Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Where Do You See Jesus 5

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – from time to time – I will be posting comments by our readers. I’d like folks to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously. I will try to post a comment as often as they come in so send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

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December 20, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Our Little Piece

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Today is the last day of our VBS (Vacation Bible School) for 2017. I posted this on Facebook this morning early. Up early to thank God for the awesome folks at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. Today is the last day of VBS. This ministry is such an expression of love for Jesus, the community, and for the memory of Linda Ryan. I’m honored to serve those who serve for Jesus. They are all heroes to me!

As we finish another year of VBS – I’m taking a look at today’s passage – especially the final part of today’s passage that say – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. VBS is part of the final part of that 4th verse – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. I have marveled at the number of persons who have given of themselves all week to help train our children and the children of the community in the ways of Jesus! Continue reading

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Keep Our Eyes On God!

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? Leave a comment or two!  Mine has had ups and downs.  I’m doing well with the fast from sodas.  I’m spending more time with Jesus.  My devotional life is going well – but I’m still battling some things.  I keep praying about them and I encourage you to lift me in your prayers!

I mentioned my father-in-law and my father in a recent post and thought I would again – it just seemed appropriate. In today’s passage – the author informs us – that he considers all of God’s works and meditates on all of God’s deeds. I often remember the things my father and father-in-law did in their lives and taught me. Is there someone in your life – whose teachings and deeds you remember?  I pray there is!  If not – maybe you can be that someone for someone else!

Today’s lesson is from a Psalm that begins with the following two verses. Psalm 77:1–2 – I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. Continue reading

February 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Onto His Teachings

John 8:31

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? Are there any words from the Lord through your increased prayer life? My sermon Sunday about worship was mainly something that came to me during a recent extended prayer time.

I was also thinking about dates and stuff – brought on by the recent passing of my father-in-law. It has been 3½ years since my father passed. I will turn 61 next month. This spring I will celebrate 43 years since I graduated High School. This summer my wife and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage. Starting this summer I will be in my 40th year of ministry. July 1st I will begin my 4th year sharing with the fine people of First United Methodist Church in Laurel – Maryland. All of these dates will come about – the Lord willing.

Throughout this life of mine – I have learned a great deal from many. My father was my key instructor through much of my life. Not only lessons on being a man and a father – but – because we shared callings – he taught me much in the way of being a pastor. In high school – college – and seminary – I learned much as well. I remember lessons learned from Mr. Bridger in Science. I learned a great deal from Big Al Larimore – both on and off the court. I learned a great deal from a dear friend – Harry Dobson. In ministry – aside from my father – I have learned a great deal from Rev. Ed Ankeny – one of my first bosses in ministry. I learned a great deal from an early DS – Rev. Richard Clifford. Many of my colleagues in ministry have taught me so much. I continue to learn much from my wife Carolyn – my life partner – and from my children – Shelly – Nicole – Jaclyn – Justin & Jason. And new lessons are being learned daily from my four granddaughters – Vyrie – Justice – Scarlett & London (namely that Pop knows when to give them back to a parent – LOL). Continue reading

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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