Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

You Have Heard Is Said…

Matthew 5:21

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago

You’ve heard it said… This past weekend I stirred up a little discussion between a colleague of mine in ministry and a young student of the Bible (not that the colleague isn’t). I posted a meme that said – God is not going to rewrite the Bible for your generation. Stop trying to change Scripture when it’s written to change you.

A discussion or debate or argument ensued. The colleague proposed that Jesus rewrote the Bible – and that we can – through God’s leading I assume – rewrite and/or re-interpret the Bible today – to meet our current circumstance. The young student of the Bible believed the Bible was whole and what Jesus did was draw the people who heard Him back to the original meaning – rather that what they had come to believe. He believed the Bible was inspired by God – and God’s Word for us today and always. (either can correct me if I have express your views wrongly.)

I believe one either believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God or simply a good collection of books and letters that we can interpret as we see fit. Here’s what the Apostle Paul felt about the Old Testament or as some call it – the old covenant.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I – personally believe that God meant this for the New Testament/Covenant as well – but that is my take. Continue reading

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grief is Real

Genesis 25:8

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

Yesterday I went with a family – some friends from younger years at another church – to spend some time with the body of their 30 year-old son who died Sunday – on Mother’s Day – in a car accident. As I stood with the family and tried to hold back the tears – my thoughts went to my nearly 30 year old daughters and eventually to my mom and my dad’s passing.

I was reminded of today’s passage – as I thought of my dad’s passing nearly 6 years ago. When dad passed – my dad was 84 – he would have bene 90 this summer. I would have loved to have had him around another 16 years or so – yet he was at a good old age when he died. He was ready to meet his Maker – even though he would have loved to stay around to be with a family that he loved and who loved him. One of the comforting thoughts I cling to even today is that as much as he loves us – he wouldn’t trade a moment of heaven for another moment with us. He is in God’s glory! Continue reading

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grief Needs To Be Processed

Genesis 25:8

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

I ran across today’s passage again this week. It reminded me of my father who was 84 and although I would have liked to have had him around another 16 years or so – he was at a good old age when he died five years ago. Before he died he told me he was ready to meet his Maker – even though he would have loved to stay around to be with a family that he loved and who loved him. One of the comforting thoughts I cling to is that as much as he loves us – he wouldn’t trade a moment of heaven for another moment with us. He is in God’s glory!

As I processed and dealt with my father’s passing – over the next 4 plus years my siblings and I faced the passing of our mom as well. Dealing with death is not easy dear readers. I ran across the five stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross model. Those five stages are 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and 5) Acceptance. A link to more information about these five stages of grief can be found here. Continue reading

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurt People Hurt Others – There Must Be A Better Way

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Over the weekend hatred reared it’s ugly head once again in our nation. Satan had a field day as 3 people died and at the last report 35 others were injured. And a nation – leaders – and others – are picking sides and blaming each other for the violence – deaths – and injuries. Folks are also wagging fingers at others for not seeing things their way and condemning the other side with the words they see appropriate.

A radical hate group – some have even called them a homeland radical terrorist group – a group of white supremacists – who believe they are better than others because of the color of their skin – clashed with another group in Charlottesville – Virginia. I stand opposed to any group that represents themselves as a neo-Nazi movement. I stand opposed to any group that believes they are better than others because of the color of their skin.

The protests soon became an angry confrontation – between two differing sides of a point of view (I’m not trying to minimize their difference). Hatred – on both sides – as evidenced by the video clips – erupted. Innocent people – standing up for their view and rights are often caught up in the hatred of others. Apparently – and we will know more when the investigations conclude – a member of the white supremacy group ran a vehicle into a crowd of protestors – killing one person and injuring many others. When the local and national investigation is complete – we will probably find guilt on both sides. Yet the evil – sinful – premise that some people are better than others because of the color of their skin or their nation of origin is an evil we cannot ignore and bares the brunt – IMHO – of the responsibility for the violence. This is not a view that can be or should be supported in American! Continue reading

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Conversation

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

We all need to read and hear this passage today – especially the first part – let our conversation be always full of grace. Our conversations are probably not always up-lifting. They are probably – at times – not positive and helpful.

We have probably all heard this one – if you can’t say something good about someone – say nothing at all. Many of us – if not all of us – need to spend more time and effort when it comes to our conversations. We need to take care that what comes forth from out mouth is a blessing and not a curse.

There are a number of passages about our talk – about the way we present ourselves through our conversations. Here are a couple of them.

Matthew 12:36–37 – 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Continue reading

August 8, 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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