Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The 4th of July – Independence Day

1 Timothy 2:1-4

1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Today is not a day to think Republican – Democrat – or Independent. Today is not the day to be the resistance or to be a member of Trump’s troops. It is not a day to attack each other – or to attack those whose ideology is different than ours. Today is a day to celebrate our freedom as a nation. It is Independence Day. It is the day our nation declared its independence from the Old Country and decided to begin a new as a new nation.

Too many people – thinking themselves wise and even some thinking themselves prophetic – have attacked our current President and our current Congress (and other leaders as well). We have the freedom to express ourselves. For one day – please – let us put our differences behind us. Today is a day to be united and to thank God for His mercy and grace on our nation. To thank God for America – with all of our warts and scares. We are still the greatest nation in the world IMHO. Continue reading

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

A Look At Evangelism

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who know me well – know that above all else – I would label myself an evangelical. As a Christian pastor I believe that Jesus is Lord and that there is no other way to salvation except through Him. You could call me a John 14:6 kind of guy. In this passage Jesus tells us what is required to go to heaven. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Having said that – the passage for today has a lot of meaning. Today’s passage is part of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 – Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A number of pastors and church leaders as well as church members read my blog page each day. Are marching orders as pastors – as Christians – is The Great Commission. Because of the way some go about evangelism and the way that some have turned away from evangelism – in some circles evangelism has become a dirty word. It is anything but! Continue reading

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day 2016 And Our Diversity

Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

RayMcDI have often been asked – at each church I have served – what I appreciate the most about the current church I am serving. One thing I appreciate about First UMC in Laurel is the diversity of our congregation.

When asked recently – I went on to explain what I meant by diversity. I told them of our wide range of ages at FUMCL – from a member who is 101 to youth and children. I mentioned our growing multi-ethnic flavor at FUMCL – with many hues of people. I mentioned our economic diversity as well – with some people on government assistance while others had well-paying jobs. The diversity I see at FUMCL reminds me of what I think heaven will be like – people of all races and nations – loving on Jesus.

As the elections approach – I see another diversity at FUMCL. As I read posts on social media from our members – I see our diversity around politics. There were a number of people I love and respect from our church expressing support for either candidate and for no candidate at all. (I believe Christians could vote for either candidate – God is not Democratic or Republican). Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Condemn or Save?

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

112015 Ray McDonaldShould we be about condemning each other or striving to bring each other to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? OK – not a trick question – and it seems like an easy question to answer – but – it is easier for most of us to see other’s mistakes than to lift them up. It is easier for some to see what is wrong with this picture – when the picture is not of them. It is easier to pick the speck out of someone’s eye than the 2×4 in our own eye. It is easier to condemn than to encourage it seems.

It is easier to pick apart rather than to build up. It is easier to destroy rather then develop and create. It is not natural for many to encourage – it seems natural to some to condemn and destroy. Yet here we are told that the One who could condemn – righteously – didn’t come to do so (there will be a time for judgment). The most famous of all passages is followed by today’s passage.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. John 3:16–21 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. Continue reading

May 13, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating the 4th of July

1 Timothy 2:1-4

1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

RevRayToday is not a day to think Republican – Democrat or Independent.  Today is a day to celebrate our freedom as a nation.  I hope you get a chance to spend time with family and friends this 4th of July.  I plan to spend part of the day with my new church family and part of the day with my earthly family.  My celebration started last night with a time of fireworks and fellowship with friends and family at Herrington Harbour and will continue today with some of the same.

Whether we agree with those in power today in our government or not – we should keep them all in our prayers because this pleases God.  Paul wrote these words to a young pastor – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 – 1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Continue reading

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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