Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent Attitude Check!

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Ray 2019This coming Sunday we will lite the 3rd candle in our Advent wreath. Christmas is only 14 days away – 2 weeks from today. Are you excited yet? What do you do to prepare for the Christmas season? A niece of mine and her married family always bake dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies that their family (and extended family) bake together. It is a family tradition for her husband’s family. They certainly look good and if I could taste them – I imagine they taste good too. I will try to resist cookies this Christmas season – LOL.

What do you do to prepare for Christmas? What do you do in this time of waiting and anticipating (Advent)? Were you active on Cyber Monday shopping online? Now they call the whole time – throughout the week – Cyber Week – – or even Cyber month – so if we missed the one day – we were able to catch up throughout the week (maybe even the whole month). Have any of us hit the Malls yet? I went there Monday to meet with someone – and – lines were lined up at the doors of some of the shops – waiting for them to open. Have we baked any cookies? Have we planned our parties and the ones we will attend? Have we picked out that perfect gift for our loved ones? Continue reading

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

Come Lord, Come! Maranatha

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Ray 2019Do you have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t celebrate Advent? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. It is more than a time to light the candles in the Advent reef or log. In the fourth century – when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. Yes – waiting on the return of Jesus – for His church. A time of anticipation of Christ’s return.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord, Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. I have used it for years on this blog page and in my e-mails (at times). I also use it in my prayers and in sermons.

Not only is the Glory of God seen when Jesus is being born – when the glory of the Lord shone around them – but the Glory of God will shine when Jesus returns. Describing Christ’s departure from earth – Luke records these words:

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December 3, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day 2019

Colossians 2:6-7

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Ray 2019It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving weather this year. Yesterday it was nearly 60 degrees. I worked some in the yard – blowing leaves and cutting the grass (mulching leaves mainly). Today is should hit 50 – so it is going down some. My weather app says it will be highs in the 40’s the rest of the week with lows in the low 30’s. I fired up our wood furnace this morning – because it was chilly – and now the house is too warm.

How will you spend your day today? I have some gospel music playing and I’m at my desk doing my devotions. What does your Thanksgiving morning look like? What will your day include? Will you be spending some time with family?

I stumbled onto this passage and it touched my heart.  Let’s look at it in partial context. Colossians 2:6-10 – 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Continue reading

November 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

World-Wide Communion Sunday – 10/6/19

1 Corinthians 11:24

and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amThis Sunday is World-Wide Communion Sunday. What that means is that most – if not all-Christian churches around the world – will celebrate communion on that given Sunday – the first Sunday of October – no matter their traditions – in a sense of ecumenical connection. It is always a special Sunday – remembering Christ – His life – His death – and His resurrection – with other Christians. I always enjoy celebrating Holy Communion – the Eucharist – or the Lord’s Supper – it goes by many names in different traditions.

As some of our readers know – I am at a season of life and ministry – when I’m not sure when I will be celebrating my last special day in a given year. Will this be my last World-Wide Communion Sunday – as a lead pastor? Will it be my last Advent – Christmas – Lent – Easter – Pentecost – and so on. Will I retire this year or next or the following or when? Will I be with Jesus – eternally – before the next season arrives? Yes – I do think about such things.

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October 4, 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, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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