Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Rays HaircutI seem to be doing more funerals as the years mount – and more of the deceased are friends and family. Not too long ago I celebrated four funerals in a five-day period. It is an honor to help families celebrate the life of a loved one. Most funerals I celebrate are from folks in our community – folks I have not had a previous chance to minister to or with – and I just try to bring them a measure of comfort for the short time I have with them. I usually talk with them on the phone and meet them on the day of the service. I often read the 23rd Psalm at the service.

I love today’s portion of the 23rd Psalm. One of the great hopes and blessings of our faith is that we do not have to fear death. I can usually tell people of faith versus people will little or no faith when I share at funerals. The way we face death is telling. Continue reading

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be Men of Courage!

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Rays HaircutAs much as I believe that God can use men – women and children to spread the Gospel and to touch the hearts of others – I strongly believe that men have a special calling in the church and in God’s plan.  Fathers especially have an impact – an influence on the faith of their families. This is not patriarchal. This is a reality in God’s design.

I found a Crosswalk Article that quoted a survey published in 2000 (I couldn’t find the survey from the Barna Group). Here is a portion of the survey results quoted from the Crosswalk article.

“If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. Continue reading

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would Jesus Weep at Our Grave?

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

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amAs a pastor – I am often called upon many times in the course of a year to celebrate the life of folks from our church and from our community. As I have recently mentioned – it has been nearly 7 years since we celebrated my father’s life. I have also celebrated the life of my mother and my father-in-law. Some day I will help the family celebrate my mother-in-laws life – unless they celebrate mine beforehand.

Someone once said – in this world you can be certain of two things – death and taxes. Some attribute this to Benjamin Franklin. It is a true statement. We weren’t created to die – we were created to live eternally. Yet – because of sin – we are born to die.

Folks – even folks who only know me on the day of the celebration of their loved one’s life – say I hold a nice service – a comforting service – a service that brings them into the presence of God. Recently a man said – I’m not a religious man – but you said some things that touched me today. Another women told me – you made celebrating my father’s life doable. I thought I would be too broken to get through the service. God has gifted me with the ability to connect with people and to help people to be at ease and to remember the good as they celebrate the life of a loved one. Continue reading

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love One Another – Please!

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Some have had bad experiences growing up with family and some with church life. I talked to someone Tuesday that had a very bad experience with family and with the church.

Some of us aren’t sure how to love one another because we didn’t have a good model growing up. Some of us have a hard time showing love – even to those whom we are supposed to love. Growing up – if your home was void of expressions of love – it is something you had to learn as an adult (or still lack). Loving one another is not as easy as just saying the words.

I grew up in a loving home. I had a father and mother at home who loved each other and expressed that love – or modeled that expression of love – for their children. Did any of us grow up with siblings? I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother. We loved each other and still do today (mostly – LOL). Love was modeled for me growing up so it is easier for me to love others (though not easy – just easier). Continue reading

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Christian Marriage

Genesis 2:24

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

RayMcDIt is not unusual for me to teach or preach on marriage – Christian marriage. In our society – there is much confusion surrounding marriage these days – like who should be able to get married. We can find God’s intent for marriage in the second chapter of the Bible. In the very first book of the Bible – Genesis – we read God’s intent for marriage – a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. God’s design – from the beginning of time – was for one man and one woman to marry and become a family.

A number of times over the years in counseling I have run into men and women who have not allowed the new family – the two becoming one – to become primary in their lives. It is OK to love mom – it is OK to love pop – but in order for the new bond – the new family to work – it must become primary. We must in a significant way – leave our mother and father and cleave to one another. Continue reading

January 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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