Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Seems Hard To Love One Another

John 14:15

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Life ChangeIt seems hard to love one another. For example – I tried to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they were in the playoffs and eventually won Major League Baseball’s World Championship. Yet – pushback came from National’s fans calling me a pretend fan who was jumping on the bandwagon late. I also took pushback from others – calling me out for rooting for the Nationals – since I’m a diehard Orioles fan – as if I couldn’t root for another local team – simply because my team wasn’t in the playoffs. I could better understand if the Orioles and Nationals were in the same league or division and competing for the same league championship. But the Nationals are my National League team – since I was a young child – I’ve rooted for the local Washington team – back in the day it was the Senators (my dad was a big fan). When I was 12 – I began to root for the Orioles and have stayed with them ever since.

It seems hard to love one another. For example – because I have Facebook friends from all walks of life – we don’t all agree on many subjects. Be it sports (Ravens and Steeler fans – Oriole and Yankee fans) – or politics (Republican and Democrat – Trump and Hillary or now Trump or anyone but Trump) – or theologically (left and right – liberal and conservative – Christian and atheists or others) – my friends are all over the place. We hardly agree on much of anything. As a matter of fact – some have unfriended me because of my beliefs (my theology or ideology). Continue reading

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hatred Is All Over – We Need Love

2 John 1:5

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday’s world seems to have so much hatred. Hatred between nations is not new – nations have gone to war and had tensions since time began. Protecting a nation’s borders is not new either – wars have been started over border enforcement or borders being ignored. In my opinion – tensions seem to be at an all time high in many places around the world. Hatred is running rampant.

Today’s world seems to have so much hatred. The last Presidential election (2016) seemed to turn ugly – uglier than usual. And the ugliness has only gotten uglier if possible. If you voted for Trump or Clinton – the opposite side immediately thought you were an idiot and hatred spewed forth – before and after the election. And the candidates didn’t help any calling those who supported the other side deplorables or talking about punching someone in the face – and the hatred continues. The rhetoric coming from the mouths and tweets of our leaders – on both sides – news bites – feeds the hatred being experienced today. And three years later – it is still going on. Continue reading

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

Building Each Other Up

Ephesians 4:29

[build] others up according to their needs

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMMost of us probably know people – or are people – who seem to enjoy putting people down. For some of us – it comes naturally. For some of us – it is a learned behavior from years of being in a negative environment (like an oppressive parent – co-worker – or partner).

Don Rickles was a professional comedian who made his living putting people down. He would call people in the audience hockey pucks and was a prominent member of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast which aired – originally from 1974 thru 1984. People liked to hear others put someone down – especially a star! The premise of the show was someone would be the man or women of the day and other stars would take turns roasting them (cutting them down). It ran for 10 years and kept the Dean Martin Show on the air.

Today’s politicians like this approach as well – because they can’t seem to say a kind word about one another. From the President calling people names like Rocket man or Pocahontas – to Hillary calling Trump supporters deplorable – to Biden calling them the dregs of society – to others saying they would like to blow up the White House – or other hateful talk. Other hateful talk includes calling law enforcement officers pigs or calling for them to be shot or killed. Such hateful talk – when we are called to build each other up. Continue reading

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day 2016 And Our Diversity

Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

RayMcDI have often been asked – at each church I have served – what I appreciate the most about the current church I am serving. One thing I appreciate about First UMC in Laurel is the diversity of our congregation.

When asked recently – I went on to explain what I meant by diversity. I told them of our wide range of ages at FUMCL – from a member who is 101 to youth and children. I mentioned our growing multi-ethnic flavor at FUMCL – with many hues of people. I mentioned our economic diversity as well – with some people on government assistance while others had well-paying jobs. The diversity I see at FUMCL reminds me of what I think heaven will be like – people of all races and nations – loving on Jesus.

As the elections approach – I see another diversity at FUMCL. As I read posts on social media from our members – I see our diversity around politics. There were a number of people I love and respect from our church expressing support for either candidate and for no candidate at all. (I believe Christians could vote for either candidate – God is not Democratic or Republican). Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Is An Action Word

1 John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

RayMcDThis election year seems to bring out the worst in some people. Maybe every election does – but – this one seems to top them all. My Twitter feed and Facebook feed are filled with election year quotes and quips. This week the opponents of Donald Trump were asking how anyone could lose one billion dollars in a single year and whether that was the kind of leadership we need? The opponents of Hilary Clinton were asking how can anyone tell when Hillary Clinton is lying? They answered their own question – when her lips are moving. And those are the comments I could put in print.

I’m not trying to be political – rather trying to show us how some are expressing themselves these days. Please forgive if I offended anyone. Rather than uplift their qualities for President – it seems like both camps are trying to tell us why the other one shouldn’t be President. One is a lifetime politician with little to show for it while the other one has temperament issues they say and so it goes. One candidate calls the supporters of the other candidate deplorable while the other candidate seems to have a comment or cut for anyone and everyone. This is not how we are called to operate.

Continue reading

October 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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