Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

No Jesus – No Peace – Know Jesus – Know Peace

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

RayMcDYesterday – we preached a sermon about death and dying. As I was preparing for this message – it became clear to me that I couldn’t cover all of the questions surrounding death and dying in one message. In the message and in a Facebook post – I asked folks to share with me their questions about death and dying. I have received a number already and I’m planning the series soon.

A number of people said I answered some of their questions yesterday in the sermon (listen to it here when it posts – the title will be Do Not Be Ignorant). The base Scripture was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. You can read the sermon notes here – but listening will help a lot because much of the message is not on the sermon notes. The notes will allow you to have all of the Scriptures I used in the message. Continue reading

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August 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Eternity Is Secure In Christ

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. I cannot believe that it has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I was taking a few minutes to remember those days recently. It seems so long ago and yet so recent. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college – attending AACC or as we called her A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. During this time in my life I had one girl friend for one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life – I lost touch with her decades ago). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young ladies might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Things that seemed so permanent are just afterthoughts today. Continue reading

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following Jesus Is Easy And Hard!

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Following Jesus is easy and hard at the same time.

It is easy – because God has done all the work to provide salvation for all who would receive it. Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

It is hard – because we must continually fight our human – sinful – nature. Psalms 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. The sin nature is something that Christ came to control if not destroy in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! I have often said the old has gone – as Christ comes into our lives – but it hasn’t gone far. Continue reading

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year – 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Happy New Year! I’m reworking a past New Year’s Day devotional. I hope that your day – your New Year – got off to a great start. Steve Furtick once tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along. We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning I was playing some basketball with some friends. I hit a couple of 3’s and made some nice passes – but didn’t have an exceptional day. But I stuck with it and had a good morning workout – even if I didn’t play very well. Our new years may not always produce the best days – but if we stick to it – stick to our goals – in the end – we might just have a good year.

Typically – on New Year’s Day – some friends and I play golf – 5 degree weather was just a little too cold for me. Continue reading

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Saint’s Day 2017

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Early this morning I was watching the news. The news is very rarely good. Today they were reliving the terror attack in New York yesterday. When will we protect our boarders and keep such radicals out of our country? I know that is not an easy subject – but we need to do something to keep our shores safe – if that is possible in this day and age. I don’t mean to be political – but something needs to be done!

Later today I will help to celebrate the life of a lifetime friend – Doris. She was a special lady for sure. One I fondly remember from my days as a child and later as a pastor – serving the church where she attended. I have many memories of Doris. Most of them are good! I will share some of them today at her service of celebration. I especially remember how she loved her Jesus!

All Saint’s Day of late – always reminds me – of my dear departed father and now my mother. They loved Jesus with all their hearts. They knew and experienced God and they now rest in peace with Jesus. I have confidence in this fact – it is part of my faith – part of my walk with Jesus. Do we know Jesus? Is Jesus our personal Lord and Savior? Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus? All of these are good questions. What are our answers? Continue reading

November 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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