Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Where Do You See Jesus?

John 14:9

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – I’d like to ask our readers to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church. You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping your e-mails for sure (I need joy year round). I will try to post a comment a day so as many as possible – send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Send, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is It That Hinders Our Faith Walk?

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let’s think a little today about what hinders our daily walk with Jesus? What is it that keeps us from living as a Disciple in all areas of our life? What keeps us from being a complete disciple in Worship – in Fellowship – in Discipleship – in Ministry – and in Evangelism? What hinders us from bringing people into the presence of God – building people up in Christ – and sending people out to serve Christ?

My children – when they were younger – got into the Wii when it first came out and played target games. I tried to play the back in the day and did OK but I didn’t know where all the targets were – all the secret things to shoot at – so my score wasn’t that high. The kids knew where the items were that scored so they weren’t better shooters – but they knew what to shoot at! Continue reading

October 19, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Send, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does God Require Of Us All?

Micah 6:8b

And what does the Lord require of you?

RayMcDHave we ever thought – what does the Lord require of us?  I mean – salvation is free – but once saved – what does God require of us? I know what the membership vows say when we join the church – that we will support the church with our prayers – our talents – our time/attendance and our offerings – or something like that depending on which version is used. But have we ever thought about what God requires of us – as individuals and collectively as the church? Once we have received Jesus what should we do? Should we just rest in Jesus and rejoice?

The brother of Jesus – James – spends a good portion of his epistle/letter sharing that we should have faith – obviously – and that godly actions/works should be a natural response to that faith. James goes so far as to say that works or godly actions are a required feature of a person of faith when he writes: James 2:26 – As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. We heard that in the second part of our sermon series on the 5 Themes from James. We can listen to the sermon here. Continue reading

October 28, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Send, Sermons, Theology | 1 Comment

Seek and Save the Lost

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

RayMcDWhen I read that passage this morning I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose.  At First Church our mission or purpose is to bring people into environments where they can encounter Christ, build people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ, and send people out to serve Christ. We want to bringbuild – and send. We want our focus to be on Christ. We want to focus on those who don’t know Christ – those who know Christ and need to know more – and going out to spread the message or Gospel of Christ. It is a full circle of bringbuildsendbring.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

September 16, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Send, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s All About Relationships

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

112015 Ray McDonaldIt’s all about relationships!  The older I get – the more years I have been in ministry (40 full years this summer) – the more life I live – the more I am convinced it is all about relationships.

It’s all about relationships!  Our relationship with Jesus is not about the dos and don’ts.  It is not about how often we attend worship.  It is not about what we give to the church.  It is not about how often we sin or how little we sin.  All of these are measurable things for sure and Christians will strive to lessen sin in their lives.  Christians will attend worship – as often as possible – to be in the fellowship of other believers and to praise God (and worship is not just done in the Sanctuary on Sundays).  Christians re called to tithe and give even more to the poor and the needy.

It’s all about relationships!  Our relationship with Jesus is just that – it is about our relationship.  Our prayer life is our lifeline – our communication with God.  Our devotional life is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus.  How much time we spend and the quality of that time is so important. Continue reading

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Send, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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