Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent – A Time to Anticipate

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Life ChangeAs we enter Advent (yesterday) and head toward Christmas – I want to make sure we know how very important Christmas is for us. Today I want to celebrate what Christmas is all about – the coming of Christ – the One who sacrificed His life for us. Not so much that He came – so very important – but why He came. He didn’t come to be a baby in a manger – although the secular world would like us to focus on buying and selling at Christmas – or at the very least – the little helpless baby in a manger – Jesus came to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to die for our sins – to pay the debt of our sin – for our redemption. It was God’s plan from before creation.

We all need Jesus. We all need forgiveness from our sins. We have all sinned and all stand in need of redemption – Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Continue reading

December 3, 2018 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

Christmas Praises 25

Luke 2:5-7

He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Manger at night under fogDuring the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

At Christmas the things that bring me joy are simple. Time with family instead of constantly working comes to mind. Seeing the smiles on the children and now the grandchildren’s faces as they open something simple yet special. Remembering those who have gone before us and those who are still here. Seeing such giving hearts at our church as we reach out to others amazes me.

I see the joy of Christmas in my church family. There are times when we don’t always see eye to eye but most times we gather together and accomplish great things for our Lord. Christmas is one of those times when we connect and accomplish great things for Jesus. I love Christmas at First Church. The sweet Spirit of Jesus is so evident in most all of the people. The spirit of giving and of love is so prevalent amongst the people. Merry Christmas to everyone.   

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Week of Advent

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

RayMcDAdvent began yesterday. Do we have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t celebrate it? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. As we mentioned yesterday in the message – Christ is Coming – it is about the return of Christ as well.

In the fourth century when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. Have any of us ever heard the term/word – Maranatha? It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord, Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return for His church. I have been using it a lot through my years of ministry – with all of the unrest – the shootings – the terrorists – the bombings – the election – the horizontal noise all around us. I have cried out many times for the Lord to come – to return for His people – to save us from ourselves.

Continue reading

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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