Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Jesus’ Prayer For Unity

John 17:21

…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Annual Conference is coming next week – a week I would look forward to in years past – a time to see old friends that are scattered all over the conference. It was a time to renew friendships and share war stories. It was a time to worship and learn and to be challenged. Although there have always been ideologies and theologies that differ from my own – we always seemed to get along – somehow.

In recent years – the divide between us has grown it seems. On issues like human sexuality there doesn’t seem to be a place for us to coalesce. On one side of the discussion – some expressions of sexuality are considered sinful – such as same-sex relations. On the other side of the discussion – same-sex attraction and relations is seen as normal and acceptable. For over four decades this debate has raged – yet in the last few years it seems to have gotten more and more divisive.

Add to the discussion persons born one gender who wish to be seen – treated – and recognized as the other gender – even going so far as to alter their gender identity with surgery – and the divide increases. Continue reading

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There are many hot topics in church life. There are many things talked about in the parking lot. The Judicial Council of the church is hearing arguments this week concerning some of the hot topics in the United Methodist Church. Their decision will more than likely be transformational for our denomination unless they kick the can down the street to some future date or group.

One hot topic in many churches is the idea of giving. There are several scriptures about giving in the Bible. Here are just a few.

Proverbs 3:9 – Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;

Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 18:16 – A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. Continue reading

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

This summer my wife and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage. How she has stayed with me this long is only a blessing from God for sure. Her love never seems to fail. There is a standard joke among the women in our family. With the passing of my mom – it came out at her funeral. We would often say – Nan loves her man. My mother loved my father something fierce. Nothing could come between her and her man! (I’m not saying they never had disagreements because they did).

Growing up I had such a good example of a mom and dad – a husband and wife. They had an endearing love that held them together – as the saying goes – through thick and thin. They are finally back together in heaven – without the old bodies that hindered their last years. Continue reading

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Junk Food

1 Peter 2:2

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

RayMcDJunk Food is not good for us! There – I said it! Junk food is simply that – junk – and I have been trying to stay away from it. Yet it usually tastes so good – or at least we think so. What is your favorite junk food? I love most anything with chocolate and peanuts or peanut butter. At Easter I am a sucker for peanut butter covered chocolate eggs. Junk food is usually sweet – or salty and flavored like barbecue potato chips. If you’re really lucky with your junk food you can get something that is sweet & salty!

But I digress. I’m also craving something sweet or salty – right now! Even after eating a bunch of carrots and hummus.

Junk food usually satisfies for the moment but not for the long-term. It usually has lots of empty calories and is not ultimately good for you. Why are we drawn to it – because it soothes for the moment – but it is not good for us? Continue reading

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attitude: What Would Jesus Do?

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

RayMcDI will begin today’s post by confessing that I have not always had a good attitude. I battle with my attitude at times. Sometimes more than other times. I have – through time and life – become more aware of my attitude(s) and the attitude(s) of those around me. Some may have a natural tendency to see the negative first – rather than the positive. For instance – as I mentioned yesterday – when someone arrives at home is it more natural for them to notice the lights on in rooms not being used – the TV running and no one watching – and the children’s bikes in the driveway – rather than notice that all the children are doing their homework – their partner is busy fixing dinner – and their pet meets them cheerfully at the door. Because this might be natural for some – it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to overcome this tendency. Our attitudes impact people around us – our family – our co-workers – folks at church – folks at the grocery store – etc.

Throughout my ministry and my life – I have seen the impact a negative attitude can have on people – on me. Snide remarks on Facebook – in person – in an e-mail – on the phone – can scar people and damage our witness for Christ. Some people might think their spiritual gift is to complain – to be negative – to point out to those around them the things they are doing wrong – but that one is missing from the list of spiritual gifts the Bible gives us. Some seem to see the negative first. Some see the glass half-empty. For those with these natural tendencies – the task at hand might be tougher. But all of us should hear today’s Scripture and examine our attitudes with the attitude of Christ. Continue reading

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

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