Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Corporate Worship

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I hear more and more about the unchurched. We should try to reach them with the love of Jesus. I hear even more about those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior who choose to stay away from corporate worship. Not attending worship – going to church – was never an option as I was growing up. It was a Scriptural mandate and a mandate in our home. Gathering with the body of believers was primary – it came before anything else. If we were out on a date on Saturday night – it didn’t matter how late we came in – we were getting up to attend corporate worship on Sunday.

Today – it seems – many things come before attending to the regular worship of God – together. It seems like children and youth games – overnight guests – late nights – Sunday activities (other than worship) – and more come before corporate worship for many these days. Even among those who think of themselves as regular in worship – some think once or twice a month is regular. This is obvious on Sundays like Easter when most all attend and attendance sky-rockets yet there are few guests. Continue reading

Advertisements

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do We Feel About Jesus?

Matthew 4:20

At once they left their nets and followed him.

Growing up I had people I looked up to for sure. I looked up to my father – as a man I wanted to be like when I grew up. I looked up to athletes like Boog Powell – Frank & Brooks Robinson – Wes Unseld – Earl “The Pearl” Monroe – and more. As I grew older there were others I looked up and respected as well. I felt like I wanted to be like these persons – I wanted to be a great dad – I wanted to be an athlete.

If you were to ask me whom I would leave everything to follow – I’m not sure I would have followed any of these – except maybe my father. Of course the Sunday School answer would be Jesus – I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. But would I? Would we? We’d like to think we would – but from time-to-time we fail to do so – don’t we? How do we really feel about Jesus? Continue reading

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Has Come And Gone – Or Has It?

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Easter has come and gone for another year – or has it? Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons – and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter is celebrated again next year.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folk all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Bore Our Sins! We Owe Him Our Everything!

Isaiah 53:12

For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

So the day after Easter – a time when most pastors take time off to sleep late and spend some down time – found me on the road early to the Annapolis Mall to sit outside the Apple Store to see if I could get my work laptop fixed. After waiting an hour for the store to open and 45 minutes after that to see a tech and about 15 minutes of running tests – I was told that I needed a new top case assembly (keyboard circuit and cover). They could fix it in the store but it would take 3-5 days. So – at work – I will be using my iPad and work more from home on my iMac – till I get it back. I’ll need to find some down time later.

Today’s passage is a prophecy concerning Jesus. It ends with a reminder that He bore our sins on the cross of Calvary. He made intercession before the Father on our behalf. He took upon Himself all of our sins – and according to scripture the sins of the world – for those who would receive His grace – paying the blood price we could not ever consider paying. Remember – there would be no Easter without Good Friday – no victory over the grave had Jesus not died on the cross first. He bore our sins – we owe Him our everything! Continue reading

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Matthew 28:6

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Wow – what an Easter we had yesterday at First UMC in Laurel. Not only were there loads of people in worship – worship was amazing. From the sunrise service outside in the prayer garden to the two services – we were blessed. New people – regulars – and others joined in as we gather to worship God. I pray your worship was amazing as well in your local church dear readers.

Today’s reading is from the Easter readings. It was what Jesus promised His disciples – that He would die and be raised to life. They didn’t always understand – and some Gospel accounts tell us they even had their doubts – right up to Pentecost. I think they were not much different than we are. We have our moments of faith and understanding and we have our moments of doubt and when we lack understanding. Continue reading

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: