Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Where Do You See Jesus 5

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – from time to time – I will be posting comments by our readers. I’d like folks to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously. I will try to post a comment as often as they come in so send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

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December 20, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Are We Weak? Let’s Seek God’s Help!

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

fullsizeoutput_ffeYesterday I began my month-long prayer/fast. Am I alone or has someone joined me? I want company!!

Two things so far in my fast department. First – I am fasting from negativity on social media. During a heated mid-term election’s last week – this is not easy. Even after the election – it will not be easy. I’m sure all of my preferred candidates will not get elected – and someone will post something negative. Second – I am fasting from any food not on my health plan. Being on a health journey is not easy to begin with – but holding fast to the plan is even harder. I’m trying to coach and encourage others – so I MUST walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Yes – I have lost 37 pounds in less than 4 months – but how much healthier might I be if I had walked the walk 100%? We’ll see what November brings. Pray for me please! Continue reading

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Encourage Others!

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Photo on 10-16-18 at 6.18 PM

Let me begin by thanking God for my wife and oldest daughter. My wife for supporting me through 38 plus years and to my daughter – Shelly – for coaching me as I strive to become healthy again. I have lost 61 pounds so far and 35 of them have been lost the last three months under a new health plan that my daughter encouraged me to try. I will say more about this later. I am going to become a health coach – and it fits here – as we talk about encouraging others.

I think it is essential that we encourage one another. I’m sure I wouldn’t have lost all the weight I have – I’m sure I wouldn’t feel the healthiest I have felt in a decade – had it not be for others encouraging me. I also receive encouragement from the guys I play basketball with early in the morning. I know – often – they are merely putting up with me – often being the oldest guy out there. My shot isn’t what it use to be – occasionally I will get on a roll and hit a few threes but mostly they simply encourage me to get out there and exercise and play with them. I’m thankful.

I think it is essential that we encourage one another – not only physically but most assuredly – spiritually. The Bible tells us in today’s passage in Hebrews 10:25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  I think the day is fast approaching – Christ’s return is near – and we need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another. Let’s try and see how we are blessed.

It is so easy to be critical. Tearing down doesn’t build up the Body of Christ. We do not ignore that which needs attention or correction but we do so in love and as much as possible through encouragement. We can correct and even rebuke as Scripture says through love. But often we fail to praise and encourage. It is easy to see and report and have an opinion about what we dislike. How about what we see going well?

Continue reading

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Encourage One Another

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. It’s almost like some think complaining is a spiritual gift or something.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture – but rather the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction. Continue reading

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Building Each Other Up

Ephesians 4:29

[build] others up according to their needs

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMMost of us probably know people – or are people – who seem to enjoy putting people down. For some of us – it comes naturally. For some of us – it is a learned behavior from years of being in a negative environment (like an oppressive parent – co-worker – or partner).

Don Rickles was a professional comedian who made his living putting people down. He would call people in the audience hockey pucks and was a prominent member of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast which aired – originally from 1974 thru 1984. People liked to hear others put someone down – especially a star! The premise of the show was someone would be the man or women of the day and other stars would take turns roasting them (cutting them down). It ran for 10 years and kept the Dean Martin Show on the air.

Today’s politicians like this approach as well – because they can’t seem to say a kind word about one another. From the President calling people names like Rocket man or Pocahontas – to Hillary calling Trump supporters deplorable – to Biden calling them the dregs of society – to others saying they would like to blow up the White House – or other hateful talk. Other hateful talk includes calling law enforcement officers pigs or calling for them to be shot or killed. Such hateful talk – when we are called to build each other up. Continue reading

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

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