Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Connected

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

A month or two ago (time blurs together) our church was struck by lightning. We suffered a number of electrical issues. One that seems to be lingering is an Internet issue. We shortly got the main system up and running so that the office could operate – but – the lingering issue seems to be all of the runs around the building. Things are connected – and finding all of the affected connections has been a task. We have replaced a number of connectors and boasters but still have some issues. Everything is connected to the core and if each run of wire or each Wi-Fi connector or boaster is not synced or working – people in parts of the building will not have access to the Internet.

Is there a patriarch or matriarch in your family that holds everything together? My mom and dad were the Lynch pins for our family. Mom and dad drew the family together for most of the holidays. We all wanted to be around mom and dad. It seems like – with them now residing in heaven with Jesus – each of our families are scattered – doing their own thing. We still try to get together – but it isn’t the same without mom and dad. When an arsonist burned down our family home in West Virginia – an era ended for our family. Continue reading

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November 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is It That Temps Us?

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

What is it that temps us? Several days ago I wrote about How to Turn From Addictions. Today we want to write about temptations. Maybe our temptations haven’t gotten to the point where they are addictions – but – they still might be an area of concern for us.

What is it that temps us? Temptations can lead to sin – which can lead to a separation between God and us. Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We strive to follow God’s commands – but the flesh is weak.

What is it that temps us? Temptations come from Satan – they do not come from God. Temptations can also drag us away from God. James 1:13–14 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Continue reading

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

Because You Say So Lord!

Luke 5:5

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Did we have parents who would say something to us – and we would ask why – they would respond – because I say so? Some parents used that line (I can’t remember my father ever using it but I may have once or twice). Did you? It is a common lines used by many parents.

As parents – we might have wished that our children would respond yes simply because we asked them to do something – after all – we are the parents! Too often – I imagine – that wasn’t the response we got. Sometimes they might have asked why – at times they may have said no – still other times they may have simply ignored us – and on occasion they may have said yes. When they asked why – did we ever say – because I say so? Continue reading

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

Putting the Word of God on Our Hearts

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Today we began our Tuesday Bible studies. The morning class meets at 10:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. We had 6 of us this morning. We normally have between 6-12 – and the room can hold more so all are welcome.

Tonight we will start up the Men’s study again. We meet in the Fellowship Hall as well and meet at 7:00 pm. We normally have 8-12 men and would love to see you – if you can join us. Both studies will pick up where we left off in July – with Matthew 14:1.

The more we know the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey. That is a reason – one of many – that I asked people to bring their Bibles with them on Sunday mornings instead of using the pew Bibles (or our data devices if we carry the Bible there). The more we use our Sword (the Bible) – the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encourage people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along (and keep the pastor on track). Today we can read our Bible on our smart phone/data device and even follow along on YouVersion.com and leave notes for later on the sermons (on our live events). Continue reading

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Devote Ourselves To Prayer

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Sunday we began both worship services with prayer. The President of the United States (POTUS) called us to a time of prayer. That wasn’t the reason we prayed – but it was nice to hear our President call the nation to prayer. We need it.

We began the first service with a time of prayer for all impacted by hurricane Harvey. We prayed for peace around the world – naming the unrest in North Korea – and for the hearts and minds of world leaders – including our President. Later in the service – after hearing praise and prayer concerns we had a time of prayer for our relatives in need – for a college student heading back to Houston – for two members with medical issues and for others.

At our second service we began with a powerful prayer by one of our worship team and later – again after hearing praises and prayer concerns – we prayed for those impacted by Harvey and for world leaders – naming our President and the unrest in North Korea. We began our second prayer time by laying hands on a member who was present and in need of healing. Prayer is so powerful. Continue reading

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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