Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Think Before We Speak

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

I remember one time playing basketball – and missing every shot – or so it seemed. I mentioned that someone must have put a lid on the rim. Of course no one had – but the idea of a lid on the rim – keeping the ball from going thru the basket is something that a number of players has claimed when they go cold shooting.

Have you ever heard the phrase – put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion? Too many of us shoot from the hip so to speak. Too many of us speak before we think – and then wish we could capture our words and take them back. Has that ever happened to you? I know it has happened to me – far more times than I wish to remember. Continue reading

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November 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Godliness Has Value – Eternally

1 Timothy 4:8

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

OK – I’m 10 days post surgery and I am in that physical therapy time. Currently I have 4-6 weeks of passive PT to deal with and then another 6 weeks of therapy where I work my arm (I had rotor cuff surgery). After that I will spend the rest of the summer building up strength in my left shoulder and arm. Currently my strength in my right arm is three times that of my left arm.

As a former athlete who still tries to play some basketball and golf (maybe this fall) – I know what physical training is (to the degree that I played organized sports in school). I remember the 3-a-days in football with coach Al Laramore driving us. Better known to those of us who knew him at Annapolis High as Big Al. Big Al led Annapolis High to state titles in football (1978) – in basketball (1974) – and in lacrosse (1984 – 1985 – 1987). He is the only coach in Maryland history to take teams to state titles in three different sports. Continue reading

April 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifting of the Church – Part V

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDThis is the fifth and final part of this series. Today we will review verse 16 and conclude this brief study about the gifting of the church.

The gifting of the church is essential to mature us and to draw folks together. It is also part of what unifies the Body. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

When I recover from my surgery I plan to get back to the gym and to basketball (and of course golf). I know that there will be lots of sore muscles and aches and pains. Hot showers and I will be good friends. My muscles and ligaments and joints are going to be taxed and I hope – growing – and getting stronger. It will be about 3 months between my last time in the gym and when I get back. As I lose weight and start to get in better shape (I know round is a shape – I said so in a message – but not a desired shape) the aches and pains will get less and sleep will returned – lol. Continue reading

March 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:5

…it is by grace you have been saved.

RayMcDI love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I enjoy hearing someone say cover Ray when I’m playing basketball and lining up for a three-point shot. Or don’t leave Ray as the person on me leaves to help double team someone else. It means someone respects my ability (as meager as it may be).

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love the challenges on my Fitbit – both the personal challenges and the group challenges. I love it when this old pastor can at times keep up with the younger pastors in a Fitbit pastors group.

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love playing golf with a friend of mine – we are fairly equal in our abilities (we can both play a round in the 70’s or as high as the low 90’s from time to time). When I come out on top – it feels good – I know I have beaten a decent golfer. (I sure hope my torn rotor cuff heals quickly.) Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look Out For Others

1 Corinthians 10:24

No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

RayMcDI know I use sports a lot – and if you are not into sports – you might be lost at times. Sorry – that is who I am and how I relate. I try to use non-sport analogies when I can but the early Biblical writers used sports so I figure it is OK.

In team sports – the traditional statement is – there is no I in team. In other words – we’re a team and the team goals and the team success is more important than individual goals or success. Teams that work together often beat teams with a super star or two because they get everyone involved and everyone trying their hardest. Often when there are ball hogs on teams the rest of the team stands around and waits for them to do their thing.

Yesterday – playing basketball – I was on fire! I was hitting three’s at a 4 out of 5 clip (80%)! It seemed like every time I shot the ball – I was hitting. My teammates began to expect me to shoot – which I probably should have more than I did (I usually don’t need encouragement to shoot). I must admit though – what I got the most kick out of yesterday morning was hitting a few teammates with passes that put them in great position to score. One teammate probably wasn’t expecting me to pass and the ball hit him in the chest and it bounced away. That one didn’t feel so good but there was the time when I went up for a shot (a 3 of course) and everyone on the other team turned for the rebound (if there was one) and a teammate broke for the basket too. I hit him in stride for a layup! Continue reading

January 19, 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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