Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Are Called To Reach The Lost

Luke 15:10

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

My father concluded his active ministry as an evangelist. He preached in revivals all over the east coast and some in some other states like Ohio – West Virginia – Minnesota – and Indiana. He loved sharing the Gospel with folks. He loved when folks would open their hearts to Jesus and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. I love being a pastor of a local congregation – but the times I have preached revivals for other churches has given me a glimpse of what dad shared in those twilight years of his active ministry. I too love it when the lost come to know Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation.

Revivals seem to be a thing of the past. It seems that many pastors today don’t believe in hell or Satan and his demons. It stands to reason that the belief in hell and Satan would fade for those who don’t believe they are real. For eight years I served on our conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) and have served many terms on the District Committee of Ordained Ministry (DCOM) as well. I often ran into pastoral candidates who were Universalists – persons who simply believed that all persons went to heaven. There were times – during examinations – candidates (many who eventually were ordained) couldn’t clearly define salvation because they couldn’t explain what the alternative would be. Continue reading

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April 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Matthew 28:6

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Wow – what an Easter we had yesterday at First UMC in Laurel. Not only were there loads of people in worship – worship was amazing. From the sunrise service outside in the prayer garden to the two services – we were blessed. New people – regulars – and others joined in as we gather to worship God. I pray your worship was amazing as well in your local church dear readers.

Today’s reading is from the Easter readings. It was what Jesus promised His disciples – that He would die and be raised to life. They didn’t always understand – and some Gospel accounts tell us they even had their doubts – right up to Pentecost. I think they were not much different than we are. We have our moments of faith and understanding and we have our moments of doubt and when we lack understanding. Continue reading

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 47 of Lent 2018

John 20:1

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

Today is day 47 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us during our reading plan this Lenten Season. We’re there – Easter morning. It is the day we celebrate the risen Lord! The day we thanks God for defeating the grave. The day we read the story about the stone being rolled away and the tomb being empty! The day we remember He arose!

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. How have you been doing? Today we continue to look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and later to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. For those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior – we have been baptized into Christ and into His suffering – into His death. We share with Him and He shares with us. Continue reading

April 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 46 of Lent 2018

Romans 6:3

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Today is day 46 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us during our reading plan this Lenten Season. We’re coming close to Easter and the end of Holy Week. Tomorrow is Easter. But today is silent Saturday. It is the full day that Jesus was in the grave (partial day on Friday and partial day on Sunday).

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. How have you been doing? Today we continue to look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and later to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. For those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior – we have been baptized into Christ and into His suffering – into His death. We share with Him and He shares with us. Continue reading

March 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 44 of Lent 2018

John 13:12

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

Today is day 44 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – this is Holy Week. Today’s passage is about Jesus washing His disciples feet. Jesus humbled Himself – taking the task of the lowest of servants – washing the feet of His disciples.

Lent 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 continue to 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. 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. The Father turned all power over to Him – and yet He humbled Himself to wash His disciples’ feet. Continue reading

March 29, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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