Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Gifting Of The Church Part III

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDThis is the third part of this series. I’m not sure yet how many parts there will be. Today we will follow up yesterday’s article on verses 12-13. Those verses gave us a purpose for the gifting of the church and today I want to write about the result of the gifting of the church as we take a look at verse 14.

The gifting of the church is so we might glorify the Lord we saw yesterday. When God gifts us we are to use that gifting to uplift and serve the Body of Christ. Verse 14 tells us some of the results – then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. The gifting of the church then is to give the people of God a foundation and secure hold on truth.

Remember the church of Laodicea? They were lukewarm – many of them – not firmly grounded in their faith (hot or cold). They were swayed to and fro with this belief and the next. Paul also had a heart for them and strived to ground them in the truth. Continue reading

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

As For Me And Mine!

Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

RayMcDFamily traditions – they create memories. In a few months my family will try to enjoy a family weekend without mom or dad. Our family traditionally returns to my mother’s home town for a family reunion. I have many memories – growing up – revolving around this annual trek. My children do as well. Other families have barbecues or go to a ball game or open the pool on this weekend. What are your memories for Memorial weekend?

Family traditions – they create memories. What memories can you remember? Special memories developed around what your family did/does on the 4th of July (cookout at my brother’s home) – Labor Day (wear work clothes to church) – Thanksgiving (serving meals) – Christmas (family night at our home) – and other special days. What about something special for your birthday or anniversary (some even celebrate the anniversary of their first date). I know someone who makes memories at Disney – not only annually but often each year! Continue reading

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carry Your Own Cross

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

RayMcDAs I get older – one of the things I’ve noticed about our society – is that there are more people than ever that seem to feel like someone owes them something or someone else is responsible for their behavior or choices. People do horrific things and blame others for their actions. People make unwise decisions and expect someone else to pay their bills or repair the damage their decisions have made. It seems like more people are on government programs – government subsidies – receiving money from the government (tax payers) – than ever before.

Thanks for letting me on my soapbox for a paragraph. I know the subject is more detailed than my simply observations – but that is how it looks to me. It seems like some people – even more people today than ever before – want something for nothing.

Some in the church even think this way. Salvation is free they say – and yes – the cost of salvation is free – having been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him – John records this – John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Paul – writing about salvation – about grace – wrote this – Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. So we see that the penalty has been paid – the cost of our sins is covered – yet Paul says this grace comes through faith in Christ – the Hebrew people had to apply the blood of the lamb on their doorposts for death to pass them over – and today we are called to follow Christ – to be His disciples. Continue reading

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Good Is It?

James 2:14

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

112015 Ray McDonaldWhat good is it – if you shoot a 35 (even par) on the back 9 – if you already shot a 46 (10 over par) on the front 9? Sure – an 81 is a good score for me – anywhere from 76 to 83 would be considered a good round for me – but with 4 pars on the bad nine – that means I blew 10 shots on 5 holes (yes – 2 snowmen were involved if you know what I mean).  I’m working on a new swing and I might have worked it out on the second 9 – we’ll see.  I know one thing – my putter was hot today!  Oh to be consistent one day!

What good is it – if you eat well all day but pig out on a Snickers bar at the end of the day (not saying I did this – just wondering what good it would be)? Dieting half the day has very little value if you chow down on a half-gallon of ice cream at the end of the day (again – not saying I did this – at least not recently).  In order to get the diet to be helpful – one must be consistent – one must follow up a good day with another good day! Continue reading

April 19, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope In The Lord!

Isaiah 40:31

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

112015 Ray McDonaldHope in the Orioles! They started the season 7-0 and have a good balance – in such a small sample size – of hitting – power – pitching – and defense. They lost last night for the first time this season and still hold a 2.5 game lead over the second place team 8 games into the new season. They are hitting homers at a record pace and their pitching has been better than they expected. I have hope in the Orioles!

Hope in the Warriors! Possibly the best team in NBA history – last night they won their 73rd win of the season to break the previous record of 72 set by the Bulls in 95-96 season. The Bulls were led by Michael Jordan while the Warriors are led by Stephen Curry. Curry broke his own record for made 3’s in a season. His previous record for an NBA season was 286 and this season he hit on 402 3’s. Hope in the Warriors!

What is it we have hope in these days? Hope in our health? Hope in our wealth? Hope in our marriage? Hope in our children? Hope in our church? Hope in our faith? Continue reading

April 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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