Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan. Continue reading

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January 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soak In The Word of God

2 Kings 22:11

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.

When I was a child – I loved hearing my father preach or teach to Word of God. He was a pastor and when I was younger – anytime there was a service I was there! Dad had a way of making the Word of God come alive. He put God’s Word into words I could understand. He made God’s Word applicable for folks. I try to model his approach in my ministry. I try to soak in God’s Word as much as possible – and this stems from my childhood.

As I grew up – I was drawn not only to my dad’s approach with the Word of God but with other pastors who seemed to have a way of bringing the Word of God to life. The Bible became more real to me through these men of God as they preached and taught. I grew to enjoy digging into and soaking in the Word of God. Continue reading

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following Christ’s Example

Luke 2:52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus at twelve – as He was amazing the teachers in the temple courts with questions and answers. Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus among the relatives in the caravan – so they headed back to Jerusalem to find Him. Luke 2:46–47 – 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Recently in a Bible study we talked about the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Depending on how you understand that dynamic will reveal where you fall in our ability to follow Christ’s example. For instance – if you believe He was fully divine and only appeared as human – you would have a hard time believing you could follow God’s example. If you believe that He was human on earth and didn’t access His divine power – you would have an easier task of seeing Jesus as an example for us to follow. Continue reading

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

Favorite Passage of Scripture

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do we all have a favorite scripture? One of the all-time favorite passages is today’s passage – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Watch any golf tournament and you might just see a sign that says John 3:16.

A sign of whom we love or what we love is what we are willing to give up for them or it. For instance – I once asked my Tuesday morning Bible Study – who or what they loved. They responded with the normal list – children – pets – Jesus of course – and more. When asked what they would be willing to do for a pet with a major illness – some said – whatever it takes. Another said they would sell their house to help with the medical bills of a child.

We are willing to do whatever it takes for those we love or something we love. Some of us – for the sake of a few dollars – would camp out overnight at a store to assure that we were one of the first ones in the store the next day or overnight to get tickets to a movie or a concert. We’ll do some crazy things for something we love. Continue reading

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting the Word of God on Our Hearts

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Today we began our Tuesday Bible studies. The morning class meets at 10:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. We had 6 of us this morning. We normally have between 6-12 – and the room can hold more so all are welcome.

Tonight we will start up the Men’s study again. We meet in the Fellowship Hall as well and meet at 7:00 pm. We normally have 8-12 men and would love to see you – if you can join us. Both studies will pick up where we left off in July – with Matthew 14:1.

The more we know the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey. That is a reason – one of many – that I asked people to bring their Bibles with them on Sunday mornings instead of using the pew Bibles (or our data devices if we carry the Bible there). The more we use our Sword (the Bible) – the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encourage people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along (and keep the pastor on track). Today we can read our Bible on our smart phone/data device and even follow along on YouVersion.com and leave notes for later on the sermons (on our live events). Continue reading

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

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