Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Meeting Together to Worship God

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

RayMcDI found the cartoon I am using in this devotional thought on the Internet and thought it was cute and yet pointed as well. When I was younger my life centered around church life. Now grant you my father was a pastor – but knowing mom and dad – even if they had other careers – our life would have centered around church life.

Between school and church – there wasn’t much time for anything else. Sunday was a full day of church – worship – Sunday School – family lunch – naps – youth group – and church again. Wednesday night was church again and throughout the week we were at the church one or two other nights for something. I played sports growing up but the coach knew that I couldn’t practice or play on a night I had church (he worked around it – and I was a starter in basketball and baseball).

Nowadays church is an afterthought for a number of families. It seems like – if there is nothing else to do I’ll go to church for some. Stores use to be closed – restaurants too. Community sports were not played on Sundays. Sunday was universally a day of worship and rest. The society just understood that things slowed on Sundays. Continue reading

September 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Will For Our Lives

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

RayMcDIf there is a subject that comes up the most in ministry – it is determining the will of God for our lives. We’re spending a time of prayer – interviews – and discernment right now on our next Contemporary Worship Leader. We’re praying about it and some of the candidates for the position are praying about it. We are seeking God’s will.

A number of High School students over the years have asked me how they can determine God’s will for their future. Where should they go to school? Should they go to college or trade school or some other form of advanced education past High School? What is God’s will for me?

Through the years young people have asked – what is God’s will concerning my future? Should I get married? Should I work here or there? Should I have my education and job before I settle down and get married? When should we have children? Where should we work? Where should we live? What is God’s will for me? Continue reading

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carry Your Own Cross

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

RayMcDAs I get older – one of the things I’ve noticed about our society – is that there are more people than ever that seem to feel like someone owes them something or someone else is responsible for their behavior or choices. People do horrific things and blame others for their actions. People make unwise decisions and expect someone else to pay their bills or repair the damage their decisions have made. It seems like more people are on government programs – government subsidies – receiving money from the government (tax payers) – than ever before.

Thanks for letting me on my soapbox for a paragraph. I know the subject is more detailed than my simply observations – but that is how it looks to me. It seems like some people – even more people today than ever before – want something for nothing.

Some in the church even think this way. Salvation is free they say – and yes – the cost of salvation is free – having been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him – John records this – John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Paul – writing about salvation – about grace – wrote this – Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. So we see that the penalty has been paid – the cost of our sins is covered – yet Paul says this grace comes through faith in Christ – the Hebrew people had to apply the blood of the lamb on their doorposts for death to pass them over – and today we are called to follow Christ – to be His disciples. Continue reading

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Word In My Heart

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

RayMcDWe’ve begun a sermon series on the Book of James. It is a Bible Study during the sermon for five of the next six Sundays.

Sunday we talked a little about the heart – about faith – about the tongue. Attitude is so important. One of my favorite sayings is – Christianity boils down to attitude – the position and condition of one’s heart.

One of the things we are trying to do at our local church is reach the younger generation with Jesus. Some believe that the way to reach the younger generation means softening the truth – lowering the standards – so the next generation will not find Christianity to be too rigid. I believe just the opposite. I believe that the younger generation has seen enough wishy-washiness in the world where there are no absolutes and nothing one can count on for truth. I believe that all generations need to hear the truth – the Word of God. Continue reading

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Will Return!

John 14:3

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

RayMcDDo you talk to your pets? When we leave our dog places (even the groomers’ place) – we tell him we will be back and we will come to get him – we will not leave him and not return. We assure him that we will be back – we will return.

We left him with our daughter recently for a weekend and told him – as if he could understand – that we would be back soon and that our daughter would take care of him. Anyone crazy like us? Anyone else talk to their pets? How about your plants? Now that would be silly – right?

How about when we take trips – do we talk to our spouse or our children or our co-workers and tell them we will be back? I inform my wife that I will be back when I take a trip without her. I tell her to please don’t sell or give away any of my things while I’m gone – LOL.

I usually tell my wife in the morning when I leave for work that I love her and will see her soon. I try to do this everyday – because you never know when it might be the last time I leave her (she doesn’t like to think like that – but for me it must be an occupational hazard I’ve witnessed far too many times). Continue reading

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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