Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Mercy Person

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Rays Haircut

As John describes Jesus – the Word becoming flesh – I am struck by yet another difference between Jesus and me! He was and is full of grace as John writes – and I am not always filled with grace – and at times the church is not as well. I am not – by nature – a mercy person – yet as a pastor – I am called to show mercy – maybe another name is compassion. The church is too. At times we do a good job of it. At times we do not.

I was listening to a broadcast on the web the other day and they were talking about grace – and restoration – in the church. Amazingly – their stories were that even in the church – there weren’t a lot of people who knew how or were even willing to show grace. Those who have been shown grace – who have been shown mercy – by God – should be the first ones willing to show mercy – forgiveness to others. God’s grace should be evident in our lives. God’s grace is poured out on us and we should share it with others. Can I get an AMEN? Continue reading

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Be a Better Witness for Jesus?

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Rays HaircutThis year – the year of our Lord 2020 – our nation will go to the polls once again – to place our vote for the POTUS and for others to lead our nation. I urge everyone to register to vote and to get out and vote for the person or persons you believe will help to make us a better nation. It is our legal duty and responsibility as citizens of this country to vote.

If you’ve been listening to the news or to TV – or the radio – or have read anything on the internet – you have probably heard what I have heard – or read what I have read. Men and women – people in political office – radio jocks – TV and movie stars – entertainers – comedians – folks on social media – and in other places – say or write some horrible things about the persons they do not support. I would rather hear positive things about the person(s) they support. Their choice of words leaves a lot to be desired. I mean – I’ve stopped listening to programs on TV because of the language being used. I’ve even had to turn off some sports programs on my favorite all-sports channel. I won’t watch certain shows on TV and don’t go to too many movies. I’ve unfriended or hidden some folks on social media because of the language they use (not always foul language but not uplifting language). Some do take the Lord’s name in vain – and laugh about it! There is a commandment about that with a warning I believe! Continue reading

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should All Be Prayer Warriors

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Rays HaircutLamar Jackson was a mighty warrior for the Baltimore Ravens last fall. I hope he is again this year. Last year he thew for more TDs than any other quarterback and ran for more yards than any quarterback in NFL history. His team – our team – the Ravens – had the best record in the league this past year at 14-2. I hope they are as good or better this year.

Lamar would be the first to say that he fell short last year. He has a 20-3 record since becoming the starting quarterback (I think). Yet – with such a good regular season record – his playoff record is 0-2. He is focused on winning playoff games for sure. I hope this coming year is the year the team goes deep into the playoffs.

My dad was always a mighty warrior to me. He stood for Biblical truth – as he saw it – and never in my lifetime wavered from it. He was consistent and reliable and in this day and age when everything is ever changing – that was a solid foundation for me growing up.

We all need a warrior – a prayer warrior in our lives. We all need to mature into prayer warriors ourselves as well. Continue reading

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being An Encouragement and Strength

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

Rays HaircutDuring this pandemic – I urge us to be there for one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Paul had been encouraged by our Lord being by his side. Timothy was encouraged by Paul. Who encourages us? Whom do we encourage? Continue reading

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Servants of The Lord

Matthew 20:26-28

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Ray 2020We are all called to be servant ministers to our Lord – not only the pastors – all of us – to be servants of the Lord. Along this line – a few years ago – I was asked why some pastors are not as involved in the community as they used to be? I know some pastors are for sure. Here was my answer (this came up on one of my pages recently).

That is a complex question or issue. Some pastors today are no less committed to their calling than pastors of earlier generations. What we have found over the years – the hard way – is that our families were often sacrificed on the altar of serving God.

Being a pastor is a high calling – but the divorce rate and broken family rate and even early retirement rate of pastors leads the way in many studies – partly because of the time spent away from the family. Being a pastor is not a 9-5 job where the family can plan around work hours. Being a pastor is a 24-7 calling. In my younger days – I would work 70-80 hours most weeks and at times more. There were times I wasn’t there for my wife and my children because of it. Maybe the Romans Catholics have a point in having their priests marry the church! Having said that – I have been a better grandparent than I was a parent. I attend less meetings and fellowship times at church – realizing the church will not fall a part because I do not attend – and that the church is more than the pastor and his or her presence (some in my church folks have complained about this though). Continue reading

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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