Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving One Another In The Midst Of Disagreement

Luke 6:27-28

27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

We all have enemies. Maybe not like war enemies – Russia vs. USA or North Korea vs. South Korea – but people who are out to do us harm and have done us harm. A colleague recently posted that she had been on the receiving end of some gossip that was very hurtful – from fellow clergy members even. When people do or say things that hurt us – it is hard to deal with for sure. It hurts deeply when it is people who we think should know better or know us better.

We all have enemies – those persons who are not looking out for our best interest – those persons who are actually out to hurt us. Gossip – rumors – lies are the tools of some. It is not easy to love those who are out to hurt you. Loving those who love you is hard enough at times. Loving our enemies is next to impossible it seems. Continue reading

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May 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seek First The Important Things!

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Think about this for a moment. What is the most important thing in your life? Think before you answer – and don’t give me what you wish were most important or think should be most important. Someone once said if you want to know what is really important to a person – just look at the person’s checkbook. I’ll add – take a look at their credit card bills and their online spending too! Do we spend more money on things that are really only peripheral things in our lives? Do we own that boat or does that boat own us? Are our hobbies that important to our lives?

The Sunday School answer – of course – would be Jesus! Jesus should be most important in our lives. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb and He owns us – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – you were bought at a price. At least – God should own us – but at times we act as if we own ourselves. At times we act as if we are more important than God. Continue reading

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have A Plan?

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Where do we place our trust? As I age I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were nearly my age). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 2-9 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one. I’m not sure I want to retire – but I have a plan if I do.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome (his last year). General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand (currently as I’m writing this devotional I have music playing and the NFL draft on mute – I’m not watching the Birds <down 5-0 already with our best pitcher going tonight>). Continue reading

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice. Continue reading

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Here We Go!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform 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.

IMG_0301Here we go!  Annual Conference got started yesterday morning.  My prayer – as it has been for a few weeks now – is that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will seek after Jesus!  Today’s passage calls us to not conform to the patterns of the world.  We are called to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.  Here it is – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform 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.

Today we had a number of reports and passed our budget for 2016.  There was no debate on any of the items before us in our morning plenary session.  Our two delegates to Annual Conference sat with me and I took a few pictures and put them on Facebook.  They were good troopers for sure.

After a few votes we elected two lay persons out of six to General Conference and one out of six clergy.  More voting today (Friday).  One of the clergy candidates I am voting for is next in line I hope – to be elected.  Another one or two of my choices might get elected as well. Continue reading

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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