Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Man of God Refreshed

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Rays HaircutThis pandemic has – this isolation and quarantine – has impacted us all in different ways. As a pastor – I cannot visit my sick and elderly (or any) members. Even family is not allowed to visit if their loved one is in a nursing home/rehab center or a hospital. For some – those last days or hours will be spent – often – alone – without loved ones and friends with them. Some are taking their loved ones home so they can be with them during those last days.

As the rain fell Friday morning – and I was catching up with some friends and others on social media – I began thinking about my father. This fall it will be 8 years since he passed. I found a devotional I wrote days before his passing and I thought I would share it again today. It spoke of my pain and feelings. I miss dad more than I can express in words. A friend posted this today: Wouldn’t you love to step back in time and take a walk with your dad” – and that got me to thinking about dad. Continue reading

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carry Each Other’s Burdens Today!

Galatians 6:2

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Rays HaircutCarry each other’s burdens today. Like some – I work better with someone working along side of me rather than working alone. I know folks that work well alone – but I like having someone there with me – even if just for company. I’ve encouraged my wife – and even my brother – at times – to simply be in the yard with me while working to have someone there. I can work alone – but I work better with someone there to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Anyone with me?

Carry each other’s burdens today. I wonder how many of us have had issues in life (almost all of us I imagine). I can also imagine that often having someone help us through the difficult time was appreciated. Whether is was a loan at just the right time – a word of advice – a shoulder to lean on – a prayer said at just the right time – a kind word of encouragement – or simply just being there. During this pandemic I know there have been times for many of us when someone coming along side of us has been a blessing. Continue reading

May 1, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Encouraging Spirit

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.

Rays Haircut

I want to write today about a subject that is essential. I think it is essential that we encourage one another – especially during this pandemic.

The Bible tells us in today’s passage in 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. I think the day is fast approaching. We need one another. We need Jesus. We need to encourage one another. We need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another. Let’s try and see how we are blessed by it and one another.

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

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are An Easter People

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Rays HaircutEaster has come and gone for another year – although it might come back in a few weeks as we gather together again some day. Churches would have been packed – I know our online services were packed. Some of my colleagues often have to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some usually want to reach the unchurched on Easter and try off-site locations – which might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some – if not all – see larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year.

If their attendance is anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday – the way it used to be. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if our regulars were more regular – our normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encouragement Is Very Important

1 Thessalonians 5:11

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

Rays HaircutEncouragement 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 – love or 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 isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture. What I’m questioning is 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

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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