Happy Monday, October 28, 2019 church!

October 28, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday was a wonderful day as we celebrated the greatness of our God together.  We were reminded as we worshipped of our commitment to God and to each other in the reading of the church covenant as we welcomed Kathy McElmurry as a member of East Madison.  We remembered Jesus sacrifice for us reconciling us to holy God and making us one with other believers, and we remembered His living presence with us, as we observed the Lord’s Supper together.  We thought from Matthew 20 about the dangers of comparing what God does in our lives with what He does in the lives of others.  We learned that we follow Jesus because of a gracious and pursuing God who saves us and calls us to the privilege of working with Him in carrying out His mission of reconciliation.  We learned this pursuing God always gives us more than we ask, think or even imagine.  We learned that we should never think that God loves us more if things go well in our lives or that He loves us less if things are not going well.  God loves us always (the cross proves this!) and His plan for us is a one-of-a-kind plan where He brings about glory to Himself and ultimate good for us.  We are not to compare ourselves to other believers whom God also lavishes grace upon but in different ways.  We were encouraged to remember that God deals with each of us from grace and His grace toward us is always lavish and extensive.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer listing the things we need for the dinner. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 21, 2019 church!

October 21, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday, as we worshipped together, we sang about the salvation that is provided for us in Christ Jesus and is “completely done.”  From Matthew 19 and the story of the rich young ruler, we thought about how people think they can achieve eternal life if they just find the right “good” thing or things to do.  However, we learned they are not even on the right road that leads to eternal life.  Most people seem to think if the good they do outweigh the bad, then they can achieve eternal life.  But we learned the good we do can never outweigh our rebellion and sinfulness against a perfect, just, holy and righteous God.  Why?  Because in our very selves we are not good. Therefore, eternal life is not what we do to reach God.  Righteousness, goodness is something God must give us.  And the wonderful promise of God is this:  God will give it to those who believe in Jesus!  The rich young ruler let his riches keep him from believing and following Jesus and went away sorrowful.  Don’t let anything keep you from receiving and following Jesus.  You don’t have to wait for this eternal life to begin.  Eternal life begins when you truly believe, receive and follow Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not just never-ending life, but it is the life of knowing and following Jesus. Eternal life, salvation, is what God does for us and is not achieved by doing good things.

The ladies Bible study of Philippians has one more session! 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 Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

We will be observing the Lord’s Supper this coming Sunday, October 27, 2019 during morning worship.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer listing the things we need for the dinner. 

I want to include a link this week to a wonderful song my friend Leo Endel introduced me to in his weekly newsletter.  May it encourage you, as it did me, as you watch it and realize Jesus is worthy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIahc83Kvp4&list=RDOIahc83Kvp4&start_radio=1&t=0

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

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