Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor For The Lord Will Not Be In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I’m back from my staycation. For the last two weeks I have taken some time off to relax and reflect. If you missed our weekday postings – I’m back! If you didn’t miss them – you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

Yesterday I was honored to be asked to return to my home church – Mt. Zion UMC in Lothian – MD. As a child – a couple of months old – my family moved to Mt. Zion (MZ). My father followed his father as the pastor of MZ (granddad died mid year and the Bishop called my father to take his place). I lived in the parsonage of this church until I was 9 – the pastor’s son. We returned often to this base church because my grandmother – who lived with our family after her husband’s passing until she built her own home. She still lived in the community (next door to the parsonage) after we left for another church.

It was about 18 years later that a new Bishop appointed me to MZ. I thought it would be neat to return to the church where my grandfather (3 years) served and my father (9 years) served. Little did I know that Carolyn and I were to spend the next 24 years serving in this church community. We were blessed by our time together. We stayed in touch with MZ over the years because other family members remained at this church after we left. They live in the community and so do we.

It has been about 10 years since we left MZ as pastor and so returning yesterday was a blessing. There were some familiar faces present as well as some new ones. We were warmly welcomed. I thank the pastor who followed us and ministered to MZ for 10 years for allowing us to return – Rev. William (Bill) Herche (retired). Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is The Rapture?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Have we read anything lately about the rapture. Do we even know what the rapture represents? I first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Here’s what I believe – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) – and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today of the rapture or the end of time. Nor what order things will occur.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, 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

The Lord of the Harvest

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being a givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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