Happy Sunday, August 4, 2019 church!

August 4, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Sunday and happy Lord’s Day to all!  Believers all over the world will meet today at different times and places celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.  Thus, we call this day the “Lord’s Day.”  Jesus is the One who died in our place and the One who conquered death never to die again.  Jesus our Lord gives to all who believe in Him eternal life.  He alone is worthy of all our worship and we lay our lives down in surrender to Him. 

As we looked at Matthew 14, we considered the two great miracles of that chapter, the feeding of the 5000+ and Jesus walking on water.  We learned Jesus gives His children impossible tasks to show He is God of the impossible.  It is a false teaching that God will not give us more than we can bear.  God often gives us more than we can bear to cause us to depend on His presence and power.  There is nothing He cannot enable us to do or bear!  God wants us to see that His strength is enough even when our strength is gone.  We saw that Jesus gives His children impossible tasks to show He is God of the impossible.  We learned that Jesus often puts us in overwhelming circumstances so His children will know His presence and power.  Is there some impossible thing in your life that you cannot do on your own, but you know needs to be done?  You have tried repeatedly to do this impossible thing, to break some habit or addiction, to accomplish some task that you believe God wants you to do? If there is something like that that you cannot and have not accomplished, Jesus is able to do that if you will just rely and turn to Him. 

Next Sunday, August 11, Dr. Leo Endel, Executive Director of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention and Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Rochester, Minnesota, will be preaching in our worship gathering.  Leo is a great friend of mine and Leo is an excellent teacher and preacher of the Word of God.  I am excited that he will be with us. 

We will be starting a membership class on September 8.  This class is designed to help understand what church membership at East Madison is about.  It will last four to five weeks and be held during our Bible Study times on Sunday morning at 9:30 AM.  Adults and older youth are invited to join us.  The class is for those new to East Madison or those who simply want to explore what we are all about.  I will be teaching the class so feel free to contact me with any question about the class.

We have a new childcare signup sheet for the next three months and we need some volunteers.  All our childcare workers need to have had a background check on file with EMBC.  The safety of our children is of primary concern to us. If you can help us out, please let me know.  If you haven’t yet had a background check on file with EMBC, we can work on getting that done if you would like to help. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 29, 2019 church!

July 29, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday, we sang about our glorious and mighty Savior God who has made us His own and Whom we serve.  From Matthew 14, we considered that we are to be people who thirst for, seek after and speak the truth to every generation regardless of the consequences.  Christians are to be people of the truth.  We are to speak the truth in love whether people agree with us or disagree with us.  We are to speak the truth if those around us embrace the truth and us, or if those around us reject the truth and us.  We are to speak the truth if people in power embrace it or if people in power reject it.  We are to speak the truth if the Republicans are in power and we are to speak the truth if Democrats are in power.  We are never so closely to align ourselves with one political faction that we cease to speak the truth to all in power and thus cease to be people of the truth.  Speaking the truth is more important than achieving political power and believers must never forget this!    It might cost us greatly to speak the truth, as it did John the Baptist, John Huss, William Tyndale, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who have paid for speaking the truth with their lives. All truth is in Jesus, who is truth itself, who alone is “the way, the truth and the life.” We must never forget that the truth will ultimately prevail and the truth truly does set free.   

We have a new childcare signup sheet for the next three months and we need some volunteers.  All of our childcare workers need to have had a background check on file with EMBC.  The safety of our children is of primary concern to us. If you can help us out, please let me know.  If you haven’t yet had a background check on file with EMBC, we can work on getting that done if you would like to help. 

Our sign team is meeting tonight as we work to update our sign.  Pray God would give us direction as we do this. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 22, 2019 church!

July 22, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Happy Monday to all!  It was good to be with God’s family at East Madison
yesterday and spend time worshiping our great God and encouraging one
another.  We thought about embracing God’s kingdom from Matthew 13. One of the themes of Jesus’ ministry was the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is right now here and is growing.  We looked at the opposition to the Kingdom. We thought about the continual growth of the Kingdom that comes steadily and silently.  God’s Kingdom grows by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and not through human governments or political power.  We looked at the ultimate worth of knowing Jesus the King and being a part of His Kingdom. We realized that ultimately the only citizenship that matters is being a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  There will come a day where every human beings eternal destiny will be determined on whether he or she embraced or rejected Jesus as Lord and King.  Yes, it is true that God’s ever-growing Kingdom continues in this world until its fulness is completed by the return
of Jesus Christ.

