Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Never Forget! 9-11-01

John 15:18

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday – as a nation – we remember 9-11. Where were you on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago? What are your thoughts – today – about 9-11? Is it still etched in your memory? Did you shed some tears this morning remembering that day? I know I did.

Did you know anyone who lost their life on that day? A lot of people lost their lives that day as a result of the radical Islamic terrorist attack on the USA.

I was pastoring at Mt. Zion Church and remember the horror of the day as it unfolded for sure. We had people working in the Pentagon and I remember hearing from some of them and heading out to be with their families. I remember going to the area High School and being with the son of a friend of mine who was in the Pentagon. It was a horrific day – a day I will always remember. Continue reading

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Connect with People?

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

RayMcDChristian are often called upon to connect with people. As a pastor – I am often called upon to be empathetic with people and their needs/situations. At times I must be sympathetic or compassionate. Are we empathetic with others? Are we sympathetic at times? Are we compassionate too? Do we feel the pain of others?

I was moved by a report on Facebook yesterday of a police officers who pulled over and saved the life of a lifeless infant. His mother was panic mode and this officer calmly proceeded to give life support to the infant and rush him to the hospital in his patrol car. I could feel for the mom – and I could feel for the officer and his professionalism. Continue reading

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers. Continue reading

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lamb Is Worthy!

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

82015 RaySeveral times in sermons and Bible studies of late I have mentioned Christians – at times – take Jesus for granted.  It seems to be human nature that if things are going well – at work – in our marriages – at church – in life – we tend to take someone or something for granted.  It isn’t much different in our faith journey.  Most Christians spend more time on their knees when crisis is at their doorstep than when life is good.  That just seems to be the pattern for many.

Attendance in most churches the Sunday after 9-11 – for example – was an indication.  I was serving as pastor at a church at the time with an average attendance of about 300 give or take a few on any given Sunday.  But the Sunday after 9-11 there were well over 400 in attendance.  Crisis brings us to Jesus.  Attendance figures during World War II saw this same truth – according to some reports.  The Sunday after the Sunday after 9-11 – when life was still in an upheaval – but out of crisis mode – attendance was back to normal.  It is the same thing with Easter – attendance almost doubles for one week and then we are back to normal – and at times – even less than normal because folks who do not attend every week all came on Easter. Continue reading

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resurrection and The Life

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

82015 RayAs a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has recently passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor. The end of life can be a scary time.  Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary.

Today I will celebrate the life well lived of a woman who fell two days short of her 102nd birthday. She is an amazing lady and lived a life that touched many. I pray that I honor her well as we celebrate her life together.

We have a lady in our congregation who will turn 100 soon and several others in their late 80’s and 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. They honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at 60 – I am 30-40 years their junior. Continue reading

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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