Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Happy New Year – 2016

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

112015 Ray McDonaldHappy New Year! I hope that your day – your New Year – gets off to a great start. Steve Furtick tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along.  We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning will find me on the golf course with some friends. For years we would play our first round of a New Year on January 1st. As we got older – the cold kept us in some years. Fortunately it looks like mid to upper 40’s and sunshine this year so we are going to try it again!

I took some lessons at the end of 2015 and have re-gripped my putter – so I’m excited to see if these changes will produce a better round of golf. I played a practice round – 9 holes – shortly after the lessons and did well. Continue reading

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January 1, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Year Is Soon To Arrive

Matthew 18:2-4

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

112015 Ray McDonaldWe are entering a New Year in a few days.  Some will stay up to see the old year leave and the new year arrive.  Some will have friends over to enjoy the change of years.  Some will head to New York City or other places to join larger groups of people to celebrate the coming of a New Year.  Some will go to sleep as if nothing will be different or change.  Change is the key word.  The hope that a New Year will be better than the year just completed.  Facebook is filled with people hoping for a better 2016.  That we can get a fresh start and make changes in our lives.  If we change nothing and still expect a different result – well – you know what they say about that saying.

Have we ever read and wondered what Jesus meant by these words from Matthew’s gospel?  When Jesus says – I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  What is it about a little child that is so significant? Continue reading

December 28, 2015 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here We Go!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

IMG_0301Here we go!  Annual Conference got started yesterday morning.  My prayer – as it has been for a few weeks now – is that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will seek after Jesus!  Today’s passage calls us to not conform to the patterns of the world.  We are called to be transformed after the likeness of Christ.  Here it is – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Today we had a number of reports and passed our budget for 2016.  There was no debate on any of the items before us in our morning plenary session.  Our two delegates to Annual Conference sat with me and I took a few pictures and put them on Facebook.  They were good troopers for sure.

After a few votes we elected two lay persons out of six to General Conference and one out of six clergy.  More voting today (Friday).  One of the clergy candidates I am voting for is next in line I hope – to be elected.  Another one or two of my choices might get elected as well. Continue reading

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Year Is Coming – What Will It Bring?

Matthew 18:2-4

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We are entering a New Year in approximately 11 hours or so.  Some will stay up to see the old year leave and the new year arrive.  Some will have friends over to enjoy the change of years.  Some have headed to New York City and other places to join larger groups of people to celebrate the coming of a New Year.  Some will go to sleep as if nothing will be different or change.  Change is the key word.  The hope that a New Year will be better than the year just completed.  Facebook is filled with people hoping for a better 2012.  That we can get a fresh start and make changes in our lives.  If we change nothing and still expect a different result – well – you know what they say about that saying.

Have you ever read and wondered what Jesus meant by these words from Matthew’s gospel?  When Jesus says – I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  What is it about a little child that is so significant?

What is it about little children that we should emulate in order to follow Jesus?  Little children are open and honest.  Little children hope and dream. Little children – unless they have faced abuse or lived in oppressive situations – have faith in the possible – they even believe in the impossible.  Little children are ever ready to forgive and can bounce back from almost anything.

How can we humble ourselves in 2012 – put aside our education and learning – put aside our experiences that have jaded our thinking and feelings – and live as people of faith?  Can we make real change in 2012 to the way we do business as usual?  Can we truly put God first and seek after His face and desire His grace in our lives?  Can we be like little children and spend 2012 celebrating Jesus in our lives?

None of us know where 2012 will lead us.  We don’t know if we will see tomorrow let alone the whole of 2012.  But if we aim at nothing we are bound to hit it.

Most people make resolutions.  Some usually last a week or month and some for the whole year.  What if we decided today – hours before the year 2012 begins – that we will humble ourselves before Jesus in the coming year – and truly ask ourselves what would Jesus do in all areas of our life?  What if we were willing to change and be like little children in our trust of Jesus in 2012?

God promises that marriages would be healed – relationships would be strengthened – churches would be united and focused – God would be glorified.  Will you join me in 2012 and commit to change – becoming like little children and seeking His face and desiring His grace – and believe in what God can do?

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

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December 31, 2011 Posted by | Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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