I want to thank Damon for preaching for me while Carla and I were in
Oklahoma celebrating Carla’s parents 60th anniversary.  (I listened to your
message, Damon, and you did an excellent job!)  Carl and June, Carla’s
parents, have set a wonderful example of having a very good marriage and we are so grateful to them for that example.  

We are working on updating our sign.  Pray God would give us direction as we do this.  

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 8, 2019 church!

July 8, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  We had a great day yesterday in worship.  Lydia Delikat shared with us about God’s calling her and her fiancé  Ben to go to an unreached people group.  She challenged us to have a greater vision of taking the gospel to the world.  The need in so many places is so great and the number of those taking the gospel to those places that desperately need to hear the gospel is relatively small.   Thank you, Lydia, for reminding us of God’s call for us to take the gospel to all peoples, nations and languages.  We also thought from Matthew 13 of how our spiritual vision and capacity is either improving or declining.  We learned the principle that those who respond to truth receive more truth and those who reject truth become more and more deceived.  When we believe and receive God’s truth, we are enabled and empowered to receive more truth.  When we receive and believe God’s truth, our lives have purpose and count for what is eternal.  All of us need to ask God to make us open and ready to receive whatever truth He might say to us whenever He might say it. 

We will observe the Lord’s Supper next Sunday, July 14, during worship.  We will have a Pot Luck luncheon after the morning worship on July 21.

Congratulations to Grayson and Edie Doss on the birth of their daughter on Saturday, July 6. 

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, July 1, 2019 church!

July 1, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  I want to thank all who helped while I was gone, especially David Juhlin and Hans Stennes-Spidahl for preaching for me.  It is good to know there are those who can step up to proclaim God’s truth if I have to be away.  I listened to both of their messages and both were faithful to deliver clear, Biblical messages from God’s Word. 

It was good to be back with God’s family at East Madison yesterday.   Thank you, worship team, for helping us to praise our great God. We sang one of my favorite hymns yesterday, “Before The Throne of God Above,” by Charitie Bancroft.   The second verse is my favorite. 

“When Satan tempts me to despair,

And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look and see Him there,

Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free,

For God the just was satisfied,

To look on Him and Pardon me,

To look on Him and pardon me.

The subject we considered from Matthew 12 yesterday “The Point of No Return” was a difficult subject.  It reminded us of the dangers of persistent and stubborn unbelief.  If you continually resist the wooing of God’s Holy Spirit and deliberately refuse to receive and follow Jesus, you are in great, great eternal danger.  Today, if you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, you need to respond and believe in Jesus.  Do not ignore that  wooing.  Do not resist that wooing.  Do not think that you can respond in your timetable.  You need to respond while God is speaking and believe in Jesus, because “today is the day of salvation.”  Please, if God is calling you to salvation today, don’t ignore His Holy Spirit.  Today, all who come to Jesus will receive forgiveness and life. If we will respond, “God the just is satisfied, to look on Jesus and pardon us.”  I am so grateful for this great salvation!

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, June 10, 2019 church!

June 10, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  It is wonderful to be part of the family of God at East Madison!  Yesterday we discovered this once again as we observed the Lord’s Supper and remembered that Jesus gave His body and shed His blood for us, so that our sins could be forgiven.  As we took communion together we were reminded that we are part of one another, joined together by Jesus and all He has done for us.  We celebrated the high school graduations of Emily, Kayt and Savannah as their church family.  We looked from Matthew 12 how we avoid rule-keeping religion.   Truly following Jesus frees us from rule-keeping religion and provides rest and peace. Rule-keeping religion focuses on others supposed failures instead of our personal need for forgiveness and rest. Rule keeping religion loses sight of the hurts and needs of people and emphasizes rules and rituals.  Rule-keeping religion cares more about defending itself than about helping those crushed by life. Rule-keeping religion ultimately crushes and destroys us and others.  Truly resting in Jesus and His forgiveness and seeking to love Him more and love others more helps us avoid rule-keeping religion.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, June 3, 2019 church!

