Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Do You Think About Easter?

Matthew 28:5–6

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Life ChangeIn reading an article on Barna.org titled Most Americans Consider Easter a Religious Holiday, But Fewer Correctly Identify its Meaning a few years ago I came across some interesting findings.  Below is some quoted material from that article.

Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday?

The types of Americans who were most likely to express some type of theistic religious connection with Easter were evangelicals (93%), attenders of large churches (86% among those whose congregation has 500-plus adult attenders), born again Christians (81%), and weekly churchgoers (77%).

Republicans (77%) and Democrats (71%) were more likely than were independents (59%) and non-registered citizens (51%) to say Easter has religious meaning for them.

In terms of age, members of the Boomer generation (73%, ages 45 to 63) were among the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday for them, compared with two-thirds of Elders (66% of those ages 64-plus) and Busters (66%, ages 26 to 44). The youngest adult generation, the Mosaics (ages 18 to 25), were the least likely age segment to say Easter is a religious holiday (58%), reflecting the increasingly secular mindset of young adults. Continue reading

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April 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace in Days Like These

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

fullsizeoutput_ffeLiving at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – post mid-term elections – pre-new congress forming in January – pre-Special General Conference in the United Methodist Church (February 23-26) – pre-Thanksgiving – and pre-Christmas (did I miss anything) – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together. Continue reading

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

The family was over on Sunday – at least most of it. It was a neat time. I was in my glory holding first one grandchild and then another. At one time I had three of them sitting with me (on me) watching a movie on the TV (a Troll movie). It was such a blessing.

Loving on your grandchildren is so easy. As a matter of fact – loving on anyone who loves you back is easy. I really enjoying cuddling with the grands and I enjoy showing love to my daughters and to my wife. I often don’t have trouble showing love to others as well – with hugs and kind words. What gets hard is showing love to those I know do not love me.

Are there folks in our lives that we might consider enemies? When I think of the word enemies – I often think of the Germans in WWII or Communists who threaten our way of life or ISIS who threatens world peace with terrorism. Enemies seem to be the worst of the worst. They are mean and contrary to all that is sacred or holy (or so it seems). Continue reading

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing People Together

Colossians 3:11

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Yesterday was MLK Day. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to bring people together. I saw a picture of MLK and Billy Graham on Franklin Graham’s Facebook page and Franklin said they were good friends and both tried to bring about good. Here is what Franklin wrote.

My father Billy Graham was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is honored today. They knew each other well. They traveled together some, and at least one time even stayed in the same room together! Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King, said, “I think both Dr. Graham and my father were trying to make the world a better place…They were different obviously in their style and their approach, but I think their heart and their goal was the same.” When my father was holding an evangelistic Crusade in Chattanooga, TN, in 1953, he arrived and ropes had been put up to segregate the people. He was appalled. He told the head usher to take down the ropes, but he wouldn’t—so my father took down the ropes himself. He told the ushers who threatened to put them back up, “Either these ropes stay down or you can go on and have the revival without me.” I appreciate the strong stand he took. #MLKDay Continue reading

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Devote Ourselves To Prayer

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Sunday we began both worship services with prayer. The President of the United States (POTUS) called us to a time of prayer. That wasn’t the reason we prayed – but it was nice to hear our President call the nation to prayer. We need it.

We began the first service with a time of prayer for all impacted by hurricane Harvey. We prayed for peace around the world – naming the unrest in North Korea – and for the hearts and minds of world leaders – including our President. Later in the service – after hearing praise and prayer concerns we had a time of prayer for our relatives in need – for a college student heading back to Houston – for two members with medical issues and for others.

At our second service we began with a powerful prayer by one of our worship team and later – again after hearing praises and prayer concerns – we prayed for those impacted by Harvey and for world leaders – naming our President and the unrest in North Korea. We began our second prayer time by laying hands on a member who was present and in need of healing. Prayer is so powerful. Continue reading

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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