Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Merry Christmas 2017

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Merry Christmas dear readers! Today’s Scripture is a very familiar one to most I’m sure. As the prophet Isaiah was writing – God gave him this prophetic word about Jesus’ birth – some 740 years beforehand. Isaiah 9:6-7 – 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

So what will fill our Christmas this year? Will there be lots of food – lots of gifts – given and received? Will there be lots of travel to visit with as many people as possible? Will it be a sad Christmas – without a family member for the first time? Will it be a happy Christmas – with a new family member for the first time? Will it be a time where we actually spend time praying for peace on earth and goodwill toward all? Will it be a time to celebrate the greatest gift ever given – for to us a child is born, to us a son is given? Continue reading

December 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Heart Is Revealed

James 4:1

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

Have any of us ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum? Maybe it was because they didn’t get what they wanted or what they thought they deserved or were entitled to for some reason? Maybe they were in the grocery store and wanted a certain box of cereal they had seen on TV. Maybe it was Christmas morning or at a birthday party and the gift they wanted wasn’t there or the gift they got disappointed them somehow. I pick on children because they haven’t learned to hide their emotions like many of us have (some of us haven’t). They let that raw heart-felt emotion show many times. Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions.

Adults are not innocent here my friends. I have seen grown adults – in church meetings no less – throw temper tantrums – throwing down a clipboard – pulling power plays to gain an upper hand in a discussion – and more. Do we ever sit back – after an outburst by someone (or by ourselves) and wondered – where did that come from? James asks that question today – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions. Continue reading

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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