Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Looking Like God

Psalm 145:9

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

My wife and I have three grown daughters. Their mother and I often play a game – trying to figure out where they got certain traits. One of them will do something and we might say to one another – I know where she got that trait or maybe we would simply say – she’s her mother’s or father’s daughter. Do you see yourself in your children or see yourself in your parents? I often say – we are a product of our environment – which means we are a product of those who raised us – and our surroundings as well. Thankfully the girls got more from their mom than from their dad – at least as I look at it (although on occasion I can see me in them).

These likenesses go beyond the genetic likenesses. Of course one daughter has red hair like her mom – while the other two had reddish hair at birth and more sandy or dirty blond like their day. But our likeness to our parents might be in areas like how we deal with money or how we think or how we act. Continue reading

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April 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Search Our Hearts Dear Lord!

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart;

Who is it that knows you better than any other? That might be a curious question and the Sunday School answer would be Jesus for sure. But think about it for a moment. If you’re married – as I have been for nearly 38 years – your spouse might know you pretty well. If your children have any age on them – mine are 35 and nearly 30 (twins) – they might know you pretty well. If you worked in the same place for a few decades – your co-workers might know you pretty well too. Your parents – if they are still alive – might know you pretty well also.

Unless we are hermits – there are those in our life who know us pretty well. Well enough in some cases to guess how we will react to certain things – or even finish our sentences (isn’t that scary?). I perform a lot of funerals and often friends and family have some of the same stories about their loved one. They laugh and cry at the same memories. Yet – no one knows us like we know us and know one knows us like God knows us. We can hide so much from others – our deepest thoughts – yet we know them and God knows them. We can put on a show or a façade for many who see us – even on a regular basis – but we can hide from God. Continue reading

April 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Become Like Little Children

Matthew 18:3

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

My wife and I have five grandchildren. They remind us of when we had little children. Children have a way of trusting – at least until we prove untrustworthy. They will do most anything you ask of them – or at least try it – as long as they feel you are there to catch them or help them or look after them.

I remember my oldest daughter Shelly – when she was two or so. We had gone camping and the campground we were at had a jungle gym type apparatus. She was on the top level and I urged her to jump to daddy. She came to the edge of the platform – her feet were above my head – and jumped into her daddy’s arms. I caught her of course. A year later – we went to the same place and tried the same process. This time she came to the edge and said – but dad I might fall and hurt myself. In a short year – she went from totally trusting her dad to catch her to adding some doubt (by the way – she eventually jumped after some coaching). Continue reading

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving Jesus

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.”

There is a sad statement that is common knowledge in the church world! 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 workload. 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 – etc. – and not giving anything back? In essence are we a taker without being a giver as well? Continue reading

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being A Disciple

John 8:31

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

We have three grandchildren living with us right now. We have two other grandchildren living very close to us. Soon they will all live near us. It tickles me to hear them call for Pop and run to give me a hug. Several of them are very good at giving hugs – OK – all of them are! I enjoy cuddling and playing with them all. I spent some time tonight reading to three of them and playing blocks with them. One likes nothing more than to knock down the towers we build. She says help me Pop and as I build a tower – she giggles and knocks them down.

As my children raise/rear their children – I am reminded of the task of being a parent. I tweeted this recently – It is our job as parents to teach our children to be trustworthy, to fulfill their commitments, and to do a good job even when nobody is looking. Another thing we are to do as a Christian parent is to teach and train our children to be obedient to God. They must make this choice themselves – but we lay the groundwork for sure. Monkey see – monkey do is often so true. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree is another good saying when it comes to parenting. As our children and grandchildren witness our faith – they will learn to model it and have a better chance of coming to faith themselves. Continue reading

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

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