Happy Monday, November 27, 2017 church!

November 27, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

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.
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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

Happy Monday, November 20, 2017 church!

November 20, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Worship yesterday helped us see the value of community. As a community of believers we gathered to pray God’s blessings over the Operation Christmas Child boxes that are being sent out from East Madison. As a community of believers, we thankfully shared the taking of the Lord’s Supper together. In taking the Supper, we were reminded of how thankful we are for the sacrifice of Jesus that paid for our sins and bought us for God. We are also thankful for being a part of the communion of the saints. We are one in Jesus and we have one another to share in the journey of living for the glory of God.

We were also reminded how important it is to make our families a priority. We are to have servant-like attitudes as we live together as families. Husbands and wives are to make their relationship the priority relationship other than their relationship with Jesus. Husbands are to love their wives as Jesus sacrificially loved His church and wives are to willingly allow their husbands to lead in their homes. Children are to obey their parents and all of us are to honor are fathers and mothers all the days of our lives. Fathers and mothers are to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. They are not to make it impossible for their children to please them. Parents are never to give their children the impression that their love is conditional. All of us are to seek to make the family God placed us in a reflection of Jesus loves for His church.

We will begin celebrating the advent of the Christmas season on 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, we have ordered 100 booklets called “The Christmas Code” that we are going to put in sacks with invitation to our Christmas Eve service. “The Christmas Code” is a small little book with daily advent readings. We will be encouraging each family to take some of these packets to give to family, neighbors, and friends. The Christmas season is a wonderful time to reach out to others. We hope this packet will help each of us do that.

Ladies, remember you are invited to a Christmas Concert at the State Capitol on 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.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, November 13, 2017 church!

November 13, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! We had a wonderful day yesterday as we worshipped our great God and learned what it means to live in the light. Followers of Jesus walk in light and love. They are no longer darkness but light in the Lord. They seek to avoid sinful and selfish behavior. Followers of Jesus refuse to participate in the fruitless deeds of darkness and by their lives, actions and words expose evil. The seek to know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. And they seek daily to live lives full of God’s Spirit, controlled and empowered by Him to walk in light and love.

It was also wonderful to celebrate Thanksgiving together as the East Madison family of God. The food was wonderful and the fellowship was sweet. I want to thank all those who made the food, those who helped set up for the meal, and all those who came. Also, thank you for sharing what you are thankful for this year. As I said last night, I am thankful for you. I am thankful to serve as your pastor. I am thankful for your desire to live for Jesus, walk in love with each other, and for your desire to see others know Him. May all our desires for these things grow as we walk with Jesus together.

Remember, we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper during our worship time next Sunday, November 19.

If you want to contribute to the Operation Christmas Child boxes, you will need to get your contributions to the church this week. Contact Damon and Megan Tolhurst with any questions about Operation Christmas Child.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, November 6, 2017!

November 6, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Good afternoon! As much as I want to say “Happy Monday” to you today, I really cannot do that after the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Another senseless tragedy caused because of hate has invaded the sacred spot where the people of God had gathered to worship. Like the hatred and bigotry that caused the senseless killing of nine at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina a couple of years ago as they studied God’s Word, hatred drove another person to take 26 lives, many of them children, and wound twenty more in the middle of a worship service. We join with our brothers and sisters across the country in praying for the families of these victims, those who were wounded in this attack (many of whom in critical condition still) and for the people in Sutherland Springs, Texas impacted by this act of hatred.

In a world where there is much bitterness and hatred around us, let us as the people of God put into practice Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”

Our annual East Madison Thanksgiving Feast is this Sunday night, November 12 at 6:00 PM! I hope you will plan on joining us for this time of Thanksgiving celebration we share as God’s family.

Thankful to be your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church