Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Quiet Time Is Essential

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

OK – we prayed for our children and grandchildren to come home – two grandchildren and parents were living in New Jersey while three grandchildren with parents were living in California. We are so glad to have them back home. It is good to have family close. It was special having almost the whole family together for the 4th of July celebration at my brother’s home.

Having said that – quiet times around the McDonald home are few and far between these days. Three of the grandchildren are staying with us as the family prepares their home. Being so close to the other two grandchildren – you know they are over often. They love each other – yet like siblings and cousins – there are times they battle as well. I am not complaining – but finding a quiet moment is not as easy as it was when it was just the wife and I. Yet we realize how important – even essential – quiet time can be for us. Continue reading

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Motivates Us?

James 4:17
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

What motivates us? What is it that causes us to act – to think – the way we do? Motivation is something we all try to do for ourselves and for others. Coaches try to motivate their team. Bosses try to motivate their employees. Managers try to motivate those who work on their team at work. Spouses try to motivate each other to be better and parents try to motivate their children to be the best they can be. Drill sergeants try to motivate their recruits. what motivates us?

I thought the Bible would be a good place to look for what motivates us. The 4th Chapter of James is about heart and motivation. It ends with the verse of the day. I read the whole chapter and realized I couldn’t add anything today so let’s read it together. Continue reading

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Lord of the Harvest

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being a givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 25

Luke 2:5-7

He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Manger at night under fogDuring the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

At Christmas the things that bring me joy are simple. Time with family instead of constantly working comes to mind. Seeing the smiles on the children and now the grandchildren’s faces as they open something simple yet special. Remembering those who have gone before us and those who are still here. Seeing such giving hearts at our church as we reach out to others amazes me.

I see the joy of Christmas in my church family. There are times when we don’t always see eye to eye but most times we gather together and accomplish great things for our Lord. Christmas is one of those times when we connect and accomplish great things for Jesus. I love Christmas at First Church. The sweet Spirit of Jesus is so evident in most all of the people. The spirit of giving and of love is so prevalent amongst the people. Merry Christmas to everyone.   

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No One Can Serve Two Masters

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

RayMcDOk – Christmas is coming – ready or not. Christmas has turned into a commercial season for many for sure. Buying gifts is all the rage. Stores are trying all sorts of ways to get you to buy from them – online stores as well. The advertisements are amazing at times.

Christmas is a good time to determine where our priorities are for sure. When we check our expenditures for Christmas compared to say what we give to God’s work through His church – we might get the idea. When God’s Word says much about giving to God and God’s work but nothing about giving gifts to one another at Christmas – we might realize that we have bought into the lies about Christmas. Instead of a season to give to God it has turned into a season to out do the neighbors and spoil our children and grandchildren.

Our church – not unlike many churches this time of the year – is behind in our giving in relationship to our budget. We budgeted what we thought was a conservative budget for the working of God’s work for 2016. Unfortunately – for a variety of reasons – our giving has not kept up with our expectations. Continue reading

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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