Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Nationals Are In The World Series

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines (and we’re praying for General Conference 2020). We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season – which is down to the World Series (with the Nationals in it to win it). As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal. The Nationals and the Astros have been through an off-season – and spring training – and long season and now they are fighting for the World Series title.

My Orioles (my first team – Nats are second) are out of it (they were out of it long ago), I met too coaches from the Orioles a couple of summers ago. They were on a day off during the season and came out to play golf. We talked about the team and about our fighting spirit. The team did not give up that season and they didn’t give up this season. They play it to win it – like most athletes.

Continue reading

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 4 – Baseball Season – 2 Months Left

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

OK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines. We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season. As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve the victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal.

Recently I met two coaches from the Orioles and had a chance to talk with them about this season. The team will not give up and they have most recently (not counting last night because this was written before the game) won 5 straight and gotten within 3 games of the playoffs and 5 games from the division lead. Continue reading

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

Pump It Up!

1 Timothy 4:8

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

82015 RayMuch is said at this time of the year about staying physically fit.  The fall and winter – when outside activities slow and gym memberships are pushed – is a prime time to look at our diets and our exercise plans.  Many will wait until the New Year to make resolutions – some will begin now before Thanksgiving trying to make a plan. What about our spiritual shape?

Do we have an ideal weight for our physical body?  Are we taking steps to reach that ideal weight?  Are we exercising – dieting – working to draw closer to that ideal?  Or have we given up?  Some friends and family are into Fitbit trackers and trying to get the most steps they can each day.

Are there things we would like to be able to do in the physical world?  Would we like to run a marathon?  Would we like to ride in a 100-mile bike run?  Would we like to hike up a mountain?  If so – sisters and brother – most of us simply need to pump it up – working up to such an event. Continue reading

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Have A Plan?

1 Corinthians 9:26

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

82015 RayHave you picked an early favorite for the Presidential elections in 2016? The candidates are lining up for both parties and they are making their plans. Each believes they would make the best next President of the United States. I’m praying for the whole lot of them – for someone to step up and separate him or herself from the pack. I’m also praying for our country and for that next President. I truly hope that the person that will be elected has a plan and that the other leaders of our country have one too – and that they gel. Our country is in trouble if a plan doesn’t develop that will carry us forward.

As I type this – my Orioles have now lost 8 of the last 10 games – and they seem to be headed down the wrong path as the season draws near to September. They are falling further and further behind in the wild card race and their plan just doesn’t seem to be working right now. They signed a bunch of players in the offseason – hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with one or two of them – and it just hasn’t happened. Many of the players that opened the season with the team are no longer with the team. They had a plan – but it doesn’t seem to have worked – at least not so far. I guess I could say the same thing for the team most thought the favorite to win the World Series at the start of the season – the Nationals. The best team on paper just hasn’t done it so far. Continue reading

August 28, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Run With Perseverance

Hebrews 12:1-2

1Therefore, 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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

IMG_0301Today we will examine Hebrews 12:1-2.  We will look at the phrase – let us run with perseverance.  Running with perseverance reminds me of the many examples in the Bible about athletics.  One such passage is from Paul in another of his many letters to the churches he served.

To the Christians in Corinth Paul wrote the following: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. Continue reading

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

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