Happy Snowy Monday, January 28, 2019 church!

January 28, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  It was great to be with you yesterday to feel the warmth of God’s family during this cold Wisconsin winter. We began to work our way through “The Sermon on the Mount,” what John Stott called the “Christian Manifesto.”  As the first sermon of Jesus in the New Testament, it was given to show us how to live as followers of Jesus.  The “Sermon on the Mount” is for believers. Only those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and have the Holy Spirit of God living in and empowering them can have the capacity to even try living by the lofty ideals in this sermon.  As followers of Jesus, we need to seek to be “Sermon on the Mount” Christians. The beginning of Jesus’ sermon teaches us to have our character marked by spiritual poverty, mourning for sin, and hungering and thirsting for righteousness. It teaches believers to be gentle, respectful, kind and merciful peacemakers.  We are assured by Jesus that if we are persecuted for Jesus and for righteousness’ sake and not for any lesser reason, we are truly blessed and follow in a great line of others who were so treated.  We are then called to influence our world as the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  We should seek to influence the world for justice and righteousness by being the salt of the world.  As the light of the world reflecting Jesus’ light, we want to point others to see Jesus as the Savior who loves them and who can change their lives.  In this way, believers seek to live as people set apart to glorify God in every part of our lives.

The weekend was also sad for the East Madison family as our sister Barb Holmes was called unexpectedly home to be with Jesus on Saturday. It is hard to say “goodbye” even though as believers we know we will see Barb again when we see her in the presence of our Savior.  We grieve for our loss, but we do not grieve as those who have no hope.  Our hope is in Jesus who died and conquered death for all of us by rising from the dead!  Barb’s memorial service will be at the East Madison building on Saturday, February 2, at 10:00 AM.  We will be providing a dinner following the service for the family and others.

Next Sunday morning, February 3, at 9:30 AM, the second half of the short-term DVD Bible Study, “The Clash of Kingdoms,” will begin.  In the part 2 study, you will continue to follow Paul to Athens and then to Corinth.  Damon and Megan are leading this study for older youth and adults.  This would be a perfect time to join a small group Bible study, especially if you are not currently involved in one.  The study will last approximately five weeks.  You do not have to have participated in the first half to be part of this study.  

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 21, 2019 church!

January 21, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to all!  Today we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. who lived out His faith in Jesus and fought for justice.  You cannot read Dr. King’s writings or listen to Dr. King’s speeches or sermons without seeing that His faith in Jesus motivated him to live his life to see an end to racism and injustice.  I hope believers will see the example of Dr. King and live with the same willingness to work for justice..  I pray that believers will imitate Dr. King and struggle to see people freed from oppression.  I pray that his courageous faith lived out will help us to be courageous believers in the generation where God has placed us.

We had a wonderful day of worship yesterday.  The worship team led us to think about the great sacrifice Jesus made for us, and Ron Roberts ‘ new song, “Remember When” helped us to think about how that personally applied to each of us.  They truly prepared us for the taking of the Lord’s Supper.  The message from Matthew 4 reminded us that we are not only called to forgiveness and salvation, but we are called to share that forgiveness and salvation with others who desperately need it. We are called to be on mission with Jesus.  We are called to share the same message of those who came before us.  We are often called to proclaim the message in dark and difficult places. (See today’s prayer request for missionaries Marcia and Kasey.)  We are always called to leave all and follow Jesus as we call others to leave all to follow Jesus.  And, we are called to both proclaim and deliver the healing message of the gospel. Yes, we are to be on mission with our Savior!

We will be having a pot luck luncheon this Sunday, January 27th after worship.  Bring enough to feed your family and a little extra for any guests.  I am looking forward to this time of fellowship with each of you.

On Sunday morning, February 3, at 9:30 AM, the second half of the short-term DVD Bible Study, “The Clash of Kingdoms,” will begin.  In the part 2 study, you will continue to follow Paul to Athens and then to Corinth.  Damon and Megan are leading this study for older youth and adults.  This would be a perfect time to join a small group Bible study, especially if you are not currently involved in one.  The study will last approximately five weeks.  You do not have to have participated in the first half to be part of this study.  

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 14, 2019 church!

