Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 5 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Ray 2020My prayer for us is that the old self will begin to fade as we walk toward the Cross of Christ this Lenten season – and that more and more we will look like Jesus. I also pray that our attitudes will be set on Christ and on no one or nothing else. During our walk to the cross this Lent – let us seek His face more clearly and desire His grace more dearly.

I hope you able to keep up with the readings – or at least used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse for focus on – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that to their parent! Continue reading

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do You Think About Easter?

Matthew 28:5–6

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Life ChangeIn reading an article on Barna.org titled Most Americans Consider Easter a Religious Holiday, But Fewer Correctly Identify its Meaning a few years ago I came across some interesting findings.  Below is some quoted material from that article.

Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday?

The types of Americans who were most likely to express some type of theistic religious connection with Easter were evangelicals (93%), attenders of large churches (86% among those whose congregation has 500-plus adult attenders), born again Christians (81%), and weekly churchgoers (77%).

Republicans (77%) and Democrats (71%) were more likely than were independents (59%) and non-registered citizens (51%) to say Easter has religious meaning for them.

In terms of age, members of the Boomer generation (73%, ages 45 to 63) were among the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday for them, compared with two-thirds of Elders (66% of those ages 64-plus) and Busters (66%, ages 26 to 44). The youngest adult generation, the Mosaics (ages 18 to 25), were the least likely age segment to say Easter is a religious holiday (58%), reflecting the increasingly secular mindset of young adults. Continue reading

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Mentoring the Young?

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeI remember – in my younger days – watching my dad and the young men and women he trained along the way in his ministry. Many of them began as church hires – working with the youth – working with visitation – working with the general ministry of the church. Some came to our church as conference appointments. At Seat Pleasant (now Gethsemane) and Trinity in Annapolis – he had several young people enter the ministry through their joint ministries. I remember well these young people who were entering ministry and how my dad mentored them and gave them many opportunities to serve and learn. Several were at his funeral six plus years ago – others sent letters and cards expressing how much dad meant to them.

I remember the young men and women who came through the churches I have served and still serve. I even began as a young pastor myself. Being young is something I don’t have to worry about any longer. There is still time though to pass along some wisdom and insights in ministry to those who are beginning the journey. I have worked with numerous staff members over the years – several are now elders in our conference – and it has been a blessing. I have also used social media of late as a way to connect with other young pastors and have enjoyed working with others. I hope they have enjoyed our interactions as well. Continue reading

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (NLJV)

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast and caused a lot of damage. Loss of some lives and a lot of property damage has been the result. Hurricane Irma is hitting the Caribbean and will soon hit the Florida Keys and the US mainland. Already Irma has taken life and has caused and will cause much damage.

President Trump has been president for 7 plus months and for some this is the worst thing that our country has ever faced. For some this is the best thing that could have happened.

We recently lost the oldest member of our church family – a woman nearly 102 years of age. In the weeks just past I have celebrated the funeral for folks in their 30’s – 40’s – 50’s and this weekend – in their 60’s (born just days after me). Continue reading

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here We Go!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

IMG_0301Here we go!  Annual Conference got started yesterday morning.  My prayer – as it has been for a few weeks now – is that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will seek after Jesus!  Today’s passage calls us to not conform to the patterns of the world.  We are called to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.  Here it is – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Today we had a number of reports and passed our budget for 2016.  There was no debate on any of the items before us in our morning plenary session.  Our two delegates to Annual Conference sat with me and I took a few pictures and put them on Facebook.  They were good troopers for sure.

After a few votes we elected two lay persons out of six to General Conference and one out of six clergy.  More voting today (Friday).  One of the clergy candidates I am voting for is next in line I hope – to be elected.  Another one or two of my choices might get elected as well. Continue reading

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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