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

Happy Monday, November 4, 2019 church!

November 4, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!   Yesterday we met together to adore our great and loving God who gave His Son to sacrifice His life for our salvation.  Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many.  He offered Himself in our place as truly the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins.  We sang about this wonderful, merciful Savior that made us his own.  We then thought from Matthew 20 about whether we were truly tuned into God and truly listening to Him. Are we truly listening to Jesus today as He tells us the first would be last and the last first?  Are we listening to Jesus today as He tells us that greatness in the Kingdom does not involve prominence, power, or visibility, but serving even the least of these?  True greatness in the kingdom of God reveals itself in Christ Jesus in His sacrificial death.  True greatness in the Kingdom of God comes not by status but by service. True greatness in the Kingdom of God serves those others count as the least of society. We don’t want to miss these truths like James, John, their mother and the other ten apostles seemed to miss them in Matthew 20.  We truly need to understand that the first will be last and the last first.  We truly need to see Jesus teaching this to us:  Christ Jesus sacrifices Himself willingly for us and expects His children to follow His example of serving and sacrifice.  This is the life God’s children are called to live.

I want to thank all those who volunteer to work with children during our Bible Study time and worship services.  As you love children and teach them the Word of God, you serve Jesus.  As you provide support for parents of young children so these parents can worship and hear God’s Word proclaimed, you serve Jesus.  This is truly an example of serving Jesus to all of us! We are truly grateful for all of you who serve Jesus in this way.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer listing the things we need for the dinner. Invite a friend to be your guest at this meal.

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. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 28, 2019 church!

October 28, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday was a wonderful day as we celebrated the greatness of our God together.  We were reminded as we worshipped of our commitment to God and to each other in the reading of the church covenant as we welcomed Kathy McElmurry as a member of East Madison.  We remembered Jesus sacrifice for us reconciling us to holy God and making us one with other believers, and we remembered His living presence with us, as we observed the Lord’s Supper together.  We thought from Matthew 20 about the dangers of comparing what God does in our lives with what He does in the lives of others.  We learned that we follow Jesus because of a gracious and pursuing God who saves us and calls us to the privilege of working with Him in carrying out His mission of reconciliation.  We learned this pursuing God always gives us more than we ask, think or even imagine.  We learned that we should never think that God loves us more if things go well in our lives or that He loves us less if things are not going well.  God loves us always (the cross proves this!) and His plan for us is a one-of-a-kind plan where He brings about glory to Himself and ultimate good for us.  We are not to compare ourselves to other believers whom God also lavishes grace upon but in different ways.  We were encouraged to remember that God deals with each of us from grace and His grace toward us is always lavish and extensive.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer listing the things we need for the dinner. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 21, 2019 church!

October 21, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday, as we worshipped together, we sang about the salvation that is provided for us in Christ Jesus and is “completely done.”  From Matthew 19 and the story of the rich young ruler, we thought about how people think they can achieve eternal life if they just find the right “good” thing or things to do.  However, we learned they are not even on the right road that leads to eternal life.  Most people seem to think if the good they do outweigh the bad, then they can achieve eternal life.  But we learned the good we do can never outweigh our rebellion and sinfulness against a perfect, just, holy and righteous God.  Why?  Because in our very selves we are not good. Therefore, eternal life is not what we do to reach God.  Righteousness, goodness is something God must give us.  And the wonderful promise of God is this:  God will give it to those who believe in Jesus!  The rich young ruler let his riches keep him from believing and following Jesus and went away sorrowful.  Don’t let anything keep you from receiving and following Jesus.  You don’t have to wait for this eternal life to begin.  Eternal life begins when you truly believe, receive and follow Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not just never-ending life, but it is the life of knowing and following Jesus. Eternal life, salvation, is what God does for us and is not achieved by doing good things.

The ladies Bible study of Philippians has one more session! Ladies, if you have missed a session or even a few sessions, don’t let that stop you from joining the ladies as they finish this study on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

We will be observing the Lord’s Supper this coming Sunday, October 27, 2019 during morning worship.

We will have our annual East Madison Baptist Church Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening, November 17 at 6:00 PM.  There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer listing the things we need for the dinner. 

I want to include a link this week to a wonderful song my friend Leo Endel introduced me to in his weekly newsletter.  May it encourage you, as it did me, as you watch it and realize Jesus is worthy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIahc83Kvp4&list=RDOIahc83Kvp4&start_radio=1&t=0

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, October 14, 2019 church!

October 14, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  We had a great day on Sunday as we gathered to worship.  Yesterday morning, we looked at what Jesus taught in Matthew 19 about the permanence of marriage. We thought about some of the reasons and purposes for marriage from this passage.  We learned that marriage was created and designed by God to be permanent. We learned that marriage is complementary, that God created male and female to complement each other in a marriage.  This is the only kind of marriage God recognizes because God alone created and designed it to be this way.  We learned that marriage is to be lifelong until one or the other partners dies.  We learned that marriage is exclusive where one man marries one woman and the two become one flesh.  All sexual activity outside of marriage is contrary to God’s design. We saw that marriage is nuclear where we leave father and mother and God’s creates a new unit that is to be the primary unit of society.  It is more important than any other social relationship.  We learned that marriage is the be the primary vehicle through which children are raised.  God’s best for children is to be raised in a home where there is a father and a mother who are committed to each other for life.  And we learned that marriage is not for everyone.  There are those who are called to be single either for a long period of life or for their entire lives.  God’s people must never treat them as second-class citizens but help them in their single lives to live holy lives for the glory of God.  As the Apostle Paul lived a single life for the glory of God, there are many who are also called to a single life and this is a beautiful expression of whole-hearted devotion to God.  We also learned that if there has been a divorce in our past, we are to realize God forgives because of Jesus’ death on the cross.  We may have to live with some of the consequences of a failed marriage, but we do not have to live with the guilt of a failed marriage because “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”  We are today to live our lives for the glory of God, whether we are single, married or remarried. For all who are now married, marriage at times will be hard, and we will have to work and sacrifice to make it better.  But it is worth it to have a godly marriage and home.  God intends one man become one flesh with one woman in marriage until death alone destroys this union.   

We also had a great time of worship on Sunday evening at our hymn sing.  We spent almost an hour and forty-five minutes singing hymns and choruses and sharing testimonies about God’s faithfulness in our lives.  It was a time with no real plan or structure but simply worship and sharing.  And it was wonderful!  We plan on having more of these times in the future.

The ladies Bible study of Philippians has two more sessions. Ladies, if you have missed a session or even a few sessions, don’t let that stop you from joining the ladies as they finish this study on the next two Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church