Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Jesus as We Walk to the Cross

Matthew 10:32-39

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Life ChangeThis coming Sunday we will start a new sermon series for April titled – Easter: Before and After. This week’s message is titled – Jesus’ Prayers. Come and enjoy – come and grow in Christ.

Today’s passage came to me as I’ve prepared for the cross this year. The first verse says: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” We’ve mentioned many times that most of us like to hear Atta boy/girl when we have done well. We’ve asked the question a number of time: how do we acknowledge God before men and women? We like affirmation and this passage calls us to affirm Jesus before others.

The second verse in this passage of Scripture says what happens when we do not acknowledge God before people. It is a part of this passage I’m sure some wish Jesus hadn’t included: But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” None of us wish to be disowned by Jesus!

As we read on to verses 34-37 – we read: 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. When I was younger – I didn’t get this part of the passage. I mean – it didn’t sound like Jesus to me. I thought of Jesus as a peacemaker – one who would strive to connect families. God gave me to my family and then He gave me my family – my wife – children – and grandchildren. Another Gospel even use the word hate when referring to our feelings toward those we love – compared to the love we are to have for God. Continue reading

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Comfortable In Our Faith Walk?

Matthew 10:32

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have we ever taken the time to figure out what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like? If we have – have we tried to be that person? Would we say that being a disciple is something that would be easy or hard – comfortable or a stretch?

How does being a disciple of Jesus Christ play out in our lives? Do we know what God desires of us? Do we seek His face and desire His grace? Are we in a comfortable place – as a disciple – or are we struggling with the place God placed us? Are we being stretched as a disciple or are we comfortable? Is God calling us to places that will require our faith to work or do we find ourselves in places where we can rest and be comfortable? Continue reading

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Telling Others About Jesus!

Matthew 10:32-39

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

112015 Ray McDonaldSoon we will start a sermon series titled Walking to the Cross.  We will take three weeks to approach the Cross of Calvary. Today I want to break down some thoughts in this passage that will be fruitful for us as we search for what the walk to the cross really means.

Jesus – talking to His disciples – was equipping them and giving them marching orders.  He begins this section of Scripture with these words: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. Continue reading

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does it Cost to Follow Jesus?

Matthew 10:37-38

37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

IMG_0301It is Good Friday. I had a funeral this morning for a long time friend from a previous church and a Good Friday service tonight at the church I presently serve. It is the day that our Lord sacrificed His life for me – for you – for all humanity – He paid for the sins of the world.

One thing I have always preached – there is a cost to follow Jesus. Salvation is free – but to truly follow Christ – there is a cost. That cost is a denial of self and an acceptance of God’s will in our lives. It is that Gethsemane moment where our will and God’s will clash – the cost is denying self and doing God’s will. The free gift of salvation requires a denial of self!

Here is today’s passage in partial context – it will help us understand the cost of following Jesus. Matthew 10:32-39 – 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Continue reading

April 3, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being a Disciple of Christ

Matthew 10:37

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgWhat does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? How does that play out in our lives? Are we in a comfortable place – as a disciple – or are we struggling with the place God has for us?

I was spending some time with a member recently – and he shared that he was not comfortable with where God had him – and he was glad. When we get comfortable – it is time to move on to a new challenge. To follow Christ is not to be in some comfort zone. It is to be stretching and moving to new places where there is faith – rather than comfort.

Have you ever read and then struggled with the following passage? These are words from our Lord. Continue reading

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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