Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Jesus as We Walk to the Cross

Matthew 10:32-39

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Life ChangeThis coming Sunday we will start a new sermon series for April titled – Easter: Before and After. This week’s message is titled – Jesus’ Prayers. Come and enjoy – come and grow in Christ.

Today’s passage came to me as I’ve prepared for the cross this year. The first verse says: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” We’ve mentioned many times that most of us like to hear Atta boy/girl when we have done well. We’ve asked the question a number of time: how do we acknowledge God before men and women? We like affirmation and this passage calls us to affirm Jesus before others.

The second verse in this passage of Scripture says what happens when we do not acknowledge God before people. It is a part of this passage I’m sure some wish Jesus hadn’t included: But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” None of us wish to be disowned by Jesus!

As we read on to verses 34-37 – we read: 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. When I was younger – I didn’t get this part of the passage. I mean – it didn’t sound like Jesus to me. I thought of Jesus as a peacemaker – one who would strive to connect families. God gave me to my family and then He gave me my family – my wife – children – and grandchildren. Another Gospel even use the word hate when referring to our feelings toward those we love – compared to the love we are to have for God. Continue reading

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April 3, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extraordinarily Good and Wonderful Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

Life ChangeThe other day I was singing a song to my children. I remember the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. These are the lyrics of the chorus of that song from Mary Poppins.

It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough, You’ll always sound precocious. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I. The grands seemed mystified that Pop knew this song. They were excited to say the least.

I remember the definition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – extraordinarily good – wonderful. As I was reading some old blogs I had posted in the past – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. But the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came to mind. What if this word was related to our worship of God?

Reading today’s passage – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. And I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Would we call it extraordinarily good or wonderful? Continue reading

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Love – God’s Love

Deuteronomy 6:5

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

Life ChangeLove is a core value in the Christian faith. Showing love to one another is a significant characteristic of our Christian walk – or at least it is supposed to be. I believe that love seems to be missing from our society these days and also from many who claim to follow Christ. Some folks who claim to be Christians – like some of our politicians today – tend to take sides on issues and show anything but love to those who disagree. Like some – we tend to forget that even when we disagree – we should show love. Even when our disagreements are over our theology!!

I created a song for my grandchildren. I sing it with them whenever they’re here or on FaceTime. It goes like this – I love Pop, Pop loves me, and that’s the way it’s going to be! If I have written it before (and I know I have) – I just love being a Pop. I love my grandchildren – five now with another on the way soon from South Korea! I love showing them how much I love them – by giving them my focus when they are around. I didn’t always do that with my children. I want to be a better Pop than I was a Dad. They love to sit with Pop and comb his greying hair (it may be greying – but at least it’s staying).

In Christ we are called to love others – even as we love ourselves. Jesus was asked what were the greatest commandments – and part of His response is to love our neighbors – those around us – even as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Continue reading

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Is Consistent

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life ChangeLife keeps changing! The only constant in life is change. A number of things in my own life have changed. I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (38 years this past summer verses 25 years not married). I celebrated 45 years since I graduated High School this past June. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today!

My children – my babies – are all grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with our granddaughters. I’ve been in ministry for 42 years. I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left – maybe more!). Continue reading

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For Such a Time As This!

Esther 4:14

For such a time as this!

Life ChangeFor such a time as this! In just 24 days – the Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church will begin. You can read about it here. You can also read some articles and watch some videos here. This could be a pivotal General Conference in the life of our church. Will we remain a united church or will there be a division within the ranks of the church? There are three main plans being proposed. Again – you can read about there here. For such a time as this – we are facing a trying time.

For such a time as this! The Super Bowl is coming this Sunday. Once again – the New England Patriots are in the game. Will Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win yet again? Or will the L.A. Rams win this one? A number of members from our church are Patriot fans. I don’t know of any Rams fans. I know a number of people who will not be watching. Continue reading

January 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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