Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Hospitality to Strangers

Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

img_0063-2I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – picking up hitchhikers. It was no big deal. People were broken down or simply did not have a ride and were walking until someone picked them up. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago.

I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – stopping to help someone broken down on the side of the road. Many a times I helped persons change tires because they didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago.

I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – letting people into my home to use the phone or even a stranger for a meal. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago. Continue reading

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving God at the Winter Shelter

Galatians 5:13

Serve one another humbly in love

Ray 2019This Sunday will end our week this winter – serving the homeless communities men – with the Winter Shelter program. I’m always impressed by those who participate in this ministry. Many stay up all night and then go to work the next day. I know this is hard – regardless of your age – because I have been doing it one night each year that I have had the privilege to serve First Church. If the men are calm and sleeping – the hardest part of spending the night is staying up all night and then going to work the next day. From Wednesday at 6 am till Thursday morning at 9 am – the posting of this devotional – I got 3.5 hours of bed time (less in sleep time). I will crash tonight or maybe take a nap this afternoon. I know the two men who stayed last night along with me are tired. One went to work this morning and the other will go to work in the afternoon. Some people work more evenings than one. I’m not sure how they do it. We could certainly use more help this year and each year. We have the shelter for the men through Sunday morning.

Aside from the lack of sleep – the amazing part of the week is getting to know the men who visit the shelter. I usually take the time to sit and eat several dinners with the men – talking with them and getting to know them. Several of the men have jobs. We talked about their work. Several of the men were new to the shelter program this year. Several of the men from years past have found shelter elsewhere. Continue reading

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Our Mission?

Luke 5:32

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave we ever been in need? Needed help with something in our lives? Needed help getting something moved at home – larger than we were able to move ourselves? Needed some help getting a job? Needed help getting into a certain school? Have we ever been in need? Hopefully someone came along and helped us in our need. If not – often that need went unfulfilled – unaccomplished.

Jesus came to help us in our need – our sin need. Jesus came to save the lost. Jesus came to pay the price of our sins – something we could never do alone. Jesus didn’t come for the righteous – the perfect (as if there are any). In Jesus’ day – some religious people thought they had it all together and that they didn’t need Jesus or anyone. I hope and pray none of us today have this self-image. I hope and pray that we all know we are sinners saved by grace. Continue reading

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Have Heard Is Said…

Matthew 5:21

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago

You’ve heard it said… This past weekend I stirred up a little discussion between a colleague of mine in ministry and a young student of the Bible (not that the colleague isn’t). I posted a meme that said – God is not going to rewrite the Bible for your generation. Stop trying to change Scripture when it’s written to change you.

A discussion or debate or argument ensued. The colleague proposed that Jesus rewrote the Bible – and that we can – through God’s leading I assume – rewrite and/or re-interpret the Bible today – to meet our current circumstance. The young student of the Bible believed the Bible was whole and what Jesus did was draw the people who heard Him back to the original meaning – rather that what they had come to believe. He believed the Bible was inspired by God – and God’s Word for us today and always. (either can correct me if I have express your views wrongly.)

I believe one either believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God or simply a good collection of books and letters that we can interpret as we see fit. Here’s what the Apostle Paul felt about the Old Testament or as some call it – the old covenant.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I – personally believe that God meant this for the New Testament/Covenant as well – but that is my take. Continue reading

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Are We United Methodist?

Mark 1:17

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amThis is another of my reworked devotionals. Seems some things never change or at least stay the same for a long time. The original post was from 3 years ago – as we had just faced GC2016 and were headed to GC2019. The message from this devotional is still current and accurate as we now head to GC2020.

In today’s climate – this might be a very serious question. Why Am I a United Methodist today?

This is a simple question but it might have complicated answers. Let’s look at a few.

One might answer – because the church I go to is United Methodist. It is the church closest to my home or the church I have always attended. I really haven’t thought of why before but maybe I should.

One might answer – because I grew up in the United Methodist Church. It is the church my parents attended and I have just never thought much about changing or trying another church.

One might answer – because I believe in the method of their theological discernment. Now we’re starting to dive a little deeper. Have any of us thought this deep about our relationship with the denomination we attend.

One might answer – I don’t know! This might be a more common answer than we would like.

One might answer – United Methodist?  You mean I’m United Methodist?

Continue reading

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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