Happy Monday, April 16, 2018 church!

April 16, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday was a crazy day for us! The bizarre winter weather seems to keep hanging on. Those of us who made it to the East Madison building had a good day of worship, even though we missed those of you who could not be here. However, we have hope because we know spring is coming! The message from 1 Peter 1 and 2 again was about the hope we have in Jesus. We always have hope in Jesus and we need to set our minds on the hope we have in Him. We have certain hope because of his grace toward those who believe. We have hope because of the ultimately valuable price of Jesus’ blood that purchased our redemption. We have hope because of His Word which generates our new births and provides us with nourishment to grow in that hope. We have certain hope as believers! We say along with Edward Mote,

“Our hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”

Ladies, you are invited to a brunch this Saturday, April 21st at Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery and you can invite a friend! Carla will make a reservation for 11:00 AM. If you’re interested in carpooling, the ladies will meet at the church building at 10:30 AM. Please let Carla know if you plan to attend and whether you’ll be carpooling. If you’re driving, the address to Daisy’s is 2827 Atwood Avenue, Madison.

We will have a pot luck lunch following our worship service next Sunday, April 22. Bring food for your family and a little extra for any guests we might have.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, April 9, 2018 church!

April 9, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday was a great day to worship our great God. I am so thankful for our worship team! They do a wonderful job in leading us. It always amazes me how the songs and the messages fit together, though we normally don’t make any conscious effort to do that. We don’t choreograph our worship services. There might be a few times I want a certain passage to be read or a certain song to be sung, but most of the time Pete and I work independently on planning worship. He chooses the music to be sung and the Scriptures to be read before I preach. I work on preaching God’s Word. However, many times it seems like God does choreograph the services and I am amazed!

Yesterday we looked at surviving and thriving in difficult times. How do you go through very difficult times and encourage others going through very difficult times? We saw that focusing on our sure salvation in Jesus Christ helps believers cope with difficult times. We saw knowing that the sufferings of believers do indeed have purpose can also help strengthen believers during difficult times. We also realized that this great salvation in Jesus truly fulfills God’s entire Word and knowing this empowers us to deal with difficult times. The living hope found in Jesus Christ truly provides strength to face all the difficulties of life!

It was so wonderful to have Peggy back with us yesterday. Peggy wanted to me to thank all of you for your prayers for her while she was sick. She also wanted me to tell you that your prayers worked! We thank God for you Peggy, that you to continue to teach us about our powerful Savior!

We will be having the Lord’s Supper this Sunday during worship.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, April 2, 2018 church!

April 2, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! We celebrated the truth of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead yesterday. We celebrated that Jesus arose physically and bodily from the grave never to die again. And today, we celebrate it again! We serve a risen Savior! We have good news that is good news every single day! As Christians we follow Jesus by faith. However, it is not blind faith. There is historical and credible evidence of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. There is an empty tomb. There is the witness of the disciples and apostles who proclaimed this message even though it cost them everything to proclaim Jesus rose from the grave. For many of these early believers the cost was their life! These early witnesses died proclaiming Jesus lives! And today many of us can testify that Jesus lives. We know this not just because of objective evidence of history but because He has changed our lives! He has forgiven our sin and freed us from addictions and oppression. Jesus has given us meaning and purpose as we no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and rose again! Yes, Jesus lives!

Still celebrating with you Jesus as the “resurrection and the life!” Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 26, 2018 church!

March 27, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday as we “marched toward the cross” we thought about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. As Jesus entered that city, He made a statement claiming to be Israel’s Messiah and King. Jesus deliberately planned this event as a kind of visual sermon. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem shook that city to its very core with His claims. Jesus then claimed superiority and authority over the most sacred place in Israel, the temple in Jerusalem, when He drove the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple. In all these things Jesus did He was claiming to be Messiah and King. That claim on that day to those observing was also a claim on us to this very day. Jesus wanted those people then and us today to submit to Him as King and Lord of our lives. Jesus wants us to live for Him and for the Kingdom of God and not for ourselves. You may try to ignore His claims over your life, but sooner or later you either decide to submit to His rule over you or reject His rule over you. My prayer for everyone who reads this is that you would submit to Jesus as King and Lord of your lives. I pray you would submit to the One who in love died for you and rose again and loves you more than anyone else could.

We will have a joint Good Friday service this Friday, March 30, 2018 with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 at 7:00 PM. We will have our annual Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1 and our Easter Resurrection Sunday worship at 10:30 AM. There are still invitations and “The Case For Easter “ books here at the church building if you need them this week to give to family and friends.

Looking forward to celebrating the greatest day in history with you this Easter Sunday! Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 19, 2018 church!

March 19, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your day is going well. Yesterday as we worshipped we thought about true versus false faith. We looked at two memorable people in the gospels, Mary of Bethany and Judas Iscariot. They were memorable for very different reasons. Mary was memorable for her lavish show of love and worship of Jesus as she poured out her most expensive possession on Jesus to honor Him. Her faith in Jesus and her love were evident in an act that Jesus called “beautiful.” Judas Iscariot was memorable also. His false faith and lack of love came out in his criticism of Mary’s act of worship and his betrayal of Jesus. Judas Iscariot considered the beautiful act of Mary to honor Jesus a “waste.” This revealed Judas Iscariot’s opinion not only of Mary but of Jesus and Jesus’ worth. Judas Iscariot considered Mary’s act a waste and thus considered Jesus unworthy of such an honor. In John 17:12, Jesus called Judas the “son of perdition” which implies Judas Iscariot’s whole life was a life of waste. These two memorable persons from the New Testament help us see that life lived believing in and loving Jesus is never wasted, while life rejecting him is the ultimate waste of life.

Remember our Easter Schedule. We will have a joint Good Friday service with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 on March 30th at 7:00 PM. We will have our Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1. There are invitations and “The Case For Easter “ books here at the church building if you would to like to pick them up to give to family and friends.

We do not have anyone signed up for childcare for worship this Sunday, March 25. If you can help this Sunday, let me know.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 12, 2018 church!

March 12, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your day is going well and you are adjusting to the time change. I have to admit I was in a very deep sleep when my alarm went off this morning.

It was wonderful to see everyone yesterday and worship with our East Madison family. We are partakers of the lavishly generous grace of God. Those who believe are not treated as our sin deserves. Christ Jesus Himself was treated as our sin deserves. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) reminds us: “God made Him (Christ Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” God treats those who believe with His lavish grace. God searches for us, saves us, and calls us to be on mission with Him in bringing the good news of the gospel to the world. Though sometimes there is toil and hard work involved, it is always a great privilege to be on mission with God.

However, we often compare ourselves with others and think they are being blessed more or their lives are more free of hardships than our lives. Comparing our hardships with others or our blessings with the blessings of others robs us of the joy and contentment that God wants to give all of us. There is great danger in this! We need to remember God’s blessing toward all of us are lavish! God’s plan for each of us in unique and it is always results in good for us and glory to God, even though it might not seem like it at the present time. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy God wants you to experience by dangerously comparing your hardships or blessings with others.

We will have a Pot Luck luncheon following our morning worship this Sunday, March 18. Bring enough food for your family and some guests we will have in our worship service.

Remember to take advantage of the Easter season to invite people to worship and share Jesus with other. I will continue to preach on the theme, “Marching to the Cross” as we approach the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Again this year we will have a joint Good Friday service with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 on March 30th at 7:00 PM. We will have our Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1. Also, we will have some invitation cards with our Easter holiday schedule and some booklets for you to share with family and friends as you invite them.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 5, 2018 church!

March 5, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I missed you yesterday but I would not have traded places with you! Enjoying our newest granddaughter was a special time. Ivory Estelle Bittmann was born March 1 at 3:17 AM. Carla was actually in the room when Jessica delivered Ivory and was elated to convey the news that we had a girl. (No, grandpa did not want that experience!) Thank you for allowing us to be part of these first few days of Ivory’s life. Would you join Carla and me in praying for her and our other granddaughters that they would come to know, love, and serve Jesus and live life for Him? We commit to you that we pray the same for your children and grandchildren. David Platt reminds us, “Your primary responsibility as a parent (and I would also add grandparent) is not to teach your children to be athletic, get good grades, gain titles and success, learn an instrument, go to college . . .It is to teach them to know and love God.”

I want to thank Jason Donaldson for stepping in and preaching for me yesterday. I know he faithfully shared God’s Word with you. I am so thankful to be able to entrust this high task to someone who will faithfully carry it out. Even in this busy time of transition for the Donaldson’s, Jason without hesitation stepped in to serve. Also, thank you again to our worship band who faithfully serve week by week. We should never take them for granted.

We will be observing the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, March 11 during our morning worship service. Also, don’t forget that Daylight Saving time starts this Sunday. Set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday evening, or you’ll be late for worship on Sunday!

Also, the following week on March 18 we will have a pot luck luncheon after worship.

I wanted to remind you that Easter is quickly approaching. I will continue to preach on the theme, “Marching to the Cross” as we approach the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We will again this year have a joint Good Friday service with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 on March 30th. (We will announce the time for that later.) We will have our Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1. Also, we have purchased some booklets for you to share with family and friends called “The Case for Easter,” by Lee Strobel that will be available beginning this Sunday, March 11th. Take advantage of the openness of people to Easter and the truths of God during this season to share your faith in Jesus.

Love being your pastor and, I may add, a grandpa!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 26, 2018 church!

February 26, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! What a beautiful day! (My bike is calling me!) Yesterday was a wonderful day as we worshiped and praised Jesus who came to serve us and give His life as a ransom for us. Praise His name! Jesus set the ultimate example of service by giving His life for us. He wants us to continually seek not to be served but to serve. He wants us to become great in His Kingdom by serving others. Service for others is the way to greatness in His eyes. My prayer for each of us is that we will be servants to our community and servants to each other and bear witness to the One who gave “His life as a ransom for many.”

Kevin Huddleston will begin next Sunday a transitional pastorate at a church in Kenosha. A transitional pastor is one who comes into a church to help them prepare for a permanent pastor. Sometimes the church needs some organizational issues repaired. Sometimes there is a divide in the fellowship that they want the transitional pastor to help them work through. We want to keep Kevin and his family in our prayers as they serve for a time in Kenosha. We ask God’s Spirit to lead Kevin as he works with this church to prepare them for God’s good future for them. Kevin and Miranda, we promise to keep you in our prayers and we know God will use you in mighty ways as your serve Him in Kenosha.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 19, 2018 church!

February 19, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday and happy Presidents’ Day to all. I hope your day is going well. I am so grateful to be a part of the family of God at East Madison. Your desire to follow Jesus and glorify Him and be on mission with Him is such an encouragement to me as your pastor.

Yesterday we focused on the truth that Jesus’ return will ultimately destroy all evil and bring in a reign of righteousness. In spite of all the evils around us today, evil will not win. Jesus will reign eternally in justice and righteousness. Don’t be overcome by the evil around you. Daily be reading the Bible to be encouraged and to grow spiritually so we will be faithful until Jesus comes. And until the Day of the Lord comes, seek to have the heart of God who wishes all to be saved and all to come to a knowledge of the truth. Be reminded of what God said through the prophet Ezekiel to those needing His forgiveness in Ezekiel 18:31-32: “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” God is seeking to save those who are lost and His people must be seeking them also. Pray with me that we as His people might always have His loving and seeking heart.

I want to thank those of you who volunteer for childcare during our worship service. We had a lot of children in childcare during worship yesterday. Deanna, even though she taught the little ones in Sunday School, willingly stepped up at the last minute to help out. Then Cheryl, when she realized how many children Deanna had, went to help her. Thank you ladies and all the other volunteers who quietly serve the Lord by loving children and enabling parents to worship. You are a blessing to your pastor and the East Madison family!

Next Sunday, I will begin a series called “Marching to the Cross” as we move toward Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

I really do love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 12, 2018 church!

February 12, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was a great day to worship as the family of God yesterday at East Madison. Pastor Meskerem Thomas got us started well with a great testimony of how God was working among the Ethiopian and Eritrean living in Madison. Thank you Pastor Thomas for your faithfulness and for your sharing with us about the work of God. You are a blessing! The worship team then led us in a wonderful time of singing praises to our great God. The message centered on how true faith in the loving God of the universe always resulting in blessings of incalculable worth. I pray it encouraged you to trust God in every area of your life. Knowing Him better and better is worth whatever it might cost us.

We are nearing the end of our “Forty Days of Prayer” emphasis. I would love to hear how God has impacted you during these days. Send an email or share in some other way how God has worked in your life through this. I could share these results with others in some upcoming Monday emails if that would be good with you. Or, if you would prefer to not share it publically, just let me know when you email or call. If God has worked in your life through this, share it was someone whom it would help to encourage them, even if it is not to be shared publically.

As the season of remembering the cross and resurrection of Jesus approaches, ask God how we at East Madison can take advantage of the season to share Christ.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church