Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What God Has Prepared for Us!

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Life ChangeI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. It syncs to my phone and my other devices. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocery store (it actually works when she remembers to check it – lol). I use a program that keeps all of my important info or data (no secrets or deep treasures) available to me wherever I am. I plan out future sermons well in advance. I try to give as much information to the worship team as possible – as far out as possible. I allow our office assistant to review and even edit my work calendar. I have my work & personal calendar and several other calendars on my devices. My wife and I have planned – financially – for our retirement (we have a target figure and conditions we wish to achieve before we retire). In other words – and I could go on and on – I plan and try to execute my plan(s).

Are you a planner? Do you make plans or do you fly by the seat of your pants? One of my favorite saying is – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it. Making plans is important for most of us. Carrying those plans out is what we should all aim at – allowing for adjustment of our plan(s) as things develop. For instance – the Orioles plan to win their division and thus make the playoffs. If during the season that doesn’t seem possible – the next target would be to make the playoffs by being a wild-card team. If that doesn’t workout – the next thing is to improve to the point where next year (or soon) – they will be able to compete for their goals. Continue reading

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May 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

The Rest Of Our Lives

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. I wonder – have we ever heard that before now? We cannot change anything about yesterday or the days – weeks – months – or years in the past. We might be able to make restitution for something that happened in the past. We might be able to correct something done in the past. We might be able to improve on something in the past. We might even be able to build upon something done in the past. But the past is just that – the past.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Recently my wife and I had a conversation about what we’d like to do in the year and years ahead of us. We both have some hobbies we’d like to develop. We both have family that would require travel to visit. We both have ministries we would like to invest in and visit. The list continues. We cannot change what we have done – but we can focus on what we would like to do in the future. Continue reading

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And My Spirit Rejoices

Luke 1:47

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Sunday we preached a message about keeping Christ in Christmas. It will be posted here soon – so take a listen. Sunday we talked about the joy that Jesus brought to the people. Luke 2:10–11 – 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Jesus’ arrival was to bring great joy to the people – and not only to His people but to all who would hear and follow Him. Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Deliverer – the One who would break the bonds of oppression for His people. Never before or since has the birth of a baby been so anticipated or sought after. Jesus’ birth was to bring great and lasting joy. Continue reading

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 4 – Baseball Season – 2 Months Left

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

OK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines. We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season. As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve the victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal.

Recently I met two coaches from the Orioles and had a chance to talk with them about this season. The team will not give up and they have most recently (not counting last night because this was written before the game) won 5 straight and gotten within 3 games of the playoffs and 5 games from the division lead. Continue reading

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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