Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holy Week – Let’s Focus on Jesus

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Life ChangeYesterday – Palm Sunday – we began Holy Week. This is the week before Jesus’ crucifixion. Thursday will be Holy or Maundy Thursday. We will remember the Lord’s Supper this year with a Seder Meal. It will be a powerful experience and we hope all who signed up to attend will indeed be able to attend.

Friday – this week – is Good Friday. As a young child I couldn’t figure out why it was called Good Friday if it was the day that Jesus died. Later I realized that it was called Good Friday because it was good for us that He died – to pay for our sins. We will have a service at 7 pm in the Sanctuary as we continue our walk to the cross with John’s Gospel account. It is very important that we all attend the Good Friday service. Change your plans to be here – if you weren’t planning to attend. Sunday – Easter morning – will not have the same meaning without attending worship on Good Friday. I promise you! Let’s set our minds on Jesus – and see what will happen. Continue reading

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April 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Throws Us A Curve

1 Peter 3:9a

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.

Life ChangeIn the Old Testament – we’re told to repay strike for strike. Trying to remove evil from the society – Deuteronomy reads this way. Deuteronomy 19:16–21 – 16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, 17 the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, 19 then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. The idea is – the punishment should fit the crime. Equal response to wrongs done to you or others.

In the Old Testament – our relationship with God was very vertical. Yes – we should compare ourselves with God (vertical) – rather than with each other (horizontal) – but – not everything is black and white – or eye for eye. In the New Testament – our relationship is defined by how we interact with others. Yes – there is still a need to walk the walk – but – walking the walk is not about following a set of rules so much as showing the love of Christ to others. Continue reading

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real – Rebuke The Devil!

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Life ChangeI’m shocked by the number of pastors who do not believe in the devil – Satan. Some simply do not believe in an entity known as Satan – the devil – or Lucifer – a fallen angel. As many times as the Bible tells us about Satan – it is hard to believe some do not believe. I would label these as false teachers – and we should rebuke them as we rebuke Satan.

In today’s passage – Peter reminds us that the devil – our enemy – prowls around like a wild beast – looking for an opportunity to devour us – to destroy us. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Are we to somehow believe that Peter didn’t realize that the devil is not real? Do we believe that Peter was simply using a metaphor when he wrote about the devil?

Maybe Jesus didn’t understand when John quotes Him – as He was speaking with Jewish persons who didn’t agree with His teachings. John 8:42–44 –42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Continue reading

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get a New Heart

Ezekiel 18:31a

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

Life ChangeOnce – when I was preaching a sermon series on forgiveness – during the first sermon in the series – someone ask – during the sermon – if I could preach of forgiving ourselves. I hope that I touched on that in that series. I think I will repeat that series sometime soon. Today’s passage from Ezekiel spoke to my heart about forgiveness. I want to share it today for our devotional thought.

We have said a number of times – in sermons and in teachings – that the heart is very important as we walk out our faith in Christ.  Christianity boils down to attitude is now a common phrase many of us know. The position and condition of our heart is very important – so I like the simplicity of today’s passage – Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Continue reading

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Word – The Truth

2 Peter 1:16-21 (The Message)

16-21 We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

Life ChangeIn this day and age – when most everything is challenged and nothing – it seems – is taken without question – I want to examine the question – Is the Bible God’s Word? If the Bible IS God’s Word – it needs to be authoritative in our lives – would you agree? If the Bible is authoritative in our lives – then the Bible is the base of our understanding as we sculpt and form doctrine. I believe that our theology reflects our view of the Bible. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God – we will weigh it heavily in our understanding of God. If we see it as a good book – a nice read or guide – but humanly created – we will not. On one hand the Bible is authoritative – on the other it is no more authoritative than our personal experience – community history – or our reasoning/thinking.

I love the way The Message puts the last part of today’s passage.  The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. Continue reading

March 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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