Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The World of Needs and Wants

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

profileChristmas is coming.  In a recent sermon I mentioned that many of us have trouble with the concepts of need and want.  We tend to blend the want items with the need items.  In doing so we can often live beyond our means – adding wants to what we conceive to be needs.  For example – spending $40,000 and up on an auto may not be the best allocation of funds for a person that makes the average income.  Yet some of us do it.  We rationalize it in a variety of ways.  Yet a $20,000 to $25,000 vehicle – and there are many reliable vehicles in that price range – could get us from point A to point B quite well and get us 200,000 plus miles to boot.  Just think of what an additional $20,000 to $15,000 – plus interest – could do for your savings in a 5-6 year period.

Using big-ticket items as examples – what about the home we live in?  Does it meet our needs or is it mixed in with our wants?  Mortgage brokers often try to fit us into the house we can afford rather than the house we need.  Think about the money invested in our home and what need we might meet with the excess?  For some of us it might be upwards of $100,000 or more beyond our need. Continue reading

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December 6, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some Will Be Lost

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

profileSome would like to believe that all people go to heaven.  We call them Universalist – people that believe all will be saved.  This is not an acceptable theology in the United Methodist Church. A Universalist’s argument is that the God they know is too filled with grace to allow anyone to go to hell – if they even believe in a hell at all.

For me – there are far too many Biblical examples that present to us the reality of heaven and hell – the saved and the lost.  Today’s passage is just one of these.  Here is it in partial context.  Philippians 3:17-21 – 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Continue reading

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Outreach, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Attitude of Christ

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

profileIt is not normal to think of others – for most people.  Thinking about numero uno – number one – is where most people focus.  They are focused on what makes them feel better or good.

Today’s passage gives us a different view.  Here it is in partial context.  Philippians 2:1-11 – 1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Continue reading

September 3, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pressing On Toward Perfection

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

profileOK – I confess – my golf game is in trouble this summer.  Between my meniscus tear – my increasing age – my lack of time to work on my game – my ONLY once-a-week game – my scores have suffered.  They are not where I want them to be for sure.  Last summer I was playing much better.  This summer my chipping and approach shots have totaling left me.  Up and down is not in my vocabulary this summer.  It has been less fun playing – but someone has to do it to keep the economy going.  And my friend Dennis is having a good summer beating me most times out and Greg is looking for an opportunity to beat me too.

So what do I do?  Do I blame the clubs and get a new set ($$)?  Do I take lessons ($$)?  I’ve tried changing golf ball brands!  Do I simply accept scores that are 4-6 strokes higher than normal?  Do I even accept normal?  Or do I strive to get better?  I’ve chosen to try and get better.  I will start practicing when time allows (and I may just start making the time to do it).  I have found a place where I can practice chipping and approach shots are practiced in the meadow behind my house.  I will not accept where my scores are today – I will return to where I use to be and try to get even better.  I am determined!  I am focused!  I will not give up!  I will break that barrier in front of me and score lower than I have all summer before the summer is out!  I can do this! Continue reading

August 19, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attitude Check – Again!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

RevRayA story I remember goes like this – A little old church lady had a practice of only saying good things about people.  She annoyed some of her fellow church members – who liked to gossip about other people.  So they thought to trap her and time after time they came up to her with a person they thought she couldn’t possibly find something good to say.  But – much to their dismay – she would always find something good to say.  She was taught – if you can’t say something good about someone you should say nothing at all.  Finally this little band of church goers who liked to gossip thought they had someone she wouldn’t being able to speak well of – no matter how hard she tried.  They approached her and asked her to say something good about the devil.  Smugly they sat back and thought they had her.  She sat quiet for some time and finally spoke – saying – he is always busy.  A simple story but one that speaks volumes about where a person’s heart is – seeking the worst about people or the best. Continue reading

May 22, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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