Happy Monday, October 23, 2017 church!

October 23, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday! I hope your week started well this morning. I also hope our worshipping and gathering yesterday prepared you for what God has for you this week. We have a great and powerful God who has saved us with a great salvation! As we more and more understand this great salvation, we are motivated to boldly pray. In humility and boldness we can pray for inner strength and power to serve Jesus. We can pray for us to understand better intellectually and know experientially the great love of God for us and the world. We can also be assured of God’s power to do not only what we ask, but so much more than we can ask or even imagine! To Him alone belongs glory now and forevermore!

We will be having a fire pit and hot dog roast on Sunday, October 29th at 6:00 PM. I hope you will plan on being here. Bring buns and wieners for hot dogs for you and your family and some marshmallows.

We will have our annual East Madison Thanksgiving Feast on Sunday night, November 12 at 6:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the foyer with a list of things we need for that feast.

Pray for the annual Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention meeting held in Milwaukee at Layton Avenue Baptist Church this Friday and Saturday.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 9, 2017 church!

October 9, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Wasn’t yesterday a great day of worship? The music was great and Ron’s new song was fantastic! And even though Pete and I plan independently most Sunday’s the music and message, God always seems to fit it all together. God’s ways astound us, don’t they? We saw how God’s plan for the ages calls people from all nations, tribes, peoples and languages to Himself to be His One people. We saw that God’s servants through the ages include choices that amaze us, people whose lives have been radically changed by the gospel. We saw how God’s church through the ages even enlightens the angels of heaven. And we saw how God’s methods through the ages continually confound the wisdom of men. We saw how even in the bad stuff that happens to us and the very difficult times when we can’t see through the darkness, God is working for our good and for his glory. God can and does bring good from horrible circumstances and evil things that happen to us and all around us. Yes, God works to glorify Himself and create His one people in ways that absolutely astound us! We need to remember that when we are going through times when it is hard to see any rhyme or reason to what is happening. We need to remember God is with us and working through us and for us to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

We will be having a special Sunday next Sunday, October 15. Part of the leadership of the church planting team that David Juhlin and Hoyt Lovelace work with on their trips overseas will be with us to share about this work. They will be sharing in the Bible Study hour in Jason’s class at 9:30 AM and then bringing the message during the morning worship. We will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper during worship and follow that by a Pot Luck luncheon. Bring some food for your family and a little extra for our guests to the luncheon. It will be a great day!

Pray for our Damon and Megan and our youth as they go to the “Called Out” conference in Baraboo this weekend. Pray that our students and leaders would be drawn nearer to God and to one another. Pray that this conference will help them more faithfully live for Jesus and more effectively be His witnesses wherever he places them.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 2, 2017 church!

October 2, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope the day has started well. We had a great day yesterday as we worshipped together. Although our worship team was a little slim because of all that was happening among our church family, Pete and Ron did a fantastic job leading us. Thank you brothers! I want to also thank our childcare workers and those who provided children’s worship. It is fun to see how much the children look forward to children’s worship when we have it. Often our childcare providers work behind the scene and are not recognized but they provide wonderful ministry and witness to the children. My prayer is that God would use them to plant the seeds of the gospel deep into the hearts of children that children might come to know Jesus early in life.

I hope the message encouraged you by helping all of us to see the unity that is being restored through the cross of Christ to humanity. Jesus’ death not only reconciles us to God when we believe, but it reconciles us to each other. God does not have many peoples, but in Christ Jesus He has the one people of God from every tribe, language, nation and tongue. There is a tremendous diversity among the people of God who believe in Jesus, but that diversity is a diversity in oneness, not in division. Through the blood of Jesus people from every nation, tribe, language and tongue are one! We should protect and strive to live in that oneness by denying ourselves, taking up our crosses daily and following Jesus. We must always be seeking to live for Jesus and not ourselves. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I pray that God would continue to help us to do this today and every day!

Ladies, remember there is a Ladies Night Out scheduled for this Sunday evening, October 8th. The ladies will meet at Cheryl DiFonzo’s home to watch a movie together at 6:00 PM. Bring a snack to share if you can.

The Veritas Forum places the historic Christian faith in dialogue with other beliefs and invite participants from all backgrounds to pursue Truth together. Veritas Forum is sponsoring an event on Monday, October 9, at 7:00 PM at High Point Church called “Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection?” John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of science and religion. He has also participated in several debates with some of the world’s leading atheist speakers. If you are interested in going as a group to this event, contact me.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 25, 2017 church!

September 25, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday! We had a wonderful day yesterday as we worshipped Almighty God and thanked Him for His marvelous grace. We serve a God who speaks life to people. God came to us in our spiritual deadness when we could do nothing to save ourselves. When we were following the ways of the world and the wicked ruler of the world and were children of disobedience, God loved us and sought us. In His love, God had mercy on us and did not give us the punishment we deserved for our sinful rebellion. Instead, God by His Holy Spirit gave life to us through Jesus Christ by His grace. By His grace He saved us through faith. It is all God’s doing and none of our doing, so that we will be trophies of His grace forever and ever. None of us will ever be able to boast before God, because our salvation is totally a result of His grace and not in any way a result of kind of our work. No keeping of religious rituals, no morality in and of ourselves, no sacrificial lifestyle could ever save the “sons of disobedience.” But God in His grace and power saves those who cannot and would not save themselves! Praise His name! May our lives be a continual shining testimony to our great and gracious God who saved wretches like us!

Most of you heard that Annette’s step dad went to be with the Lord yesterday afternoon. Annette, we want you to know we are keeping your mom, you and David and your kids, and all your family in our prayers.

Ladies, remember there is a Ladies Night Out scheduled for Sunday evening, October 1st. The ladies will meet at Cheryl’s home to watch a movie together.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 18, 2017 church!

September 18, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your week has started well as you serve the Lord wherever He has placed you. Yesterday was a good day to worship the Lord and be together as His people. We sang of His greatness and read from His Word about the greatness of God and the greatness of His salvation. We looked in Ephesians 1 and thought about all the resources God has provided us to walk with Him and live for His glory. Everything we need to live for God we already have in Christ Jesus. We just need to continually ask God for the wisdom and insight to know how to utilize and appropriate those resources. We can grow in the hope to which God has called us. We can grow in understanding the riches of being a part of His people, the church. And we can continually grow in understanding the immeasurable greatness of the power of God and how that power enables us to live victorious Christian lives!

We begin the new small intensive discipleship group for those interested this Wednesday, September 20, at 6:30 PM. There is still room for you if you are interested in being a part of this study.

September is the month we take a special offering for the ministries of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention. There are some offering envelopes and prayer calendars on the table in the foyer. If you would like to know more about the ministries this offering supports, go to mwbc.org and click on the link to the state mission video. (You will also see a really handsome young man related to Carla Ray in that video!)

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September, 11, 2017 church!

September 11, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your day is going well. Yesterday was a good day to be together as God’s family. I hope the message encouraged you as you realize that as believers, we have everything we truly need in Jesus Christ. We have every spiritual blessing in Christ kept safe for us in the heavenly realms. God sought and chose us and made us His own because of His wonderful grace. We are holy and blameless in His sight because God views us through the lens of the blood of Jesus. He sees Jesus’ righteousness counted toward us because Jesus has taken our sin. He chose us to be adopted as His children. He purchased us from sin and death for Himself through the blood of Jesus. We have forgiveness, the putting of our sins as far as the east is from the west, through Jesus. And these things God gives lavishly to us who hear the gospel and believe it. He is not some God who gives enough just to get by, but lavishly pours out these spiritual blessings on us! How can we not seek to live every moment for this gracious God and seek through our lives to give Him continual praise? How can we not seek to share this grace with those God places in in our path?

We will begin the new small intensive discipleship group for those interested next Wednesday, September 20, at 6:30 PM. There is still room for you if you are interested in being a part of this study. We also have a men’s small group that meets on Saturday morning and a ladies group that meets this Saturday and every other Saturday. Call or email Annette Juhlin or me if you need any details about any of these small groups.

If the recent hurricanes and other natural disasters have put in you a desire to volunteer when these disasters occur, there is a disaster relief training on Monday, September 18 at Trinity Baptist in Reedsburg, Wisconsin from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Contact me for more information.

We will have a pot luck luncheon this Sunday, September 17, after our morning worship. Bring enough food for you family and a little extra for any guests we will have.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, September 4, 2017 church!

September 5, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Tuesday to all! I hope you had a relaxing holiday yesterday. (I know some of you even had to work on Labor day. I am sorry about that!) Sunday was a good day as we worshipped the eternal King of the universe together. He alone is the true and living God who sought us to forgive us and give us eternal life. We praise His name! I hope the message helped us to deal with the fears that all of us face from time to time. We can acknowledge our fears to God and take them to Him and He will deliver us from all our fears. The all-powerful God loves us and is watching over us as His children!

I want to remind the youth of the lock-in next Friday, September 15, here at the East Madison building. Also, the Called-Out Conference is coming up on October 13-15. This will be a time of growth and fun and I encourage our youth to go. Talk to Damon or Megan Tolhurst for details on either of these events.

There will be a short meeting for those interested in being a part of the new small intensive discipleship group this Sunday, September 10th following the morning worship. At the meeting, we will be trying to find a night that works for all who are interested in being a part of this study.

We will observe the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, September 10th during our morning worship service.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, August 28, 2017 church!

August 28, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was great to be together yesterday and worship our glorious and mighty Lord Jesus. We learned that God is pleased with us as we walk in humility before Him, love Him, and seek to serve Him. Jesus Christ, the first and the last, the One who died and came back to life never to die again knows all about us. Jesus knows His children’s enemies. Jesus knows His children’s sufferings. Best of all, Jesus knows His children’s glorious future! He is for us and not against us! Our God is a good Father seeking to help us when we struggle and pick us up when we fall. We can and we do trust Him!

Please keep the people of South Texas in prayers as they suffer through the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief will be helping in recovery efforts. Many of you might not realize that Southern Baptists Disaster Relief is one of the nation most effective groups in helping in disaster recovery. It is staffed almost totally by volunteers from SBC churches around the country who go to areas of disaster at their own expense to help. Dave And Jeanne Wedekind coordinate these efforts in our area. If you ever would desire to help, I can put you in touch with them. Here is a link to SBC Disaster to find out more about their work: https://www.namb.net/send-relief/disaster-relief.

Please let me know soon if you are interested in being a part of the new small group beginning in the fall that I am leading. This group will focus on following Jesus more closely and then being able help others grow in their faith.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, August 21, 2017 church!

August 21, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday and happy eclipse day to all! I hope you safely got to experience the splendor of today’s eclipse which, if I understand it, will not happen again in the United States for another 100 years if the Lord tarries. Yesterday, we got to experience some wonderful time together as we worshipped the One whose splendor will totally outshine all other splendors of this universe combined. It was great to be back with our brothers and sisters yesterday worshipping the One whose radiance is greater than all! We sang of His greatness and His salvation. We learned from His Word to spend much time gazing into that Word so we can comprehend a little of that splendor and become like Jesus. We learned to be quick to hear His Word and quick to hear others. We learned to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. We learned that nursing anger and reacting in anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires. God’s methods are not the methods of anger and hatred but of love and truth. We learned to be quick to put into practice God’s Word and not just simply intellectually understand it. If we just hear it but it does not change us, we live self-deluded lives. God’s Word is meant to change us by giving us control over what we say so our words will be beneficial and helpful. God’s Word is used by His Holy Spirit in the lives of believers to empower us to minister and reach out to the outcast and hurting. God’s Word is also used by God’s Spirit to enable us to live holy lives and bring much glory to God.

I hope some of you have you been thinking and praying about being a part of the new small group beginning in the fall that I am leading. This group will focus on following Jesus more closely and then being able help others grow in their faith. We plan on beginning sometime in September so if you are interested in being a part of this more intensive small group, please let me know soon.

I want to thank Kevin Huddleston and Jason Donaldson for preaching for me while Carla and I were away. It is good to know we have men among us that can teach and preach God’s Word effectively. I believe part of my job as pastor is to equip more of you to be able to do that.

I have been having some computer problems so some of you might not have received my July 31st email. I apologize for that and hope I have that solved. If you know anyone who has usually receives this weekly email but is not getting it, please have them contact me.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 24, 2017 church!

July 24, 2017 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your morning has gone well as we all enjoy this comfortable summer day. Being with the people of God yesterday and worshiping the eternal God of the universe who gave Himself for our redemption was wonderful. I am encouraged and strengthened when we fellowship and worship together. I want to thank our worship band for leading us to focus on the greatness of God. I know many of the band was gone but David, Annette, Barb and Ron did a great job leading us. I hope the message helped us all to see that we can trust our lives and all our treasures to God because we see that God gave His greatest treasure, His only Son dying in our place, for us! God asks us to do for Him what He has already done for us. Trust your life and all your treasures to Him today and every day.

Please be thinking and praying about being a part of the new small group beginning in the fall. This group will focus on following Jesus more closely and then being able help others grow in their faith. If you are interested in being a part of this more intensive small group, please let me know.

I also want to thank today those who work with our children in Sunday School and worship. Deanna faithfully teaches preschool children every week the love of Jesus and the truths of God’s Word. We then have people who step up to the plate and provide childcare weekly for those too young to be in Deanna’s class and too young (and possibly too wiggly) to be in worship. Also, we have those who provide the children a special children’s worship time twice a month. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” I want to thank all of you who help with our children in any way for you are truly investing in eternity when you care for children.

For those who are sick, on vacation or away for other reasons, remember you can always listen to the messages preached on Sunday on our website: embclife.org. The messages are usually posted a few days after they are preached.

You all are great! Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church