Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

We Are All A Part Of The Whole

1 Corinthians 12:27

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

When I was in school – grade school – Junior & Senior High – I was in the school band. I played trumpet (or in some of our music it was called a cornet). In High School I played in the Orchestra – the Pep Band – the Concert Band and the Marching Band. These bands were a conglomeration of different persons with different talents. When the director got us all on the same page and the same beat – we made some pretty good music. We won awards even for some of our efforts.

The same can be said about the sport teams I played on in High School. A group of different people – working toward a common goal – and we had a measure of success. I’m sure if you’ve been on any team or group – you may have experienced the same.

Churches are like this as well. Churches are made up of a collection of different people trying to make great music together – trying to achieve goals together. Continue reading

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Jesus Was Tempted But Was Without Sin

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I love to discuss theology. I love to talk about doctrine and beliefs. Good thing – since that is my calling and career. I bet there aren’t too many who love these things.

One of the theological discussions I enjoy surrounds the thought of Jesus’ temptations. It is clear through Scripture that Jesus was temped. Today’s passage says – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

That Jesus was tempted is not really in question. What seems to be in question is whether Jesus could or could not sin when tempted. Is a temptation a temptation if there is no possible way you could yield to the temptation and sin? That is a significant question.

Whether Jesus could sin or not is cloaked in His nature. Jesus’ nature as the second Adam – was different than our nature for sure. 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 – 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. Continue reading

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifting Of The Church Part III

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDThis is the third part of this series. I’m not sure yet how many parts there will be. Today we will follow up yesterday’s article on verses 12-13. Those verses gave us a purpose for the gifting of the church and today I want to write about the result of the gifting of the church as we take a look at verse 14.

The gifting of the church is so we might glorify the Lord we saw yesterday. When God gifts us we are to use that gifting to uplift and serve the Body of Christ. Verse 14 tells us some of the results – then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. The gifting of the church then is to give the people of God a foundation and secure hold on truth.

Remember the church of Laodicea? They were lukewarm – many of them – not firmly grounded in their faith (hot or cold). They were swayed to and fro with this belief and the next. Paul also had a heart for them and strived to ground them in the truth. Continue reading

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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