Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

You Have Heard Is Said…

Matthew 5:21

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago

You’ve heard it said… This past weekend I stirred up a little discussion between a colleague of mine in ministry and a young student of the Bible (not that the colleague isn’t). I posted a meme that said – God is not going to rewrite the Bible for your generation. Stop trying to change Scripture when it’s written to change you.

A discussion or debate or argument ensued. The colleague proposed that Jesus rewrote the Bible – and that we can – through God’s leading I assume – rewrite and/or re-interpret the Bible today – to meet our current circumstance. The young student of the Bible believed the Bible was whole and what Jesus did was draw the people who heard Him back to the original meaning – rather that what they had come to believe. He believed the Bible was inspired by God – and God’s Word for us today and always. (either can correct me if I have express your views wrongly.)

I believe one either believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God or simply a good collection of books and letters that we can interpret as we see fit. Here’s what the Apostle Paul felt about the Old Testament or as some call it – the old covenant.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I – personally believe that God meant this for the New Testament/Covenant as well – but that is my take. Continue reading

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speaking in Tongues

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:1

12:31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. 13:1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDuring our study of Acts – we have read and studied the movement of the Holy Spirit upon the early church. Questions have arisen about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We will cover them as we continue our study and as we study the gifts later.

A few years ago – I was talking to a friend of mine who attended a church in Virginia. He asked me about something his pastor said. His pastor – in a recent sermon – said that if a person didn’t speak in tongues they were not baptized in the Spirit. My friend was questioning this statement.

This is not a new debate for sure. Some believe that when the Bible says that speaking in tongues is the least of the gifts (1 Corinthians 12) – that implies that all Christians – baptized in the Spirit – would have the least of the gifts. There are also passages that connect the moment of salvation with water baptism and speaking in tongues. Continue reading

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Spouse

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amA few weeks ago – my wife and I celebrated 39 years of marriage. Next year in August will we celebrate 40 years. I’m open to suggestions on how we should celebrate. We’ve talked about taking a trip somewhere. I’d like an Alaskan cruise. She’d like a trip to Hawaii. It will also be landmark birthday years for each of us.

For the young people out there – I want to share that our marriage hasn’t always been easy (and it isn’t now either). Love is not an emotion – it is a commitment. We haven’t always kept our vows perfectly – but we committed to stay with each other – till death do us part (I have to sleep with one eye open some nights – LOL). Commitment means we stick it out thru the good and the bad times (although in some marriages there might be bad enough times that separating is the best option).

God knew that life was going to be rough at times for each of us. God knew we needed help walking the journey of life. In today’s passage – as God was retelling the creation story – we’re reminded in Genesis that God knew we shouldn’t be alone. We may not all marry – but we need partners or friends in life to get thru the ups and downs. We all need someone on our side. Continue reading

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God – Teach Us to Forgive

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

June 2019In our Tuesday Bible Studies (10:30 am and 7 pm) – we just read about Stephen and his stoning. As he was dying at the hands of the Jews from the Sanhedrin – he cried out for God to forgive those who were killing him. Acts 7:60 – Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. This is very reminiscent of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Luke 23:32–34 – 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone? And is there a limit to what we will forgive? Continue reading

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VBS Week – a Great Week!

Revelation 3:2

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

June 2019During the week of VBS – each year – my dad would wake us up (we had morning VBS) with a song I believe he made up. At the top of his singing voice – which was considerable – he would sing his Vacation Bible School song. I can still remember him singing it today. It woke us up for this day long – week-long event. I fondly remember it now – but at the time I was not too happy.

Dad wasn’t the subtle type. He didn’t come up and lovingly whisper in our ears that it was time to get up and gradually allow us to deal with the early hour. He allowed us to stay asleep as long as possible – I assume – and then he WOKE US UP!

How do you like to be awakened? Is there really a good way? In the past – about 15 minutes before my alarm goes BUZZ – I would have my radio timed to come on and begin to air my favorite sports channel. By listening to the DJ’s talk (105.7 The Fan) about the latest talking point about the Orioles or Ravens – I would slowly wake – usually before the BUZZ sounded off. Yesterday – because I was up till close to 1 am – I turned off the alarm and slept an additional 45 minutes – just saying! It was a blessing. Being VBS week I have been coming into the office later. Continue reading

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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