Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What if Everyone Worked the Harvest Fields?

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad – but often true. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work – in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often – it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%? If we are in one camp or the other – why?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing or little else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. – and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? What would a church look like where all members worked the harvest fields?

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July 9, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Call to Holiness

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Rays HaircutThese are uneasy times. The unrest is hitting all-time highs it seems. Today’s presenting scripture has been called the the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). We are called to do this in good times and in not so good times. It might even be more needed during tough times.

In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I typically have an altar call each week to challenge those in attendance to faith – or to a deeper faith – or simply to pray about something that has been a challenge for them. Does your pastor invite you to the altar to pray? If not – you might ask them why not.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin (we actually called behavior contrary to God’s will – sin – some don’t like to even say that word).  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. How do you spend your Sunday? Continue reading

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 7 of Lent 2020

Matthew 22:1-2

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”

Ray 2020As we mentioned yesterday – parables are stories that Jesus used to share truths. Parables are not real life stories – usually – yet they tell a real life truth. They are great examples of putting the Scripture to work – an application of the word of truth in our lives.

What does today’s parable say to us? Yesterday’s parable was about a vineyard? What did it mean to us? What Biblical truth do we read in the words of today’s parable? Leave some comments as you read so that others can read and share as well!

I just finished watching a 3-part series on George Washington. Some wanted him to be a king – but instead he reluctantly became President. Today’s parable is about a king and the banquet this king prepared. Read it and see what truth you can get from it. Continue reading

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Ray 2020My prayer for us is that the old self will begin to fade as we walk toward the Cross of Christ this Lenten season – and that more and more we will look like Jesus. I also pray that our attitudes will be set on Christ and on no one or nothing else. During our walk to the cross this Lent – let us seek His face more clearly and desire His grace more dearly.

I hope you able to keep up with the readings – or at least used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse for focus on – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that to their parent! Continue reading

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

Philippians 2:10

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Life ChangeIt seems that it is getting harder and harder to live at peace with folks. From politics to religion to sports to how we raise our children – people differ in their opinion and seem to have a hard time expressing themselves without anger and attitudes. On top of that – some people seem to have a hard time dealing with a differing opinion. We’ve lost the art of debate and disagreement. It seems many among us cannot disagree without being disagreeable. Why can’t we just get along?

This seems to be the case in the political world for sure. After eight years of a President popular with one segment of the country and hearing the other side complain – I can’t remember the same venom I am hearing today with the current President. The previous President could do no wrong – it seemed – with the media. This President cannot seem to do anything right – according to the reports in the media (most of the media). I have witnessed families and friends have issues because of which way they voted in the 2016 Presidential elections. The country is very divided – red and blue – right and left – ideologically. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along?

This same thing is happening in our denomination – with some not being able to accept a differing view (I understand that at times the differences are so great it is hard if not impossible to harmonize the differences – but we shouldn’t be angry or hateful toward those that hold a differing view). The far left has one theology and the far right has another – and not only can they not agree on their theology – we’re having a hard time agreeing on pastoral ministry. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along? Continue reading

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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