Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Shows No Favorites

Acts 10:34

I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

Life ChangeAs a father of three daughters – the oldest and the twins – I have learned to not show favorites – although two of them will say the oldest twin is the golden child. They are not accurate of course – in their assumptions. They are all my golden children – I love them with all my heart. All three have been a blessing – almost entirely! They are all my favorites.

As a grandfather of five granddaughters – one is six – one soon to be six – one is four – one soon to be four – and one is two – I have learned to not show favorites (I must confess that the three younger girls tend to hug Pop more often and for longer – so I am drawn to them of course). All five have Pop’s heart for sure. They are all my favorites. Continue reading

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January 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do You See Jesus 3

1 Timothy 3:16

He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – I’d like to ask our readers to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping your e-mails for sure (I need joy year round). I will try to post a comment a day so as many as possible – send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word of God – The Bible

2 Peter 1:16-21 (The Message)

16-21 We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

In this day and age – when most everything is challenged and nothing – it seems – is taken without question – I want to examine the question – Is the Bible God’s Word? If the Bible IS God’s Word – it needs to be authoritative in our lives – would you agree? If the Bible is authoritative in our lives than the Bible is the base of our understanding as we sculpt and form doctrine. I believe that our theology reflects our view of the Bible. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God – we will weigh it heavily in our understanding of God. If we see it as a good book – a nice guide – but humanly created – we will not. On one hand the Bible is authoritative – on the other it is no more authoritative than our personal experience – community history – or our reasoning/thinking.

I love the way The Message puts the last part of today’s passage.  The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. Continue reading

July 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 36 of Lent 2018

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Today is day 36 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan (looks like the plan will have 47 days because the Sundays didn’t count). I hope you have stayed with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about humbling ourselves. This is not easy for many if not most of us. It is what we as Christians are called to do.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we want to read what Peter had to say about humbling ourselves before God. As I mentioned previously – humbling ourselves is not easy for many. Peter also gives us instructions about other parts of our Christian walk in today’s larger passage. Continue reading

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 29 of Lent 2018

Matthew 26:33

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

Today is day 29 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the readings like I am. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. As we walk with Jesus we hope to be drawn closer to Him.

Today’s reading reminds me that we can have good intents but not good results – we can intend to do the right things and end up not doing the right thing. Peter intended to stay faithful – intended to be true – but we all know that he denied Jesus when Jesus was arrested. The other disciples intended the same – but they too failed. The Good News is that Jesus is in the grace business and searches our hearts much more than our good or failed actions. Something to think about today! Continue reading

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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