Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pornography – Conform Not!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Sexuality drives the secular world it seems. One area of our lives where we are called to NOT conform to the pattern of this world is Sexuality and Pornography.

Pornography is very damaging to marriage and to all of human sexuality. Filling one’s mind with unnatural and fictitious scenarios can lead to expectations and demands that are not healthy or natural. It can lead to fantasies that are sinful and damage not only marriage but relationships with other men and women in your life. You will find yourself thinking thoughts about strangers and even close friends you would never have thought without the use of or involvement with pornography.

Pornography is addictive. It is easy to access today through the internet. It is sin and WILL damage your marriage. As a single person, it will damage your thinking about sexuality and when you marry it will cause expectations that will lead to difficulties in your marriage, guaranteed. Continue reading

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March 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Our Eyes on Jesus!

Matthew 22:21

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

82015 RayAt a church I pastored years ago – someone came to me with a concern.  The concern was that our church – at that time – wasn’t as welcoming to people of differing political views with the majority.  This got me thinking and I met with this person over lunch.  We talked – mostly I listened.  The majority/minority issue was concerning politics – political parties.  I was puzzled because I was raised in one party and am now in another – yet my Christianity is greater than my political leanings.  So I listened some more.  The person I was talking to said that at times – they do not feel welcome at church because their political views are not found in the majority at our church (no poll, simply their experience).

I have prayed about this subject and then looked at it in light of our vision and mission as a church.  I found that most of us have very similar views Biblically – which is very much what a church family should focus on.  Yet we have differing social views – which are not always Biblical – yet deal with Biblical subjects.  For instance – dealing with social subjects like abortion – human sexuality – poverty – health care – capital punishment – social justice – and more – can and often must touch our faith as well as our citizenship.  Often – we do not do a good job of splitting the two. Continue reading

September 14, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here We Go!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

IMG_0301Here we go!  Annual Conference got started yesterday morning.  My prayer – as it has been for a few weeks now – is that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will seek after Jesus!  Today’s passage calls us to not conform to the patterns of the world.  We are called to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.  Here it is – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Today we had a number of reports and passed our budget for 2016.  There was no debate on any of the items before us in our morning plenary session.  Our two delegates to Annual Conference sat with me and I took a few pictures and put them on Facebook.  They were good troopers for sure.

After a few votes we elected two lay persons out of six to General Conference and one out of six clergy.  More voting today (Friday).  One of the clergy candidates I am voting for is next in line I hope – to be elected.  Another one or two of my choices might get elected as well. Continue reading

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Pray the UMC Will Hold To Biblical Principles

Last weekend we (the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference) met.  Our AC is a meeting of clergy and lay people from the BWCUMC.  This conference is made up of UM Churches from most of Maryland (western shore of Maryland), all of D.C., and a small segment of West Virginia.  AC is made up of around 1,000 people – clergy and laity from churches in our area.  Our Bishop is John Schol.

You may be reading or hearing that the United Methodist Church (UMC) in our area passed resolutions on same-sex marriage and behavior.  Although this is sadly true – the resolutions they passed – by narrow margins – carry no real punch because a conference cannot speak for the church (denomination) – only the General Conference (GC) can do so.  The GC meets every four years – 2012 is their next meeting year.  The hope is that our GC will continue its Biblical stance dealing with the issues at hand and others.  The GC has become stronger over the decades on these issue – yet some continue to raise them year after year.  My fear is that a split in the church is at hand.  Those of us who believe that the Bible calls certain choices sin will not remain if the church calls sin acceptable.

A pastor friend of mine summarized the two resolutions in question this year.  Here is what he wrote.

A Resolution Allowing a Pastoral Response to Requests for Same-Gender Marriages and Civil Unions

This resolution petitions the General Conference, which will meet next year, to change church policy to allow clergy and churches who reside in jurisdictions with legalized same-sex marriage to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies. Currently, our Book of Discipline explicitly forbids clergy to marry same-sex couples or for churches to host such ceremonies. Both are chargeable offenses. The rationale behind this petition is that current church law makes it too difficult for pastors and clergy who affirm same-sex relationships in places like Washington, D.C. where same-sex marriage is legal, to be fully, pastorally involved in the marriage process of their same-sex congregants.

Petition to General Conference to Amend Paragraph 161F in the Book of Discipline (remove condemnatory language on homosexuality)

This resolution petitions General Conference to strike any language in the Social Principles section of The Book of Discipline, specifically from paragraph 161F, that would declare homosexuality to be sinful. Specifically, it asks to strike the word “heterosexual” from the statement that sexual relations are only affirmed within monogamous marriage. It also asks to strike the statement, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” That would effectively render our Discipline neutral on homosexuality, saying nothing one way or the other on whether homosexual relationships are sinful or acceptable to God.

These two petitions are among thousands of others General Conference will consider when they meet next year. They were narrowly passed by our Conference after considerable debate. Granted, these will carry more weight since they come from an entire Annual Conference, but there is no guarantee of their passage or that they will pass exactly as they are worded now.

You can read the full resolutions here if you would like, along with other information.  These resolutions will not change anything nor will clergy be allowed to change the rules of the church unless the GC says so.

We have seen other denominations strike their Biblical stance on human sexuality and we have seen those denominations shrink and split and become a shadow of themselves.  Recently an article in the Christian Post reported that a long time clergy in the Church of Scotland – a segment of the Presbyterian Church – resigned because their church General Assembly voted to pave the way for active homosexuals to serve as clergy.  I believe many clergy in the UMC would follow suit if these types of resolutions pass GC.

The Presbyterian Church has faced such fallout from their decisions.  The Christian Post reports – A majority of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s district governing bodies voted in favor of deleting a requirement from the church constitution that requires clergy to live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”  The full article from the Christian Post can be found here.  I believe that if the UMC ever does change their Biblical stance in this area there will be a mass exodus from the church.  There are some pastors reporting people leaving now because our Conference passed these resolutions.  As a Biblically based pastor I have spent numerous hours with people over the years trying to convince them that the UMC is staying true to the Bible.  These resolutions suggest otherwise.

DO NOT be discouraged.  These resolutions will not change the truth of God’s word and at Mt. Oak we will continue to uphold Biblical truths.  As complex as human sexuality is – the Bible is clear that sexuality is to be expressed between a husband and a wife only – a man and a woman. The denomination’s stance is our stance – that the United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.

Join me in prayer for those who would lead our church astray – following lies that can only lead us to destruction.

June 2, 2011 Posted by | Church, Community, Denomination, Discipleship, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

   

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