Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Some Thoughts On The UMC And Homosexuality

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.

I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.

Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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