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

Happy Monday, October 7, 2019 church!

October 7, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all!  I pray your week has started well.  Yesterday as we looked at Matthew 18, we learned that God’s children live lives of continual forgiveness because of the great forgiveness we have experienced from God.  We saw how God’s grace awakens us to our utter bankruptcy before God.  We considered the devastating effects of sin on us and all those around us.  We contemplated the marvelous grace of God that offers forgiveness to us for the debt of sin we could never pay.  We learned that God’s forgiveness is not arbitrary but just.  God can forgive because God Himself absorbed the penalty for our sins.  God the Son took the loss Himself.  When Jesus died, Jesus was being punished in our place for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Our sins have been paid for, justly atoned for, in Jesus alone.  As the old hymn states, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. 

But we also learned that unforgiveness towards others ultimately shows that we have never truly experienced God’s forgiveness.  The message I hope helped us all see that even though some have experienced horrific wrongs, even criminal acts against them or those they love, God’s Holy Spirit can enable any person to truly forgive those who have wronged them.  We often misunderstand forgiveness as if it meant the wrongs or crimes committed were nothing and the wrong effects were not life-altering and long lasting.  Forgiveness does not mean we would place ourselves in places of danger or vulnerability.  Forgiveness does mean that we are going to trust God to vindicate us, to right the wrong and to deal justly with our abuser.  We are going to stop trying to get back at them and trust God to ultimately right the wrong.  We are going to believe that vengeance is God’s and that vengeance should have no place in our lives and hearts.  We will choose to forgive by an act of the will, and then when our emotions bring back the hurt of the incident, we will remind ourselves that we have chosen to forgive and ask God to help our emotions catch up with our obedience.  We will forgive that those who wronged us so that they would no longer have any power over our minds and hearts.  We will forgive that we might be like our Savior, who when He suffered horrific abuse and violence, prayed for forgiveness over the ones who crucified Him.  May we truly be like Jesus in forgiving! 

The ladies Bible study of Philippians continues Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Next Sunday evening, October 13, we will have hymn sing, sharing of testimonies and campfire beginning at 6:00 PM.  The last time we did this, it was a wonderful time of worship, sharing and getting to know each other.  We are asking everyone to bring some supplies for roasting marshmallows and making smores around the fire.  I hope you will make plans to attend.  

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 30, 2019 church!

September 30, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! We had a good day of worship and fellowship yesterday.  It was wonderful to be able to worship the great and only God of the universe and think about His faithfulness, His very essence, and His glory and might. We then looked from Matthew 18 about a very serious and grave subject.  We saw how it is every believers’ responsibility to seek to restore those who are straying.  Matthew 18 tells us to go to a person who is straying and speak to them face to face before we go to anyone else.  If face to face meetings don’t bring about a restoration, we are to take two or three other neutral people who walk with God and have spiritual discernment and go again to the brother or sister who is straying.  If, after going with a small group, there is no returning to the Lord, we are to take this to the congregation.  If the person still does not listen and return to the Lord, we are, as Jesus said, “let him be to us as a Gentile and tax collector.”  We learned even this drastic step, along with all the previous steps, was meant to restore the person back to fellowship with the Lord and His people. Why is this true?  It is true because a person who refuses to turn from sin has something desperately wrong in their life.  Sometimes, it can mean the person who does not repent has not been saved from sin.  If you are not saved and then continually being saved from sin, you are not saved. The drastic step is to cause the person to see the destruction and deadliness of unrepentant sin and realize that he or she probably either does not know the Lord and needs salvation, or that there is something desperately wrong in their walk with God. It is our responsibility to search for the straying little ones and do all we can to restore them to the Lord and His church.     

The ladies Bible study of Philippians continues Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Midvale Baptist Church has invited anyone to a WMU event at their church on Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. D’anna Shotts, missionary to Nigeria, will be speaking.  If you are interested in attending, let me know so I can let them to know to help them plan for lunch on that Day.

On Sunday evening, October 13, we will have hymn sing, sharing of testimonies and campfire beginning at 6:00 PM.  The last time we did this, it was a wonderful time of worship, sharing and getting to know each other.  I hope you will make plans to attend.   

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 23, 2019 church!

September 23, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! As we worshipped through singing and celebrating the Lord’s Supper, we focused on the great grace and mercy of God.  God demonstrated this great grace and mercy to us in the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus willingly gave His life on the cross so anyone who will believe in Jesus could be forgiven and given eternal life.  How great is the God who has saved and redeemed us!  We then considered from Matthew 17 and 18 how important the little ones are to Jesus.  Little ones include children, people no one may care about, and those whom others look down on and despise.  These little ones are valued and loved by Jesus.  We ourselves are among those little ones! Also, we are to care for the little ones.  Jesus calls us to be like the little ones in childlike humility and dependence.  Jesus calls us receive the little ones and to protect the little ones from things that cripple them.  And sometimes, Jesus calls us to search for the little ones when they go astray.  Jesus call us to embrace childlike dependence and humility toward Him.  Jesus calls us to continually love and care for the little ones among us. 

