The Weekly Epistle 12/16/20

You know the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  If you know me at all, you know that I am a planner.  For example, I like to plan out my sermon series in advance.  I was looking forward to this year’s Christmas series, “What’s the Big Deal with Christmas: God is with us, God is for us, and God is in us.”  The first sermon in the series was set for this past Sunday.  Then I got sick!  
 
Mark, who is also a planner, jumped in willingly to preach on very short notice.  It was a wonderful message.  As far as my preaching the first sermon in the series, the plan was to deliver that this coming Sunday.  Then my test came back positive and I am out of commission until Monday.  So much for my plans.  Stay tune on what the implications are for this Sunday’s services.  My staying away this past Sunday protected the church from exposure to my symptoms.  
 
We are still planning on a Christmas Eve service by remote for Thursday, December 24 at 6:00 pm.  A link will be provided in next week’s epistle and on Facebook.  
 
Also, as of 12/27, we will be going to one service.  Our one service will be at 10:45 and livestream will be offered at 10:45. We are doing this on a temporary basis, due to the ever-changing Covid landscape and its impact on our in-person numbers right now.  Mark down the change for 12/27.  
 
While Covid has messed with our plans on so many levels, there is One who is not rattled one bit by all that has taken place.  God’s plans stand firm.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Those plans that God has for us are not interrupted by any pandemic, or human choices, or even if someone’s intention was for evil.  God has a future for us.  
 
It may be challenging to see light at the end of the tunnel.  But our hope is not in what is seen, but in the unseen.  God is working out His plans to conform us to the image of His Son and to build His church.  God has a plan!  And the beautiful thing is, we are part of it. 
 
When God promised that his people would be prosperous in Jeremiah’s day, it wasn’t a promise that they wouldn’t experience suffering or that it would end even in a short period of time.  He is promising that in the middle of their suffering God would enable them to endure it.  The promise is that suffering is not the last word.  It never is.  God’s people will prevail in the end.  That was true in Jeremiah’s day and that is true for us today.  
 
Light is coming!  In this fallen world, God guarantees that suffering will eventually come to an end. And he promises to get you to that end.  Can you trust Him with it?  
 
Keep looking up, church!
 
Pastor Brian 

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

 

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Christmas Eve Service

This year we will have a virtual Christmas Eve Service. This Sunday you can pick up your candles for our candlelight service, so we can participate in our homes as a church family.
Christmas Eve service will be held virtually at 6pm on 12/24.

Change in Service

Beginning Sunday 12/27, we will be temporarily going to one service at 10:45am. 
Our livestream will also be at 10:45 am as well. More details to come. 

Giving Envelopes

Beginning this Sunday you can pick up your giving envelopes at the back of the sanctuary. If you are unable to make it to church to pick up your envelopes, please contact Corianne at the office to coordinate a time to pick up.

EBC Cancellations

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services at Evangelical Baptist Church, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, the timing of the weather event, and whether roads/walkways/parking areas are/will be cleared
A decision would be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or more of our services.  Events in the afternoon or evening would be dealt with separately.  EBC will notify of cancellation using the following: WMUR TV, Church website news feed: www.laconiachurch.com, Email (weekly epistle email list) and EBC’s public and private Facebook page

EBC Directory

t’s time to update our directory! We have lots of new people here at EBC and we want to stay connected!
Please complete this google form HERE with your information so we can include you in the updated directory. If you do not want your information shared in the directory, please complete the form and note that this information is for the office only. Bette Moreau sends out birthday cards to all who call EBC home and she would like to update her birthday list as well.

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

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 12/9/20

“Let there be peace on earth an let it begin with me,” was written by the songwriting team of Sy Miller and Jill Jackson in 1955.  They wrote this song about their dream of peace for the world and how they believed each one of us could help create it.   From the introduction of this song to high schoolers at a retreat in California, it was meant to bring people together from different religious, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds.  From its beginnings, people around the continent would form a circle, lock arms, and sing this song of peace.  
 
Peace on earth!  Is it possible?  When the angels announced Jesus’ coming to the shepherds, they said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:13-14).  What peace did Jesus bring?  
 
The angels weren’t mouthing nebulous platitudes and sentimental cliches.  They were announcing a unique historical event.  God had entered the world to save people from sin.  His arrival meant God was initiating peace with us.  The peace Jesus brings is radically different from the world’s peace.  
 
