The Weekly Epistle 5/11/22

Is EBC more like a bag of marbles or a bag of grapes?  When it comes to how we relate to one another, the church can be viewed in one of two ways.  
 
It can be like a bag of marbles.  You throw a bunch of marbles into a bag, and they will impact each other.  They will ricochet off each other. But when you take them out of the bag, each remains intact, distinct, and individual.  When we as a church function like marbles, we get together on Sunday morning, worship together, and hear the Word of God together.  Then following the benediction, we go our separate ways, and everyone is still the same as when they arrived.
 
The church can be like a bag of grapes.  Put grapes into a bag, apply a little pressure, and the grapes break open and all their flavors get mixed together.  The grapes “influence” the others and become one.  They will never be the same individual grapes as when they began.  
 
The marble mentality grows from individualism.  Individualism is totally foreign to the New Testament church.  It is totally foreign to the way God created us. We were made for relationships.  We were made for family.  
 
God never intended for us to live the Christian life on our own.  It is God’s design for us to grow in the context of Christian community.  Growth comes as we press up against each other and the juices of our lives as we do life together.  
 
As your pastor, my heart for you is that you develop deep friendships.   You have heard me say before that not only should we be a friendly church, but a church that makes friends.  Only to a certain point, can we program this.  We can provide opportunities for you to make connections, but it is on you to follow up on those initial points of contact to make friendships that flourish. 
 
Here are some ways you can deepen friendships here:
  Linger or come early for the coffee time between services (10:15-10:45).
  Attend a community group.
  Serve in ministry.
  Invite someone to join you for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, at a restaurant or in your home.
  Include others in something you are doing already (walking, hiking, exercising, some hobby or interest, etc.).
 
Be intentional in developing friendships.  And remember, these will be forever friends.  
 
Can’t wait to see you this Sunday.  Don’t forget about the pies and presentation by Sam Huggard (EFCA New England District Superintendent) this Sunday night @ 6:00 downstairs in the fellowship hall.  
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Upside-Down Wisdom and Power
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Aspire Baby Bottles

Some baby bottles are still available on the fellowship counter so if you were not here last Sunday you can still pick one up.

Pie Social for the EFCA Meeting

We are looking for a handful of volunteers to bring a pie.  If you would like to donate a pie, please email the office at office@ebclaconia.com.

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA With Sam Huggard

Sam Huggard, District Superintendent of the Evangelical Free Church of America, will be joining us for a special informational night on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Sam will present and unpack the five benefits of joining the EFCA.  Pie will be served.  For a preview of the five benefits, please check out this resource: https://laconiachurch.com/together-post/fivebenefits.

Couple’s Breakfast

Mark your calendar for a couple’s breakfast on Saturday, May 21st.

Kingdom Marriage Series

Do you desire to tap into the power of God as you seek God’s perspective and purpose for your marriage?  Kingdom Marriage is a 6 week video series you won’t want to miss.  It begins on May 22nd at 9:00 AM in the fellowship hall.

Baby/Child Dedication

There will be a baby/child dedication on May 22nd.  If you are interested in hearing more on this, attend the informational meeting on May 15 at 10:15 (between services) in the fellowship hall.

Local Outreach Opportunity

The local outreach team is sponsoring a spring cleanup day this June.  This is a way to serve your unbelieving neighbor, friend, family member.  Two ways you can help: 1. Pass on the name of someone you have contacted who could use some practical help.  2. Show the love of Christ through service by participating in the spring cleanup day in June (date to be determined).  Stop by the ministry counter for more information or to sign up.

On Goal soccer Camp is Coming Soon!

This coming Sunday, May 15th is On Goal Sign Up Sunday!  As the host church of On Goal, we are looking for volunteers to support camp needs.
Don’t forget to register your k-9th grade children for On Goal Soccer Camp! Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia.   Register your child today to secure their spot.  Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/camp-page-laconia. Financial assistance is available, please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.  Join us at church on Sunday to learn more about On Goal and how you can get involved!  Questions? Email Karen Bassett at ongoal@ebclaconia.com.

The Weekly Epistle 5/4/22

“Recalculating!” Anyone who has ever used a GPS while driving has heard the word, “recalculating.”  As my family traveled through the unfamiliar routes in Florida last week, our GPS had to remind us that we missed our turn or had driven too far and would recalculate and show us what we needed to do to correct our mistake. 
 
