Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Never Will I Leave You

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Do we have any life-long friends? It is unusual to have friends from childhood till death. I have a few friends from my school days – but not many. Most of us grew up and went on with our lives. Because I attended three elementary schools – two junior high schools – and one high school – I haven’t been able to keep in touch with many from my younger days. Facebook has helped some.

My daughters are in the position that most pastors’ children do not experience. They started and finished grade school – middle school – and high school – with the same set of friends. Because we stayed in one church for 24 years – they grew up in the same school system and even today – grown and with families – they have some of the same friends for their school days.

Other than family – most of us don’t have friends from our childhood. For some of us – our 35-55-75 year marriage is the longest running friendship we have known. Some will never know that either – with many marriages not making it that long. Continue reading

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call On The Lord

Psalm 120:1

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

One night last week – as I was beginning my recovery from surgery – I woke and needed my meds. I wasn’t in distress – but I knew I soon would be feeling significant pain if I didn’t get my meds soon. I also knew there were babies sleeping in the house so I couldn’t call out with a loud voice. In a whisper – I called for my wife. Carolyn – can you hear me?

If the roles were reversed – I know I never would have heard her at that sound level – cause I sleep through most anything and I often sleep with my good ear down. She was in the bedroom and I was on my chair in the TV room (I still haven’t slept in the bed yet since surgery). She heard me and came to my aid. She has been a real trooper through this surgery – as always. I wouldn’t be as recovered as I am without her help and support. Continue reading

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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