Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Day After

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

RayMcDOne Sunday not too long ago we mentioned in a sermon that Christians sometimes take Jesus for granted.  It seems to be human nature that if things are going well – at work – in our marriages – at church – in life – we tend to take Jesus for granted. Most Christians spend more time on their knees when crisis is at their doorstep than when life is good. When life is not going well – we tend to turn to Jesus more often and with more ease.

Attendance in most churches the Sunday after 911 was an indication (September 16, 2001) of what I just wrote.  I was pastoring a church at the time with an average attendance of about 300 give or take a few on any given Sunday. But the Sunday after 911 there were well over 400 in attendance. It seems that crisis brings us to Jesus. Attendance figures during World War II saw this same truth played out.  The Sunday after 911 week (September 23) – when life was still in an upheaval – but out of crisis mode – attendance was back to normal. It is the same thing with Easter it seems – attendance almost doubles for one week and then we are back to normal – and at times less than normal – because folks who do not attend every week all came on Easter. Attendance this past Sunday (September 11, 2016) was slightly above normal as we came to remember. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Our God – Show Our Love

Deuteronomy 6:5

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

IMG_0301I created a song for my grandchildren. I sing it with them whenever they’re here or on Face-Time. It goes like this – I love Pop, Pop loves me, and that’s the way it’s going to be! If I have written it before (and I know I have) – I just love being a Pop. I love my grandchildren – three already here and one on the way soon!  I love showing them how much I love them but giving them my focus when they are around.  I didn’t always do that with my children.  I want to be a better Pop than I was a Dad.

In Christ we are called to love others – even as we love ourselves. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were and part of His response is to love our neighbors – those around us – even as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wrestling With Sin Part II

Jude 1:24-25

24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. NIV84

profileAs part of my calling and my profession – I do a number of funerals.  Funerals are usually sad events but for some they are sad and happy events (let me explain).  If the deceased were a Christian – you know – one of those born again types – not just a church goer but a true believer in Christ – death is usually met with joy because it is the transition time between this life and the next.  This is a time that Christians live for – really!

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a measure of sadness for Christians at funerals.  I know when my father died in 2012 – it was a sad time yet a joyous time.  Dad had lived his life in so many ways for Jesus and I had and have no doubt he heard well-done – good and faithful servant when he arrived in heaven.  For Sunday only church goers – funerals probably bring a number of other emotions and thoughts into play.  Doubts and fears probably surface if they haven’t been sold out for Jesus in their walk.  For folks who have little or no faith – funerals probably bring a whole list of other emotions and thoughts as well. Continue reading

January 20, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving God

Mark 12:30

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. NIV84

profileLoving God is much more than just saying I love you.  We say I love you to loads of people we really don’t love.  I mean the words can lose their meaning at times because we use them so much.  We also might get lost in the meaning of love if we use it too often.  Loving Godare we really loving God todaythat is the question.

Loving God involves all that we are and all that we have.  Mark records these words in his gospel account from our Lord – Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. NIV84 Continue reading

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Loving God More Than Anything

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

What is your weakness?  What is it that you hang onto or can’t do without?  Do you have a keepsake that reminds you of years gone by?  Is there a piece of furniture handed down through the generations you couldn’t think of giving to someone else?  What is it you love?

What about your family?  Do you love them?  I hope the answer is yes.  I have three daughters that I love very much.  Because of them I now have three sons as well – I love them too.  Of course my partner for life is the one I love the most.  I also love my parents – my siblings – my nieces and nephews and others.  Family is so important and we have a special place for in our heart for our love for them.

Continue reading

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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