Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice. Continue reading

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

God’s Love

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgIf there is one thing I’m naturally good at – it is knowing what is fair. I have an inner sense – an ability – to know what is fair and what is not fair. I can remember telling other children – that making rules up as the game went along – is not fair (like hits over the right field fence in the backyard are outs – only because they all hit right-handed and I hit left-handed – you’ll have to understand a little baseball to get that one.)

When we were children – I remember coming up with the idea – not an original idea I’m sure – when we were splitting an apple or piece of pie – for one to cut and the other one getting to choose which piece they wanted.

Andy Stanley once said that he told his children as they were growing up that life isn’t fair – that fairness ended in the Garden of Eden. Theologically – he was correct. Fairness – theologically – is that we would all be headed to hell on our own merit. We’re told in Scripture that we all have sinned. Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We’re told in Scripture that what we have earned from our sin is death – yet the gift that God gives us – undeservingly – is life – even eternal life. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Continue reading

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Up!

Psalm 103:10

…he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgGrowing up – everything had to be fair. Whatever I got – my brother had to have one. My mom was so fair with us that she kept a book and recorded everything she bought us for Christmas to make sure things evened out – to the penny.

Growing up – we played a lot of games. One of my favorite memories is playing ball in the backyard with my brother. We played whiffle ball and had rules like – hitting the shed on the fly was an automatic double – over the fence in left field where the neighbor had a mean dog was an out (and you had to retrieve the ball) but over the fence in center – where a nice neighbor lived was a homer. Just like the pros – we had to have the ground rules clear from the start so that it would be fair for all involved – my brother and me! Continue reading

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanking God IN All Circumstances

1 Thessalonians 5:18

…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

RevRayLife isn’t always fair.  I know I’m not telling anyone anything they didn’t already know.  Life brings good times and not so good times (and everything in between).  A saying I’ve used for nearly 35 years goes like this – happiness is circumstantially driven while joy is spiritually derived.  Of course – circumstances change and they don’t always bring about happiness.  I mean – the same situation that brings me happiness can change and bring me sorrow with a change in the circumstances.  It only takes a change of the circumstances to bring about a change in my mood.

I can wrap my brain around that concept.  But today’s passage – it gives me pause.  Circumstances change and some bring about good feelings and some bring about not so good feelings.  Some cause harm and some cause blessing.  Some are welcome and some are not.  Yet today the Scripture says give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Continue reading

June 10, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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