Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude

Luke 17:17

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

I imagine every generation has their issues with the previous generation. One area that seems to come up in conversations quite often is a lack of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

A nation was grateful to the military when they returned from World War II – even calling the men and women who fought to defeat evil in Europe and the Pacific theatre – the greatest generation. But I remember soldiers returning from Vietnam receiving protests and ridicule. A nation – not solidly behind the war efforts in Vietnam – didn’t rally around the returning soldiers – showing them with gratitude. Most of those soldiers had nothing to do with the political unrest surrounding this conflict. Most – like their counterparts in WWII – were merely following orders from those up the command chain. They too deserved our gratitude as a nation. They fought for freedom – they fought instead of many of us – they should have been welcomed home with open arms and gratitude. Continue reading

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

Come To Our Senses

Luke 15:17

When he came to his senses

I remember – while in High School – being knocked silly during a drill in football. I was lying on my back and had to jump up – turn around (part of the drill) and between two pylons a running back was coming full speed and I had to stop him. It was our fullback and he was at full stride. We collided and I wrapped my arms around him and over we went. To say my bell was rung would be an understatement. This was before they knew much about concussions – but I imagine I had one – everything was spinning (I was a 155 pound wide receiver/tight end and he was a 220 pound fullback) (but I did stop him). When I came to my senses – I jumped up and gave a roar (and later went to one knee).

I remember – growing up – and hearing advice from my father that at the time seemed silly and nonsensical. I listened with respect – and nodded my head at the appropriate times. I remember thinking dad was so old fashion and square. That is until – as I was experiencing life – much if not all of what he told me came true and was later seen as wisdom. When I grew older and wiser – I came to my senses and realized my dad was smarter and wiser than I ever imagined. Continue reading

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May He Turn Our Hearts To Him

1 Kings 8:58

May he turn our hearts to him…

Dear readers – can we remember a time in our lives when we wanted someone’s heart? Maybe it was in grade school when we first liked someone and wanted them to like us back. Maybe later in life when we began to date – we hoped a certain person would give their heart to us. Our hearts have probably been broken when someone who had our heart wouldn’t give their heart to us (or took it back after giving it to us).

Many of us eventually found someone to share hearts with and married them. My wife and I will be married 37 years this summer (and she hasn’t aged a bit – I on the other hand have grayed and gained significant weight – I’m glad it was my heart she loved not my body).

God seeks after our hearts. God desires to have our hearts and He knows if He has our hearts – He has the rest of us as well. We’re told that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God will everything in us. Last Sunday’s sermon had this passage as part of the morning’s readings. Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Continue reading

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

Our Labor For The Lord Will Not Be In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I’m back from my staycation. For the last two weeks I have taken some time off to relax and reflect. If you missed our weekday postings – I’m back! If you didn’t miss them – you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

Yesterday I was honored to be asked to return to my home church – Mt. Zion UMC in Lothian – MD. As a child – a couple of months old – my family moved to Mt. Zion (MZ). My father followed his father as the pastor of MZ (granddad died mid year and the Bishop called my father to take his place). I lived in the parsonage of this church until I was 9 – the pastor’s son. We returned often to this base church because my grandmother – who lived with our family after her husband’s passing until she built her own home. She still lived in the community (next door to the parsonage) after we left for another church.

It was about 18 years later that a new Bishop appointed me to MZ. I thought it would be neat to return to the church where my grandfather (3 years) served and my father (9 years) served. Little did I know that Carolyn and I were to spend the next 24 years serving in this church community. We were blessed by our time together. We stayed in touch with MZ over the years because other family members remained at this church after we left. They live in the community and so do we.

It has been about 10 years since we left MZ as pastor and so returning yesterday was a blessing. There were some familiar faces present as well as some new ones. We were warmly welcomed. I thank the pastor who followed us and ministered to MZ for 10 years for allowing us to return – Rev. William (Bill) Herche (retired). Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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