The Weekly Epistle 6/10/20

It has been said that, “bad news travels fast but good news takes the scenic route.”  I hope by now you have heard the good news that we are reopening this Sunday, June 14 at our usual service times of 9am and 10:45am.  
 
I have said this before but want to reiterate it.  As important as it is for us to meet together, I don’t want you to feel any pressure about attending.  If you don’t think it is wise to come this Sunday, then by all means, do not come.  
 
You will need to decide what is right for you (and your family) and regardless, that decision is to be respected by all.  And if you disagree with our decision to open at this time, I would ask that you are respectful in your disagreement. We will continue our livestreaming ministry for those who are not able to attend at this time.  
 
Moreover, we are excited to announce that plans are underway to continue our live streaming indefinitely! If this time of quarantine has taught us anything, it is that we are able to reach more people through online teaching than if we limit ourselves to those who will enter the doors of our church.  I have personal examples of this, and I know that it goes beyond what I can even imagine!  Praise God that His word is not chained, as Paul says from prison in 2 Timothy 2:9.  
 
If you haven’t noticed, our services aren’t technically live streamed, they are actually prerecorded. They are then posted to Youtube and scheduled to premiere at 10:45 on Sundays. The equipment and production methods for live streaming are very different from prerecording. We are currently in the process of an audio/video renovation that will enable us to offer a high-quality live stream each week. Please be patient with us as we work through the process. We will be offering an adequate live stream starting this week, but it will take a few weeks to get all of the equipment in place to maintain the quality you have been enjoying with the current prerecorded services. 
 
If you have been enjoying the online ministry and if you see value in it beyond this time, would you please consider making a financial donation towards the project? You can designate your gift as “online ministry.” At times, there are specific requests for projects that go beyond our general budget and capital campaign, buying equipment for greater impact through our online ministry, is one such need. 
 
I want to give a special thanks to Aaron for his time, equipment, and expertise in order to give a quality online worship experience week after week during our self-quarantine.  I appreciate, as well, Nathaniel Jakubens for his weekly dedication on the sound board and KC Knowack’s commitment to providing us with worship along with Pastor Dan.  
 
There were many hours behind the scenes from Pastor Dan to give us online worship, daily reflections, Wednesdays in the Word, and assistance in going forward as a church through this pandemic.  I want to say, “thank you” to Bill Miller and Bill Wixson for looking after our facilities, and to Cori for always being ready to get some task done in a timely fashion- often called upon in “off hours.”  
 
And church, thanks for your words of encouragement, prayers, and support during this season.  We still face many challenges, but I am confident that we will stand united and ready by God’s grace to make the most of the opportunities we have in front of us to impact lives.  Like we saw this past week, I with Paul can say, “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel…”
 
Partnering with you as one “under construction,” Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Joy in Each Other

Phillipians 1:7-11

Last Sunday’s Sermon

A Call to Prayer

Please join us this evening at 7pm for a time of prayer. Meet in the gym parking lot.

Reopening Sunday June 14th

In order to not exceed our seating capacity, we would like to know which service you are most likely to attend this Sunday June 14th. Please complete this short poll by clicking HERE

Welcome Team Help

As we prepare to return back to church and worship together and due to all the safety measures, we will need extra help on the Welcome Team through the end of the summer. 
If you are willing to help please contact Corianne at the office: corianne@ebclaconia.com

On Goal Soccer Camp

August 4th – August 8th Register today at www.ongoal.org
K-1st 9am-Noon $145 / 2nd-9th 9am-3pm $165
Family discounts and Laconia resident discounts are also available. Visit www.laconiachurch.com/ongoal to volunteer or donate to the scholarship fund. We already have donation requests coming 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 6/3/20

It has been said that “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond.”
 
My heart broke as I watched the police officer with his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for air.  My heart was just as broken watching other police officers stand idly by.  I would like to think that if I was one of the guys in blue at that time I would have stepped in and done something.  But that is hypothetical.  
 
But it does raise the question of response.  How should we respond to injustice and cruelty and abuse of power?  Damage police cars?  Burglarize businesses?  Set off mortars toward police officers?   How can these be right responses?  There really is no excuse for that kind of behavior, but there is an explanation.  People are angry.  Frustrated.  Afraid.  Hurt. Feeling marginalized.  
 
The Bible from cover to cover speaks to the value of human life.  The very first chapter of Genesis highlights that we are all created in the image of God.  There is a distinctiveness from the rest of creation that resides in men and women.  Nowhere can you find in the Bible that there is a race or class of people that is an exception to this.
 
