Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

John 3:16 – Golf’s Passage

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 continue to watch the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our borders 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.

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July 10, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life – Death – and Life After Death

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADo you think about life after death much? I made a comment recently that we tend to think more about our mortality – our own death – after our parents have passed – because – all things being equal – there is no more buffer – we are the oldest generation. A member said that really made them think. I think about it. All four of our parents have now passed. We are the next generation. My in-laws lived to 89 & 86. My parents lived to 84 and 89. As their generation passes – I know I will think more about my mortality even more. There are a few from their generation still with us – but directly – we are the next generation.

I think about my mortality as it is – with my job. I face life and death situations often with members and friends – being a pastor. I also get my blood checked and a physical annually and at times the numbers (weight and blood work numbers) – are not that good. I’m thinking about my mortality even more today (and taking more seriously my need to improve my health). Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hunger and Thirst

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Rays HaircutI often talk – teach and preach about being ready for Christ’s return. One sermon I preached was titled That Day and Hour. In it we were that Christ will return for us. We also preached about being ready for His return. I mentioned that Christ would return in one of two ways for us – either He would be there for us when we drew our last breath or He would return to receive His church at the rapture. Are we ready?

We’ve mentioned a number of things we could do to be ready for Jesus’ return in previous teachings and sermons. Of course – number one on the list is receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Without Jesus – we would be hopelessly lost for eternity.

We’ve named a few other things we could do as well. We don’t need to give a list of all of the things we could do to be prepared for Christ’s return – but – we’ve mentioned a few things. Among those things we listed was today’s passage. Continue reading

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 40 of Lent 2020

Romans 6:3

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Ray 2020Today is day 40 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us during this journey as we have carried on with our reading plan this Lenten Season. Tomorrow is Easter. But today is silent Saturday. It is the full day that Jesus was in the grave (partial day on Friday and partial day on Sunday). How will you spend your day? Will it be just another day or will you spend some time thinking about Jesus and His Disciples – so many years ago?

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. How have you been doing? Today we continue to look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and later to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. For those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior – we have been baptized into Christ and into His suffering – into His death. We share with Him and He shares with us.

Spend some time today – praying and meditating on the story of Christ. Today is the day He was in the tomb before being raised in the morning (tomorrow). Our Lenten season has been different this year. Our Easter will be different. But – the Tomb was still empty and the Lord still reigns. Continue reading

April 11, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 21 of Lent 2020

Mark 14:18

While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me — one who is eating with me.”

Ray 2020Today is Day 21 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope we are enjoying and keeping up with the 40 Day reading plan. I am appreciating them myself as we walk to the cross. I also hope and pray that you are well and surviving this pandemic we are facing.

Today’s reading is about the Passover lamb – Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior. The verse I picked out for this day is the one that talks about the one – Judas – who would betray Him that night. Whenever I read this verse I think – in what ways have I betrayed Jesus? In what ways has the church betrayed Him? Can we take a moment and think of ways we have betrayed Jesus?

Our walk with Christ is often compromised by our sinful choices. We need – daily even – to focus on Jesus and not on self or the world around us. How are we doing with that? During this isolated time – we could really spend more time focused on Jesus. Continue reading

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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