen that some people in their church are getting out of the habit of meeting together.  I want to spur you on toward love and good deeds.  My heart goes out to those who may be forming the habit of not attending.  In love, I want to extend this invitation: “You are needed here.  You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  (Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
 
We do need every part of the body.  As people have returned, my heart has been blessed to overflowing.  It was so encouraging to see 30 men at the men’s breakfast this past week.  It was a great time of fellowship.  The food was awesome!  Men, be on the lookout for two four-week studies coming up- one in July on mentoring and one in August on how to study the Bible.  
 
Don’t forget, church, prayer 30 is tonight (6/9) from 7:00-7:30 in the gym parking lot.  Praying together is one habit worth forming at EBC.  Hope to see you soon!
 
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Wise Up
Proverbs 1:1-9

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Prayer 30

Prayer 30 meetings tonight from 7pm-7:30pm.
Mark your calendars with the other dates: July 14, August 11, & September 8.

Men’s Study on Mentoring

A new men’s study on mentoring will begin Saturday July, 10th from 7am-8am and will run for 4 weeks. 

Church Picnic

Our annual Church Picnic and Baptism is scheduled for Saturday August 28th at Ellacoya State Park Pavilion from 10 am – 4pm. Please begin signing up at the back counter. We have a limit on attendees, signups are required. We look forward to coming together for a time fellowship and celebration.

On Goal Soccer Camp

On Goal Soccer Camp is coming soon! Have you registered yet?
Important Camp Details:
Camp Dates: June 22-26, 2021
Location: Leavitt Park, Laconia
Ages: Entering grades K-9
Early Bird Discount: Save $10 when you register before May 23rd!
Click Here to Register: Registration Site
***Note: This is a NEW registration site, so all families will need to create a new account even if your kids have been to camp before.
Need financial assistance? Scholarships available! Please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.

Prayer and Praise

If you have any prayer requests or needs, please email the office at office@ebclaconia.com