The Weekly Epistle 8/5/20

I remember my grandpa when he would be working on a project would mutter to himself.  I was curious about that until one day when working in the garage I was doing the same thing.  I was talking under my breath to myself.  Then I realized that this was biblical.  
 
The word “meditate” means to mutter.  When Joshua was told to meditate on the Book of the Law, day and night, he was to call to mind God’s Word and in essence talk to himself about the Word of God.  Meditating on God’s Word is to ask yourself questions about the truth.  The idea is to ponder what you read.  It is to think intensely on the words of Scripture.  Biblical meditation is different than Transcendental Meditation or any other type of meditation that calls you to empty your mind of rational thought.  It is the exact opposite of that dangerous practice.  Biblical meditation engages the heart and mind.  
 
Biblical meditation is a lost art today.  We are too much in a hurry to ponder a passage of Scripture.  We fight silence.  We aren’t good at slowing down.  Biblical meditation takes time.  We get restless thinking on one passage when there is so much more of the Bible to read. 
 
I want to encourage you to practice the discipline of Biblical meditation.  Take a passage of Scripture and read just a few verses then think through what those verses are saying.  Ask yourself questions about the truth, like, “What difference does this truth make in my life?  What do these verses say about living the Christian life?  How does this lead to praise to God or what should be my response to this?”  Talk to yourself about the passage.
 
Perhaps you could meditate on the passage of Scripture we will be looking at this Sunday, Philippians 3:1-11.  It is a long passage so chew on it in smaller chunks, like 1-6, 7-9, 10-11.  The point is, take time to chew over in your mind the Word of God.  You will be better for it.  
 
The Psalmist states that the one who does this is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers” (see Psalm 1).  Tim Keller shares this insight on Psalm 1.  “Trees don’t grow overnight.  Meditation is a sustained process like a tree growing its roots down toward the water source.  The effects are cumulative.  You must stick with it.”  
 
Church stick with it.  Put your roots into Scripture.  It is then you will not be tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching, as Paul puts it in Ephesians 4:14. 
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Of Greatest Importance

Philippians 3:1-11

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

NEW Livestream Time

Beginning this Sunday, we will start livestreaming at 9 am. The link will be published on the website, in the weekly epistle and on the EBC Bulletin Board.

Communion

We will be having communion this Sunday using prefilled communion wafers and juice. These will be available for you to pick on your way into the sanctuary Sunday morning. For those of you worshipping with us at home, please be prepared to join us in communion. 

Bulletins

We have begun printing bulletins again. 
These will be available on the table as you walk into the sanctuary. 

Annual Business Meeting

Save the date for our annual business meeting Wednesday Aug 26th
Financial review will be held Sunday August 16th at 10 am in the Fellowship Hall. Zoom will be offered.

 

The Weekly Epistle 7/22/20

The new normal.  I don’t particularly like that phrase.  I am not even sure what it means.  But it is used a lot as it relates to our present-day reality of the pandemic crisis.  But what does that mean for the church?  I have craved for the day that things go back to normal. 

But should we go back to normal?  Is that healthy?  I can wish all I want for things to go back to normal in my home of the days when my daughter was 10.  But my youngest is 16.  And driving.  And has a boyfriend.  This is not “my first rodeo” and yet embracing the changes that come with parenting a 16-year-old don’t come easy.  But that’s how life is.  Whether it is in a family or in the life of a church we have to progress through one change after another.

The matter at hand is not about settling into a new normal, it is about change and progress.  Is God using this pandemic to awaken us to new and different opportunities?  I found the words from pastor Mark Sayers helpful.  He said, “My encouragement for leaders at this moment who are feeling frightened, scared, or a loss of control is to step into this moment.  This is an incredible moment- God wants to do something- so step into it.” 

The truth is, if we stay stuck on normal, we will miss the opportunities God has placed before us.  Life should not ever settle into normal.  The goal is to progress through the changes in life. 

This is why it is critical we are seeking the Lord for what it is He has for us in these days.  Next Tuesday night, July 28 once again we will meet from 7:00-7:30 in the gym parking to pray as a church family.  I cannot overemphasize the importance of this time of prayer and the expression of unity as a church. 

I know that current events in the world can get you down.  I know that any requirement to wear a mask can be frustrating.  I know that not being able to see loved ones and friends because of this pandemic is hard.  I know that Sunday morning is not the same.  Let’s (and I speak to myself) get our focus off of getting back to “life as we knew it” to seeing the One who will make all things new.  The Lord Jesus wants to be our sustenance.  He is the Good Shepherd who will lead us, feed us, guard us, and bring us safely to our eternal home. 

Cling to these words from Jesus’ lips, “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  Yes!  These are difficult times.  But it isn’t a “new normal” we are looking for or getting back to normal but growing through these times and gaining a greater understanding of what God has for us in this world. 

We may not like it but “it is what it is.”  I don’t particularly like that phrase either!

Blessings to you, church!

Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Ins and Outs of Christian Living

Philippians 2:12-18

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Fellowship of Prayer

Join us Tuesday July 28th at 7pm for our Fellowship of Prayer in the gym parking lot. 
Rain date will be Wednesday.

