Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Praises 2

Psalm 47:1

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.


During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Rev. Ray, As I think on this, the first thing that comes to mind, is the giving spirit of First Church. My first thought is the Angel Tree, this provides children with something “under the tree” that might not have had anything to open Christmas morning. It also provides their parents with a sigh of relief that their children will not be disappointed in “Santa” not visiting their home. I am emotional typing this because I am blessed above and beyond what I deserve and I have always been able to provide a wonderful Christmas of presents, family, food and fun for my children. 

Second I think of the Food Drive. The boxes in the Narthex have been overflowing with food, so much so that Judy and Scott have been storing donations in the Choir room or the Narthex would appear to be a Super Market. Again the generosity of First Church overwhelms me!

I am also excited to participate in my first ever Advent Event. This is especially important as it is teaching our children to give rather then only receive this season, to remember those less fortunate. From wrapping Angel Tree gifts to making homeless blessing bags, gifts for home-bound members and Kairos Christmas artwork. Again how generous is our Church? 

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing Off Our Sinful Nature

Ephesians 4:22

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. NLT

RayMcDWe’re approaching a new year. New Year’s Day is usually the time folks make resolutions. Rather than wait till January 1st – how about we agree today to throw off our old sinful nature and our former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception? Make a resolution today to follow Jesus and strive to shed sin in our lives. Seek His face and desire His grace.

Sin is nothing new – yet it does seem to be stacking up pretty high – even in folks that profess Christ as Lord and Savior. Sin comes in many forms. We can sin through thought – word – and/or deed. We can sin by what we do and we can sin by what we do not do. As Christians we should be striving to remove all sin from our lives. We should be striving to follow the example set by Jesus!

Our sin nature is part of our struggle as children of God. Here are a few Scriptures that speak to sin and our sin nature.

Romans 8:3 – For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, Continue reading

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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