Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Strong and Courageous

1 Chronicles 28:20

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”

Life ChangeMemorial Weekend is a time in our family’s history – when we visit with family. In the past – pre-arson on our West Virginia home – we would go home to my mom’s home town – where mom and dad met. There is a family reunion – with mom’s side of the family. We haven’t gone the last two years because our home is missing – and it wouldn’t be the same.

I did spend a great deal of time thinking about my mom and dad and our family history. We spent time with our local family – over at my nephew’s home on Sunday afternoon and my daughter’s home on Monday afternoon. We spent time with family.

I also spent time yesterday and even all weekend – thinking about those who gave their all so that we could spend a weekend spending time with family. Phrases like freedom is not free and Home of the Free – Because of the Brave – reminded me of Memorial weekend. I also appreciated a meme that said – Stand for the flag and kneel for the Cross – and one that reminded me that Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving – Veteran’s Day is for those who once served – and Memorial Day is for those who served and never returned home. Too often folks get them mixed up. Continue reading

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extraordinarily Good and Wonderful Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

Life ChangeThe other day I was singing a song to my children. I remember the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. These are the lyrics of the chorus of that song from Mary Poppins.

It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough, You’ll always sound precocious. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I. The grands seemed mystified that Pop knew this song. They were excited to say the least.

I remember the definition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – extraordinarily good – wonderful. As I was reading some old blogs I had posted in the past – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. But the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came to mind. What if this word was related to our worship of God?

Reading today’s passage – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. And I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Would we call it extraordinarily good or wonderful? Continue reading

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judging a Book By the Cover

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

A number of people want to label people. They have a hard time seeing people as people – instead they lump them into categories. A number of people in the world judge a book by the cover.

For instance – some will look at a person’s age and assume they are too young or too old to accomplish a job or task. The United Methodist Church – for instance – has a mandatory retirement age (72). That doesn’t mean a person is no longer able to provide effective ministry – now does it? Shouldn’t a person’s effectiveness be the standard rather than an age?

Some will look at a person’s size or looks and assume they are not the person they want for the job. Can you think of occupations where looks count? The Naval Academy has physical standards – or at least they did. People had to have a certain height and weight and physical condition.

Israel used the eye test when it came to their king. Samuel – the prophet of God – used the eye test when selecting a king.  Yet – God looks not at the outward appearance – but rather the inside of a person – the heart – the inner person. Today’s passage tells us how God looks at people. Continue reading

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Discerning Heart

1 Kings 3:9

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

fullsizeoutput_ffeOK – today is the mid-term elections. Will there be a red wave – a blue wave – or the status quo? Will my side win – your side win – or will our nation win? If you haven’t voted yet – please get out to vote. This is more important than a sporting event. This is about the future of our nation! Get out and vote – with a discerning heart.

I saw this the other day and thought it noteworthy – whether John Wesley said it or not (John Wesley is the founder of the Methodist Church). I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: 1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against, 3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side. These are words I hope we can all abide by in the days – weeks – months – and years to come. We haven’t done a very good job so far! The media – the society we live in – wants to push division. I hope a discerning heart will be wiser – following the wisdom of John Wesley. Continue reading

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word of God – The Bible

2 Peter 1:16-21 (The Message)

16-21 We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

In this day and age – when most everything is challenged and nothing – it seems – is taken without question – I want to examine the question – Is the Bible God’s Word? If the Bible IS God’s Word – it needs to be authoritative in our lives – would you agree? If the Bible is authoritative in our lives than the Bible is the base of our understanding as we sculpt and form doctrine. I believe that our theology reflects our view of the Bible. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God – we will weigh it heavily in our understanding of God. If we see it as a good book – a nice guide – but humanly created – we will not. On one hand the Bible is authoritative – on the other it is no more authoritative than our personal experience – community history – or our reasoning/thinking.

I love the way The Message puts the last part of today’s passage.  The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. Continue reading

July 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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