Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – Death – and Life After Death

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADo you think about life after death much? I made a comment recently that we tend to think more about our mortality – our own death – after our parents have passed – because – all things being equal – there is no more buffer – we are the oldest generation. A member said that really made them think. I think about it. All four of our parents have now passed. We are the next generation. My in-laws lived to 89 & 86. My parents lived to 84 and 89. As their generation passes – I know I will think more about my mortality even more. There are a few from their generation still with us – but directly – we are the next generation.

I think about my mortality as it is – with my job. I face life and death situations often with members and friends – being a pastor. I also get my blood checked and a physical annually and at times the numbers (weight and blood work numbers) – are not that good. I’m thinking about my mortality even more today (and taking more seriously my need to improve my health). Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Rays HaircutHere we go – yet another week dealing with this pandemic. I continue to urge us to encourage one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Today – I found this Psalm very encouraging. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength – an ever-present help in times of trouble. So – what are you facing this week? Another week of being parent – provider – teacher and all-around help? Are you trying to juggle your work at home and at your workplace (even if that is also at home as well)? Is it harder than normal? Continue reading

April 20, 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

Have You Ever Been Tired?

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Life ChangeHave you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like after running a few miles or playing a game of full-court basketball or walking a few miles or expending all of your energy in some physical exercise. Maybe we’re not in as good a shape as we used to be. Maybe it doesn’t take much to tire us out these days. I remember how we used to take honey or oranges just before a wrestling match to give us quick energy. Those three minutes on the mat were very draining – even when we were in top shape. We just might need a renewed measure of energy or rest – at times.

Have you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like staying up all night to cram for a test the next day. Like spending an all-nighter watching your sick children or being sick yourself. Like pulling an all-nighter at work to make sure a project finishes or catching up for someone else. At times we just need a renewed measure of energy or rest. Continue reading

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s NEVER Too Late

Philippians 1:9

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Life ChangeIf you’re a parent – you probably had or have dreams for your children. I know I had and have dreams for our three girls. Dreams about their physical – emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams about their athletic abilities – and their maturity – and about their walk with Jesus. They have surpassed most of my dreams for sure. They are amazing young women (young is always a relative term). Their mother and I are very blessed by them. The men in their lives are also a blessing. Our five granddaughters are a new generation to pray over and invest in for sure. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met.

If you’ve had or have dreams for your life – you probably have succeeded in some areas and fallen short in some areas. As I look back at my life – there are things I would do differently – of course – but – overall – I’m pleased with my life. I may not have reached all of my goals – but the ones that are most important – my walk with Jesus and my family – are a blessing. I wish I could lose another 50 pounds. I wish I could still dunk a basketball (yet I can still light it up from the 3-point arc). I wish my ministry had reached more people for Jesus. I wish I had spent more time with my family – and less time working. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money on cars as a teen and young adult. OK – the list could go on and on – but – most of my dreams have come true and some are still in reach. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obedience – Listen and Do

Deuteronomy 5:33

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Life ChangeObedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember growing up and having a parent or parents or guardian trying to get us to be obedient to their rules? I know I remember. I remember my dad giving me explicit instructions concerning several tasks over the years. I remember him telling me to follow his instructions and it would go well for me (meaning I would accomplish the task not get paid – lol – or punished).

Obedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember rearing our children and trying to get them to obey our rules and regulations? Did we remember what it was like as a child to have our parent(s) giving us instructions? Did we learn anything – or change anything – or did we follow their example (and it could have been a good example)? Continue reading

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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