Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Shape Is Our Attitude In?

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Life ChangeThis is one of my favorite passages. I have a number of them for sure. I’ve shared them a number of times. Some like hearing them – some might even be tired of hearing them.

Years ago – I took this verse and created a statement – a saying – that goes like this: Christianity Boils Down to Attitude. One of my former churches would finish this quote. Whenever I said Christianity boils down to they would respond with a strong – Attitude! Now – I know that Christianity is all about God’s grace – that it is all about Christ’s life – death – and resurrection – but – as we often mention in sermons and teachings – Christian maturity is all about the condition and position of one’s heart. Christian maturity is about doing – about walking out our faith – and this takes an attitude likened to the attitude of Jesus. What shape is our attitude in these days? Continue reading

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February 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Holiness Still Our Call?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Today’s passage is called the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I remember revivals and camp meetings and altar calls and still use them today.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin. We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Shelter

Psalm 91:1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Life ChangeLast summer – when I was playing golf – the rains came (I was told it never rained on the golf course). I took out my trusty umbrella – and got beneath its protection. I stayed dry because I was under the protection of that umbrella – which was made to do just what it did. It rained hard for a few holes – and when the rain passed – I put the umbrella up – until it was needed again.

When I was a young lad – living with my parents – my parents were my protection from the world around me. They taught me about life – they did what they could to protect me from hurt and from trouble. Most often – when I listened to their advice – I stayed safe and out of trouble. When I didn’t listen – I often got into trouble.

When we became parents – Carolyn and I found ourselves trying to protect our children from trouble. At times we did a good job – at times we failed. Most times our children listened – there were a few times they did not. Continue reading

January 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reaching the Lost for Jesus

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Life ChangeWhen I read this passage recently – I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose. In my 40 plus years of ministry – my purpose has been to reach everyone for Christ. The implication – although subtle – is that those who know Christ are not my primary target in the church. Not that they are ignored – but if they know Jesus – part of my task is to build them up so they can reach other for Christ. If we know Jesus – we should want to be built up and be sent out to serve Christ. Our main or primary focus needs to be the lost – those who do not know Jesus. That should be the primary target group of any church IMHO.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now – one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goals and Aspirations

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeWe have five – soon to be six – grandchildren. There are a lot of things we wish for them as they grow up. For one – we hope they develop goals in life. We hope that we can help them reach some of their goals. Maybe through some of our hard work we can share some wisdom with them about their goals and aspirations.

Our children – their parents – have goals – even dreams and aspirations for our grandchildren – their children. One of the goals we have for our grandchildren is for them to succeed at whatever they attempt. We also want them to know Jesus and to be happy. Their parents and grandparents hope to give them all the tools they will need to meet their goals and aspirations.

Unfortunately – as most of us know – some of our goals – dreams and aspirations tend to not come to fulfillment. It may be that some of our dreams are unrealistic. For instance – dreaming of being a professional athlete might be pushing the odds. Even if we have the genetics to be a professional athlete – one internet source said that there are only 4 million professional athletes in the world (all sports) and that this number is 1.3% of the world’s total population. Yet many of us will press toward this dream or goal – trying as we might to succeed. Continue reading

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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