Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We’re Called To Be Like Jesus

Ephesians 5:1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

Life ChangeI remember growing up – always wanting to do what my father was doing. I remember going hunting with him when all I could carry was a toy rifle. We would sit for hours waiting for the squirrels to come out. I remember my first time out with my .410 shotgun and seeing the squirrel through the woods and waiting for it to arrive at the nut tree we were watching. I tried to do what my father would have done – as he watched me imitate him.

When I was growing up – I remember playing first base – pitcher – and third base (not at the same time – lol) and I remember trying to imitate Boog Powell – Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson – three of my favorite players. On our home at the time there was a brick chimney and I used to bounce balls off of it and try to make great plays fielding the ball like they often did. I could always make up a game in my mind.

As disciples of Jesus – we are called to imitate Him! (not our parents or ball players or anyone else. Now there’s a novel idea – be imitators of Christ! Today’s passage speaks to us about imitating Jesus – Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved childrenHere is today’s passage in partial context – Ephesians 5:1-7 – 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. Not only are we called to model or imitate Christ in love – but also to stay away from other things that would not imitate Christ. Continue reading

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April 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s NEVER Too Late

Philippians 1:9

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Life ChangeIf you’re a parent – you probably had or have dreams for your children. I know I had and have dreams for our three girls. Dreams about their physical – emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams about their athletic abilities – and their maturity – and about their walk with Jesus. They have surpassed most of my dreams for sure. They are amazing young women (young is always a relative term). Their mother and I are very blessed by them. The men in their lives are also a blessing. Our five granddaughters are a new generation to pray over and invest in for sure. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met.

If you’ve had or have dreams for your life – you probably have succeeded in some areas and fallen short in some areas. As I look back at my life – there are things I would do differently – of course – but – overall – I’m pleased with my life. I may not have reached all of my goals – but the ones that are most important – my walk with Jesus and my family – are a blessing. I wish I could lose another 50 pounds. I wish I could still dunk a basketball (yet I can still light it up from the 3-point arc). I wish my ministry had reached more people for Jesus. I wish I had spent more time with my family – and less time working. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money on cars as a teen and young adult. OK – the list could go on and on – but – most of my dreams have come true and some are still in reach. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trusting in the Lord

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Life ChangeHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out? I’m not sure for me – whether I would want to know or not.

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed on social media?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Continue reading

March 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Love Is Everlasting – Forever

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Life ChangeIt is often debated – whether something is good or not in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a few years ago what was good – I might have said – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days I can’t have either (often if at all) and have had to turn them down (I’m still trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good.

School is entering the home stretch for some seniors in High School – the spring season for sports is upon us. You might think your entire school is good. It might be your school’s band that you think is good. Some of us might even say our community is good. What or who do you think is good?

The ultimate good – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever – it is everlasting. Continue reading

March 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So What Is Next After the Special General Conference?

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Special General Conference (#SGC2019) has been a difficult situation for many of us – maybe even all of us. I didn’t post a devotional thought yesterday – because I was so blown away by the conference and the social media storm surrounding it. So many were hurt – people I care about – and so many were not voicing their thoughts well. The love seemed to have left the room (and on social media). I couldn’t wrap my head around what to post. That rarely happens – but it happened yesterday. I did post a couple of scriptures but couldn’t wrap my head around what else to share. I love all people – and I hurt when people hurt.

Today (Tuesday) – as I write this devotional thought for Wednesday – I am still at a loss. Sisters and brothers – colleagues of mine and others – people that I love – are at odds over the issues that were presented and voted on at the #SGC2019. The future of our denomination is uncertain. Churches and many people are confused – and many are hurt. The Traditional Plan was approved at #SGC2019. The One Church Plan was voted down. For some – this is what they wanted. For others – not so much. Continue reading

February 27, 2019 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 | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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