Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Praises 7

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

christmas-7During 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, My joy in attending First Church is in being with and serving with strong Christian men and women.  When all else in life at times was unpredictable and people outside our walls could be unkind or indifferent, I knew that at church, you could count on so many to be loving and eager to serve the Lord in mission.  Thru my work with Side by Side, I learned that no matter how many other missions and how even our own families took up much of their time, our members stepped forward to serve the families of Laurel.  They make room in their heart, they pray for you, they lift you up, you can count on them.  I give thanks for the grace God shows me every day, in part as expressed in our loving church family!

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 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Leadership, Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Come Lord Come – Maranatha

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

RayMcDDo you have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. In the fourth century when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. The coming or return of the Messiah.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? If you attend First Church you have heard it used numerous times in sermons and prayers. It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord – Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. Continue reading

December 7, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: