Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Seek First The Important Things!

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Think about this for a moment. What is the most important thing in your life? Think before you answer – and don’t give me what you wish were most important or think should be most important. Someone once said if you want to know what is really important to a person – just look at the person’s checkbook. I’ll add – take a look at their credit card bills and their online spending too! Do we spend more money on things that are really only peripheral things in our lives? Do we own that boat or does that boat own us? Are our hobbies that important to our lives?

The Sunday School answer – of course – would be Jesus! Jesus should be most important in our lives. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb and He owns us – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – you were bought at a price. At least – God should own us – but at times we act as if we own ourselves. At times we act as if we are more important than God. Continue reading

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guarding Our Tongues and Our Online Posts

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

I often wrestle with today’s subject. I believe we are our own worst enemies in reaching people for Christ and in church life. At times – some of us – if not all of us from time to time – have allowed our tongues to get us in trouble – saying the wrong thing – letting our true attitudes surface through our words (and if not our tongues than our e-mails or tweets or something). Many of us have criticized the POTUS for his tweets – but maybe we ought to examine what we post on social media as well.

At times we try to mask our cutting remarks with humor – but the truth of our heart surfaces through our tongues and through our posts. Maybe it was at a meeting where we let our tongue get us in trouble – being negative – saying the wrong thing – showing our anger or displeasure in less than a godly fashion. Maybe we said something that others overheard when we thought no one else was around. Maybe it was the choice of words that we used – using language that is crude or offensive. Maybe it was something we posted or liked or commented on while on social media. I’m sure we can think of times when we allowed our tongue or thoughts get us in trouble and damage our Christian witness. Continue reading

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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