Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Use Our Gifts?

1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

112015 Ray McDonaldChristmas is a time that we give and receive gifts.  I already received a gift – yesterday morning – from a dear couple at our church.  They are long time friends and gave me a Christmas card with a gift in it.  What gifts can you remember getting in years past?  I spoke about my red bike yesterday in the sermon.  I rode that bike for like 10 years or more.  It lasted through the banana seat and monkey handlebar fads.  I used it to deliver papers – putting rear baskets and a front basket on it.  I put baseball cards (no Orioles – mostly no names) in the spokes (sounded so cool).  It was one of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time.

Can you remember a special Christmas gift?  Can you remember the ones you used a lot?  I bet you don’t remember – at least not with fond memories – those you returned or put in the closet.  Were there gifts you had to drag out when certain people visited?  Did you ever get the picture of the dogs playing cards – LOL? Continue reading

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Using Your Gifts?

1 Peter 4:10

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

profileSorry this was so late today.  I had it on the server but something happened and it didn’t go out.

OK – we’re a month past Christmas.  Don’t answer this e-mail out loud or even on this blog page – but are there gifts you received this year (or in years past) that you don’t use – have taken back – or have even hidden in the closet or downstairs?  Like a picture of dogs playing cards that someone gave you for over your mantel place?  Or that hideous lamp someone gave you that was taken back or hidden somewhere – to come out when they were coming over?

We tend to hide certain gifts it seems.  Most every family has experienced this – right?  Many times we exchange items we don’t like for items we do like.  That is partly why the day after Christmas is such a big shopping day – that and the sales that occur after Christmas.  If I could only convince my family that Christmas came a week later we could get some real deals – lol. Continue reading

January 24, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Gifts Has God Given You – And Are You Using Them?

1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

How are you using what God has given you?  Do you understand the gifts and abilities that God has given you?  God gives us all gifts.  The question is – are we using what God has given us to His glory?  As a church family – God has gifted us to serve Him.

Romans 12:6-8 – 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

There are a number of Scriptures that describe the gifts that God gives. Read 1 Corinthians 12 for some more gifts from God.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 – 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

What gift has God given you?  And how are you using it?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

Tweet this Blog Post

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mission and Vision at Mt. Oak – Send Them Out

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak

The Problem: Families are under attack 

The Solution: Reaching the whole family for Christ

The Process: Bring them in, Build them up, Send them out

The Win: A changed life or family for Christ

This coming Sunday – the last Sunday in a three-week series on our vision and mission – we will preach on the third par of our mission or process – send them out.  One point I want to make today is that the process is not necessarily linear.  We do not have to follow a sequence of bring them in, build them up and send them out.  Although all three are essential – the can happen together or independent of each other.

Here is an example of all three working together.  When we talked about Sunday worship being a bring them in event – we also talked about it being a time of building them up when we teach and instruct in the message or through other means.  It can also be a send them out event – as we serve one another and show love toward others.  Sending out the disciples to serve is essential.  Some may find significant places to serve within the walls of the church – others may find their most significant places to serve outside the church.  I believe we are all called to do both – some more than others in either direction.

Sunday we will look at a variety of Scriptures that challenge us to serve others.  We will talk about loving others – thinking of others – and the various ways we as a church can implement this call of love.

We each have different gifts and should use them to God’s glory.  Part of our build them up process will be to help the church find out what gifts they have and how they might use these gifts to God’s glory. 1 Peter 4:10 – Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Start thinking now about what gifts you believe God has given you and how you might use them to serve others.  We already do or have done things at Mt. Oak to help others.  Some of these include but are not limited to StreetReach, Turkey Outreach, Mission Trips, Thanksgiving Day Meal, supporting Missionaries and our Sports Programs.  We also – through our pastors – support families in financial need – in times of grief – and in other crisis situations.

What we would like to develop at Mt. Oak is a group of outreach ministries that our congregation can’t wait to join.  That not only takes a congregation that is maturing as disciples – wanting to show the love of Christ to others – but also a group of outreach programs that hit home – hit the heart.  If you are a person who facilitated a mission project – wouldn’t it be refreshing to have so many people wanting to help – that you either had to expand what you were planning to do or had a waiting list of people itching for the next opportunity?More on this Sunday and in another day’s post.  I hope I have pricked your interest in Sunday’s message.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

Tweet this Blog Post

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: