Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Blessed This Good Friday

Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Today is Good Friday. Spend the day remembering that Jesus loved you so much – that He came down from heaven and died on the cross for your/our sins. If you are in the Laurel area – join us this evening for a meaningful service of remembrance as we read through some of the Biblical story of Jesus’ sacrifice. The service begins at 7 pm at First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel – MD. Here are some passages to get us thinking today.

John 3:16 – 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.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Continue reading

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

Holy Week Remembered

Luke 24:50-53

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Today’s passage is from the story of Jesus’ accession. At the end of Luke’s Gospel we read an account of Jesus’ accession. Here is a larger section of that story – Jesus had already been crucified and had already risen when this story took place. I know – out of order with this being Holy Week – but it impacted me today as I read it.

Holy Week is a powerful reminder of our walk with Jesus and His walk to the cross. Services this week will be held on Wednesday – Thursday – Friday and a beloved member of the church – 98.5 years old – will be remembered and celebrated on Saturday. Then and only then will we enter into the Easter celebration. Today’s passage will give us a reminder of His walk and His purpose. Jesus reminds us of His suffering and His glory. At the end of the reading we read that the Disciples stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Let’s take a read. Continue reading

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praise 26

John 1:14 – KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

christmas-6During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Christmas at First Church is all about Jesus. The world tries hard to take our eyes off of Jesus, while our pastor and our church family tries to help us focus on Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season.

This year our pastor promises us something we have never done before. The last time he said that was Good Friday and we had a very moving service as we brought our sins to Christ. I look forward to what God has planned for us this Christmas.

The joy I feel when I attend worship at First Church cannot be measured. It is home to me. It is a safe place for me. It is a safe place for me to bring my friends. It is a place where people feel the Spirit of God. I never hesitate to invite my friends to attend with me. Merry Christmas!

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 26, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Set Our Eyes On Jesus!

Colossians 3:2

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

112015 Ray McDonaldWe’re in the thick of Holy Week. Last night was Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday. The choir did an excellent job with the cantata. Holy Communion was celebrated and all left a little closer to Jesus (at least we hope so). I hope we had our minds set on Jesus last night.

Today is Good Friday. As a young child I couldn’t figure out why it was called Good Friday if it was the day that Jesus died. Later I realized that it was called Good Friday because it was good for us that He died – to pay for our sins.

You don’t want to miss the Good Friday service tonight at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. We will be doing something we have never done before (at least no one I’ve talked to has seen it here). It is very important that you attend tonight. Change your plans to be here. Sunday morning will not have the same meaning without attending worship tonight. I promise you! Let’s set our minds on Jesus – and see what will happen. Continue reading

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For God So Loved Us

John 3:16

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.

112015 Ray McDonaldGod loves us and we are called to love God.  God so loved us – according to today’s passage – that He gave His own life for our lives.  God the Father so loved the world that He gave us God the Son to suffer death upon the Cross of Calvary for our redemption.  Today’s passage is a favorite of many.  John 3:16 is often put on posters at golf tournaments!

As Holy Week unfolds before us – we are being reminded of the love of God.  God’s love is what our walk with Jesus should be all about dear readers.  Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  1 John 4:9–10 – 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Continue reading

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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