Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving The Lord

Romans‬ ‭12:11‬
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

There are times we must respond – right away. No hesitation! No delay. The question that might be asked is this – will we be ready to respond when called upon?

Preparing for the unknown is something that some do well and some do not. We’ve all heard the phrase – prepare for the worst and hope for the best – I would imagine. If you are a normal planner – this isn’t hard for you. If you typically fly by the seat of your pants or are somewhat less of a planner – it might be hard.

For instance – one shouldn’t wait until retirement to begin to plan for it. Savings and investments take time. Planning about when to retire and where to live upon retirement take time to plan. Even planning – some – of what you will do in retirement can be a help.

Another example – coming to agreement with your spouse on certain issues before they actually arise. For instance – how many children we would like or even if we want children and when – might be something to talk about and even have some agreement upon before one marries. Continue reading

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Search Me – Oh God – And Know My Heart

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

An actor was famous for saying – who loves you baby. Of course I’m talking about Telly Savalas when he played the lollypop loving lead role in the detective show Kojak (1973-1978). Knowing who loves you is important. I remember in grade school when girls sent notes to boys asking them if they liked them. We have a need to know who loves us – who likes us – how people feel about us.

A better question than who loves us or likes us is whom do we love or like? Some men have a hard time saying I love you to their wife or children. Knowing whom we love/like and being able to express it is important.

The word love – at times – flows too easily for some. Young men say it to young women in order to sway them to like them back or give them special attention. We might say we love someone – even saying we love Jesus – but as my mom would say – the proof is in the pudding or words are nice but actions speak louder than words.

Do we love God? Do we really love God more than anything or anyone? In scripture we are told to love God with all that we have and all that we are. Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Continue reading

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bow Down In Worship Before God

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

As I was reading some of my old blogs – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. I used one yesterday titled – Let’s Check Our Attitude About Worship Today. Reading today’s passage – once again – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. I started to wonder if we really grasp the concept of worship.

Far too often some folks think worship is about them. We want our favorite songs – or at least music we like – or the pastor to be dressed a certain way – or the service to be a certain length – or the sermon to reach us – feed us – each week. Some will say things like I’m not being fed in worship or I’m not getting anything out of the service. I’m sure there are many other thoughts that run through folks’ minds. What are some that you have thought or heard?

This may be a new thought to some but worship isn’t about us – at least not primarily. Worship is about God – coming before God to give God glory – honor – and praise. Today’s passage says – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. When was the last time we came to church with the mindset that we were there to worship God? I mean to really bow down before God and give God our total heart – mind – and soul? Continue reading

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Love Springtime

Genesis 1:11

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

I love the springtime. I love warmer weather and budding plants. The fact that baseball season starts in the spring helps for sure. Go Orioles! Go Nationals!

Warmer weather means more outside activities and of course more sunshine for longer hours and that extra vitamin D helps most of us. I love cutting grass and springtime is a great time for that as the grass grows quickly in the warm days and cool nights.

What is your favorite time of the year? What are your favorite springtime activities? I love getting outside and doing chores that have mounted through the winter. My siding needs cleaned. My yard needs picked up. My wood needs cut and stacked for next winter. Some leaves are still around and some sticks and branches have fallen through the winter. I want to get outside and walk more and of course – playing golf in the spring is my second favorite season (I like fall golf the most). Continue reading

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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