Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Grace – Grace – God’s Grace

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amAs John describes Jesus – the Word becoming flesh – I am struck by yet another difference between Jesus and me! He was and is full of grace as John writes – and I am not always filled with grace – and at times the church is not as well. I am not – by nature – a mercy person – yet as a pastor I am called to show mercy – maybe another name is compassion. The church is too.

I was listening to a broadcast on the web and they were talking about grace – and restoration – in the church. Amazingly – their stories were that even in the church – there weren’t a lot of people who knew how or were even willing to show grace. Those who have been shown grace – who have been shown mercy – by God – should be the first ones willing t show mercy – forgiveness to others. God’s grace should be evident in our lives. God’s grace is poured out on us and we should share it with others. Continue reading

Advertisements

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent – A Time to Anticipate

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Life ChangeAs we enter Advent (yesterday) and head toward Christmas – I want to make sure we know how very important Christmas is for us. Today I want to celebrate what Christmas is all about – the coming of Christ – the One who sacrificed His life for us. Not so much that He came – so very important – but why He came. He didn’t come to be a baby in a manger – although the secular world would like us to focus on buying and selling at Christmas – or at the very least – the little helpless baby in a manger – Jesus came to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to die for our sins – to pay the debt of our sin – for our redemption. It was God’s plan from before creation.

We all need Jesus. We all need forgiveness from our sins. We have all sinned and all stand in need of redemption – Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Continue reading

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Eve 2017 Is Coming!

John 1:14 – KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Well – here we are – the week of Christmas. I hope that everyone has made their plans to celebrate Christmas with family and/or with friends. I hope you also plan to share some of Christmas Eve with your church family. At First Church we are planning our Christmas Eve services in detail this week. We’d love to hear back from you about the services we are offering and how they meet or don’t meet your needs and the needs of your family. This feedback will help us as we plan services for next year. Please share next week after the services.

On Christmas Eve – December 24th for those who might not remember – lol – we will offer 4 services (this year Christmas Eve is on a Sunday). The same sermon will be preached at the first three services (our regular Sunday services) with a different sermon preached at the 8 pm service. All except the 5 pm service will be held in the Sanctuary. Continue reading

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praise 26

John 1:14 – KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

christmas-6During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Christmas at First Church is all about Jesus. The world tries hard to take our eyes off of Jesus, while our pastor and our church family tries to help us focus on Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season.

This year our pastor promises us something we have never done before. The last time he said that was Good Friday and we had a very moving service as we brought our sins to Christ. I look forward to what God has planned for us this Christmas.

The joy I feel when I attend worship at First Church cannot be measured. It is home to me. It is a safe place for me. It is a safe place for me to bring my friends. It is a place where people feel the Spirit of God. I never hesitate to invite my friends to attend with me. Merry Christmas!

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 26, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 9

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

christmas-2

During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

One of the main sources of my joy at this time of the year is hearing and singing the old familiar Christmas carols that I have been singing for more than 60 years. This music makes the birth of Jesus real for me. I also love the annual Christmas cantatas which have been inspired by God to remind us of the story and of God’s love. Another source of my joy, not only during the Christmas season but all year long, is the comfort of being with my church family, especially in the groups in which I am active, the choir, the United Methodist Women, and my Sunday School class. We share our joys and sorrows, our problems and solutions, our ailments and recoveries, our triumphs and our defeats and frustrations, and we pray for each other. I look forward to the Christmas Eve service, when the hectic preparations for the next day are completed and a sense of peace comes over me as I give my full attention to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Denomination, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: