Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Why Are We United Methodist?

Mark 1:17

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amThis is another of my reworked devotionals. Seems some things never change or at least stay the same for a long time. The original post was from 3 years ago – as we had just faced GC20176 and were headed to GC2019. The message from this devotional is still current and accurate as we now head to GC2020.

In today’s climate – this might be a very serious question. Why Am I a United Methodist today?

This is a simple question but it might have complicated answers. Let’s look at a few.

One might answer – because the church I go to is United Methodist. It is the church closest to my home or the church I have always attended. I really haven’t thought of why before but maybe I should.

One might answer – because I grew up in the United Methodist Church. It is the church my parents attended and I have just never thought much about changing or trying another church.

One might answer – because I believe in the method of their theological discernment. Now we’re starting to dive a little deeper. Have any of us thought this deep about our relationship with the denomination we attend.

One might answer – I don’t know! This might be a more common answer than we would like.

One might answer – United Methodist?  You mean I’m United Methodist?

Continue reading

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August 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Come Follow Me” – Jesus Said

Mark 1:17

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Life ChangeThis is a reworked devotional – produced on Tuesday for Friday so I won’t need to write a new one while I’m at Annual Conference.

In today’s climate – this might be a very serious question. Why Am I a United Methodist today?

This is a simple question but it might have complicated answers. Let’s look at a few.

One might answer – because the church I go to is United Methodist. It is the church closest to my home or the church I have always attended. I really haven’t thought of why before but maybe I should.

One might answer – because I grew up in the United Methodist Church. It is the church my parents attended and I have just never thought much about changing or trying another church.

One might answer – because I believe in the method of their theological discernment. Now we’re starting to dive a little deeper. Have any of us thought this deep about our relationship with the denomination we attend. Do we understand the theological process of discernment for the United Methodist Church?

One might answer – I don’t know! This might be a more common answer than we would like.

One might answer – United Methodist?  You mean I’m United Methodist? Continue reading

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20 of Lent 2018

Matthew 25:14

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.”

Today is Day 20 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan. I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as we walk to the cross.

A previous day’s reading ended with Matthew 25:13 – “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” We start today’s lesson with verse 14 – “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” We must keep watch (13) and we must be faithful to the One who left us – only to return for us. At First UMC we believe that one of the ways we can be faithful while we await Christ’s return is to reach the whole family – everyone – for Christ. How can we help our church family to help the kingdom? Continue reading

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No One Can Serve Two Masters

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

RayMcDOk – Christmas is coming – ready or not. Christmas has turned into a commercial season for many for sure. Buying gifts is all the rage. Stores are trying all sorts of ways to get you to buy from them – online stores as well. The advertisements are amazing at times.

Christmas is a good time to determine where our priorities are for sure. When we check our expenditures for Christmas compared to say what we give to God’s work through His church – we might get the idea. When God’s Word says much about giving to God and God’s work but nothing about giving gifts to one another at Christmas – we might realize that we have bought into the lies about Christmas. Instead of a season to give to God it has turned into a season to out do the neighbors and spoil our children and grandchildren.

Our church – not unlike many churches this time of the year – is behind in our giving in relationship to our budget. We budgeted what we thought was a conservative budget for the working of God’s work for 2016. Unfortunately – for a variety of reasons – our giving has not kept up with our expectations. Continue reading

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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