Happy Tuesday church!

May 31, 2016 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

I hope everyone had a pleasant Memorial Day yesterday as we remembered the sacrifice of those who have died in defending our country and securing our political freedom.

As we begin a new week, remember that the way of Jesus is the way of grace and forgiveness. No one deserves forgiveness. But Jesus bought it for us with His blood and we are forgiven in and through Him. Following Him is a life of joy as I tried to emphasize in Sunday’s message.

As I thought about my sermon Sunday, a phrase came to my mind that I heard in my younger days. Did I “overcook my grits?” In emphasizing joy, did I make it seem like there would never be times of distress and despair and, yes, even depression in the Christian life? If that seemed to be the case as you listened, I want to correct the idea that the Christian life never has those kind of times.

In Scripture, in Christian experience and even in my own life, there are times of despair and depression. Sometimes they are extremely intense and dark. The Psalmist asked himself the question, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” There are very difficult and despairing times in all of our lives. It is not healthy to deny the pain of those times. It is not wrong to go through such times. If this is such a time of your life when you just can’t seem to find joy, I hope you will remember a couple things. First of all, God is present to help you. Even though you may feel like He is far away, He is not. He is close to His children even when they might not sense His presence. He is your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” Don’t give into the despair but remember He cares and He loves you. When the Psalmist asked himself, “Why are you so downcast, O my soul?”, he answers his own question by saying, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Despair won’t last forever. God wants to bring you through it. Secondly, remember to reach out to your brothers and sisters so you don’t have to face the despair alone. Maybe they have gone through something similar and can share with you how God helped them. Maybe they can just weep with you and pray with you. Don’t let the enemy of your soul isolate you. God’s Holy Spirit and His people are there to help.

I am not seeking to give simplistic answers to what may be a very difficult struggle you are dealing with today. This is not an exhaustive list of things you might need to do if this is you, but just a couple of ideas. I am sure that none of us needs to face despair alone.

Have a great week!

Love being your pastor,
Bob

Happy Monday church!

May 23, 2016 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! It was a beautiful day yesterday as we worshipped together and learned better how to love Jesus and support each other in following Him. I pray that you were encouraged by the message that Jesus loves and calls the unworthy, the unhealthy, the unable and the unpopular to find life in Him. Those who think they have it all together don’t need much help. But those of us who know we are a mess and need a Savior understand that we are the ones Jesus came to save, support and help.

As I was thinking about the four friends who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to forgive and heal, I had an idea that might appeal to some of you. Maybe you have a person or some people on your heart that especially need a touch from the Lord. Maybe they seem particularly far from Him and in ways seem unreachable. If you have such a person on your heart, why don’t you enlist three other friends to covenant with you to take this person to Jesus? Ask them to pray with you for this person. Ask them to seek creative ways to somehow put this person or these people at the feet of Jesus. Maybe the four of you together praying and seeking God for this person or persons will be the team that God uses to introduce them to the One who can forgive and help them. Don’t carry the burden alone. Find three others to carry it with you. Paul told the Galatians: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).

Have a great week!

Love being your pastor,
Pastor Bob

Happy Monday, May 16, church

May 16, 2016 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all of you! It was a wonderful day yesterday as we worshipped and studied together. It is always good just be around you people! I hope those who needed words of affirmation and encouragement found them as we learned that in Jesus we are loved and accepted. Knowing we are accepted and affirmed in Jesus helps us when we are rejected by people who ought to affirm and encourage us but who don’t. Knowing we are accepted and affirmed in Jesus gives us the courage to live out the purposes God has for each of us whatever He might lead us to do and wherever He might lead us to go.

The summer holds adventure for many of us. As the East Madison family we will be seeing people on our property on Tuesday evening beginning June 14 as the “Let’s Eat Out” food trucks are here from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Some of you will have graduations to celebrate. Others will have summer trips to look forward to this summer. I have heard some even have weddings that they are planning. Some of you have all of the above! I am excited to see how God works in each of our lives this summer!

