Happy Monday, March 12, 2018 church!

March 12, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! I hope your day is going well and you are adjusting to the time change. I have to admit I was in a very deep sleep when my alarm went off this morning.

It was wonderful to see everyone yesterday and worship with our East Madison family. We are partakers of the lavishly generous grace of God. Those who believe are not treated as our sin deserves. Christ Jesus Himself was treated as our sin deserves. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) reminds us: “God made Him (Christ Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” God treats those who believe with His lavish grace. God searches for us, saves us, and calls us to be on mission with Him in bringing the good news of the gospel to the world. Though sometimes there is toil and hard work involved, it is always a great privilege to be on mission with God.

However, we often compare ourselves with others and think they are being blessed more or their lives are more free of hardships than our lives. Comparing our hardships with others or our blessings with the blessings of others robs us of the joy and contentment that God wants to give all of us. There is great danger in this! We need to remember God’s blessing toward all of us are lavish! God’s plan for each of us in unique and it is always results in good for us and glory to God, even though it might not seem like it at the present time. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy God wants you to experience by dangerously comparing your hardships or blessings with others.

We will have a Pot Luck luncheon following our morning worship this Sunday, March 18. Bring enough food for your family and some guests we will have in our worship service.

Remember to take advantage of the Easter season to invite people to worship and share Jesus with other. I will continue to preach on the theme, “Marching to the Cross” as we approach the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Again this year we will have a joint Good Friday service with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 on March 30th at 7:00 PM. We will have our Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1. Also, we will have some invitation cards with our Easter holiday schedule and some booklets for you to share with family and friends as you invite them.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, March 5, 2018 church!

March 5, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! I missed you yesterday but I would not have traded places with you! Enjoying our newest granddaughter was a special time. Ivory Estelle Bittmann was born March 1 at 3:17 AM. Carla was actually in the room when Jessica delivered Ivory and was elated to convey the news that we had a girl. (No, grandpa did not want that experience!) Thank you for allowing us to be part of these first few days of Ivory’s life. Would you join Carla and me in praying for her and our other granddaughters that they would come to know, love, and serve Jesus and live life for Him? We commit to you that we pray the same for your children and grandchildren. David Platt reminds us, “Your primary responsibility as a parent (and I would also add grandparent) is not to teach your children to be athletic, get good grades, gain titles and success, learn an instrument, go to college . . .It is to teach them to know and love God.”

I want to thank Jason Donaldson for stepping in and preaching for me yesterday. I know he faithfully shared God’s Word with you. I am so thankful to be able to entrust this high task to someone who will faithfully carry it out. Even in this busy time of transition for the Donaldson’s, Jason without hesitation stepped in to serve. Also, thank you again to our worship band who faithfully serve week by week. We should never take them for granted.

We will be observing the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, March 11 during our morning worship service. Also, don’t forget that Daylight Saving time starts this Sunday. Set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed on Saturday evening, or you’ll be late for worship on Sunday!

Also, the following week on March 18 we will have a pot luck luncheon after worship.

I wanted to remind you that Easter is quickly approaching. I will continue to preach on the theme, “Marching to the Cross” as we approach the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We will again this year have a joint Good Friday service with Sovereign Joy Church at their location, the YWAM building, 4802 Dakota Drive, Madison 53704 on March 30th. (We will announce the time for that later.) We will have our Easter Breakfast that replaces the Bible study hour on Easter Sunday, April 1. Also, we have purchased some booklets for you to share with family and friends called “The Case for Easter,” by Lee Strobel that will be available beginning this Sunday, March 11th. Take advantage of the openness of people to Easter and the truths of God during this season to share your faith in Jesus.

Love being your pastor and, I may add, a grandpa!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 26, 2018 church!

February 26, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! What a beautiful day! (My bike is calling me!) Yesterday was a wonderful day as we worshiped and praised Jesus who came to serve us and give His life as a ransom for us. Praise His name! Jesus set the ultimate example of service by giving His life for us. He wants us to continually seek not to be served but to serve. He wants us to become great in His Kingdom by serving others. Service for others is the way to greatness in His eyes. My prayer for each of us is that we will be servants to our community and servants to each other and bear witness to the One who gave “His life as a ransom for many.”

Kevin Huddleston will begin next Sunday a transitional pastorate at a church in Kenosha. A transitional pastor is one who comes into a church to help them prepare for a permanent pastor. Sometimes the church needs some organizational issues repaired. Sometimes there is a divide in the fellowship that they want the transitional pastor to help them work through. We want to keep Kevin and his family in our prayers as they serve for a time in Kenosha. We ask God’s Spirit to lead Kevin as he works with this church to prepare them for God’s good future for them. Kevin and Miranda, we promise to keep you in our prayers and we know God will use you in mighty ways as your serve Him in Kenosha.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 19, 2018 church!

