Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Smile – What Brings a Smile to Your Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals (even a win would be great at times). The opening day win in the 11th inning by the Birds Monday brought a smile to my face. Still another might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bow Down In Worship Before God

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

As I was reading some of my old blogs – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. I used one yesterday titled – Let’s Check Our Attitude About Worship Today. Reading today’s passage – once again – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. I started to wonder if we really grasp the concept of worship.

Far too often some folks think worship is about them. We want our favorite songs – or at least music we like – or the pastor to be dressed a certain way – or the service to be a certain length – or the sermon to reach us – feed us – each week. Some will say things like I’m not being fed in worship or I’m not getting anything out of the service. I’m sure there are many other thoughts that run through folks’ minds. What are some that you have thought or heard?

This may be a new thought to some but worship isn’t about us – at least not primarily. Worship is about God – coming before God to give God glory – honor – and praise. Today’s passage says – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. When was the last time we came to church with the mindset that we were there to worship God? I mean to really bow down before God and give God our total heart – mind – and soul? Continue reading

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attitude: It Can Hinder Us

Hebrews 12:1a

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

RayMcDAll week I have written about attitude. One of my favorite sayings – which I have used a couple of times this week – is this – Christianity boils down to attitude. I often add to that saying – the position and condition of one’s heart.

On Monday I wrote – Attitude: In General. In this post we wrote about Christ being after the heart. If God has our heart – our actions will follow. We wrote about how important a good and godly attitude can be – in general. We listed several Scriptures dealing with the heart – the attitude.

On Tuesday I wrote – Attitude: In Worship. In this post we wrote about the need to focus on God in worship – because worship is not for us or about us. Let me repeat that – worship is not for us. Too often we want worship to suit us rather than to be designed to draw others to Christ. For those of us in Christ – we should do all we can in worship to draw others to Christ. Continue reading

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

Attitude: What Would Jesus Do?

Philippians 2:5

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

RayMcDI will begin today’s post by confessing that I have not always had a good attitude. I battle with my attitude at times. Sometimes more than other times. I have – through time and life – become more aware of my attitude(s) and the attitude(s) of those around me. Some may have a natural tendency to see the negative first – rather than the positive. For instance – as I mentioned yesterday – when someone arrives at home is it more natural for them to notice the lights on in rooms not being used – the TV running and no one watching – and the children’s bikes in the driveway – rather than notice that all the children are doing their homework – their partner is busy fixing dinner – and their pet meets them cheerfully at the door. Because this might be natural for some – it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to overcome this tendency. Our attitudes impact people around us – our family – our co-workers – folks at church – folks at the grocery store – etc.

Throughout my ministry and my life – I have seen the impact a negative attitude can have on people – on me. Snide remarks on Facebook – in person – in an e-mail – on the phone – can scar people and damage our witness for Christ. Some people might think their spiritual gift is to complain – to be negative – to point out to those around them the things they are doing wrong – but that one is missing from the list of spiritual gifts the Bible gives us. Some seem to see the negative first. Some see the glass half-empty. For those with these natural tendencies – the task at hand might be tougher. But all of us should hear today’s Scripture and examine our attitudes with the attitude of Christ. Continue reading

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attitude: In Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

RayMcDAs we begin a New Year – I felt the need to do a series of blog posts about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I’m not sure how long this series will go – but I felt led of God to share it.

I was reviewing some old blog posts and I found one about worship and attitudes. Reading today’s passage – once again – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes I received and sent over the years with comments about worship. I started thinking about the attitudes of some church leaders and members. I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Continue reading

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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