Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Allow the Holy Spirit to Connect with Our Spirit

Romans 8:27

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Rays HaircutDuring this pandemic – many of us have probably been speechless at times. There have probably been times when we just couldn’t imagine what we are facing or will face in the future. I know there have been times when I couldn’t express myself and I simply let out a roar or primitive scream. I know some parents and some children have had some new experiences around the house – out of school for so long or trying to learn new skills with online learning.

During this pandemic – many of us miss gathering for worship. I spoke today on the phone with a number of our folks and to the person they asked me – pastor – when will we be able to meet at our church again? Several have been able to view our services online – but others have not been able to do so. I think we’ll ask those seniors if they had DVD players and cut a few with several weeks of worship on them. Continue reading

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Men of Courage!

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Rays HaircutAs much as I believe that God can use men – women and children to spread the Gospel and to touch the hearts of others – I strongly believe that men have a special calling in the church and in God’s plan.  Fathers especially have an impact – an influence on the faith of their families. This is not patriarchal. This is a reality in God’s design.

I found a Crosswalk Article that quoted a survey published in 2000 (I couldn’t find the survey from the Barna Group). Here is a portion of the survey results quoted from the Crosswalk article.

“If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. Continue reading

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 39 of Lent 2020

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Ray 2020Today is day 39 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – the final two days. It is Holy Week – Easter is this Sunday. Today’s passage is another about the Servant of the Lord. This could be about Isaiah – it could be about Jesus – it might even be about us. Read it and let me know what you think.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we begin to look at some passages that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last week on earth? How we would face out death – when we had the power to avoid it?

Am I the only one having a hard time remembering what day it is during this pandemic? I have to remind myself each day. It seems like a groundhog day repeat. What we do know – without a doubt – is that each and every day – Jesus is the King and wants to be our Lord! Continue reading

April 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Who Are With Us Are More

2 Kings 6:16

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

img_0063-2I’ve been spending some time today and over the last year (or even 4 decades) – praying and thinking about the predicament the United Methodist Church finds itself in these days. More and more the minority of the denomination but the majority in the USA have been pulling our denomination away from traditional Scriptural truths. It seems like time and again the left or liberal portion of the Methodist Church has been succumbing to the standards of the world rather than the standards of God’s Word.

Over our history – others have pulled away from the main Methodist group because they believed the denomination was leaving the core Biblical truths. There are many Wesleyan denominations – branching off from the core Methodist Church. Here is a list of some of the Wesleyan/Methodist churches in the USA. There are other branches around the world. African Methodist Episcopal ChurchAfrican Methodist Episcopal Zion ChurchAllegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Wesleyan Methodist Church)Association of Independent MethodistsBethel Methodist ChurchBible Methodist Connection of ChurchesChristian Methodist Episcopal ChurchChurch of the NazareneCongregational Methodist ChurchEvangelical Methodist Church of AmericaEvangelical Methodist ChurchEvangelical Wesleyan ChurchFirst Congregational Methodist ChurchFree Methodist Church, The – North AmericaFundamental Methodist ConferenceMethodist Protestant ChurchNational Association of Wesleyan EvangelicalsPrimitive Methodist ChurchSouthern Congregational Methodist ChurchSouthern Methodist ChurchUnited Methodist ChurchWesleyan Church.

As far as I can tell – almost all of these branches of the Wesleyan or Methodist theological strand are more conservative than the current UMC. At some point – each decided to disassociate with the Methodist core or main denomination. Continue reading

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Essential Doctrines of Our Faith

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.

img_0063-2What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too we can 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 or is program the leading concern?

If having a Biblically based church is high on your priority list – what doctrines would be essential for you to have fellowship with a church family? We’ve talked about essentials in a life-partner before. The three I shared with my daughters – while they were growing up – was to find a man who loved Jesus – a man who loves them – and a man who has a good work ethic. What are you essential life-partner rules? What would be your three essential doctrines as you grow in your faith? Continue reading

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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