Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Should Always Check Our Attitudes

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

There are times I think that we are our own worst enemies in church life. At times – some of us – if not all of us from time to time – have allowed our tongues to get us in trouble – saying the wrong thing – letting our true attitudes surface through our words (and if not our tongues than our e-mails or tweets or something). At times we try to mask it with humor – but the truth of our heart surfaces through our tongues. Maybe it was at a meeting where we let our tongue get us in trouble – being negative – saying the wrong thing – showing our anger or displeasure in less than a godly fashion. Maybe we said something that others overheard when we thought no one else was around. Maybe it was the choice of words that we used – using language that is crude or offensive. Maybe it was just the way we said something. I’m sure we can think of times when we allowed our tongue to get us in trouble and damage our Christian witness.

Andy Stanley says in his book Enemies of the Heart that the tongue speaks what the heart feels – yet I know most of us try to guard the tongue rather than heal the heart (another sermon series in there somewhere). Read an earlier post on that book here. Continue reading

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July 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine – It Matters

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

June 2019In this day and age – sound doctrine and truth are under attack – always has been – always will be. The Bible is under attack – and the attacks are not all coming from outside the church. There are whole denominations – pastors – and laity – calling themselves followers of Christ – who are putting aside sound doctrine and truth. There are those who want to redefine sin – creation – and human design. Some want to re-write the Bible or delete parts that don’t sit well with them. Some want a reader’s digest version – one they get to pick and choose from to make up their Bible.

This is not a battle between conservatives and liberals. It is not orthodox folks verses progressive folks. It is Biblical doctrines and truths verses heresy IMHO. God’s Word is not something we can pick and choose – something we can decide to like or dislike with our feeble minds. The Bible is the Word of God – no other definition is needed. The Bible is the sacred text inspired by God and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

June 20, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I May Not Always Be Right – But I’m Never Wrong

Ephesians 4:3

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Life ChangeI may not always be right – but I’m never wrong. I saw somewhere that this attitude is attributed to Garfield the Cat.

Some think this way in their own theological processes. Whether Calvinist – Wesleyan – Arminian – or whatever – none of us has a lock on understanding God completely. Debates over theological positions have occurred since Adam and Eve I guess – as the serpent tried to persuade Eve to eat the fruit – because “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 Of course we know the serpent to be wrong and even lined up with Satan – if not Satan himself – in the form of a serpent. It is not always that easy.

At times it is not as clear as the Genesis story. There are passages that – when taken in context – can support a number of views in what I will call minor beliefs or non-essential things. Things like the amount of water used at baptism – the form used at baptism – or even the age one is baptized are not salvation questions – important of course – but not essential to one’s salvation. Continue reading

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

Faithfulness – Can We Define It?

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

What do you think of when you hear the word faithfulness? I first think of the vows we share at our marriages – to be faithful until death do us part. Throughout the Hebrew and Christian portions of the Bible – the relationship between God and His people – between Jesus and the church – is compared to that of a bride and groom. I like the love and passion shown by God for the church. Here is a passage from the Hebrew Bible.

Isaiah 62:5 – As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

God’s faithfulness is NEVER questioned. God is the groom that will never be unfaithful to His bride – the church. The question is – how faithful are we?

In the Christian text we read Paul urging the church to be faithful. Romans 12:1–2 – 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Continue reading

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

May We Only Boast in the Cross

Galatians 6:14

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Life ChangeDid your team win the National Championship in Division 1 basketball? Virginia won for the men. My cousin Mac went to Virginia and he was very happy. Did your team even make the dance? If so – how far did they go? My team – Maryland – made the dance and made it to the second round – but fizzled out. Did any of us boast on social media about our team? How about at work or in other conversations?

Did our team win their opening game in Major League Baseball this week? The Orioles usually do but didn’t this year. Which team will win their division this year – the league championship – the World Series? If our team is playing well – will we compare them to other teams and boast a little in our circles? The Orioles started out real well and had a few good games – but are losing as of late.

I saw some parents posting on Facebook about their children’s spring teams and some about their children’s scholastic achievements. I’m so proud of our youth and the youth I know. Some High School seniors I know are busy preparing for college or careers. Our new favorite college team might just be where our child attends – even if we never saw ourselves rooting for them before! Continue reading

April 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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