Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Stand Up And Be Counted

Esther 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMNot too long ago I attended a gathering of clergy from the Laurel area. Our common ground is our love for Jesus and our evangelistic approach to spreading the gospel. We differ in many ways – like age – gender – race – size of our churches – and our personal stories – as we learned today as some of us shared some of our journey.

Race is a huge issue in our nation these days – as it has been for generations it seems. Some of what the media put before us in the last month or so has heightened our awareness that racism (hatred and bigotry toward a difference race) is still alive and unfortunately in some circles – still thriving. Racism is found in every race – and is expressed toward persons of other races. Instead of judging a person by the content of their heart – their character – some still in 2018 judge people by the hue of their skin. We must all be in prayer for one another and do whatever we can to destroy racism in our hearts and in our churches and communities. Racism is sin and as such can only be overcome by Jesus and His love. Continue reading

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October 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Adventure With Jesus

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

I remember playing pretend as a child. My brother and I would dress up like soldiers and playing Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow. I even had a plastic machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and beside grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage. It was great fun pretending.

We just finished a week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme was having great adventures – Rolling River Rampage. The children had a blast. They had great adventures on the river and learned about Jesus. They imagined a number of adventures on the river. We collected funds to support those devastated by the rising river in Ellicott City.

They learned that some adventures are imaginary – and some are real – like walking with Jesus can be an adventure but it is for real! We learned that following Jesus – who died to pay for our sins and to allow us into a right relationship with God the Father – can be a great adventure too. We were also encouraged to tell others of our excitement – being in an adventure with Jesus. Continue reading

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 43 of Lent 2018

Matthew 26:14

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests

Today is day 43 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – Holy Week. Today’s passage is about Judas and how he planned to spy on Jesus. Whether he was simply used by Satan – or was evil himself – or was simply trying to force Jesus’ hand to overtake Rome – he waited for an opportunity.

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 continue 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. I cannot imagine how Judas could have turned Jesus over to the chief priests. Continue reading

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 41 of Lent 2018

Isaiah 42:1

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”

Today is day 41 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – Holy Week. Today’s passage is the Servant of the Lord. As we remember the last week of Jesus’ earthly life – we remember how many Old Testament passages He fulfilled as the Lord’s anointed and servant.

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. Continue reading

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 12 of Lent 2018

Matthew 4:1

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

Today is day 12 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. My prayer is that God will draw us into a deeper relationship with Him during this Lenten season.

Here’s today’s reading – it is about Jesus’ temptations. We’re learning about temptations during our sermon series during Lent – The Wilderness Experience. Join us on Sundays at 8:30 or 11 am at First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel, Maryland. There is always room for one more and we would love to share worship with you. Continue reading

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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