Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

May: A Call to Prayer

John 17:18

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

IMG_0301We had an amazing discussion at our quarterly congregational meeting last night. The reason today’s devotional thought is late – is partially because that meeting was so great – I wanted time to think about today’s post – and I was tied up with something else this morning.

The group that met discussed our purpose. Of course – our calling – from God – is to make disciples to follow Jesus Christ. We get that command from the Great Commission – Matthew 28:16-20 – 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

There were loads of good ideas about our purpose and some ministries we could tackle that would have great impact – if enough people caught the vision and helped. As we discussed a few ideas and were getting a little excited – it was mentioned that before any great movement of God – we are called to pray. Continue reading

May 1, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Bless Those Who Seek His Face

Psalm 119:2

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart

IMG_0301I just became a granddad – a Pop – for the fourth time. It never gets old – believe me. My grandchildren – in their birth order – are named Vyrie – Justice – Scarlett – and the latest addition to the team – London. I love them each for different and same reasons (some day I will go into the reasons in another post).

London comes to us – some might say – as a miracle baby. Her parents tried for years to conceive – and yet were unable to do so. They went to the doctors and did all the things they were told to do (they had already gone to the heavenly doctor and never stopped going there first and foremost). They continued to pray. They continued to seek God’s face for their family. They had always planned to adopt – so Justice became part of our family. Continue reading

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Gethsemane Moments

Matthew 26:39

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

IMG_0301We make decisions everyday! Some are very basic – like do we get up when the alarm goes off or do we hit the snooze button? We might debate with ourselves whether to get up a little early to do some exercise or spend more time doing our devotions?

We make decisions everyday! I know some young people who are making decisions right now about what school to attend when they graduate High School. Some visit different schools to see if it feels right for them. Some will make the decision according to their major or at times – according to their financial situation. Some will make the decision to stay close to home – some will want to get as far away from home as possible.

We make decisions everyday! Some decisions are related to work and some are related to family. Some are personal – some are professional. Even deciding what to have for lunch is a decision. Continue reading

April 17, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage: It Takes Hard Work

1 Corinthians 13:5

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

IMG_0301We’ve all read 1 Corinthians 13 or heard it read at weddings.  It presents God’s love – perfect love – and is used as an example of how a couple’s love should be modeled (although none of us measure up perfectly).  The passage that speaks most to me in this chapter is the last phrase of the 5th verse – it keeps no record of wrongs.

Marriage is hard work (as I said in yesterday’s message titled Biblical Marriage).  If we were striving to model our marriage and our love after God’s love – we would realize that when we keep a record of wrongs – and we all have wrongs – we set ourselves up for failure.  Love wipes the slate clean and allows for us to heal our wounds and move forward. Continue reading

April 13, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does it Cost to Follow Jesus?

Matthew 10:37-38

37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

IMG_0301It is Good Friday. I had a funeral this morning for a long time friend from a previous church and a Good Friday service tonight at the church I presently serve. It is the day that our Lord sacrificed His life for me – for you – for all humanity – He paid for the sins of the world.

One thing I have always preached – there is a cost to follow Jesus. Salvation is free – but to truly follow Christ – there is a cost. That cost is a denial of self and an acceptance of God’s will in our lives. It is that Gethsemane moment where our will and God’s will clash – the cost is denying self and doing God’s will. The free gift of salvation requires a denial of self!

Here is today’s passage in partial context – it will help us understand the cost of following Jesus. Matthew 10:32-39 – 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Continue reading

April 3, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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