Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Unity or Division?

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

We’re in the middle of an election year. The DNC is holding their national convention to nominate and lift up their candidate for President – former VP Joe Biden. I’ve listened to a little of their event and at times it seems more about tearing down the current POTUS than lifting up their candidate. Maybe that is the way politics is done these days – trying to tell us who we don’t want rather than who we do want.

The RNC will hold their convention next and I wonder if the same pattern follows – with more time spent on tearing dow the opponent than lifting up their candidate – President Donald Trump? Wouldn’t you like to hear more about why their candidate would be the best and what they want to accomplish?

I wish there were better candidates (am I alone?). But – what I would like – given where we are – is an honest attempt to explain why we should vote for their candidate more so than why we shouldn’t vote for the other candidate. But alas – negative – divisive comments are all the rage it seems – and social media and the national media often lead the way.

The questions we used to hear from incumbents are these – are you better off today than you were 4 years ago and if they answer is yes to that first question – the next might be – do you want four more years of that prosperity? At times – in challenger might ask these questions too – in the reverse – telling us how we would be better with them and their ideas.

Continue reading

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Post From Before Coronavirus

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

This post was originally posted on January 28, 2020. It was pre-coronavirus. It was before the pandemic changed all of our lives. I thought it was an interesting look at life before the pandemic.

– – – – – – – – – –

It is no secret – I like golf. The weather has been nice in January and I have gotten out already in 2020. Golf doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with as well. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. Two friends and I walked 18 holes a week or so ago. We were dragging coming up 18 (an uphill walk) – but we had fun. Continue reading

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life – It Keeps Changing!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Rays HaircutLife – it keeps changing! A number of things in my own life have changed – and keep changing. This summer I will have been married for 40 years. It has been 47 years since I graduated High School. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today. My children – my babies – are fully grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with my granddaughters. Soon my grandson from South Korea will be home (I can’t wait). I’ve been in ministry for 44 years. I continue to think about retirement (although I hope I will still be active in ministry in retirement).

Life – it keeps changing! No baseball yet! Maybe not this season. No basketball yet! They’re talking about using Disneyland. Football is trying to get started soon for the fall. The Ravens had an amazing season last year and I hope they play even better this coming year. Golf is just starting to have live events. NASCAR was the first live sport to come back – if you don’t count cornhole!

Life – it keeps changing! Churches are meeting online and others are talking about reopening their facilities. Things have changed – things we thought would never change.

Continue reading

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 31 of Lent 2020

Matthew 6:16

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Ray 2020Today is day 31 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan. Remember – Sundays are not counted in the 40 days. I hope you have stayed current with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about fasting.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny yourself – to dig deeper into your walk with Jesus. Fasting is one way to do this. Fasting is denying yourself of something. You can fast from food or a certain type of food. You can fast from technology (a youth pastor I worked with did this one Lent) – or you can fast from social media (right now that might be tough with the pandemic restrictions).

Not only are we to deny ourselves of something – we are to replace that item with more of Jesus. For instance – if we are fasting from something – when we feel tempted to eat it or do it – we should spend time praying or digging into God’s Word. Continue reading

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 30 of Lent 2020

Joel 2:12

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Ray 2020Today is day 30 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days). We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. My prayer is that we will be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus during this Lenten season. This Lent – more than any other – will mark us. We will remember our spiritual and physical journey during this Lent. We will look back at this time of pandemic – of isolation – and we pray we will remember that it was God that carried us through.

I found this passage recently – and it was in line with today’s passage. Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Today’s passage is along the same line – as I wrote. We are called to return to God with all our heart.

Where is our heart today? Is our heart centered on God? Is it becoming more and more focused – during this isolation. Continue reading

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: