Happy Monday, August 20, 2018 church!

August 20, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your week has started well. It was wonderful to be with you all yesterday and worship our great God and Savior. I pray you sensed the Lord’s presence as you worshipped. There is no substitute for gathering with the family of God and worshipping together. No believer can grow as they should in their understanding and walk with God if they are not part of regular worship and fellowship with the people of God. Believers who do not get the opportunity to be with other believers will tell you how wonderful being with the family of God regularly truly is. Yesterday’s message focused on how salvation is far more than an individual experience. God’s saves you so you can be part of His family, part of the community of the people of God. As Americans we tend to individualize everything from Scripture. But God’s promises are meant for more than us as individuals. They are meant for His people in community. We looked at the tragedies that Joseph faced in Genesis and realized the things he faced were not just so he could have a high position in Egypt. They were for the rescuing and saving of all the people of God and for the bringing about of God’s redemptive purposes in the world. Sometimes things happen in your life and my life that do not make sense if we individualize those things. However, they work for the good of the family of God, “for those who love the Lord and have been called according to His purpose.”

We will be starting some new groups this fall. We will have two new short-term groups, one for men and one for women. More information will be coming probably this weekend and those groups will begin sometime in September.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, August 13, 2018 church!

August 13, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was wonderful to be with you yesterday in worship as we learned about gaining God’s perspective. God’s perspective enables us to have the joy of faith and not be bogged down in the scorn of unbelief. God’s perspective sees God’s provision and protection for those who follow him instead of focusing on the grievous pain of separation when God calls us away from those we love. God’s perspective focuses on the new beginnings in life and not the closing of old chapters of our lives. Gaining God’s perspective enables us to live life with an undefeatable confidence.

I want to remind you that we have wonderful Bible Studies at 9:30 AM for all ages every Sunday. We have a children, youth and adult Bible study weekly with teachers who worked hard to teach God’s Word. I would encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to grow in your knowledge of God’s Word and to grow in knowing how to walk with and live for Jesus every day.

I wanted to thank you for the snacks you provided to Kennedy School for their community outreach to new families. Our partnership with them continues to grow. Things like this give us opportunities to get to know staff, parents and students. They will know that East Madison is a church who is concerned about our community. I am beginning to know many of the staff and count them friends. All this is happening because of your willingness to help. Pray for those staff and students at Kennedy that they would come to know or know more fully the love of Jesus.

Youth, this Friday, August 17 is the youth lock-in. It starts at 7:00 PM and runs through 10:00 AM the next day. Contact Damon or Megan Tolhurst or me if you need more information. You do need a signed permission slip for this and those are available at the church building.

We will be starting some new groups this fall. We will have two new short-term groups, one for men and one for women. More information will be coming soon.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, August 6, 2018 church!

August 6, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Once again I am grateful to our gifted and creative worship team! The new original EMBC worship team song they sang yesterday, “Here,” was fantastic! Ron Roberts’ first line was so powerful and wonderful: “Here is where the weak and weary call upon the Strong and Mighty One for the gentleness of grace.” Wow! I pray that East Madison would be known as such! I am also very grateful for another group of volunteers who work with our children in Sunday School and worship. What you do is essential and I want to thank Deanna, Grace, and every volunteer that works in childcare.

I know the sermon yesterday could have been challenging to many. We all have choices in our lives that we deeply regret and wish that we could undo. We need to remember when we think about those choices Psalm 103:8-13: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” We can’t go back and undo our choices and God does not want us to live in guilt or grief over those things of which He has forgiven and dealt with by the blood of Jesus. However, we can seek to make future decisions by seeking to choose to obey God and value what is eternal. Make decisions by not living your life for small things! Make decisions by not using your family background as an excuse for wrong choices. Believers need to value in life what is truly valuable. Seek to make decisions in life with eternity in view.

Please remember to bring your snack foods to the church building on or before Sunday, August 12, to help Kennedy School meet-and-greet at the Kingston Onyx Park. Bring purchased snack foods (nothing homemade) like chips, cookies, trail mix, popcorn to the church. We will then get it to the Kennedy team for that community outreach.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 23, 2018 church!

July 23, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! We had a great day yesterday worshiping and thinking about Jesus coming again. It was wonderful to see so many guests and how you graciously welcomed them. It was amazing to me how God works the worship songs picked out by Pete with the message. Pete and I do not choreograph these things but oftentimes it seems God does! 2 Peter 3 reminds us that, yes, Jesus is coming again! We wait for Jesus’ coming as we remember God’s great acts in creating the world and in His act of bringing a worldwide just judgment on the world in the flood of Noah’s day. We wait for Jesus’ coming knowing He delays because the God of eternity does not view time as we view time. A day to Him is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. We wait for His coming knowing that Jesus delays His return to give people opportunity to repent and believe in Him and be saved. God has no pleasure in punishing sinners but desires to saves sinners if they will believe in Jesus. Because Jesus will come back, we are diligent to seek to live every moment in ways that honor our great God by spreading the gospel and serving others. And finally because Jesus will come back, we seek to continually grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ that we might always live in awe of His greatness. We seek to keep growing so we will not be carried away by the false teachings and false teachers who distort and twist His Word. Christ Jesus physically, bodily, literally and absolutely is coming again to make everything new! Live in that sure hope today! Though the world mocks this blessed hope we have, we stand on its certainty!

I am on the faculty and community engagement team at Kennedy School. They are having a meet-and-greet on August 13 at the Kingston Onyx Park at the end of Vernon Ave so that parents new to that neighborhood can meet the Kennedy teachers and faculty. They asked me if our folks would be willing to donate some snack food for this outreach and I assured them we would love to do that. Could you bring purchased snack foods (nothing homemade) like chips, cookies, trail mix, popcorn to the church by August 12th to help? We will then get it to the Kennedy team for that community outreach.

We will be having the Lord’s Supper next Sunday, July 29th. On August 5 we will have a pot luck following the morning worship.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 16, 2018 church!

July 16, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Worship is always wonderful as we together adore God our Savior. We thought about God’s greatness and of the great hope we have in the One who truly is mighty to save! From 2 Peter 2 we looked at how to recognize false teachers and their false teachings. Specifically these teachings are not just areas of disagreement among believers, but “destructive heresies.” These “destructive heresies” are teachings that turn us away from who Jesus truly is and from the salvation found only by faith in Him. Anything that leads us away from God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is a destructive heresy. Peter instructs us that there will always be false teachers among his people. These false teachers are those who claim Christ and superficially look like they follow Jesus. But they teach a different Jesus than the Jesus revealed in the Bible and they teach a different salvation than a salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. We are as believers to beware of their influence. We are also to be aware of the sure judgment that comes upon anyone who leads people away from Jesus. We are to look closely at their character and the lives they live. Do they deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Jesus or are they living lives of self-indulgence and greed? We are also to see the results of their false teaching. Do they encourage people to trust only in Christ and continually turn from sin? Or do they falsely teach that you can embrace Jesus while still embracing your sin? Do they promise freedom but does their false teaching ultimately lead to enslavement to sin? Learn to recognize those who teach a Jesus that is different from Jesus Christ, the true Savior who is mighty to save.

We want to pray for those effected by the fire and explosion in Sun Prairie last week. Connie Boss and those who live in the apartment complex where she lives had to be evacuated from their apartments for one night because of the explosion. Here is a link sent to us by Mark Millman for those who want to know how to help financially also: https://www.channel3000.com/news/bank-sets-up-sun-prairie-disaster-relief-fund-for-community/767115087

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 9, 2018 church!

July 9, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday was a great day as we worshipped together. It was good to have all the members of the worship team together. I thank God for all of the members of our worship team. They love the Lord and weekly put in a lot of work to help us adore our awesome God, who deserves all our praise! It was good to continue our journey through God’s perfect word as we looked at Scripture given to us in Peter’s letters. We looked at how believers are to continually build their lives on the perfect treasure of the Bible, God’s Word. We saw that we do this first of all by continually reminding ourselves of foundational gospel truth. Secondly, we do this by understanding the historical nature and foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our faith is based on actual historical events and not man-invented myths. Finally from 2 Peter 1, we saw that believers build their lives on understanding the sure inspiration and trustworthiness of God’s perfect Word. In spite of all the attacks on the Bible, God’s Word has stood and will stand all the attacks against it as it reveals the only Savior and hope of the world, Jesus Christ. Build your lives upon Jesus Christ, who is Truth itself, and upon the Bible that reveals Jesus to us.

Please keep Barb in your prayers this week. Barb was very sick and was not getting better and we prayed for her yesterday in our service and invited you to pray for her. She sent me a text later in the day telling me that she was better and thinks she turned a corner. Thank you God for hearing the prayers of your people! Also pray for Connie. Connie was exercising and fell and dislocated her shoulder. They put the shoulder back in place but she remains in a lot of pain. We want you ladies to know we love you and are praying for you!

We will be having a house prayer meeting at the Juhlin’s this Wednesday night, July 11, 2018 at 7:00 PM. Hope you can come!

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 2, 2018 church!

July 2, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! We had a great day of worship and fellowship yesterday. We sang some great hymns reminding us that it is well with the souls of everyone who believes and that everyone who believes has victory in Jesus. We learned from looking at 2 Peter 1 that believers possess everything we need to live victorious lives. In our salvation God has provided everything we need for life and godliness. Not only that, but God provides us in Jesus with the energy and motivation to keep striving to grow closer to Jesus and more productive in our service to Him. We learned that as we grow, our fruitfulness for Jesus and confidence in Him will also grow stronger. We have everything we need to live for Him already provided for us. Daily we can appropriate what God has given us in Jesus to grow closer to and more fruitful for Him.

We will have our business meeting this Sunday evening, July 8 at 6:00 PM.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, June 25, 2018 church!

June 25, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was great to be back with you after a couple of wonderful weeks spent taking care of our granddaughters in Utah. We had a special time of Bible Study, worship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and fellowship yesterday. We were reminded from God’s Word in 2 Kings 5 and the story of Naaman that choosing God’s way brings wholeness to life. We learned from this passage that no person exempts himself or herself from life’s struggles and tragedies no matter how powerful or successful he or she might be. We learned that believers are never exempted from glorifying God no matter how difficult life might be for them at any given moment. We learned that none of us can demand God’s blessing or prescribe to Him how He should work in our lives. And, best of all, we learned that God always keeps His Word and promises. Even when we have small or reluctant faith, God’s promises and His Word are never reluctantly kept!

Connie Boss asked me yesterday how she could specifically pray for me. Her asking me this blessed me so much! Thank you, Connie, for praying for me! I know many others of you also pray for me and I want to thank you and ask you to continue. Connie’s question reminded me that each of us needs to pray for each other. Whenever you think of someone from East Madison, ask God to work in their lives to draw them closer to Himself, use them as witnesses to the love of Jesus, and glorify Himself through their lives and their families.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, June 4, 2018 church!

June 4, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I hope you had a good day on Sunday and got to enjoy the day with your family. It was great to worship with you yesterday and think about how to remain victorious in the battles we face in the Christian life. We were reminded in 1 Peter 5 that Christians plan for victory when they have godly, servant-leaders who love what they do and lead like Jesus. They lead as servant leaders, not little generals. First, we plan for victory by always remaining humble before the Lord and others. We guard continually against the opposite of humility, pride, “because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Next, we plan for victory by understanding our enemy the devil and being aware of his schemes. We know that in Jesus’ power and strength and with arming ourselves in the spiritual armor of God we can be victorious over the devil and whatever temptations and fears come our way. Finally, we plan for victory by simply standing in the grace of God. In spite of all the evil raging around us, we know we are already victorious because Jesus has won the victory for us.

We have a special blessing next Sunday, June 10th as Dr. Chad Brand, retired professor from Southern Seminary will be bringing the message. Dr. Brand has retired and is living near us so we want to take advantage of his presence in Wisconsin. Also, David Juhlin will bring a special message on fatherhood on Fathers’ Day, June 17th. Don’t miss these special messages!

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, May 29, 2018 church!

May 29, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy hot Tuesday to all! I hope most of you are in air conditioned spaces today. I also hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day as we remembered and thanked God for those who have died in the service of our country. My mind turns to my friend Brandon Buttry who died in Afghanistan in November of 2012.

Sunday was a wonderful day. It reminded me of how blessed I am to be your pastor! I am very thankful to God for leading me to East Madison. As we worshipped and looked into 1 Peter 4, we thought about choosing joy in the difficult times, knowing that God will work to bring good to us and glory to His name through whatever believers face. We know that one day we will have exuberant joy in the presence of the Lord when we will be able to see the good God has brought through all of our difficult times. Even now, the difficult times of suffering makes us keenly aware of God’s powerful presence. We also see that suffering burns away everything in us that does not look like Jesus. Peter reminds us as believers that we should never suffer for doing evil. However, if we suffer because of the name of Jesus we should not be ashamed but choose to thank God and rejoice even in the midst of that kind of suffering. Peter also reminds us that, if it is sometimes very difficult to serve the Lord, it is far more difficult ultimately not to believe in and know Jesus.

Sunday, June 3, 2018 is a special day as we recognize our only high school graduate this year, Kelsey Pokrandt, during our worship service. Kelsey, we are proud of you and know God has great things in store for you in the future!

Love being your pastor! Thank you for being such a loving and caring people!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church