Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:5

…it is by grace you have been saved.

RayMcDI love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I enjoy hearing someone say cover Ray when I’m playing basketball and lining up for a three-point shot. Or don’t leave Ray as the person on me leaves to help double team someone else. It means someone respects my ability (as meager as it may be).

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love the challenges on my Fitbit – both the personal challenges and the group challenges. I love it when this old pastor can at times keep up with the younger pastors in a Fitbit pastors group.

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love playing golf with a friend of mine – we are fairly equal in our abilities (we can both play a round in the 70’s or as high as the low 90’s from time to time). When I come out on top – it feels good – I know I have beaten a decent golfer. (I sure hope my torn rotor cuff heals quickly.) Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As For Me And Mine!

Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

RayMcDFamily traditions – they create memories. In a few months my family will try to enjoy a family weekend without mom or dad. Our family traditionally returns to my mother’s home town for a family reunion. I have many memories – growing up – revolving around this annual trek. My children do as well. Other families have barbecues or go to a ball game or open the pool on this weekend. What are your memories for Memorial weekend?

Family traditions – they create memories. What memories can you remember? Special memories developed around what your family did/does on the 4th of July (cookout at my brother’s home) – Labor Day (wear work clothes to church) – Thanksgiving (serving meals) – Christmas (family night at our home) – and other special days. What about something special for your birthday or anniversary (some even celebrate the anniversary of their first date). I know someone who makes memories at Disney – not only annually but often each year! Continue reading

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Good Old Days

Matthew 7:26-27

Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

RayMcDThe majority of this piece was written some 13 years ago. I have brushed it up a little but it stands today as truth.

Have we ever heard someone talk about the good old days? When they say this – normally they mean the morals and values of yesteryear. Of course not all values of the past were good. Racism – although still an ugly part of our society was much worse – IMHO – in years gone by. Women’s rights – although not what they should be today – were at times worse in days gone by. I’m sure there are others we could mention as well. But in general – in days gone by – one could leave their door unlocked at night and the keys in their car without fear of them being broken into or walk the streets day or night without much fear.

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is The Andy Griffith Show. I grew up watching Andy – Opie – Barney – Aunt Bea and the whole drew in Mayberry. Times were good on this show and even the unchurched were fairly moral and had values in Mayberry. This show took place during the 50’s & 60’s just a few states south of us.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry. Our communities use to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful? Continue reading

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peace Is Elusive At Times

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

RayMcDA little over a week ago my mom transitioned to heaven. I have an extraordinary amount of peace with this situation. I have confidence that mom is with Jesus and with my dad again. I grieve my loss – but I rejoice in mom’s victory and that brings me peace.

A friend of mine ended a multiple year relationship recently and I am praying peace for him. Another friend is dealing with cancer and treatment and I am praying peace for her. Still another friend is waging a battle against stubborn family members and I pray peace for them.

Peace is elusive at times. Peace is something that most of us seek but few of us find. We live in a day and age when people are struggling to find peace. We even struggle with what is right and what is wrong at times. Our parents and grandparents and so forth probably thought that each generation faced an uncertain world around them and a struggle for right and wrong. They probably thought they lived in a world where others called wrong as right and the right as wrong. Key to this thought is that we don’t all have the same moral values or ideology. We don’t all see the world or truth as the same.

Peace is elusive at times. Racial tension is still high in our society. A call for racial reconciliation – a call to treat persons by the content of their heart rather than the color of their skin – is still being met with opposition. Fifty to sixty years after some tried to awaken our country to racial tensions – these tensions are still alive in some folks and in some areas more than others. There are still those who hate because of skin color – as crazy as that seems.

Peace is elusive at times. There are ideologies today – as there have been in days gone by – where people think the only way to nirvana is to kill all infidels. ISIS (radical Islamic terrorists) is still a threat – killing Muslims – Christians – Jews – and others – around the world because they don’t agree with their ideology. They are creating fear around the world with their understanding of right and wrong. Most agree this is wrong but we can’t seem to agree how to defeat this hatred. Continue reading

February 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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