Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holy Week – Let’s Focus on Jesus

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Life ChangeYesterday – Palm Sunday – we began Holy Week. This is the week before Jesus’ crucifixion. Thursday will be Holy or Maundy Thursday. We will remember the Lord’s Supper this year with a Seder Meal. It will be a powerful experience and we hope all who signed up to attend will indeed be able to attend.

Friday – this week – is Good Friday. As a young child I couldn’t figure out why it was called Good Friday if it was the day that Jesus died. Later I realized that it was called Good Friday because it was good for us that He died – to pay for our sins. We will have a service at 7 pm in the Sanctuary as we continue our walk to the cross with John’s Gospel account. It is very important that we all attend the Good Friday service. Change your plans to be here – if you weren’t planning to attend. Sunday – Easter morning – will not have the same meaning without attending worship on Good Friday. I promise you! Let’s set our minds on Jesus – and see what will happen. Continue reading

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April 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge and Strength!

Psalm 46:1-3

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Life ChangeI want to use an event from the past to make a point today. Can you remember a tough time in your life? Can you remember – when you were caught off guard by something that happened?

For instance – where were you when the earthquake of 2011 hit our area (just 7 short year ago)? Depending on the report you listened to or read after it happened – it was measured somewhere between a 5.8 and 6.0 on the earthquake scale. So where were you – what were you doing – and more important – how did it impact you? What were your thoughts during and after the quake?

I was in my office at the church I was serving – working on a sermon when the building started to shake. Nothing fell – and I had lots of knick-knacks on my shelves at the time – but the old home where our offices were located shook and rumbled for sure.

Immediately – the staff was outside – looking first for what had caused the building to shake. We had road construction at the time and we thought it was one of the large trucks working near the building that shook the office. I ran back into the office and checked my computer and people were tweeting and posting on Facebook that we had just had an earthquake. I shared the information with the staff and we stayed outside a little bit longer. Continue reading

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Life ChangeSo – does anyone but me think about death? Maybe it comes from living by a cemetery as a child or from being a pastor for 42 plus years. I wouldn’t say I think about it all the time – but I certainly do think about dying – from time to time. Like recently – going to sleep – I was counting the number of years I have left if I live to be my father’s age (the answer is just over 20 years). A few nights ago – I dreamed I died. I had informed my wife before dying to bury me with my Apple Watch in case I wake up and need to get someone to come get me (now that was a scary dream). OK – two such thoughts the same week – that is a bit much – and not my norm.

Have you thought about dying? I believe the early Christians thought about it – maybe a lot. They faced life and death situations all the time. They were being crucified in mass – they were being thrown to wild animals – they were forced to do battle with gladiators – all in arenas for the sport of the Roman people. Much like the Christians that were beheaded – or burned in cages – or drowned – by terrorists in the middle east. In the Western world we often are so protected – especially those of us who do not live in the crowded urban areas of our country. Law enforcement can only do so much – and I thank our law enforcement officers for all they do while I condemn those bad eggs that shouldn’t be in uniform. Continue reading

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Will Not Lose Heart

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart

Ray 2018Have you ever lost heart? There are a number of times I have lost heart. With injuries and age creeping up on me – my sport playing life has changed (I spend more time with golf these days). I love me some basketball – if you didn’t know that fact. With two rotator cuff surgeries the last two springs – I have not played a lot of basketball in the last two years or so. If you ask my wife or my friends – they would tell you I have contemplated leaving the game for good. My doctor even suggested it when I injured my shoulder playing basketball – which led to my last surgery. I went back Monday and enjoyed the full-court running (it might help me lose some weight). For most of my life I have been a 3-point bomber. I would find an open spot and the ball would find me and I would bomb away – hitting a high percentage typically. But – after two shoulder surgeries – gaining some age – and not working out much for two years – my 3-point shot is weak right now. I actually had to abandon the 3-point shot today and shot and hit from inside the arc. I will get my shooting touch back! I will not lose heart! I will keep trying! Continue reading

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Flies

Psalm 39:4

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Time flies. I’ve had a few dreams of late – really sound sleep and the dreams come when I sleep soundly. Some of them have been about the past – about some of the good and not so good times in my life. The main point I’ve taken away from them is that time flies. We do not have very long on this sphere we call earth. We need to use every day to the best of our ability and try to take good care of our bodies so God can use us for His purposes while we are here.

Today’s passage tells us that life is fleeting. Our days are numbered and life is fleeting – here on earth. Life is short here – but eternal with God or without God. We must yield to God here in order to live eternally with Him in heaven. Continue reading

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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