Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We’re Not Working Alone!

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Life ChangeI’ve always liked to work with someone rather than alone. I could work all day if my dad was helping (or rather I was helping my dad) – yet if I was working alone – it was hard to stay on task. Even when dad gave me clear instructions – it was hard to stay on task with no one to help me.

I’m the same way today – work better with someone helping me. I would even invite my brother over to watch me work so I had someone present.

My wife and I cleaned the garage and painted a wall in the garage Monday. We cleaned up a couple of tool boxes and moved two to the basement. We threw a bunch of stuff out and straightened things up. My wife even claimed part of the basement as hers and wouldn’t let me store any of my stuff there – nothing goes near my motorcycle – she said. It was hard work – but it was fun work – working with her all morning before we went over to a daughter’s home for family time. Continue reading

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May 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My KAIROS Experience – Part 5

Matthew 25:39

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Life Change(The opening may be repeated – but it is a new devotional thought each day.) This week – I will be relating some of my experiences working with KAIROS over the last weekend in prison ministry at MCI-J. It was a life transforming experience for the men in the prison and for the men who went into the prison to take Jesus to those inside. I was hesitant when I went – some of these men have murdered – have raped – have done armed robbery – have been drug dealers – and some of them are in prison social groups. When I enter a room – especially when I enter a possible troubled room – I always make an exit plan – looking for the fastest way out. There were no escape routes when we were behind bars and barbed wire and such – with only a few guards giving us space.

This week – I will write about some of the men I met and their story. I will not use their names – but believe me – these men are for real. I realize that I met these men in a very limited way – during our 4-day visit – albeit an intense 4-day visit – and I understand through 40+ years of ministry that people can learn what to say at the right time to fool people. Having said that – I believe I have a pretty good fake antenna – I have pretty good discernment. I also realize that what is said at KAIROS should stay at KARIOS – so I will not reveal any personal information – just generalizations that will help others to know the power of this ministry. This ministry – KAIROS – is very Biblical and essential. It is one of the things Jesus called us to do (visit those in prison) and something we will be examined on when Jesus comes in His glory.

This will be the last post in a series of 5 posts on my KAIROS experience – at least for now. I hope the posts have not revealed too much – yet enough to get others interested in supporting this ministry. I have had KAIROS veterans read these posts and make suggestions along the way.

Continue reading

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

My KAIROS Experience – Part 4

Matthew 25:39

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Life Change(The opening may be repeated – but it is a new devotional thought each day.) This week – I will be relating some of my experiences working with KAIROS over the last weekend in prison ministry at MCI-J. It was a life transforming experience for the men in the prison and for the men who went into the prison to take Jesus to those inside. I was hesitant when I went – some of these men have murdered – have raped – have done armed robbery – have been drug dealers – and some of them are in prison social groups. When I enter a room – especially when I enter a possible troubled room – I always make an exit plan – looking for the fastest way out. There were no escape routes when we were behind bars and barbed wire and such – with only a few guards giving us space.

This week – I will write about some of the men I met and their story. I will not use their names – but believe me – these men are for real. I realize that I met these men in a very limited way – during our 4-day visit – albeit an intense 4-day visit – and I understand through 40+ years of ministry that people can learn what to say at the right time to fool people. Having said that – I believe I have a pretty good fake antenna – I have pretty good discernment. I also realize that what is said at KAIROS should stay at KARIOS – so I will not reveal any personal information – just generalizations that will help others to know the power of this ministry. This ministry – KAIROS – is very Biblical and essential. It is one of the things Jesus called us to do (visit those in prison) and something we will be examined on when Jesus comes in His glory. Continue reading

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walking Toward the Cross

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Life ChangeLent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual – the cross is near. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last weeks on earth? How we would face our death – when we had the power to avoid it?

What has changed in your walk with Jesus during Lent this year? A load of folks have walked together reading the book – The Case for Easter – and yesterday they talked about some of the change that are taking place this Lenten season for them. Lee Strobel has crafted his book to challenge and prove the life – death and resurrection of our Lord. Continue reading

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding God

Job 38:4

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”

Life ChangeLast night I felt a cold coming on. I prayed against it and so did many others. I felt God’s presence last night as I preached at Queen’s Chapel UMC in Beltsville. The Holy Spirit came on me and I made it thru the evening. On the way home I felt the cold coming on stronger. I went straight to bed when I got home. his morning – the cold is there! I’m taking a sick day at work. I’m trying to handle things – working a little from my home office – and treating the cold. A nurse from our church told me to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water. I know God is with me and I pray I will feel better soon. I will rely on God to heal me for sure. I will seek after His face and desire His grace and try to more fully understand God.

In much of life we operate as if we have a handle on things. I know I do. We go along – as long as we have our health and our mind – as if we are in control and that nothing can take us down. I have had experiences in my life when I realize how quickly we can be knocked down from that healthy perch when a simple cold or an event in our life where things change. We don’t feel like moving when we are sick – let alone get out of bed and function. We are such fragile beings for sure (men especially it seems). We pray – often – for those in life changing events. We remember – several years ago – how the mass shooting in Vegas changed the lives of so many so suddenly #VegasStrong. Most recently the mass shooting in ChristChurch New Zealand reminded us of evil in the world and how quickly our lives can be changed. It can happen in so many different ways in our lives. We need to more fully understand God and to do this we must – at times – deny self and looking beyond what we think we know.

When we are well – we can get pretty full of ourselves – thinking nothing can get to us – we are invincible (I kissed my wife even though she was sick for a week – thinking I would not get sick). New drivers often think of themselves as invincible – driving faster than they should – thinking nothing will happen to them – since they are in such control. Continue reading

March 21, 2019 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

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