Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

I Love Springtime

Genesis 1:11

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

I love the springtime. I love warmer weather and budding plants. The fact that baseball season starts in the spring helps for sure. Go Orioles! Go Nationals!

Warmer weather means more outside activities and of course more sunshine for longer hours and that extra vitamin D helps most of us. I love cutting grass and springtime is a great time for that as the grass grows quickly in the warm days and cool nights.

What is your favorite time of the year? What are your favorite springtime activities? I love getting outside and doing chores that have mounted through the winter. My siding needs cleaned. My yard needs picked up. My wood needs cut and stacked for next winter. Some leaves are still around and some sticks and branches have fallen through the winter. I want to get outside and walk more and of course – playing golf in the spring is my second favorite season (I like fall golf the most). Continue reading

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord of the Harvest

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

In church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being a givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving the Impossible to God

1 Samuel 17:37

“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

Here’s a silly question. Have we had any giant issues to tackle in our life? I know folks who battle addictions to drugs – alcohol – food – and more. I know folks who are in troubled relationships. I know folks with medical issues that are either life threatening or serious enough that they require surgery or medical treatment. I know folks that have been in abusive relationships. I know folks that have mental and emotional concerns. I know folks who couldn’t balance life without medication. I know folks who have thought about or attempted suicide (and some who succeeded).

Do we have any giants in our life? Are there issues that seem too large to tackle or even face? Are there situations that seem overwhelming? The sad thing is that we could all say yes to most of these questions. Life – for most of us – is not easy and without pitfalls. We battle many giants throughout our lives. We need hope in our lives that can help us through! Continue reading

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confidence

Ephesians 3:12

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

RayMcDI love playing a familiar golf course. Part of the reason I like playing a familiar golf course is the confidence I gain from knowing how the fairway slants or how the green slopes and where the flag is on the green.

My long-time favorite course was Twin Shields Golf Course in Dunkirk – Maryland. For instance – I knew (the course is no more) that on hole number 15 – a long par 4 – it was better to land on top of the hill on your drive unless you felt you could get to the bottom of the fairway past the hill. If you only made it part of the way down the hill – you would have a side hill approach shot of 150-165 yards or so and that would be a tough shot. Land on top of the hill and have a 180-200 yard shot from high and flat. Land on the fairway at the bottom of the hill and you had a 100-115 yard shot from flat ground.

Another favorite course is Valley View Golf Club just outside of Moorefield – West Virginia. We only play this course once or twice a year but my brother and I can talk you through each hole on the course. An interesting hole is hole number 4. It is a short par 5 – but a tricky par 5. Unless you can hit a straight drive some 230-250 yards you should hit a short iron 150-175 yards to a landing area. You typically cannot reach the green from here (unless you can get a shot of 165-175 up over trees very quickly). Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word Is Our Tool!

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

RayMcDThe more we know the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey.  We use to say – the more we use our Sword (our Bible) the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encouraged people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along.  Today we can read our Bible on our smart phones and even follow along on YouVersion.com and leave notes on the sermons.

Reading and storing up the Word of God in our heart/mind is so important.  Jesus resisted the Devil when he tempted Him by quoting the Word of God.  Jesus was such a student of the Word of God that He knew when Satan was using it wrongly! Matthew 4:1–11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Continue reading

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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