Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holy Week – Let’s Focus on Jesus

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Life ChangeYesterday – Palm Sunday – we began Holy Week. This is the week before Jesus’ crucifixion. Thursday will be Holy or Maundy Thursday. We will remember the Lord’s Supper this year with a Seder Meal. It will be a powerful experience and we hope all who signed up to attend will indeed be able to attend.

Friday – this week – is Good Friday. As a young child I couldn’t figure out why it was called Good Friday if it was the day that Jesus died. Later I realized that it was called Good Friday because it was good for us that He died – to pay for our sins. We will have a service at 7 pm in the Sanctuary as we continue our walk to the cross with John’s Gospel account. It is very important that we all attend the Good Friday service. Change your plans to be here – if you weren’t planning to attend. Sunday – Easter morning – will not have the same meaning without attending worship on Good Friday. I promise you! Let’s set our minds on Jesus – and see what will happen. Continue reading

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April 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remain Faithful

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Life ChangeGod’s grace is amazing as the song – Amazing Grace – records (isn’t that one of your favorite older hymns?).  One of the best promises in the Bible – IMHO (in my humble opinion) – is this one about the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Today’s passage speaks of God’s desire to forgive. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Most of us have experienced deals before – like if you do something – I will do something. As children I remember getting notes passed in school – with if you like me – I will like you. As adults we learn that if we work at a certain job – the boss will pay us a certain paycheck. I’m sure we can all come up with if you I will life experiences. We have one in today’s passage when we’re told if we confess our sins – He will forgive our sins. Continue reading

January 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mountain Top Experiences

Isaiah 6:3

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.

Have you ever had a mountain top experience? As a child I remember going camping with the family. We often went to Skyline Drive. At times we used a tent. After a few years dad and mom bought a Shasta trailer. We enjoyed the great outdoors. We had many mountain top experiences.

When we drove to our campgrounds along Skyline Drive we would often pull over at some of the overlooks – where we could get a glimpse of the beautiful mountains. The mountains – God’s creation – are real treasures to me. Being from West Virginia – I can remember many mountain top experiences as we traveled the roads back home. The glory of God is seen in nature – for me – more than anywhere else I think! Continue reading

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Church Needs Revival

Jonah 3:5

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

I’m a firm believer that our church and the body of Christ universal needs a revival.Revival is something we need – and I’m not talking about a series of services. We used to have two revivals a year at our local church – and at every church I ever served – but fewer and fewer people attend so this year we have not had even one and no one has noticed or mentioned it. We need to be revived in the church today – to have a time of reflection and of reviving the soul. We need a time to be called back to a more faithful walk with Jesus. Many of us are simply going through the motions of our faith it seems to me.

I have been attending revivals since before I could walk. As a pastor – I held revivals at all of the churches I have been called to serve. Many churches and many pastor no longer hold revivals. As I mentioned above – we aren’t having even one this year and I haven’t heard an outcry for them. We don’t need a revival service or series of services – but we do need to refocus on Jesus and get fired up – because believe me – the end of time is fast approaching (and that is not meant to be prophetic – rather I’m simply reading the signs). Continue reading

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whoever Acknowledges Me

Matthew 10:32-33

32 Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

RayMcDSunday we begin a new sermon series at First United Methodist Church in Laurel – MD. The series is titled A Family Legacy. Services are at 8:15 & 11 am at 424 Main Street in Laurel – come and join us. Today’s passage is one that I will use in that first sermon titled Building a Legacy. That evening we begin a week of revival too – the first service is at First UMC followed by Monday at Community UMC (300 Brock Bridge Road) – Tuesday at Mt. Zion UMC (3592 Whiskey Bottom Road) – and Wednesday at St. Mark’s UMC (601 8th Street) – all in Laurel – MD. All revival services begin at 7 pm.

The importance of our legacy is that our children and other children are watching us. They are watching to see if what we believe is worth believing in and following. They are watching to see if what we say is also what we do. How sincere are we in our faith? Are we giving a good witness?

We spend loads of time – energy – and money – supporting our favorite teams. Do we spend as much time supporting Jesus? We place signs in our yards and stickers on our cars supporting our candidate of choice. When is the last time we made a public statement of support for Jesus? Continue reading

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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