February 19, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday and happy Presidents’ Day to all. I hope your day is going well. I am so grateful to be a part of the family of God at East Madison. Your desire to follow Jesus and glorify Him and be on mission with Him is such an encouragement to me as your pastor.

Yesterday we focused on the truth that Jesus’ return will ultimately destroy all evil and bring in a reign of righteousness. In spite of all the evils around us today, evil will not win. Jesus will reign eternally in justice and righteousness. Don’t be overcome by the evil around you. Daily be reading the Bible to be encouraged and to grow spiritually so we will be faithful until Jesus comes. And until the Day of the Lord comes, seek to have the heart of God who wishes all to be saved and all to come to a knowledge of the truth. Be reminded of what God said through the prophet Ezekiel to those needing His forgiveness in Ezekiel 18:31-32: “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” God is seeking to save those who are lost and His people must be seeking them also. Pray with me that we as His people might always have His loving and seeking heart.

I want to thank those of you who volunteer for childcare during our worship service. We had a lot of children in childcare during worship yesterday. Deanna, even though she taught the little ones in Sunday School, willingly stepped up at the last minute to help out. Then Cheryl, when she realized how many children Deanna had, went to help her. Thank you ladies and all the other volunteers who quietly serve the Lord by loving children and enabling parents to worship. You are a blessing to your pastor and the East Madison family!

Next Sunday, I will begin a series called “Marching to the Cross” as we move toward Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

I really do love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 12, 2018 church!

February 12, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! It was a great day to worship as the family of God yesterday at East Madison. Pastor Meskerem Thomas got us started well with a great testimony of how God was working among the Ethiopian and Eritrean living in Madison. Thank you Pastor Thomas for your faithfulness and for your sharing with us about the work of God. You are a blessing! The worship team then led us in a wonderful time of singing praises to our great God. The message centered on how true faith in the loving God of the universe always resulting in blessings of incalculable worth. I pray it encouraged you to trust God in every area of your life. Knowing Him better and better is worth whatever it might cost us.

We are nearing the end of our “Forty Days of Prayer” emphasis. I would love to hear how God has impacted you during these days. Send an email or share in some other way how God has worked in your life through this. I could share these results with others in some upcoming Monday emails if that would be good with you. Or, if you would prefer to not share it publically, just let me know when you email or call. If God has worked in your life through this, share it was someone whom it would help to encourage them, even if it is not to be shared publically.

As the season of remembering the cross and resurrection of Jesus approaches, ask God how we at East Madison can take advantage of the season to share Christ.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, February 5, 2018 church!

February 5, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! We had fun yesterday as we celebrated with a pot luck and baby shower the baby that God is giving to Edie and Grayson. Isn’t it wonderful to be part of a church family? We missed all those who could not be with us because of the weather. We know you missed being with us.

As we worshipped, we learned a little bit more about God’s gracious presence with His people. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, our sins can be forgiven if we trust in Him and we can by Jesus have a friendship with Almighty God. We learned that we live in a day of mercy where God is continually offering His grace to sinners who need it. God mercifully puts off punishing sin to give sinners time to turn from their sin and trust in Jesus. But we learned also that we must never mistake God’s patient mercy to sinners as an endorsement of sin or an unwillingness by God to judge sinful people. In fact, God has already judged sin in Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross for us, God was declaring us guilty as sinners and placing our judgment upon Jesus. That is why we must trust in Him because in Jesus our sins are already judged. Believe in Him today and sin will be forgiven. But if people will not believe, they need to understand that justice delayed is not justice denied. God will ultimately do away with evil. God will ultimately right every wrong. God justice is perfect and God will without partiality do away with all evil and injustice. That includes evil in every person who has refused to accept the sacrifice of Jesus. Either your sins will be judged in Jesus and you will be forgiven, or you will have to pay for your sins by eternal separation from God’s goodness. Today, in the day of mercy and grace, don’t neglect to respond to God’s grace offered to us in Jesus.

As we continue to emphasize prayer for renewal and awakening for 40 days, keep up your praying! Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) reminds us of God’s promise: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 29, 2018 church!

January 29, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! I pray your week has started well and I pray your week will be prayer-filled. Our “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis is a little over halfway done and I believe God is moving and answering many prayers. I have started a “Thank You” journal to keep track of answered prayer. Keep up the praying. If you have missed a few days, start up where you left off and use the prayer guide until you are finished. Keep praying!

It was great to worship with God’s family yesterday at East Madison. Ron Roberts’ special was a great reminder of the power of prayer. The prayers of others for us makes a difference in our lives and our prayer for others makes a difference in their lives. I hope the message on the importance of marriage helped all of us focus on loving our families more and cherishing our spouses. Marriages built on God’s truth and sustained by His love bring much glory to God and happiness to people.