The second week of advent this past Sunday reminds us that Jesus is our peace.  The good news of Christmas is that Jesus came to be the bridge of reconciliation between you and God.  Reconciliation with God is the restoration of peace.  Imperfect people can enjoy a relationship with God because peace has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ.  Peace with God is worth celebrating this Christmas season and every day throughout the year.  
 
Peace on earth!  It won’t come through political initiatives.  It won’t come through education.  It won’t come by forming a circle, locking arms, and dreaming of peace for the world.  
 
Peace on earth!  Far from envisioning peace in the world, Jesus promised that we would have trouble.  Yet in the midst of this troubled world, we can enjoy peace with Him.  Are you experiencing His peace in your life right now?  
 
Peace on earth?  We won’t fully experience it until Jesus’ return when he establishes his kingdom under his perfect rule.  I am not suggesting we don’t have a role to play in being peacemakers.  “As far as it depends on you,” Paul says, “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).  Is there someone you need to make peace with this Christmas?  Christmas is the perfect time to give the gift of grace to someone, while celebrating the grace God has shown you.  
 
Church, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” this Christmas season (Colossians 3:15).  Not by “visualizing world peace” but by remembering your peace with God, experiencing the peace of God daily in your lives and pursuing peace with others.  
 
Shalom!  Peace!  Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Big Deal About Christmas: God is With Us
Matthew 1:18-25

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Christmas Sermon Series

What’s the Big Deal with Christmas: God is With Us, For Us, and In Us.
Begins this Sunday 12/13

EBC Cancellations

In the event of bad weather that would potentially impact services at Evangelical Baptist Church, the following will be taken into consideration: the current weather in Laconia, the timing of the weather event, and whether roads/walkways/parking areas are/will be cleared
A decision would be made by 7:30 am to cancel one or more of our services.  Events in the afternoon or evening would be dealt with separately.  EBC will notify of cancellation using the following: WMUR TV, Church website news feed: www.laconiachurch.com, Email (weekly epistle email list) and EBC’s public and private Facebook page

Communion

We will be celebrating communion this Sunday. If you are worshipping with us at home, please have your elements ready to participate with us.

EBC Kids

Due to a lack of help and teachers, EBC kids will be suspended until further notice. If you would like to help serve in this ministry, please contact Victoria Mansfield: victoriayasharianmansfield@gmail.com
Nursery will still be provided during 1st service.

EBC Directory

t’s time to update our directory! We have lots of new people here at EBC and we want to stay connected!
Please complete this google form HERE with your information so we can include you in the updated directory. If you do not want your information shared in the directory, please complete the form and note that this information is for the office only. Bette Moreau sends out birthday cards to all who call EBC home and she would like to update her birthday list as well.

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

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 12/2/20

“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Those words from 2 Kings 6 and verse 16 are spoken by Elisha to his servant.  What is interesting is the context of these words.  The scene is the Syrians waging war with Israel.  There was a whole army surrounding Israel.  Inside the house there were two people- Elisha and his servant.  Outside the house there was a great army with horses and chariots.  It was two against a whole army.  Has Elisha lost his mind?  Can’t he do simple math?  
 
Elisha knew something that the servant didn’t.  He knew his God was greater than what he could see with his physical eyes.  Elisha then prays, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”  The Lord answers Elisha’s prayer and the servant saw, “that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  In that moment, the invisible became the visible and the servant realizes that it is the army of Syria that is outnumbered, at least spiritually.  
 
Church, there is more going on around us that we do not see.  We see the physical world.  We look for natural explanations.  We hope that our favorite news station can break it down for us so that it makes sense.  But doesn’t a Biblical worldview point us in a different direction?  In accepting the Bible, aren’t we also accepting that there are spiritual realities that infiltrate everything?  
 
There is more going on around us that we do not see.  It may feel at times as though we are outnumbered.  But may the Lord open your eyes to see that He has you covered, protected, and is working out His purposes!  And as we will look at this week in our study in 1 John, instead of looking around, look within for “greater is He that is IN YOU than the one who is in the world.”  
 
Our Christmas series beginning on 12/13 will remind us that our God is with us, he is for us and he is in us. Collectively as a church, Christmas will feel differently this year.  I understand the sentimentalism and nostalgia that comes with Christmas.  I find that when it comes to the Christmas season, I like my traditions.  Having a Christmas Eve service by remote doesn’t sit well with me.  But it drives me to ponder the wonder of it all that God took on humanity to be our substitute on the cross.  The truth of the incarnation must overshadow the good feelings of the season.  What is the big deal with Christmas?  Jesus is God with us, God is for us, and God is in us!  Embrace that truth!  Live with anticipation of the second advent, when our Savior will return to take us home with Him.  
 
We see dimly now; we will then see everything clearly.  We will see what it was that He was up to in the world and in our lives.  The eyes of faith will then be sight.  Press on, church, press on.  
 
“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,” Horatio Gates Spafford wrote.  And for now, we can say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”  
 
With wellness of soul, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Christian Unbelief
1 John 4:1-6

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Christmas Sermon Series

What’s the Big Deal with Christmas: God is With Us, For Us, and In Us.
Begins Sunday 12/13

Hope Ornaments

The Local Missions Team will be handing out “Hope” ornaments. These ornaments have two scriptures attached to them and are to be used as a tool to share the Hope of Christ. 
Pick yours up this Sunday.

EBC Kids

Due to a lack of help and teachers, EBC kids will be suspended until further notice. If you would like to help serve in this ministry, please contact Victoria Mansfield: victoriayasharianmansfield@gmail.com
Nursery will still be provided during 1st service.

EBC Directory

t’s time to update our directory! We have lots of new people here at EBC and we want to stay connected!
Please complete this google form HERE with your information so we can include you in the updated directory. If you do not want your information shared in the directory, please complete the form and note that this information is for the office only. Bette Moreau sends out birthday cards to all who call EBC home and she would like to update her birthday list as well.

Help Wanted

Help wanted – EBC paid position
Skilled building trades maintenance / custodial position
Looking for someone that has building trades skills to do building & ground maintenance on the EBC campus. Also will be doing some custodial duties. 5 to 10 hours a week. Hours are flexible. Please contact Bill Wixson – Facility Trustee; buildings@ebclaconia.com / 603-524-8580

Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

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 11/18/20

It has been brought to the attention of the leadership, that a person who had no symptoms at the time, attended a church service on November 8th (two Sundays ago) and subsequently became symptomatic and tested positive later that week.  While the CDC and the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) do not consider this an exposure, upon being notified and in an abundance of caution, we acted swiftly to ensure the correct public health procedures were followed.  That person and their family have been in quarantine since that time and will not attend services until it is appropriate under CDC guidelines (14 days since the last potential contact/exposure).  The leadership will continue to monitor this situation, as well as any others that we become aware of going forward and will respond accordingly based on CDC and DHHS guidelines and protocols. 
 
The church continues to follow proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the entire building between Sundays, consistent with public health guidelines.  We will continue to be diligent and are committed to take all necessary steps as dictated by current circumstances to help keep our church family healthy and safe. 
 
As a reminder, if you or anyone in your family are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever of 100.4⁰ F or higher, cough, shortness of breath, aches or changes in taste or smell, please do not attend services or any other church functions unless and until you have been tested (and then all applicable procedures followed) or until 7 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and 3 days have passed since the symptoms have disappeared.
 
Don’t forget about the ministry update meeting Thursday night (11/19) @ 7:00 in the sanctuary.  All are welcomed!  This is an opportunity for the leadership to share with members and non-members about the capital campaign, presentation of new members, exciting plans going forward, etc.  Hope to see you there.  We are requiring that masks be worn to and from your seats and there will be an area designated for those who choose to wear masks throughout the meeting.  If you can’t attend, here is the link to join us by way of Zoom: Please contact the office for the link


Church, I also remind you of what I have said previously.  If there was ever an urgent cry for unity and love it is in these days.  What we have in common by virtue of being in Christ is far greater than all our differences combined.  And there are differences.  There are strong feelings politically.  There are opinions on what we should be doing and not doing around this pandemic.  But don’t let them divide us!  The Evil One is trying to get an advantage over the church for whom Christ died!  As we will see this week in 1 John, people come first.  We are to show God’s love in tangible ways at EBC.  
 
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:3-6).
 
Serving you in the love of Christ, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

What’s Love Got to Do With It?
1 John 3:11-18

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Communion

We will be celebrating communion this Sunday. If you are worshipping with us at home, please have your elements ready to participate with us. 

Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Collection dates for Operation Christmas Child boxes are Sunday Nov 15-23. You can bring in your boxes this Sunday to church or you can do curb side pick up at the gym. 
Collection times are:
Mon – Fri 4pm-6pm, Sat & Sun 1-pm-4pm, Mon 11am-5pm

Ministry Meeting

Our next ministry meeting will be Thursday November 19th at 7pm for the purpose of continual communication from our leadership. This meeting is for members and nonmembers. A Zoom link will also be available. Contact the office for the link

Hope Ornaments

The Local Missions Team will be handing out “Hope” ornaments beginning the first day of Advent, November 29th. These ornaments will have two scriptures attached to them and are to be used as a tool to share the Hope of Christ. Pick yours up at the Ministry Counter on November 29th.

