Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Make Sure You Fit Into The Right Crowd

John 15:19

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

June 2019Have you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the way you wore your hair? Big hair was in for women at one time. I grew up during a time when men – to keep their hair slicked back – used Vitalis. It was the Elvis look I guess – or a hood look! The natural look – the Beatles’ style – became popular among some years later! Hippies wore really long hair. When i was younger I wore the crew cut look.

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the clothes you wore? I remember when the style of clothes you wore got you labeled. I was known as a block in junior high school. Block’s wore kaki pants with banlon shirts. We wore Peter’s jackets with our name on it and Chuck Taylor basketball shoes. We weren’t hoods – who wore leather jackets. As the years mounted there were hippies and preppies and others who dressed certain ways to be in the in crowd (the crowd they wanted to be).

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? I remember when I finally got into the “A” club at Annapolis High School and got to wear my “A” jacket (I became an official jock at that time). I was never very good at any particular sport – still aren’t – but I could play most sports well enough to make a few teams and to play and enjoy sports later in life. I have some lifetime friends because of sports and later because I coached and officiated sports. Continue reading

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do You See Jesus 3

1 Timothy 3:16

He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – I’d like to ask our readers to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping your e-mails for sure (I need joy year round). I will try to post a comment a day so as many as possible – send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 9

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

christmas-2

During 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.

One of the main sources of my joy at this time of the year is hearing and singing the old familiar Christmas carols that I have been singing for more than 60 years. This music makes the birth of Jesus real for me. I also love the annual Christmas cantatas which have been inspired by God to remind us of the story and of God’s love. Another source of my joy, not only during the Christmas season but all year long, is the comfort of being with my church family, especially in the groups in which I am active, the choir, the United Methodist Women, and my Sunday School class. We share our joys and sorrows, our problems and solutions, our ailments and recoveries, our triumphs and our defeats and frustrations, and we pray for each other. I look forward to the Christmas Eve service, when the hectic preparations for the next day are completed and a sense of peace comes over me as I give my full attention to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

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 9, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Denomination, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 4

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

christmas-4During 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.

I feel the spirit of Christmas in the church more than what the outside world pressures put on us.  It’s the glow of the Chrismon tree and the symbols that decorate it. The opportunities of being Jesus’ heart, hands, and feet, as we think of others through prison ministries, the shelter, and community. Working together with my church family and the music through singing in the choir. The special message of hope and the message from the Pastor, a preparation that is lasting beyond the Christmas season. The love of my Lord and Savior draws me to church to serve with my sisters and brothers.

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 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 2

Psalm 47:1

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

christmas-2

During 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.

Rev. Ray, As I think on this, the first thing that comes to mind, is the giving spirit of First Church. My first thought is the Angel Tree, this provides children with something “under the tree” that might not have had anything to open Christmas morning. It also provides their parents with a sigh of relief that their children will not be disappointed in “Santa” not visiting their home. I am emotional typing this because I am blessed above and beyond what I deserve and I have always been able to provide a wonderful Christmas of presents, family, food and fun for my children. 

Second I think of the Food Drive. The boxes in the Narthex have been overflowing with food, so much so that Judy and Scott have been storing donations in the Choir room or the Narthex would appear to be a Super Market. Again the generosity of First Church overwhelms me!

I am also excited to participate in my first ever Advent Event. This is especially important as it is teaching our children to give rather then only receive this season, to remember those less fortunate. From wrapping Angel Tree gifts to making homeless blessing bags, gifts for home-bound members and Kairos Christmas artwork. Again how generous is our Church? 

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 2, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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