Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Jesus – The Way, Truth, and Life

John 14:6

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

112015 Ray McDonaldOnce in awhile I will write articles about basic Christian beliefs – beliefs that I believe are essential to the faith – essential to be called a Christian.  So basic that I would have a hard time having any meaningful relationship with a pastor or church that didn’t believe them.  There are many denominations that call themselves Christian in the world today – and some are teaching a form of Christianity that is not only not orthodox – but not grounded in the basics of Christianity.

If I were asked for the most basic of beliefs – one of the first ones I would mention is that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone.  There is no other means of grace – no other way to approach the Father – to enter heaven.  Here are two Scriptures that I believe support this belief.

Jesus was preparing the Disciples for His death – His crucifixion – and was trying to explain to them what was going to happen.  Thomas – one of the Disciples asked Jesus the following question.

John 14:5 – “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

John 14:6 – Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Continue reading

April 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doctrine: Introduction

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

IMG_0301Paul was writing to a young pastor – Timothy – giving him some instruction and encouragement. It is an encouragement to discuss and debate what we believe with others and to hone our understanding of God and God’s Word. It is not about what we think or feel – it is about what God’s Word says – IMHO – and so our doctrines should be grounded and founded in God’s Holy Word.

Maybe not on consecutive days – but over time – I will use this space to discuss doctrine and take questions too. I know that the readership of this blog is wide-spread over the spectrum of Christianity and even outside of Christianity. Readers are both pastor and laity – female and male – from the Western Hemisphere and scattered throughout the rest of the world – protestant and catholic – Wesleyan – Calvinist and/or Arminian. We will not all agree on doctrine for sure. Some may agree on some doctrines and disagree on other doctrines. A simple definition for doctrine is a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group. Continue reading

March 19, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

December 31st is Here – New Year’s Eve

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

profileDecember 31st is here – New Year’s Eve.  What will you do tonight?  Party hardy?  I hope that any hardy partying you do is held under control so that you arrive safe at home at some time on New Year’s Day.  Have fun but be responsible and safe.  If you know me personally and have my cell number – call me if you need a ride home and I will come help you get home!

December 31st is here – New Year’s Eve.  If you’re looking for a safe place to have fun and relax on New Year’s Eve – and you live close to Laurel and First UMC – you might come to our family night from 7 pm until midnight.  We will have a Watch Night Service from 11 pm until midnight.  You are all welcome!  Bring some snacks to share and bring your favorite board game and have fun with us.  We will be watching some family safe movies as well. Continue reading

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Need to Move Beyond the Debate!

2 Timothy 2:23

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

profileBonus post before Christmas and yes it is still coming and almost here.  My hope is that this post will get a number of positive comments and responses and that we can move beyond the debate and move toward ministry together.

After a few days of debate on Facebook about Frank Schaefer and Phil Robertson I must say – as I said a few months ago – I am tired of the debate.  It is the same people with the same points (myself included) and I personally see no way to harmonize the major differences between those on differing sides of the debate.  Some see homosexuality as sinful – something to be repented of and resisted like we are called to repent from and resist any other sin.  Some see homosexuality as acceptable – a sexual expression no different than any other expression of sexuality.  Some would even include those who wish to express their sexuality with both genders and those who wish to surgically change their birth gender or merely present themselves as other than their birth gender. Continue reading

December 21, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

profileChristmas is coming.  I know – I’ve said that before – but – I will keep saying it – probably right up to Christmas!  It is a wonderful time of the year for many of us.

I was asked the other day – during a 45-minute 2.5-mile walk through a forested trail with hills and rocks – what my vision for our church would look like?  In between trying not to twist my ankle and trying not to have a heart attack – I shared that it wasn’t so much what we did but for me it was the heart in which we did it.  I created a saying some 30 years ago that goes like this – Christianity boils down to ________.  For those how know me or have known my ministry – you know how to fill in the blank.  Christianity boils down to attitude and we have expanded that saying to include the condition and position of our heart. Continue reading

December 9, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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