Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – It Keeps Changing!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Rays HaircutLife – it keeps changing! A number of things in my own life have changed – and keep changing. This summer I will have been married for 40 years. It has been 47 years since I graduated High School. 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 fully grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with my granddaughters. Soon my grandson from South Korea will be home (I can’t wait). I’ve been in ministry for 44 years. I continue to think about retirement (although I hope I will still be active in ministry in retirement).

Life – it keeps changing! No baseball yet! Maybe not this season. No basketball yet! They’re talking about using Disneyland. Football is trying to get started soon for the fall. The Ravens had an amazing season last year and I hope they play even better this coming year. Golf is just starting to have live events. NASCAR was the first live sport to come back – if you don’t count cornhole!

Life – it keeps changing! Churches are meeting online and others are talking about reopening their facilities. Things have changed – things we thought would never change.

Continue reading

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Led By the Spirit

Romans 8:14

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Rays HaircutI was thinking about my dad this week. I miss him so much. What brought him to mind is the health concerns of Ravi Zacharias. Ravi is a man of faith – a man of God – like my father. I looked up to my dad and I look up to Ravi. My father was my hero and Ravi is a spiritual giant himself – and a hero of sorts.

A year ago – a sport’s writer and MASN personality – a friend of mine – wrote about his father’s passing in a recent post. You can read about it here. His father was his hero – someone who guided his life – someone who led him in life. I could so identify with his article/post. He wrote – He read this blog every morning before his newspaper and kept checking it throughout the day, scrolling through all of the comments. I’ll keep telling myself that he’s reading this one, his eyes moistening because the former offensive guard at Ford City High School and Indiana State in Pennsylvania softened as he got older. The hugs hello and especially goodbye kept getting tighter. The old guard called for holding.

Roch Kubatko grew up in Anne Arundel County – just north of where I grew up. I knew of him when he was in High School and I was officiating sports in High School and College. He wrote about his dad – his hero – and I thought I was reading an article/post I had written six years ago about my dad. We were both so blessed to have dads in our lives that meant so much to us. Continue reading

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Love Is Good!

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Rays HaircutWe often debate what is good in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a few years ago what was good – I might have said – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days I can’t have either (at least I’m not supposed to have them) and have had to turn them down (I’m trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good.

School is out for the remainder of this school year because of the pandemic. Some might say that is good. I feel for the seniors who are missing out on so much.

The NFL just released their full schedule for the 2020-2021 season and some might say that is good. Getting back to sports might help us some. I wonder if baseball will begin around July 1?

What or who do you think is good? Getting back to work? Getting a paycheck? Retiring? Being able to see your family again? I hope your marriage is good – if you are married.

The ultimate good – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever. Continue reading

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Rays HaircutHere we go – yet another week dealing with this pandemic. I continue to urge us to encourage one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Today – I found this Psalm very encouraging. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength – an ever-present help in times of trouble. So – what are you facing this week? Another week of being parent – provider – teacher and all-around help? Are you trying to juggle your work at home and at your workplace (even if that is also at home as well)? Is it harder than normal? Continue reading

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting With People – Try It!

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Ray 2019Christian are often called upon to connect with people. As a pastor – I am often called upon to be empathetic with people and their needs/situations. At times I must be sympathetic or compassionate. Are we empathetic with others? Are we sympathetic at times? Are we compassionate as well? Do we feel the pain of others?

I was moved by a report on Facebook not too long ago about a police officer who pulled over and saved the life of a lifeless infant. His mother was in panic mode and this officer calmly proceeded to give life support to the infant and rush him to the hospital in his patrol car. I could feel for the mom – and I could feel for the officer and his professionalism.

I remember 9-11 – and I know you do as well. I was called upon by the High School to come and help students and teachers deal with the unknown. Some had parents and other family members at the Pentagon and in Washington – DC. Continue reading

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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