Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Can Heal Our Hurting Nation and Denomination

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It is no secret – I like golf. Golf just doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with from time-to-time. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. I plan to improve my game this year (like every year) – with my weight loss I plan to get back to walking the course too. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss (44 pounds from my max) should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I didn’t hit the 70’s at all and played mostly in the mid 80’s. We shall see! I shot an 81 – last week.

I do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

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August 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sitting Still Is Not Easy

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Even though I love working on my computers – I’m thinking of getting one of those desk risers – so I can stand and move about while working. They say moving around is healthy – and suggest that desk workers get up every hour to move around for five minutes. I enjoy preaching from the podium instead of the pulpit from time top time so I can move around more. Not only am I able to move around – but it gets me closer to the people I am trying to reach with the Word of God.

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Typically – if I sit still for any length of time – I drift off to sleep. I traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City once to listen to James Taylor in concert. My wife – daughter – son and I traveled toe New York City to site-see and to see JT. As I sat and listened to his mellow sound – I found myself drifting off. Granted – we were in the nose bleed section and it was dark and I often listen to his music to drift off to sleep at home – but I was in Carnegie Hall and it was JT live! Continue reading

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

Loving God More

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some are in Florida – some are out West – some are in the mountains – some are at a lake – some are playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places take place. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time – if you get any? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge – In Him We Trust

Psalm 91:2

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Well – I’m back. I hope you missed me – or at least the week day devotional thoughts. Leave a comment on today’s devotional thought if you missed our devotional thoughts last week. My staycation was OK – although it is never as good as a vacation where you get away. I did accomplish 21 of 29 honey dos on my list. It was a successful week in that regard. I also got to play two rounds of golf – although I am still recovering from rotator cuff surgery and not yet playing up to par (no pun intended).

In today’s political climate – and on the Elder’s page I frequent on Facebook – the debate is over the current immigration process on our southern border. Some are horrified over children being detained separate from those presenting themselves to be there parents – who are trying to enter our country illegally. I say presenting themselves as parents of the children because it has been documented that some are simply bringing children with them to try and get past the border and some are bringing children north for slavery and sex trafficking.

Of course – the policy in place at this time is from previous administrations and needs to be changed – but until it is changed – this administration is trying to enforce the current laws. Some state administrations have ignored the laws altogether. Sounds like the United Methodist Church where some disagree with the laws of the church yet ignore the law.

Some are appalled at children being taken from their parents by this administration – yet didn’t say a word when it was being done by the previous administrations. I’m really trying to not be political. Yet – it seems like you can’t turn on the TV or read social media without someone getting political these days. Continue reading

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Should Be Encouragers

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. Try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? Yesterday I played in a golf tournament. I had one of my worst rounds in a long time. I think I was pressing – trying too hard just 12 weeks after rotator cuff surgery. My arm actually started to hurt near the end of the round. I was playing with a couple of friends and wanted to do well. Yet – it wasn’t about me playing well – it was about my friends and our guest having a good time. I began to take my focus off of my golf game and spent most of the day encouraging my partners. I told them how well they were playing (even if that was a stretch at times) and praised their good shots (like the awesome approach shot by one player followed by another player hitting an amazing and hard putt for an eagle). My task for the day was to make sure they had a good time and felt encouraged doing it.

Continue reading

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Build | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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