June 3, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was wonderful to be together yesterday in worship of our Savior and in feasting together as the family of God.  We sang about our Redeemer’s great love and care for His people.  We thought about coming to Jesus at every stage of life. We asked if we would go to Jesus in the face of life’s doubts and injustices.  We considered if we would run to Jesus when most continue to reject Him.  We contemplated whether we will seek Jesus even when the intellectuals and elite of our day continue to mock those who seek Jesus.  We realized that Jesus invites us to continually come to Him.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  We can go to Jesus and should go to Jesus because Jesus, with open arms, bids the weary to come to Him!  All of us need to come to Jesus and live!

We will be recognizing our graduating high school seniors this coming Sunday, June 9 during our morning worship.  We have three young ladies we will recognize:  Kayt Smith, Emily Juhlin and Savannah Kopf. 

We will also have the Lord’s Supper this coming Sunday, June 9, during morning worship.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, May 28, 2019 church!

May 28, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Tuesday to all! Today is a special day for me in that it is my Dad’s birthday.  I thank God for a father who sought to teach me to love Jesus and live for him.  My dad was a flawed man, but He knew a perfect Savior and trusted in Him.   I miss him still even after 15 years. 

Sunday we had a wonderful day of worship as we sang to our great God and Savior and thought about His love and mercy.  We want it to be said of us that the Lord is our passion!  We thought about our willingness to follow Jesus and be on mission with him.  We considered from 1 Corinthians 9 what it meant to be all things to all men and women that we might save some.   We asked ourselves if we are willing to make sacrifices, forgo rights, give up preferences, and discipline ourselves for the cause of the gospel?  What will we do so others might know our Savior who loves us and them enough to sacrifice His life on the cross for their salvation and forgiveness? How far are you and I willing to go in sharing our lives so others might come to know Christ? Will we be part of His church on mission with Jesus so that the “Lamb that was slain will receive the reward of His suffering?” These are questions with which we must continually evaluate ourselves so we remain on mission with Jesus. 

Remember we have a Pot Luck luncheon after worship this Sunday, June 2.  Bring enough food for your family and a little extra for any guests who are with us.

We will be recognizing our graduating high school seniors on Sunday, June 9. We will also have the Lord’s Supper on that morning.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, May 20, 2019 church!

May 20, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday, we learned we are on a covert mission behind enemy lines as we carry out the Great Commission.  We are to continue to spread the good news that Jesus saves.  Jesus tells us that until the end comes, we are on mission with Him, waging war behind enemy lines.  We are not unaware of the dangers of the mission and know its reality.  We are constantly on guard against the internal enemy of fear of people and fear itself and know fear to be a liar!  We know there are distractors possibly even from those closest to us who want to keep us from being on mission with Jesus.  We also know others will be supporters and family to us who are on mission with Jesus.  Jesus’ presence in our lives provides courage and power to faithfully carry out His mission until He returns!  Stay on mission with Jesus.  The enemy is already defeated. Jesus has already secured victory!

Our next Pot Luck luncheon will be after worship on Sunday, June 2.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, May 13, 2019 church!

May 13, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  We worshipped God together as the East Madison family and sang of His continual greatness yesterday.  We looked at Matthew 9 and 10 and realized every believer is called to be on mission with Jesus.  We are called to spread the good news with a needy world of the forgiveness and salvation God has provided through Jesus.  We thought about how urgent this call is to us as we considered how many people around us are in great despair.  We looked at how the Lord equips us with His power and authority to be on mission with Him.  We also thought about how we need to seek to be strategic as we carry out the call of God to take the gospel to Madison and the world.  Finally, we realized the Lord informed us that many will reject the forgiveness and salvation offered to them.  Though this may temporarily discourages us, we must not stay there.  The rejection of some should push us on the share with  others who will receive the good news of Jesus.  Then, without any kind of prearrangement between Pete and I, God’s Spirit led the worship team to close us with a couple of songs that called us to continually offer our lives to God to use for His mission and His purposes.  May each of our lives truly be a continual offering to God! 

Our next Pot Luck luncheon will be after worship on Sunday, June 2.

Love being your pastor! 

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church