Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

RayMcDIf you ever played a team sport – you know that practicing with your teammates often improves your game. The better the teammate(s) – the better you will become – because you are competing against the best in practice. Offenses that practice against strong defenses – often say they improve their game. They often say it makes game day easier – because they have been practicing against a top 10 defense all week or against an All-Pro in certain positions – and they often play a lesser defense or player on game day. Going against a future Hall of Fame player every day in practice has to improve your game.

Do you remember growing up – and being influenced by your peer group – your close friends? Parents typically spend a lot of energy trying to influence us about the people who influence us – because it really does matter. The old saying – one bad apple spoils the whole barrel – is so true at times. Most of us are not leaders – most of us are followers. We are more easily swayed by others than we sway them. Continue reading

Advertisements

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delight in the Lord!

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

RayMcDIn what do we take delight? The baseball season is heading toward the end of the regular season and the playoffs. My Orioles are fighting for the worst record in team history – and maybe the number one draft pick next year. As I type this devotional I am switching between the Orioles and the Ravens. The football season is soon to arrive. Some are excited about it and some are not. There is so much politics involved in the game it seems.

In what do we take delight? I have joined five brothers from church in trying to encourage one another in losing weight. We have lost over 70 pounds together since July 15th. We delight in the camaraderie and encouragement we share. Most all of us are in double digits with our weight loss. We’re trying to get to 5% before Labor Day – 8% by Thanksgiving – and 10% by Christmas. Two brothers have met the 5% by Labor Day already and two others are very close. One brother is nearing his 8% total already. We delight in our weigh-ins and supporting one another. Continue reading

August 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are We Feeding Our Spiritual Bodies?

John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

RayMcDSix guys from our church have joined together to lose weight. We support one another. We text and e-mail one another. We weigh in on Sunday mornings at church. It is working. As of our last weigh in the six of us have lost a combined 69 pounds. One brother has lost 17 pounds. Two others are in double digits. And reports from home scales indicate we will have a new combined total this Sunday – well into 70+ pounds.

We set goals of losing 5% of our body weight by Labor Day (we began on July 15th). We have additional goals of 8% by Thanksgiving and 10% by Christmas (for a man weighing 280 pounds that would be a 28 pound lose by Christmas). Two brothers have already met their 5% goals – and another is very close – they are working toward their 8% goal already with a couple of weeks to go on Labor Day. We may need to adjust the goals. Continue reading

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Has Come And Gone – Or Has It?

Romans 8:1

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

Easter has come and gone for another year – or has it? 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 is celebrated again next year.

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 folk 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 regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Meet Our Needs

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

We’ve talked a lot during the Christmas season this year about our wants and our needs. I mentioned in a couple of sermons that most of us live in the world of our wants rather than in the world of our needs. Most of us have all of our needs met. Many of us have many of our wants satisfied as well.

We’ve talked about wants and needs a number of times. I mentioned that I couldn’t think of anything I needed for Christmas – and even had a hard time thinking of anything I wanted (that I didn’t already have for sure).

Most of us are wealthy compared to the world’s standard. Some of us are wealthy compared to the state or communities standard as well. The worldwide median income is less than $10,000 a year according to gallup.com. The average income in America is $56,810. I know those are two different measurements – the medium and the average – but they are still a good comparison. The median income in Maryland is $75,847. Continue reading

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: