Happy Monday, October 29, 2018 church!

October 29, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday we worshiped Almighty God, who is “Emmanuel-God with us.” We thought about seeking Jesus and His rule in every area of our lives and in every situation. We learned that we seek Him by storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth. We invest in what last forever, like knowing Jesus intimately and helping people come to know Him. We learned to seek Jesus by continually making sure nothing (materialism, unforgiveness, or any kind of unprocessed hurt) is preventing us from seeing life as God sees it. We learned that seeking God’s rule in our lives and in every situation should be the primary focus of our lives. If we do that, God will provide every other thing we truly need.

Our youth are working on putting shoe boxes of gifts together for Operation Christmas Child. Please put donations in the back of the sanctuary to help them out. If you have any questions, contact Megan Tolhurst.

Remember to turn back you clocks this Saturday evening, November 3rd before you go to bed. It is the end of daylight savings time. (I don’t think we actually saved any daylight, but simply rearranged it!)

November 11, will be a special day for East Madison. Anatoliy Sapsay will be sharing about his work in the Ukraine. Anatoliy is the director of Innovista Ukraine. He is a former manager of the International MBA programme at Kiev Business School and an army reservist. He has overseen growth of Innovista’s work in Ukraine despite the chaos of war, and leads the L’viv hub.

Also on that Sunday evening November 11, at 6:00 PM, we will have our annual East Madison Thanksgiving Celebration at 6:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet for the food items we need for this celebration on the table in the foyer.

Pray for each other. There are now and always those among us who are dealing with difficult circumstances personally or in their families, so we need to continually hold each other up in prayer.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 22, 2018 church!

October 22, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday we sang praise to our Redeemer because of His deep love for us. We looked in Daniel 9 at the prayer of Daniel and thought about how his prayer should enlighten our prayer life. We looked at how our reading of the Bible should help us learn to understand better the mind of God and the things that glorify God for which we need to pray. We thought about always approaching God realizing His greatness. God is not our “good buddy” but the One who loves us more than any other and the One who alone is the awesome Creator, Ruler, and Redeemer of the universe. We can boldly ask for His help but should never approach Him with anything less than utmost reverence and respect. We thought about approaching God by confessing our own personal sinfulness and the corporate sinfulness of His people. We will not be sinless as we approach God and so we must always approach Him recognizing that it is not by our own merit that we come to God but by Jesus’ merit. We in humility seek to continually confess and forsake personal and corporate sin. We also remembered that as we pray we appeal to God on the basis of His character and compassion and honor. Our first concern should not be the alleviation of some difficulty but the glory of God. Finally we saw that God answers our prayers on the basis of His love. There is no lack of willingness on the part of God to answer prayers. God longs to hear and respond to those who pray to Him by and through the merit of Jesus, the One He sent to save us from our sin.

We will have our annual East Madison Thanksgiving Celebration on Sunday evening, November 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet for the food items we need for this celebration on the table in the foyer.

Pray for each other. There are now and always those among us who are dealing with difficult circumstances personally or in their families, so we need to continually hold each other up in prayer.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 15, 2018 church!

October 15, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I pray your week has started well. We had a great time of worship and fellowship yesterday as we looked at Daniel 8. We thought about how at times in our lives, there are very dark days. There are many places in God’s Word given to us to prepare us for very dark and difficult days. We will have troubles, illnesses, tragedies and persecutions as we live in this world and as we follow Jesus. Jesus did not mislead us or tell us that “every day with Him would be sweeter than the day before.” Some days, months, and yes, even years will be very hard and difficult as we seek to live for His glory. We need to understand this because, if we don’t, we can become disillusioned with hard times and maybe even with God. However, God’s Word and promises prepare His people for the most difficult of times and God always provides His powerful presence to lead His children through those times. There will be times our emotions will lie to us and we don’t sense His presence. At those times we have to consciously remind ourselves of God’s promises and presence, because whether we sense His presence or not, God is with those who believe.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 8, 2018 church!

October 8, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday we remembered the sacrifice of God for our salvation. God the Father sacrificially sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. God the Son sacrificially went to the cross and paid the just penalty for sin by dying in our place, the righteous One for those who are unrighteous like you and me. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) reminds us of this truth: “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Every time we take of the Lord’s Supper we remember this sacrifice and remember Jesus. Then we learned from Daniel 7 that no matter how bad the personal circumstances of our lives seem at the present or how bad we perceive the circumstances of the world around us, those who believe are never without hope! We saw that God’s Word teaches the ultimate failure of sinful humanities empires and governments. We saw that His Word teaches the ultimate triumph of God and His redeemed people. We see a truth that all of us need to hold onto at all times: The saints of God Most High (and that means all who trust Jesus with their lives and follow Him as Lord) through their Redeemer and King Jesus shall receive, possess and reign in Jesus’ kingdom forever and ever and ever! What a fantastic hope belongs to us as believers!

I wanted to thank everyone who came and worked at last Saturday’s workday. We got a lot of things done and it was fun being with each other and doing the work. I want to especially thank Brian Butterfield for organizing the day and working extra by stripping off some paint in the woman’s restroom so we can soon paint those walls.

We will have a pot luck luncheon after worship this Sunday, October 14th. Bring enough for your family and a little bit extra to share with our guests.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 1, 2018 church!

October 1, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday and happy October to all! This is a very Fall kind of day, isn’t it? Pray your week has started well. After an eventful bicycle crash last Monday, being with the people of God yesterday was wonderful! To worship and love God with His redeemed children gathered together is something precious and we should never take it for granted! Although I was physically uncomfortable because of my broken bones, I was truly encouraged just to be with God’s family worshiping the true and living God who has redeemed us from our sin!

I hope the message from Daniel 6 about Daniel in the lion’s den was helpful. We thought about loving God and obeying him even when it requires disobeying the unjust laws of man. When man’s laws interfere with our obligation to supremely love God and/or they dehumanize and destroy human beings, we must obey God rather than men and then be willing to suffer the consequences and penalties of those unjust laws. Daniel knew the consequences of his worship and praying and having no other gods before the living God. But He loved God above all else, even above his own personal safety and was willing to suffer those consequences to the glory of God. Daniel also was able to do that because he lived walking with God daily and knew God’s presence. When the test came, he was prepared because he faithfully walked with God when there wasn’t a test. What was the end result? Daniel revealed God’s power and glory when he supremely loved and worshiped God alone. If we supremely love and worship God alone, we can also be people through whom God’s power and glory will be revealed.

We will be observing the Lord’ Supper this Sunday, October 7 during our morning worship.

Also, this Sunday, October 7th a new short-term DVD Bible Study will begin on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.” This would be a perfect time to join a small group Bible study especially if you are not currently involved in small group Bible study. It will be held upstairs in the room by the sound booth, where the high school Sunday School class has been meeting.

We have a Fall work day scheduled to do some work on the church property this Saturday, October 6th. We will work from 8:30 AM to around noon. I hope those of you who are able can join us on that day.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 24, 2018 church!

September 24, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! We had a super day with the people of God yesterday! It was great as we worshipped our Savior and King and remembered His love for us. It was wonderful to have Mitch and Kim Freeman back with us and have him share about the new ministry of the Fatherhood Initiative he is leading at Care Net. From Daniel 5 and the event of the “hand writing on the wall” we considered ways God’s holiness and power are challenged. People challenge God’s holiness and power when they lose self-control through the wrong use of alcohol or drugs. People challenge God’s holiness and power when they forget God’s past workings in their lives or the lives of others they know. We learned God always ultimately wins when any person challenges His holiness and power. God in his mercy often delays dealing with those who challenge His holiness and power but ultimately, if a person refuses to respond to His mercy, he or she loses. God’s desire is to show mercy and make all of us objects of His grace. God does not want to “win” these challenges! He longs instead for people to respond to His mercy and grace and find the life and forgiveness that He has provided in Jesus.

On October 7th a new short-term DVD Bible Study will begin on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.” This would be a perfect time to join a small group Bible study especially if you are not currently involved in small group Bible study.

