Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Were Chosen

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

How many of us remember when we were children – and we played games at recess? The hardest part of this experience was often being picked. Often the question would be – would I get picked or not or would I be picked last or before someone else? If you were a good athlete or friends with the captain that day – you usually didn’t have to worry long. But – if you didn’t fit either category – it could bring certain anxiety and even trauma. Anyone remember those days? Anyone living these days now?

How many of us remember when social events happened – like a school dance? The hardest part of this experience was often whether you would get invited or if you would stay home while all your friends were having a great time. At times – you might have even gone alone – and put on a good face as if you weren’t disappointed that no one invited you. If you were popular or you were going with someone – there was less anxiety. If you were not that popular or didn’t have a steady – it could have been a very emotional time. Anyone remember those days? Anyone living these days now?

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August 12, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Boast in the Cross of Christ

Galatians 6:14

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADuring this pandemic – sports has taken a path never before taken. Season were canceled – and others are trying to reopen. Many of them will be playing before empty stadiums or arenas. Golf is back and yet the fans are not. The Orioles and other MLB teams are in practice – again – a second spring training – getting ready for a 60 game season. Anything can happen in such a short season. Maybe the Orioles can actually get hot early and make it exciting. I wonder how many of us are rooting for our team to play well. I bet all of us are!

The NFL is trying to get their season in. I think the Ravens could go all the way to the Super Bowl this year – and win. If our team wins a championship – will be boast about them on social media and in conversations with our friends? If our team is playing well – will we compare them to other teams and boast a little in our circles?

I love seeing parents boasting about their children – especially their scholastic achievements. I’m so proud of our youth and the youth I know. Some High School seniors I know are busy preparing for college or careers this summer (what an unusual summer it is). Our new favorite college team might just be where our child or grandchild attends – even if we never saw ourselves rooting for them before! Continue reading

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Led By the Spirit

Romans 8:14

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Rays HaircutI was thinking about my dad this week. I miss him so much. What brought him to mind is the health concerns of Ravi Zacharias. Ravi is a man of faith – a man of God – like my father. I looked up to my dad and I look up to Ravi. My father was my hero and Ravi is a spiritual giant himself – and a hero of sorts.

A year ago – a sport’s writer and MASN personality – a friend of mine – wrote about his father’s passing in a recent post. You can read about it here. His father was his hero – someone who guided his life – someone who led him in life. I could so identify with his article/post. He wrote – He read this blog every morning before his newspaper and kept checking it throughout the day, scrolling through all of the comments. I’ll keep telling myself that he’s reading this one, his eyes moistening because the former offensive guard at Ford City High School and Indiana State in Pennsylvania softened as he got older. The hugs hello and especially goodbye kept getting tighter. The old guard called for holding.

Roch Kubatko grew up in Anne Arundel County – just north of where I grew up. I knew of him when he was in High School and I was officiating sports in High School and College. He wrote about his dad – his hero – and I thought I was reading an article/post I had written six years ago about my dad. We were both so blessed to have dads in our lives that meant so much to us. Continue reading

May 14, 2020 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

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Rays HaircutHere we go – yet another week dealing with this pandemic. I continue to urge us to encourage one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Today – I found this Psalm very encouraging. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength – an ever-present help in times of trouble. So – what are you facing this week? Another week of being parent – provider – teacher and all-around help? Are you trying to juggle your work at home and at your workplace (even if that is also at home as well)? Is it harder than normal? Continue reading

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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