The Weekly Epistle 12/1/21

Charlie Brown brings out Snoopy’s dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But it was just his usual dog food in a bowl. Snoopy took one look at the dog food and said, “This isn’t fair. The rest of the world is eating turkey with all the trimmings, and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog, all I get is dog food.” He stood there and stared at his dog food for a moment, and said, “I guess it could be worse. I could be a turkey.”
 
Being thankful has a lot to do with perspective, does it not?  I can bemoan what I don’t have or be glad for what I do have.  Even when trials come and life is hard, didn’t James say, “Consider it pure joy”?  Now that’s tough to do!   
 
Thanksgiving Day is upon us.  Should giving thanks be limited to a day?  Long before President Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday in November be a day of national Thanksgiving, God called all people to give thanks to their Creator.  Check out how often the word “thanks” and “thanksgiving” and “thankful” and the phrase “giving thanks” occur in the Bible.  Someone has noted that there are at least 140 references in the Bible to giving thanks.  
 
So instead of it being Thanksgiving, shouldn’t it be, “thanksliving”?  Shouldn’t our lives be characterized by thanks?  Let’s try thanksliving.  
 
What are some ways we can practice thanksliving?

  • Saying “thank you” for a service done (the waitress, the cashier, person who holds the door for you, at the end of a family dinner, etc).
  • Throughout the day ponder God’s goodness to you so that your heart is awakened to God’s good gifts.
  • Become more aware with your own attitude of entitlement- thoughts like, “I deserve…” or “I should…” or “You owe me…”
  • Write a note of thanks to someone (yes, with pen and paper).  A text or email expressing thanks can mean a lot too!  
  • Look to serve others in a practical way.
  • In those times you are forced to wait, let your mind count your blessings.

What ideas do you have?  How can you cultivate a thankful heart?  What do you need to commit to doing in expressing your thanks, not just on Thursday, but all year through?  
 
Tim Keller put it this way, “It’s one thing to be grateful.  It’s another thing to give thanks.  Gratitude is what you feel.  Thanksgiving is what you do.”
 
Happy Thanksliving!  
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

While We Wait
James 5:1-12

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Marsden Memorial Service

The Memorial Service for Jack and Ann Marsden will be this Saturday, the 4th at 11 am at EBC. There will be a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall following the service.

Crockpot 

There is a black crockpot that still remains from the Trunk or Treat.  Would the individual who this belongs to, please get in touch with the office to pick it up.

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

Christmas Extravaganza

Christmas Extravaganza,  “dinner and a movie”, will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Sign up at the coffee counter.

Help Needed

We will need help on December 5th after the second service setting up for the Christmas Extravaganza.  Please plan to stay and lend a hand if you can.

Christmas Eve Service

Candlelight service 6:00 – 7:00 pm December 24th.

December 26th

On December 26th there will be ONLY one service at 10:45 am.  January 2nd we will resume with the two services.

The Weekly Epistle 11/24/21

Charlie Brown brings out Snoopy’s dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But it was just his usual dog food in a bowl. Snoopy took one look at the dog food and said, “This isn’t fair. The rest of the world is eating turkey with all the trimmings, and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog, all I get is dog food.” He stood there and stared at his dog food for a moment, and said, “I guess it could be worse. I could be a turkey.”
 
Being thankful has a lot to do with perspective, does it not?  I can bemoan what I don’t have or be glad for what I do have.  Even when trials come and life is hard, didn’t James say, “Consider it pure joy”?  Now that’s tough to do!   
 
Thanksgiving Day is upon us.  Should giving thanks be limited to a day?  Long before President Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday in November be a day of national Thanksgiving, God called all people to give thanks to their Creator.  Check out how often the word “thanks” and “thanksgiving” and “thankful” and the phrase “giving thanks” occur in the Bible.  Someone has noted that there are at least 140 references in the Bible to giving thanks.  
 
So instead of it being Thanksgiving, shouldn’t it be, “thanksliving”?  Shouldn’t our lives be characterized by thanks?  Let’s try thanksliving.  
 
What are some ways we can practice thanksliving?

  • Saying “thank you” for a service done (the waitress, the cashier, person who holds the door for you, at the end of a family dinner, etc).
  • Throughout the day ponder God’s goodness to you so that your heart is awakened to God’s good gifts.
  • Become more aware with your own attitude of entitlement- thoughts like, “I deserve…” or “I should…” or “You owe me…”
  • Write a note of thanks to someone (yes, with pen and paper).  A text or email expressing thanks can mean a lot too!  
  • Look to serve others in a practical way.
  • In those times you are forced to wait, let your mind count your blessings.

What ideas do you have?  How can you cultivate a thankful heart?  What do you need to commit to doing in expressing your thanks, not just on Thursday, but all year through?  
 
Tim Keller put it this way, “It’s one thing to be grateful.  It’s another thing to give thanks.  Gratitude is what you feel.  Thanksgiving is what you do.”
 
