Happy Monday, June 1, 2020 church!

June 1, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday, as we worshipped, we considered what happens when God says “No” to some of our prayers.  Paul experienced this in 2 Corinthians 12 when Paul asked God to remove the “thorn in his flesh.” God told Paul “No” to this request. Instead, God said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God told Paul that in Paul’s weakness, God power would be shown to be perfect, sufficient, and enough. There will be times when we will pray for something and God will not give us what we ask.  In these times, we often do not understand what God is doing.  God sometimes allows the continuance of struggles and difficulties for His glory, the furtherance of His kingdom, and for our good.  Will we trust God when he says “no” to changing the circumstances of our lives?  Will we trust God when that thing we pray for does not happen?  Do we believe that God will bring about greater things through His “no” to our prayers and to His continued allowance of struggles and difficulties?  Whatever we face, we know God promises His ever increasing and all-sufficient grace to help us when he says “no” to our prayers. Will we believe and trust Him even in this?

Our church will begin meeting physically, the Lord willing, starting this Sunday, June 7. On June 7, and probably for a while, the plan is to conduct outdoor services in our parking lot.  We will have people parking cars appropriately distanced from one another. We ask that you bring lawn chairs for the members of your family to sit in front of your vehicles.  We will continue to practice social distancing as we meet outside.  We will also provide virtual worship and begin to provide a live feed to our services. In case of inclement weather, we will only live stream our services. If you have a fever and/or other symptoms of being ill or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid 19, we ask that you stay home and worship with us virtually. We realize some of you are concerned with meeting in this manner because of health issues. We support you if you feel like you need to stay home to protect your health. Some of you might not agree with how we are proceeding but know, as best we can, we are trying to do what we believe is God’s will and best for His people.  Please pray for me and the church council as we continue to adapt to this changing crisis and work out details.

Please remember to pray for our city and nation during these tense days.  Pray for justice and then peace to be better established.  Pray for the rage to decrease and forgiveness, love, and mercy to increase.

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving to the Lord during these difficult times.  We are receiving offerings in a couple of ways.  You can mail offering checks to the church address at the Milwaukee Street address below. Also, you can give your offerings online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage or you can click this link directly:  https://give.idonate.com/east-madison-baptist-church/give

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, May 26, 2020 church!

May 26, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Tuesday to all! It was good to have Pete lead us in virtual worship yesterday. We appreciate you, Pete! I pray that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper reminded you that the Lord is near.   We looked at one of the most beloved passages of hope as we looked in John 3:16. Jesus is our hope and the hope of the world. God’s love for us provides hope when hope can be found nowhere else.  God loves us and proved His love for us by giving Jesus to die and then rise again for whoever will believe.  This offer is open to all.  This offer frees those who will believe from perishing. This offer to all who will believe provides us with the life of knowing the one true God and to love and live for Him.  Jesus came not to condemn but to rescue us from condemnation. This is the hope of all who will believe.

Our church will begin meeting physically starting June 7. On June 7, and probably for a while, the plan is to conduct outdoor services in our parking lot.  We will have people parking cars appropriately distanced from one another. We ask that you bring lawn chairs for the members of your family to sit in front of your vehicles.  We will continue to practice social distancing as we meet outside.  We will also provide virtual worship and begin to provide a live feed to our services. In case of inclement weather, we will only live stream our services. If you have a fever and/or other symptoms of being ill or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid 19, we ask that you stay home and worship with us virtually. We realize some of you are concerned with meeting in this manner because of health issues. We support you if you feel like you need to stay home to protect your health. Some of you might not agree with how we are proceeding but know, as best we can, we are trying to do what we believe is God’s will and best for His people.  Please pray for me and the church council as we continue to adapt to this changing crisis and work out details.

I encourage you to take advantage of virtual meetings with other believers during this time.  We need each other! I continue to be grateful for the virtual meetings taking place with the ladies on Saturday morning and the prayer meeting on Sunday evening. 

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving to the Lord during these difficult times.  We are receiving offerings in a couple of ways.  You can mail offering checks to the church address at the Milwaukee Street address below. Also, you can give your offerings online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage or you can click this link directly:  https://give.idonate.com/east-madison-baptist-church/give

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, May 18, 2020 church!

May 18, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! The message from Ephesians 5 and 6 reminded us of the importance of family relationships.  As we love, submit, and surrender to God, we love, submit, and serve those closest to us.

