Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving One Another In The Midst Of Disagreement

Luke 6:27-28

27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

We all have enemies. Maybe not like war enemies – Russia vs. USA or North Korea vs. South Korea – but people who are out to do us harm and have done us harm. A colleague recently posted that she had been on the receiving end of some gossip that was very hurtful – from fellow clergy members even. When people do or say things that hurt us – it is hard to deal with for sure. It hurts deeply when it is people who we think should know better or know us better.

We all have enemies – those persons who are not looking out for our best interest – those persons who are actually out to hurt us. Gossip – rumors – lies are the tools of some. It is not easy to love those who are out to hurt you. Loving those who love you is hard enough at times. Loving our enemies is next to impossible it seems. Continue reading

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May 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

I’m not much of a cook (believe me). I can cook a few things. Mostly I use the microwave for my stuff. With my limited knowledge of cooking – I do know that a little salt is all you need to add flavor to a stew or soup or most any dish. A pinch here and there will do the trick (except with French fries). A little salt helps most things (although I only use it on certain foods.

I know salt has gotten a bad reputation when used too often. It has been linked to high blood pressure for some. I remember they use to give us salt pills in the summer during Football practice in High School to replace the salt we lost working out in the heat – so some salt it needed for sure (although I think that practice has stopped). Continue reading

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor Is Not In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

As I approach retirement years – I often reflect on my 40 plus years of ministry and my 63 years (so far) of life. I wonder if my years of ministry – my labor for the Lord – has been in vain or if it has had any lasting impact on those we have served with over the years. I also look at my three grown daughters – my two son-in-laws – and now my five granddaughters – and wonder if my legacy with the family will have any lasting impact on their lives – for the good of course. Am I the only one that thinks this way?

One thing I’ve tried (and often failed at) over the years – was to be consistent – to stand firm for what was right – for what was Biblical. I’ve sinned my share of sins – I’m not talking about being perfect or anywhere near it. What I mean is I’ve tried to set a bar or a standard where others could see what I believed – and maybe see my attempt to follow Jesus. I tried to not sway with the wind or the social norms (yet at times I sinned and fell short of that goal). None of us want our labor to be in vain. Continue reading

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoice Always – Really?

1 Thessalonians 5:16

Rejoice always

I’m still recovering from rotator cuff surgery – my second one in two years (left should last spring – right shoulder this spring). I head out for Physical Therapy later this morning (this was written on Thursday morning). Being five weeks out from surgery – I’m stating to get some use out of my arm. I’m starting to build it up again. I can’t wait to swing a golf club and shoot some basketball. I can’t wait to be able to cut and split wood for next winter (the fire is going today – it was in the 30’s when I woke but the house is warm and cozy).

How did your week after Easter go? I know some colleagues that took the week off. I know some others that kept at it. What about you dear reader? How’s life treating you? I know some marriages that are in trouble – I’m praying for them. I know some people who have just been placed on Hospice care. I know some folks who are waiting for their first child. I know some folks that are waiting to get married. Ups and downs hit us all. Good times and bad times will fall on us all. Yet Paul calls us to rejoice always. Continue reading

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan. Continue reading

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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