Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

When The Foundations Are Being Destroyed

Psalm 11:3

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Life ChangeAndy Griffith is one of my favorite all-time shows. I grew up watching Andy – Opie – Barney and Aunt Bea. Times were good and even the unchurched were fairly moral and had values in Mayberry. This show took place during the 50’s & 60’s just a few states south of us.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry. Our communities used to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child – and thinking our community was like it. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful?

A 1994 survey conducted (I know – 25 years ago) by Josh McDowell’s ministry team showed some startling results. The study showed that among churched youth from 11-18 – 66% lied to a parent – teacher – or another adult in the previous 3 months. Continuing – 59% lied to one of their peers – 36% cheated on an exam – and 23% intentionally tried to hurt someone. I was blown away when I first read that survey in 1994 and I only imagine it has gotten worse.  Additionally – the survey showed that – 55% have engaged in sexual behavior by age 18 – 50% say they are stressed out – and 55% say they are confused. Remember – these were the churched youth! And 25 years ago! Continue reading

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February 20, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For The Time Will Come…

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Life ChangeHave you ever been warned about something that was pending – something that was going to happen in the future? I had a teacher who would often say – mark my word – and then tell us something that was going to happen – like – mark my word – this will be on the next test.

Maybe as a parent you have said something like this – or your parents did – mark my word – if you do that again – you will get punished. Maybe it was like this – if you don’t stop fighting – if you make me get out of my chair – if you don’t get up now – if you don’t eat all your food – than “whatever” was going to happen – mark my word.

Paul gives us warning in today’s passage – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. He could have added – mark my word. Continue reading

February 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Word Is Truth

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

When we are trying to determine Godly values or true Biblical core doctrines – we need to refer to the Scriptures. We need to have Scripture as our base. Truth can be found in God’s Holy Word. God’s Word is truth.

The Wesleyan quadrilateral reminds us that Scripture is primary and we are to use tradition – reason – and experience to help us understand Scripture. Having said that – I remind us that Scripture is primary and the source of our understanding of truth and of God’s will. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/wesleyan-quadrilateral

We hold this belief because we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Even though Paul may have understood this in his context to mean the Old Testament – orthodox opinion is that this passage was meant for the entire Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Continue reading

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

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor Is Not In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

As I approach retirement years – I often reflect on my 40 plus years of ministry and my 63 years (so far) of life. I wonder if my years of ministry – my labor for the Lord – has been in vain or if it has had any lasting impact on those we have served with over the years. I also look at my three grown daughters – my two son-in-laws – and now my five granddaughters – and wonder if my legacy with the family will have any lasting impact on their lives – for the good of course. Am I the only one that thinks this way?

One thing I’ve tried (and often failed at) over the years – was to be consistent – to stand firm for what was right – for what was Biblical. I’ve sinned my share of sins – I’m not talking about being perfect or anywhere near it. What I mean is I’ve tried to set a bar or a standard where others could see what I believed – and maybe see my attempt to follow Jesus. I tried to not sway with the wind or the social norms (yet at times I sinned and fell short of that goal). None of us want our labor to be in vain. Continue reading

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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