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that where human dignity is devalued, it is incumbent upon believers in God to defend the vulnerable.  For example, the prophet Isaiah calls out God’s people for claiming to know God yet not showing it in their actions.  “Stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right.  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17).
 
Whether this was a sin of commission or a sin of omission for the people of God in Isaiah’s day, what they were doing or not doing was wrong.  When image bearers are mistreated or abused, we cannot keep silent.  We should do what is in our power to help justice win.  Certainly, that means pray.  But it also means that we give no hint of indifference or suggest in any way that the one wrongly killed had it coming to him. 
 
I really don’t know what motivated that police officer to act the way he did.  I really don’t know if he was motivated with a racist heart.  Or did his self-inflated view of his power lead him to that abuse?  I really don’t know.  But I do know that he was not motivated by righteousness, justice, and the value for human life. 
 
I do know that if that police officer would have seen the man on the ground, with his knee crushing the man’s windpipe, as an image bearer of the Creator God, then George Floyd would still be alive.  I do know if the police officers standing around had the eyes of Jesus, then one man would not have senselessly died. 
 
How should we then respond?  Romans 12 says we are to hate what is evil.  Ephesians 4 tells us to be angry and sin not.  What those police officers did to George Floyd angers me.  How the protesters are taking out their frustration angers me.  That anger does not justify unloving tweets, posts, conversations, or memes that minimize the seriousness of the issue at hand.  Followers of Christ must condemn hate, violence, and abuse of power in every form.  But we must seek to be part of the solution and not add to the problem. 
 
Each of us will have to decide the right response to this.  But I know that we cannot be silent. When someone is being mistreated or marginalized closer to home, we must speak up. Perhaps you can show an act of kindness to those in blue who are doing their jobs to protect and to serve.  
 
Let this be a time when we can put the mirror up to our own hearts.  Is there any way I devalue life?  Do I see others as image bearers?  Is there any prejudice in me?  Do I treat others in the body of Christ with equal value?  For those whom I reflexively distrust and struggle to love because of their upbringing, their race, their perspectives, their opinions, their differences, do I intentionally choose to see them as Jesus sees them?   
 
I know we can pray.  Pray that those who are leading the investigation get it right.  Pray for the Floyd family.  Pray for peace.  Pray for right responses to the wrongs that have been done.  Pray for the families of these police officers.  Pray for police officers around the country who are also afraid for their lives.   
 
Church, there is no quick fix to this kind of hatred and indifference to human life.  But isn’t this the very reason for Jesus’ nail-scarred hands?  Didn’t He come to give His life up for the sin that divides us?  The good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is offered equally and without favoritism to all people. 
 
How then should believers in that message respond?  “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”  
 
Oh!  And be angry…..and sin not!
 
Look forward to seeing you soon!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

A Christian’s Gigantic Secret

Phillipians 1:1-6

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Wednesdays In The Word
Not Now…I’m Praying
Acts 12

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

Beginning this Sunday

“A Guide to Joyful Living”
Our summer sermon series in the book of Philippians

A Call to Prayer

Please join us tomorrow evening from 7:30pm-8pm at the gym parking lot for a time of prayer. 
We will have another time of prayer next Wednesday 6/10 at 7pm.

Welcome Team Help

As we prepare to return back to church and worship together and due to all the safety measures, we will need extra help on the Welcome Team through the end of the summer. 
If you are willing to help please contact Corianne at the office: corianne@ebclaconia.com

On Goal Soccer Camp

August 4th – August 8th Register today at www.ongoal.org
K-1st 9am-Noon $145 / 2nd-9th 9am-3pm $165
Family discounts and Laconia resident discounts are also available. Visit www.laconiachurch.com/ongoal to volunteer or donate to the scholarship fund. We already have donation requests coming in.

Aspire Baby Bottle Blessing Campaign

Aspire’s Baby Bottle Blessing Campaign is under way!
We may not have a physical bottle for you to collect your money in, but you can still donate and help support this wonderful ministry! Donations by credit, debit or bank may be made online at their secure donation website: https://aspirewomenscenter.simpledonation.com/
Checks may also be mailed to Aspire at: 506 Union Ave., Laconia, NH 03246 or cash/coin dropped off at the Center, particularly if you have been saving your change over the year.
Thank you for all your support!!

Campus Update

We now have lights and electricity at gym in the old kitchen and storage room! 
Check out the pictures below!

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