Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Word Of God Endures Forever

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

I’ve spent a number of years trying to grow a yard – 20 years to be exact. I remember when my yard was a dust bowl. I remember cutting the weeds and grass – that was scattered around the yard – and working up a small storm cloud of dust.

Eventually I began to grow some grass. After years of aerating and seeding – the yard is starting to take shape. Keeping the weeds down has been a task. I finally went to a yard service to fertilize and treat for weeds. The cost of the service is just slightly more than I would pay for the materials myself and then I would have to put them down – and I can call them back to retreat if the weeds don’t die!!

A bought a new lawnmower this year and I’m cutting the grass twice a week at 4 inches. The grass is growing well and filling in like never before. And the new lawnmower is cutting to clean and mulching too. Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts On The UMC And Homosexuality

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.

I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.

Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Junk Food

1 Peter 2:2

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

RayMcDJunk Food is not good for us! There – I said it! Junk food is simply that – junk – and I have been trying to stay away from it. Yet it usually tastes so good – or at least we think so. What is your favorite junk food? I love most anything with chocolate and peanuts or peanut butter. At Easter I am a sucker for peanut butter covered chocolate eggs. Junk food is usually sweet – or salty and flavored like barbecue potato chips. If you’re really lucky with your junk food you can get something that is sweet & salty!

But I digress. I’m also craving something sweet or salty – right now! Even after eating a bunch of carrots and hummus.

Junk food usually satisfies for the moment but not for the long-term. It usually has lots of empty calories and is not ultimately good for you. Why are we drawn to it – because it soothes for the moment – but it is not good for us? Continue reading

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Word Is A Light For Our Path

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

RayMcDOK – yesterday was a day when some really expressed themselves on Facebook (and I imagine it will continue). I thought about closing my account several times during the election process. I came even closer on Wednesday as people complained about the election results. It wasn’t that they were complaining but how they were complaining. Some – even clergy colleagues – were super upset with those who elected the other candidate from their choice. I haven’t heard such name calling in some time (at least not since the pre-election process from both candidates).

We could write for days about the shortcomings of both main candidates. But the time for this is past (if there ever was a time). The time now is to come together and support the candidate(s) elected (I’m not happy – for instance – with several persons elected in Maryland and in the country) – IMHO.

My prayer yesterday and today and moving forward is that God will show us the path to take. As Christians and as Americans we need a path forward. We need a plan if we agree and if we disagree with the path we are currently on as a nation. We need a path to walk where we can be faithful to God and country (if and when possible). Continue reading

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Submit to God

Proverbs 3:6

…in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

112015 Ray McDonaldThis weekend I’m serving on a team on an Emmaus weekend. An Emmaus weekend or walk to Emmaus is defined like this on the Southern Maryland Emmaus websiteThe Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. The program’s approach seriously considers the model of Christ’s servanthood and encourages Christ’s disciples to act in ways appropriate to being “a servant of all.”

When I walked – I found persons who submitted to God in awesome ways. I was already a pastor when I walked – so I knew what was being shared and taught (although it was a good refresher for sure). What stood out to me was the number of people who were serving through the weekend – submitting to God for the whole weekend. It was amazing and I encourage others to consider walking. Our church has a history of supporting and encouraging people to walk. Continue reading

April 8, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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