Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are There Any Absolutes These Days?

Psalm 11:3

…while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Life ChangeOne of my favorite all-time shows is the Andy Griffith show. I grew up watching Andy, Opie, Barney and Aunt Bea. Times were good and even the unchurched were fairly moral people and they had good values in Mayberry. The setting for this show was the late 50’s and early 60’s – just a few states south of us. I’m not suggesting we could ever return to these times – nor should we strive to for sure – but it was a time when absolutes were accepted – even among the unchurched.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry (and Mayberry wasn’t perfect for sure). Our communities used to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child – and thinking my world was like this show. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful as a society (watch the news to see my point)? It seems that there are some in our society today that are trying to call sin – acceptable. They are trying to change established truths. I know – much about us needs to change – and over time – much has changed – but I ask – are there no absolutes? Continue reading

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May 17, 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, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I Pay Your Mortgage?

Romans 3:24

…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeAs a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Early in my ministry I tried to get church leaders to place a sign outside the church that read – Men’s Tuesday Night – BYOB. Of course they wouldn’t do it. Some thought the BYOB meant bring your own bottle but I meant it to mean bring your own Bible to our Tuesday night men’s Bible study. I was hoping some might come for the wrong meaning and find good fellowship if they came. I thought it was worth a try! No one took me up on the suggestion. What do you think?

As a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Another example from my early years in ministry was the time I encouraged everyone who could drive to drive to church one Sunday morning (no carpooling). My hope was for people to see the parking lot full and wonder – what’s going on at that church – maybe we ought to visit and find out. That only went over so-so. But it wasn’t long before the parking lot was actually full – for real! Again – I’d try just about anything to get people to Jesus. Continue reading

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Can Be Unfair – God Is Always With Us

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life ChangeLife – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls off the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that most thought would last a lifetime – and they are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. Our nation has yet to come to grips with the 2016 Presidential elections – and we’re into 2019. If you are against the POTUS – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Whatever side one might be on with the current issues facing the United Methodist Church – be careful where you express your views – because you might be bullied for sharing them. A few conservatives dared stand up for the POTUS recently at the Grammy Awards and they were belittled in social media and in person. Continue reading

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Annual Warning for Men/Husbands

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. The Message

Life ChangeValentine’s Day is just 7 days away. This is a warning devotional for men who might need the reminder. After 39+ years with my wife I write with some experience. What do we plan to do this year brothers? Traditionally this is a holiday where men are supposed to show their love and affection for the women in their lives. So men – what do we have planned? If nothing is planned yet – this is our warning to get something planned – ASAP. The following are some thoughts. If you are a wife reading this – you might want to print it for the man in your life!

In The Message version of the Bible – we read from Paul’s Epistle today’s passage: Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.

Here’s a plan for February 14th – just a suggestion or two! Start by getting a nice card – it can be store-bought or homemade. If you have little ones – get a sitter for the evening of the 14th or a night you plan to celebrate this holiday. Make a reservation by this weekend or soon for a nice restaurant (McDonald’s will not cut it – doesn’t have to be the Chart House or Ruth Chris Steak House – but something nice). Buy something – it doesn’t need to be from Zales! You could buy some flowers – a small box of candies – a piece of jewelry – something! Bring it with you to the dinner – or have it delivered while you’re having dinner. The key here is that you get the sitter – you make the reservation – you go out of your way to purchase something for her. Most women aren’t so concerned with what you get them – rather they are impressed when you take the time to plan a nice evening with them – and you take the initiative to take care of all the details. Continue reading

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For The Time Will Come…

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Life ChangeHave you ever been warned about something that was pending – something that was going to happen in the future? I had a teacher who would often say – mark my word – and then tell us something that was going to happen – like – mark my word – this will be on the next test.

Maybe as a parent you have said something like this – or your parents did – mark my word – if you do that again – you will get punished. Maybe it was like this – if you don’t stop fighting – if you make me get out of my chair – if you don’t get up now – if you don’t eat all your food – than “whatever” was going to happen – mark my word.

Paul gives us warning in today’s passage – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. He could have added – mark my word. Continue reading

February 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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