Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Reaching the Lost for Jesus

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Life ChangeWhen I read this passage recently – I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose. In my 40 plus years of ministry – my purpose has been to reach everyone for Christ. The implication – although subtle – is that those who know Christ are not my primary target in the church. Not that they are ignored – but if they know Jesus – part of my task is to build them up so they can reach other for Christ. If we know Jesus – we should want to be built up and be sent out to serve Christ. Our main or primary focus needs to be the lost – those who do not know Jesus. That should be the primary target group of any church IMHO.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now – one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Came To Seek And Save The Lost

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

One Christmas – when our oldest daughter was just a young toddler – we were shopping in a store in the old Parole Shopping Center in Annapolis. It was a nice family time – my wife – my daughter – and I – shopping together for Christmas. For a split moment Carolyn and I thought the other one was watching Shelly and she got out from under our eye. We panicked. We starting telling people to lock the doors – no one was to leave – we were scurrying around – frantically looking for our little redheaded child. It was the biggest scare we ever experienced. Nothing in all the world was more important at that moment than finding our lost daughter.

As we were frantically looking around – over the loudspeaker at the store came our relief. Would the parents of a precious little redheaded girl come to a certain sales station? There was our precious Shelly – sitting on the counter – talking to all who would listen – telling them her parents were lost (LOL). We never had a more horrific moment or such a moment of joy – so closely wrapped into the same event. Continue reading

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seek and Save the Lost

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

RayMcDWhen I read that passage this morning I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose.  At First Church our mission or purpose is to bring people into environments where they can encounter Christ, build people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ, and send people out to serve Christ. We want to bringbuild – and send. We want our focus to be on Christ. We want to focus on those who don’t know Christ – those who know Christ and need to know more – and going out to spread the message or Gospel of Christ. It is a full circle of bringbuildsendbring.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

September 16, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Send, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Love Hunting?

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

IMG_0301I love hunting for things – like lost golf balls. I find them in places other than golf courses (like I have found a few along the side of the road when I am walking) – but mainly I find them where others don’t look (either because they don’t care or would rather buy new ones rather than go into the woods or water looking for their bad shots).

I love hunting for things – like hidden items in pictures (I remember as a child looking in the Highlights Magazine).  Finding hidden items in the picture was fun – as long as someone hadn’t come along before me and circled the items!  I also liked finding what was different between two fairly identical pictures.  My mind loves to figure out what doesn’t belong in a picture!

I love hunting for things – like good deals. I like searching for the lowest gasoline price in our area. I enjoy getting discounts on things – like buy one and get one or two free! I usually buy one and get one free with my suits for example. Continue reading

April 22, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reaching the Lost for Christ

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

When I read that passage this morning I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose.  At Mt. Oak our vision or purpose is to reach everyone for Christ.  The implication – although subtle – is that those who know Christ are not our primary target in the church.  If we know Jesus – we do want to be built up and sent out to serve Christ – but our main or primary focus needs to be the lost – those who do not know Jesus.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them.  Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Now one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!).

So here are a few questions for pastors and lay leadership.  What is your church doing to reach the unsaved?  Are our churches seen more as a hotel for the saved or as a hospital for the unsaved?  Are we reaching out into the community looking for the wounded that have little hope or are we just hoping they come to us?  If a real hospital only served those who could get themselves to the hospital – many would die.  They have rescue services that go out and give immediate care while bringing the people to the hospital – with lights flashing and at high speed.  How is the church reaching out and bringing people into environments where they can encounter Christ?

Here is a famous story that fits so well with this thought today.

The Story of the Lifesaving Station

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.

Some members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as sort of a club.  

Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decorations, and there was a miniature lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.  

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities, since they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

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

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August 16, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership | , , , | 2 Comments

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