We will be having a potluck luncheon following our morning worship next Sunday, September 29. Bring enough food to feed your family and a little extra for our guests.

The ladies will begin the second half of their study of Philippians this Wednesday evening, September 25 at 6:30 PM.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Midvale Baptist Church has invited anyone to a WMU event at their church on Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. D’anna Shotts, missionary to Nigeria, will be speaking.  If you are interested in attending, let me know so I can let them to know to help them plan for lunch on that Day.    

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 16, 2019 church!

September 16, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Monday to all! Yesterday we thought about the greatness of God and seeing Him through the eyes of faith.  Our worship team led us in singing about His glory and greatness.  The chorus to “Behold, Our God,” invited us to: 

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King—nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him.

The message from Matthew 17 helped us to see that from time to time glimpses of Jesus’ glory reveal what we will experience eternally as we live forever with Jesus.  Too often we simply focus on serving God in this life for what we may seemingly get out of that now instead of serving Him because we love Him and want to live for His glory.  What happens if a child or spouse die or if a horrific crime is committed against us or someone we love.  There are tragedies and events that happen in this life that will never make sense on this side of eternity.  These kind of tragedies will not fit into a shallow understanding of God’s goodness.  Only in the light of God’s ultimate triumph and destruction of evil when Jesus returns will some things be working to the good of those who love the Lord.  Because of this, we do need to continually remember to love God supremely and live with eternity in mind when evil is destroyed and where Christ reigns forever. 

The Church Council will meet Wednesday, September 18, at 6:30 PM.

We will be observing the Lord’s Supper in our morning worship next Sunday, September 22.

The ladies will begin the second half of their study of Philippians on Wednesday evening, September 25.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Monday, September 9, 2019 church!

September 9, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Sisters and brothers,

Happy Monday to all! We had a good day yesterday as we considered from Matthew 16 the Savior who suffered for us and calls us to bear our own crosses and be willing to suffer for Him.  We see Jesus revealed as Messiah, but He is not the kind of Messiah most expected.  Jesus is Messiah who sacrificed and suffered for us.  Jesus suffered in our place so we could be forgiven and be counted righteous in God’s sight.  But that does not mean we will not suffer in this life.  In fact, suffering is a part of the human condition because all people suffer in this fallen world.  Also, there will be some suffering endured because we name the name of Jesus.  Jim Dennison pointed out that when we suffer or others suffer, we can question at times why God allows suffering.  But we can never accuse God of not understanding our suffering, because God the Son entered our suffering by becoming a human being.  Then, ultimately, Jesus knows our suffering as the One who suffered the humiliation and pain of the cross while dying so our sins can be forgiven.  Edward Shillito helped us see this in the poem he wrote, “Jesus of the Scars.”  He ends his poem with these words:

“The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;

They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;

But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,

And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.”

Ladies, you are invited to lunch at noon this Saturday, September 14 at the Daisy Café & Cupcakery, 2827 Atwood Avenue.  Contact Carla Ray for more details.

The ladies will begin the second half of their study of Philippians on Wednesday evening, September 25.   

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church

Happy Tuesday, September 3, 2019 church!

September 3, 2019 | Categories: Church Blog.

Brothers and sisters,

Happy Tuesday to all! The worship team of two lead us in a wonderful time of worship and taught us a new song based on the Nicene Creed.  Thank you, Pete and Damon!  However, even though the two of you did an excellent job leading, we did miss all you other guys and gals on our creative worship team!  We are truly blessed by God for every member of our team and should not take them for granted.

As we looked at Matthew 16:1-12, we thought about the timeless truth to not allow our position, status, privilege or love of any sin to keep us from the love of Jesus.  We thought about the danger of raising questions just to question and seeking evidence that we do not intend to act on if we find that evidence, like the Pharisees and Sadducees did at the time of Christ.  They kept asking for signs but denied the miraculous signs and irrefutable teaching of Jesus that were right in front of their eyes.  It was not the lack of evidence that kept them from believing.  It was their own unwillingness to let go of their position, their status, their privilege, and their sins that kept them from believing.   If anything keeps you from knowing, experiencing, and living in the love of Jesus, you have traded your soul for some worthless scrap!    

The ladies will begin the second half of their study of Philippians on Wednesday evening, September 25.  If you have any questions, contact Carla. 

We will be starting a membership class this Sunday, 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. Some  have informed me of their interest, but, even if you haven’t, you can just show up.  We will meet in the classroom down by the restrooms.

Love being your pastor!

Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church