Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is Most Precious To Us?

1 Peter 2:7

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,”

What is most precious to us? Growing up I collected comic books. I had Captain America – Thor – The Avengers – Hulk – Wolverine – Batman – Aqua Man- Superman – Green Hornet – Silver Surfer – Fantastic Four – and more. For some – I had complete original series – in mint condition. I read them all and kept them in a box in the basement of our home. In a sense they were precious to me – precious in the sense that I collected them and kept them.

What is most precious to us? One day my mom had a yard sale. She was selling all sorts of things. I helped for a while and then I had to go umpire a baseball game. I left for a few hours. I went over to the old Elk’s field in Annapolis for the baseball game. When I returned the sale was just about over and I helped bring things into the house. It was later that evening that I found that I was missing my comic collection. My younger brother had taken them out and sold them in the yard sale. I was furious. Something that was precious to me was taken away – without my permission. I hate to think of what they would be worth today. I’m just glad he didn’t find my box of baseball cards – some of them hang in my office now at work! Continue reading

Advertisements

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgiveness Requires Our Confession

Psalm 32:5

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about forgiveness. I wrote about grace of late as well. I love the topic so much I thought I would write about it again today. There is something about God’s grace – God’s forgiveness – that blesses me and others. Confession is required for forgiveness and I’m praying about a sermon series on Confession and Repentance in the coming months.

One Sunday not too long ago we preached on forgiveness in marriage (check out the sermon notes in the link provided). Every successful marriage requires forgiveness – because there are no perfect marriages – no perfect spouses. We WILL make mistakes. We WILL mess up (I just messed up this morning)! We need forgiveness and we need to forgive. Confession and repentance are required for us to receive forgiveness – even in our marriages.

The Bible uses marriage – between a husband and wife – as an example of our marriage with Christ (we are the bride of Christ). Here is one passage where Paul writes about the church – believers – being promised to Christ as His bride. 2 Corinthians 11:1–4 – 1 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. Continue reading

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Is God The Son

Matthew 14:33

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

RayMcDWhat was it that convinced us to become fans of a certain team? Was it our parent’s view or preference? Was it our friend’s view or preference? Was it our home team? Was it a winning season that won us over? I began to follow the Baltimore Orioles one year before their first World Championship in 1966 when they swept the Dodgers in four games. It was the local team and 1966’s season sealed me as a fan (although 14 losing seasons in a row and seasons like this current one make it hard).

What convinced us to attend a certain college (if we did) (being local and my dad’s college played into me attending the University of Maryland)? What was it that convinced us to ask someone or accept the invitation of someone to go on a date or later to married him or her? What does it take to convince us of something? We make a number of important decisions in our lifetime.

What was it that led us to believe in Jesus? What was it that convinced us that Jesus was the Son of God – even God the Son? Was it a message on a Sunday or at a revival service? Was it something we read in the Bible? Was it the witness of someone that convinced us? Was it a miracle or something we couldn’t explain? Continue reading

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Others God’s Grace

Luke 19:5

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.

It is hard – at times – to show grace. We talked about showing grace yesterday in the message. There are people in our lives that we would have a hard time showing grace to I think. Do we have a hard time showing grace – showing love – to the Zacchaeus types in our lives? The first few verses of Luke 19 tells us some about him.

Luke 19:1-4 – 1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

Zacchaeus wasn’t JUST a tax collector – but a chief tax collector. In Jesus’ day – Rome had some heavy taxes. And they hired Jewish people to collect the taxes from their own people. Most tax collectors were ruthless (they had Roman soldiers to help them collect) and corrupt. If they were asked to get $500 (for example) from each person – they could actually ask for more – and keep what Rome did not demand. That was how they became wealthy – through their corruption. Well – a Chief tax collector would be the one who told the other tax collectors what Rome needed (and they always put more into the figure for their cut). So – if Rome needed $500 a person (again – an example only) – the Chief tax collector might tell those under them that Rome needed $600 and keep the $100 for themselves. The regular crooks – I mean tax collectors – would then ask for $650 and keep the $50 themselves. You can easily see why the Jews quickly came to hate the Tax Collectors – not only because of Rome’s taxes – but because of their corruption – their sin. Continue reading

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Adventure With Jesus

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

I remember playing pretend as a child. My brother and I would dress up like soldiers and playing Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow. I even had a plastic machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and beside grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage. It was great fun pretending.

We just finished a week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme was having great adventures – Rolling River Rampage. The children had a blast. They had great adventures on the river and learned about Jesus. They imagined a number of adventures on the river. We collected funds to support those devastated by the rising river in Ellicott City.

They learned that some adventures are imaginary – and some are real – like walking with Jesus can be an adventure but it is for real! We learned that following Jesus – who died to pay for our sins and to allow us into a right relationship with God the Father – can be a great adventure too. We were also encouraged to tell others of our excitement – being in an adventure with Jesus. Continue reading

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: