Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Golf’s Scripture

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If you watch golf at all – you are well aware that at many golf tournaments – someone will probably have a sign behind the golfers (where the cameras catch it) that reads John 3:16. This passage hit home with me this week as I watched the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our boarders and our people from terrorists and other threats. I listen to the debates about building a wall – denying certain people entrance into the USA – and the need to keep track of certain people. It can be very confusing at times and very mind blowing.

As Christians who are from a certain nation – we are often caught dealing with our national interests and our Christian global interests. Christ died for the whole world (although all will not accept His free gift of salvation). Christ died for the people we are trying to keep out of our nation – even the criminal elements. It is a hard place at times. It is tough taking a stand because there are arguments on both sides of most discussions. Continue reading

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Love At A Time Like This

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

RayMcDSome of us – the older persons for sure – grew up in an era when men had a hard time showing their emotions.  Even in today’s society it is not unusual for some men to have a hard time saying I love you to their spouse – their children – family – or others. Some women have a hard time as well – but it seems to come more naturally for them. Expressing our feelings – our love and our emotions – shouldn’t be so hard.

Along the lines of some men having a hard time saying they love the ones they do love – it is not uncommon to hear at a funeral for a dad – he may not have said it very often if at all – but I knew my father loved me.

At funerals I often remind people to not wait to say I love you to those they love – because the opportunities might be short – and the end can come unexpectedly. A clergy friend of mine – four years my junior – died suddenly of a heart attack – here one moment and gone the next.  We all know of people who died suddenly – and maybe we had some regrets about not saying we loved them enough – if at all. Same thing for people holding grudges against those they love. It is often heard at funerals – the last time we spoke we had an argument – and then I find out that the argument was months – even years ago at times. Continue reading

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All We Need Is Love

1 John 4:21

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

RayMcDI love this simple truth. Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister – such a simple truth yet such a huge command. If we say we love God but do not show love toward others – we are lying. The verse just before today’s verse says it this way – 1 John 4:20 – Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

So today – the simple truth and simple challenge is this – love one another.

Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Romans 13:10 – Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Continue reading

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 22

John 3:16

”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

christmas-5During 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.

I’d like to answer the question “where do I see Jesus in my church.” Over the years I have seen Jesus in my pastors and in fellow members. I see Jesus in our desire to learn more through sound messages and our many adult Sunday School classes. I see Jesus in our weekly Bible studies and in our small groups. I see Jesus in our willingness to serve others in ministries like the winter haven program and in the local mission project in the bulletin. I see Jesus in the way we respond to members and visitors in medical crisis during worship and the way we welcome all people. I see Jesus in our worship and in our fellowship. I see Jesus in our church’s willingness to try new thing. In short, I see Jesus all over our church and church family. Thank you for the opportunity to share. 

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 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 20

John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

christmas-1During 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.

All year long but especially during the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the coming New Year, I see our church committees wind down and then plan for the next year of self-less serving.   The tireless servanthood I see from our church family inspires me to be better and humbles me to reflect on the sincerity of my own service. When serving honestly and genuinely, its just such an honor to be part of something bigger than myself….thats what I love!! To see Jesus in the things we plan and in the faces of those serving then how the Holy Spirit makes it all work together! Just awesome! It’s what keeps us all strong, keeps us together and makes me feel the familyhood of our church. I pray others will join and breathe freshness into our committees and then they can feel the joy of being a good an faithful servant! Amen and Amen. 

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 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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