Praying each of you has a great week.

Love being your pastor,

Pastor Bob

Pastor’s Monday email for May 9

May 9, 2016 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday afternoon to the church dispersed! We gather to worship on Sunday and we are the church gathered. But we are as much the church when we are dispersed throughout Madison on Monday morning. As the church dispersed we are the presence of Jesus, who lives in everyone who believes, to those who surround us. Never forget God wants to work through you this day wherever you might be and whoever you might be with.

We had a great day as we studied God’s Word in Bible Study at 9:30 AM and as we gathered to worship Jesus by singing His praises and listening to His Word proclaimed at 10:30 AM. I hope you are part of both of these Sunday morning events. We missed those who could not be with us yesterday and we pray you are doing well. The sermon dealt with the passage in Luke 4 about Jesus and how he overcame temptation. I hope you learned things that will help you whenever you are tempted to believe the devil’s lies about the shortcuts he offers us. When Jesus saves us, He gives us His Spirit and His Word and we can overcome temptations that come our way. But the thing that I am most grateful for as I think about this is that Jesus overcame temptation! He was in all ways tempted like every one of us, but completely resisted temptation and was without sin. He overcome every temptation! Because He overcame every temptation, Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and can completely save those of us who have fallen to temptations who will come to God through Him! You and I do not and will not overcome every temptation, but because Jesus did, we are forgiven, we are saved! I say, “Thank you Lord for saving a wretch like me!”

I am grateful for those who serve us weekly. We have Bible Study leaders and small group leaders who prepare and work hard to help us learn God’s truth and become more like Jesus. We have people who work continually with our children and youth to show them the love of Jesus and lead them to follow Him. We have ushers who weekly welcome people, help people who need their help during our services, and lead us in the giving of our offerings to God. We have a praise team who work hard and weekly give of themselves to help us adore our great God. We have people who help us to be on mission with God in Madison and around the world. I want to say to all of you who serve, “Thank you!” I love serving the Lord with you! God calling me to be your pastor is a great privilege and I pray that I will never take it for granted.

Have a great week brothers and sisters,

Pastor Bob

Happy May Monday church!

May 2, 2016 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,
Happy Monday to all! I pray you are starting your week well.

As we worshipped yesterday and shared the Lord’s Supper, we remembered the great price paid for our salvation. Our salvation was bought at a high price, a price sufficient to save all who will believe. No other sacrifice is needed for anyone to find forgiveness, salvation and life. Nor will any other sacrifice be offered. Anyone who will turn from themselves and turn to Jesus as Lord and Leader of their life will be forgiven and given eternal life. There is no sin any of us have committed that cannot be forgiven because Jesus’ sacrifice is greater than our sin! Jesus has paid the penalty for your sins, my sins and the sins of the whole world. In Him there is complete forgiveness. However, if you will not believe in Jesus, where will you go to be forgiven? You cannot undo your sin. You might wish you could go back and change what you did, but that is impossible. Outside of him there is no place true forgiveness can be found. As the old hymn says:

“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Robert Lowry)

We have in Jesus been given such a great forgiveness and salvation! Let us live in the assurance of that salvation this week.

We have a wonderful opportunity to meet our neighbors this summer. Beginning Tuesday, June 14, the “Let’s Eat Out” food carts will be setting up on our property and selling food and providing events for our neighborhood. They will be on our property every Tuesday evening for eight weeks. They will be here from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM. I hope you might plan on being here as many Tuesdays as you can this summer to meet those who come to eat. It will be tempting to get your food and eat only with people you know. I want to encourage you to seek to meet someone new every time you come and build new friendships. We want our community to know East Madison is here for them and cares about them. Maybe God will use these Tuesdays to introduce us to a person or persons whom He will touch. I am very excited about this opportunity!

Love being your pastor,
Pastor Bob