Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Mercy Person

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Rays Haircut

As John describes Jesus – the Word becoming flesh – I am struck by yet another difference between Jesus and me! He was and is full of grace as John writes – and I am not always filled with grace – and at times the church is not as well. I am not – by nature – a mercy person – yet as a pastor – I am called to show mercy – maybe another name is compassion. The church is too. At times we do a good job of it. At times we do not.

I was listening to a broadcast on the web the other day and they were talking about grace – and restoration – in the church. Amazingly – their stories were that even in the church – there weren’t a lot of people who knew how or were even willing to show grace. Those who have been shown grace – who have been shown mercy – by God – should be the first ones willing to show mercy – forgiveness to others. God’s grace should be evident in our lives. God’s grace is poured out on us and we should share it with others. Can I get an AMEN? Continue reading

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conform Not

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Rays HaircutHave you tried to figure out the will of God in your life? Several people have presented themselves as seeking God’s will over the years. When I ask – has anyone here ever wondered or asked why they were here – many have no idea. Figuring out God’s will for our lives is of utmost importance I believe. Have you figured it out? Has God revealed it to you? Have we asked God to make it clear?

A few years ago – I asked the Administrative Board of our church – why are we hear – why did we decide to stay on Main Street rather than go out-of-town? The answers came in – slowly – and it is very interesting. Most have said things like – to be the presence of Christ in the middle of town – or – to be close to the center of our community.

Most of us know that one of my favorite passages in the Bible is today’s passage – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Continue reading

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Encouraging Spirit

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Rays Haircut

I want to write today about a subject that is essential. I think it is essential that we encourage one another – especially during this pandemic.

The Bible tells us in today’s passage in Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. I think the day is fast approaching. We need one another. We need Jesus. We need to encourage one another. We need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another. Let’s try and see how we are blessed by it and one another.

It is so easy to be critical. Tearing down doesn’t build up the Body of Christ. We do not ignore that which needs attention or correction – but we do so in love and as much as possible through encouragement. We can correct and even rebuke as Scripture says through love. But – often – we fail to praise and encourage. It is easy to see and report and have an opinion about what we dislike. How about what we see going well? Continue reading

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are An Easter People

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Rays HaircutEaster has come and gone for another year – although it might come back in a few weeks as we gather together again some day. Churches would have been packed – I know our online services were packed. Some of my colleagues often have to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some usually want to reach the unchurched on Easter and try off-site locations – which might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some – if not all – see larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year.

If their attendance is anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday – the way it used to be. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if our regulars were more regular – our normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being An Encouragement and Strength

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

Rays HaircutDuring this pandemic – I urge us to be there for one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Paul had been encouraged by our Lord being by his side. Timothy was encouraged by Paul. Who encourages us? Whom do we encourage? Continue reading

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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