Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 2 of Lent 2018

John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Today is day 2 of Lent – 2018. The story today for me is about sacrifice – the sacrifice that Mary (not the Virgin Mary) was willing to make for Jesus. Mary (might have been the woman caught in adultery – obviously someone who have known Jesus and His grace) entered a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. She offered Him a gift – a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; and poured it over His head. It was a lavish gift. It was a gift that showed great sacrifice on her part.

The question I thought of today as I read this story was – what am I willing to sacrifice for Jesus? In a sermon not too long ago I asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? My hope is that as we read today’s Lenten passage we will ask what we are willing to give up – not just for Lent – but for Jesus? Continue reading

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February 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus is The Resurrection and The Life

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die

82015 RayAs a pastor – I am often called upon many times in the course of a year to celebrate the life of folks from our church and from our community. As I have recently mentioned – it has been 3 plus years since we celebrated my father’s life. I have three aging parents still dealing with various ailments and will celebrate their lives some day – unless they celebrate mine beforehand.

Someone once said – in this world you can be certain of two things – death and taxes. Some attribute this to Benjamin Franklin. It is a true statement. We weren’t created to die – we were created to live eternally. Yet – because of sin – we are born to die.

Folks – even folks who only know me on the day of the celebration of their loved one’s life – say I hold a nice service – a comforting service – a service that brings them into the presence of God. Recently a man said – I’m not a religious man – but you said some things that touched me today. God has gifted me with the ability to connect with people and to help people to be at ease and to remember the good as they celebrate the life of a loved one. Continue reading

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resurrection and The Life

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

82015 RayAs a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has recently passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor. The end of life can be a scary time.  Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary.

Today I will celebrate the life well lived of a woman who fell two days short of her 102nd birthday. She is an amazing lady and lived a life that touched many. I pray that I honor her well as we celebrate her life together.

We have a lady in our congregation who will turn 100 soon and several others in their late 80’s and 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. They honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at 60 – I am 30-40 years their junior. Continue reading

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is OK to Cry!

John 11:35

Jesus wept.

RevRayWhen I was a child and fell down – my parents never gave me macho comments like – don’t cry – boys don’t cryget up and act like a man.  Too many boys who later became men are suffering from the macho image of boys and men not feeling emotion – not crying.  Too many wives come into pastor’s offices and therapist’s offices complaining of husbands who cannot express themselves emotionally.  I want to blame parents who try to get their little boys to stifle their emotions – their tears.

Now – too much emotion is not great either.  My emotions for instance can tend to get the best of me at times.  For instance – my first funeral I asked my father to the service so that he could take over if my emotions got the best of me.  I have been known to cry during funerals.  Some say I empathize with those who have lost loved ones – and to a degree that might be OK.  But at times I feel like my emotions are over the top.

An example of my emotions getting the best of me – I tear up watching Boy Meets World reruns from time to time.  I tear up watching Jimmy Stewart movies.  I had tears in my eyes watching the devastation in Oklahoma recently. Continue reading

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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