Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Massive Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

img_0063-2I have listened to a sermon by Reinhard Bonnke from a Jesus Culture event. Today’s Scripture came to mind – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I believe too many Christians – too many churches and too many denominations – shy away from the Holy Spirit these days. I believe that if we shy away from the Holy Spirit – we are shying away from God with us today. Jesus said – before He ascended to heaven – that the Father would send One in His name – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit – to teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Too many are shying away from the Holy Spirit and going through the motions – powerless to be the church – without Holy Spirit fire. Maybe this is why the United Methodist Church – many other denominations – and non-denominational churches – are failing these days. Too many preachers – too many boards of elders and lay leaders are trying to be the church without the Holy Spirit’s power. We cannot be the church without God with us today – the Holy Spirit. It is as clear as that! I pray that we will open our minds – souls and hearts to the Holy Spirit! Continue reading

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Continue reading

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agree to Disagree?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2Well – here we are in the year 2020. This year – we will see much debate – numerous votes – and an opportunity to agree to disagree with many friends – family and others.

I am disturbed by the number of colleagues and others that think they are being prophetic by speaking evil about and toward the current POTUS. I disagree greatly with much our current POTUS says and does – as I have with previous presidents – but I wouldn’t say some of the things others are saying. There needs to be a way of disagreeing with the POTUS or others without speaking evil. How are we a witness for Jesus when we join in the name calling and judging? I hear some of the same rhetoric when it comes to those who support the conservative side of our denomination.

Living at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – pre-2020 elections and pre-2020 General Conference – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – even socialists – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together either. Continue reading

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Light Shining in the Darkness

Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

img_0063-2Pastor Trevor preached Sunday – about being the light in the darkness. Darkness can be fun at times – but – at times it is not. I remember growing up and living next door to a cemetery. When friends came over or cousins visited – we would play hide and seek. I would always hide in the cemetery – over in the darkest corners where the house’s outside floodlight didn’t shine. Whenever someone got close to where I was hiding – I would make sounds that would scare them away (remember – we were young and this was a cemetery. The darkness and the unknown noises would always win the day. But darkness is not always something to be desired as we will see.

Darkness in today’s scripture represents the absence of Jesus. Jesus is instructing His followers. He tells them that they are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. As believers – as disciples of Jesus – we are to allow His light to shine in us – through us – and in spite of us. I remember – again as a child – traveling to my mother’s home town  Moorefield – in West Virginia. As we would come over the mountains – with very little light other than our headlights – we would crest the last mountain top and down toward the valley we would see the lights of Moorefield – we knew we were there! I remember when the chicken plant starting running all night and when they got their first fast food store – a McDonald’s. As the town started to get more and more active over the years – the lights were stronger as we crested the mountain.

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January 8, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

img_0063-2In 2012 – I wrote the following devotional. It rings true nearly 8 years later. I will make a few changes – but basically it is the same article from 2012. I believe this is a passage that speaks about the split that is happening in the United Methodist Church today.

Recently (back in 2012) at our Annual Conference for the Baltimore-Washington Conference – a suggestion was made concerning our church’s stance on issues like homosexuality. The suggestion was that our denomination’s stance – which in part is as follows from the Book of Discipline – is hindering the church’s ability to reach young people.

¶ 304.3 – While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals1 are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.2
1. “Self-avowed practicing homosexual” is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual. See Judicial Council Decisions 702, 708, 722, 725, 764, 844, 984. 2. See Judicial Council Decisions 984, 985.

¶ 341.6 – Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.

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January 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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