Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Attitude in Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Rays HaircutWell – the Governor of our state has said churches can open at 50% capacity. But our church is in a part of the state with the highest Covid-19 cases. It may be several weeks before we feel comfortable opening and even at that time many of our members will not feel comfortable attending. We will take it one week at a time.

As we face these days –  I felt the need to write a blog post about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But – I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I feel led by God to share some thoughts.

I was reviewing some old blog posts and I found one about worship and attitudes. Reading today’s passage – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – emails – calls – and notes I received and sent over the years with comments about worship. I started thinking about the attitudes of some church leaders and members and myself at times. I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Continue reading

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should All Be Prayer Warriors

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Rays HaircutLamar Jackson was a mighty warrior for the Baltimore Ravens last fall. I hope he is again this year. Last year he thew for more TDs than any other quarterback and ran for more yards than any quarterback in NFL history. His team – our team – the Ravens – had the best record in the league this past year at 14-2. I hope they are as good or better this year.

Lamar would be the first to say that he fell short last year. He has a 20-3 record since becoming the starting quarterback (I think). Yet – with such a good regular season record – his playoff record is 0-2. He is focused on winning playoff games for sure. I hope this coming year is the year the team goes deep into the playoffs.

My dad was always a mighty warrior to me. He stood for Biblical truth – as he saw it – and never in my lifetime wavered from it. He was consistent and reliable and in this day and age when everything is ever changing – that was a solid foundation for me growing up.

We all need a warrior – a prayer warrior in our lives. We all need to mature into prayer warriors ourselves as well. Continue reading

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 28 of Lent 2020

John 13:4-5

3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Ray 2020Today is day 28 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. I hope you have enjoyed reading the plan as much as I have enjoyed it. Tomorrow is an off day and you can catch up if you need to do so.

Today’s reading is like one from a past reading – it focuses on the last supper – the Passover Feast that Jesus and His disciples shared before His arrest. I pulled out three verses that speak volumes to me. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. I’ve always been impressed with the fact that all things were under Jesus’ power and yet He humbled Himself to wash His disciples’ feet. Wow – what a model for a servant’s heart Jesus gave us. We should all follow His example. Continue reading

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine – We Need to Hold To It

Hebrews 13:9

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings (doctrines).   It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

img_0063-2A number of people have debated Biblical truth over the years. Sound doctrine – even settled doctrine for 2000 plus years – is being debated by some well-intentioned individuals. People are trying to equate God’s love with some sense of an overwhelming acceptance of sin or even describing sinful acts as acceptable to God. The signs of the end are all around us dear readers. I read in today’s passage that sound doctrine is put up against ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We must feast on sound doctrine – rather than on what sounds good with today’s culture.

The example I want to use to help us get the point today is the obesity of our society. Far too often our children – and adults – are fed foods that are empty of value but full of calories. Junk foods – satisfy the mind and stomach – but do not add proper nutrition. These foods are filled with sugar – calories – and chemicals – that are not good for the body. The term junk food refers to items that may taste good – but have little – if any nutritional value. They are high in calories and often loaded with fat. Soft drinks – chips – cookies – candy bars – and much of the food from fast-food stops fit this category.

Our society has a hard time with our weight – because we fill ourselves with way too much feel good junk food. I believe we have the same problem with our theology. Way too often we turn our itching ears to false truths because they sound good. We’re warned about this position by God as Paul writes in his second letter to Timothy. Continue reading

January 15, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting With People – Try It!

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Ray 2019Christian are often called upon to connect with people. As a pastor – I am often called upon to be empathetic with people and their needs/situations. At times I must be sympathetic or compassionate. Are we empathetic with others? Are we sympathetic at times? Are we compassionate as well? Do we feel the pain of others?

I was moved by a report on Facebook not too long ago about a police officer who pulled over and saved the life of a lifeless infant. His mother was in panic mode and this officer calmly proceeded to give life support to the infant and rush him to the hospital in his patrol car. I could feel for the mom – and I could feel for the officer and his professionalism.

I remember 9-11 – and I know you do as well. I was called upon by the High School to come and help students and teachers deal with the unknown. Some had parents and other family members at the Pentagon and in Washington – DC. Continue reading

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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