Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What I Might Share With Graduates

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.”

I’m reading on my Facebook feed about a lot of young people graduating from High School and College. It has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I haven’t heard of any reunions – but maybe for our 50th in five years. If I had a chance to speak with graduates – I might say something like today’s devotional thought.

As I thought about those days gone by – which seem so long ago and yet so recent too – I am reminded of my days in school – in the educational process. 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 before my senior year was over (attending classes in the summer) – attending AACC or as we said 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.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of 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 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 women 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. Continue reading

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May 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Came To Seek And Save The Lost

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

One Christmas – when our oldest daughter was just a young toddler – we were shopping in a store in the old Parole Shopping Center in Annapolis. It was a nice family time – my wife – my daughter – and I – shopping together for Christmas. For a split moment Carolyn and I thought the other one was watching Shelly and she got out from under our eye. We panicked. We starting telling people to lock the doors – no one was to leave – we were scurrying around – frantically looking for our little redheaded child. It was the biggest scare we ever experienced. Nothing in all the world was more important at that moment than finding our lost daughter.

As we were frantically looking around – over the loudspeaker at the store came our relief. Would the parents of a precious little redheaded girl come to a certain sales station? There was our precious Shelly – sitting on the counter – talking to all who would listen – telling them her parents were lost (LOL). We never had a more horrific moment or such a moment of joy – so closely wrapped into the same event. Continue reading

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Remember When We Were Young?

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Can we remember when we were young? I had a dream the other night of when my wife and I first met – back when we were dating. Sunday – we sang a song that we sang in the Soul Searchers back in the day. I’m pretty nostalgic so the memory brought nice feelings.

Can we remember when we were young? As we age – memories from our younger days can bring back good or not so good memories. If we had a good childhood or young adult years – our memories might be good. I remember being in great shape when I was younger. I officiated sports year round and all of that activity kept me in good if not great shape. If I could return to the 1970’s – that would be one thing I would tell myself – to keep officiating sports or at least to remain active. That activity burned lots of calories. I even had a chance to be a profession baseball umpire. Continue reading

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Ooze Jesus!

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

In my younger days – one of my first jobs was as a Soda Jerk. People loved to order an ice cream cone from me because I gave them a good measure for their money (the pharmacist approved of my methods). A single scoop cone always got a scoop pushed into the cone before a scoop was applied to the top. Nothing worse than an empty cone! I worked at Pink’s drugstore on West Street a block away from my home on Locust Avenue in Annapolis.

One of the reasons I write weekday devotional thoughts is to give the members of the congregations I serve and have served and others more than just Sunday morning theology. I think we need to be digging into Jesus every day – not just on Sunday – and my hope is that these daily thoughts help to trigger something inside us to want immeasurably more from our relationship with Jesus. I try to use everyday ideas and thoughts to connect us with some spiritual thought for the day so that our hearts are pricked to think more about Jesus (let me know if they help). Continue reading

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With All Our Heart

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Are we Masters of anything? My brother is a Master plumber. He is one of the best plumbers in the Annapolis area – maybe in the state. I have often said he is a Jack-of-all-trades and a Master of many. What are we Masters of – if anything?

One thing I feel pretty confident with is the area of finances. My wife and I have made some pretty good investments and have handled our money wisely over the years (thank you Jesus). But even in this area I have a great friend who has given me great advise over the years too.

Another thing I feel confident with is my knowledge of the Word of God. But even in this area – where I have two advanced degrees (Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry) – 40 plus years of ministry under my belt – and 50 years plus of faith – I have mentors that I turned to for guidance (I lost one 5 years ago when my father passed). Continue reading

September 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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