Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Look At Evangelism

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who know me well – know that above all else – I would label myself an evangelical. As a Christian pastor I believe that Jesus is Lord and that there is no other way to salvation except through Him. You could call me a John 14:6 kind of guy. In this passage Jesus tells us what is required to go to heaven. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Having said that – the passage for today has a lot of meaning. Today’s passage is part of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 – Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A number of pastors and church leaders as well as church members read my blog page each day. Are marching orders as pastors – as Christians – is The Great Commission. Because of the way some go about evangelism and the way that some have turned away from evangelism – in some circles evangelism has become a dirty word. It is anything but! Continue reading

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

May He Turn Our Hearts To Him

1 Kings 8:58

May he turn our hearts to him…

Dear readers – can we remember a time in our lives when we wanted someone’s heart? Maybe it was in grade school when we first liked someone and wanted them to like us back. Maybe later in life when we began to date – we hoped a certain person would give their heart to us. Our hearts have probably been broken when someone who had our heart wouldn’t give their heart to us (or took it back after giving it to us).

Many of us eventually found someone to share hearts with and married them. My wife and I will be married 37 years this summer (and she hasn’t aged a bit – I on the other hand have grayed and gained significant weight – I’m glad it was my heart she loved not my body).

God seeks after our hearts. God desires to have our hearts and He knows if He has our hearts – He has the rest of us as well. We’re told that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God will everything in us. Last Sunday’s sermon had this passage as part of the morning’s readings. Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Continue reading

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, 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

Jesus’ Prayer For Unity

John 17:21

…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Annual Conference is coming next week – a week I would look forward to in years past – a time to see old friends that are scattered all over the conference. It was a time to renew friendships and share war stories. It was a time to worship and learn and to be challenged. Although there have always been ideologies and theologies that differ from my own – we always seemed to get along – somehow.

In recent years – the divide between us has grown it seems. On issues like human sexuality there doesn’t seem to be a place for us to coalesce. On one side of the discussion – some expressions of sexuality are considered sinful – such as same-sex relations. On the other side of the discussion – same-sex attraction and relations is seen as normal and acceptable. For over four decades this debate has raged – yet in the last few years it seems to have gotten more and more divisive.

Add to the discussion persons born one gender who wish to be seen – treated – and recognized as the other gender – even going so far as to alter their gender identity with surgery – and the divide increases. Continue reading

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

%d bloggers like this: