Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Serving The Lord

Romans‬ ‭12:11‬
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

There are times we must respond – right away. No hesitation! No delay. The question that might be asked is this – will we be ready to respond when called upon?

Preparing for the unknown is something that some do well and some do not. We’ve all heard the phrase – prepare for the worst and hope for the best – I would imagine. If you are a normal planner – this isn’t hard for you. If you typically fly by the seat of your pants or are somewhat less of a planner – it might be hard.

For instance – one shouldn’t wait until retirement to begin to plan for it. Savings and investments take time. Planning about when to retire and where to live upon retirement take time to plan. Even planning – some – of what you will do in retirement can be a help.

Another example – coming to agreement with your spouse on certain issues before they actually arise. For instance – how many children we would like or even if we want children and when – might be something to talk about and even have some agreement upon before one marries. Continue reading

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Fathers, Do Not Exasperate Your Children

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

112015 Ray McDonaldAs a father – I had a hand in rearing our three daughters and many of their friends too. As much as I can I hope to have a hand in rearing my grandchildren as well.  Although our children’s mother had the biggest hand in their upbringing – I played a part in it – and because our children were very social and loved their home and parents – we were honored to be part of many of their friend’s lives too.  It was a blessing to see so many of their friends in and out of our home.  We felt like parents to a large family at times.

Some of their friends attended our church. Some were on the same teams that we coached. Some were simply friends that hung out at our home from time to time. In each case – God gave us an opportunity to touch their lives – to speak into their lives and into their spirits. I pray that we took correct advantage of each opportunity. I know Carolyn and I would be there for any of our children’s friends – when and if we were called upon – and a number of times we have been called upon.  I have been blessed to help celebrate some of their weddings. Continue reading

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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