This Sunday, September 30th will be the last Sunday of our Care and Share State Missions Offering emphasis. This offering supports Wisconsin and Minnesota outreaches and ministries. Envelopes for this offering are on the table in the foyer.

We have a Fall work day scheduled to do some work on the church property on Saturday, October 6th. We will work from 8:30 AM to around noon. I hope those of you who are able can join us on that day.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 17, 2018 church!

September 17, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday we worshipped our great God who rules completely the universe. We sang songs to Him of His greatness as He rules this universe and sang of His great grace toward us. We saw in Daniel 4 that we should not be overly depressed or overly impressed by whomever might be in power in the governments of the world at any given time because, truly, God Most High rules over the kingdoms of men and gives them to whomever he chooses. All human rulers are simply temporary but the Lord God forever reigns. He is able to bring down the proud and exalt the humble. In fact, God Most High has already exalted the One who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:7-11, NIV). May each of us forsake all pride and follow Jesus’ example of humility daily.

Next Sunday, September 23, we have a special guest with us. Mitch Freeman, former pastor of East Madison, will be worshiping and sharing with us a few minutes about the fatherhood initiative ministry he is doing at the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Dane County. I am truly excited about this new ministry Mitch is leading and I think you will be also. It will also be great to have him worshiping with us. Many of you have told me how much Mitch helped you in your walk with Christ and I am sure you will want to be here if at all possible.

Remember we begin two new short-term small groups this Wednesday evening, September 19th. The ladies will begin the War Room Bible Study. The women’s small group will be held at 909 Tony Drive, Madison. The men’s study is from the Conquer Series and entitled: The Battle Plan for Purity. The men’s small group will be held at 9 Milo Lane, Madison. Both studies will starts at 7:00 PM. We will also begin October 7th a new short-term DVD Bible Study on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.”

Remember we are taking up the Care and Share Missions offering during the month of September. This offering supports Wisconsin and Minnesota outreaches and ministries. Envelopes for this offering are on the table in the foyer.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! I am so grateful to be part of East Madison where so many give of themselves to serve the Lord and His people. Sometimes they serve publicly before others, like those who faithfully serve on the worship team. Other times they serve quietly in the background making sure children are cared for, the building and grounds of East Madison are clean and attractive, or meeting other needs of people. Thank you for all you do!

I hope yesterday’s message helped us to remember that only God Himself deserves our worship and ultimate loyalty. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (also known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were willing to lay down their lives rather than give worship and ultimate loyalty to anyone other than the true and living God. We saw that God honored their trust in Him, first of all by being present with them in the midst of the fiery furnace and then by delivering them from the fiery furnace. There are times when others will see God’s miraculous deliverance. However, whether others see God miraculous deliverance or not, Jesus Himself always walks with His people who chose to worship Him alone in those fiery furnaces, in our darkest hours and in the most severe tests of our lives.

Remember we begin two new short-term small groups on Wednesday evening, September 19th. The ladies will begin the War Room Bible Study “featuring five inspiring movie clips and five challenging scriptural lessons adapted from the film.” The women’s small group will be held at 909 Tony Drive, Madison. The men’s study is from the Conquer Series and entitled: The Battle Plan for Purity. It is a discipleship study for men on how to walk with God and triumph over the temptation of pornography. Even if you might not struggle with the specific temptation of pornography, you will learn some principles about overcoming other kinds of temptation. The men’s small group will be held at 9 Milo Lane, Madison. Both studies will starts at 7:00 PM. We will also begin October 7th a new short-term DVD Bible Study on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.”

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, September 4, 2018 church!

September 4, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Tuesday to all! I hope the Labor Day holiday was good for all of you. We had a wonderful day Sunday as we worshipped together. Together we took the Lord’s Supper to remind ourselves of the high price Jesus paid so we could be saved from sin. The Lord’ Supper reminds us of the horrible nature of our sin. Our sin is so deadly, destructive, dehumanizing and repulsive that it required the death of the sinless Son of God to atone for it and set us free from sin. But the Supper also reminds us of God’s great love for us in this: “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Also as we looked in Daniel 2, we learned once again that the true and living God forever truly is the Sovereign King and Ruler of the entire universe. We saw how God disturbs kings and kingdoms as He reveals his greatness to them. We saw how we, as God’s servants, have the privilege of witnessing to and honoring the true and living God before a skeptical world. We saw that one day every person will ultimately acknowledge His rule and confess Jesus Christ alone as Lord.

Please be praying for Peggy Blum and her family in the death of her sister Marietta Smith. Mrs. Smith passed away last Thursday. Memorial funeral services will be held Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at the Picha Funeral Home in Lake Delton. Peggy wanted everyone to know how thankful she is for your prayers.

We will be beginning two new short-term small groups on Wednesday evening, September 19th. Both these studies will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM. On September 19 the ladies will begin the War Room Bible study “featuring five inspiring movie clips and five challenging scriptural lessons adapted from the film.” (It is not necessary to see the film; however, Carla has a copy of the movie for viewing if any of you want to borrow it.) If you haven’t let Carla know of your interest, please let her know you want to be a part of the War Room Bible study so she can order enough books. Also, email or call her if you have questions. The study will be held at 909 Tony Drive, Madison.

The men’s study beginning on September 19th is from the Conquer Series and entitled: The Battle Plan for Purity. It is a discipleship study for men on how to walk with God and triumph over the temptation of pornography. It is said that up to 63% of Christian men struggle with the temptation of internet pornography. This study provides understanding of and help in overcoming those temptations. Even if you might not struggle with the specific temptation of pornography, you will learn some principles about overcoming other kinds of temptation. I encourage every man that can to be part of this study.

We will also begin October 7th a new short-term DVD Bible Study on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.” In this DVD study facilitated by Damon and Megan Tolhurst you will “discover how Paul communicated the Good News of Christ to Philippi, a Roman colony that worshipped false gods. Can you live the message as Paul did while he encouraged the church in Philippi to consider itself a colony of heaven, not Rome? Consider your citizenship and the message you convey to the world as Ray Vander Laan takes you deeper into the culture of ancient Philippi.”

We will have a Pot Luck luncheon this Sunday, September 9, following our worship service. Please 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 Monday, August 27, 2018 church!

August 27, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday hopefully found for you and your family some time of worship and encouragement after quite an eventful week last week here in Madison. As we began to work our way through the book of Daniel, we thought about wise living in a hostile culture. We learned that God enables his people to live for His glory even in the most hostile of circumstances. We learned to focus on living in the present and not in the past. We learned to not compromise those things essential to our identity in Christ. We learned to recognize that God provides people of good will that help us remain faithful to Him in difficult circumstances. And we learned to see the sovereign hand of God working among us for His glory and His purposes even when it seems like evil has triumphed. The church of Jesus, His people who have been born again into His Kingdom, are promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against us!

We will be beginning some new short-term small groups on Wednesday evening, September 19th. Both these studies will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 with locations to be announced. The new women’s group will be a Bible study on prayer using the film the “War Room.” The men’s study is from the Conquer Series and entitled: The Battle Plan for Purity. It is a discipleship study for men on how to walk with God and triumph over the temptation of pornography. It is said that up to 63% of Christian men struggle with the temptation of internet pornography. This study provides understanding of and help in overcoming those temptations. Even if you might not struggle with the specific temptation of pornography, you will learn some principles about overcoming other kinds of temptation. I encourage every man that can to be part of this study.

We will also begin soon a new short-term DVD Bible Study on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM for older youth and adults called “The Clash of Kingdoms.” In this DVD study facilitated by Damon and Megan Tolhurst you will “discover how Paul communicated the Good News of Christ to Philippi, a Roman colony that worshipped false gods. Can you live the message as Paul did while he encouraged the church in Philippi to consider itself a colony of heaven, not Rome? Consider your citizenship and the message you convey to the world as Ray Vander Laan takes you deeper into the culture of ancient Philippi.”

Continue to pray for the Juhlin’s in the passing of Annette mom’s, Bonnie Mullholland.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church