Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

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May 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporate Worship

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I hear more and more about the unchurched. We should try to reach them with the love of Jesus. I hear even more about those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior who choose to stay away from corporate worship. Not attending worship – going to church – was never an option as I was growing up. It was a Scriptural mandate and a mandate in our home. Gathering with the body of believers was primary – it came before anything else. If we were out on a date on Saturday night – it didn’t matter how late we came in – we were getting up to attend corporate worship on Sunday.

Today – it seems – many things come before attending to the regular worship of God – together. It seems like children and youth games – overnight guests – late nights – Sunday activities (other than worship) – and more come before corporate worship for many these days. Even among those who think of themselves as regular in worship – some think once or twice a month is regular. This is obvious on Sundays like Easter when most all attend and attendance sky-rockets yet there are few guests. Continue reading

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Sins Are Many

Psalm 40:12

For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. NLT

Sunday in the message about forgiveness we talked about our sins and how God forgives our sin. Each of us has sin galore. Our sin has mounted up and it hems us in on all sides at times. Today’s passage – from the New Living Translation (NLT) says – For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.

Our sins are so plentiful – and left alone – they would keep us from heaven and send us to hell. But – even though our sins are more than the hairs on our head – Jesus died on the cross to provide grace – forgiveness. Continue reading

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Timing Not Ours

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Most of us have very little patience. Waiting is not a strength for most of us. We live in an instant world. What would we do if we couldn’t use our microwaves? We might have to warm our hot drinks the old fashion way – waiting for our fluid of choice to heat on the stove. We might have to wait longer than 60 seconds for something to be warmed enough or cooked enough to eat.

Most of us have a hard time if our Internet is slow. I’m finding it difficult because my Google calendars are taking 30-90 seconds to load (I have massive calendars and several of them). Waiting is not part of our skill set. When we shop online – we like the fact that we can buy things instantly and they are delivered to our homes or work place within 1-3 days in most cases. Continue reading

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking Like God

Psalm 145:9

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

My wife and I have three grown daughters. Their mother and I often play a game – trying to figure out where they got certain traits. One of them will do something and we might say to one another – I know where she got that trait or maybe we would simply say – she’s her mother’s or father’s daughter. Do you see yourself in your children or see yourself in your parents? I often say – we are a product of our environment – which means we are a product of those who raised us – and our surroundings as well. Thankfully the girls got more from their mom than from their dad – at least as I look at it (although on occasion I can see me in them).

These likenesses go beyond the genetic likenesses. Of course one daughter has red hair like her mom – while the other two had reddish hair at birth and more sandy or dirty blond like their day. But our likeness to our parents might be in areas like how we deal with money or how we think or how we act. Continue reading

April 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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