Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

God’s Love

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

profileWhen Shelly – our oldest – was born – I believe if I had been put in the situation – I would have given my life in exchange for hers (thank God I was never in that situation).  I would do the same for my wife and all three of my daughters I believe (we never know what we might do – really – until we are actually faced with situations).

If you expanded that circle I might include a few family members and even a few close friends – but the circle wouldn’t be too wide.  What would you be willing to do for a friend?  Would your circle be wide or small? Continue reading

November 27, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

November Fast – Week Four

Matthew 4:1-2

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

profileWell – here we are at week four. So far I have tried to fast from snacks and candies during week one.  During week two I tried fasted from fast foods.  That wasn’t easy as I travel a lot and often during meal time.  During week three I tried to fast from negative people and negative situations.  That wasn’t as easy as it sounded when I typed it a week ago.

During those three weeks I have tried to spend more time before the Lord in prayer and devotion.  It has been a time of reflection and growth.  I have discerned a number of things in my life that need to change during this past week. Without revealing them – let me simply say that God has had more access to my heart and mind these past three weeks than most any time I can remember.

Continue reading

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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