Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Do We Treasure the Most?

Matthew 6:20

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Ray 2019It is getting cold outside. My wood furnace has been fired up a few times this fall already. I have wood stocked up and I’m ready. My wood furnace heats my whole house. I will fire it up again in the morning!

I had a funeral yesterday – and standing outside in the cemetery – people were shivering. I had to get out my heavy overcoat when I saw the temps for the day. My overcoat kept me warm – while others were shivering. I felt bad for them – but – they could have come prepared too. I didn’t keep them out there for long. Some didn’t even have jackets on – it was tough.

Speaking of getting the heavy jackets out – have you ever put on a coat or other piece of clothing that you haven’t worn for some time – only to be surprised what you find in the pockets? I have found money – lifesavers – mints – and other items I was missing – or thought was long gone. Finding money is a great surprise – right?

Don’t you just love when people – searching for something – say things like – it was in the last place I looked. Of course it was – if you kept looking after you found it- we’d have you carted off. Continue reading

December 4, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Clothing Matters

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDear readers – did we have a favorite piece of clothing growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a favorite red baseball hat. In many of my childhood pictures – from a certain age – that was what I had on.

I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything too dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City as a young teen. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I when I have a funeral – I will bring my collar and my suit jacket to work with me – so I can change before the service. I will return to the office for meetings after the funeral and put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it or a regular polo shirt. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would Jesus Weep at Our Grave?

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amAs a pastor – I am often called upon many times in the course of a year to celebrate the life of folks from our church and from our community. As I have recently mentioned – it has been nearly 7 years since we celebrated my father’s life. I have also celebrated the life of my mother and my father-in-law. Some day I will help the family celebrate my mother-in-laws life – unless they celebrate mine beforehand.

Someone once said – in this world you can be certain of two things – death and taxes. Some attribute this to Benjamin Franklin. It is a true statement. We weren’t created to die – we were created to live eternally. Yet – because of sin – we are born to die.

Folks – even folks who only know me on the day of the celebration of their loved one’s life – say I hold a nice service – a comforting service – a service that brings them into the presence of God. Recently a man said – I’m not a religious man – but you said some things that touched me today. Another women told me – you made celebrating my father’s life doable. I thought I would be too broken to get through the service. God has gifted me with the ability to connect with people and to help people to be at ease and to remember the good as they celebrate the life of a loved one. Continue reading

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Other Side of the Casket

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

June 2019This verse came to mind almost seven years ago as I sat in the front row at my father’s burial.  For 36 years I had been on the other side of the coffin – trying to give words of encouragement and lifting prayers on behalf of the grieving family. Other than my two grandmothers (both grandfathers died before I was born or when I was an infant) I have not lost anyone close – other than some childhood friends. With my maternal grandmother died I was in the family section – not upfront. I did celebrate my paternal grandmother’s life as her pastor. I have not had a close family member pass since – until my father died. We had both sets of parents – still married to each other and living strong!

I am a pretty emotional person – and I think I held up pretty well through the visitation time and at the funeral (almost broke down once during the sermon and as the coffin was being closed the previous night). There I was – placing the cocoon that held my father into the ground and yet I was an emotional wreck.  I knew it wasn’t my father. I knew he was with Jesus. I knew the story of the butterfly I have told hundreds of times and even shared it at my father’s graveside service – but the emotions of the moment hit me hard. Continue reading

July 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clothe Ourselves in Christ

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

June 2019Dear readers – did any of us have a favorite piece of clothing growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a red baseball hat. In many of my childhood pictures – from a certain age – that was what I had on. I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything dressy. When I was in my early teen years – I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City one year. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I when I have a funeral – I will bring my collar and my suit jacket to work with me – so I can change before the service. I will return to the office for meetings after the funeral and put on my church shirt – typically a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

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

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