Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Why Can’t We Just Get Along? Why?

Philippians 2:10

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

img_0063-2Did anyone watch the democratic debate last night? It seems that it is getting harder and harder to live at peace with one another. The candidates all seemed to be trying to tear down their rivals. They ganged up on one another it seemed. No one came across as a winner or a loving person in my view.

From politics to religion to sports to how we raise our children – people differ in their opinions and seem to have a hard time expressing themselves without anger and attitudes. On top of that – some people seem to have a hard time dealing with a differing opinion. We’ve lost the art of debate and disagreement. It seems many among us cannot disagree without being disagreeable. Why can’t we just get along?

This seems to be the case in the political world for sure. After eight years of a President popular with one segment of the country and now three years of a President popular in a different segment of the country – we are a blazed with disagreement about who should lead us in 2021 and beyond. I have witnessed families and friends have issues because of which way they voted in the 2016 Presidential elections or plan to vote in the 2020 elections. The country is very divided – red and blue – right and left – ideologically. We’ll see what the rest of 2020 brings – leading up to November and the election. Why can’t we just get along? Continue reading

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media is a Buzz

img_0063-2As I began my day – after my morning devotions – I began to check the news and my social media feeds. There is no shortage of things people are excited about these days – or that people disagree on as well. Let’s review a few.

The President was impeached by the House of Representatives recently and the case will soon be dropped by the Senate because they will not reach the vote necessary to remove him. People on all sides of the discussion – basically along party lines – continue to debate the facts as they see them in this situation (and as usual – they see the facts differently). Some will continue their fight to take this President down (for some this effort started the moment he declared for President). Some will continue to support this President – even some calling him the best President ever. This impeachment process has been the most partisan act ever – at least regarding something as serious as removing a sitting President of the United States. Wherever you are in the discussion – I would think most would agree this has been a very partisan process. Social media is a buzz.

The Super Bowl was last night – and the Chiefs beat the 49ers. I watched the game and thought it was a pretty good game. This morning – of course – social media was a buzz with those from the 49er’s fan base blaming the officials for calls that turned the tide toward the Chiefs (the TD that wasn’t and the offensive PI that wasn’t as examples). I didn’t agree with all the calls by the officials – but have come to realize that they don’t get it right all the time. On a side note – as a Ravens fan – I wanted the Chiefs to win and for Patrick Mahomes to win the MVP. Next I want him to demand a record contract so the team will not be able to surround him with other players (salary cap issues). See how my mind works? Again – social media is a buzz. Continue reading

February 3, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Am I a United Methodist Christian?

Mark 1:17

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

img_0063-2This is another of my reworked devotionals. Seems some things never change or at least stay the same for a long time. The original post was from 4 years ago – as we had just faced GC2016 and were headed to GC2019. The message from this devotional is still current and accurate as we now head to GC2020 in May of this year.

In today’s climate – this might be a very serious question. Why Am I a United Methodist today? Wy am I a Christian that attends a United Methodist Church?

These are simple questions – but – it might have some complicated answers. Let’s look at a few. When asked – Why am I a United Methodist?:

One might answer – because the church I go to is United Methodist. It is the church closest to my home or the church I have always attended. I really haven’t thought of why before but maybe I should.

One might answer – because I grew up in the United Methodist Church. It is the church my parents attended and I have just never thought much about changing or trying another church.

One might answer – because I believe in the method of their theological discernment. Now we’re starting to dive a little deeper. Have any of us thought this deep about our relationship with the denomination we attend.

One might answer – I don’t know! This might be a more common answer than we would like.

One might answer – United Methodist?  You mean I’m United Methodist? You mean the church I attend is a United Methodist Church?

Continue reading

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Together for the Good of All

Colossians 3:11

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

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Yesterday was MLK Day. I hope you enjoyed your day off – if you received one. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to bring people together. I saw a picture of MLK and Billy Graham on Franklin Graham’s Facebook page two years ago and Franklin said they were good friends and both tried to bring about good. Here is what Franklin wrote two years ago.

My father Billy Graham was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is honored today. They knew each other well. They traveled together some, and at least one time even stayed in the same room together! Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King, said, “I think both Dr. Graham and my father were trying to make the world a better place…They were different obviously in their style and their approach, but I think their heart and their goal was the same.” When my father was holding an evangelistic Crusade in Chattanooga, TN, in 1953, he arrived and ropes had been put up to segregate the people. He was appalled. He told the head usher to take down the ropes, but he wouldn’t—so my father took down the ropes himself. He told the ushers who threatened to put them back up, “Either these ropes stay down or you can go on and have the revival without me.” I appreciate the strong stand he took. #MLKDay Continue reading

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Holy Spirit – Come Spirit – Come

Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Life ChangeThe overshadowing of the Holy Spirit made me think of a school experience. I remembered when I was in elementary school – we use to pass notes in class (I don’t recommend this to our students). You know the type note I’m talking about – the girls would make up these little books with questions in them like do you like so-in-so? One of the questions on a booklet passed around said – do you like Dark Shadows? Now Dark Shadows was a show that came on right after school – a soap opera as it were. It was about a vampire and creepy things. I didn’t watch it – or at least hadn’t watched it before being asked – and didn’t even know about it – and so I thought they were talking about dark shadows at night. Everyone else was saying yes – so of course – succumbing to peer pressure – I said yes as well. It was only later – when I was asked specific questions about Dark Shadows – I found out it was a TV show – and of course I started watching it.

That memory came back to me as I read today’s passage. Of course today’s passage is about Mary – the mother of Jesus – but it talked about the Most High overshadowing Mary – and so I thought of that school experience. Of course – one was an evil overshadowing and this passage is telling Mary that the power of the Most High will overshadow her. Continue reading

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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