Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Up Everything

Luke 14:33

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Tuesday night at Bible Study we talked about giving up everything for Jesus. The concept is a hard one to grasp. Many of us are selfish by nature – wanting to protect what is ours and what we have earned (so we think). We talked about the rich young man in the following story. Luke 18:18–23 – 18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

He went away and became very sad – because he was very wealthy – he had much. Jesus knew that his stumbling block was his possessions. He had an ownership issue. I believe some of us – if not most of us – have an ownership issue. We’ve convinced ourselves that we have worked hard and earned what we have gained in life. Instead – as followers of Christ – we should believe that all we have is God’s – given by God. Continue reading

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

Lent Officially Begins Today

Luke 14:33

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

112015 Ray McDonaldToday is the 1st official day of Lent for 2016.  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary – Lent is defined this way – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.  The 40 days does not count Sundays.  Of course – this year we began our Prayer/Fast on Sunday – February 7th – the first day of our Pre-Lenten Revival.  That would be 49 days – counting the Sundays.

On Friday past – I wrote a devotional blog titled – I Will Not Deny You.  So here’s the question – Have we decided on something to give up during Lent so that we can remember the suffering of Christ?

Once we’ve decided what to give up – and I suggest it ought to be something we really like or something we would have a hard time giving up – we ought to think of something to add or to do for Christ during Lent as well.  So how about some ideas on what to give up and some ideas about what to add or do for Christ during Lent?  I’m still searching for some things myself.  I decided that Social Media was too valuable to my ministry to give up – so I will try hard to only use it for ministry. Continue reading

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And Lent Begins

Luke 14:33

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

profileToday is the 1st day of Lent.  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary – Lent is defined this way – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.  The 40 days does not count Sundays.

On Friday I wrote a devotional blog titled – Putting Christ First During Lent.  So here’s the question – Have we decided on something to give up during Lent so that we can remember the suffering of Christ?

Once we’ve decided what to give up – and I suggest it ought to be something we really like or something we would have a hard time giving up – we ought to think of something to give or do for Christ during Lent as well.  So how about some ideas on what to give up and some ideas about what to add or do for Christ during Lent? Continue reading

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Up Everything To Follow Jesus

Luke 14:33

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

RevRayGiving things up is not natural for most people.  For most people – human nature would seem to be to hang onto things.  Just watch a set of babies or small children playing – they will inevitably collect things and have a hard time sharing.  Most children have to be taught to share and for some it is a hard lesson to learn (for some adults as well and some have never learned this lesson).

An easy math problem as we begin to understand mathematics goes like this – If you have three apples and you give Johnny one – how many apples will you have left?  Of course if you haven’t learned to share you might answer three because I would make Johnny get his own apple.  Sharing is something that pleases God!

Sharing is something that the early church did well (mostly).  The author of Hebrews reminds the early church to not forget to share – Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Sharing pleases God.

Sharing requires giving something up.  Today’s passage are words from Jesus – and call on the followers of Jesus to give up everything to follow Him – In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Continue reading

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak – Build Them Up

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak

The Problem: Families are under attack

The Solution: Reaching the whole family for Christ

The Process: Bring them in, Build them up, Send them out

The Win: A changed life or family for Christ

Over the last two weeks – with one to go (January 9 – 16 – 23) we have and will preach messages that are centered on the vision and mission of our church – Mt. Oak Fellowship – in Mitchellville, MD.  Last Sunday we preached about building people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ.  Next Sunday we will preach on the third part of our mission or process – namely building people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ.  To see a listing of future sermons and Scriptures – and to listen to past sermons – click this link http://wwww.mtoak.org/media/mo-sermons.

Today we want to look at the second part of the process – namely building people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ.  The sermon Sunday was centered on this subject.  We talked about denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Christ.

A truth that hit us hard – and that some of us shy away from because it is so hard – is Luke 14:26 – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple.”

This is a tough word in English – and it is not much easier in Greek.  The word translated hate in the English is the word misei.  This word translates as hatred – or more literally – to love less.  Our love for God is to be so much greater than our love for our family or for our self – it is to be like love to hate in our understanding.  Still a tough word – yet more understandable with the literal translation explained.

It was this love that Jesus showed the Father at Gethsemane when His love for His own life was put aside as He did the Father’s will rather than His own. Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Jesus tells us – Luke 14:27 – And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  We asked the question – what is our cross?  Again – we saw the cross of Christ – not so much the physical cross He carried to Golgotha – but rather the denial of self at Gethsemane.  Our cross is finding out those things that we want to cling to – and being willing to release them to God – to be used as God sees fit!

Jesus concludes the passage we looked at in the message Sunday with – Luke 14:33 – In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Following Christ – costs us self – self-control.  Jesus is to be our Lord – our Master.  We were bought at a price and must yield to His Lordship in order to follow Him.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 17, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Vision | , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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