Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Praying for Everyone!

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—

Life ChangeDo we pray for all people? Often in worship – over the years – I’ve asked people to pray for the President. What if the President at the time isn’t the one you voted for – does that hamper your ability to pray for them? It shouldn’t. We should pray for our leaders – whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have to like someone to pray for them – praying that their hearts would be touched by God and that they would lead the people according to what is best for the people – rather than for themselves or their political party. We ask for this prayer often in our worship services and in our Live Prayer Time on Wednesday nights on Facebook.

Do we pray for all people? The political scene is dreary these days. At times we are called to pray against evil (as we might define it) and to pray for those who are responsible for that evil (as we see it). For instance – we might be conflicted with what is happening on our southern border (and has been happening for several administrations). We might think our borders should be secure and yet we might feel there are better ways to go about it (several administrations have tried several methods which apparently aren’t working yet). We can pray for those seeking asylum and their well-being while also praying for border security. We can pray for a better way for sure. Continue reading

November 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Clothing Matters

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDear readers – did we have a favorite piece of clothing growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a favorite red baseball hat. In many of my childhood pictures – from a certain age – that was what I had on.

I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything too dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City as a young teen. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I when I have a funeral – I will bring my collar and my suit jacket to work with me – so I can change before the service. I will return to the office for meetings after the funeral and put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it or a regular polo shirt. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Try Loving One Another

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I wish I had words or a solution for the hatred in the world. I wish there was a person or political party who had the answers or a solution. I wish our country could come together and dismiss the hatred – the racism – the evil – in our country and world today. But I can’t and no one else can – I fear.

Should we have stricter gun laws? Maybe so – but evil people will find a way to perform their evil. Should we make it harder for unstable people to get weapons – absolutely – but who gets to determine who is unstable or mentally ill? Some are very easy to tell – some are well hidden. Should we outlaw assault weapons outside of the military and law enforcement? Maybe that would help – but where would such a law start and end? There are no easy answers and as a former youth pastor friend of mine said – People are more the problem than any gun!

I believe the answer is found in telling more people about Jesus – and letting others see Jesus in us. I believe – if we were more excited and convinced of our faith – we would impact more people for Jesus. Continue reading

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working As Unto The Lord!

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Life ChangeOK – most everyone is back to work today. January 2nd and a Wednesday – and the work force in America – except the portion of the government shutdown because the President and Congress can’t agree – is back to work. Even if you are retired – you’re probably back to your normal routine today. Our office will open at 9 am after being shut down since December 20th. Of course – a number of the staff at church – including me – has worked since the 20th – but not at the office. I only put in about 60 hours Christmas week – so it was a light load.

So – think for a moment about the new year and your work. Are you a teacher? Do you work in an office? Do you work for the government? Are you in law enforcement or the military? Are you in sales? Are you in the medical field? Do you work for a non-profit? Wherever you work – do you work as unto the Lord or do you work for a paycheck (and only do what is required)? Continue reading

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 18

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

christmas-3During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

As a member of First Church, I am especially proud of how our church supports our military and our country.  Every week in our Sunday bulletin there is a Prayer Concerns section for friends and family members serving in the military.  This section contains over 30 names.  Both my sons have served I the military and one still is serving on active duty.  It comforts me knowing that so many are praying for them especially during the Christmas season.

There is so much more than just the prayers of support.  A bright and colorful flag is always flying from our church’s flagpole.  In the narthex is a tribute to individual veterans who have served as well as a stained glass window in their honor/memory.  In the fellowship hall, there still hangs the star banner with over 50 stars of those from First Church who served in WWII.  With God’s guidance, not one lost their life in that war.  First Church has one remaining WWII vet who represents the greatest generation.  Our Choir puts on an Independence Day Cantata and sing-a-long.  On the Sunday nearest Veterans day we honor those who have served and present a flag to one of those vets.  Many of our sons and daughters who have grown up in our church go off to serve.  We were especially fortunate to have an Air Force Chaplain who attended First Church with his family and would bring us a message from the pulpit frequently.  He keeps in touch with many of us via Facebook while he is serving overseas.  May the Lord speak through him to those serving so that they may have Jesus Christ in their lives.

Merry Christmas and God Bless First Church and God Bless the USA.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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