Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Jesus as We Walk to the Cross

Matthew 10:32-39

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Life ChangeThis coming Sunday we will start a new sermon series for April titled – Easter: Before and After. This week’s message is titled – Jesus’ Prayers. Come and enjoy – come and grow in Christ.

Today’s passage came to me as I’ve prepared for the cross this year. The first verse says: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” We’ve mentioned many times that most of us like to hear Atta boy/girl when we have done well. We’ve asked the question a number of time: how do we acknowledge God before men and women? We like affirmation and this passage calls us to affirm Jesus before others.

The second verse in this passage of Scripture says what happens when we do not acknowledge God before people. It is a part of this passage I’m sure some wish Jesus hadn’t included: But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” None of us wish to be disowned by Jesus!

As we read on to verses 34-37 – we read: 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. When I was younger – I didn’t get this part of the passage. I mean – it didn’t sound like Jesus to me. I thought of Jesus as a peacemaker – one who would strive to connect families. God gave me to my family and then He gave me my family – my wife – children – and grandchildren. Another Gospel even use the word hate when referring to our feelings toward those we love – compared to the love we are to have for God. Continue reading

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April 3, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Will Stand?

2 Timothy 4:2

to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. CEV

Life ChangeWho will stand? Being popular is important to so many. Being well liked – being well thought of by others – being in the in crowd appeals to some. Some folks will go out of their way to be liked. Popularity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for sure – but some strive after it anyway.

Some pastors will do almost anything it seems to be liked by their congregations too. I’ve known pastors who are people pleasers (many are it seems). I personally will do most anything to keep peace in the church – as far as it involves me and what I wear – how I work – etc. Where I draw the line – and I hope many pastors draw the line here – is with the truth of God’s Word. I will not dilute the Word of God. I will not water it down (for those who don’t know what dilute means – lol). I will not back away from preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word.

Some pastors – IMHO – seem to be drawn toward political correctness. A social agenda seems to supersede the truth of God’s Word for some. I was reading some church publications recently online – and some of our churches and even some of our conferences seem more focused on social correctness rather than understanding the truth found in God’s Word (IMHO). Continue reading

February 21, 2019 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 2019 Budget Process Begins

Romans 16:5

Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMIn the early Christian church – many times the church met in the homes of its members. The Body of Christ often provided the ministry. As we enter October – we will soon be in another budget season for 2019. As we fast approach a new budget season in the life of our church some serious questions arise for us to consider. Some of these questions point toward our vision and mission as a church. What is our main focus? What is our mission? Our desire – our heart – is to reach everyone for Christ – to make disciples for Jesus. Are our ministries set up to do so? Is our budget geared to help us reach the lost for Jesus? How we go about this process might be as important as the vision itself.

What do we need to make disciples? Do we need a large building? Do we need a large staff? Do we need an active laity? Speaking of a building – David Platt writes – Why would we spend an inordinate amount of our resources on something that is never prescribed or even encouraged in the New Testament? In his book A Radical Idea – David asks some deep questions. It is an eye opener and a book all pastors and church leaders should read IMHO. Continue reading

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Does The Supernatural

Jonah 1:17

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMThe Bible is filled with stories that skeptics have a hard time believing. There’s the one about feeding 5,000 men (not counting the women and children in one report) with a two fish and five loaves with 12 baskets leftover after all had eaten their fill. There’s the one about a small boy slaying a giant of a man with a slingshot and a stone. There’s the one about a man thrown into a den with hungry lions all-night and surviving. There’s the one about the man dead for several days and being summoned from his tomb by Jesus. I could go on and on.

Just so we are on the same page – Jesus believed in these stories – because He speaks of them as He is quoted in the Gospels. Jesus is quoted as speaking about the Great Flood and Noah and He is quoted as speaking about today’s passage – and miracle. There’s that word – miracle. A miracle is something thought impossible – like the Miracle Mets of 1969 when they played my beloved Baltimore Orioles in the World Series and won in five games. Some believed the ’69 Orioles to be one of the finest teams to ever play the game! Continue reading

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We’re Called To Love One Another – Not Hate

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Paul – an Apostle – told a young pastor – Timothy – to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul also wrote these words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. God’s Word is to be obeyed. God’s Word is clear on many topics. God’s Word directs us in many ways in our lives.

I’m not a young pastor nor am I an Apostle – but the Word of God – as I read it – tells me to love one another – not hate on anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians. Showing others love is a commandment of God’s Word for God’s people.

We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love one another. We’re told to love God more than anything or anyone. Matthew 10:37 – Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Continue reading

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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