Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Day Of Rest?

Exodus 23:12

Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

I remember – as a child – our typical Sunday schedule was as follows. We would awaken (often I was awakened by my father’s typing out his sermon early in the morning) early – eat a light breakfast and attend morning worship and Sunday School at our local church. We would return home and share a full lunch together (often roast beef with vegetables – rolls – and mashed potatoes). This was a must family meal – even as we grew older. We would often take a nap after lunch (after we cleaned up of course). After our nap – we often would have a light dinner/supper and head to church again for the evening worship service (youth group too when we were of age).

Sunday was a day of worship and rest in our household. I believe our family practice was not typical of all church going families in the day – but more were following this pattern back in the day for sure. Today – it seems – Sunday is treated like any other day. Some may attend worship and Sunday School – but we shop – we work – we go out to dinner (making someone else work) – and we treat Sunday as any other day in the week it seems. Continue reading

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping The Sabbath Holy

Deuteronomy 5:14

…but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.

Growing up stores were all closed on Sundays – the Christian Sabbath Day. People generally went to worship God in the morning – came home to eat a family meal – rested for the next week’s work load (dad called them siestas – a nap taken in the heat of the day) – had family time – ate supper together – went back to church for youth group followed by evening worship.

Today – many – even Christians – treat Sundays as any other day. Oh – some might come to worship on Sunday mornings – maybe evening Sunday School – but many treat the rest of the day as any other day. They shop – they go out for a meal – they cut their lawns – they wash their cars – they clean the house – and more. They buy and sell on the Sabbath – even in the church building. They go to work on the Sabbath as if it is any other day. Continue reading

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus’ Touch

Matthew 8:3

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.

There are days and nights when I remember my dad (mom too but this is about dad). My father was a wonderful man of God. I would imagine that some preacher’s kids get tired of hearing their father or mother preach. My wife often says she has heard (after 39 of 41 years of shared ministry and marriage) everything – several times – from me (LOL).

I never grew tired of hearing my dad preach. He had a way of making the Gospel real and down to earth so that even a child could understand what he was sharing. I remember – even as a teen – sitting in the balcony of the church or on the back pew (see – even as a youth I was a good Methodist – LOL) – and listening to my dad preach and being moved – being touched.

One of the things that touched me was that dad lived what he preached. He wasn’t on stage preaching and living a different life. He lived the truth he preached. I strive to follow that model today. Continue reading

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Workers Are Few

Matthew 9:37

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

Most of us have had jobs that needed help. We’ve had tasks at home or at work where we just didn’t have enough help. As I recover from shoulder surgery – I can cut my grass but I cannot hoist the weed whacker onto my shoulders and trim – so – today – my son-in-love will come by and give me a hand. We all need help from time to time.

When was the last time you needed help accomplishing something? Maybe it was after surgery – maybe it was a task that just too more than two hands. Maybe you needed someone to hold one end of a board while you nailed the other end? Maybe it was something too heavy for one person to lift? Maybe it was the time you fell and needed help getting up?

In today’s passage – Jesus reminds His disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Jesus was referring to the harvest of souls – kingdom work that needed many to help. He was encouraging His disciples to not only join the work of bringing souls into the kingdom but to draw others to join the harvest as well. Continue reading

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Is Now No Condemnation

Romans 8:1

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

Easter has come and gone for another year. 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 next Easter or maybe Christmas Eve.

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 folks means once or twice a month these days – 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 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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