Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Evangelism Is Essential

Matthew 9:37–38

37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Life ChangeAt First United Methodist Church of Laurel, MD, we talk a lot about evangelism, about reaching the lost for Christ. Evangelism is not a dirty word folks! In the Great Commission, we are called to go and make disciples. Matthew 28:19–20 – 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Making disciples is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is evangelism.

Evangelism is – according to one definition I found online, the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness. A Scripture that defines evangelism, that gives us an example of telling the story of the Gospel, can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 – Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,  and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. Continue reading

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April 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Focus on God – Live Out Our Faith

2 Corinthians 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life ChangeI love this passage. It so speaks to focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. Focusing on the things of God and the promises of God rather than on what we can see with our eyes – understand with our minds – or hold in our hands. Unfortunately – many of us often focus on what we can see rather than what has been promised.

An example of this is Abraham and Sarah. They were promised by God that they would have many descendants – but late in life they couldn’t see the promise fulfilled so they took things into their own hands. Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear him children because she was barren (Genesis 16). Of course God wasn’t late in fulfilling His promise – God gave Abraham and Sarah a child – Isaac – and he did become the father of a great nation – the Hebrews. Hagar’s son did as well. His name was Ishmael – and he became the father of Muslims. Continue reading

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent Starts on Sunday

Matthew 3:1-2

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Life ChangeAdvent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. As we approach Christmas – we are reminded – often – I hope – that Christmas is all about Jesus coming into the world. Christmas is not about buying and selling things. It is about the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ – the babe in the manger that grew to be the man who was the Lamb of God that died on the cross to pay for our sins.

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What are you hoping for this year? Peace on earth is always a good wish. Maybe peace between the political parties of our nation? Maybe peace on the southern border of our nation? Maybe that people would get it and love their neighbors?

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What will we do leading up to Christmas this year? Will we anticipate the coming of Christ into our lives – once again? In Tuesdays Bible study we talked about the difference between people who claim to be a Christian and those who have had a born-again experience. I don’t mean that unless you have had a radical change in your life you aren’t a Christian. Many Christians have grown up in faith and feel that they always believed. But – even those people need a point in time – a time when they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior – and not just a faith they learned from their parents. Being born-again means being saved. Being saved is not something that you can gain through osmosis – it is a personal decision to follow Jesus. Continue reading

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Essentials in Life

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMRecently at a Bible Study I asked those in attendance – What are your essentials of faith? How would you answer that question? Do we base our faith on any essentials? Do we have any irrefutable truths you bank on in your walk with Jesus? Are there any absolutes for you?

What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too to attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision? Continue reading

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Good and Perfect Gift

James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

RayMcDCan you remember any gifts you’ve gotten over the years? I remember my first new bike (my sister and I shared an old one together but one Christmas we both got new bikes). It was a red bike – because red has always been my favorite color. I rode that bike – almost every day. It was my favorite gift that year. I kept it for many years. I would later put a banana seat on it and monkey handlebars (you have to be old to remember those). I remember putting old baseball cards in the wheel spokes to make noise like a motorcycle at my cousins. I delivered papers with that bike – putting a basket on the front and two saddle bags on either side of the rear wheel. But – alas – it got old and eventually I had to get another bike. But – while it lasted – it was a great gift.

Can you remember any gifts you’ve gotten over the years? I remember once – when my brother and I were into the show Combat – we got walkie-talkies. We would talk on them all the time – pretending to be soldiers. We played in the church cemetery and in the sand dunes behind my grandmother’s house. But – alas – they broke and were of no use after a while. Continue reading

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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