Happy Monday and Happy New Year to all of you! I hope your year has started well. I would encourage you to participate in the “40 Days of Prayer” we began yesterday. The emphasis of this year’s 40 days is “becoming one in Christ.” We at East Madison are joining with our brothers and sisters across the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention in a concerted effort of praying for oneness among those who confess and believe in Jesus. We have prayer guides available at the church building in case you were not here to get one yesterday. Also, these daily updates are being posted on the “MWBC Pray” page on Facebook and you can find them there. Your just need to “like” the “MWBC Pray” page. The Facebook post began on January 1, and we began our 40 days yesterday. Don’t worry about when you start, but just start as soon as you can and use one prayer devotional a day for forty days. (The devotionals were written by people in Wisconsin and Minnesota and I wrote one of the devotionals.) This 40 day prayer effort was a huge blessing for those who participated last year, and I am expecting God to work mightily in our lives as we pray together for 40 days again this year.
It was great to be back home with our church family yesterday. I want to thank Jason for proclaiming God’s Word last week while I was gone to Oklahoma. Yesterday, we were reminded as we sang of the greatness of God and of the truth that He is the One who holds us fast. We thought about repentance and what it really means. Repentance is changing the way we think about life. We realize we have seen life from the wrong perspective and need to see life from God’s perspective. Repentance means we no longer see sin in any way as a good thing, but we see sin from God’s perspective as destructive, dehumanizing, enslaving, and deadly. We then see God’s way of living as fulfilling, purposeful, freeing, and life-giving. Then, after we initially repent and give control of our lives to Jesus, we are baptized to confess to the world that we are now followers of Jesus and we are living life for Him. Yesterday, we also explored the truth that we need to live a life of continual repentance, always seeking to become more and more like Jesus in our character and attitudes. Repentance is more than just a one time act but a continual attitude of life that desires to more and more and more reflect the beauty of Jesus. Repentance is the continual attitude of those who are growing in Christ.
We are looking for a volunteer to help us with making sure the bathrooms are stocked with supplies and ready weekly for our Sunday services and to make sure the trash is at the curb to be picked up on Monday morning. Since we now contract with a service to clean the building, sometimes these things have been overlooked. If this is an area in which you would like to serve, please let me know.
Love being your pastor in 2019!
Bob Ray, Pastor, East Madison Baptist Church