Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Merry Christmas To All

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

RayMcDMerry Christmas to all! I want to wish each and every one a Merry Christmas. May God bless you real good today and I don’t mean with some gift that someone may or may not be giving you! I mean with the love of Christ and the love of Christ working through you and others.

I’ve been writing most of the month about Christmas (have you enjoyed the Christmas Praises folks have shared?). I prepared for a long weekend this year with Christmas Eve on a Saturday and Christmas on a Sunday. My Christmas Eve is usually pretty busy with three services (4 – 7 – 11 pm). I will not arrive home – once I leave for church – until well past 1 am on Christmas Day. There is a part of me that is glad that we don’t have little ones to prepare for on Christmas morning (at home – not counting the grandchildren) – because this old salt would be one tired puppy if I had to put together a bunch of Christmas toys or bikes before the children woke. On the other hand – I will miss the joy of seeing little children opening their gifts and their giggles as they find something special under the tree for them! I hope the grandchildren give me that thrill again this year or real soon.

As I sip on my hot chocolate and listen to Pentatonix sing Christmas songs on YouTube I am reminded of the gifts that we give and receive at Christmas. Gifts have been a part of Christmas since the first Christmas! Continue reading

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December 26, 2016 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

The Day After

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

RayMcDOne Sunday not too long ago we mentioned in a sermon that Christians sometimes take Jesus for granted.  It seems to be human nature that if things are going well – at work – in our marriages – at church – in life – we tend to take Jesus for granted. Most Christians spend more time on their knees when crisis is at their doorstep than when life is good. When life is not going well – we tend to turn to Jesus more often and with more ease.

Attendance in most churches the Sunday after 911 was an indication (September 16, 2001) of what I just wrote.  I was pastoring a church at the time with an average attendance of about 300 give or take a few on any given Sunday. But the Sunday after 911 there were well over 400 in attendance. It seems that crisis brings us to Jesus. Attendance figures during World War II saw this same truth played out.  The Sunday after 911 week (September 23) – when life was still in an upheaval – but out of crisis mode – attendance was back to normal. It is the same thing with Easter it seems – attendance almost doubles for one week and then we are back to normal – and at times less than normal – because folks who do not attend every week all came on Easter. Attendance this past Sunday (September 11, 2016) was slightly above normal as we came to remember. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Is The Reason For Every Day Of Our Life

Ephesians 1:7

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

112015 Ray McDonaldI’m taking a break from Advent and Christmas today – sort of – and focusing in on Good Friday in a way.  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 – He 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.

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 10, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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