I also especially loved the songs Pete picked out to use in worship yesterday.  Notice the words of one of them written by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, “His Mercy is More.” 

What love could remember, no wrongs we have done
Omniscient all-knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea, without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

(Chorus) Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more

What patience would wait, as we constantly roam
What Father so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more (Chorus)


What riches of kindness, He lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood ‘neath a debt, we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more (Chorus)

I am so glad that God’s “mercy is more!”

I know many of you want to know when we will begin meeting again physically as a congregation.  In Dane county, there is still a “safer at home” order in place until May 26. Even after this expires, we want to be led by God’s Holy Spirit in being deliberate and careful.  We want to protect God’s people individually, His church as a whole, and the witness to the gospel of East Madison Baptist in our community.   When we do begin to meet again, we will follow the recommendations of our state and local leaders. We will open slowly and responsibly. My friend Paul Berthiaume said it better than I could say it.  “We are not keeping our campus closed because our freedoms are being oppressed. Rather, through God’s grace and the freedom he has granted us, we are choosing to do the wise, safe and responsible thing, as best we can discern under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Essentially, we are choosing to LIMIT OURSELVES for love’s sake.” In all that we do, we are seeking to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. 

In saying all this, the church council is meeting again this week to solidify a plan. At first, we will not go back to a full worship or activity schedule. We will either limit the number of people who can be in the building or possibly arrange outdoor services, to maintain social distancing guidelines.  We have ordered touchless disinfecting stations, but they will not be here until July.  We will continue to provide virtual worship services for those who may have compromised immune systems and need to be especially careful.  We are seeking to have something in place in early June, possibly the first Sunday. Pray for the church council as we begin to think about how we can wisely proceed in coming out of this time of social distancing. 

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, May 11, 2020 church!

May 11, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday in the message, we looked at the world’s best advice.  The world’s best advice was given by Jesus’ mother, Mary, in John 2.  Jesus was at the wedding feast honoring marriage and family. The first social act of God in Genesis was creation of the family when God presented Eve to Adam. The first miracle of Jesus in the gospels was a miracle honoring marriage.  At that feast, the couple ran out of wine.  This would have resulted in complete humiliation for this newly wedded couple unless something was done.  Mary wanted to stop this humiliation from happening, so she approached Jesus with the problem.  Then Mary gave the best advice ever given to those serving the guests at the wedding.  Mary told those who were serving to do whatever Jesus told them to do.  Jesus told the servants to fill the huge containers that were used for ceremonial washings with water.  Jesus then told them to take a draw of those containers to the master of the feast.  When these servants did what Jesus told them to do, they witnessed Jesus’ first miracle, the water becoming superb wine!  These servants witnessed that first miracle that protected a young couple’s marriage.  From this we learned that the best thing any of us can ever do is to do whatever Jesus tells us to do.  The best advice anyone can ever give another person is to do whatever Jesus tell them to do.  

I know this time of social distancing has been difficult for many of us.  It is difficult not to be able to meet as a congregation physically and only conduct worship virtually.  However, we will come out of this!  Pray for the church council as we begin to think about how we can wisely proceed in coming out of this time of social distancing.  We will have to change some of the things we have taken for granted in the past, at least for a while.  We will have to avoid handshakes, hugs, passing offering plates, and other things.  We will have to be more careful in other areas as well.  We need God’s wisdom so when the time comes to begin meeting together physically, we will have a plan in place.

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving to the Lord during these difficult times.  We are receiving offerings in a couple of ways.  You can mail offering checks to the church address at the Milwaukee Street address below. Also, you can give your offerings online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage.

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, May 5, 2020!

May 5, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Tuesday to all! As some of you know I was unable to send my regular email yesterday, so this is another attempt to send it out

I hope your times of worship have been helpful during our times of social distancing. I know the song Pete shared written by Ron Roberts reminded me God can and will, “Give us hope, give us strength, give us grace.” As we looked at 1 Samuel 17 and the event of David and Goliath, we learned all of us have times of discouragement in our lives.  We become discouraged because we underestimate our enemy the devil and overestimate ourselves.  We become discouraged because we forget we are children of God and belong to the Almighty God of the universe.  We become discouraged because we often seek to avoid difficulties and problems instead of dealing with them in a timely manner.  We can overcome discouragement when we realize that our faithfulness to serve God yesterday in small things enables us to deal with possibly bigger assignments today.  And ultimately, we overcome discouragement when we realize that the battle is the Lord’s and we will be victorious as we live for Him.  God empowers those who look to Him to be victorious even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Wonderful news! The city has approved our variance request to improve and update our sign!  It will not be long now!

