Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Connected

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

A month or two ago (time blurs together) our church was struck by lightning. We suffered a number of electrical issues. One that seems to be lingering is an Internet issue. We shortly got the main system up and running so that the office could operate – but – the lingering issue seems to be all of the runs around the building. Things are connected – and finding all of the affected connections has been a task. We have replaced a number of connectors and boasters but still have some issues. Everything is connected to the core and if each run of wire or each Wi-Fi connector or boaster is not synced or working – people in parts of the building will not have access to the Internet.

Is there a patriarch or matriarch in your family that holds everything together? My mom and dad were the Lynch pins for our family. Mom and dad drew the family together for most of the holidays. We all wanted to be around mom and dad. It seems like – with them now residing in heaven with Jesus – each of our families are scattered – doing their own thing. We still try to get together – but it isn’t the same without mom and dad. When an arsonist burned down our family home in West Virginia – an era ended for our family. Continue reading

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November 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord – Examine Our Hearts

Psalm 139:1

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. This is one of my favorite sayings. I believe if our hearts are in the right place – centered on Christ and not on self – we will have the right attitude and will glorify Him. The right attitude is so important for Christians. We must have the attitude of Christ – the heart and mind of Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NIV) – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

One thing I’ve come to know about myself and other church people is this – we cannot fool God! God knows our hearts and our motives and our attitudes. God knows the things we say or think in private. God knows our motives for the actions we take. God searches our hearts and knows even our thoughts – you know – those things we think but have a filter to not say out loud (most times). Continue reading

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s View People As God Views Them

1 Samuel 16:7c

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Our culture spends lots of time and money trying to work on our outward appearance. We pay tons of money and spend tons of time trying to lose weight – and to tone up what we have left. We spend major resources on our clothes and on our hair. Some of us even have surgeries to try and improve our outward appearance. We seem to care a lot about our outward appearance.

Today’s passage is found in the midst of God’s rejection of Saul as King. He was the people’s favorite because of his stature and his skill in battle. But as Samuel and God discuss this subject – Samuel saw another that seemed to fit his view of what a king should look like in Eliab – an older brother of David. David – of course – at his tender age – didn’t look anything like a king – but God knew his heart. In the midst of this we read these verses: 1 Samuel 16:6-7 – 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Continue reading

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Worst Of Sinners

1 Timothy 1:16

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

OK – let’s put on our thinking caps. Imagine with me for a moment. What is the worst thing we’ve ever done in our lives? That’s an ice breaker of a question when we get together with our friends for a party this weekend – lol. It might amaze us what some have done – if they are honest with us. They might be amazed at what we confess – if we are honest with them. We can even play it with our parents when we have passed the statute of limitations if there is such a time frame with parents. I heard of some telling their parents some of the things they did when they were younger – at times with a good result and at times not!

When we think of our sins – we often quantify them – from worst to those little things we hardly think are worth naming. Yet we are reminded that sin is sin and even the smallest sin separates us from God and needs forgiveness. Continue reading

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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