Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Up Everything

Luke 14:33

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Tuesday night at Bible Study we talked about giving up everything for Jesus. The concept is a hard one to grasp. Many of us are selfish by nature – wanting to protect what is ours and what we have earned (so we think). We talked about the rich young man in the following story. Luke 18:18–23 – 18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

He went away and became very sad – because he was very wealthy – he had much. Jesus knew that his stumbling block was his possessions. He had an ownership issue. I believe some of us – if not most of us – have an ownership issue. We’ve convinced ourselves that we have worked hard and earned what we have gained in life. Instead – as followers of Christ – we should believe that all we have is God’s – given by God. Continue reading

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

The Lord of the Harvest

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being a givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Ever Fit Into The In Crowd?

John 15:19

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

112015 Ray McDonaldHave you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the way you wore your hair? Big hair was in for women at one time. I grew up during a time when men – to keep their hair slicked back – used Vitalis. It was the Elvis look! The natural look – the Beatles’ style – became popular among some years later!

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the clothes you wore? I remember when the style of clothes you wore got you labeled. I was known as a block in junior high school. Block’s wore kaki pants with banlon shirts. We wore Peter’s jackets with our name on it and Chuck Taylor basketball shoes. We weren’t hoods – who wore leather jackets. As the years mounted there were hippies and preppies and others who dressed certain ways to be in the in crowd (the crowd they wanted to be).

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? I remember when I finally got into the “A” club at Annapolis High School and got to wear my “A” jacket (I became an official jock at that time). I was never very good at any particular sport – still aren’t – but I could play most sports well enough to make a few teams and to play and enjoy sports later in life. I have some lifetime friends because of sports and later because I coached and officiated sports. Continue reading

April 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

profileI had a conversation the other day with some folks from my local church.  It was at a Bible Study.  We were trying to define sin.  We started with Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and tried to come up with a definition for sin.  Since we have all sinned – we thought we could define it.

Our best effort was to say that sin was anything outside of the will of God.  Sin was doing – saying – or thinking of something outside of God’s will or plan for our life.  So with that definition we began to talk about sin and how we deal with sin. Continue reading

January 9, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Follow My Example

John 13:15-17

15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

profileDuring my youth – I heard a number of parents say – do as I say – not as I do.  Not my parents mind you – but friend’s parents.  They wanted them to not smoke – yet they smoked.  They wanted them to not drink – yet they drank – and some of them pretty heavily if the empties in the trash were any indication.  They wanted their children to go to church – yet so many of them had fathers that didn’t attend and one had a mom that didn’t as well.  They wanted their children to not do drugs – yet they had their Valium to settle their nerves at the end of the day or that glass of wine to unwind.

Do as I say – not as I do – didn’t work very well for my friends and their parents.  Some of my friends said their parents were hypocrites – and they were right IMHO.  Some said they had no place telling them what to do – since their lives were so messed up.  At times I could see their point.  At times I thought maybe their parents were trying to warn them of the evils that had taken over their lives.  It was the 60’s and not a lot made sense to a young person! Continue reading

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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