Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Leaders Are Called To Serve

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Today’s thought is a quick reminder for all of us who feel a calling to lead. If we are called to lead – we are called to serve. Leaders in the church – be it pastors – Bible study leaders – Sunday School teachers – church officers – office staff – church staff – and more – are called to be servant ministers rather than dictators.

If we are followers of Christ – it should be more about whom we serve than the position we hold. Some people work hard for title or position – rather than to serve. Some people can’t wait to be called teacher – pastor – reverend – church leader – when it shouldn’t matter what we are called – we should all be serving Jesus and others. Continue reading

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling The Church To Pray!

James 5:13–16

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

This morning I feel compelled (obligated – duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastor and leaders. According to Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the church – the people of God! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together.

Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifting of the Church – Part V

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDThis is the fifth and final part of this series. Today we will review verse 16 and conclude this brief study about the gifting of the church.

The gifting of the church is essential to mature us and to draw folks together. It is also part of what unifies the Body. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

When I recover from my surgery I plan to get back to the gym and to basketball (and of course golf). I know that there will be lots of sore muscles and aches and pains. Hot showers and I will be good friends. My muscles and ligaments and joints are going to be taxed and I hope – growing – and getting stronger. It will be about 3 months between my last time in the gym and when I get back. As I lose weight and start to get in better shape (I know round is a shape – I said so in a message – but not a desired shape) the aches and pains will get less and sleep will returned – lol. Continue reading

March 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gifting Of The Church Part II

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

RayMcDFollowing up the post from yesterday that featured verse 11 talking about the gifts that God gives the church – I want to speak about the purpose of those gifts – namely – apostles – prophets – evangelists – pastors – and teachers.

The gifting of the church with these church offices or ministries is for one purpose. That purpose is to glorify the person in the office so they can have present glory and have a name in the community. (Have you stopped reading yet – lol?) Of course that is not correct. Yet at times that is the spirit that some people seek positions or offices in the church. Many seek title or prestige or position. When I served on the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) – we often ran into candidates who simply wanted to be called Reverend (on the District level as well).

When God gifts us we are to use that gifting to uplift and serve the Body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 we read about spiritual gifting and in the midst of that teaching we read in 1 Corinthians 12:7 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. It is the same here in Ephesians when speaking of the appointments or offices of the church. We read that the offices are given Ephesians 4:12-13 – 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Continue reading

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 22

John 3:16

”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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.

I’d like to answer the question “where do I see Jesus in my church.” Over the years I have seen Jesus in my pastors and in fellow members. I see Jesus in our desire to learn more through sound messages and our many adult Sunday School classes. I see Jesus in our weekly Bible studies and in our small groups. I see Jesus in our willingness to serve others in ministries like the winter haven program and in the local mission project in the bulletin. I see Jesus in the way we respond to members and visitors in medical crisis during worship and the way we welcome all people. I see Jesus in our worship and in our fellowship. I see Jesus in our church’s willingness to try new thing. In short, I see Jesus all over our church and church family. Thank you for the opportunity to share. 

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 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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