Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Great Joy

Luke 2:10-11

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

profileChristmas is usually a time of great joy with family and friends.  It is a time for parties and even some days off work (did your boss give you Christmas Day off this year? lol).  Depending on where you live – Christmas can be dark and bleak time whether wise – but for most of us – a white Christmas (w/snow) would bring some measure of joy.

I’m not sure it was Christmas – but it was in the winter one year when a preacher friend of my dad’s got snowed in for several days at our home.  We did puzzles – we had fires in the fireplace – we ate homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches – we relaxed and had a great time.  These memories bring great joy to me – along with the many Christmas times spent with my grandmother – dad’s mom. Continue reading

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Not Be Afraid!

Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

profileChristmas is almost here – only 13 days counting today and Christmas Day!  Are you ready?  Did you remember to NOT GO INTO DEBT FOR CHRISTMAS?  Have you remembered to make sure Jesus is the reason for the season in your home?  If you talk about Santa – is it Saint Nicholas and still pointed to Jesus – the greatest gift ever given?  I’ve heard of several of our families at 1st Church that give their children 3 gifts at Christmas that represent the gifts given to Jesus.

The night of Christ’s birth angels met the shepherds in the field as they watched their flocks.  They were frightened – as I assume most of us would have been – but they were greeted with a do not be afraid proclamation from the angels.  Here is today passage in partial context. Continue reading

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

profileWe play a game at Christmas in our family.  When the McDonalds get together for Christmas we all purchase gifts for the game.  We usually place a dollar amount on the gift like $20 and we wrap them and put them in a pile.  We draw numbers and begin the game.

The game goes like this.  Number 1 goes first and can pick any gift in the pile.  Once they touch a gift (no shaking or sizing up the gift by touching it) they must open that gift.  Move to number 2 and the fun begins.  Number 2 can pick another gift from the pile or take the gift that number 1 picked.  If they take number 1’s gift – number 1 must pick another gift from the pile.  As we progress through the numbers the options increase.  For instance – number 10 can take the gift of number 2 and number 2 can take the gift or number 5 and so on.  We have to limit the number of times – per round – that a gift can float the room or we would be at it all night. Continue reading

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do We Judge a Book by Its Cover?

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

My DadRevRayDo we judge a book by its cover?  I mean – do we predetermine what we think of someone or something by appearances?  If we were honest – we would probably have to say – at least at times – that this is a true statement.  I was recently asked to preach at a friend’s church – he was going to be away.  I remember two comments that are relevant in today’s devotional thought.  Let me relate them today.

I began – in the fall of 2012 – wearing a clergy collar in the pulpit and to funerals and other official events.  I had worn them before but on rare occasions.  What happened in the fall of 2012 was my father died.  My father was a United Methodist clergy person and he often wore a collar.  As part of my grieving process and as a way of honoring my father I began to wear one too.  I’m not sure how long this will last – maybe the rest of my ministry – but I was wearing a collar the day I filled the pulpit at a friend’s church.  One person leaving the service mentioned that he thought I would be stuffy after seeing me in a collar and he was pleased that I was not – actually he found me to be very friendly he said.  The second comment that comes to mind was an older gentleman that thanked me for looking like a clergy ought to look. Continue reading

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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