Frankly, God has done a lot of “recalculating” in my life.  I have gone through times in my life when it dawned on me that I am off course.  You might think of times when God spoke to you through some sermon or song or situation or personal time in the Word as if to say, “Change your direction.  Go this way instead of that way.”  
 
This has been on my mind for us as a church.  Seven years ago, when I arrived to serve as your pastor, I came with a clear vision for EBC.  If you have been around here at all, you should be familiar with our mission to make disciples, our objectives of growing deeper and having greater impact, our five commitments (to Scripture, prayer, one another, worship, and outreach) and our 4-E model for ministry (engaging, establishing, equipping & evangelizing).  
 
Are we staying on the right road?  Have we made wrong turns?  Is there a need for God to recalculate our plans in order to get us to where He wants to take us?   We do have a propensity to become distracted.  This is true on a personal level and also as a church.  
 
In approaching my seven-year mark, it is cause for celebration and evaluation.  I do celebrate the accomplishments.  I thank God for the marked growth in you, the team of elders and staff I get to serve with, the healthy environment that is welcoming to newcomers, the joyful spirit present each Sunday, and the reception of God’s Word to your lives.  
 
It is also a time for evaluation.  What changes do I need to make to better reflect the vision and desires I believe God wants for us?  How has the tyranny of the urgent squeezed out the more important things?  Church, whenever we substitute the urgent for the important, it is time to recalculate. 
 
This is why I am so passionate about the upcoming sermon series on the church. This is the reason the call for a church awakening is so critical.  I believe that the church in America has fallen asleep to the reality that we live in difficult times.  And unlike the early morning alarm, we cannot hit the snooze button.  We must wake up to what confronts us.  We must wake up to the marvelous opportunity of ministry that lies before us.  
 
The genius of the gospel, the beauty of God’s grace, and the power of God’s Word are able to put us on the right path to reach the destiny God has for us as a church.  We can be encouraged for God is able to get us to our destiny.  More than that, He is able to do far more than we can even ask.   I invite you to pray that God awakens our church to what Jesus is building.  Pray that our passion is renewed for what He wants for us.  Pray that we embrace the recalculating that puts us on the path to becoming a church that makes disciples who make disciples.  
 
All to His glory and praise, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Unity! Worth Fighting For!
1 Corinthians 1:1-17

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Mother’s Day Plant

As you leave the service this Sunday, there will be a plant available for mothers to pick up.  Weather permitting, they will be outside by the doors.

Aspire Baby Bottles

Baby bottles will be available for Aspire Women’s Center’s Baby Bottle Blessings fundraiser this Sunday during our worship services.  Aspire provides life-affirming pregnancy support services, including pregnancy tests and ultrasounds for pregnancy confirmation, for women in our communities experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

Pie Social for the EFCA Meeting

We are looking for a handful of volunteers to bring a pie.  If you would like to, please email the office at office@ebclaconia.com.

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA With Sam Huggard

Sam Huggard, District Superintendent of the Evangelical Free Church of America, will be joining us for a special informational night on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Sam will present and unpack the five benefits of joining the EFCA.  Pie will be served.  For a preview of the five benefits, please check out this resource: https://laconiachurch.com/together-post/fivebenefits.

Couple’s Breakfast

Mark your calendar for a couple’s breakfast on Saturday, May 21st.

Kingdom Marriage Series

Do you desire to tap into the power of God as you seek God’s perspective and purpose for your marriage?  Kingdom Marriage is a 6 week video series you won’t want to miss.  It begins on May 22nd at 9:00 AM in the fellowship hall.

Baby/Child Dedication

There will be a baby/child dedication on May 22nd.  If you are interested in hearing more on this, attend the informational meeting on May 15 at 10:15 (between services) in the fellowship hall.

Local Outreach Opportunity

The local outreach team is sponsoring a spring cleanup day this June.  This is a way to serve your unbelieving neighbor, friend, family member.  Two ways you can help: 1. Pass on the name of someone you have contacted who could use some practical help.  2. Show the love of Christ through service by participating in the spring cleanup day in June (date to be determined).  Stop by the ministry counter for more information or to sign up.

On Goal soccer Camp is Coming Soon!

