Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 23 of Lent 2020

1 Corinthians 11:26

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Ray 2020Today is Day 23 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I pray that we have all kept up with the reading each day. If not – try to catch up! Yesterday was a catch up day. I appreciate this walk to the cross. It is not hard or long – and will give us a good insight into the walk that Jesus made for us.

It may be some time before we worship together. I’m thinking – whatever Sunday that will be – we will celebrate Holy Communion. As we remember the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples – we will remember our connection with Christ and with each other. It will be a special time before the Lord and we hope that all will attend that first Sunday back (whenever that will be). Plans are being made to make this a unique service. (By the way – we are also making plans to celebrate Easter on the second Sunday back.)

Today’s passage is about that last supper and reminds us to treat it with respect. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I can’t wait until we can share it together. I hope it is sooner rather than later. Continue reading

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20 of Lent 2020

John 12:46

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Ray 2020Today is day 20 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up with the reading plan – I’m keeping up – even with my surgery and my birthday thrown in there! Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. It is made more vital this year by our country’s dealing with the coronavirus. We might even be locked out of meeting in our Sanctuary for Easter this year. Keep everyone in your prayers.

Today’s reading has lots in it and I hope you take the time to read it all. The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 46. Jesus came into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me (Him) should stay in darkness. As Christ’s ambassadors – we are called to reflect that light into the darkness of the world. We are called to let our light so shine before men and women – boys and girls – that they will see Jesus in us – through us – and in spite of us. I hope we can think about that as we go through our day!

Where are we letting the light of Christ shine? How are we witnessing our faith? During these dark days – as we fight the coronavirus – there will be lots of opportunities to tell others about our hope! Continue reading

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:9-11

9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Ray 2020For those who are don’t keep up with the Christian Calendar – today marks the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter. It is normally a time of denying oneself of something – depriving oneself of a pleasure or a desire – as a way of connecting with Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism. It is also a walk toward the cross – traditionally ending with Holy Week and Easter.

Today’s passage is part of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. We will remember Palm Sunday on April 5th this year. Stay tuned for more details about Lent in the days to come. I hope that you invite friends to read along with us and even attend some of our Community Lenten Services on Wednesday nights during Lent. Continue reading

February 26, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lent Is Coming Soon!

Matthew 26:35

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

img_0063-2Lent is coming soon. It begins on Wednesday – February 26th – Ash Wednesday. That morning we will be making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of those who come into our parking lot from 6-7 am (with ashes). We will also offer a blessing. This is a great way – throughout your day – to witness your faith to others. Last year there were a couple of dozen cars who came by. Join us on your way to work or as you begin your day. If you come after 7 am – come into the office – I will be there! (You might need to wake me – LOL)

Lent – according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Today’s passage is about Peter and the disciples saying they would not deny Christ – that they would actually die with Jesus if need be. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 26:30-39 – 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Continue reading

February 17, 2020 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, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Before Christmas

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Life ChangeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family (one daughter is starting to show my emotions as well). An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming – I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus – along with my father-in-law. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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