Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Become Like Little Children

Matthew 18:3

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

My wife and I have five grandchildren. They remind us of when we had little children. Children have a way of trusting – at least until we prove untrustworthy. They will do most anything you ask of them – or at least try it – as long as they feel you are there to catch them or help them or look after them.

I remember my oldest daughter Shelly – when she was two or so. We had gone camping and the campground we were at had a jungle gym type apparatus. She was on the top level and I urged her to jump to daddy. She came to the edge of the platform – her feet were above my head – and jumped into her daddy’s arms. I caught her of course. A year later – we went to the same place and tried the same process. This time she came to the edge and said – but dad I might fall and hurt myself. In a short year – she went from totally trusting her dad to catch her to adding some doubt (by the way – she eventually jumped after some coaching). Continue reading

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Comfortable In Our Faith Walk?

Matthew 10:32

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have we ever taken the time to figure out what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like? If we have – have we tried to be that person? Would we say that being a disciple is something that would be easy or hard – comfortable or a stretch?

How does being a disciple of Jesus Christ play out in our lives? Do we know what God desires of us? Do we seek His face and desire His grace? Are we in a comfortable place – as a disciple – or are we struggling with the place God placed us? Are we being stretched as a disciple or are we comfortable? Is God calling us to places that will require our faith to work or do we find ourselves in places where we can rest and be comfortable? Continue reading

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

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.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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