Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Maranatha! Come Lord, Come!

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Life ChangeDo you have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. In the fourth century when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord, Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. I have used it for years on this blog page and in my e-mails (at times). Continue reading

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bow Down In Worship Before God

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

As I was reading some of my old blogs – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. I used one yesterday titled – Let’s Check Our Attitude About Worship Today. Reading today’s passage – once again – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. I started to wonder if we really grasp the concept of worship.

Far too often some folks think worship is about them. We want our favorite songs – or at least music we like – or the pastor to be dressed a certain way – or the service to be a certain length – or the sermon to reach us – feed us – each week. Some will say things like I’m not being fed in worship or I’m not getting anything out of the service. I’m sure there are many other thoughts that run through folks’ minds. What are some that you have thought or heard?

This may be a new thought to some but worship isn’t about us – at least not primarily. Worship is about God – coming before God to give God glory – honor – and praise. Today’s passage says – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. When was the last time we came to church with the mindset that we were there to worship God? I mean to really bow down before God and give God our total heart – mind – and soul? Continue reading

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Time Is Coming

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

RayMcDHave you ever been warned about something that was pending – something that was going to happen in the future? I had a teacher who would often say – mark my word – and then tell us something that was going to happen – like – mark my word – this will be on the next test. It wasn’t always so – but it did make us study more.

Maybe as a parent you have said something like this or your parents did – mark my word – if you do that again you will get punished. Maybe it was like this – if you don’t stop fighting – if you make me get out of my chair – if you don’t get up now – if you don’t eat all your food – than “whatever” was going to happen. This too didn’t always happen (for some of us) but it probably – for a few times – change our behavior.

Paul gives us warning in today’s passage – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
Continue reading

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Call to Prayer

1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

IMG_0301As I mentioned on May 1st in my blog post titled – May: A Call to Prayer – our congregation and blog post readers have been called to prayer during the month of May. I have encouraged our congregation to spend five minutes a day (minimum) – and five minutes during every meeting of the church family – praying for discernment for the church.

When I first arrived at FUMC – I was told stories of why we stayed on Main Street rather than building on land in the suburbs – land we had purchased. I have been given some short responses with very little detail. A plan – if it was once well known – has been forgotten. A reason for staying in the heart of Historic Laurel – God’s reason – God’s plan – is what we are seeking.

In our call to pray – let’s all pray for our local church. For those of us attending First United Methodist Church in Laurel – we are called to pray for our focus – our purpose – our direction – the reason God has for us being on the corner of 5th and Main Streets. We will be forming a strategic planning team and targeting what God reveals to us in our month of prayer and beyond. Continue reading

May 4, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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