Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Real Lasting Joy

Luke 1:47

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Life ChangeSunday we begin a new sermon series on the Holy Spirit. The sermon titles are: The Holy Spirit ComesThe Power of the Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit Helps Us – and Street Cred. These sermons will come from the Book of Acts. We have been studying the Book of Acts on Tuesdays in our two studies – one at 10:30 am and one at 7:00 pm. Both are co-ed and all are welcome. The last two Tuesdays – we’ve had 47 and 44 people between the two studies. You can listen to these sermons here when they are posted.

We’re headed to the Advent season in one month. The coming of Christ is a season of great joy. The joy that Jesus brings to all people is clear. Luke 2:10–11 – 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Jesus’ arrival brings great joy to the people – and not only to His people but to all who would hear and follow Him. Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Deliverer – the One who would break the bonds of oppression for His people. Never before or since has the birth of a baby been so anticipated or sought after. Jesus’ birth was to bring great and lasting joy. Continue reading

November 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of God – Kindness and Goodness

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Life ChangeOur Tuesday morning and evening Bible studies are just amazing. If you are available at 10:30 am or 7:00 pm and in the Laurel area – please stop by. In these Bible studies – we’re into the Book of Acts – sometimes called the Acts of the Apostles. We have been reading about the power of God – God the Holy Spirit – as the early church was being birthed.

As we have gone thru this study – some questions have been raised that made me think about preaching on the Holy Spirit. So – beginning in November – we will preach a series on the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned!

Today’s passage is about the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. What do you think of when you hear the words kindness and goodness? A few verses before the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5 – we read the following words. Galatians 5:6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

When I think of kindness and goodness – I think of the heart of Christ. It is often contrary to my heart. I am not – by nature – a mercy person. I can express mercy – but only because of the grace of God – it isn’t from my natural fabric. The heart of God – the heart of Christ is seen best – for me – in the following passage. Continue reading

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media – It Can Be a Tool for God

Philippians 2:21

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

June 2019Social media has connected a boat load of people in the last few years. I have a Facebook account – a Twitter account and other accounts as well. Follow me – if you so desire. I also have this blog page that I use to share my faith and thoughts.

I have numerous friends on Facebook (and that term is used at various levels on Facebook). There are so many friends that you have to put them in categories like folks who went to your High School – folks who are family – folks who are from your church – folks who live in your community – folks you really don’t know – etc. You can determine who sees your posts – no one but you (if you pick this option why are you posting on Facebook – lol) – everyone – your friends only – and you can even break some friends down into a group called acquaintances and you can also block some from seeing what other friends see. It can get confusing. You have a news feed where you see what your friends post. There is a private messaging portion of Facebook as well. You can post pictures and videos too.

On Twitter you can follow some folks and some folks can follow you. On Facebook you can leave long messages. On Twitter you are limited to 280 characters per post (that number used to be 140). Some programs will allow for larger posts. Twitter is supposed to be short thoughts and people come up with loads of shortcuts to get their message across in 280 characters.

Continue reading

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy Is Better Than Happiness

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

RevRayA friend of mine posted this on Twitter this morning – It’s not about happy. It’s about joy. #FindJoy.  It made me think of a saying of mine – Happiness is spiritually driven while joy is spiritually derived. Although happiness is a good thing – joy is lasting while happiness is fleeting. Joy is better than Happiness.

Today’s passage ends a section of the Book of Acts that describes the Gospel being taken to the whole of the region – including to the Gentiles.  The church began in Jewish circles – of course – since Jesus and the early disciples were Jewish.  And although many were moved to accept Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah – some had a hard time being open to the message that God was also available to all people – including the non-Jewish people. In the King James Version of the Bible the word for non-Jewish people is pagan – the ungodly.

Here are a few verses from just before today’s passage concluding with today’s verse. Acts 13:49-52 – 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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