Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We A New Creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Today’s passage should be very familiar to us. If you have heard me preach or teach for any length of time – you have heard this passage used. I wonder if we give it much thought.

It may be painful – but try to remember if we can – if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior – what it felt like before we made the decision to follow Him. I made the decision as a youth – but I can remember the feeling after I made the decision more than the feeling beforehand. I mean – I grew up in the church – and although a sinner – not a really bad person. I did think I was a Christian beforehand – thinking that because I went to church I was a Christian. But soon after giving my heart to Jesus – I knew what it was like to be a new creation. I felt like flying – I felt free – I felt relieved and blessed.

I have talked to some who received Christ later in life and they have similar reports – but with a deeper memory of their life prior to Jesus. Some walked in drugs or alcohol. Some lived lives of crime. Some didn’t grow up in the church. Can we remember? What is our story? Continue reading

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Not Love The World

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some in the mountains – some at the lake – some playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude

Luke 17:17

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

I imagine every generation has their issues with the previous generation. One area that seems to come up in conversations quite often is a lack of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

A nation was grateful to the military when they returned from World War II – even calling the men and women who fought to defeat evil in Europe and the Pacific theatre – the greatest generation. But I remember soldiers returning from Vietnam receiving protests and ridicule. A nation – not solidly behind the war efforts in Vietnam – didn’t rally around the returning soldiers – showing them with gratitude. Most of those soldiers had nothing to do with the political unrest surrounding this conflict. Most – like their counterparts in WWII – were merely following orders from those up the command chain. They too deserved our gratitude as a nation. They fought for freedom – they fought instead of many of us – they should have been welcomed home with open arms and gratitude. Continue reading

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come To Our Senses

Luke 15:17

When he came to his senses

I remember – while in High School – being knocked silly during a drill in football. I was lying on my back and had to jump up – turn around (part of the drill) and between two pylons a running back was coming full speed and I had to stop him. It was our fullback and he was at full stride. We collided and I wrapped my arms around him and over we went. To say my bell was rung would be an understatement. This was before they knew much about concussions – but I imagine I had one – everything was spinning (I was a 155 pound wide receiver/tight end and he was a 220 pound fullback) (but I did stop him). When I came to my senses – I jumped up and gave a roar (and later went to one knee).

I remember – growing up – and hearing advice from my father that at the time seemed silly and nonsensical. I listened with respect – and nodded my head at the appropriate times. I remember thinking dad was so old fashion and square. That is until – as I was experiencing life – much if not all of what he told me came true and was later seen as wisdom. When I grew older and wiser – I came to my senses and realized my dad was smarter and wiser than I ever imagined. Continue reading

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

%d bloggers like this: