Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Our Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

The family was over on Sunday – at least most of it. It was a neat time. I was in my glory holding first one grandchild and then another. At one time I had three of them sitting with me (on me) watching a movie on the TV (a Troll movie). It was such a blessing.

Loving on your grandchildren is so easy. As a matter of fact – loving on anyone who loves you back is easy. I really enjoying cuddling with the grands and I enjoy showing love to my daughters and to my wife. I often don’t have trouble showing love to others as well – with hugs and kind words. What gets hard is showing love to those I know do not love me.

Are there folks in our lives that we might consider enemies? When I think of the word enemies – I often think of the Germans in WWII or Communists who threaten our way of life or ISIS who threatens world peace with terrorism. Enemies seem to be the worst of the worst. They are mean and contrary to all that is sacred or holy (or so it seems). Continue reading

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February 13, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing People Together

Colossians 3:11

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Yesterday was MLK Day. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to bring people together. I saw a picture of MLK and Billy Graham on Franklin Graham’s Facebook page and Franklin said they were good friends and both tried to bring about good. Here is what Franklin wrote.

My father Billy Graham was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is honored today. They knew each other well. They traveled together some, and at least one time even stayed in the same room together! Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King, said, “I think both Dr. Graham and my father were trying to make the world a better place…They were different obviously in their style and their approach, but I think their heart and their goal was the same.” When my father was holding an evangelistic Crusade in Chattanooga, TN, in 1953, he arrived and ropes had been put up to segregate the people. He was appalled. He told the head usher to take down the ropes, but he wouldn’t—so my father took down the ropes himself. He told the ushers who threatened to put them back up, “Either these ropes stay down or you can go on and have the revival without me.” I appreciate the strong stand he took. #MLKDay Continue reading

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

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan. Continue reading

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m So Confused

Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

I’m so confused! Ever felt like this – confused? I believe most of us have been confused before. I was confused a few weeks ago – when my second NFL team – the Redskins – were winning throughout the game – seemingly had the game in hand – only the lose it in the 4th quarter. This type of confusion returned when I saw my favorite college basketball team blow a 20 point early lead to need a miracle ending to regulation and then some great plays in overtime to win a recent game. Things just don’t as planned – sometimes.

I’m so confused! I am at a loss and very confused by the current political scene. The left and the right – the extremes of both views – seem to be out of control. I definitely lean right my self – but not as far right as some in today’s political world. It seems that neither party wants to think of what is best for America – or even discuss where their views of what is best for America might differ or agree. Continue reading

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Together

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Think out loud with me for a moment. Write down your thoughts on this blog post/devotional thought. Read what I suggest and ponder with me what it might look like to work together.

I counted 6 UM churches within the community known as Laurel’s surrounding area. Maybe there are even more if we stretch the boundaries a little.

I was listening to a podcast again recently and two things hit home with me. The first was a saying attributed to a popular pastor. The way to reach the people no one is reaching, is to do what no one else is doing. The second thing that hit me was another pastor saying that someone would come up with an idea that would radically shake up the church – and it will revolutionize the way we do church. Believe me he wasn’t speaking about style of worship or how we dress or anything as simple as that. Continue reading

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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