Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Labor Is Not In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

As I approach retirement years – I often reflect on my 40 plus years of ministry and my 63 years (so far) of life. I wonder if my years of ministry – my labor for the Lord – has been in vain or if it has had any lasting impact on those we have served with over the years. I also look at my three grown daughters – my two son-in-laws – and now my five granddaughters – and wonder if my legacy with the family will have any lasting impact on their lives – for the good of course. Am I the only one that thinks this way?

One thing I’ve tried (and often failed at) over the years – was to be consistent – to stand firm for what was right – for what was Biblical. I’ve sinned my share of sins – I’m not talking about being perfect or anywhere near it. What I mean is I’ve tried to set a bar or a standard where others could see what I believed – and maybe see my attempt to follow Jesus. I tried to not sway with the wind or the social norms (yet at times I sinned and fell short of that goal). None of us want our labor to be in vain. Continue reading

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor For The Lord Will Not Be In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I’m back from my staycation. For the last two weeks I have taken some time off to relax and reflect. If you missed our weekday postings – I’m back! If you didn’t miss them – you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

Yesterday I was honored to be asked to return to my home church – Mt. Zion UMC in Lothian – MD. As a child – a couple of months old – my family moved to Mt. Zion (MZ). My father followed his father as the pastor of MZ (granddad died mid year and the Bishop called my father to take his place). I lived in the parsonage of this church until I was 9 – the pastor’s son. We returned often to this base church because my grandmother – who lived with our family after her husband’s passing until she built her own home. She still lived in the community (next door to the parsonage) after we left for another church.

It was about 18 years later that a new Bishop appointed me to MZ. I thought it would be neat to return to the church where my grandfather (3 years) served and my father (9 years) served. Little did I know that Carolyn and I were to spend the next 24 years serving in this church community. We were blessed by our time together. We stayed in touch with MZ over the years because other family members remained at this church after we left. They live in the community and so do we.

It has been about 10 years since we left MZ as pastor and so returning yesterday was a blessing. There were some familiar faces present as well as some new ones. We were warmly welcomed. I thank the pastor who followed us and ministered to MZ for 10 years for allowing us to return – Rev. William (Bill) Herche (retired). Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Always Give Yourself Fully

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

112015 Ray McDonaldHere we are – the first Saturday of our Prayer/Fast. How’s your Prayer/Fast going?

We’re getting close to March Madness and our local college team – the University of Maryland Terps – both the women’s and men’s teams are ranked high with high expectations. I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams make the final four or at least the Elite eight. And wouldn’t it be great if both came away with championships!

In most team sports – as we just witnessed in the Super Bowl – where the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers – team work plays a big part and giving your all does as well. Peyton Manning – perhaps playing in his final NFL game – put everything on the line – working his way back from serious surgery and injury – to help his team win. There were players on both teams giving their all – fully. Some players – at times in the game – seemed to back away from giving their all. One play – late in the game – when the game was still on the line – a Panther player seemed to back away from contact when a fumble was on the ground. It may have costs his team a chance to take the lead. Continue reading

February 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor in the Lord

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

IMG_0301Have you ever wrestled with an idea – wrestled with a theology? The church – the Body of Christ – has wrestled with several things over the years. One of those theological areas that people wrestle is between works and grace.

On one hand we have passages about grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is a free gift from God to His people. Grace is available to all – all who turn their hearts toward Jesus – confess their sins and receive His Lordship. What follows are a few scriptures about grace.

Ephesians 2:8–9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Continue reading

February 5, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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