We are reminded from Philippians 4:4 that we are to “rejoice in the Lord always.”  To do that we make a deliberate choice to always rejoice in Jesus Himself. We might not rejoice in our circumstances, but we rejoice in Jesus, who is greater than our circumstances.  Jesus is the true source of our joy and in Him we can always rejoice.

I encourage you to take advantage of virtual meetings with other believers during this time.  We need each other! I continue to be grateful for the virtual meetings taking place with the ladies on Saturday morning and the prayer meeting on Sunday evening. 

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving to the Lord during these difficult times.  We are receiving offerings in a couple of ways.  You can mail offering checks to the church address at the Milwaukee Street address below. Also, you can give your offerings online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage or you can click this link directly:  https://give.idonate.com/east-madison-baptist-church/give

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, April 27, 2020 church!

April 27, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday as we worshipped virtually together, we sang about how wonderful our Savior is and all He has done for us.  We then considered from 1 Corinthians 6 about the glorious change Jesus Christ makes in the life of anyone who will trust their life to Him.  We learned from this passage that God’s grace will not leave us where we are.  Jesus saves us from sin, not in sin and Jesus saves us to know and follow Him as Lord. More and more I am convinced that Jesus did not come to save us from hell, but He came to save us from sin.  Sin leads to death, and death and hell and are sin’s end results. The thing we need to be saved from is sin.  We learned also that God’s grace will cleanse you, free you, forgive you and make you forever a child of God.  God moves powerfully in the lives of those who believe and trust in Jesus.  Those who trust Jesus have been enslaved and found that Jesus could free them. Those who trust Jesus have been wracked with guilt and found that Jesus could forgive them. Those who trust Jesus have been broken by pain and discovered that Jesus could comfort them. Those who trust Jesus have been filled with hatred and found that Jesus could fill them with His love. Jesus Christ makes a glorious change in the lives of anyone who will trust their lives to Him.  I pray you have entrusted your life to Jesus or that you will entrust your life to Jesus today. 

I encourage you to take advantage of virtual meetings with other believers during this time.  We need each other! I continue to be grateful for the virtual meetings taking place with the ladies on Saturday morning and the prayer meeting on Sunday evening. 

You can mail offering checks to the church at the Milwaukee Street address below. Also, you can give your offerings online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage.  Or you can click this link directly:  https://give.idonate.com/east-madison-baptist-church/give.  I want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving during this time of social distancing.      

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.  We all need to pray and be prayed for, especially during these difficult days.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, April 20, 2020 church!

April 20, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  I pray yesterday was a wonderful day of worship for you and your families as we worshipped through music, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and the proclaiming of the Word of God.  I pray the virtual observance of the Lord’s Supper was meaningful to you as we remembered Jesus and all He has done and will do.  We remembered His great sacrifice so our sins could be justly forgiven. We remembered that He rose again, ascended to heaven, and is coming back.  Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is remembering Jesus totally-what He has done, what He is doing presently as He intercedes (prays) for us now, and what He will do in the future as He returns to rule and reign forever. 

Yesterday’s message from Matthew 28 reminded us that believers are always on mission with Jesus.  We follow Him as disciples and seek to call others from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation to join us as disciples who follow Jesus.  We are called to take the good news of Jesus to our communities and to the world.  As Jesus has authority over all the universe, Jesus gives us the authority and power to carry out this world-wide task. And Jesus will be with us always as we take His good news everywhere.

I continue to be grateful for the virtual meetings taking place with the ladies on Saturday morning and the prayer meeting on Sunday evening.  I know some wonderful fellowship, ministry, and sharing are happening in the ladies’ meetings.  The virtual prayer times on Sunday night have been wonderful!

I want to encourage you to be faithful in your worship of giving offerings to the Lord through His church during the time we can’t meet physically. The mission of the church is supported by the people of God.  The work of the Lord goes on around the world.  You can mail offering checks to the church address on Milwaukee Street. Also, you can give your offering online at the embclife.org website by clicking the “Give Online” tab on the homepage.  Or you can click this link directly:  https://give.idonate.com/east-madison-baptist-church/give  

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.

Praying you all stay safe.  Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Easter Monday, April 13, 2020 church!

April 13, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Easter Monday to all!  We celebrated the resurrection of Jesus yesterday and the truth is we can celebrate our Risen Lord every day because Jesus is alive forevermore!  On Good Friday we remembered everything that needs to be done for us to be saved has been done.  Jesus has paid it all and we simply cling to and believe in what He has done for us. On Resurrection Sunday, we remembered the Savior who conquered death conquered it for all who believe.   Yes, there have been and are those who try to explain away the empty tomb since it occurred during the first century and since that time.  However, the only truly rational, reasonable and believable explanation for the empty tomb is the Jesus rose physically from the dead!  Jesus lives and we live in and through Him!

Next week, Sunday April 19, is our scheduled time to have the Lord’s Supper together.  Even though we cannot be together physically, I want us to celebrate the Lord’s Supper virtually together.  If you would like to participate, I encourage you to get some grape juice and crackers for those in your home who will participate.  I will send out a video leading us in taking the Lord’s Supper along with the video of next week’s sermon.  As always, those who take the supper should be believers because the supper is meaningless if you have not yet trusted Christ with your life.  Also, we should examine ourselves and confess and forsake any sin that God reveals to our minds and we should be careful to have a reverent understanding that we are remembering Jesus and all He has done for us as we take the Lord’s Supper. 

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.

Praying you all stay safe.  Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, April 6, 2020 church!

April 6, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

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Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  The online worship songs Pete sent allowed us to remember how great a friend we have in Jesus and how during trials, temptations and troubles, Jesus is our refuge!  Those songs reminded us that we always have hope because it is found in Christ alone who shines into our night.  The online message turned thoughts to the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection.  We looked from Matthew 27 how even the enemies of Jesus testified to the truth of who He is. All the things they said to mock Him while He was being crucified and dying in our place were statements proclaiming who Jesus truly is.  He is King of the Jews and King of kings.  He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.  Jesus did not save Himself, as His enemies tempted Him to do while He was on the cross, so He might save any who will believe in Him. Even today when hostile forces speak against Jesus, they truly reinforce the truth of Jesus as King and Lord before whom all must one day bow. 

This week we used tools of technology to be together.  We are able to worship together as we view the sermons and worship music online.  The ladies met and prayed together Saturday morning through modern technology as Cheryl and Abby set up a virtual meeting.  They are planning another meeting for next Saturday morning. Also, we were able to pray together Sunday evening as David set up Sunday evening prayer online.  We are also planning to meet again this way next Sunday evening.  If you would like to be part of either one and you didn’t get connected, let me know and we will help you get connected.  I thank God for these tools we can use to stay connected and proclaim His truth during this time of social distancing.

Pete and I are planning to send you a short message and some songs to help us all worship on Good Friday.   

Remember to keep praying continually for each other.

Praying you all stay safe.  Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 30, 2020 church!

March 30, 2020 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! 

I hope the link to the online sermon worked for you.  I hope I learned from this first video how to better do future videos. The message continued our journey through Matthew.  Also, I wanted it to point our attention to the events of Easter-the trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus.  Yes, the events of that first Easter were real and historical, and we need to remember this, especially in difficult days like we are now experiencing.   We can remember the great acts of our God to provide forgiveness, salvation, peace and life to us.  Yesterday we thought about something familiar but essential:  Jesus willingly went to the cross to receive the punishment that all sinners deserved.  The innocent One died in the place of guilty sinners-you and me.  Because Jesus took our sin, His righteousness is counted to us whenever we turn from ourselves and our sin and receive and believe. The Jewish leaders did not force Jesus to the cross.  Pilate did not force Jesus to the cross.  The mob calling for Jesus’ crucifixion did not force Jesus to the cross.  Jesus willingly went to cross to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: provide a truly just way for our sins to be forgiven. Love for His Father and love for people sent Jesus to the cross.  

Yesterday’s car caravan to encourage Donald and Deanna and their family was great!  Even in this time of social distancing, we found a way to express the love of Christ.  I want to thank Lois for this wonderful suggestion and all of you who participated.  There were thirteen cars in our caravan. We drove by their house, honked, waved, and shouted out to them from our car windows words assuring them of the love and prayers of their brothers and sisters in Christ. We had fun, and it was a blessing to all who participated.

Remember to keep praying continually for each other. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church