We are excited to share that registration is LIVE for On Goal Soccer Camp!  Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia.  Campers entering K-9th grade this fall are eligible to register.  Register your child today to secure their spot.  Camp is already filling up!  Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/camp-page-laconia.
Financial assistance is available, please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.  Looking forward to seeing you this June!

The Weekly Epistle 4/27/22

As a child of the 80s, I grew up on action-adventure shows like “Knight Rider,” “Hardcastle and McCormick,” and “The Fall Guy.” The premise of all these shows was always fantastical and the good guy always won the day (something woefully missing from modern television). My all-time favorite show was “The A-Team.” Every episode started with the same prolog…
 
“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…(gunshots)…The A-Team.”
 
From episode to episode Hannibal Smith, B.A. Baracus, Faceman Peck, and Howling Mad Murdock, “The A-Team,” would travel from small town to small town, defending an innocent public against the local crime lord. In every episode, the team hatched a hair-brained scheme to overthrow the bad guy and win the day, and every episode ended with Hannibal’s famous catchline, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
 
For the past six months, I have been working on a plan with Dylan Treamer to relaunch Momentum Student Ministries. A crucial part of the plan involved recruiting a new team, our very own A-Team. We could not be more pleased with the team we have assembled. Kevin and Kim Mitchell are the mom and dad figures. Nick and Molly are the disarming and friendly faces. Erin Weller is the battle wise guide. And, of course, Dylan is our fearless leader. We are also excited to be adding Tori Mitchell to the team. We are now three weeks into our relaunch, and the plan is coming together. Teens are coming out of the woodwork, and with the right team in place, I am confident that we will effectively engage these kids with the love of Christ and the power of his Gospel. 
 
Church, you may not be on the Momentum A-Team, but there are two things you can do to help them complete their mission. First, please be in prayer for their triumph. Pray for Dylan and his strength and fortitude as a leader. Pray that God will continue to guide him as he grows into a godly and effective leader. Pray also for the team. Pray for their strength to effectively engage teens from week to week. Second, please let the teens in your life know about Momentum. Feel free to invite them to join us on Tuesday nights from 7:00 – 9:00 for Momentum.
 
Church, I love it when a plan comes together. I love it, even more when that plan is a team. 
 
Blessings,
 
Pastor Dan

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Hard Pressed On Every Side
2 Cor. 4:7-18

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA With Sam Huggard

Sam Huggard, District Superintendent of the Evangelical Free Church of America, will be joining us for a special informational night on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Sam will present and unpack the five benefits of joining the EFCA.  Pie will be served.  For a preview of the five benefits, please check out this resource: http://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits.

Baby/Child Dedication

There will be a baby/child dedication on May 22nd.  If you are interested in hearing more on this, attend the informational meeting on May 15 at 10:15 (between services) in the fellowship hall.

Couple’s Breakfast

Mark your calendar for a couple’s breakfast on Saturday, May 21st.

Kingdom Marriage Series

Do you desire to tap into the power of God as you seek God’s perspective and purpose for your marriage?  Kingdom Marriage is a 6 week video series you won’t want to miss.  It begins on May 22nd at 9:00 AM in the fellowship hall.

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 4/20/22

What’s Next?  That was the question and name of our capital campaign three years ago.  April 30th marks the end of that campaign and the financial commitments.  Praise God for the HVAC system in the worship center, the enhancement of our lighting and video for Sunday morning services, the upgrades of the gym floor and replacement of the windows and roof in the gym building, painting of the administration building trim,
and other minor projects around our campus.   Also, we have begun plans to demolish the convent building and enhance landscaping on that house lot.  I thank you for your faithfulness!
 
What’s Next?  What is next for us to grow deeper and have greater impact as a church?  As we come “out of the fog” of the last two years, my hope is that we regain the momentum we were experiencing prior to that time and are energized to press forward for what lies ahead.  
 
What’s Next?  Revisiting our 4-E ministry model for greater effectiveness.  What’s next is to increase the number of community groups, impact our young people through momentum’s fresh start, enhance our worship center for improved hospitality and fellowship, and intentionally continue to equip others for ministry.  What’s next is to look for ways to reach our community for Christ through acts of service and being a visible, positive presence to our neighbors.  
 
The famous Charles Dickens’ line fits here- “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”  In the times we live, foolishness and evil seem to prevail.  But it is also a time of great opportunity.  It really doesn’t take much effort to list all that is wrong.  Anyone can state the obvious.  We can point out all the problems.  But what about solutions?  How can we better engage the world in these times?  How can we sustain a close walk with Jesus?  Is it possible to thrive in a world that seems to have lost its way?
 
