Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We A New Creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Today’s passage should be very familiar to us. If you have heard me preach or teach for any length of time – you have heard this passage used. I wonder if we give it much thought.

It may be painful – but try to remember if we can – if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior – what it felt like before we made the decision to follow Him. I made the decision as a youth – but I can remember the feeling after I made the decision more than the feeling beforehand. I mean – I grew up in the church – and although a sinner – not a really bad person. I did think I was a Christian beforehand – thinking that because I went to church I was a Christian. But soon after giving my heart to Jesus – I knew what it was like to be a new creation. I felt like flying – I felt free – I felt relieved and blessed.

I have talked to some who received Christ later in life and they have similar reports – but with a deeper memory of their life prior to Jesus. Some walked in drugs or alcohol. Some lived lives of crime. Some didn’t grow up in the church. Can we remember? What is our story? Continue reading

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June 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Look At Evangelism

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who know me well – know that above all else – I would label myself an evangelical. As a Christian pastor I believe that Jesus is Lord and that there is no other way to salvation except through Him. You could call me a John 14:6 kind of guy. In this passage Jesus tells us what is required to go to heaven. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Having said that – the passage for today has a lot of meaning. Today’s passage is part of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 – Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A number of pastors and church leaders as well as church members read my blog page each day. Are marching orders as pastors – as Christians – is The Great Commission. Because of the way some go about evangelism and the way that some have turned away from evangelism – in some circles evangelism has become a dirty word. It is anything but! Continue reading

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come To Our Senses

Luke 15:17

When he came to his senses

I remember – while in High School – being knocked silly during a drill in football. I was lying on my back and had to jump up – turn around (part of the drill) and between two pylons a running back was coming full speed and I had to stop him. It was our fullback and he was at full stride. We collided and I wrapped my arms around him and over we went. To say my bell was rung would be an understatement. This was before they knew much about concussions – but I imagine I had one – everything was spinning (I was a 155 pound wide receiver/tight end and he was a 220 pound fullback) (but I did stop him). When I came to my senses – I jumped up and gave a roar (and later went to one knee).

I remember – growing up – and hearing advice from my father that at the time seemed silly and nonsensical. I listened with respect – and nodded my head at the appropriate times. I remember thinking dad was so old fashion and square. That is until – as I was experiencing life – much if not all of what he told me came true and was later seen as wisdom. When I grew older and wiser – I came to my senses and realized my dad was smarter and wiser than I ever imagined. Continue reading

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At Just The Right Time Again

Romans 5:6

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

At just the right time again! I can’t wait till my shoulder heals so I can begin to work on my golf swing again. I’m convinced I can play better than I have been playing (before my surgery). Golf is hard – but not as hard as I’ve been making it the last few years (with my shoulder injury). I’ve gone from stiff shafts to regular shafts. What I’m finding out – and I knew this before but was too pig-headed to accept – is in a golf swing – it is not about power – but it is all about timing – hitting the ball at just the right time.

At just the right time! Have you ever been in the right place at just the right time? Like the time you crossed paths with someone you hadn’t seen in years at Sam’s Club or the Mall? Like the time you narrowly escaped an accident because you stopped your vehicle at just the right time? Like the time you were the last person in line to register for a class that was filled up after you registered. At times – it simply works out or doesn’t work out – barely – at just the right time. Continue reading

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golf’s Scripture

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 watched the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our boarders 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. Continue reading

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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