Annual Business Meeting

Save the date for our annual business meeting Wednesday Aug 26th
Financial review will be held Sunday August 16th at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Zoom will be offered.

On Goal Picnic

In lieu of a picnic this year we are putting together snack boxes for the families on Saturday.

Please contact the office if you’re willing to help. Items can be dropped off at the church office by August 6th. Please call with any questions. 524-2277 or corianne@ebclaconia.com

On Goal Coach Meal Trains

We have two meal trains set up so you can sign up to provide meals for the coaches during the week of On Goal. If you have any questions, please contact the office or Betsy Weller. Details are on each link. Thank you for your faithful support to this wonderful ministry.

Coaches lunch meal train sign up can be found HERE

Coaches dinner meal train sign up can be found HERE

 

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 available as well as scholarships are still available.  

Community Carwash

A free carwash for our community August 1st from 10am-12pm. Held off campus by our Local Outreach team to show the love of Christ. Help is needed, please contact Cheryl Hayes at 524-9774 or the church office at office@ebclaconia.com

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 7/15/20

“How to be miserable.”  I came across an article years ago with that title.  This is what it said in part.  “How to be miserable:  
 
Think about yourself.  Talk about yourself.  Use ‘I’ as often as possible.  Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.  Listen greedily to what people say about you.  Expect to be appreciated.  Be suspicious.  Be jealous and envious.  Be sensitive to slights.  Never forgive a criticism.  Trust nobody but yourself.  Insist on consideration and respect.  Demand agreement with your own views on everything.  Sulk if people aren’t grateful to you for favors shown them.  Never forget a service you have rendered.  Shirk your duties if you can.  Do as little as possible for others.  Love yourself supremely and be selfish.”
 
Isn’t it true that the most miserable people are those who think only of themselves?  Being others-oriented is not natural.  Selfishness is ingrained from our birth.  We often worship at the shrine of “me, myself and I.”  If there is anything we need to continually repent of, it is the pride in our hearts that puts ourselves before others.  Our passage this past week on “Others” from Philippians 2:1-4, continues to greatly challenge me.  Let’s resolve to think as a servant thinks and consider others needs over our own.  We will look at the ideal servant this coming Sunday.
 
Whether you are joining us at church for one of our two services or watching livestream at 10:45, we are united around the common bond and purposes of Jesus Christ.  My heart is refreshed as each week more people are attending the service in person.  But I miss seeing those of you who aren’t able to come out.  Please know that you are on my mind and I pray for you regularly.  As leaders, we have an ongoing discussion about doing what is best for the church family and our testimony.   We regularly evaluate what we are doing and what we can change going forward.  Your prayers and patience are appreciated! 
 
Under state guidelines, we are not allowed to offer childcare of any kind.  I am pursing this issue with the state.  Pray that something changes here and that we do the right thing.  
 
Speaking of prayer, our next prayer time is Tuesday, July 28 from 7:00pm – 7:30pm in the gym parking lot (rain date is Wednesday).  It has been encouraging as it is necessary to join our hearts together in prayer.  Local pastors who have been meeting for over 2 years now, continue to pray each Tuesday at noon for revival, repentance, awakening of our churches, and the specific issues of our region.  
 
Here is a challenge.  Set a reminder to pause and pray each Tuesday at noon, even if it is for a few minutes, starting next Tuesday, July 21. Commit to doing this for two months, ending on September 22.  Why now?  We need to rise up to pray for an awakening of our churches.  We need to stand in the gap and pray for revival of our nation.  Awakening and revival can only come through genuine repentance and returning to God.  Pray that takes place in your heart, your church family, and throughout this region. 
 
Be encouraged, church, God is working in our midst.  Just this past Sunday, in several brief conversations, my heart was blessed by God’s work in their lives.  In all the troubling news, keep your ears open to what God is doing in people.  Spread good news that is equal to all the bad we hear about continually.  
 
May His praise be on our lips in all things! 
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Ideal Servant

Philippians 2:5-11

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Community Carwash

A free carwash for our community August 1st from 10am-12pm. Held off campus by our Local Outreach team to show the love of Christ. Help is needed, please contact Cheryl Hayes at 524-9774 or the church office at office@ebclaconia.com

Fellowship of Prayer

Join us Tuesday July 28th at 7pm for our Fellowship of Prayer in the gym parking lot. 
Rain date will be Wednesday.

Annual Business Meeting

Save the date for our annual business meeting Wednesday Aug 26th
Financial review will be held Sunday August 16th at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Zoom will be offered.

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 7/8/20

“Life is not fair.”  As a parent, I have said that more times than my kids wanted to hear.  It was often said in response to their complaint, “Dad, that’s not fair.”  Then my response like Pavlov’s dogs, “Well, life isn’t always fair,” (said in a deep voice for more effect).  
 
Let’s face it, wanting life to be fair isn’t just kid’s stuff.  Our hearts long for fairness and equity.  When an evil goes unpunished or we witness an injustice done, it can be infuriating.  I think we can relate to Asaph.  Who is Asaph?  He is credited with writing Psalm 73.  I think you will hear a sermon from me on this Psalm sometime in the future. 
 