Happy Thanksliving!  
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Not Quite What I Was Planning
James 4:11-17

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Christmas Extravaganza

Christmas Extravaganza,  “dinner and a movie”, will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Sign up at the coffee counter.

Help Needed

We will need help on December 5th after the second service setting up for the Christmas Extravaganza.  Please plan to stay and lend a hand if you can.

December 26th

On December 26th there will be ONLY one service at 10:45 am.  January 2nd we will resume with the two services.

The Weekly Epistle 11/17/21

Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers each Sunday morning.  He always found something for which to be thankful.  One Sunday morning the weather was quite gloomy and rainy so one church member said to another just before service began, “Certainly the preacher won’t think of anything for which to thank the Lord on such a wretched day like this.”  Much to his surprise, however, Pastor Whyte began by praying, “We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this.”  
 
Is your life characterized by thankfulness?  I am not talking about faking it or living in denial or even being thankful for the trial itself, or about tacking on “praise the Lord” at the end of each sentence.  But I am speaking to the reality of who we are in Christ, what we have been given by the hand of God, and what is ours because of our relationship with Him.  
 
Writer and speaker Jerry Bridges put it this way, “Thanksgiving is a normal result of a vital union with Christ, and a direct measure of the extent to which we are experiencing the reality of that union in our daily lives.”
 
It begs the question, “To what extent are you experiencing the reality of your vital union in Christ?”  Can we remain in Him and complain at the same time?  This isn’t about dismissing or even minimizing the challenges confronting you right now, but can you still find cause to praise Him?  
 
As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it, “people who praise most are those who enjoy life most.”  Are you enjoying life?  “But, pastor, if you only knew what I was going through you wouldn’t ask me that?  If you walked in my shoes, then you would see there isn’t much to enjoy right about now.”  
 
Trust me, I get that.  At the same time, my hope is to challenge you, and I speak to myself as well, to shift the focus to a God who is always good.  My mind goes to Eve in the garden who was surrounded by the good gifts from God’s hand, yet she fixated on the one tree that was off limits.  We must fight our tendency to fixate on what might be restricting us from enjoying God’s gifts and the Giver of those gifts.  
 
How often do you hear, “I do have a wonderful marriage, but…”?  The one tree.  “I am blessed with a good job, but…”  The one tree.  “God has given me this ability and talent, but…”  The one tree.  This is a wonderful church, but…the one tree.  What are you fixated on that draws your heart away from thankfulness and contentment?
 
I thank God for you!  I thank God for the awesome privilege of being a part of the EBC family, for your receiving of God’s Word each Sunday, for the ways you have loved on me and shown great concern for my wife especially in this time of her grieving the loss of her dad who is finally home!  Thanks for the crew that showed up to help clean out the convent.  Thanks for your faithful giving to this church.  Thanks for those who consistently pray for one another.  
 
I do hope you can make it to our prayer 30 tomorrow night from 7:00-7:30 PM inside the gym.  We will begin our time together in prayer tomorrow night giving thanks to God!  Hope to see you then, but if not, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
 
With thanks, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

He Who Sits On A Fence
James 4:7-12

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Operation Christmas Child

This Sunday and Monday are the last days to get your Operation Christmas Child boxes back.  If you have questions, Jay and Bette Moreau will be available to answer them.

Next Prayer 30

Prayer 30 will meet inside the gym tomorrow night from 7:00 to 7:30pm.  Plan to join us to give thanks and pray for EBC and the communities of the Lakes Region.

Save The Date

Christmas Extravaganza,  “Dinner and a Movie”, will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Watch for more details to come in the future.

The Weekly Epistle 11/10/21

“We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”  What grabs me about those words by G. Campbell Morgan is that we cannot schedule revival.  
 
I remember years ago, at a Promise Keepers conference for pastors when it felt like the speakers were trying to manufacture a revival.  The sense, for me anyway, was that if these powerful speakers could build excitement for revival, that a revival would then take place.  As a fairly young pastor at the time, it got me thinking about revival throughout history and on the pages of Scripture.  
 
What is revival?  In Psalm 85, verse 6 it says, “Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you.”  Other synonyms for that word “revive” might be refresh or restore or reinvigorate or new life.  
 
Who needs revival?  “That your people may rejoice in you.”  God’s people need revival.  It is the church that needs life, renewal, refreshment, and I might add an awakening!  
 
What is the result of revival?  “That your people may rejoice in you.”  There ought to be an overflowing joy in the Lord.  We often think that a revival comes as people are broken over sin that leads to remorse, godly sorry and repentance.  And it is that for sure!  But revival becomes obvious where there is an overflowing joy in the Lord.  It is the joy of releasing our sin to God and walking in the freedom of forgiveness!  
 
So, church, let’s pray that God would revive His people at EBC.  Let’s pray for awakening, renewal, and new life among us here.  If you read of revivals throughout our history, you will always see a direct connection to people gathering for prayer, often called concerts of prayer.  Join with me in prayer on Thursday, November 18 from 7:00-7:30 in the gym.  
 
