Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Can Do Nothing On Our Own

John 5:19

Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

I like working alone – I don’t like working alone. I spend loads of hours behind a keyboard – but most often I don’t like to work alone. I love teamwork – or even simply having my wife outside working with me in the yard (or just watching me). I like cutting the grass alone – while lost in my thoughts or listening to a podcast or music – but I also like to talk to others while working – it makes the time and task go by quicker.

Most of us have had help becoming the people we are today. Some of us have been blessed to have supportive parents. Some of us have had a supportive spouse. Some of us have been given opportunities that helped us along the way. Very few of us – if any of us – have achieved our position in life alone. Continue reading

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Sees All Things

Psalm 139:2

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

I remember playing hide-and-seek as a child. It was fun – hiding from your friends and hoping they couldn’t find you. When we played at my home growing up (the parsonage at Mt. Zion) – we had a cemetery next door and it was always fun to hide there because my cousins and friends wouldn’t come looking in the cemetery. If they did brave the walk through the cemetery – it was easy to get them to run out by making noises like a ghost. I usually won the game because they wouldn’t stay in the cemetery long enough to find me!

I remember playing capture the flag as a youth at Seat Pleasant UMC (now Gethsemane UMC). We would hide in the dark and try to get behind enemy lines. We would crawl along the outskirts of the field and even into the woods – to stay hidden. We would spring up and run for our side of the field with their flag. Continue reading

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Deeper Walk With The Holy Spirit

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

I miss my dad. I often went to dad with spiritual and personal issues in my life. I would also talk to him about church life and share my concerns and my joys. He was a good sounding board – a man of faith and a man of love. He guided me through many troubling waters and helped me avoid so many as well.

Is there someone in our lives that fits this bill? Is there someone who we turn to in times of need and times of joy? A number of my friends are fellow clergy and we often have people coming to us for guidance on issues in life.

My children come to me from time to time – but not nearly as often as I would like – seeking guidance. I miss my dad greatly – because he was a source of strength for me. Continue reading

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentecost Is Coming!

Acts 1:8

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We’re coming upon the season of Pentecost (1st Sunday of June). Pentecost is considered the time or season when we are to especially honor the Holy Spirit. If we have ever had a hard time witnessing our faith – I want to suggest to us to spend more time in prayer – seeking the Holy Spirit power that Jesus promised in today’s passage. It really isn’t optional – as I read the Bible – to tell others about Jesus. If Jesus is real in our lives – if we have experienced the saving grace of Christ – we have to tell somebody.

Today’s passage – during a time when Jesus was ready to ascend to the Father – tells Jesus’ followers to go and tell someone. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Shortly after Jesus said these words to His disciples – the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples and all those gathered who were waiting for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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