Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is Precious To Us?

1 Peter 2:7

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,”

What is it we count as precious? Growing up I collected comic books. I had Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Hulk, Wolverine, Batman, Aqua Man, Superman, Green Hornet, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, and more. For some – I had complete original series – in mint condition. I read them all and kept them in a box in the basement of our home. In a sense they were precious to me – precious in the sense that I collected them and kept them.

One day my mom had a yard sale. She was selling all sorts of things. I helped for a while and then I had to go umpire a baseball game. I left for a few hours. I went over to the old Elk’s field in Annapolis for the baseball game. When I returned the sale was just about over and I helped bring things into the house. It was later that evening that I found that I was missing my comic collection. My younger brother had taken them out and sold them in the yard sale. I was furious. Something that was precious to me was taken away – without my permission. I hate to think of what they would be worth today. I’m just glad he didn’t find my box of baseball cards – some of the hang in my office now at work! Continue reading

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July 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Memory – God’s Grace

Psalm 103:11-12

as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My memory is not the best. For instance – I forgot to put out today’s devotional. Before I hear a rousing chorus of amens from the peanut gallery about my memory – let me explain. I’m not sure if it is age – my Tourette Syndrome – my A.D.D. – a male thing – early Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – or simply who I am. I can leave my office and walk to Cathy’s desk and forget why I was going there. I can even at times get into my car and forget where I was headed. It’s my issue – among others – but today it reminded me of God’s grace.

You might ask how I got from my short term memory loss to God’s grace? Well – I’m going to tell you. Continue reading

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Train Up A Child

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was my first Mother’s Day without my mom. There was one other person in each service that was facing their first Mother’s Day without their mom. It was not an easy Sunday. I couldn’t bring myself to preach a typical Mother’s Day sermon. It would have been too hard to deliver.

Today’s passage is familiar to many of us I’m sure. Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. NIV11 In the KJV it reads this way – Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it.

My mother did much of the child rearing/training – as my father worked several jobs to make ends meet while we were young (he drive a school bus – sub taught in the local High School – and served a church while attending college and seminary). She was the day-to-day presence in our lives. She and my grandmother were whom we turned to often in our daily lives as young children. I owe much if not most of my development as a child to my mom. Continue reading

May 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus’ Touch

Matthew 8:3

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.

There are days and nights when I remember my dad (mom too but this is about dad). My father was a wonderful man of God. I would imagine that some preacher’s kids get tired of hearing their father or mother preach. My wife often says she has heard (after 39 of 41 years of shared ministry and marriage) everything – several times – from me (LOL).

I never grew tired of hearing my dad preach. He had a way of making the Gospel real and down to earth so that even a child could understand what he was sharing. I remember – even as a teen – sitting in the balcony of the church or on the back pew (see – even as a youth I was a good Methodist – LOL) – and listening to my dad preach and being moved – being touched.

One of the things that touched me was that dad lived what he preached. He wasn’t on stage preaching and living a different life. He lived the truth he preached. I strive to follow that model today. Continue reading

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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