Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Praises 27

Ephesians 5:20

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

christmas-5During 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 I thought about our church, I began to think fondly on the past – thinking about the congregation’s commitment to stay on Main Street and to expand the building (not a small undertaking!) to support a growing congregation. I also thought about more nostalgic events such as Mr. Elmer Harding being the voice of Christmas, the children’s pageants, the way that our VBS program touches the children and families of Laurel, the amazing ham luncheons and those wonderful open arms that welcomed me to First Church and always beckoned me to stay.

As I continued thinking about First Church I began to think about the present – and our choir and praise teams and how much I enjoy how they share the Word. I thought about how many adults participate in Adult Bible Study classes (there is always room for more!) and how I’ve always thought that was awesome and remarkable! I love our involvement in programs such as Kairos, Winterhaven, Angel Tree (and many more) that help members of our greater community. I also thought about how many people work so very hard to keep our church functioning and looking great.

Continuing to think about First Church, I became filled with praise for what the future holds for our congregation and our community. There is so very much for us to be thankful for and so very many ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ to feed, cloth, minister to and share the love of Christ with all in need! My prayer for each and every one of us is that, individually and as a body of Christ, the simple joy and excitement of knowing Christ would be evident and an inviting beacon for all to see.

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 27, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Missions, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being One – Unified in Christ – Part 4

John 17:21a

…that all of them may be one,

RevRayToday is the final part of this 4 part series.  It won’t be the last time we deal with this subject for sure but it is the last of this series.  Being unified in Christ is a subject we should talk/write about often.

Today is Good Friday.  It is a day we remember the love of Christ – the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross for our redemption.  Today I want to honor His sacrifice and love by challenging us – the church – the body of Christ – to ask some serious questions.

At the end of His life He prayed for the church.  We have been looking at that prayer in this series.  Here it is – John 17:20-23 – 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Continue reading

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being One – Unified in Christ – Part 3

John 17:21a

…that all of them may be one,

RevRayYesterday we shared – in part 2 – the story of the life saving station.  It has been used to open the eyes of many Christians and churches over the years.  In this series we have been focused on Jesus’ prayer for the church – for the sisters and brothers that make up the Body of Christ.  Here is our main passage for this series of devotional thoughts – John 17:20-23 – 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We’ve mentioned in this series that the them in verse 20 relates to the Disciples and the those in the same verse relates to us – to followers of Christ after the Disciples.  I want to dig a little deeper today into this passage and into the church.  Let’s look at the prayer again – a little further today.

Continue reading

March 28, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

StreetReach Comments

Some things I have heard said or seen written about StreetReach this year.

Thanks to the youth who came to my yard.  They helped me more than words can express.

The FX service was wonderful.  Evan is just too funny!

The youth involved with StreetReach are fine young people and worthy of our thanks for representing Mt. Oak and our Lord in such fine fashion.

The youth really looked like they were having fun dancing before the Lord at the family service. They should create a dance troop.  We had one at my last church and the young people loved it.

I saw the green shirts in the streets and knew that Mt. Oak’s youth were out serving the community again.

As some leaders were leaving a meeting at 9:30 one night one leader said; it is so quiet, I wonder if the youth are so tired from serving all day they went to bed already.

As the pastor at Mt. Oak I am so proud of our youth and their leaders.  The heat has been terrible all week and yet they have worked hard serving Jesus.  I will try to get some pictures from some of their work sites tomorrow to show them in action.  I know the showers the other night took out a few tents and saw the sleeping bags drying in the sun.  The team has fought through the heat and the rain and keeps their smiles.  Thanks for letting Jesus shine in your, through you, and in spite of you!

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach | , , | 2 Comments

StreetReach 2011

It is early morning – Sunday – July 10 – 2011 – camp is quiet as the sun rises behind it.  One by one the members of the 2011 Bowie StreetReach team from Mt. Oak Fellowship emerge from their tents and head toward the shower tent or toward breakfast.  Camp was set up Saturday and the excitement of the week ahead probably kept them from getting too much sleep last night.

StreetReach is an Outreach ministry of Mt. Oak Fellowship at 14110 Mount Oak Road, in Mitchellville, MD.  Throughout this week our team will be helping to spread the vision and mission of our church.  Our vision at Mt. Oak is to reach the whole family for Christ.  Our plan or mission to carry out this vision is to bring people into environments where they can encounter Christ, build people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ, and to send people out to serve Christ.

Throughout this week – our team will be reaching the whole family in the P-Section of Bowie and beyond – one yard at a time.  They will be bringing people into environments where they can encounter Christ as they take the love of Jesus to the very homes of the families in our community.  They are putting flesh on the love of God as they reach out to serve others for Jesus.  A common question from the families will be how much do we owe you for what you have done for us.  A common response from the team will be what we have done is free – because the love of Christ is free.

Our team will also be growing in their knowledge and understanding of Christ as they see their work for the Lord bear fruit in a variety of ways throughout the week.  They will also be discipled by the adult leaders of their team throughout the week.  Not only will they be doing hands on outreach and evangelism at times – they will have devotions and lessons learned along the way.  The youth and adults who work at StreetReach each year are never the same!

Our team is sharing and serving Christ this week.  Pray for them.  Even more – come and support them by finding out what you can do and by attending the evening programs.  It is not too late to become involved.  They will work hard through the day pulling weeds – cutting vines – trimming bushes and trees – raking leaves – cutting grass – etc.  Each evening they will be in inviting the community to activities as well.  Check them out here.  Events will include a water night – a family fun night – dinner and a movie night – pool night – family fun night at the park and more!  Come have some fun with our StreetReach team and the community!

Plan now – it is not too late – to be part of Bowie StreetReach 2011.  It might change the life of a family in our community!  It might change your life!  It might impact your whole church and community in a way that nothing else could.  See you there!

Say tuned for reports all week!

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Church, Community, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , | 1 Comment

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