Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Our Faith Rain

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amIt seems like – it doesn’t matter what I do – if I don’t get enough rain – I will lose my front yard. Last summer I lost my front yard.  A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system does it every time. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and most springs I fertilized it again. It often comes up strong and full – but I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water it through the summer heat – it will be gone again. I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that is more than I want to pay. I could install a system myself or figure out a way to use my hose and sprinkler more often. I must figure out how to sprinkle through the summer without burning the ground with the hose full of water in the middle of the day.

Even with all of that work each fall – at the start of March – maybe the end of February – my yard looks like most yards – dormant (to a degree). With the wet spring we had this year – my yard greened up and looked great. I hoped it would have time to deepen the roots before the heat arrived. Who would have guessed we would be so dry from July through early October. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit will allow. I cut it twice a week during the peak growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I would love to have a green lawn throughout the year! I guess everyone would. Continue reading

October 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Hope Is In Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 15:19

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men (and women).

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOver the years – in the churches I have been blessed to serve – there have been a number of babies born into the church family. It is only natural that these parents – some first time parents – would have hopes and dreams for their children. Just this week I watched as one new parent held their new child and stared into their eyes. Parents have hopes for her their children! It is normal for parents to want more for their children than they had even. Hopes and dreams might run along the lines of: a love for Jesus – to do well in school – to find a way to be a useful part of our society – to be athletic – to love the arts – to find someone to spend the rest of their lives with (when the time is right—like 25) – and more.

What are/were your hopes for your children or even your grandchildren? Did those hopes all come true or were some of them dashed by decisions along the way – yours – theirs or someone’s? Continue reading

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Are Essential Doctrines

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWe’ve been digging into the Book of Acts in Bible Study and the Apostles’ Creed in worship. These studies and sermons are dealing with a number of basic beliefs and doctrines of the church. It is a good review of the basics for those of us more mature in the faith while it will be a basic lesson plan for new believers. Not too long ago we had 31 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I pray that at the end of the Apostles’ Creed study – more will receive Jesus too.

In the current sermon series we are dealing essential doctrines like understanding God the Father – God the Son – and God the Holy Spirit. We are dealing with the Virgin Birth – the death of Christ – His resurrection – eternity (eternal life) – the holy catholic church – and more. This series began in August and will run thru October. If you live in the area – join us! If not – listen online when the messages are uploaded to our website – www.fumcl.org.

Before we read today’s passage – here is a truth we must all understand – Satan is real! Satan is out to steal our joy and our peace. If possible – Satan is out to steal our walk with Jesus. Today’s passage is from the story about Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Temptations are real and every day – even constant. We can find today’s story in Matthew chapter 4.  Here is a wider view of today’s passage. Continue reading

August 29, 2019 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

Day 21 of Lent 2018

Matthew 25:31-33

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Today is Day 21 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying and keeping up with the 40 Day reading plan. I am appreciating them myself as we walk to the cross. They are a blessing to write and a blessing to re-read each day.

Today’s reading is a very familiar one – the separation of the sheep and the goats at the end of time. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Every nation – every person – will be gathered – before the throne of God. God will divide them – like a shepherd divides sheep and goats. Here is a simple question – which are we? Are we a disciple of Christ or not? Don’t pull punches and try to fool anyone. Sincerely answer the question! Continue reading

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 19 of Lent 2018

John 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Day 19 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com is a catch up day. I begin today with a very basic passage. John 3:16 – God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. I pray you are using today to catch up if you are behind. I also hope that God is blessing you through this study. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan. I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross.

Stay tuned for tomorrow as we get back on track with day 20. Continue reading

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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