Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Would Jesus Weep at Our Grave?

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

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amAs a pastor – I am often called upon many times in the course of a year to celebrate the life of folks from our church and from our community. As I have recently mentioned – it has been nearly 7 years since we celebrated my father’s life. I have also celebrated the life of my mother and my father-in-law. Some day I will help the family celebrate my mother-in-laws life – unless they celebrate mine beforehand.

Someone once said – in this world you can be certain of two things – death and taxes. Some attribute this to Benjamin Franklin. It is a true statement. We weren’t created to die – we were created to live eternally. Yet – because of sin – we are born to die.

Folks – even folks who only know me on the day of the celebration of their loved one’s life – say I hold a nice service – a comforting service – a service that brings them into the presence of God. Recently a man said – I’m not a religious man – but you said some things that touched me today. Another women told me – you made celebrating my father’s life doable. I thought I would be too broken to get through the service. God has gifted me with the ability to connect with people and to help people to be at ease and to remember the good as they celebrate the life of a loved one. Continue reading

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Jesus is The Resurrection and The Life

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

82015 RayAs a pastor – I am often called upon many times in the course of a year to celebrate the life of folks from our church and from our community. As I have recently mentioned – it has been 3 plus years since we celebrated my father’s life. I have three aging parents still dealing with various ailments and will celebrate their lives some day – unless they celebrate mine beforehand.

Someone once said – in this world you can be certain of two things – death and taxes. Some attribute this to Benjamin Franklin. It is a true statement. We weren’t created to die – we were created to live eternally. Yet – because of sin – we are born to die.

Folks – even folks who only know me on the day of the celebration of their loved one’s life – say I hold a nice service – a comforting service – a service that brings them into the presence of God. Recently a man said – I’m not a religious man – but you said some things that touched me today. God has gifted me with the ability to connect with people and to help people to be at ease and to remember the good as they celebrate the life of a loved one. Continue reading

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resurrection and The Life

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;”

82015 RayAs a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has recently passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor. The end of life can be a scary time.  Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary.

Today I will celebrate the life well lived of a woman who fell two days short of her 102nd birthday. She is an amazing lady and lived a life that touched many. I pray that I honor her well as we celebrate her life together.

We have a lady in our congregation who will turn 100 soon and several others in their late 80’s and 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. They honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at 60 – I am 30-40 years their junior. Continue reading

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is True Belief – Belief That Promises Eternal Life?

John 11:25

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;”

The Resurrection is our victory over death and the grave.  Praise God.  The passage today tells us that we can live forever – we can avoid death – if we believe.

Death is something that touches most of our lives at one time or the other.  I mentioned my dad in my message Sunday.  He’s almost 83 and entering his last years.  Of course – I might go before he does – we never know.  But his health is making me more and more aware of life and death.

Death often a subject we avoid – until we are faced with it firsthand.  At more funerals than I care to count over my ministry – death is something that many people face differently.  Yet – death is something we will not be able to avoid – unless Christ comes to take His church home before we die (not wouldn’t that be nice).

Today’s passage is very comforting to those who believe.  John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

What does it mean to believe?  That is the questions that we need to address.  I often use this simple example.  If you believed that there was a bomb in the building you were in – it would cause you to take action.  You would not sit still if you believed.  You would leave the building – you would try to find the bomb if that was your job – but you would not sit still if you believed.  Too often people acknowledge with their mouths – but not with their heart and mind – their belief.  They say they believe – but their actions speak volumes about their unbelief.

Our Lord’s own brother put it this way:

James 2:14-20 – 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.  What a blessing God promises to those who believe in Him!  Eternal life – we will never face the eternal death hat others will face in their unbelief!  If Christ is real to us – if we believe in Him and in His life – death – and resurrection – we will follow Him.  Following Him is more than giving lip service.  It is about doing His will – about following His teachings.

Jesus said: John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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April 26, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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