Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Family Time This Weekend

Matthew 10:37-39

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.

RayMcDThanksgiving is prime family time and it is sneaking up on us folks! It arrives for some today and for some tomorrow (some actually had the whole week off). Family time is a special time. I remember a few years ago a football game on Thanksgiving Day – the Harbaugh Bowl – where the 49’ers and Ravens played each other on Thanksgiving – a family affair with brother’s Jim and John Harbaugh as head coaches. This year we’ll need to settle for the Redskins and the Cowboys.

In our home – the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is always a special time for family gatherings and time spent together. We gather as a whole family several times (we have missed dad the last four years!). What are you planning for the holidays to come? If you don’t have a plan – better make one soon. I hope you and yours have great family time throughout the fall and into the holidays. Don’t forget to keep Christ in Christmas when it comes. Remember – don’t go into debt to buy gifts for the children – they will end up playing with the box anyway and then you have to pay the bills in January (or throughout the year). Continue reading

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let The Holy Spirit Transform Us

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

RayMcDI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Need Revival

Jonah 3:5

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

112015 Ray McDonaldRevival is something our church and our nation needs. Revival is something we need. We usually have two revivals a year at our local church – one before Lent begins and one in the summer – usually in August. A revival is a time of reflection and of reviving the soul – calling us back to a more faithful walk with Jesus.

I have been attending revivals since before I could walk. As a pastor – I have held revivals at all of the churches I have been called to serve. Many churches and many pastor no longer hold revivals. The four United Methodist churches in Laurel are trying to hold a joint community revival this summer. Stay tuned for more details. It could be an exciting time in Laurel. Continue reading

April 27, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Put God’s Words Into Practice

Matthew 7:24

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

DadI was thinking of my dad the other day. In a few months – it will be four years since he passed. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I miss him so. He taught me many things – even things I am still learning today. As his words echo in my ears – in my mind – I am guided in life to be a better man – a better husband – a better pastor – a better father. Is there anyone like that in your life?

Many of us have coaches or teachers or parents or close friends who have given us advice and guiding words in our lives. We often remember them and think of those persons fondly. I still remember a close friend – Harry – who poured into my life for many years. He took time to guide me in my developing years as a youth and young adult. A close friend – Brad – also was significant in my life – may he rest in peace. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Love Jesus More Than Anything?

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

IMG_0301This is one of my favorite passages.  A pastor on the staff of a church I use to serve – during a sermon – said: the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do you have?  The question should be – how much of you have you allowed the Holy Spirit to have?  He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

Today’s passage – as I reflect back on that message – caused me to think – how committed are we to God?  We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t He also suppose to be our Lord – our Master?  If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through our salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives.  Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ – some immediately.  Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors.  Some have turned from drug and alcohol addictions.  Some have turned from pornography.  Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations.  Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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