Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – Death – and Life After Death

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADo you think about life after death much? I made a comment recently that we tend to think more about our mortality – our own death – after our parents have passed – because – all things being equal – there is no more buffer – we are the oldest generation. A member said that really made them think. I think about it. All four of our parents have now passed. We are the next generation. My in-laws lived to 89 & 86. My parents lived to 84 and 89. As their generation passes – I know I will think more about my mortality even more. There are a few from their generation still with us – but directly – we are the next generation.

I think about my mortality as it is – with my job. I face life and death situations often with members and friends – being a pastor. I also get my blood checked and a physical annually and at times the numbers (weight and blood work numbers) – are not that good. I’m thinking about my mortality even more today (and taking more seriously my need to improve my health). Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rebuke the Devil – He is Real

1 John 3:8

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Rays HaircutThe devil is real and not a figment of someone’s imagination. Some churches and pastors try to suggest that the devil is not real – that the devil is merely a personification of evil as a whole. Not sure what Bible they read – if they read the Bible at all – but the Bible tells us over and over that the devil is real. Please do not fall prey to false teachers and false religions. Run as fast as you can from a pastor or church that doesn’t believe that the devil is real!

According to Scripture – the devil tempted Jesus after His baptism.  Matthew 4:1-11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Continue reading

June 11, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Is Enough – Enough?

1 Timothy 6:8

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Rays Haircut

When is enough – enough? I’ve often written about our fleshly desires and how they can be contrary to the Holy Spirit’s desire for us. Today I ask the question – When is enough – enough?

In a society where entertainers – from ball players to actors – get millions upon millions for acting in a movie or TV show and playing a game – When is enough – enough?

In a society where the haves and the have nots are so far apart – When is enough – enough? When should those of us with plenty feel an obligation to help those of us who have very little? (I know – some people have made personal decisions that have gotten them where they are today – but there are plenty of people – if you have this concern – to help who are trying their best and are down on their luck). Often the church is called upon to help those who are in need. As a pastor I am often put in the position of deciding or discerning the difference between someone in need and someone trying to scam the church or someone looking for an easy out to their troubles. It is not an easy place to be. Continue reading

June 1, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mercy Person

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Rays Haircut

As John describes Jesus – the Word becoming flesh – I am struck by yet another difference between Jesus and me! He was and is full of grace as John writes – and I am not always filled with grace – and at times the church is not as well. I am not – by nature – a mercy person – yet as a pastor – I am called to show mercy – maybe another name is compassion. The church is too. At times we do a good job of it. At times we do not.

I was listening to a broadcast on the web the other day and they were talking about grace – and restoration – in the church. Amazingly – their stories were that even in the church – there weren’t a lot of people who knew how or were even willing to show grace. Those who have been shown grace – who have been shown mercy – by God – should be the first ones willing to show mercy – forgiveness to others. God’s grace should be evident in our lives. God’s grace is poured out on us and we should share it with others. Can I get an AMEN? Continue reading

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Attitude in 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.

Rays HaircutWell – the Governor of our state has said churches can open at 50% capacity. But our church is in a part of the state with the highest Covid-19 cases. It may be several weeks before we feel comfortable opening and even at that time many of our members will not feel comfortable attending. We will take it one week at a time.

As we face these days –  I felt the need to write a blog post about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But – I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I feel led by God to share some thoughts.

I was reviewing some old blog posts and I found one about worship and attitudes. 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 – emails – calls – and notes I received and sent over the years with comments about worship. I started thinking about the attitudes of some church leaders and members and myself at times. I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Continue reading

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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