Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is The Cost?

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Life ChangeWhat is the cost of being a fan of the Orioles? This past year we had to suffer through 114 losses. In recent history – we suffered through 14 losing seasons in a row. Some of our best players have signed elsewhere – because we weren’t willing or able to sign them. Some of the best players in baseball were traded away (example: Curt Schilling) or allowed to leave in free agency (example: recently honored Hall of Famer Mike Mussina). Maybe – just maybe – the sons of the current owner of the Orioles will be able to bring back some enthusiasm and bring us a winner once again. We can only hope.

What is the cost of living in Maryland? Some of the things that some would call costs – others might call blessings. For instance – the high cost of living makes it tough – but that also means there are plenty of jobs and careers that pay high wages/salaries. The urban areas of Baltimore and DC are seen by some as a high cost of living in Maryland – but – with many people brings much diversity and amazing schools and hospitals – just to name a few things. We have the Orioles as mentioned before and the Ravens along with some DC teams to cheer as well. And some strong colleges in the area. Continue reading

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January 25, 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smile – Someone is Watching

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.

Life ChangeWhat 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 with a sixth on the way. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Wizards (even a win would be great at times). Didn’t the Ravens play a great game Sunday? They came up just short in overtime – but all in all – it was a good game against one of the best teams in the NFL. The game brought a smile to my face. I had to miss the ending – one of my grandchildren had a Christmas event at her school and I left the game with a few minutes left in regulation.

Still another reason to smile might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here (and truthful) 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

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay Committed

Daniel 3:17-18

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

RayMcDIf you’re rooting for the Orioles – this year – you’re one committed fan. They are in the midst of their worse season – ever. They are on track to finish with only 48 wins and a whopping 114 loses – or some terrible record like they have never seen. Their current record – after being swept by Boston is 35-84 – the worst in the majors this year (although Kansas City is not too far ahead of us at the moment). The race for the worst record is on – the prize – the #1 draft choice in each round of the upcoming draft.

Some believe the Orioles will not win 50 games this year. Their current record supports this theory – as I mentioned. They are headed to a 48-114 record at their current pace – and that is certainly a sorry state. If you are a follower of the Orioles – this year – you have your work cut out for you to stay committed. Continue reading

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Adventure With Jesus

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

I remember playing pretend as a child. My brother and I would dress up like soldiers and playing Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow. I even had a plastic machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and beside grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage. It was great fun pretending.

We just finished a week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme was having great adventures – Rolling River Rampage. The children had a blast. They had great adventures on the river and learned about Jesus. They imagined a number of adventures on the river. We collected funds to support those devastated by the rising river in Ellicott City.

They learned that some adventures are imaginary – and some are real – like walking with Jesus can be an adventure but it is for real! We learned that following Jesus – who died to pay for our sins and to allow us into a right relationship with God the Father – can be a great adventure too. We were also encouraged to tell others of our excitement – being in an adventure with Jesus. Continue reading

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have A Plan?

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Where do we place our trust? As I age I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were nearly my age). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 2-9 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one. I’m not sure I want to retire – but I have a plan if I do.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome (his last year). General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand (currently as I’m writing this devotional I have music playing and the NFL draft on mute – I’m not watching the Birds <down 5-0 already with our best pitcher going tonight>). Continue reading

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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