Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Hope Is In Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 15:19

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men (and women).

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOver the years – in the churches I have been blessed to serve – there have been a number of babies born into the church family. It is only natural that these parents – some first time parents – would have hopes and dreams for their children. Just this week I watched as one new parent held their new child and stared into their eyes. Parents have hopes for her their children! It is normal for parents to want more for their children than they had even. Hopes and dreams might run along the lines of: a love for Jesus – to do well in school – to find a way to be a useful part of our society – to be athletic – to love the arts – to find someone to spend the rest of their lives with (when the time is right—like 25) – and more.

What are/were your hopes for your children or even your grandchildren? Did those hopes all come true or were some of them dashed by decisions along the way – yours – theirs or someone’s? Continue reading

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September 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do You See Jesus 2

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – I’d like to ask our readers 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? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First 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 – but I am keeping your e-mails for sure (I need joy year round). I will try to post a comment a day so as many as possible – send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 23

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

christmas-praises-23During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Christmas has always been a family Christ centered holiday for me. It’s a time when we gather with family, including some family members that we may only see once a year. Our church family at FUMCL has always been an important part of Christmas and became even more important when we lost a parent and dealt with that grief during the Christmas season 5 years ago. Then 2 months later, we lost our final parent/grandparent unexpectedly. FUMCL is an extended family for all 4 of us. We have been at First Church since our oldest was very young. Prior to that we attended the church that I grew up in but came to First Church when we were looking for something MORE for our young family. First Church became that MORE that we were looking for. The Christmas season would not be the same without spending time with our extended blood family as well as our First Church family!

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 21

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

christmas-18During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

As Christmas approaches I am reminded of my family. My personal family and my church family are very special to me. I see Jesus in my family. I enjoy being with my family. I visit with my personal family several times a year. I visit with my church family day-by-day. I enjoy the way our pastor preaches God’s Word, he doesn’t pull punches or water it down. I appreciate the music and atmosphere our worship service offers. I feel drawn into the presence of God each time I step into our church building, whether in the early service or the late service. As Christmas approaches I am getting more and more excited. First Church is such a a blessing to me. 

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 19

James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

christmas-7During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

I see Jesus in the lives of many who attend First United Methodist Church. The warm and friendly way that I was greeted when I first attended the church has continued. What I love the most about our church is the diversity. The flags in the entrance area represent just a slice of the diversity in our church family. Pastor once said that we had over 40 nations represented in our congregation. This diversity is evident each and every Sunday. For me it is a slice of heaven where all of God’s people will be united. In a world where we are often judged by our skin color or the accent we have I feel accepted and appreciated in our church. This Christmas my wish is for everyone to have a blessed time however that looks for you. For me it will be time off work and time with my family. It will also mean coming to worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I hope to see my church family.  

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Family, Personal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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