Happy Monday, November 27, 2017 church!

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope you are having a great day following a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend and a wonderful day of worship yesterday. We gathered yesterday in Bible study as adults, youth and children, and then we worshipped our God from whom all blessing flow. We learned from Ephesians 6 that one of those blessings was the blessing of work. Work is a part of God’s original intent for human beings. Before the fall, people were placed in the garden of Eden to work and tend to that garden. God worked as He created the world and we work as human beings created in His image. We were reminded that as we work in whatever sphere God has called us to work in, that we work for His glory and not for the praise of men. We work hard not to please men but to please God. If others work for us or under our management, we treat them with respect and seek to help them be the best they can be. We remember that those workers are men and women for whom Christ died. We refuse to try to motivate people from fear, but work to motivate them with respect and love. We stand up against oppressive or abusive bosses or fellow workers as we seek what is just and right and good. As Chuck Colson wrote, “Christians view work as a high calling, a calling to be co-workers with God in unfolding the rich potential of His creation.”

We will begin celebrating the advent of the Christmas season this Sunday, December 3. If your family would like to read for worship one of the advent readings, let Pete know soon so he can put you on the schedule. Also remember in December during the advent season, we take up the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions. All of the money given to that offering goes to the international mission field to support sharing the gospel around the world.
Yesterday we made available packets for each of you to use to share the gospel with your family and friends this Christmas season. In those packets was a booklet called “The Christmas Code,” which has a short daily reading for individuals or family to use during this Christmas season. Also there are invitations to our Christmas Eve service and two candy canes! Many of you took some packets to give to your family and friends this season. If you were not here, they will be available at the church building if you would like to pick some up to give to family, neighbors, and friends. As I shared yesterday, Carla plans to bake some banana bread to put with these packets. We will then give them to our neighbors and friends. The Christmas season is a wonderful time to reach out to others. We hope this packet will help us all to do just that.

Ladies, remember you are invited to a Christmas Concert at the State Capitol this Sunday, December 3. The ladies will meet at the church building at 3:00 PM to attend the concert at 4:15 PM. Following the concert, the ladies will be going to Monty’s Blue Plate for supper. I received this announcement today about this concert from a fellow Madison pastor:
Capitol Annual Christmas Pageant! This pageant has been taking place in the capital every year for more than 75 years. Here is a description of it: It’s one of Madison’s best-kept (and no-cost) secrets – the Christmas Story sung through Christmas carols in 4-part harmony by local high-school choirs in the rotunda of the Madison Capitol building. (Emily Juhlin will be singing with these choirs as she is in the
La Follette High School choir.) The lights are turned out and the Christmas Story is illuminated in live montages. Each performance lasts 45 minutes. There is limited seating but you can either stand or bring your own chair.

Enjoy God’s glorious presence and the awesome mystery of his birth being celebrated within our state capitol! It’s a wonderful way to quietly pause during the craziness of the season and enjoy the beauty of what Christmas is really about.

Remember to put on your calendar a Christmas tradition at East Madison, the Juhlin’s Annual Christmas open house. It is open to all on Friday night, December 8, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. Directions to their house are available at the church building.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church