Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Come Holy Spirit – Come!

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I listened to a sermon by Reinhard Bonnke from a Jesus Culture event.  Today’s Scripture came to mind – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I believe too many Christians – too many churches and too many denominations – shy away from the Holy Spirit these days. I believe that if we shy away from the Holy Spirit – we are shying away from God with us today. Jesus said – before He ascended to heaven – that the Father would send One in His name – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit – to teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Too many are shying away from the Holy Spirit and going through the motions – powerless to be the church – without the Holy Spirit fire. Maybe this is why the United Methodist Church – many other denominations – and non-denominational churches – are falling these days. Too many preachers – too many boards of elders and lay leaders are trying to be the church without the Holy Spirit’s power. We cannot be the church without God with us today – the Holy Spirit. It is as clear as that! Continue reading

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Was Tempted But Was Without Sin

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I love to discuss theology. I love to talk about doctrine and beliefs. Good thing – since that is my calling and career. I bet there aren’t too many who love these things.

One of the theological discussions I enjoy surrounds the thought of Jesus’ temptations. It is clear through Scripture that Jesus was temped. Today’s passage says – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

That Jesus was tempted is not really in question. What seems to be in question is whether Jesus could or could not sin when tempted. Is a temptation a temptation if there is no possible way you could yield to the temptation and sin? That is a significant question.

Whether Jesus could sin or not is cloaked in His nature. Jesus’ nature as the second Adam – was different than our nature for sure. 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 – 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. Continue reading

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confidence

Ephesians 3:12

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

RayMcDI love playing a familiar golf course. Part of the reason I like playing a familiar golf course is the confidence I gain from knowing how the fairway slants or how the green slopes and where the flag is on the green.

My long-time favorite course was Twin Shields Golf Course in Dunkirk – Maryland. For instance – I knew (the course is no more) that on hole number 15 – a long par 4 – it was better to land on top of the hill on your drive unless you felt you could get to the bottom of the fairway past the hill. If you only made it part of the way down the hill – you would have a side hill approach shot of 150-165 yards or so and that would be a tough shot. Land on top of the hill and have a 180-200 yard shot from high and flat. Land on the fairway at the bottom of the hill and you had a 100-115 yard shot from flat ground.

Another favorite course is Valley View Golf Club just outside of Moorefield – West Virginia. We only play this course once or twice a year but my brother and I can talk you through each hole on the course. An interesting hole is hole number 4. It is a short par 5 – but a tricky par 5. Unless you can hit a straight drive some 230-250 yards you should hit a short iron 150-175 yards to a landing area. You typically cannot reach the green from here (unless you can get a shot of 165-175 up over trees very quickly). Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Away From The Body And At Home With The Lord

2 Corinthians 5:8

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

RayMcDFirst – let me apologize for missing most of last week. My mom passed and I just couldn’t focus long enough to put out a devotional thought each day. I wanted to begin today’s devotional with a thank you. Thank you to all who have reached out or will reach out to my family during this trying time. Last Sunday night – during the Super Bowl (I wasn’t really watching – #NotMySuperBowlChampion) – mom transitioned to glory! I saw it coming. She was tired of fighting – and ready to meet her Lord and Savior and to see her beloved husband – my dad – again.

Mom battled dementia for about five years and the last two have been really tough – for her and for us. She was the last of her siblings – my father has one living brother. Their generation is fading fast. Which means my generation is not the oldest in our family. That seems to hit home when your parents are with Jesus and you are the oldest generation in your family (or nearly). Continue reading

February 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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