As typical of the Psalms, it puts into words our thoughts and feelings. In Psalm 73, Asaph admits that his feet almost slipped because he watched evildoers prosper while the godly struggle.  In our sense of justice, that is how we want life to work.  Doing good gets rewarded and doing wrong gets punished.  But is that how it always works in the world?  Inequity can trip us up.    
 
What is it that keeps Asaph from totally slipping?  His gets his mind off of people and onto God.  Read Psalm 73 and slow down as you get to verse 17.  It is at verse 17 that there is a shift in perspective.  Asaph says, “Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (Psalm 73:17).
 
As it seems that injustice is winning, and sense our feet are starting to slip, it is time for a new perspective.  When we are disillusioned and infuriated with what is going on in the world, enter the sanctuary of God.  In other words, meet with God.  It is God who keeps us from slipping.  It is locking eyes with the Sovereign Lord that places our feet on solid ground.  It is meeting with God that shows us how puny our thoughts are in comparison to the bigness of God.  It is meeting with God that reminds us that we don’t have the whole picture.  
 
Can we trust that God will ultimately work all things out as He sees fit?  Can we trust that the God who is just will carry out His justice in His time?        
 
It is that new and healthy perspective that we can then say as Asaph puts it, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26).  Is He our portion?  Is He enough?  
 
Church, keep your eyes on the Sovereign Lord, not on people, for that is a slippery slope.  Our God can be trusted.  His track record proves His faithfulness.  His heart is always good.  
 
Hope to see you, Sunday.  But if not, I understand.  But do join us at 10:45 on livestream to stay connected as one family.  I thank God for you as I consider myself blessed to be your pastor.
 
With Joy, Pastor Brian 

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Others

Philippians 2:1-4

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Come Unity

For more information on Come Unity, visit their website https://www.comeunitynow.org. If you would like to send donations to support this critical need, checks may be mailed to:
COME UNITY
1722 N Western Ave Unit 401
Chicago, IL  60647

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 6/24/20

How long before dinner?  How long before we can stop our long drive?  How long before life gets back to “normal”?  How long…how long?
 
Have you read through the book of Habakkuk lately?  It reads like today’s headlines.  Habakkuk was living during Judah’s final days and he sees society once again engaging in all sorts of social injustice, violence, and moral depravity.  It is a time when the world is a mess. Things appear to be hopelessly out of control.  And even more disturbing is that it doesn’t seem like God is doing anything about it. 
 
The prophet Habakkuk looks around at the situation and has something to say about the state of things. He feels free to share his complaints and his frustrations to God.  Habakkuk is considered one of the minor prophets.  Not minor in the sense of importance, but because of its brevity, for what this minor prophet had to say is of profound significance.  What is unique about Habakkuk’s prophecy is that rather than speaking for God to the people, Habakkuk is speaking to God about the people.  
 
Habakkuk has some complaints.  Habakkuk complains to God, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?  Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ But you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?  Why do you tolerate wrong?  Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.  The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (1:2-3).
 
The language of “How long” and “call for help” is typical of a lament.  Habakkuk uses six different words to describe the condition of the crisis that is in need of help and deliverance.Violence, injustice, wrong (or trouble), destruction, strife, and conflict.   And no one was doing anything about it.  Not even God.  
 
So, Habakkuk cries out, “how long must I call for help?”  Know the feeling?  Is that the cry of your heart?   It is that reaction after seeing some violent story on the news.  You just want to scream.  When the fabric of society is coming apart, when you hear about the person waiting for an elevator around others who weren’t practicing social distancing…know what she did?  She sprayed them with mace.  I hear that and I just want to scream, “what’s wrong with you people?”  Habakkuk is watching all this excessive violence around him and he screams- “Violence!”  He cries out to God asking how long can this kind of violence go on without His intervention?
 
Habakkuk is so exasperated He accuses God of not listening.  The idea here is it is lacking response from God.  Listening is not just hearing it but doing something about it- some kind of active response.  Like when God heard Hannah’s prayer for a son, then it says, “she conceived.”  
 
Habakkuk is accusing God of not doing something about the situation.  This is an honest prayer.  We could summarize Habakkuk’s complaint as “God, do something!”  He waits for God’s intervention.  
 
Church, we need to take our complaints to the Lord.  This is a time that calls us to pray for the nation, the church, the people in authority, our church leaders, and for God to do something remarkable in His people and in the advancement of the gospel.
 
You will notice specific times of corporate prayer throughout the summer.  I urge you to make an effort to join with the EBC family for 30 minutes to pray as these dates become available.  We had a time of prayer last night and our next time will be on Tuesday night, July 7 from 7:00-7:30.
 
“May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon and be gracious to you.  May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”  
 
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

A Win-Win

Philippians 1:19-26

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Church Services

We are back up to worshipping together in person Sunday mornings at 9am and 10:45am. We will continue to have a live stream of our worship service at 10:45am. Please go to our YouTube channel HERE and you will find the live stream.

Welcome Team Help

As we 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