Happy Monday, January 20, 2020 church!

January 20, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers, 

Happy Monday to all!  We sang yesterday about Jesus being the Rock that we build our lives upon, that Jesus truly is our Rock and our Redeemer.  Then we considered from Matthew 24 how we are to live in the light of waiting for the sure coming of Jesus.  We learned from Matthew 24 some specific things we are to do and not do.  We are not to panic because we live in difficult times for the world and for God’s people.  We are to not to confuse catastrophic happenings in our nation or in the world for the end of the world.  We are to know that Christ will return as the gospel is being preached to all the peoples in the whole world. We are to always be on mission with Jesus in talking His gospel to the whole world until He comes. We are to know when Jesus comes again, no one will misunderstand what is happening. Revelation 1:7 teaches us that: “He (Jesus) is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”  We wait in hope for the One who purchased us with His blood!  We are to live every day for the glory of God, every day as if it is our last day on earth, every day considering the sure coming of Christ.  Believers in every age seek to be faithful to Jesus every day as if He could return for us on any day. 

Today we remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King continually fought for justice and helped us to see that we should all fight for justice.  We might not have the platform Dr. King had or the severe hatred and opposition that he endured that ultimately took his life in the battle for justice. But we can all strive for justice in our areas of influence even when we are opposed.  Jim Dennison wrote, “Dr. King was brilliant in his diagnosis of the problem facing our nation.”  Then he quoted Dr. King when he said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Reminder, church council members, that we will meet tomorrow night, January 21, at 6:30 PM.

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 13, 2020 church!

January 13, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  We had a wonderful day of worship as we sang praise to God and read Scripture from Psalm 103, Romans 5 and Isaiah 57.  We then thought about the warnings against religious hypocrisy that Jesus spoke in Matthew 23.  Those warnings teach us to continually guard ourselves against religious hypocrisy.  Jesus warned us against living for the for the applause of men instead of the glory of God.  We don’t want to live before others acting like we love God and others but not actually loving God and others. We can appear clean and alive when truly we are corrupt and dead, if our religion is about what is in it for us instead of being centered in Christ Jesus saving us to live for the glory of God. Don’t live for the applause and praise of men but for the glory and praise of God!

It was also wonderful yesterday to commission and pray for Damon and Megan as they move to Michigan.  We had a great time in our potluck honoring Damon and Megan.  It truly was a joy to celebrate all they mean to us at East Madison.  Yes, it is bittersweet because we will miss them, but we believe God is sending them from us to be used for His glory as they move on. 

Damon and Megan need some help this Friday, January 17, at 5:30 PM to load their moving truck.  They will provide pizza to all who help.  I hope to see you there.  Their address is 880 Garden Dr., Apt. 90, Sun Prairie.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy New Year and Happy Monday, January 6, 2020 church!

January 6, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday and Happy New Year to all!  Yesterday was a wonderful day of worship as we shared the Lord’s Supper together, remembering Jesus, the One who is our salvation.  We considered new beginnings yesterday as we looked at three passage that remind us God is a God who makes all things new.  We saw from Revelation 21 that God ultimately will make all things new by destroying all evil.  We then saw from 2 Corinthians 5 that we don’t’ have to wait for all things to be made new, but that we can right now be made new as we believe in Jesus and are in Him.  We finally saw from Lamentations that every day is a new beginning for us no matter how horrific the circumstances we find ourselves in at the present time.  This is true because “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.”  This is true because “His mercies never come to an end.”  God never runs out of love or mercy for those who look to Him.  This is true because His steadfast love and mercies are “new every morning.”  This is true, not because we are always faithful to Him, but because “great is His faithfulness.” We serve a God who makes all things new!

This Sunday following our morning worship, we will have a special potluck luncheon to honor Damon and Megan Tolhurst as they move to Michigan to continue to serve the Lord.  Bring enough food for your family and a little extra for our guests.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Christmas celebration week, 2019 church!

December 22, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Christmas week to all!  When we worshipped, we thought about the truth that salvation was in a person.  Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is fully God who became fully man to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.  Those who saw Jesus saw salvation. Joseph, Mary and the shepherds saw salvation when they saw Jesus in the manger. Simeon saw and held salvation when he was led by the Holy Spirit to the temple when Jesus was being dedicated as a firstborn Israelite.  The wise men saw salvation when they came to the house in Bethlehem where the toddler Jesus and his family were living, and they fell and worshipped the toddler Jesus.  John the Baptist saw salvation when he saw coming toward him Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  The thief on the cross saw salvation as he saw the One dying beside him who could remember him when Jesus came into His kingdom.  And we who have believed without seeing in Jesus will one day see face to face the Jesus whom we have trusted our lives to and the One who saved us and made us His children!   We yearn for that day!

