Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Is Holiness Still Our Call?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Today’s passage is called the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I remember revivals and camp meetings and altar calls and still use them today.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin. We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

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February 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Is Consistent

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life ChangeLife keeps changing! The only constant in life is change. A number of things in my own life have changed. I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (38 years this past summer verses 25 years not married). I celebrated 45 years since I graduated High School this past June. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today!

My children – my babies – are all grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with our granddaughters. I’ve been in ministry for 42 years. I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left – maybe more!). Continue reading

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers. Continue reading

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Keeps Changing – But God is Consistent

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

112015 Ray McDonaldLife keeps changing!  Our current sermon series is Discerning God’s Will in an Ever-Changing World.  A number of things in my own life have changed.  I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (36 years this summer verses 25 years not married).  I will celebrate 43 years this spring of my High School graduation.  I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today.  My children – my babies – are grown.  Two have children (my four granddaughters).  My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with the granddaughters.  I’ve been in ministry for 40 years this coming fall.  I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left).

Life keeps changing!  This past summer the Nationals and the Orioles both played some good ball. The Redskins – Wizards – and Capitals recently won on the same day in many years.  The Ravens had a rare bad season and the Redskins had a rare (I hope they become common) good season with a playoff game at home.

Continue reading

January 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The United Methodist Church

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

IMG_0301Today’s passage is called the Great Commission.  It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church.  We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol).  In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus.  Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance.  We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught.  We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society.  The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool.  The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ.  We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin.  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord.  In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening.  Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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