Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Nationals Are In The World Series

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines (and we’re praying for General Conference 2020). We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season – which is down to the World Series (with the Nationals in it to win it). As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal. The Nationals and the Astros have been through an off-season – and spring training – and long season and now they are fighting for the World Series title.

My Orioles (my first team – Nats are second) are out of it (they were out of it long ago), I met too coaches from the Orioles a couple of summers ago. They were on a day off during the season and came out to play golf. We talked about the team and about our fighting spirit. The team did not give up that season and they didn’t give up this season. They play it to win it – like most athletes.

Continue reading

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Clothing Matters

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDear readers – did we have a favorite piece of clothing growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a favorite red baseball hat. In many of my childhood pictures – from a certain age – that was what I had on.

I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything too dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City as a young teen. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I when I have a funeral – I will bring my collar and my suit jacket to work with me – so I can change before the service. I will return to the office for meetings after the funeral and put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it or a regular polo shirt. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do We Treasure Or Collect?

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOne of my nephews purchased several large crates full of baseball cards. I found him one evening going through them – sorting out teams – Hall of Fame players – and some others groupings. He was in his glory – a sports fan with sports memorabilia. As I was leaving I asked him to find some duplicates of some nice players and sell them to his uncle (that hasn’t happened yet). For those who have been in my office at church – you know I have a display of Hall of Fame players on my wall. I love baseball – the American pastime.

Another thing I enjoy is collecting hats – baseball style hats. I have several from the Orioles – the Ravens – the University of Maryland – the Redskins – the FBI – golf hats of many brands like Titleist – Callaway – SR (the Golf Club at South River) – Twin Shields – Glenn Dale – and more. I have one with a cross on it and others with the American Flag on them with blue and red lines on them as well. My home office door has three straps with hooks for hats on it. My closet in the bedroom has about a dozen hats that I wear the most. One shelf at work is decorated with hats (stop by them and see). I gave several dozen away to Goodwill recently because I couldn’t wear them all or keep them all (said the boss). A number of my hats belonged to my dad at one time. Continue reading

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clothe Ourselves in Christ

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

June 2019Dear readers – did any of us have a favorite piece of clothing growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a red baseball hat. In many of my childhood pictures – from a certain age – that was what I had on. I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything dressy. When I was in my early teen years – I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City one year. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I when I have a funeral – I will bring my collar and my suit jacket to work with me – so I can change before the service. I will return to the office for meetings after the funeral and put on my church shirt – typically a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

July 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Numbers Are Awesome – God Is More So

Psalm 147:4

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Life ChangeThe Orioles lost yesterday. They are 4-3 – having already won two away series. They only won three away series all of last year. They had a 4-1 lead – late into the game – but couldn’t hold down the Spankees in the late innings.

I’ve mentioned – in the sermon titled Let’s Talk About the Pastor – that I loved baseball because I love numbers. I was preparing to be a CPA in college when God called me into the ministry – so I love to crunch numbers and baseball is filled with them. For instance – if the Orioles only lose 100 games this year – they will have improved by 15 games over last year – an amazing turnaround. That would give them a 62-100 record. If they improved the following year by 15 games – they would be 77-85 – pushing .500. The third year of a 15 game improvement would give them a 92-70 record and in the thick of the playoff picture. I know – that is a tall order – but – you have to improve a little each year. If they don’t improve by 15 games a year – it might take them longer or they may need to improve by more than 15 games in some years. Baseball is filled with numbers. A player that fails 7 out of 10 times to get a hit for a career can go to the Hall of Fame. Continue reading

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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