Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

My Annual Christmas Music Post

Psalm 100:1–2 (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.

RayMcDThis is my annual post about Christmas music. Are you enjoying some Christmas music this time of the year? Maybe some Christian Christmas songs as compared to some secular Christmas songs? I’m listening to Pandora Radio as I type – a channel called Pentatonix (Holiday). I also listen to Frank Sinatra (Holiday). On my XM radio in the car I listen to Channel 18 (Holiday Traditions) and Channel 58 (Country Christmas). On the regular radio I listen to FM 97.1 because they are playing Christmas music 24 x 7. They all play a mixture of secular and Christian Christmas songs.

With Christmas coming – I was curious – are you listening to any favorite channels? If so – how about sharing them with our readers. What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Name your top five if you would. It might be interesting to read what others appreciate.

Not in any particular order – but I would name these hymns as my favorite.
—- The First Noel
—- O Holy Night
—- Away in a Manger
—- Silent Night
—- O Little Town of Bethlehem Continue reading

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Train Up A Child

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was my first Mother’s Day without my mom. There was one other person in each service that was facing their first Mother’s Day without their mom. It was not an easy Sunday. I couldn’t bring myself to preach a typical Mother’s Day sermon. It would have been too hard to deliver.

Today’s passage is familiar to many of us I’m sure. Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. NIV11 In the KJV it reads this way – Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.

My mother did much of the child rearing/training – as my father worked several jobs to make ends meet while we were young (he drive a school bus – sub taught in the local High School – and served a church while attending college and seminary). She was the day-to-day presence in our lives. She and my grandmother were whom we turned to often in our daily lives as young children. I owe much if not most of my development as a child to my mom. Continue reading

May 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking By Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight. NIV11

RayMcDWhen I was a younger pastor – many moons ago – I would listen on Sunday mornings to a preacher early before our worship service. His name was Frederick K.C. Price – pastor and founder of Ever Increasing Faith Ministries. Fred Price was a powerful speaker who stuck with the Word of God. He always had a good word for me. He still might be a dynamic speaker at 85 – I haven’t heard him lately.

Fred’s key verse was today’s verse – in the King James Version – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV 1900) – (For we walk by faith, not by sight:). Too many people today – and in every age I imagine – need to be shown something to believe in.

I believe I am a better learner when I could see something rather than merely being told something (they call that a visual learner I believe). We have a whole state – Missouri I think – that has as their state motto – the Show Me State. Some people are better audio learners – hearing it helps more than showing it. Continue reading

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, 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

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