Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Love God With All Our Heart

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Life ChangeI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug and/or alcohol addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let The Holy Spirit Transform Us

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

RayMcDI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Always Give Yourself Fully

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

112015 Ray McDonaldHere we are – the first Saturday of our Prayer/Fast. How’s your Prayer/Fast going?

We’re getting close to March Madness and our local college team – the University of Maryland Terps – both the women’s and men’s teams are ranked high with high expectations. I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams make the final four or at least the Elite eight. And wouldn’t it be great if both came away with championships!

In most team sports – as we just witnessed in the Super Bowl – where the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers – team work plays a big part and giving your all does as well. Peyton Manning – perhaps playing in his final NFL game – put everything on the line – working his way back from serious surgery and injury – to help his team win. There were players on both teams giving their all – fully. Some players – at times in the game – seemed to back away from giving their all. One play – late in the game – when the game was still on the line – a Panther player seemed to back away from contact when a fumble was on the ground. It may have costs his team a chance to take the lead. Continue reading

February 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Love Jesus More Than Anything?

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

IMG_0301This is one of my favorite passages.  A pastor on the staff of a church I use to serve – during a sermon – said: the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do you have?  The question should be – how much of you have you allowed the Holy Spirit to have?  He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

Today’s passage – as I reflect back on that message – caused me to think – how committed are we to God?  We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t He also suppose to be our Lord – our Master?  If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through our salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives.  Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ – some immediately.  Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors.  Some have turned from drug and alcohol addictions.  Some have turned from pornography.  Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations.  Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Horizontal or Vertical in Our Faith?

2 Timothy 3:1-5

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

IMG_0301Church people often don’t like to hear that we are sinners – I know I don’t like to be reminded of it – yet here is a scripture that reminds us that in the end times people will be lovers of many things other than God. If we aren’t reminded of our sinfulness and the grace of God that overcomes that sinfulness – we might just fall into the trap of thinking that we are OK just as we are and God’s grace will cover it all. God’s grace does cover it all – for those who repent and seek after Him – but I would never preach that all we need to do is say a prayer and God covers it all. There needs to be a heart change – a heart change that causes a life change. Faith without works is dead – says Jesus’ brother James (James 2:26).

On Sunday morning – at both the 8:15 & 11:00 am service – we will begin our 2nd Annual Pre-Lenten Revival. The revival will continue on Sunday evening at 7 pm and each night through Wednesday night – Ash Wednesday – at 7 pm. This year we will conclude the revival on Sunday – February 22nd. Plan now to attend. Plan now to invite someone to our awesome worship services. It is a great time to invite folks that already attend another church on Sunday mornings but might like to visit your church. Invite someone today and each day this week. Continue reading

February 11, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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