Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – It Keeps Changing!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Rays HaircutLife – it keeps changing! A number of things in my own life have changed – and keep changing. This summer I will have been married for 40 years. It has been 47 years since I graduated High School. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today. My children – my babies – are fully grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with my granddaughters. Soon my grandson from South Korea will be home (I can’t wait). I’ve been in ministry for 44 years. I continue to think about retirement (although I hope I will still be active in ministry in retirement).

Life – it keeps changing! No baseball yet! Maybe not this season. No basketball yet! They’re talking about using Disneyland. Football is trying to get started soon for the fall. The Ravens had an amazing season last year and I hope they play even better this coming year. Golf is just starting to have live events. NASCAR was the first live sport to come back – if you don’t count cornhole!

Life – it keeps changing! Churches are meeting online and others are talking about reopening their facilities. Things have changed – things we thought would never change.

Continue reading

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are An Easter People

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Rays HaircutEaster has come and gone for another year – although it might come back in a few weeks as we gather together again some day. Churches would have been packed – I know our online services were packed. Some of my colleagues often have to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some usually want to reach the unchurched on Easter and try off-site locations – which might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some – if not all – see larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year.

If their attendance is anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday – the way it used to be. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if our regulars were more regular – our normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 9 of Lent 2020

Luke 20:27-33

27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.” NKJV

Ray 2020Today is day 9 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope that we are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the life and ministry of Christ as we walk these 40 days of Lent. Sunday is another catch up date with no additional reading plan. Try to keep up and read along as we walk to the cross.

Today’s reading is about how the Sadducees would go to any length to try to trick Jesus – trying to trap Him. They deny that there is a resurrection yet they brought a question about the resurrection to Jesus to try to trick and trap Him. To what extent do we go to rationalize our sins? That is a question that might hit some of us square between the eyes! God bless you as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary!

How are you doing during Lent? Did you deny yourself of anything? Are you doing anything more to be drawn closer to Jesus during Lent? How’s your prayer life? How’s your devotional life? Continue reading

March 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Essential Doctrines of Our Faith

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

img_0063-2What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too we can attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision or is program the leading concern?

If having a Biblically based church is high on your priority list – what doctrines would be essential for you to have fellowship with a church family? We’ve talked about essentials in a life-partner before. The three I shared with my daughters – while they were growing up – was to find a man who loved Jesus – a man who loves them – and a man who has a good work ethic. What are you essential life-partner rules? What would be your three essential doctrines as you grow in your faith? Continue reading

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine Is Always Essential

1 Peter 2:2

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

img_0063-2Junk Food is not good for us! There – I said it! Junk food is simply that – junk – and I have been trying to stay away from it. Yet it usually tastes so good – or at least we think so. What is your favorite junk food? I love most anything with chocolate and peanuts or peanut butter. At Easter I am a sucker for peanut butter covered chocolate eggs. Junk food is usually sweet – or salty and flavored like barbecue potato chips. If you’re really lucky with your junk food you can get something that is sweet & salty!

But I digress. I’m also craving something sweet or salty – right now! Get behind me satan foods.

Junk food usually satisfies for the moment but not for the long-term. It usually has lots of empty calories and is not ultimately good for us. Why are we drawn to it – because it soothes for the moment – but it is not good for us? We are satisfied for the moment and yet – the long-term results is not good.? Continue reading

February 5, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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