Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Prayer For Our Local Congregation

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I’ve been spending time praying for our local congregation of late. I pray for the Body of Christ – universal – but I’m praying specifically for our local congregation. I’ve been seeking God’s face specifically for our congregation. I know we have a mission statement and many awesome ministries – but I’m asking God to make His desires clear to our church leadership and membership. My heart is for nothing but the best for our local congregation. I pray that is the heart of our whole membership.

Paul writes his heart’s desire for the church in Ephesus in his Epistle – Ephesians 3:16-19 – I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Continue reading

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October 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Being A Disciple

John 8:31

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

We have three grandchildren living with us right now. We have two other grandchildren living very close to us. Soon they will all live near us. It tickles me to hear them call for Pop and run to give me a hug. Several of them are very good at giving hugs – OK – all of them are! I enjoy cuddling and playing with them all. I spent some time tonight reading to three of them and playing blocks with them. One likes nothing more than to knock down the towers we build. She says help me Pop and as I build a tower – she giggles and knocks them down.

As my children raise/rear their children – I am reminded of the task of being a parent. I tweeted this recently – It is our job as parents to teach our children to be trustworthy, to fulfill their commitments, and to do a good job even when nobody is looking. Another thing we are to do as a Christian parent is to teach and train our children to be obedient to God. They must make this choice themselves – but we lay the groundwork for sure. Monkey see – monkey do is often so true. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree is another good saying when it comes to parenting. As our children and grandchildren witness our faith – they will learn to model it and have a better chance of coming to faith themselves. Continue reading

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Vision For The Church Family

Ephesians 3:19

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul writes his heart’s desire for the church in Ephesus by saying; Ephesians 3:16-19I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

As I have been praying about First Church – this has come to my heart numerous times. I believe God wants us to grown up and deepen our faith at First Church. God wants us to seek His face and desire His grace. I’m not saying we don’t have mature Christians at First Church – I’m saying the whole body needs to grow up and mature even more in Jesus (this includes the pastor and church leaders). Paul continues in Ephesians 4 to tell us some of the measures of a mature Christian. Read it and see what it has to say. Are these things abundant in our church? Are they gifts and blessings that we could use more of at First Church? In your local church dear reader? Continue reading

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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