January 14, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Happy Monday to all!  It was great to be together yesterday and worship our conquering Savior.  As we looked at the temptations of Jesus we saw Him as the One who conquered every temptation.  The temptations of Jesus were recorded not so much as an example for us in how to deal with temptations, though the passages about Jesus’ temptations do that.   The passages were recorded primarily so we could see Jesus as victor over every temptation!  He fully conquered the  devil in the temptations we thought about and in every temptation He faced throughout His earthly life.   It is about Jesus as the One who conquered Satan in every way and provides us with a just means of forgiveness.  It is about Jesus who is able to help us in our weakness. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV).  Jesus won victory over every temptation, and then completely conquered death!  We won’t win every battle over temptation like He did, but we can have victory over many temptations by His Spirit and His Word.  And we have One who loves us and helps us even when we fail! What a glorious and merciful Savior we serve!

We still have prayer guides at the church building for anyone who wants them for the “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis.  It is never too late to start!

On Sunday morning, February 3, at 9:30 AM, the second half of the short-term DVD Bible Study, “The Clash of Kingdoms” will begin.  Damon and Megan are leading this study for older youth and adults.  This would be a perfect time to join a small group Bible study, especially if you are not currently involved in small group Bible study.  The study will last approximately five weeks.  You do not have to have participated in the first half to be part of this study. 

We will be having the Lord’s Supper during our morning worship this Sunday, January 20th.  The following week on January 27, we will have a pot luck luncheon after worship. 

We found a volunteer to help us with making sure the bathrooms are stocked with supplies and ready weekly for our Sunday services.  Thank you, Lois!  We still need someone to make sure the trash is at the curb to be picked up on Monday morning, or someone to remind the pastor to do this.  (I don’t mind doing this and think of it almost every Sunday before worship, but by the time worship is over, I have forgotten and the trash is not taken to the curb!)    If this is an area in which you would like to serve, please let me know.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy New Year and Happy Monday, January 7, 2019 church!

January 7, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Happy Monday and Happy New Year to all of you!  I hope your year has started well.  I would encourage you to participate in the “40 Days of Prayer” we began yesterday.  The emphasis of this year’s 40 days is “becoming one in Christ.”  We at East Madison are joining with our brothers and sisters across the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention in a concerted effort of praying for oneness among those who confess and believe in Jesus.  We have prayer guides available at the church building in case you were not here to get one yesterday.  Also, these daily updates are being posted on the “MWBC Pray” page on Facebook and you can find them there.  Your just need to “like” the “MWBC Pray” page.  The Facebook post began on January 1, and we began our 40 days yesterday.  Don’t worry about when you start, but just start as soon as you can and use one prayer devotional a day for forty days. (The devotionals were written by people in Wisconsin and Minnesota and I wrote one of the devotionals.) This 40 day prayer effort was a huge blessing for those who participated last year, and I am expecting God to work mightily in our lives as we pray together for 40 days again this year.

It was great to be back home with our church family yesterday.  I want to thank Jason for proclaiming God’s Word last week while I was gone to Oklahoma.  Yesterday, we were reminded as we sang of the greatness of God and of the truth that He is the One who holds us fast.  We thought about repentance and what it really means.  Repentance is changing the way we think about life.  We realize we have seen life from the wrong perspective and need to see life from God’s perspective.  Repentance means we no longer see sin in any way as a good thing, but we see sin from God’s perspective as destructive, dehumanizing, enslaving, and deadly.  We then see God’s way of living as fulfilling, purposeful, freeing, and life-giving.  Then, after we initially repent and give control of our lives to Jesus, we are baptized to confess to the world that we are now followers of Jesus and we are living life for Him.  Yesterday, we also explored the truth that we need to live a life of continual repentance, always seeking to become more and more like Jesus in our character and attitudes.  Repentance is more than just a one time act but a continual attitude of life that desires to more and more and more reflect the beauty of Jesus.  Repentance is the continual attitude of those who are growing in Christ.

We are looking for a volunteer to help us with making sure the bathrooms are stocked with supplies and ready weekly for our Sunday services and to make sure the trash is at the curb to be picked up on Monday morning.  Since we now contract with a service to clean the building, sometimes these things have been overlooked.  If this is an area in which you would like to serve, please let me know.

Love being your pastor in 2019! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church