Join the East Madison family for a wonderful time of worship on Christmas Eve at 5:00 PM on December 24. 

I want to remind you we will not have Sunday School on December 29.  Worship begins at 10:30 AM.

We are taking up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions through the end of the month.

Merry Christmas! Remember Jesus is the reason for the season! Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, December 16, 2019, church!

December 16, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  As we continue to move toward the celebration of the birth of Christ, yesterday we thought about the beginning of Christmas.  Christmas did not begin in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.  It did not begin when God created the heavens and the earth.  Christmas began in the very heart of Almighty God before time began.  Before time began God planned for the redemption of those who believe.  We saw the eternal identity of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was God the Son who eternally has been.  From eternity Jesus is in communion with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was God the Son who was with God and was God and who created all things.  In Jesus is light and life.  And Jesus is God the Son who was made flesh and dwelt among us.  God did not tell us a way of salvation.  Jesus came to us and became fully human to be the Way of salvation.  Jesus is fully God and fully man.  And today, Jesus still comes to us.  Jesus comes to all who will receive Him.  Jesus lives in them by His Holy Spirit.  Jesus of Nazareth is the very God of eternity who alone can save us from sin. 

We will be having a Christmas Eve service at 5:00 PM on December 24. 

We are taking up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions through the end of the month.

Remember to keep praying for each other as we all seek to deal with the struggles of life and follow the Lord more closely. 

Celebrate Jesus this Christ as the reason for the season! I want to include a link this week to a wonderful worship song.  May it encourage you, as it did me, as you watch it and realize Jesus is truly our Rock and our Redeemer.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpELMk4-3n8

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, December 2, 2019 church!

December 9, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday, we celebrated the second Sunday of advent and thought about the topic of peace.  The worship team led us into songs about the coming of the Prince of Peace.  Dave G sang a wonderful song pointing us to praising the one who brings peace, the Christ-child.  We then looked from God’s Word in Matthew 2 about the first person who tried to steal Christmas from us, King Herod. King Herod tried to stop God’s plan of redemption at the very beginning but was unsuccessful.  We saw that whoever tries to destroy God’s redemptive purposes will fail and be destroyed.  We thought just as Herod tried to steal Christmas from us, there are Christmas stealers among us today who want to rob us of the joy of the season.  Christmas stealers try to turn our focus from persons to presents.  Christmas stealers try to get our focus on the rush of the season instead of helping us slow down to rest. As we slow down, we can contemplate the true meaning of Christmas, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.  Christmas stealers try to get our focus on the fantasy of Chris Cringle instead of the reality of Jesus Christ.  We must be careful not to be robbed of the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth by focusing on the wrong priorities.  

I am sure many of you ladies saw the painting that had been completed in the ladies’ restroom.  Brian Butterfield spent time every day last week finishing the stripping of the old paint, applying new waterproofing and paint to the ladies’ restroom, and putting it all back together.  It looks great!  Thank you, Brian, for all your hard work! We all appreciate you!

We unanimously approved an update to our sign yesterday.  It is so wonderful to have God’s people in harmony as we seek to move forward. I want to thank the sign team for all their hard work in determining what God would have us do and then recommending this update to the church.  The contract has been signed and sent to the sign company! 

Ladies, remember the Christmas outing this Saturday, December 14, to attend the Overture Center Carol Sing.  If you want to carpool with others, be at the church at 10:00 AM.  (I have heard that some chauffeurs will be provided that will drop you off at the Overture Center, so you won’t have to find parking!) After the event, the ladies will have Lunch at Monty’s Blue Plater Diner.

We will be having a Christmas Eve service at 5:00 PM on December 24. 

Celebrate Jesus this Christmas as the reason for the season! Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, December 2, 2019 church!

December 2, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  We had a fantastic day as we worshipped together as God’s East Madison family.  We looked at Matthew 22 and saw where the enemies of Jesus tried to trap Him but were unable to do so.  The enemy still seeks to trap God’s people with these same traps.  We saw we are to give to government what belongs to government, but our ultimate allegiance is to Jesus alone as Lord.  We also saw the life to come is not in conflict with this life.  This life prepares us for eternity with Jesus.  The next life provides perfect justice and sees every wrong of this life righted.  We then saw we are to love God supremely and, because we love God, we love our neighbor as ourselves.  We love God by helping our neighbor, not by hurting them.  No one can see our love for God but loving our neighbors and seeking to help them is a tangible result of our loving God.  We also saw Jesus as fully human and the promised descendant of David who would reign forever, but also as fully God, the eternal Son of God.  We saw through all these things, Jesus never fails but whoever seeks Jesus’ downfall will ultimately fail and be destroyed. 

