Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Deeper Walk With The Holy Spirit

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

I miss my dad. I often went to dad with spiritual and personal issues in my life. I would also talk to him about church life and share my concerns and my joys. He was a good sounding board – a man of faith and a man of love. He guided me through many troubling waters and helped me avoid so many as well.

Is there someone in our lives that fits this bill? Is there someone who we turn to in times of need and times of joy? A number of my friends are fellow clergy and we often have people coming to us for guidance on issues in life.

My children come to me from time to time – but not nearly as often as I would like – seeking guidance. I miss my dad greatly – because he was a source of strength for me. Continue reading

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts On The UMC And Homosexuality

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.

I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.

Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Asking For Prayers

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Many times I ask this question to myself and to the congregation I serve as well as to those who read this blog post. I’ll continue to ask it – How’s our prayer life? I mean it! When do we spend time in prayer? How long do we spend in prayer? What do we mention in our prayers? Do we find ourselves running out of things to pray for or do we run out of time in our prayer times?

The Psalmist writes: In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

If we don’t have a regular prayer time or devotion time – try what the Psalmist mentions and spend time in the morning – first thing. I know it is tough for some. If you are a single mom or dad and have children to get ready for school before you go to work – it might be tough finding even 5 minutes to sit before the Lord. If we rise at 4 or 5 am to go to work – turning over for that last 5 minutes – hitting snooze on our alarm can be the best few moments. But I believe if we make it a habit (not all habits are bad) to spend even just 5 minutes first thing in the morning before God we would shortly notice the difference in our day. Continue reading

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentecost Is Coming!

Acts 1:8

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We’re coming upon the season of Pentecost (1st Sunday of June). Pentecost is considered the time or season when we are to especially honor the Holy Spirit. If we have ever had a hard time witnessing our faith – I want to suggest to us to spend more time in prayer – seeking the Holy Spirit power that Jesus promised in today’s passage. It really isn’t optional – as I read the Bible – to tell others about Jesus. If Jesus is real in our lives – if we have experienced the saving grace of Christ – we have to tell somebody.

Today’s passage – during a time when Jesus was ready to ascend to the Father – tells Jesus’ followers to go and tell someone. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Shortly after Jesus said these words to His disciples – the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples and all those gathered who were waiting for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bow Down In Worship Before God

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

As I was reading some of my old blogs – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. I used one yesterday titled – Let’s Check Our Attitude About Worship Today. Reading today’s passage – once again – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. I started to wonder if we really grasp the concept of worship.

Far too often some folks think worship is about them. We want our favorite songs – or at least music we like – or the pastor to be dressed a certain way – or the service to be a certain length – or the sermon to reach us – feed us – each week. Some will say things like I’m not being fed in worship or I’m not getting anything out of the service. I’m sure there are many other thoughts that run through folks’ minds. What are some that you have thought or heard?

This may be a new thought to some but worship isn’t about us – at least not primarily. Worship is about God – coming before God to give God glory – honor – and praise. Today’s passage says – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. When was the last time we came to church with the mindset that we were there to worship God? I mean to really bow down before God and give God our total heart – mind – and soul? Continue reading

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: