Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I have been a pastor for 40 plus years and in the church my whole life (62 years and counting). I have developed a number of sayings over the years that – for me – help sum up our faith or help me understand it a little better. One of my favorites and the favorite of many is this – Christianity boils down to attitude. I developed this saying in my early ministry because I saw that the church (including me) often has an attitude issue – a heart issue. Too many times disagreements within the church came down to attitudes and personal desires rather than an earnest seeking of God’s will. We often have quarrels among us because of our feelings rather than a disagreement on God’s will.

With this understanding – a number of years ago I added the following to this favorite saying to make my intent more clear – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. Too many times personal desires and interests divide even the Body of Christ. I know of churches that were divided over the color of the curtains in the social hall or whether to have pew cushions or not. I’ve known churches that have been divided over whether to have an organ or a piano and most recently over whether to have a praise band or not in worship. I’ve known churches that were so inwardly focused at times – that real eternal issues never got discussed. Real heaven or hell issues could not be addressed in some churches – because the membership was too divided over trivial things – over things that do not promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking By Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight. NIV11

RayMcDWhen I was a younger pastor – many moons ago – I would listen on Sunday mornings to a preacher early before our worship service. His name was Frederick K.C. Price – pastor and founder of Ever Increasing Faith Ministries. Fred Price was a powerful speaker who stuck with the Word of God. He always had a good word for me. He still might be a dynamic speaker at 85 – I haven’t heard him lately.

Fred’s key verse was today’s verse – in the King James Version – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV 1900) – (For we walk by faith, not by sight:). Too many people today – and in every age I imagine – need to be shown something to believe in.

I believe I am a better learner when I could see something rather than merely being told something (they call that a visual learner I believe). We have a whole state – Missouri I think – that has as their state motto – the Show Me State. Some people are better audio learners – hearing it helps more than showing it. Continue reading

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attitude: In General

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

RayMcDAs we begin a New Year – I felt the need to do a series of blog posts about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I’m not sure how long this series will go – but I felt led of God to share it.

You would think that – in the church – good attitudes would abound – maybe even be the rule rather than the exception. Yet in church life – real people are involved and real people have attitudes at times. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about our attitude as Christians. I created a saying some 30 plus years ago that goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. Over the year I’ve added a follow-up statement and the saying now reads – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. God is after our hearts – God desires a cheerful heart – a heart set on Christ. Let’s look at some passages that speak about the heart. Continue reading

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rend Your Hearts

Joel 2:13

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

RayMcDI hope our readers don’t get tired of posts about the heart. I think that the heart (not the blood pumping organ but the inner being) is the central element in our Christian walk. One of my favorite sayings – which I created some 35 plus years ago – goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. A about 25 years ago I added the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

The condition and position of one’s heart is vital. One can go through all of the Christian-like actions and not feel it in the heart. One can rend their garments and bow and tithe and attend to the regular ordinances of the faith – but if they do not feel it in their heart – their actions are empty.

Today’s passage reminds us that it isn’t the outward things God is after but the inner heart. If God has the inner heart – the actions will follow. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Joel 2:12–14 – 12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. Continue reading

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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