Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God’s Will For Our Lives

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

RayMcDIf there is a subject that comes up the most in ministry – it is determining the will of God for our lives. We’re spending a time of prayer – interviews – and discernment right now on our next Contemporary Worship Leader. We’re praying about it and some of the candidates for the position are praying about it. We are seeking God’s will.

A number of High School students over the years have asked me how they can determine God’s will for their future. Where should they go to school? Should they go to college or trade school or some other form of advanced education past High School? What is God’s will for me?

Through the years young people have asked – what is God’s will concerning my future? Should I get married? Should I work here or there? Should I have my education and job before I settle down and get married? When should we have children? Where should we work? Where should we live? What is God’s will for me? Continue reading

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Our Legacy?

Acts 20:24

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

112015 Ray McDonaldThe older I get the more I think about finishing the race of life. I’m actually thinking about retirement. As I talk with people older than me (and that group is getting smaller than it was when I began ministry 40 years ago) the conversation often goes to their plans for the end of their lives (not just death by the way).

Conversations with my peers these days often include talks about retirement. Topics like – at what age will we retire and what we will do in retirement – often enter our conversations. Some want to keep serving in the church – we are not forced to retire until we are 72 if we are still effective in ministry. Some will retire from the full-time ministry only to take positions within the church on staff somewhere or with a smaller congregation as a part time-pastor. Others might fill pulpits from time-to-time or even step away from pastoral ministry all together. I have one friend who stepped away from the ministry at a young age only to find fulfillment in other avenues of life. Continue reading

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Hinders Our Walk?

 

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

IMG_0301What is it that hinders our daily walk with Jesus? What is it that keeps us from living as a Disciple in all areas of our life? What keeps us from being a complete disciple in Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Evangelism?

My children use to play Wii and play target games. I tried to play once did OK but I didn’t know where all the targets were, all the secret things to shoot at, so my score wasn’t that high.  The children beat me because they knew what they were aiming at on each screen. Continue reading

August 19, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Hinders Our Faith?

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgWhat hinders our daily walk with Jesus? What is it that keeps us from living as a Disciple in all areas of our lives? What keeps us from being a complete disciple in Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism? What hinders us from bringing people to Christ, building up our faith, and serving Jesus?

Years ago my children got involved in the Wii play station and they liked to play target games. I tried to play them and did OK but I didn’t know where all the targets were, all the secret things to shoot at, so my score wasn’t that high.

Knowing what to aim at or what hinders us from going forward in our walk – as a disciple – is important. God tells us through the author of Hebrews the following (today’s passage in partial context). Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Church

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

profileI remember watching my dad and the young men and women he trained along the way in his ministry.  Many of them began as church hires – working with the youth – working with visitation – working with the general ministry of the church.  Some came to our church as conference appointments.  At Seat Pleasant (now Gethsemane) and Trinity in Annapolis he had several young people enter the ministry through their joint ministries.  I remember well these young people who were entering ministry and how my dad mentored them and gave them many opportunities to serve and learn.  Several were at his funeral last fall or sent letters and cards expressing how much dad meant to them.

I remember the young men and women who came through the churches I have served and still serve.  Being young is something I don’t have to worry about any longer.  There is still time though to pass along some wisdom and insights in ministry to those who are beginning the journey.  I have worked with numerous staff members over the years – several are now elders in our conference – and it has been a blessing.  I have also used social media of late as a way to connect with other young pastors and have enjoyed working with others.  I hope they have enjoyed our interactions as well. Continue reading

July 30, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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