Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does It Cost Us To Follow Christ?

Philippians 3:8

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

What does it cost us to follow Christ? I wonder – have we ever thought about this question? Have we ever spent time really thinking about the cost of following Christ?

What does it cost us to follow Christ? Most things in life cost us something. In our home (mostly me) – we estimate something’s worth to us by what it would cost us to get it. If we want to buy something – I might estimate how many hours we would need to work for it. We would then determine if it was really worth it and if we really wanted it that badly.

What does it cost us to follow Christ? This week or soon – the Baltimore Orioles will begin to dismantle this year’s team and begin working on the team of the future. At some point – a team will determine what it will cost them to purchase 3-4 months (counting the playoffs) of one of the top 2-3 players in baseball and some of his teammates. The Orioles will need to do the same as they figure out what the best offer is moving the team forward. Will it be the needed players or draft picks. What will it cost to improve a playoff team and what will it cost to rebuild a once proud team? Continue reading

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following Jesus Is Easy And Hard!

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Following Jesus is easy and hard at the same time.

It is easy – because God has done all the work to provide salvation for all who would receive it. Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

It is hard – because we must continually fight our human – sinful – nature. Psalms 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. The sin nature is something that Christ came to control if not destroy in us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! I have often said the old has gone – as Christ comes into our lives – but it hasn’t gone far. Continue reading

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being A Disciple

John 8:31

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

We have three grandchildren living with us right now. We have two other grandchildren living very close to us. Soon they will all live near us. It tickles me to hear them call for Pop and run to give me a hug. Several of them are very good at giving hugs – OK – all of them are! I enjoy cuddling and playing with them all. I spent some time tonight reading to three of them and playing blocks with them. One likes nothing more than to knock down the towers we build. She says help me Pop and as I build a tower – she giggles and knocks them down.

As my children raise/rear their children – I am reminded of the task of being a parent. I tweeted this recently – It is our job as parents to teach our children to be trustworthy, to fulfill their commitments, and to do a good job even when nobody is looking. Another thing we are to do as a Christian parent is to teach and train our children to be obedient to God. They must make this choice themselves – but we lay the groundwork for sure. Monkey see – monkey do is often so true. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree is another good saying when it comes to parenting. As our children and grandchildren witness our faith – they will learn to model it and have a better chance of coming to faith themselves. Continue reading

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favorite Passage of Scripture

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do we all have a favorite scripture? One of the all-time favorite passages is today’s passage – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Watch any golf tournament and you might just see a sign that says John 3:16.

A sign of whom we love or what we love is what we are willing to give up for them or it. For instance – I once asked my Tuesday morning Bible Study – who or what they loved. They responded with the normal list – children – pets – Jesus of course – and more. When asked what they would be willing to do for a pet with a major illness – some said – whatever it takes. Another said they would sell their house to help with the medical bills of a child.

We are willing to do whatever it takes for those we love or something we love. Some of us – for the sake of a few dollars – would camp out overnight at a store to assure that we were one of the first ones in the store the next day or overnight to get tickets to a movie or a concert. We’ll do some crazy things for something we love. Continue reading

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hidden in Christ

Colossians 3:3

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

RayMcDSunday we talked about Submitting to God in our Sunday message at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. You can listen to the sermon here. The message was part four of a five part series titled 5 Themes From James.

Some key verses from this message were as follows.

Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

James 4:7-8 – 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Today’s passage in this devotional thought is a good follow up to the message from Sunday. It reminds us that we are called to die to self (deny self – the carnal nature) and be reborn in Christ (the spiritual self or nature). We referred to this passage as well – about the new nature.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! Continue reading

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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