Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Come Holy Spirit – Come!

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I listened to a sermon by Reinhard Bonnke from a Jesus Culture event.  Today’s Scripture came to mind – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I believe too many Christians – too many churches and too many denominations – shy away from the Holy Spirit these days. I believe that if we shy away from the Holy Spirit – we are shying away from God with us today. Jesus said – before He ascended to heaven – that the Father would send One in His name – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit – to teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Too many are shying away from the Holy Spirit and going through the motions – powerless to be the church – without the Holy Spirit fire. Maybe this is why the United Methodist Church – many other denominations – and non-denominational churches – are falling these days. Too many preachers – too many boards of elders and lay leaders are trying to be the church without the Holy Spirit’s power. We cannot be the church without God with us today – the Holy Spirit. It is as clear as that! Continue reading

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifting Of The Church Part III

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDThis is the third part of this series. I’m not sure yet how many parts there will be. Today we will follow up yesterday’s article on verses 12-13. Those verses gave us a purpose for the gifting of the church and today I want to write about the result of the gifting of the church as we take a look at verse 14.

The gifting of the church is so we might glorify the Lord we saw yesterday. When God gifts us we are to use that gifting to uplift and serve the Body of Christ. Verse 14 tells us some of the results – then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. The gifting of the church then is to give the people of God a foundation and secure hold on truth.

Remember the church of Laodicea? They were lukewarm – many of them – not firmly grounded in their faith (hot or cold). They were swayed to and fro with this belief and the next. Paul also had a heart for them and strived to ground them in the truth. Continue reading

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoicing At Christmas Time

Romans 5:3-5

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

RayMcD

As Christmas comes – rejoicing is something we should practice. Rejoicing at Christmas Time is very important – because it is a season for rejoicing.

The scriptures are filled with passages about rejoicing. I sense a need to remind us – our congregation and our readers – of the need to rejoice in the Lord. At times life can pile up on us and we need to release and rejoice. We need to rejoice in all seasons of life. God is good – all the time – and all the time – God is good!

Has the unexpected ever happened in your life? I bet the answer is yes. The unexpected – by definition – would be when something happens when we least expect it. Like a baseball pitcher who can throw a curve ball in a fastball count – catching the batter off guard (sorry but I can’t wait for baseball season).

We try to be prepared for every contingency in life – but some times we are caught off guard. I just celebrated the life of a seemingly healthy 47 year-old who suddenly died. It caught his family completely by surprise.

Continue reading

December 21, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Transformation

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

RayMcDLast night in the Men’s Bible study we were talking about real transformation – the real change that comes over us when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. From time to time – shows appear on TV that seem to be popular. Shows like Extreme Makeover or Strong or Biggest Losers appeal to the general population because we like to believe – given the right circumstances – we can all become better than we are right now. We can lose the weight – we can reshape our appearance – we can have a better home and a better life. If nothing else – we can get lost in the fantasy of someone else’s transformation and wish it were really about our lives.

From time to time – most of us – looking back on the life choices that have led us to where we find ourselves – most of us would make a few changes. We often hear people say – if I had it all to do over again I wouldn’t change a thing – but in reality – most of us would change some things.

From time to time – have we ever thought of taking a different career path? Have we ever thought about living in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world? Have we ever regretted choices we have made? I bet the answer to that is a resounding YES for many of us. Continue reading

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let The Holy Spirit Transform Us

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

RayMcDI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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