Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Blessed This Good Friday

Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Today is Good Friday. Spend the day remembering that Jesus loved you so much – that He came down from heaven and died on the cross for your/our sins. If you are in the Laurel area – join us this evening for a meaningful service of remembrance as we read through some of the Biblical story of Jesus’ sacrifice. The service begins at 7 pm at First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel – MD. Here are some passages to get us thinking today.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Continue reading

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Knows All About Us

Psalm 139:3

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

When I was growing up – I had certain chores – like most of us I assume. One of my chores was to cut the grass. We had just moved into the new parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC on Addison Road in Seat Pleasant – MD. That church has since been renamed Gethsemane UMC.

The grass was just starting to take root and so it was very thin – sparse. There were rocks in the soil and my dad instructed me to cut the grass with the mower pointing away from the house. This meant I would push the mower up the hill in our side yard and pull it down the hill. It was harder – I thought – than pushing it down hill and pulling it up the hill – so I turned the lawn mower around and did as I thought – rather than as my father had told me. Continue reading

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Check Our Attitude About Worship Today

2 Samuel 6:14-16

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.


In today’s passage we see an attitude in David about worship. He seems to not be concerned with what his wife thought or his subjects. He was concerned only with presenting himself before God. Style was not something he worried about either. Today we want to write about styles of worship. Which style is right? Before you think traditional or contemporary or gospel or charismatic or some other style it right or the best – read the rest of this article.  Thanks!

For some the right style of worship means hymns and quiet time – for some the right style might mean psalms and songs sung with vigor and excitement to a quicker beat – for some the right style of worship might mean a Sanctuary and tradition – for some it might mean a comfortable setting and contemporary. The style is less important to me – or dare I say – even to God. What I think God desires is that our attitude be such that we come together to worship God not glorify ourselves or our desires or personal preferences. Continue reading

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come Holy Spirit – Come!

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I listened to a sermon by Reinhard Bonnke from a Jesus Culture event.  Today’s Scripture came to mind – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I believe too many Christians – too many churches and too many denominations – shy away from the Holy Spirit these days. I believe that if we shy away from the Holy Spirit – we are shying away from God with us today. Jesus said – before He ascended to heaven – that the Father would send One in His name – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit – to teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Too many are shying away from the Holy Spirit and going through the motions – powerless to be the church – without the Holy Spirit fire. Maybe this is why the United Methodist Church – many other denominations – and non-denominational churches – are falling these days. Too many preachers – too many boards of elders and lay leaders are trying to be the church without the Holy Spirit’s power. We cannot be the church without God with us today – the Holy Spirit. It is as clear as that! Continue reading

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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