Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does It Cost Us To Follow Christ?

Philippians 3:8

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

What does it cost us to follow Christ? I wonder – have we ever thought about this question? Have we ever spent time really thinking about the cost of following Christ?

What does it cost us to follow Christ? Most things in life cost us something. In our home (mostly me) – we estimate something’s worth to us by what it would cost us to get it. If we want to buy something – I might estimate how many hours we would need to work for it. We would then determine if it was really worth it and if we really wanted it that badly.

What does it cost us to follow Christ? This week or soon – the Baltimore Orioles will begin to dismantle this year’s team and begin working on the team of the future. At some point – a team will determine what it will cost them to purchase 3-4 months (counting the playoffs) of one of the top 2-3 players in baseball and some of his teammates. The Orioles will need to do the same as they figure out what the best offer is moving the team forward. Will it be the needed players or draft picks. What will it cost to improve a playoff team and what will it cost to rebuild a once proud team? Continue reading

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July 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Time Is Short

Ephesians 5:16

[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The older I get – the more I realize that our time on this earth is short. I’ve lived 63+ years and if I live to 84 like my father I have 21 years left. If I live as long as my mother – I have 26 more years (although her last 2-4 years were not pleasant). If I live as old as my paternal great-grandfather – I have 39 more years. Even that seems like a short time left on this earth. Our time is short.

We measure things in time. For instance – I will retire sometime between 2 and 9 years. My youngest daughters are 33 years younger than I am and in 3 years they will be half my age. School is out for the summer and in 2 months or so students will be headed back to class (sooner if they have summer school or play fall sports). Our time is short.

We’re to use each and every moment serving God. We never know when our last moment may be present. We never know how long we have left on earth – so use every moment to God’s glory. Our time is short. Continue reading

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Suffering Can Advance The Gospel

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Usually this time of the year is a sweet time. I love me some Orioles and enjoy watching them – even staying up late when they are on the West Coast playing late into the evening (or early into the morning). This year – their record has them on the bottom – not just of their division – not just in the American League – but in the whole of Major League Baseball. They are vying for the #1 draft choice it seems for next year. As fans – we are suffering – yet with little hope for the future.

I try to watch or listen to the Birds – but the drive or interest doesn’t seem to be there this year – and it is not because they are losing so much. It has to do with how they are losing – how they are playing – with little hope for the future. I find myself yearning for the Raven’s season to begin. Often – I typically would miss early Raven games if they were on at the same time as the Orioles – but probably not this year. Maybe if the Birds trade some of their veterans and get some young players that will be here for the future – I might watch again. They wouldn’t need to win to get me back – simply have a plan for the future – so that my suffering as a fan had a purpose. Simply show a plan for the future with players who will be here in the years to come. Continue reading

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AC2018

2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV84)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

I’m attending Annual Conference 2018 this week – Wednesday thru Friday. We’re meeting in Baltimore – Maryland. Last night we went till well after 11 pm. We were in Clergy Executive Session voting on candidates for ordained ministry. There were some serious issues that arose. I will share more on this later – since we were instructed to wait for official publications to announce the results of our votes.

At our Annual Conference and at the Specially called General Conference in 2019 – some serious issues will be discussed that will help to shape us as a denomination – as a people of faith. Some will be unhappy with the votes taken and decisions made. What we need to remember is that we should not be seeking our will – but rather God’s will in all that is before us. As an Evangelical Conservative – I believe that God’s will is in harmony with God’s Word – at all times. Continue reading

May 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

God’s Word Is Truth

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

When we are trying to determine Godly values or true Biblical core doctrines – we need to refer to the Scriptures. We need to have Scripture as our base. Truth can be found in God’s Holy Word. God’s Word is truth.

The Wesleyan quadrilateral reminds us that Scripture is primary and we are to use tradition – reason – and experience to help us understand Scripture. Having said that – I remind us that Scripture is primary and the source of our understanding of truth and of God’s will. http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/wesleyan-quadrilateral

We hold this belief because we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Even though Paul may have understood this in his context to mean the Old Testament – orthodox opinion is that this passage was meant for the entire Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Continue reading

May 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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