Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Live In Troubling Times

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We live in troubling times. North Korea is a nuclear threat. There is unrest – once again – with Russia. China is also a super power threat. Not to mention the unrest in Iran – Iraq – Afghanistan – Nigeria – Syria – Pakistan – Yemen and Somalia. World peace seems only a dream for the uninformed.

We live in troubling times. I personally know of several married couples that have given up or are on the verge of giving up. Some are recently married and some have been married for some time. Some of the couples have children – even young children. Even some of the married couples I know who might not be in trouble – have troubles. It seems like happily ever after is just a pipe dream in many cases. The peace that some seek in a lifetime commitment is not experienced by many. Continue reading

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

Lawlessness and Obedience

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

I just finished watching a movie starring Charles Bronson. It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by these lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago and Baltimore – the murder rate is higher than the days of the year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are There Any Absolutes?

Matthew 7:26-27

Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

My favorite show comes on at different times – but as often as possible I try to be in front of the TV when it comes on. The Andy Griffith Show is one of my favorite all-time shows. I grew up watching Andy – Opie – Barney – and Aunt Bea. Times were good for many and even the unchurched were fairly moral and had values in Mayberry. This show took place during the 50’s & 60’s just a few states south of us.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry it seems. Our communities used to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful as a society? Continue reading

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Disciples

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

The Great Commission is the marching orders of the church. Everything we do as a church should be measured against these words. We should do nothing that doesn’t help us evangelize – sharing the gospel message with others.

It saddens me when I look at the journal for our conference (and I imagine it is the same throughout the U.S.) and see the number of churches without even one profession of faith. That would be adding a new disciple to the kingdom. Some say they are concentrating on maturing their current disciples – yet – if disciples are maturing – they should be attracting new disciples as well.

Let me ask a few questions today. Who do we know that is being drawn to Jesus because of our walk with Him? Is there someone we are witnessing to that has been drawn to Christ in this past year? Is there someone we have helped to grow closer to Jesus in this past year? Who have we invited to worship with us in the past year? Who have we talked to about our faith walk in the past year? Do we even talk to others about Jesus and what He means to us? Continue reading

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Constant Is Change

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life keeps changing! The only constant in life is change. A number of things in my own life have changed. I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (37 years this past summer verses 25 years not married). I celebrated 44 years since I graduated High School this past June. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today!

My children – my babies – are all grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with our granddaughters. I’ve been in ministry for 41 years. I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left – maybe more!).

Life keeps changing! This summer the Nationals have played playoff bound baseball – the Orioles are trying to get in but it doesn’t seem to be a certainty for sure. The Redskins lost their season opening game while the Ravens won – shutting out the Bengals. The Wizards made the playoffs and so did the Capitals. That’s pretty good change for our area and Maryland is 2-0 after two convincing wins.

Continue reading

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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