Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan. Continue reading

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January 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Prayer For Our Local Congregation

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I’ve been spending time praying for our local congregation of late. I pray for the Body of Christ – universal – but I’m praying specifically for our local congregation. I’ve been seeking God’s face specifically for our congregation. I know we have a mission statement and many awesome ministries – but I’m asking God to make His desires clear to our church leadership and membership. My heart is for nothing but the best for our local congregation. I pray that is the heart of our whole membership.

Paul writes his heart’s desire for the church in Ephesus in his Epistle – Ephesians 3:16-19 – I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Continue reading

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Disciples

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations

The Great Commission is the marching orders of the church. Everything we do as a church should be measured against these words. We should do nothing that doesn’t help us evangelize – sharing the gospel message with others.

It saddens me when I look at the journal for our conference (and I imagine it is the same throughout the U.S.) and see the number of churches without even one profession of faith. That would be adding a new disciple to the kingdom. Some say they are concentrating on maturing their current disciples – yet – if disciples are maturing – they should be attracting new disciples as well.

Let me ask a few questions today. Who do we know that is being drawn to Jesus because of our walk with Him? Is there someone we are witnessing to that has been drawn to Christ in this past year? Is there someone we have helped to grow closer to Jesus in this past year? Who have we invited to worship with us in the past year? Who have we talked to about our faith walk in the past year? Do we even talk to others about Jesus and what He means to us? Continue reading

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perplexed But Not Crushed

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls of the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that were supposed to last a lifetime – that are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. We are still not settled – nearing a year after the election of our President. If you are against him – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation and yet the recent destruction and removal of Confederate statues has driven our nation to polar opposites with little harmony in sight. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Continue reading

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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