Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

2020 Election Promises

Joshua 1:9

the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWe’ve all heard the saying that the only thing we cannot avoid in life is death and taxes. Today is the day – 7 years ago – that my dad transitioned to heaven. I miss him so. He was always there to talk to and to share life with for sure. I covet your prayers for me and my family today. We will all die some day – unless we are alive with Jesus returns for His church – His bride.

The other part of that saying – we can’t avoid taxes. How appropriate that we’re in the 2020 election season and some candidates have already promised to raise our taxes and some have promised other things. Some candidates will say what they think will get them elected. Few will follow through with their campaign promises – although some do follow through on their promises. Although that is not the only issue at hand – taking more money from our already heavily taxed pockets – this issue does not resonate well with most people. I know I don’t like it. And why they need the new tax money doesn’t sit well with me either (of course that is another story all together).

What are some other things that we cannot seem to avoid in life? Are there people in our lives that always seem to show up – people we can’t seem to avoid? Some of those folks are treasures – always showing up when we need them – when there is a crisis. Some of those folks are anything but treasures – people you wish you could avoid – no mater the circumstances. Are there people in your life you have tried hard to avoid? Continue reading

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Time Faith – Is It Outdated?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday’s presenting scripture has been called the the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I typically have an altar call each week to challenge those in attendance to faith – or to a deeper faith – or simply to pray about something that has been a challenge for them.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin (we actually called behavior contrary to God’s will – sin).  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians.

Correct me if I am wrong – but – I just don’t see the United Methodist Church of today – in many places – in many churches – as part of the holiness movement any longer. I rarely hear or read about the UMC calling people to Scriptural holiness. I rarely hear about revivals and camp meetings or Sunday or Wednesday night services. What I often hear – even from some of our clergy and Bishops – is a caving to social norm – to the sin of society. I hear tolerance preached and taught rather than holiness. It seems like we are trying to be popular rather than faithful. I hope I’m not being too harsh. Correct me if I am wrong or being too harsh – please. Continue reading

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real and Needs to be Rejected

 Revelation 2:13

I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.

This is a reworked devotional – produced on Tuesday for Thursday so I won’t need to write a new one while I’m at Annual Conference. I will do the same for Friday.

Have we ever felt surrounded on every turn by folks that seem to be doing the work of the Devil? I mean – we can think of cities like Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible or cities like San Francisco – New York City – Chicago – Washington, DC and other havens of sin – but sin lives wherever men and women’s hearts are turned away from Jesus and turned toward Satan. Satan may live in our workplace – in our own family or in our own life at times. We may think (tongue in cheek) we are married to Satan him/herself – but in reality Satan is Satan and those who succumb to his trickery are his instruments – and they live everywhere.

We do not have to be a child molester or mass murderer to be a tool of Satan! We don’t have to be named Hitler or Attila the Hun to be a tool of Satan. Our journey may take us into the presence of many who are being used of Satan – daily. We may be used of Satan from time to time as well. Even people who present themselves as sheep can really be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Continue reading

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Holiness Still Our Call?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Today’s passage is called the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I remember revivals and camp meetings and altar calls and still use them today.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin. We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The United Methodist Church

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

IMG_0301Today’s passage is called the Great Commission.  It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church.  We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol).  In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus.  Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance.  We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught.  We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society.  The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool.  The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ.  We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin.  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord.  In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening.  Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

%d bloggers like this: