Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Holy Spirit Comes Upon Us

Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

I remember when I was in elementary school – we use to pass notes in class (I don’t recommend this to our students).  You know the type note I’m talking about – the girls would make up these little books with questions in them like do you like so-in-so?  One of the questions on a booklet passed around said – do you watch Dark Shadows? Now Dark Shadows was a show that came on right after school – a soap opera as it were. It was about a vampire and creepy things. I didn’t watch it – or at least hadn’t watched it before being asked – and didn’t even know about it – and so I thought they were talking about dark shadows at night. Everyone else was saying yes – so of course – succumbing to peer pressure – I said yes as well. It was only later – when I was asked specific questions about watching Dark Shadows – I found out it was a TV show – and of course I started watching it. Continue reading

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January 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And My Spirit Rejoices

Luke 1:47

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Sunday we preached a message about keeping Christ in Christmas. It will be posted here soon – so take a listen. Sunday we talked about the joy that Jesus brought to the people. Luke 2:10–11 – 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Jesus’ arrival was to bring great joy to the people – and not only to His people but to all who would hear and follow Him. Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Deliverer – the One who would break the bonds of oppression for His people. Never before or since has the birth of a baby been so anticipated or sought after. Jesus’ birth was to bring great and lasting joy. Continue reading

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following Christ’s Example

Luke 2:52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus at twelve – as He was amazing the teachers in the temple courts with questions and answers. Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus among the relatives in the caravan – so they headed back to Jerusalem to find Him. Luke 2:46–47 – 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Recently in a Bible study we talked about the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Depending on how you understand that dynamic will reveal where you fall in our ability to follow Christ’s example. For instance – if you believe He was fully divine and only appeared as human – you would have a hard time believing you could follow God’s example. If you believe that He was human on earth and didn’t access His divine power – you would have an easier task of seeing Jesus as an example for us to follow. Continue reading

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Holy Spirit – With Power!

Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

IMG_0301I remember – years and years ago – when I was in elementary school – passing notes in class.  You know the type I’m talking about don’t you?  The girls would make up these little books with questions in them like – do you like so-in-so?  One of the questions on a booklet passed around said – do you watch Dark Shadows?  Now Dark Shadows was a show that came on right after school – a soap opera of sorts.  It was about a vampire and other creepy things.  I didn’t watch it – or even know about it.  At least I hadn’t watched it before being asked the question.  I didn’t even know about it.  So I thought they were talking about dark shadows – you know – at night.  Everyone else said yes before me – so of course – succumbing to peer pressure I said yes as well.  It was only later – when I was asked specific questions about watching Dark Shadows – I found out it was a TV show – and of course I started watching it (to keep up with my peers).

That memory came back to me as I read today’s passage.  Of course today’s passage is about Mary – the mother of Jesus – but it talked about the Most High overshadowing Mary – and so I thought of that early school experience.   Of course – one was an evil overshadowing – and this passage is telling Mary that the power of the Most High will overshadow her. Continue reading

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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