Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

There Is Now No Condemnation

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Easter has come and gone for another year. Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until next Easter or maybe Christmas Eve.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folk all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some folks means once or twice a month these days – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

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April 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Excited About Jesus? About Our Church?

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

112015 Ray McDonaldWhat is it that excites us so much that we would encourage and invite someone else to attend or try what excites us?  I have heard of people who were so excited about their hairstylist that they encouraged others to try her/him.  Some are so excited about a certain school teacher that they talk them up to other parents.  We don’t have to be on Facebook long before we hear what someone is excited about – and liking this or that – and encouraging us to do the same.

Are we excited about Jesus?  I mean are we excited – by grace – to be a redeemed child of God?  Do we invite people to give Jesus a try?  Are we willing to be ridiculed because of how excited we are about Jesus?  Or do we keep our excitement for Jesus quite – while letting the world know what football team we support? Continue reading

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Encouraged

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

82015 RayI want to write today about a subject that is essential. I think it is essential that we encourage one another. The Bible tells us in today’s passage in Hebrews 10:25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  I think the day is fast approaching and we need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another.  Let’s try and see how we are blessed.

It is so easy to be critical. Tearing down doesn’t build up the Body of Christ. We do not ignore that which needs attention or correction but we do so in love and as much as possible through encouragement. We can correct and even rebuke as Scripture says through love. But often we fail to praise and encourage. It is easy to see and report and have an opinion about what we dislike. How about what we see going well?

Continue reading

November 2, 2015 Posted by | Bring, Church, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encouragement

Hebrews 3:12-13

12 See to it, brothers (and sisters), that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgI know we are not perfect. We are even far from it. But God’s grace is sufficient to forgive us. If only others could and we could forgive ourselves. Paul battled with a thorn in his flesh and he proclaimed that God’s grace was enough for him.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When someone points out that we are not a perfect church I am encouraged. Because when we fail, when we are weak, that is when I know that the good we do is not of us but of God. Continue reading

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Day Should Be Easter

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

RevRayEaster has come and gone for another year.  Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services.  Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons.  Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this.  Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility.  Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well.  I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until April 20th – 2014 – when Easter is celebrated again.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folk all attending on the same Sunday.  Sadly studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday.  When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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