Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Should Let Our Light Shine

Philippians 2:15-16

15 Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Life ChangeHave you ever looked out into the night sky and watched the stars? If you live in an urban area – this might be a little hard – but if you live in a rural area like I do – it is a sight to behold. The stars shine brightly in the clear night sky. When I was a teenager – I used to love sitting on the roof top of our family home – just outside my upstairs bedroom window – watching the sky (my room had a window that opened onto the roof and I slipped out there some nights – my parents didn’t know – I think – unless my brother ratted on me – we shared a room).

Let’s look at today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 2:12–18 – 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Continue reading

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 24

Luke 1:31-33

…And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

christmas-2During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

One of the most amazing things about our church is the feeling of family. We are not a large church, more like a medium size church, and because of that we can really get to know each other. I haven’t been attending for generations like some of our members but I have attended long enough to be considered by some as part of the old guard. I must admit that I have felt at home from the first Sunday I attended, welcomed by almost everyone. It is this friendly and welcoming spirit that drew me back each week when I first started attending and it is what I try to show to newer people now. I see Jesus in this friendly church. For those of us who do not have generations of family living near each other, this church has become my family. I love that our pastor and leaders believe in the Bible and are not afraid in this day and age to preach it and teach it. I love that we have a staff and a group of people that care for our facility and that it almost always looks sharp and clean. I love our outreach ministries and our willingness, most of us, to do new things. But what I love the most is the family feel. I hope we never lose that feeling. Merry Christmas my family.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 23

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

christmas-praises-23During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Christmas has always been a family Christ centered holiday for me. It’s a time when we gather with family, including some family members that we may only see once a year. Our church family at FUMCL has always been an important part of Christmas and became even more important when we lost a parent and dealt with that grief during the Christmas season 5 years ago. Then 2 months later, we lost our final parent/grandparent unexpectedly. FUMCL is an extended family for all 4 of us. We have been at First Church since our oldest was very young. Prior to that we attended the church that I grew up in but came to First Church when we were looking for something MORE for our young family. First Church became that MORE that we were looking for. The Christmas season would not be the same without spending time with our extended blood family as well as our First Church family!

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 14

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

christmas-14During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Rev. Ray, Christmas for me has always been a time of remembering. I remember times past shared with family, some long gone. I remember the warm feelings I get during this season. The special music, I’m glad we sing Christmas songs during Advent, at First Church always blesses me. First Church is like most families, we have good days and not so good days. First Church is where I feel the Spirit of God. First Church is my family away from my biological family. I especially like the circle we make at the eleven o’clock Christmas Eve service as we light the candles while singing Silent Night. It wouldn’t be Christmas for me without that service. My prayer this Christmas is for our church to draw closer together and to serve our Lord in our community. I see Jesus in each smile and desire for us to pull together for Jesus.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 10

Luke 2:13-14

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Colored christmas glass balls isolated on white backgroundDuring the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

When I moved to America from England I was 8 months pregnant and we had a three-year-old. It was very important to me to find a place (like our church in England ) where my three-year-old would feel loved, supported and would learn about Jesus so that all of the massive changes in his life wouldn’t feel so scary. There were months when we had no church home or church family those were very hard months for us. When I visited FUMCL I was impressed by the love and generosity of the child care workers and how vibrantly they would share the love of Jesus with my son. What has been a blessing beyond what I could have imagined has been the support that my Sunday school class has given me with my now 18 month old. Now both of my boys get excited for “church day.”

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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