Do you really want to see a revival begin?  That was the question evangelist Gypsy Smith loved to ask his audiences- “Do you really want to see a revival begin?”  Everyone would nod in affirmation.  Then Gypsy Smith would say, “Then go back to your home and draw a circle three feet around in your bedroom.  Then get down on your knees in the middle of that circle and ask God to change everybody inside that circle.  When you do that, you are experiencing the start of revival.”
 
Praying for revival is fine.  But remember it begins as each of us draws a circle on our bedroom floors and prays, “God, change me!  Lord, let it begin in me.”
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Fussing and Fighting
James 4:1-6

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Operation Christmas Child

You can pick up your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to fill at the back of the church this Sunday.  Collection week starts November 15 and ends November 22nd.   If you have questions, Jay and Bette Moreau will be available to answer them.

Next Prayer 30

Prayer 30 will meet inside the gym on Thursday, November 18th from 7:00 to 7:30pm.  Plan to join us to prayer for EBC and the communities of the Lakes Region.

Save The Date

Christmas Extravaganza will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Watch for more details to come in the future.

The Weekly Epistle 11/3/21

A lot of our problems are not only because we do the wrong the things, but because we believe the wrong things.  Some Christian counselors were sitting talking with each other when the question was asked, “If you could give your counselees anything, what would you give them?”  They batted around several ideas and then agreed that the one thing they would give the people they are trying to help would be a correct view of God.
 
Does that sound overly simplistic?  Is there a connection between seemingly practical problems and our view of God?  Consider God as Creator.  It is the first truth about God mentioned to us in Scripture.  The Bible opens and ends with God creating.  As you read through God’s Word on your own, note how often it speaks of the Creator God.  A strong theme throughout the Old and New Testament is that God is both Creator and Redeemer.  
 
To believe that God is our Creator suggests we live as dependent beings on Him.  To believe God is our Creator means we trust Him rather than ourselves on how to live as the creatures He designed us to be.  It means that we believe what He says in His Word about life, the world, His Sovereign purposes, His control of all things, His provisions, and of our own limitations as His creatures.  
 
My view of God matters!  I am His creature and creatures by definition are less than their Creator.  Yet at times we live as though we are in control, infinite, and can manage life on our own.
 
This past Sunday we sang, “Nothing without you.”  We said the word, “Nothing” in that, I have or am nothing, twelve times.  Was that an overkill?  Don’t I want to tell myself and portray to others that “I am something”?  This is where a correct view of God is critical.  God made me in His image so I am something, but not without His knitting me together in my mom’s womb.  To 
believe this, frees me to be the person God wants me to be and to live according to the Maker’s instructions.  
 
In the same way, I can accomplish many things in my lifetime.  But if God isn’t in it, it isn’t worth it!  Without Him, all that I do and achieve and become amount to nothing in the end.  Jesus said in John 15, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”  Yet how much of what I do is independent of Him?  
 
What we believe matters.  Coming in 2022 will be a greater focus on what we believe as a church.  A sermon series, “True North” (beliefs that define who we are), will begin in January.  It is the desire of the leadership team of elders to align ourselves as a church with the Evangelical Free Association, so it is a great opportunity to work through what we believe.  
 
In this world it is challenging, to say the least, to know what to believe.  It has turned truth on its head.  It has left the Creator’s design.  Church, we need to know what we believe.  It defines who we are and where we are headed.  Our beliefs determine our behaviors.  
 
I look forward to seeing you Sunday, if not sooner at the cornhole tournament this Saturday at 5:00.  Oh!  Don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour or you will be very early to the service!
 
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Wise and the Otherwise
James 3:13-4:3

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Adult Corn Hole Tournament

Stay tuned for upcoming corn hole tournament on November 6th at 5pm in the gym with refreshments.  Look for more information in this Sunday’s bulletin.

Operation Christmas Child

You can pick up your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to fill at the back of the church this Sunday.  Collection week starts November 15 and ends November 22nd.   If you have questions, Jay and Bette Moreau will be available to answer them.

OWLS Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, November 11th in the Fellowship Hall at 2 pm.  We will be packing Operation Christmas Child boxes and our goal is to pack a minimum of 30 boxes from the OWLS.  We will have the materials to fill them and you folks can help do it. Snacks will be enjoyed after we get done.
If you have any questions, contact Jay and Bette or Norma

Convent Cleanout Day

A service opportunity for the whole family on Saturday, November 13th.  Join us to help in cleaning out what remains in the Convent.  We will meet at 7:45am for prayer and then proceed.  Let’s make this a day to honor the Lord with our presence. 

Next Prayer 30

Prayer 30 will meet inside the gym on Thursday, November 18th from 7:00 to 7:30pm.  Plan to join us to prayer for EBC and the communities of the Lakes Region.

Save The Date

Christmas Extravaganza will be Friday, December 10th this year.  Watch for more details to come in the future.