Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent Starts on Sunday

Matthew 3:1-2

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Life ChangeAdvent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. As we approach Christmas – we are reminded – often – I hope – that Christmas is all about Jesus coming into the world. Christmas is not about buying and selling things. It is about the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ – the babe in the manger that grew to be the man who was the Lamb of God that died on the cross to pay for our sins.

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What are you hoping for this year? Peace on earth is always a good wish. Maybe peace between the political parties of our nation? Maybe peace on the southern border of our nation? Maybe that people would get it and love their neighbors?

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What will we do leading up to Christmas this year? Will we anticipate the coming of Christ into our lives – once again? In Tuesdays Bible study we talked about the difference between people who claim to be a Christian and those who have had a born-again experience. I don’t mean that unless you have had a radical change in your life you aren’t a Christian. Many Christians have grown up in faith and feel that they always believed. But – even those people need a point in time – a time when they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior – and not just a faith they learned from their parents. Being born-again means being saved. Being saved is not something that you can gain through osmosis – it is a personal decision to follow Jesus. Continue reading

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True Love Expressed

1 Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Can any of us remember the first time we used the word love? I can’t remember the first time – because – like my grandchildren – it was probably to a relative – like my mom or dad – when I was a wee lad. I love it when my grandchildren say – I love you Pop. I tell them I love them every time I see them.

Can we remember – in our teen or older years – the first time we used the word love? Maybe it was in reference to a singing group or singer? Something like – I love Stevie Wonder or the Beatles or Steppenwolf. Maybe it was in reference to a TV or movie star? Something like – I love Elvis Presley or John Wayne (I’ll let our younger readers have a moment to Google the above mentioned persons and groups). Continue reading

January 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sincere Love

1 Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMCan you remember the first time you used the word love? I can’t remember the first time – because – like my grandchildren – it was probably to a relative – like my mom or dad – when I was a wee lad. I love it when they say – I love you Pop.

Can you remember – in your teen or older years – the first time you used the word love? Maybe it was in reference to a singing group or singer? Something like – I love Stevie Wonder or the Beatles. Maybe it was in reference to a TV or movie star? Something like – I love Elvis Presley or John Wayne (I’ll let our younger readers have a moment to Google the above mentioned persons and group).

Can you remember – in your teen or older years – the first time you used the word love? Maybe you can remember the first time you told someone you really liked that you loved them? It might have been your first encounter with the opposite sex. It may have been short lived or lasted even till today or a lifetime. Continue reading

July 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing Christ to Someone

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

112015 Ray McDonaldI love this passage – and it reminds me how important it is to be an evangelical church – a church that draws people to Christ.  Jesus reminds us that He is the only way to the Father. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If we believe these words of Jesus – than we will be a church family – and individuals – who strive to reach everyone with Christ.  At First Church – it seems that we are in a season of people being saved!  During the revival and in recent Sundays – we have experienced a number of people coming to Christ.  We’ve had four adult baptisms and several conversions.  Praise the Lord! Continue reading

March 20, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restore Me to the Joy of My Salvation

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

IMG_0301Last night we preached about being rescued – how God rescued us from sin and death.  I asked folks to remember times when they had been rescued – like how I was rescued by the stranger at the beach.  I asked people to remember their salvation – the moment God rescued them from sin and death.  Do you remember the day you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Some of us experienced a sudden conversion.  Some of us a more subtle conversation.  Yet however we came to Christ there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.  The joy of being rescued.  It should compel us to live with such joy that others see the joy of Christ in us and want it for themselves.

I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life.  He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live.  When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church – and God loved him into His arms – there was a dramatic shift in his behavior.  Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time – but sin didn’t reign any longer.  He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate his new found freedom – the freedom he had found in Christ.  He had a new purpose in his life.  He was free from sin and had great joy.  He had been rescued and was rejoicing and glad and others could see it.

Continue reading

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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