Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Let’s Encourage One Another

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. It’s almost like some think complaining is a spiritual gift or something.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture – but rather the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction. Continue reading


October 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Has Come And Gone – Or Has It?

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Easter has come and gone for another year – or has it? Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons – and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter is celebrated again next year.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folk all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Responsible for Me

Galatians 6:5

…for each one should carry his own load.

profileHappy New Year dear readers!  Short and sweet today I promise.  First – I hope this New Year finds you and yours well and serving the Lord.  Second – I pray that our culture will learn to take responsibility for their selves – for their actions.

It would be easy for me to describe some of the families that have come to our church for help in my first six months and ask the question – when will they become responsible for themselves instead of expecting the church and government to provide for them?  At times I just go to my office and SMH (shake my head).  But I’m not going to spend time there! Continue reading

January 1, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

December 31st is Here – New Year’s Eve

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

profileDecember 31st is here – New Year’s Eve.  What will you do tonight?  Party hardy?  I hope that any hardy partying you do is held under control so that you arrive safe at home at some time on New Year’s Day.  Have fun but be responsible and safe.  If you know me personally and have my cell number – call me if you need a ride home and I will come help you get home!

December 31st is here – New Year’s Eve.  If you’re looking for a safe place to have fun and relax on New Year’s Eve – and you live close to Laurel and First UMC – you might come to our family night from 7 pm until midnight.  We will have a Watch Night Service from 11 pm until midnight.  You are all welcome!  Bring some snacks to share and bring your favorite board game and have fun with us.  We will be watching some family safe movies as well. Continue reading

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Indescribable Gift – Open It!

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

profileChristmas is coming!  I hope you aren’t getting tired of hearing that greeting!  I plan on using is some for the next couple of weeks!  Merry Christmas to one and all and Happy Holidays (which includes New Years).

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?  My wife does most (OK almost all) of our Christmas shopping.  She has most of the gifts for our family members wrapped already and under the tree.  She is amazing.  She is such a wise spender of our family funds and finds just the right gift for each child and family member.

What are you hoping for this Christmas?  Anything special?  I was thinking about a new desktop computer but after working all day on my current model – I’m OK staying with it a little longer.  There is better use for the money for sure. Continue reading

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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