Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 10 of Lent 2020

Matthew 22:34-35

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

Ray 2020Today is day 10 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. As we walk it – our hope is that God will draw us closer to Him and into His light.

Today’s reading – much like yesterday’s reading – reminds us that the Sadducees – the Pharisees – and others were constantly trying to trick and trap Jesus. They were trying to trick and trap Jesus because they could not deal with the way the people followed Him. Jesus threatened their power structure. To what extent do we feel threatened by Jesus? I mean – what would it take for us to fully follow Jesus? Are we still trying to rationalize our version of Christianity? May God bless us as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary! Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here We Go 2020

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ray 2020One of my favorite passages is Philippians 2:5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. We’ve handed out WWJD bracelets at church in the past. WWJD stands for What Would Jesus Do? The bracelets are a reminder that we should constantly think about how Jesus would handle a given situation – and try to model His example. As we walk through 2020 – I pray that we will ask ourselves that question throughout the year – WWJD.

In today’s Scripture we are told to turn away from the sins of our life – the sins we lived with before turning to Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Putting off the old self is not easy. Another favorite passage goes like this – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! I usually add – but the old doesn’t go very far! Continue reading

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Beginnings

First Church,

img_0063-2As we enter 2020 – I wanted to let you know how honored I feel to serve our Lord with you. We have made some treasured memories together over the last 6.5 years. I look forward to the time God gives us to continue to serve Him together. Whatever happens to our denomination – we can remain faithful to our Lord.

2020 will see many changes. We have a significant General Conference in the United Methodist Church in May with many proposals about our future as a church. We have a Presidential election in November as well – with many possible changes to our country’s leadership. If the Lord allows – we will see these – along with another birthday and special holidays.

A New Year – and even a new decade – are times God offers us as New Beginnings. Some will want to change some things in their lives. Some will get married. Some will have children. Some will get new jobs. Some will purchase a new home. Some may move away. Others may move into the area and join us at First Church. Some may try to change their physical or emotional or spiritual health. What new beginning are you looking forward to in 2020? Continue reading

December 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Beginnings

My KAIROS Experience – Part 5

Matthew 25:39

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Life Change(The opening may be repeated – but it is a new devotional thought each day.) This week – I will be relating some of my experiences working with KAIROS over the last weekend in prison ministry at MCI-J. It was a life transforming experience for the men in the prison and for the men who went into the prison to take Jesus to those inside. I was hesitant when I went – some of these men have murdered – have raped – have done armed robbery – have been drug dealers – and some of them are in prison social groups. When I enter a room – especially when I enter a possible troubled room – I always make an exit plan – looking for the fastest way out. There were no escape routes when we were behind bars and barbed wire and such – with only a few guards giving us space.

This week – I will write about some of the men I met and their story. I will not use their names – but believe me – these men are for real. I realize that I met these men in a very limited way – during our 4-day visit – albeit an intense 4-day visit – and I understand through 40+ years of ministry that people can learn what to say at the right time to fool people. Having said that – I believe I have a pretty good fake antenna – I have pretty good discernment. I also realize that what is said at KAIROS should stay at KARIOS – so I will not reveal any personal information – just generalizations that will help others to know the power of this ministry. This ministry – KAIROS – is very Biblical and essential. It is one of the things Jesus called us to do (visit those in prison) and something we will be examined on when Jesus comes in His glory.

This will be the last post in a series of 5 posts on my KAIROS experience – at least for now. I hope the posts have not revealed too much – yet enough to get others interested in supporting this ministry. I have had KAIROS veterans read these posts and make suggestions along the way.

Continue reading

May 3, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doing Good – A Good Thing

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Life ChangeLet us not become weary in doing good. When I first read this passage I thought – who would ever tire of doing good – lol. Isn’t doing good what we all want to do I thought. Doing good is not natural – as a matter of fact – it is just the opposite. So – what is God trying to tell us in today’s passage?

I looked around it and read it in partial context. I saw a glimpse of the lesson that God was trying to present to us. Galatians 6:7-10 – 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Continue reading

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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