Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:28

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

Life ChangeWhat does it cost us to follow Jesus? Jesus once said – Matthew 16:24–26 – 24 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

What does it cost us to follow Jesus? Have you ever thought about this question? Tuesday night we talked about the resurrection and how many Christians in America have a different view of the resurrection – of eternity – than Christians from other countries. In America – many Christians have so much that they don’t keep laser focused on heaven – on eternity. Instead – many Christians in America are living with so much – eternity takes a back seat in their thinking. They assume it is there – but instead of focusing on it – as some Christians from 3rd world countries do – they focus on the here and now – their wealth and life. So – where does Christ’s words above come into play? Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Continue reading

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March 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Limiting Us Today?

Matthew 14:17

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

Life ChangeWhat is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As we reach for the stars – what keeps us grounded rather than allowing us to fly? A favorite saying of mine goes like this – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As I near retirement age (I just turned 64) – I keep telling my wife – my life-partner – I won’t retire until I know what I’m retiring to. I don’t want to retire from active full-time ministry until I know what God has for me in the next chapter of life. I have some dreams and aspirations – and I’m waiting to see what God has in store for me.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? How many new year’s resolutions have we made over the years? We’re into the 3rd month of 2019. Are we still holding to our resolutions for 2019? If not – what has limited us? What has blocked us from achieving the things we imagined for this year? Continue reading

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

Anxiety – Give It To Jesus

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Life ChangeAnxiety is tough to face. Anxiety is defined online as – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety can overwhelm us. It can cause disorders and medical issues. It can immobilize us and take us down if we allow it to do so.

Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. WebMD defines anxiety this way: Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. For example, you may feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. Anxiety disorders are different, though. They are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. But with treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life. Continue reading

January 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

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