Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What God Has Prepared for Us!

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Life ChangeI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. It syncs to my phone and my other devices. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocery store (it actually works when she remembers to check it – lol). I use a program that keeps all of my important info or data (no secrets or deep treasures) available to me wherever I am. I plan out future sermons well in advance. I try to give as much information to the worship team as possible – as far out as possible. I allow our office assistant to review and even edit my work calendar. I have my work & personal calendar and several other calendars on my devices. My wife and I have planned – financially – for our retirement (we have a target figure and conditions we wish to achieve before we retire). In other words – and I could go on and on – I plan and try to execute my plan(s).

Are you a planner? Do you make plans or do you fly by the seat of your pants? One of my favorite saying is – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it. Making plans is important for most of us. Carrying those plans out is what we should all aim at – allowing for adjustment of our plan(s) as things develop. For instance – the Orioles plan to win their division and thus make the playoffs. If during the season that doesn’t seem possible – the next target would be to make the playoffs by being a wild-card team. If that doesn’t workout – the next thing is to improve to the point where next year (or soon) – they will be able to compete for their goals. Continue reading

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Goals and Aspirations

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeWe have five – soon to be six – grandchildren. There are a lot of things we wish for them as they grow up. For one – we hope they develop goals in life. We hope that we can help them reach some of their goals. Maybe through some of our hard work we can share some wisdom with them about their goals and aspirations.

Our children – their parents – have goals – even dreams and aspirations for our grandchildren – their children. One of the goals we have for our grandchildren is for them to succeed at whatever they attempt. We also want them to know Jesus and to be happy. Their parents and grandparents hope to give them all the tools they will need to meet their goals and aspirations.

Unfortunately – as most of us know – some of our goals – dreams and aspirations tend to not come to fulfillment. It may be that some of our dreams are unrealistic. For instance – dreaming of being a professional athlete might be pushing the odds. Even if we have the genetics to be a professional athlete – one internet source said that there are only 4 million professional athletes in the world (all sports) and that this number is 1.3% of the world’s total population. Yet many of us will press toward this dream or goal – trying as we might to succeed. Continue reading

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping Our Eyes On The Lord

Psalm 16:8

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

RevRayMcWhen I was growing up – learning to play baseball – I was told many times – hitting or catching – to keep my eyes on the ball. Watch the ball all the way to the glove or to the bat! Keep your eyes on the ball was a common phrase. In many sports – keeping your eye on the ball or the goal is important.

When I was growing up – setting goals for my life – I was often told to – keep my eye on the goal. When it took me five years to get through four years of college (working my way through school – paying my way as I went – working several jobs) – I was reminded by my dad to keep my eyes on the goal of graduating.

When I was growing up – I often had to look down the road at goals I had set – to keep focused. I imagine I am not alone. I imagine that many of us set goals and aimed at them in life. Continue reading

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Set Our Minds On Jesus!

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

112015 Ray McDonaldThe other day I wrote about my earlier days of playing basketball. A question often arises when teaching people to shoot a basketball. The question – where do you aim when shooting a basketball? Some say the front of the rim – some say the back of the rim – while still others say the middle of the basket (try to swish the ball each time without touching the rim). A survey was done and of those who responded – 46% said back of the rim – 34% said front of the rim – and 20% said center of the basket. Personally I aim for the basket – the center – and hope for the best!

One of my favorite sayings of all time goes like this – aim at nothing and you’re bound to hit it! In most of life – jobs – hobbies – relationships – we need to be aiming at something. When a couple has been dating for a while – one might ask the other – where do you see our relationship heading? Clue – you better have a good answer or the relationship might be headed out the door! Saying I don’t know – can’t we just enjoy things the way they are going now – normally is not a good answer. Setting our aim is very important. Continue reading

March 31, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pressing Forward for the Prize

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

We have a number of new parents at Mt. Oak.  As a parent we probably have goals – dreams and aspirations for our children.  It is for them to succeed.  Our parents probably had them for us as well.  We might even have some goals – dreams and aspirations for ourselves.

Unfortunately – as most of us know – some of our goals – dreams and aspirations tend to not come to fulfillment.  It may be that some of our dreams are unrealistic.  For instance – dreaming of being a professional athlete might be pushing the odds.  Even if we have the genetics to be a professional athlete – one internet source said that there are 4 million professional athletes in the world (all sports) and that this is 1.3% of the world’s total population.  Yet many of us will press toward this dream or goal – trying as we might to succeed.

Paul has a goal that he is pressing toward.  He writes about it in Philippians 3:10-14 – 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

He wants to know more and more about Christ and to be like Him in all He does.  He strives for this goal – he knows he hasn’t arrived at it yet – but he strives.  At times that is all we can do is strive – press forward toward the goals that are before us.  Someone once said aim at nothing and you are bound to hit it.  But aim at something and even if you come up short – you will be further along than if you didn’t strive at all.  And if we are striving with all we have to be like Jesus – His grace will cover our failure!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 27, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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