Also, we thank the Lord for all the guests that came our way yesterday. Even though there were many, you all were very welcoming to them. Thank you! When God gives us guests, we always need to go out of our way to welcome them. We step out of our comfort zones to meet and welcome them. We seek to offer to help them find their way around our building. We seek to get to know them. Remember when you were new to East Madison or some other church and how awkward that was. Seek to be a bridge to help people feel welcomed. It has been shown that developing strong relationship is probably the most important reason people become connected to a church.

There will be youth roller skating at Fast Forward this Saturday, February 3 from 12:30 to 4:00 PM. Youth will meet at East Madison at 12:30 PM. Admission is $6.00 with a $2.00 rental fee for skates and $3.00 for rollerblades so bring enough for admission and the rental fee and for any snacks you might purchase. Invite a friend!

There will be children’s worship this Sunday, February 4.

This Sunday, February 4 after worship, we will have a pot luck and an all-church baby shower for Edie and Grayson Doss. Celebrate the child God is giving to them by showering them with gifts they will need for their baby. Edie and Grayson are expecting a girl and are registered at Babies R Us and Amazon.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 22, 2018 church!

January 22, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! It was great to study and worship with the people of God at East Madison yesterday. We learned about spiritual leadership and the fantastic privilege and responsibility it is. All of us are spiritual leaders to someone. Be a spiritual leader who seeks to love God supremely. Be a spiritual leader who seeks the spiritual vitality of God’s people. Be a spiritual leader who seeks the salvation of those who do not know Jesus. Be a spiritual leader who desires above all for the glory of God. Pray also for those spiritual leaders God has place over you. Pray for me as your pastor to be a man completely surrendered to God that will help you follow Jesus more closely. Pray for other spiritual leaders of East Madison that lead people in any way to be men and women who love God and seek for His glory. Pray for the spiritual leaders of other congregations and the spiritual leaders of our city, state and nation. Pray that they will be men and women who love God and people and show forth the character of Christ to those around them. Pray for spiritual leaders who fear only God and will speak God’s truth to every person from pauper to president.

Sunday, February 4 after worship, we will have a pot luck and an all-church baby shower for Edie and Grayson. Celebrate the child God is giving to them by showering them with gifts they will need for their baby. Edie and Grayson are expecting a girl and are registered at Babies R Us and Amazon.

Keep praying and seeking God together, especially during our “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis. If you forget and miss a day, don’t get discouraged! Just pick up from where you stopped and keep praying! God is moving among us!

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 15, 2018 church!

January 15, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! We had a great day yesterday! If you missed the Bible Study time at 9:30 AM, you missed something special. Jason Donaldson was sick and could not be there. (We pray you are better, Jason. We missed you!) However, God was present. The adults who were there began to talk about their experiences with “40 Days of Prayer.” I have heard many reports from people who said that God moved among them as they shared! The adults present told me that they left with a sense of expectation and optimism about how God was moving and working at East Madison! As we worshipped after Bible Study, we sang about how great and glorious our God is and His great salvation! Thank you worship team for leading us in His praise. The message focused on never, ever taking God for granted! We serve too great a God for us to give Him less than our all and our best. We need continually to seek to passionately and wholeheartedly submit ourselves to Him. We can rest in His steadfast love seen in this: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We should always in fearful awe seek to understand and honor the Lord’s holiness and His great name. We are here to submit and serve God and center our lives around Him and never seek to reduce Him to anything less that the absolute Lord and Ruler of our lives.

Keep praying and seeking God together, especially during our “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis. God is moving among us!

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, January 8, 2018, church!

January 8, 2018 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all!  Yesterday was a good beginning to our “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis. I sensed God moving among us as we learned from God’s Word how to be a people of prayer, praise and power.  If we want God to truly work through us, we have to seek him in prayer and praise.  We have to acknowledge our powerlessness apart from His Spirit moving among us.  We have to have faith and believe that God is a God who can answer prayer, who wants to answer prayer and who will answer prayer!  God desires to answer the prayers of His people who seek His glory and His will.  God wants to show His power among His people and in the communities where He has placed His people.  His people need to be completely humble and willing to share their struggles with their brothers and sisters.  His people need to acknowledge that we want to see what God alone can do among us instead of what we can produce by our vain human efforts.  We must be people of prayer and praise in order to see His power!  Last night as we met together for prayer at the Juhlin’s,  it seemed as if we are doing just that!  Let’s keep up the praying, praising,  and seeking God individually and collectively!  In the 40 days ahead, remember to use your “40 Days of Prayer” guide as we as a congregation join in intensive prayer for a fresh move of God’s Holy Spirit across Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I anticipate God moving among us in powerful ways as we pray together as the family of God at East Madison and as the family of God in the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention.

Ladies, you are invited to meet for lunch Saturday, at 11:30ish on January 13 at Cracker Barrel. (Lois and Carla recommend the Coca-Cola chocolate cake!)   Invite a friend!

We will have a Business Meeting on Sunday evening, January 14, 2018 at 6:00 PM.

Below is some information and some prayer requests for some of those missionaries we support.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church