Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Let’s Try Loving One Another

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I wish I had words or a solution for the hatred in the world. I wish there was a person or political party who had the answers or a solution. I wish our country could come together and dismiss the hatred – the racism – the evil – in our country and world today. But I can’t and no one else can – I fear.

Should we have stricter gun laws? Maybe so – but evil people will find a way to perform their evil. Should we make it harder for unstable people to get weapons – absolutely – but who gets to determine who is unstable or mentally ill? Some are very easy to tell – some are well hidden. Should we outlaw assault weapons outside of the military and law enforcement? Maybe that would help – but where would such a law start and end? There are no easy answers and as a former youth pastor friend of mine said – People are more the problem than any gun!

I believe the answer is found in telling more people about Jesus – and letting others see Jesus in us. I believe – if we were more excited and convinced of our faith – we would impact more people for Jesus. Continue reading

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

God – Teach Us to Forgive

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

June 2019In our Tuesday Bible Studies (10:30 am and 7 pm) – we just read about Stephen and his stoning. As he was dying at the hands of the Jews from the Sanhedrin – he cried out for God to forgive those who were killing him. Acts 7:60 – Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. This is very reminiscent of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Luke 23:32–34 – 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone? And is there a limit to what we will forgive? Continue reading

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 2:9

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

June 2019Many people have self-esteem issues. Maybe they were raised by parents who beat them down or never complimented them – you know – spending more time complaining about the B or C they received on their report card – rather than praising them for the many A’s they received. Maybe their spouse made them feel inferior or dumb. Maybe someone in their life spent more time tearing them down rather than building them up. If a person hears negativity enough – they tend to believe it and live it out.

Satan has a way of trying to beat us up as well. Satan loves to attack believers. Satan tends to leave his own alone. When believers sin and fall short – Satan is quick to remind us that we are no good – that they failed – that they sinned. Satan is quick to remind us that we are not worthy. He reminds us that we are not very good disciples. See how he uses truth? We are not worthy (on our own) – but we are made worthy through the blood of Jesus (someone shout glory). Continue reading

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Like You – Do You Like Me?

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

June 2019I remember – when I was a teen – playing the dating game. I dated women from the time I was 16 until I got married at 25 – that’s 9 years. I had two long-term relationships in that time frame and a few short-term ones. As some teens (and young adults) in the dating game – I was insecure at times. Like many men and women in the dating game (not thinking of dating as a game but that seems to be the best word to use) – being insecure about our feelings – I often held out expressing my feelings till the person I was dating expressed their feelings. Remember – when we were in elementary school and they passed the little notes that said – I like you – do you like me? Or was my school the only one that did that note passing thing?

Telling someone you like them or even going the next step and telling someone you love them is a big move. You’re always wondering if they will like you or love you back. I’ve even heard the dreaded – let’s be friends’ line more than once – have you? Continue reading

June 18, 2019 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

Walking Toward the Cross

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Life ChangeLent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual – the cross is near. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last weeks on earth? How we would face our death – when we had the power to avoid it?

What has changed in your walk with Jesus during Lent this year? A load of folks have walked together reading the book – The Case for Easter – and yesterday they talked about some of the change that are taking place this Lenten season for them. Lee Strobel has crafted his book to challenge and prove the life – death and resurrection of our Lord. Continue reading

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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