Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Seeing Jesus Face-to-Face

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I pulled this message from five years ago. I’ve reworked it some but basically it is the same. My father’s passing five years ago is part of what has me emotionally depleted today.

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered. I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

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September 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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