Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

World-Wide Communion Sunday – 10/6/19

1 Corinthians 11:24

and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amThis Sunday is World-Wide Communion Sunday. What that means is that most – if not all-Christian churches around the world – will celebrate communion on that given Sunday – the first Sunday of October – no matter their traditions – in a sense of ecumenical connection. It is always a special Sunday – remembering Christ – His life – His death – and His resurrection – with other Christians. I always enjoy celebrating Holy Communion – the Eucharist – or the Lord’s Supper – it goes by many names in different traditions.

As some of our readers know – I am at a season of life and ministry – when I’m not sure when I will be celebrating my last special day in a given year. Will this be my last World-Wide Communion Sunday – as a lead pastor? Will it be my last Advent – Christmas – Lent – Easter – Pentecost – and so on. Will I retire this year or next or the following or when? Will I be with Jesus – eternally – before the next season arrives? Yes – I do think about such things.

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October 4, 2019 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, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Is Everyday!

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Life ChangeEaster has come and gone for another year. Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this.  Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year – April 12th.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were more regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working As Unto The Lord!

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Life ChangeOK – most everyone is back to work today. January 2nd and a Wednesday – and the work force in America – except the portion of the government shutdown because the President and Congress can’t agree – is back to work. Even if you are retired – you’re probably back to your normal routine today. Our office will open at 9 am after being shut down since December 20th. Of course – a number of the staff at church – including me – has worked since the 20th – but not at the office. I only put in about 60 hours Christmas week – so it was a light load.

So – think for a moment about the new year and your work. Are you a teacher? Do you work in an office? Do you work for the government? Are you in law enforcement or the military? Are you in sales? Are you in the medical field? Do you work for a non-profit? Wherever you work – do you work as unto the Lord or do you work for a paycheck (and only do what is required)? Continue reading

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maranatha! Come Lord – Come!

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Life ChangeAs Advent comes to a close in the next few days – for yet another year – do we have a better grasp on its meaning? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. It is more than buying gifts and preparing for Christmas parties.

In the fourth century – when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. The coming or return of the Messiah. Not just the babe in the manger – but the return of Christ – the ruling King.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? If you attend First Church (or any of the churches I have been blessed to serve in 40 plus years of ministry) you have heard it used numerous times in sermons and prayers. It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord – Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. Continue reading

December 21, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do You See Jesus 5

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – from time to time – I will be posting comments by our readers. I’d like folks to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously. I will try to post a comment as often as they come in so send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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