Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Prepare The Way For Christ

Matthew 3:3

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

Many of us if not all of us have prepared for something important. Maybe it was a job interview. Maybe it was the season of time when we were preparing for college or marriage or a career. We have made plans and prepared for something in life that was important. Olympic athletes prepare a lifetime for their moment in the spotlight as they compete for their countries.

I remember when God laid on my heart the calling to be a pastor. In the denomination where I have served for 41 years – I needed a four-year college undergrad degree and a three-year Masters degree – all at accredited schools. I eventually also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree to further my education. Along with the educational requirements – which continue in the form of continuing education credits – I had to undergo examination after examination it seemed as I was first ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and later ordained an Elder.

Some people my age are planning for or already into retirement. It takes planning and prep work for sure. Questions abound. Can we afford to retire? What will we do in retirement? Where will we live (some cannot afford to live where they lived while they were working and some want to downsize so they can spend more time doing other things)? It takes much prep work to retire. It actually takes a lot of prep work while we are working to make sure we can retire well. Continue reading

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Finished the Race

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

RayMcDThe Olympics are over for another cycle. The USA got the most metals and the most gold metals. Maryland came in third I think – if they were a nation. It was fascinating to watch. I even watched the Olympics – at times – rather than an Orioles game or a Ravens pre-season game.

During the Olympics we witnessed many exciting and touching moments. Two Olympian icons participated in their last (they say) race and both won gold during their relays (Michael Phelps & Usain Bolt). Michael ended up with more gold metals in his career than any other athlete (it isn’t even close) – with a total of 28 metals – 23 of them gold. Usain tied the record with 9 golds in Track and Field.

The scene with New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino is what the Olympics is all about – as they tumbled together during a preliminary heat and cared for each other as they crossed the finish line – injured. It tugged at the hearts of many and really shows off the Olympic spirit. Continue reading

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Careful – Don’t Fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

RayMcDHave you ever walked on a mountain path? I have and it is scary at times with the side of the mountain on one side of the path and a drop off on the other side as the side of the mountain goes down – down – down! How mountain goats run on these paths is beyond me. I inched myself along the path – holding onto anything I could. I’ve also driven on mountain roads and it can be as scary. I once traveled in the mountains on winding roads in a snowstorm and that was scary.

Have you ever walked on a balance beam? I don’t mean doing flips and splits and all sorts of other things like the Olympians do – simply walk on a balance beam. I’ve done so and it is not easy. I see why they call it a balance beam – you must have amazing balance to simply walk on it. The US gymnastic team was simply amazing in the Olympics!

Have you ever crossed a creek walking on a small – even slight – tree branch that had fallen across the water? I have and it is not easy to say the least. I’ve also slipped and fell into the cold water before – and it is not a nice feeling to fall. Continue reading

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whoever Acknowledges Me

Matthew 10:32-33

32 Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

RayMcDSunday we begin a new sermon series at First United Methodist Church in Laurel – MD. The series is titled A Family Legacy. Services are at 8:15 & 11 am at 424 Main Street in Laurel – come and join us. Today’s passage is one that I will use in that first sermon titled Building a Legacy. That evening we begin a week of revival too – the first service is at First UMC followed by Monday at Community UMC (300 Brock Bridge Road) – Tuesday at Mt. Zion UMC (3592 Whiskey Bottom Road) – and Wednesday at St. Mark’s UMC (601 8th Street) – all in Laurel – MD. All revival services begin at 7 pm.

The importance of our legacy is that our children and other children are watching us. They are watching to see if what we believe is worth believing in and following. They are watching to see if what we say is also what we do. How sincere are we in our faith? Are we giving a good witness?

We spend loads of time – energy – and money – supporting our favorite teams. Do we spend as much time supporting Jesus? We place signs in our yards and stickers on our cars supporting our candidate of choice. When is the last time we made a public statement of support for Jesus? Continue reading

August 16, 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

The Olympics Are Here

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMThe Olympics are here. Much has been in the news of late about the Olympics. The news has been filled with health concerns about the water in Rio de Janeiro. Here is a news report about the concerns with the water. Athletes are being warned to not put their heads under water.

The Olympics are here. Will our own Michael Phelps win more metals – more gold (checkout the link for his events)?

The Olympics are here. Athletes have bailed on these events because of health concerns. Some have concerns but are still competing. These athletes – the best of the best – will compete for gold – for the prize. They will run to finish the race and to fight the good fight. Continue reading

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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