Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Old Time Faith – Is It Outdated?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday’s presenting scripture has been called the the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I typically have an altar call each week to challenge those in attendance to faith – or to a deeper faith – or simply to pray about something that has been a challenge for them.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin (we actually called behavior contrary to God’s will – sin).  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians.

Correct me if I am wrong – but – I just don’t see the United Methodist Church of today – in many places – in many churches – as part of the holiness movement any longer. I rarely hear or read about the UMC calling people to Scriptural holiness. I rarely hear about revivals and camp meetings or Sunday or Wednesday night services. What I often hear – even from some of our clergy and Bishops – is a caving to social norm – to the sin of society. I hear tolerance preached and taught rather than holiness. It seems like we are trying to be popular rather than faithful. I hope I’m not being too harsh. Correct me if I am wrong or being too harsh – please. Continue reading

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sitting Still Is Not Easy

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Even though I love working on my computers – I’m thinking of getting one of those desk risers – so I can stand and move about while working. They say moving around is healthy – and suggest that desk workers get up every hour to move around for five minutes. I enjoy preaching from the podium instead of the pulpit from time top time so I can move around more. Not only am I able to move around – but it gets me closer to the people I am trying to reach with the Word of God.

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Typically – if I sit still for any length of time – I drift off to sleep. I traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City once to listen to James Taylor in concert. My wife – daughter – son and I traveled toe New York City to site-see and to see JT. As I sat and listened to his mellow sound – I found myself drifting off. Granted – we were in the nose bleed section and it was dark and I often listen to his music to drift off to sleep at home – but I was in Carnegie Hall and it was JT live! Continue reading

August 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is On The Inside?

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

I loved Twinkies when I was a kid. The marshmallow center was always a treat. I didn’t know at the time how bad they were for me – all I knew was that they were sweet and good to the taste. I could eat several in a setting.

Most of us have probably heard the phrase – beauty is only skin deep – meaning the outer shell can be pretty but if the inner self is not – the outer shell is all you get. Outer beauty fades – fast! It is the inner beauty that will last. If you married a person that is beautiful inside and out you really have something – but if you had to choose one – go for the inside! Continue reading

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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