Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice. Continue reading

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April 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

We live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – for the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They often have not because they have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 16 of Lent 2018

Matthew 24:29

“Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “

Today is day 16 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Draw closer to Him and let us deepen our faith walk.

Today’s reading shares some insights into the last days. It caused me to remember when I posted on Facebook about Jupiter and Venus being lined up with the moon a few years ago. People will be looking for signs and people will make predictions about the end of time (we have lived through some end of time predictions in 2011 and at the turn of the century too). What we should really – IMHO – concentrate on – is our walk with Jesus. If our walk with Jesus is where it should be – than when Jesus comes won’t make a difference to us! Think about it. Continue reading

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Together

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Think out loud with me for a moment. Write down your thoughts on this blog post/devotional thought. Read what I suggest and ponder with me what it might look like to work together.

I counted 6 UM churches within the community known as Laurel’s surrounding area. Maybe there are even more if we stretch the boundaries a little.

I was listening to a podcast again recently and two things hit home with me. The first was a saying attributed to a popular pastor. The way to reach the people no one is reaching, is to do what no one else is doing. The second thing that hit me was another pastor saying that someone would come up with an idea that would radically shake up the church – and it will revolutionize the way we do church. Believe me he wasn’t speaking about style of worship or how we dress or anything as simple as that. Continue reading

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine and Truth

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

In this day and age – sound doctrine and truth are under attack – always has been – always will be. The Bible is under attack – and the attacks are not all coming from outside the church. There are whole denominations – pastors – and laity – calling themselves followers of Christ – who are putting aside sound doctrine and truth. There are those who want to redefine sin – creation – and human design. Some want to re-write the Bible or delete parts that don’t sit well with them.

This is not a battle between conservatives and liberals. It is not orthodox folks verses progressive folks. It is Biblical doctrines and truths verses heresy IMHO. God’s Word is not something we can pick and choose – something we can decide to like or dislike with our feeble minds. The Bible is the Word of God – no other definition is needed. The Bible is the sacred text inspired by God and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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