What’s Next?  It is to join Jesus in His purpose to build His church.  And since nothing can stop Him, it is a partnership that cannot fail.  We need a church awakening.  Beginning May 8th through a series of 8 messages, I will be leading us through selected passages in the book of 1 Corinthians that should awaken us to the dangers of drifting and excite us for what Jesus wants to build here at EBC.  
 
I am convinced that as we wake up to the reality of our times and remain strong in the long-standing truths of Scripture, we will have a voice.  The world is looking for a voice.  A.W. Tozer put it this way, “The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God- not an echo of what others are doing and saying, but an authentic voice.”
 
Jesus is building the church.  May our God renew our passion for what Jesus is building!
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Jesus’ Prayer
John 17

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA With Sam Huggard

Sam Huggard, District Superintendent of the Evangelical Free Church of America, will be joining us for a special informational night on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Sam will present and unpack the five benefits of joining the EFCA.  Pie will be served.  For a preview of the five benefits, please check out this resource: http://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits.

Baby/Child Dedication

There will be a baby/child dedication on May 22nd.  If you are interested in hearing more on this, attend the informational meeting on May 15 at 10:15 (between services) in the fellowship hall.

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 4/13/22

Here are some actual written absence excuses from parents:
  “Please excuse my daughter from gym class.  Yesterday she fell out of a tree and misplaced her hip.” 
  “Please excuse Sara for being absent.  She was sick and I had her shot.”
  “Please excuse Ray from school.  He has very loose vowels.”  
  “Jennifer missed school yesterday for a good reason.  We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday.”
  
Probably my favorite one is “Chris will not be in school today because he has an acre in his side.”  Wow!  You talk about growing pains.  
 
Speaking of growing pains, my mind goes to the early church as recorded for us in the Book of Acts.  In Acts 2:41 it says, “So those who received his word (Peter’s message at Pentecost) were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand people.”  Talk about sudden church growth.  In Acts 4:4 it says, “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of men (in addition to women) came to about five thousand.”  
 
This feels overwhelming to me when I think about pastoral care, feeding the flock, remembering people’s names, coordinating the calendar of events, and the administration needed to manage this growth.  But of course, I am thinking of that from a 21st century American mindset.  And before we get too carried away wishing to be just like the early church, remember Acts 6, where it is obvious that meeting the needs of thousands of people got a little messy.  
 
I mention this because of what is conspicuously absent in this description of the early church in the Book of Acts.  We are not given detailed instructions on how to organize the local church.  Other than some leadership structure of elders and deacons and the priorities of maturing the saints and reaching the lost, there are very few particulars.  
 
This is one reason for various denominations, different styles of worship, many options for programs and varieties of strategies that direct the church towards its mission.  There is much flexibility in the New Testament for how a church organizes and carries out the work of maturing the saints and reaching the lost. 
 
I have been preaching through the essentials of the faith.  These are must-haves.  There is to be no compromising in our beliefs.  Neither are we to compromise the clear directives on how we are to conduct ourselves in the church and in living out the gospel day-to-day.  We are not to, in any way, conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:1-2).  
 
Church, as the world changes around us, causing us to groan, rest assured that my commitment, along with the team of elders, is to submit to the authority of God’s Word and to Jesus Christ, who is the chief shepherd.  I am excited about what is to come for EBC.  I am thrilled about the many new faces attending our services each Sunday.  My heart rejoices in hearing of growing pains taking place in your lives.  
 
I hope to see you tonight for prayer from 7:00-7:30 in the sanctuary and at this Friday night’s Seder Service as we remember Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples.  
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

What If
1 Corinthians 15:12-34

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Looking ahead to Passion Week:
Prayer 30 on Wednesday April 13
Seder Service on Friday April 15
Resurrection Sunday on 4/17

Momentum Youth Ministry Is Back

Momentum started last evening from 7-9pm in the gym with a good group of young people.  All students from 6th – 12th grades are welcome

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA With Sam Huggard

Sam Huggard, District Superintendent of the Evangelical Free Church of America, will be joining us for a special informational night on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Sam will present and unpack the five benefits of joining the EFCA.  Pie will be served.  For a preview of the five benefits, please check out this resource: http://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits.

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.