Carla and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful gift to help us be able to see our children and grandchildren more often.  You surely surprised your pastor! Carla and I were touched deeply and truly overwhelmed with your thoughtfulness.  We were also overwhelmed as you gathered around us at the close of the service to pray for us! These generous acts mean the world to us!  God has so blessed us by allowing us to serve Him and you here at East Madison.

We have a called business meeting next Sunday, December 8, following our morning worship time.  The sign team will present a recommendation to you on a proposal to update our sign. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, November 25, 2019 church!

November 25, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Wasn’t it great yesterday having five sermons?  You might say, “Pastor, I love you, but there is no way I am going to sit through five of your sermons in a row!”  Well, I only preached once yesterday.  The other four sermons were seeing the gospel preached through the baptisms of Becky, Kathleen, Jessica and Nathan.  Every baptism is a proclamation, a sermon, that Christ Jesus has died for our sins, was buried and rose again conquering death forever!  Every baptism is a proclamation that the person baptized has died to life without Christ, is burying that old life, and now has a new life in Jesus Christ!  Then, the message from Matthew 22 that I preached reminded us that God has invited us into His Kingdom and to His great banquet and provided us with the clothing of the righteousness of Jesus so we could go to His grand party!  Baptism symbolizes all who receive Jesus have accepted God’s grand invitation and the covering of Jesus’ righteousness and have joined the party!  I can only say, “Hallelujah” for all God has done for us!

We will observe the Lord’s Supper this coming Sunday, December 1st during our morning worship service.

We will have a called business meeting on Sunday, December 8, following our morning worship time.  The sign team will present a recommendation to you on a proposal to update our sign. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you!

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, November 18, 2019 church!

November 18, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday was wonderful as we worshipped together in the morning and in the evening celebrated the goodness of God to all of us at our Thanksgiving Feast.  (Are you still full from the Thanksgiving dinner?)  We sang yesterday morning praise to our God who has provided salvation to those who believe at the greatest cost imaginable to Himself-the death of the Son of God in our place.  From Matthew 21 we looked at how Jesus confronted His confronters and taught us about how to recognize false religion when we see it.  We learned some characteristics of false religion.  False religion looks alive but never makes a difference in leading people to love God supremely and love others sacrificially.  False religion refuses to recognizes God’s presence and power in its very midst. False religion pronounces “God is first” but always puts self before God. Those who practice false religion never recognize God’s rightful claim upon their lives or God’s only Son Jesus as Lord. Jesus did not come to bring to us another religion but came to give to us His life-giving presence. Christ Jesus denounces fruitless religion and replaces it with His life-giving presence among His people.

We will be packing boxes for Samaritan’s Purse this Saturday evening, November 23, at 6:30 PM.  There is a list of the things you can bring to put into the boxes we send.  There are tubs at the church building to put items in after you buy them.    Join us in this outreach ministry.

We are going to have baptisms this Sunday, November 24.  If you might be interested in being baptized on that Sunday, contact me and let’s talk about this.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, November 11, 2019 church!

November 11, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!   Yesterday we looked from Matthew 21 at Jesus’ courageous example to us of confronting evil and injustice.  We explored the need to confront injustice and evil by seeking to understand God’s timing. We don’t want to confront injustice out of anger or emotion but want to confront it thoughtfully and rationally following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.   We also thought about confronting evil and injustice by opposing religious hypocrisy.  We must not turn a blind eye when leaders in the church or God’s people do wrong and dishonor Jesus.   We considered that we don’t just confront injustice, but we want to be vessels through which God’s salvation and healing will flow to the outcast.  Even though we wait on God’s timing, we don’t want to be timid and refuse to confront injustice and evil when the time is right.  When the time to act comes, we need to act courageously!  Believers purposely confront evil and injustice by following Jesus’ courageous example.

I was reminded again as I talked with a few of you this week how important it is for us to continually pray for each other.   All of us have our different struggles, but we all have struggles! We need to pray for each other because we all need God’s strength to live for God’s glory and to be victorious over the enemy’s temptations.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There are still a few items needed for the dinner listed on the sign-up sheet in the foyer. Invite a friend to be your guest at this meal.

We will be packing boxes for Samaritan’s Purse on Saturday evening, November 23, at 6:30 PM.  There is a list at the church building of the things you can bring to put into the boxes we send.  There are tubs at the church building to put items in after you buy them.    Join us in this outreach ministry.

We are going to have some baptisms on Sunday, November 24.  If you might be interested in being baptized on that Sunday, contact me and let’s talk about this.

Happy Veterans Day to all of you who have served our country in the military.  Thank you for your service to our nation.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church