The Weekly Epistle 7/6/22

“Prayer changes things.”
“A prayer a day keeps the devil away”
“A family that prays together stays together”

We have all heard these sayings and many more like it about prayer. The question is, “Why do we pray?”   

Prayer has been given to us as a means of grace. It is one of the tangible gifts God has given us to strengthen us in our faith.  It is astounding to me that God would speak to us through His word.  It is equally astounding that God invites us in prayer to draw upon the inexhaustible grace of God in Christ for all of life.  There is absolutely nothing so great as prayer.
 
Prayer in its most basic form is simply fellowship with the personal God.  Prayer becomes the continuation of a conversation God has started with us.  One of the best conversations we can have is meeting with God in prayer.  He talks with us through His Word.  We talk to Him in prayer.  The beautiful thing is God wants us to talk to Him.  
 
Why pray?  Can circumstances change when we pray?  No doubt, God promises to act in accordance with our prayers.  He may choose to act in a situation in a different way than he would have otherwise because His people prayed.  This is a mystery to me as to how all this works.  Somehow, by God’s grace, prayer harnesses the power of the Almighty God so that our petitions affect the circumstances around us.  
 
Whether or not our circumstances change when we pray, one thing is for sure.  Prayer changes me.  Prayer changes you.  When we see God work through our prayers, our faith is strengthened.  Also, prayer grows us in our dependence on Him.  This is why it is correct to view prayer as a means of grace.
 
The essence of prayer is to bring myself under the authority of God, so that God can change me.  When my attitude toward God, others, the world around me, and myself changes through prayer, that is the result of God’s grace at work in my life.  Prayer is not about trying to get God to come around to our way of thinking but for our way of thinking to come around to His.  
 
What determines then whether we had a “successful” time of prayer?  That I feel happy?  That I leave with a burst of energy?  That our circumstances change?  Those are not clear indicators.  It is when we recognize more fully the Sovereignty of God, the power of His Word, and that we commit ourselves to follow through on what we have prayed about as God directs.  If it deepens our trust in Him, then it is good that we prayed!   That is why we pray!  
 
A.J. Gordon put it this way, “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.”  
 
A fellow struggler in prayer, 
Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

From Pit To Promotion
Genesis 38:18-36; 39:1-6

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Reminder Deacon’s Fund

EBC has a “deacon’s fund” which is administered by the Elder’s.  This fund serves our church members as well as the community with financial needs.  You can donate to it by marking your envelope deacon’s fund or give online choosing this fund as your option. 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 email office@ebclaconia.com.

Greeters Needed

The hospitality team is in need of additional greeters for Sunday morning services. Please contact Pastor Dan at dan@ebclaconia.com if you’re interested in being part of the hospitality team

Love INC Newsletter

The most recent edition of the newsletter will be on the ministry counter for you to pick up.  This is a ministry we support so pick one up and see what they are doing.

Looking Ahead

Baptism informational meeting is on Sunday, July 31 @ 10:15 in the fellowship hall.  If you would like to be baptized at our picnic, then please attend this meeting.  
 
Church picnic and Baptism is August 27 from 11:00-4:00 at Ellacoya State Park.  
 
Budget review meeting is on August 7 between services, downstairs in fellowship hall.  
 
Mark your calendars for our next business meeting on Tuesday, August 30.  

The Weekly Epistle 6/29/22

The overturning of Roe V. Wade is not a victory for any certain political party or merely conservatives.  It is a victory for the unborn.  It is a victory for life!  While it is true that the ending of life through abortion will continue, it is a very positive step in reflecting the heart of God for those who bear His image.  
 
I came across this very thought-provoking question, “If it’s wrong to hurt people because of skin color or gender, why is it okay to hurt them because they are smaller, less developed, or in a different location?” Excellent question! The article also asked, “Do you believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life, or do only some have it based on something none of us share equally?” These are logical questions. But then again, common sense isn’t very common. (See article, “All we did was survive” by Scott Klusendorf).

Over the time I have been here, on several occasions, I have addressed the sanctity of human life. Let me repeat myself. Human life is a gift from God to be cherished from the time of conception until natural death. God is directly involved with human life at every age and affirms its value under all conditions. As followers of Christ, it is imperative for us to maintain this same high regard for life. We are to call society to embrace the value of human life and to affirm the dignity and worth of all. 

This  high value on human life extends beyond the rights of the unborn child, to the dignity of the elderly, and the care of the handicapped and where it does not, then it is our responsibility to foster a higher morality. We are to defend the defenseless and that includes the modern-day slavery of sex trafficking and to challenge the biases of our culture and the devaluing of life in all its forms.
In other words, all life is sacred for every single human being bears the image of God. So, we must be pro-life from the womb to the tomb. As followers of Christ, we don’t have to choose between speaking into moral behaviors and promoting the gospel. We can speak truthfully within the context of the redemptive power of the gospel. 

As we engage our culture, particularly those who disagree with this ruling, do so with kindness and love.  Peter reminds us in speaking of the reason for our hope that we must, “do so with gentleness and respect.”  Also, be sensitive to those who have experienced the taking of life through abortion.  Pray for God’s healing touch on their lives as the gospel is able to redeem their story for His glory!  Freedom from condemnation is possible for them for grace is greater than all sin.  

We should give thanks for the overturning of Roe v Wade as it affirms God’s truth that life in the womb is sacred.  Let’s pray for those states that are now working through the implications of this ruling.  Let’s pray for wisdom and discernment as we serve as His representatives in this broken world.  
The Evangelical Free Church or America issued a statement following this ruling.  I would encourage you to read their position.  Here is the link: https://www.efca.org/supreme-court-ruling-on-abortion  
Blessings, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Favored and Hated
Genesis 37:1-17

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Deacons Fund

EBC has a “deacon’s fund” which is administered by the Elder’s.  This fund serves our church members as well as the community with financial needs.  You can donate to it by marking your envelope deacon’s fund or give online choosing this fund as your option. 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 email office@ebclaconia.com.
 

Greeters Needed

The hospitality team is in need of additional greeters for Sunday morning services. Please contact Pastor Dan at dan@ebclaconia.com if you’re interested in being part of the hospitality team

Love INC Newsletter

The most recent edition of the newsletter will be on the ministry counter for you to pick up.  This is a ministry we support so pick one up and see what they are doing.

The Weekly Epistle 6/15/22

Several years ago, EBC held an open forum to brainstorm ideas for community outreach programs. Many ideas were proposed, but one stood above them all. Of the approximately 50 people who attended, the vast majority overwhelmingly agreed that the church should start an AWANA program. Within weeks the idea was greenlit by the eldership. 
 
It’s been nearly seven years since that meeting took place. Not one child from our community has known the joy of running around an AWANA circle. Not one child from our community has memorized even a single Bible verse. Not one child from our community has heard the life-giving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
 
                    Of course, this begs the question, why? 
 
                    Why did such a great idea fail to gain traction?
 
                    The answer is simple. 
 
Good ideas only lead to good outcomes when people with good ideas invest themselves in the outcome. In other words, it’s one thing to have a good idea; implementing a good idea and seeing it through to completion is another thing. Unless you’re willing to invest your time and energy into your idea, you should have no reasonable expectation that your idea will come to fruition. Jesus isn’t going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” because you had a good idea. He’s going to say “Well done” because you faithfully invested yourself in the mission of his Kingdom. AWANA failed to gain traction because no one invested themselves in the idea. 
 
                      Now, please, listen to what I am saying and not what I am not saying. 
 
I am not suggesting that we should have started an AWANA program back then, and I am not trying to guilt anyone into starting one now. I am not writing this epistle to shame anyone who attended that meeting. I am simply pointing out that if God puts an idea in your heart, you need to invest yourself in that idea. 
 
                       You need to invest yourself for the sake of Christ. 
 
                        You need to invest yourself for the sake of his Kingdom.
 
Now, maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “I am not an idea person.” That’s okay. You don’t need to be an idea person to invest yourself in the Kingdom. You just need to be a committed person who seeks to faithfully and consistently invest yourself in the work God has for you. 
 
If you are an idea person, you must take serious stock of yourself before proposing your idea to the church. Ask yourself, “Do I have the time, energy, and personal fortitude to give this idea my all?”
 
Regardless of whether you’re an idea person or not, I encourage you to join us this Sunday for Pastor Brian’s sermon, “It Takes A Church”.  Pastor Brian will encourage every person in the body to assume their individual responsibility in order for the full body of Christ to function properly here at EBC.
 
See you Sunday,     Pastor Dan

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

It Takes a Church
1 Cor. 12:14-27

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Aspire Baby Bottles

The baby bottles for Aspire are due to be returned this Sunday, Father’s Day.  Plan to bring yours with you.

OWLS (Older, Wiser, Loving Seniors)

Have you heard of Love INC (In the Name of Christ)? Do you know what they do?  Do you remember our project in December of preparing wrapping paper, bows, tape, etc. for their Christmas Blessing Project?  Stephany Cameron will explain to us how these were used to bless people in our community.  Join us in the Fellowship Hall on Friday, June 24th at 12:30 for lunch, fellowship and to learn about Love INC.

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA

For a preview of the five benefits to EBC  of joining, please check out this resource: https://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits/.

On Goal soccer Camp is Coming Soon!

As the host church for On Goal, we are looking for volunteers to support camp needs in various ways.  Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia.    Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/camp-page-laconia. Financial assistance is available, please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.   Questions? Email Karen Bassett at ongoal@ebclaconia.com.

Mark Your Calendars

Next Prayer 30 June 22 at the gym parking lot at 7pm.
Annual Church Picnic at Ellacoya Saturday, August 27th.  More info as it gets closer.

Coming In July…

Summer sermon series “Master Design” on the life of Joseph.

The Weekly Epistle 6/8/22

Becoming a Christian is always personal, but it is never private.  In the Northeast, we pride ourselves on being independent.  That isn’t all bad, but it doesn’t reflect the attitude of the New Testament.  Believing without belonging might be American but it does not resemble what we see in the New Testament church.  
 
The finished work of Christ on the cross and resurrection must be applied personally.  The beauty of the gospel is that it also unites us to all others who are united with Christ.  Salvation was never meant to be “just me and Jesus.”  If we believe, we are to belong.  
 
Don’t underestimate the encouragement that is spread through those interactions.  As Hebrews 3:13 reminds us, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  Wow!  Words of encouragement have the power to keep each other from being overcome by sin.  Hebrews 10:24 in the context of gathering together says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  
 
Do you see the benefit to gathering together?  It not only has an internal edifying component to it, but there is also an evangelistic purpose.  The loving unity of the church gives the gospel message its credibility.  We are to be the visible expression of our Savior’s love.  It has been said, “We inherit our brothers and sisters in Christ, we don’t choose them.”  As challenging as it can be to get along with each other, the church is God’s way of proclaiming the gospel to the world.  
 
The richness of fellowship to be realized within our church family is a work in progress.  My heart is blessed to see so many of you hanging around in between and following our worship service.  I look forward to the day when a foyer expansion allows more of those connections to take place.  
 
A building project need that the elders have identified as a top priority is renovating the entrance to the sanctuary to better accommodate fellowship and engaging newcomers into the life of the church.  The plan is to also provide a restroom on the main level of the worship center.  You will hear more on this in the future.  But monies now collected for the building fund will go first to  completion of the demolition project of  the “convent building” and then to the foyer expansion. 
 
I praise God for you!  I look forward to Sundays and anytime we are together as a church family.  Please tap into it.  Don’t miss out on discovering the riches of living out God’s purpose in true fellowship in the life of the local church.  Mark your calendars now for the church picnic on Saturday, August 27 at Ellacoya State Park.  More details to come.  
 
Also, prayer 30 is on Wednesday, June 22 from 7:00-7:30.  Joining together to pray for our community and our church is a means of fellowship.  As we pray together it strengthens our relationships. It unites our hearts around what we have in common as brothers and sisters in Christ.  
 
Hope to see you Sunday, if not sooner!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

When a Right May be Wrong
1 Corinthians 10:23-33

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Community Groups

The majority of community groups disband the end of June for the summer.  Dave Provan’s community group will continue meeting on Tuesdays at 2pm in the fellowship hall.  Anyone is welcome to come that would like to.

Aspire Baby Bottles

The baby bottles for Aspire are due to be returned on June 19th, Father’s Day.  Plan to bring yours with you on that day.

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA

For a preview of the five benefits to EBC  of joining, please check out this resource: https://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits/.

On Goal soccer Camp is Coming Soon!

As the host church for On Goal, we are looking for volunteers to support camp needs in various ways.  Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia.    Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/camp-page-laconia. Financial assistance is available, please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.   Questions? Email Karen Bassett at ongoal@ebclaconia.com.

Mark Your Calendars

Next Prayer 30 June 22 at the gym parking lot at 7pm.
Annual Church Picnic at Ellacoya Saturday, August 27th.  More info as it gets closer.

The Weekly Epistle 6/1/22

“I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.”  Those words by Martin Luther King Jr. are process words.  Most things in life are not static.  The Christian life was never meant to be static.  We can never claim perfection on this side of heaven, but neither should we remain the same in our journey with Christ.  The New Testament assumes growth.  To not grow would be abnormal.
 
I can remember my first steps as a true follower of Jesus.  The growth was exponential.  Several fleshly habits were broken.  My associations changed drastically.  I couldn’t get enough of God’s Word, church, ministry, and fellowship with God’s people.  I certainly was not the man I once was!  Praise God!  I know you too can attest to this as well in your life.  
 
Many times, since then I have longed for the early days of my spiritual journey.  You likely can relate.  But is that the normal Christian life?  Do we grow in leaps and bounds?  I think there is real danger in that expectation.  I think some have fallen away because of the slowness of growth.  Where did we ever get this idea that the path of sanctification would be faster?  
 
A book that had tremendous impact on me years ago was Eugene Peterson’s classic book, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.”  In that book, Peterson challenges a society obsessed with the immediate and quick fixes.  Anytime I see an article or a book or a sermon with the title that begins with “Ten keys to..” or “Five easy steps for…” I cringe.  
 
I considered writing a book on discipleship called, “Ten million steps to holiness.”  I doubt that would be a best seller.  Who wants a plan that would take ten million steps to achieve it?  
 
We need a little spiritual realism.  Peterson is correct.  It is a long obedience in the same direction.  Our expectations need to shift from the immediate to the gradual.  However, this is not an excuse for complacency or procrastination.  There should be changes in our lives.  We should not be the same as we were 5 years ago, or a year ago.  Growth suggests movement.  We should not be OK with stagnancy that lingers.  
 
Spiritual realists understand the long view of sanctification.  Mature Christlikeness does not happen in five steps, but over a whole lifetime.  It is as Paul says, “We are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is no accident that our spiritual growth is compared to farmers planting crops (Galatians 6:7), children growing up (Ephesians 4:14-15), and runners in a race (1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1).  All of these images suggest having the long view when it comes to our sanctification.  Growth happens as God’s Word and His Spirit slowly renews us day by day.
 
Horatius Bonar puts it this way, “The Christian life is a great thing, one of the greatest things on earth.  It is made up of daily littles.”  I like that!  Daily littles.  The act of obedience standing in front of you right now may not seem to be that big of a deal.  But remember it is a long obedience in the same direction.  Holiness is one step of ten million.  Don’t lose heart, church.  
 
Seeking to be faithful in the daily littles,
 Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

All Things to All People
1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

The Five Benefits of Joining the EFCA 

For a preview of the five benefits to EBC  of joining, please check out this resource: https://laconiachurch.com/together-post/five-benefits/

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!

As the host church for On Goal, we are looking for volunteers to support camp needs in various ways.  Camp Dates: June 28th – July 2nd at Leavitt Park, Laconia.    Register at: https://www.ongoal.org/camp-page-laconia. Financial assistance is available, please email ongoal@ebclaconia.com for an application.   Questions? Email Karen Bassett at ongoal@ebclaconia.com.

Mark Your Calendars

Next Prayer 30 June 22 at the gym parking lot at 7pm.
Annual Church Picnic at Ellacoya Saturday, August 27th.  More info as it gets closer.