Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following Jesus and Jesus Alone

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.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out?

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage –“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.” Continue reading

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October 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 2019 Budget Process Begins

Romans 16:5

Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMIn the early Christian church – many times the church met in the homes of its members. The Body of Christ often provided the ministry. As we enter October – we will soon be in another budget season for 2019. As we fast approach a new budget season in the life of our church some serious questions arise for us to consider. Some of these questions point toward our vision and mission as a church. What is our main focus? What is our mission? Our desire – our heart – is to reach everyone for Christ – to make disciples for Jesus. Are our ministries set up to do so? Is our budget geared to help us reach the lost for Jesus? How we go about this process might be as important as the vision itself.

What do we need to make disciples? Do we need a large building? Do we need a large staff? Do we need an active laity? Speaking of a building – David Platt writes – Why would we spend an inordinate amount of our resources on something that is never prescribed or even encouraged in the New Testament? In his book A Radical Idea – David asks some deep questions. It is an eye opener and a book all pastors and church leaders should read IMHO. Continue reading

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambassadors Have a Tough Job

John 14:9

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMAmbassadors have a tough job. They must represent someone else. Ambassadors are called to represent someone or some idea. The job might be easier if you agree with the one you represent or the idea you represent – but – it is still a tough position. Can you think of any position you have held or hold where you represent someone else?

Ambassadors have a tough job. They must represent someone else. In most cases – employees are ambassadors or representatives for their employers. When I worked for McDonald’s – I was asked to dress and behave a certain way while on the job. While on the job – I had to follow the prescribed behavior and dress as directed by the ones I represents – McDonald’s. Away from work – I had more freedom to be myself – but while I represented McDonald’s – I needed to follow their rules.

Ambassadors have a tough job. They must represent someone else. A current battle going on right now is between NFL players and NFL owners. Some players are protesting various things by kneeling during the national anthem. Owners have expressed that the players need to dress and behave as they direct while on the field representing them. Although there is also an off-the-field expectation – while these players are in the employment of the team owners – especially on game days – the players should follow the owner’s directives. They can express their opinions on their own time. Continue reading

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord Will Rescue Us!

Matthew 14:31

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

RayMcDI remember once – I was body surfing at Ocean City – and I had a wave swallow me up. I tumbled and tumbled and hit the bottom a few times – and for a moment – I thought I might not come up for air in time. I was very young and probably had been told to not go out so deep in the water. An older person happened to see my predicament and in a quick motion grabbed me by the hand and lifted me up out of the water. I was coughing and gasping for my breath and I thanked him once I caught my breath. I’m not sure if he saved me or not – whether I would have survived without his help – but – I know I appreciated his help.

Have any of us ever been given a helping hand? I remember my father giving one of my uncles a helping hand. He was down and out and needed help establishing a place to live. He and his current wife had little to nothing and my father and another uncle gave him a helping hand. They set them up in an apartment at a rate they could afford and gather furniture for them. They helped them get clothes and filled the frig for them. Dad felt he had to help his brother – even though he knew the probable outcome. You can give someone a helping hand – but they need to be willing to take the help and keep on the right path. Unfortunately – this uncle didn’t make good use of the helping hand offered. Continue reading

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does It Cost Us To Follow Christ?

Philippians 3:8

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

What does it cost us to follow Christ? I wonder – have we ever thought about this question? Have we ever spent time really thinking about the cost of following Christ?

What does it cost us to follow Christ? Most things in life cost us something. In our home (mostly me) – we estimate something’s worth to us by what it would cost us to get it. If we want to buy something – I might estimate how many hours we would need to work for it. We would then determine if it was really worth it and if we really wanted it that badly.

What does it cost us to follow Christ? This week or soon – the Baltimore Orioles will begin to dismantle this year’s team and begin working on the team of the future. At some point – a team will determine what it will cost them to purchase 3-4 months (counting the playoffs) of one of the top 2-3 players in baseball and some of his teammates. The Orioles will need to do the same as they figure out what the best offer is moving the team forward. Will it be the needed players or draft picks. What will it cost to improve a playoff team and what will it cost to rebuild a once proud team? Continue reading

July 10, 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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