Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Small Fellowship Groups

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Life ChangeA men’s ministry I was blessed to work with in years gone by used a very similar passage as their base Scripture – Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. They believed that part of the benefit of being in fellowship together was the way they could enhance each other’s walk with Christ. They called themselves Iron to Iron. They met monthly for a meeting. Many of them were in the same weekly Bible Study and Sunday School class. We had 25-30 men in a weekly Bible Study and over 80 adults in one class for Sunday School. It was a time of great spiritual growth. A number of the men took road trips together to Promise Keeper events. One such event was Stand in the Gap in Washington – DC – on October 4, 1997. I was there and reports are – so were nearly 3 million men. It was a life experience I will never forget.

I mentioned recently – to our current Bible Studies – that part of the reason we spend the first portion of our studies talking about praises and prayer concerns is to get to know one another better. Small group ministries are very important. I would imagine that upwards of 50% of a typical congregation only attend worship each week with the church family. If folks only spend an hour plus with one another a week – with the pastor – with the family of God – at their local place of worship – they will not know each other well. Spending time in a small group where one could ask questions – where others can interject their thoughts – always opens up dialogue. Continue reading

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May 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

RayMcDIf you ever played a team sport – you know that practicing with your teammates often improves your game. The better the teammate(s) – the better you will become – because you are competing against the best in practice. Offenses that practice against strong defenses – often say they improve their game. They often say it makes game day easier – because they have been practicing against a top 10 defense all week or against an All-Pro in certain positions – and they often play a lesser defense or player on game day. Going against a future Hall of Fame player every day in practice has to improve your game.

Do you remember growing up – and being influenced by your peer group – your close friends? Parents typically spend a lot of energy trying to influence us about the people who influence us – because it really does matter. The old saying – one bad apple spoils the whole barrel – is so true at times. Most of us are not leaders – most of us are followers. We are more easily swayed by others than we sway them. Continue reading

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner

Luke 18:13

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

It seems so easy for some – maybe even for most – to point out the sins or wrongs performed by others. Little children learn to tattle on their siblings to mom and dad at a young age. It is easy to point a finger at someone else and report their mistakes.

I remember being told as a child that when I point a finger at someone – I have three fingers pointing back at me. I also remember this passage of Scripture. Matthew 7:3–5 – 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

In the news these days are report after report from media sources of perceived wrongs of the current administration while at the same time reports are being made that previous administrations did the very same things. Wrong is wrong – whether someone else did it before us or not – just saying. But when we have a penchant toward picking out the mistakes of others before correcting our own mistakes – we leave ourselves open for ridicule and judgment. Continue reading

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Are Better Than One

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

We had a sermon series recently about small groups (listen to them here).  I feel that small groups are an important part of our church’s growth.  It is hard to connect with a large group of people – like Sunday morning worship.  It is however – very helpful to have 6-12 people who you meet with on a regular basis to talk about your faith and about your personal walk in life.  It helps to be able to bounce things off of others.  It helps because two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

A Men’s Group I helped start years ago named themselves Iron to Iron from the following passage: Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. They really take that verse and their name serious.  They spend time in small groups – many of them – and in the larger setting of their monthly meetings – working to sharpen their walk with Jesus.  Some real stuff happens when men or women are open and honest and share life together.

Who is it in your life that walks along side of you and helps to keep you connected with Jesus?  Your spouse?  A few brothers/sisters?  Do you have a small group?  Are you attending a study with other Christians?  Is there someone or some group of some ones helping you walk in your faith?  If not – I would encourage you to find a group soon.  I would encourage EVERY Christian to find others to help hold them accountable in their walk with Jesus.  It is not easy my friends.  Satan is out there – ready to pounce on our weaknesses.  1 Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  We need each other!

Christianity is not meant to be a solo endeavor my friends.  We are to encourage one another – and all the more as the end days approach.  Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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October 11, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , | Leave a comment

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

This is the foundational passage for a number of men’s ministries.   The idea of one man helping to mentor or hold accountable another.

Are you in fellowship with another person?  Do you have someone who knows you so well that they can help you in your daily spiritual journey?  Are you in an accountability group?  Is your relationship with your spouse so good that you can hold each other up spiritually?

I would urge every person to find someone – or a small group of someones – that can serve as a support group – an accountability group – for you.  The ability to be honest with our struggles and with our successes is very important.  It is easier to celebrate the successes with just about anyone – but to be able to share the struggles – it takes a special marriage or a special friend.  If it isn’t your spouse – it is imperative that your special friend or friends be the same gender!  This type of close relationship has a higher success rate when the friends are same gender.  There is too much danger to cross genders with such vulnerability – unless it is your spouse.

I pray that you find someone to help you in your spiritual journey.  God bless your search – if you haven’t already found them.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , | 1 Comment

   

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