Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Reset the Heart

Ezekiel 18:31

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

RayMcDI remember playing arcade games in a real arcade. There was an arcade game room across from the old Sears Store in the old Parole Shopping Center in Annapolis MD. I went there from time to time and had the Pac Man pattern memorized. I could play for a long time on one quarter – all afternoon on a dollar. I could rack up the Cherries – Strawberries – Oranges – Apples – and Melons with ease. It got a little harder when I moved to the Galaxian Bosses – Bells and Keys – but I would keep going – screen pacmanafter screen. Crowds would gather around to watch as I gobbled Pac dots and power dots. I routinely would capture all for ghosts after hitting a power dot. Ever remember playing arcade games or computer games? I had one of the original Atari sets and played some of the most basic games.

One thing we might all have wished for – from time to time – was a reset button. Being able to reset a game from the start or from just before we saw Game Over – would have been great. Occasionally I play some games that came with my iPad and the great thing about them is you can reset them and start all over with new statistics and a new game. Continue reading

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mission of the Church

Luke 5:32

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

RayMcDHave we ever been in need? Needed help with something in our lives? Needed help getting something moved at home – larger than we were able to move ourselves? Needed some help getting a job? Needed help getting into a certain school? Have we ever been in need? Hopefully someone came along and helped us in our need. If not – often that need went unfulfilled – unaccomplished.

Jesus came to help us in our need – our sin need. Jesus came to save the lost. Jesus came to pay the price of our sins – something we could never do alone. Jesus didn’t come for the righteous – the perfect (as if there are any). In Jesus’ day some religious people thought they had it all together and that they didn’t need Jesus or anyone. I hope and pray none of us today have this self-image. I hope and pray that we all know we are sinners saved by grace. Continue reading

October 14, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Wants Everyone to Repent

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

RevRayMcWe can talk about the wrath of God and we can talk about the grace of God. We are called to fear God and we are called to seek His grace. There is a balance required. That balance is shown to us in the following passage. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin earns us death but if we love Jesus and give Him our lives – His grace will cover our sins.

Paul reminds us that we are all sinners – lost on our own account in Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all deserve death – eternal separation from God – eternity without God. Yet Peter reminds us today that God’s desire is for all of us to come to repentance. Continue reading

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Heed The Words Of Jesus?

Matthew 26:75

Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow quickly do we notice when someone wrongs us? How quick are we to point out someone’s sin or someone’s error? How quickly do we seek for things to be made right when we are harmed?

I grew up with rules and regulations. I was a jock – so I played many sports and sports have rules and regulations. There are lines on the court or field to keep us in bounds. There are rules that establish when we have done something wrong and there are prescribed penalties for when we break the rules. There are even umpires – people to arbitrate the rules and be judges.

I grew up with rules and regulations. I am a PK (Preacher’s Kid) so I was a child of the church. There are rules and regulations for children in church – especially for the pastor’s kids. There were places we could play ball and there were places we couldn’t. There were age rules on groups (my friends got into youth group before I could attend) and there were other rules and regulations as well. Continue reading

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Repent And Turn To God

Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

112015 Ray McDonaldWorship yesterday was amazing at FUMCL. We spoke about prayer in the message and drawing closer to Christ through our prayer life. It is through our prayer life – our conversations with God – that we confess and repent of our sins. We must present to God where we have fallen short and repent from those sins.

Repentance is a combination of grieving our sins – turning away from our sins – and turning toward God. We’re conditioned as children – some of us – to say we are sorry when we do something wrong. Unfortunately for some – we’re not taught anything more than to say the words – I’m sorry. We can become conditioned to say I’m sorry – yet not actually feel sorrow (anyone with me on this?). I remember as a child being told to say I’m sorry – even when I wasn’t. Tell your brother you’re sorry or I’ll turn off the TV sounds like something I remember. It wasn’t that I was sorry when I said I’m sorry – it was so I could continue to watch TV.

True repentance is more than saying I’m sorry. True repentance is more than mere words. True repentance includes a change in our mindset – a change in our behavior – a change in our heart. Too many times people are only sorry when they get caught – sorry that they got caught – rather than sorry for what they did or said. Continue reading

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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