Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 14 of Lent 2020

Mark 13:11

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Ray 2020Today is day 14 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up with the reading plan. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross (not counting the Sundays). My prayer is that this walk with Jesus will draw us into a place where we really feel His presence in our lives. Like I said last night in the Community Lenten Service – we are not to conform to the world. We are called to conform to the likeness of Christ. The closer we are drawn to Christ – the more we will be like Him.

Today’s reading reminds us that God is always with us – even when we are persecuted and brought to trial for our faith. Jesus promises His disciples and each of us – that His Holy Spirit will give us words to speak when we stand for Him and are brought to trial because of Him! He will never leave us nor forsake us! I find this very comforting. It gives me confidence that God is every with me! Continue reading

March 12, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Is Not Easy

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2Living at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – with General Conference 2020 coming in May with a possible split in the United Methodist Church – post impeachment with the 2020 national elections coming in November – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even those we don’t like or agree with very often. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And – if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together either. Continue reading

February 18, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speaking in Tongues

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:1

12:31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. 13:1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

img_0063-2In the last month or so I have had two conversations about speaking in tongues. One was a family member and one was a friend of mine that goes to a church in another state. The friend from another state asked me about something their pastor mentioned. The pastor, in a recent sermon, said that if a person didn’t speak in tongues they were not baptized in the Spirit. My friend was questioning this statement. My family member did as well.

This is not a new debate for sure. Some believe that when the Bible says that speaking in tongues is the least of the gifts (1 Corinthians 12) – that implies that all Christians baptized in the Spirit would have the least of the gifts. There are also passages that connect the moment of salvation with water baptism and speaking in tongues.

I do not believe that an argument needs to be ensued. For me – the debate is not about who is baptized by the Spirit or not – or what gifts a person has or doesn’t have. I believe that the gifts are not to be worn as trophies but rather used as God gives them to His glory – not the glory of the person God is blessing. Continue reading

February 12, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Essential Doctrines of Our Faith

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

img_0063-2What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too we can attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision or is program the leading concern?

If having a Biblically based church is high on your priority list – what doctrines would be essential for you to have fellowship with a church family? We’ve talked about essentials in a life-partner before. The three I shared with my daughters – while they were growing up – was to find a man who loved Jesus – a man who loves them – and a man who has a good work ethic. What are you essential life-partner rules? What would be your three essential doctrines as you grow in your faith? Continue reading

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 – A Year of Decisions

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

img_0063-2It is no secret – I like golf. The weather has been nice in January and I have gotten out already in 2020. Golf doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with as well. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. Two friends and I walked 18 holes a week or so ago. We were dragging coming up 18 (an uphill walk) – but we had fun.

I plan to improve my game this summer (my plan every year) – if I can continue to lose some weight – I plan to get back to walking the course more. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss – should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I only hit the 70’s a few times. Most of the year I played in the 80’s with a few really bad rounds as well. We shall see!

I also do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

January 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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