Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

In case you didn’t know it – I’m very emotional.

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I’m the kind of guy that cries at shows on the TV. I cry when certain songs are played. I’ve yet to watch It’s a Wonderful Life without crying. I cry at most movies that talk about the death of a parent. I can be found crying while watching The Andy Griffith Show or MASH.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I like a good belly laugh – hearing jokes or telling them. I like to be around funny people. I have numerous golf jokes and pastor’s jokes if you’d like to hear them.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I enjoy expressing my love for my wife – for my children – and for my grandchildren. I love hugs and my granddaughters give the best hugs. I drive my brother crazy when I tell him I love him.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I have a hard time at funerals – often shedding tears right along with the family. I remember doing the funeral of my brother’s future (that week) father-in-law and losing it in the midst of the service. I had known that man my whole life and knowing the emotions of that week got to me. Continue reading

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

Discussions On Social Media Can Be Destructive

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Of late – it seems to me – some people have allowed their emotions to inform their political views. Social Media has a lot to do with this because things that might have only been discussed in the home or with close friends can be discussed in the public arena. I’ve gotten caught up in it as well from time to time and once again find myself retreating from Social Media – because I do not want to cause division in the church or among my friends. Discussions on Social Media can be destructive and divisive. I tend to be more conservative than many of my local colleagues and even some of my friends. As tolerant as we might think we are – we seem to have trouble discussing things and being hospitable to those who have a different view.

In the last few weeks – even months – even years – our immigration policy has been debated ad nauseam – it seems – on Social Media. Some colleagues and friends seem to be in favor of open borders – some seem to be in favor of stricter border control. Some want to call folks who are in our country illegally – undocumented – others would simply say they are criminals who are here illegally and should be arrested and returned to their homelands. Some say we should enforce our laws – some say the laws are bad and should be ignored. Some say we should improve or correct the current laws – others say the laws are good – we simply need to enforce them. Continue reading

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

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