Happy Monday, February 18, 2019 church!

February 18, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  It was great to be together yesterday to worship on a snowy Sunday.   We know many of you could not be here because of the weather and all of us understand that.  We don’t want anyone to take unnecessary chances on the roads when the driving might be unsafe.  However, we want you to know we missed you!  Those who could be here considered the things we should value and give our energies toward from Matthew 6.  We should make sure that we serve God alone and never bow to the idol of money and things.  Then, because we serve God alone, we need to give our energies and resources to seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness.  We need to be careful that we are not robbed of our energies by anxious worry about the future.  Our energies need to be directed toward loving God, walking with and serving Him and His children,  and serving others in Jesus’ name.  Don’t value what is not of eternal value.  Don’t be robbed of effectiveness in living today by anxious concern about tomorrow. Value eternal treasures by seeking above all else the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We will observe the Lord’s Supper during our morning worship next Sunday, February 24th.  Our next Pot Luck luncheon will be after worship on March 3rd.

We will begin a men’s short-termed small group study called, “The Call to Courageous Manhood” on Wednesday, March 6th.  It will led by David Juhlin and held at David and Annette Juhlin’s home.  You can contact David or me with any questions about the men’s group.  

I wanted to include this announcement Carla made yesterday during worship about the previously planned women’s small group study: 

“After doing some follow-up on the author of the book, I have some concerns about her beliefs. Therefore, we will not do this study. I’m conflicted as to what to do now. If you have some suggestions, please let me know. I apologize for the late notice.”

Remember to continually pray for each other. 

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 11, 2019 church!

February 11, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday we worshipped and thought about how to live out our faith, especially in the spiritual disciplines we practice.  Jesus taught in Matthew 6 that we are to practice spiritual disciplines.  Believers depend on the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, to help us practice them in the right way.  We are to give, pray, fast and every other spiritual discipline we do to the glory of God and not to impress people.  We are to do these things so we will walk closer with God.  If we do these things to impress people, God is not impressed. We are to love Him and live for His glory.   We are to always be careful to live for the glory of God and not the praise of people.

We will begin on Wednesday, March 6 two new small groups.  The new ladies group is a study called, “Discerning the Voice of God.”  This group will be led by Carla and held at our home.  Carla will be sending out an email with more information.  Contact her with any questions.  The men’s group will be a study called, “The Call to Courageous Manhood.”  It will be led by David Juhlin and held at David and Annette Juhlin’s home.  You can contact David or me with any questions about the men’s group.  

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 4, 2019 church!

February 4, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday we again looked at the Christian manifesto, “The Sermon on the Mount.” In “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus calls believers to be different  from others, especially in the way we love our enemies, bless those who curse us and asks God’s very best for them, and forgive those who despitefully use us.  In Matthew 5:17-48, Jesus calls us to a “greater righteousness,” a righteousness the Holy Spirit seek to continually produce in the lives of believers.    This morning I read an article written by my friend Billy Tinsley in his “Reflections Column.”  He shared a story about this “greater righteousness” that I want to share with you.

Twenty years ago, January 23, 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary to India, was burned to death along with his two sons, Philip, age 10, and Timothy, age 6.  Staines was 57.  For 35 years Graham had ministered to lepers in a remote tribal village in India where he established the Mayurbanj Leprosy Home in 1982.  In 1983 he married his wife, Gladys, who joined him in the work. The mob that killed Graham Staines and his sons was apparently a  hardline Hindu organization intent on retribution for the missionary’s effectiveness in converting members of the lower cast to faith in Jesus Christ. 

After the attack, Gladys Staines forgave those who murdered her husband and sons.  She remained in India with their daughter, Esther, and continued their ministry among the lepers.  She stated, “I cannot just leave those people who love and trust us. I have high regard for the people of India and their tolerance.” The government of India awarded Gladys Staines the fourth highest civilian award in 2005,  Padma Sri in recognition for her outstanding contribution to India.  She has been called the best known Christian in India after Mother Theresa.  In 2015 she was awarded the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for Social Justice. 

Their story was recently made into a movie entitle The Least of These and released into theaters on February 1.  It appears the movie will be shown in a limited number of theaters for a limited time. The Executive Producer for the film, Victor Abraham, said the movie “beautifully illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to overcome hate.”

This is an example of the “greater righteousness” to which believers are called and for which we fervently pray God’s Spirit to produce in each of our lives.

I want to thank Cheryl DiFonzo for coordinating the funeral dinner for Barb Holmes’ family and every other person who helped provide and serve this dinner.  I also want to thank Pete, Ron and Annette for leading in the worship at her service.   Thank you all for your wonderful ministry to this family we all love. 

It is not too late to join the second half of the short-term DVD Bible Study, “The Clash of Kingdoms,” which began Sunday.  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.    

We will begin in March two new small groups that meet during the week.  Look for details in the next few emails. 

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church