Happy Monday, October 14, 2019 church!

October 14, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  We had a great day on Sunday as we gathered to worship.  Yesterday morning, we looked at what Jesus taught in Matthew 19 about the permanence of marriage. We thought about some of the reasons and purposes for marriage from this passage.  We learned that marriage was created and designed by God to be permanent. We learned that marriage is complementary, that God created male and female to complement each other in a marriage.  This is the only kind of marriage God recognizes because God alone created and designed it to be this way.  We learned that marriage is to be lifelong until one or the other partners dies.  We learned that marriage is exclusive where one man marries one woman and the two become one flesh.  All sexual activity outside of marriage is contrary to God’s design. We saw that marriage is nuclear where we leave father and mother and God’s creates a new unit that is to be the primary unit of society.  It is more important than any other social relationship.  We learned that marriage is the be the primary vehicle through which children are raised.  God’s best for children is to be raised in a home where there is a father and a mother who are committed to each other for life.  And we learned that marriage is not for everyone.  There are those who are called to be single either for a long period of life or for their entire lives.  God’s people must never treat them as second-class citizens but help them in their single lives to live holy lives for the glory of God.  As the Apostle Paul lived a single life for the glory of God, there are many who are also called to a single life and this is a beautiful expression of whole-hearted devotion to God.  We also learned that if there has been a divorce in our past, we are to realize God forgives because of Jesus’ death on the cross.  We may have to live with some of the consequences of a failed marriage, but we do not have to live with the guilt of a failed marriage because “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”  We are today to live our lives for the glory of God, whether we are single, married or remarried. For all who are now married, marriage at times will be hard, and we will have to work and sacrifice to make it better.  But it is worth it to have a godly marriage and home.  God intends one man become one flesh with one woman in marriage until death alone destroys this union.   

We also had a great time of worship on Sunday evening at our hymn sing.  We spent almost an hour and forty-five minutes singing hymns and choruses and sharing testimonies about God’s faithfulness in our lives.  It was a time with no real plan or structure but simply worship and sharing.  And it was wonderful!  We plan on having more of these times in the future.

The ladies Bible study of Philippians has two more sessions. Ladies, if you have missed a session or even a few sessions, don’t let that stop you from joining the ladies as they finish this study on the next two Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 7, 2019 church!

October 7, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  I pray your week has started well.  Yesterday as we looked at Matthew 18, we learned that God’s children live lives of continual forgiveness because of the great forgiveness we have experienced from God.  We saw how God’s grace awakens us to our utter bankruptcy before God.  We considered the devastating effects of sin on us and all those around us.  We contemplated the marvelous grace of God that offers forgiveness to us for the debt of sin we could never pay.  We learned that God’s forgiveness is not arbitrary but just.  God can forgive because God Himself absorbed the penalty for our sins.  God the Son took the loss Himself.  When Jesus died, Jesus was being punished in our place for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Our sins have been paid for, justly atoned for, in Jesus alone.  As the old hymn states, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. 

But we also learned that unforgiveness towards others ultimately shows that we have never truly experienced God’s forgiveness.  The message I hope helped us all see that even though some have experienced horrific wrongs, even criminal acts against them or those they love, God’s Holy Spirit can enable any person to truly forgive those who have wronged them.  We often misunderstand forgiveness as if it meant the wrongs or crimes committed were nothing and the wrong effects were not life-altering and long lasting.  Forgiveness does not mean we would place ourselves in places of danger or vulnerability.  Forgiveness does mean that we are going to trust God to vindicate us, to right the wrong and to deal justly with our abuser.  We are going to stop trying to get back at them and trust God to ultimately right the wrong.  We are going to believe that vengeance is God’s and that vengeance should have no place in our lives and hearts.  We will choose to forgive by an act of the will, and then when our emotions bring back the hurt of the incident, we will remind ourselves that we have chosen to forgive and ask God to help our emotions catch up with our obedience.  We will forgive that those who wronged us so that they would no longer have any power over our minds and hearts.  We will forgive that we might be like our Savior, who when He suffered horrific abuse and violence, prayed for forgiveness over the ones who crucified Him.  May we truly be like Jesus in forgiving! 

The ladies Bible study of Philippians continues Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Next Sunday evening, October 13, we will have hymn sing, sharing of testimonies and campfire beginning at 6:00 PM.  The last time we did this, it was a wonderful time of worship, sharing and getting to know each other.  We are asking everyone to bring some supplies for roasting marshmallows and making smores around the fire.  I hope you will make plans to attend.  

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church