Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

When The Foundations Are Being Destroyed

Psalm 11:3

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Life ChangeAndy Griffith is one of my favorite all-time shows. I grew up watching Andy – Opie – Barney and Aunt Bea. Times were good and even the unchurched were fairly moral and had values in Mayberry. This show took place during the 50’s & 60’s just a few states south of us.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry. Our communities used to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child – and thinking our community was like it. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful?

A 1994 survey conducted (I know – 25 years ago) by Josh McDowell’s ministry team showed some startling results. The study showed that among churched youth from 11-18 – 66% lied to a parent – teacher – or another adult in the previous 3 months. Continuing – 59% lied to one of their peers – 36% cheated on an exam – and 23% intentionally tried to hurt someone. I was blown away when I first read that survey in 1994 and I only imagine it has gotten worse.  Additionally – the survey showed that – 55% have engaged in sexual behavior by age 18 – 50% say they are stressed out – and 55% say they are confused. Remember – these were the churched youth! And 25 years ago! Continue reading

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February 20, 2019 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

Holy Spirit – Enlighten Your Church

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Have you ever been in the dark? Have you ever tried to walk thru your living room or another room in the dark? Do your toes scream to turn on the lights? Have you ever tried to climb the steps from the basement with the lights out because the switch was not in the right condition (you know: the switch is up when the lights are off – LOL)? OK – that last one was just me I guess.

Last week was Valentine’s Day. Have you ever been in the dark in a relationship? Wondering if he or she liked you? Wondering if this was the one – your life partner? Have you been burned several times and you’re tired of walking in the darkness? Have you sought a way to throw a little light on your relationships?

Have you ever wondered about life in general? Have you ever experienced dark moments when you felt depressed? Have you searched for the meaning of life only to come up empty? I imagine a lot of people struggle with understanding life – especially when it doesn’t seem to go as we planned. Continue reading

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Loves Us All!

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Life ChangeIt is no secret – I like golf. The course is too wet – even though the temps have been good for February. Golf doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with from time-to-time. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. I plan to improve my game this summer (like every year) – with my weight loss I plan to get back to walking the course some. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss (66 pounds from my max) should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I only hit the 70’s a few times. Most of the year I played in the 80’s with a few really bad round. We shall see!

I do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

February 18, 2019 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

Life Can Be Unfair – God Is Always With Us

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life ChangeLife – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls off the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that most thought would last a lifetime – and they are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. Our nation has yet to come to grips with the 2016 Presidential elections – and we’re into 2019. If you are against the POTUS – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Whatever side one might be on with the current issues facing the United Methodist Church – be careful where you express your views – because you might be bullied for sharing them. A few conservatives dared stand up for the POTUS recently at the Grammy Awards and they were belittled in social media and in person. Continue reading

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

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Life ChangeI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend – so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone special).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) – a few years before one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. I’m listening to some music from the Vietnam era as I type out this devotional and each song brings back memories of my youth. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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