Help Wanted

Help wanted – EBC paid position
Skilled building trades maintenance / custodial position
Looking for someone that has building trades skills to do building & ground maintenance on the EBC campus. Also will be doing some custodial duties. 5 to 10 hours a week. Hours are flexible. Please contact Bill Wixson – Facility Trustee; buildings@ebclaconia.com / 603-524-8580

2nd Service Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that if you attend 2nd service, please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

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 11/11/20

Thank God for our freedom!  Thank God for those who have served our country and fought for freedom.  Veterans sacrificed.  All selflessly gave, but some gave their lives.  
 
Thank God for our ultimate freedom.  Thank God that we have been set free from the penalty and power of sin.  Christ sacrificed perfectly.  Christ was the essence of selflessness.  
 
What about freedom?  Freedom is not the right to do whatever we want, it is the power to do what we ought to do.  The truth is, to do whatever we want to do often leads to bondage rather than freedom.   Galatians 5:13 reminds us that we were called to freedom, but that we shouldn’t use our freedom as opportunity for the flesh but to serve one another in love.  Is that how you view freedom?  Are you using your freedom to love and serve others?
 
What does that look like?  Here are some questions for us to answer, especially in the times we live.  
  Can you disagree agreeably?  
  Can you give up a right for the sake of someone else?  
  In your exercise of your freedom does it cause someone else to stumble?
  In the exercise of your freedom is it hurtful to another believer?
  Is my attitude one of acceptance for another believer who believes differently than me on a gray issue?  
 
I would encourage you to read through Romans 14 very slowly!  Romans 14:13 has this to say, “Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s (or sister’s) way.”  Verse 19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”  
 
Church, our issues today are not around eating meat or drinking or observing the Sabbath, as Paul references in Romans 14.  But the principles are the same.  Let me make it even more appropriate to our times.  Apply this to our political views.  Apply this to our feelings around wearing masks or not wearing masks.  Apply this to those who hold to different opinions of what we should or should not do during this pandemic.  I know it is not easy to keep our heads in it when we do not know what to believe and when society places their confidence in science.  
 
But I have not wavered in calling us to unity.  I speak to myself in urging you to display hope and peace when all around us people are on edge.  The task to reach lost souls with the good news of Christ and to commit to building up His church here at EBC remain to be our clear instructions given by our Lord!  And aren’t the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas central to our faith as we give thanks for all things?  And as we celebrate the One born to save us from our sins, who is with us and for us! 
 
With mixed emotions I need to inform you that the leadership has decided to cancel the Christmas Extravaganza this year.  There is some reluctance in this decision but believe that a large gathering in one space for that period of time is not looking at the best interests of the flock under our care.  Our witness also factored in our decision.  
 
Christmas, of course, isn’t cancelled.  So, look for ways to make 2020 Christmas celebration special this year!  
 
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

Sinlessness: Fact or Fiction?
1 John 3:4-10

Link to This Sunday Worship Service

 

Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Collection dates for Operation Christmas Child boxes are Sunday Nov 15-23. You can bring in your boxes this Sunday to church or you can do curb side pick up at the gym. 
Collection times are:
Mon – Fri 4pm-6pm, Sat & Sun 1-pm-4pm, Mon 11am-5pm

Ministry Meeting

Our next ministry meeting will be Thursday November 19th at 7pm for the purpose of continual communication from our leadership. This meeting is for members and nonmembers.

Hope Ornaments

The Local Missions Team will be handing out “Hope” ornaments beginning the first day of Advent, November 29th. These ornaments will have two scriptures attached to them and are to be used as a tool to share the Hope of Christ. Pick yours up at the Ministry Counter on November 29th.

Help Wanted

Help wanted – EBC paid position
Skilled building trades maintenance / custodial position
Looking for someone that has building trades skills to do building & ground maintenance on the EBC campus. Also will be doing some custodial duties. 5 to 10 hours a week. Hours are flexible. Please contact Bill Wixson – Facility Trustee; buildings@ebclaconia.com / 603-524-8580

2nd Service Masks Required

Just a reminder we are asking that if you attend 2nd service, please wear a mask when entering or leaving the building. You may remove the mask once seated.

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