Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Joy as We Walk with Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ – our Lord – our Savior and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this afternoon in your walk with Jesus. Often in sermons or in teachings we talk about building our spiritual lives. We encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write today to encourage you to NOT rely on your pastors to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage you to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Your faith cannot be based on your parent’s faith – your grandparent’s faith – your pastor’s faith – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy in our journey with Jesus. Here’s today’s passage again.

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July 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is First Church Ready?

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

As it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has con­ceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADid you know that God promises to bless us beyond our wildest dream? Let’s read part of today’s passage again: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has con­ceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. It’s a real comfort to know that God has blessings in store for us be­yond even our wildest dreams; and if I walk in the Spirit, He will reveal these things to us. I want to share some thoughts on the Holy Spirit and how we can tap into His power and presence. I want to know the deep things of God. I want to know about the things “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived.”

I want us to be an empowered church – one ready to move for the Lord – one ready to do powerful things for Jesus. Remember Jesus’ words in John 14:14; I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. I want First Church doing even greater things than these – because the Holy Spirit empowers us to do them. Continue reading

July 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conform Not

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer 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.

Rays HaircutHave you tried to figure out the will of God in your life? Several people have presented themselves as seeking God’s will over the years. When I ask – has anyone here ever wondered or asked why they were here – many have no idea. Figuring out God’s will for our lives is of utmost importance I believe. Have you figured it out? Has God revealed it to you? Have we asked God to make it clear?

A few years ago – I asked the Administrative Board of our church – why are we hear – why did we decide to stay on Main Street rather than go out-of-town? The answers came in – slowly – and it is very interesting. Most have said things like – to be the presence of Christ in the middle of town – or – to be close to the center of our community.

Most of us know that one of my favorite passages in the Bible is today’s passage – Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer 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. Continue reading

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here We Go 2020

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ray 2020One of my favorite passages is Philippians 2:5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. We’ve handed out WWJD bracelets at church in the past. WWJD stands for What Would Jesus Do? The bracelets are a reminder that we should constantly think about how Jesus would handle a given situation – and try to model His example. As we walk through 2020 – I pray that we will ask ourselves that question throughout the year – WWJD.

In today’s Scripture we are told to turn away from the sins of our life – the sins we lived with before turning to Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Putting off the old self is not easy. Another favorite passage goes like this – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! I usually add – but the old doesn’t go very far! Continue reading

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We MUST Hold Onto Truth!

2 Timothy 4:2

to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. CEV

Ray 2019As the partisan impeachment fiasco continues – more of my colleagues are weighing in with their thoughts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion for sure. It seems to me that those who line up on the left theologically are lining up on the left ideologically and politically. The same can be said about those who line up on the right theologically – as they also tend to line up on the right ideologically and politically. The United Methodist Church’s map almost perfectly matches the red and blue map of the political scene.

I mentioned Sunday that I would love to be able to preach the warm and fuzzy theology that some on the left preach. I would love to say that everyone goes to heaven or that there is no place some call hell or to say that there are other ways to heaven than Jesus. But I cannot – because it would be heretical to do so.

Some pastors will do almost anything it seems to be liked by their congregations. I’ve known pastors who are people pleasers (many are it seems). I personally will do most anything to keep peace in the church – as far as it involves me and what I wear – how I work – etc. Where I draw the line – and I hope many pastors draw the line here – is with the truth of God’s Word. I will not dilute the Word of God. I will not water it down (for those who don’t know what dilute means – lol). I will not back away from preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word.

Some pastors – IMHO – seem to be drawn toward political correctness. A social agenda seems to supersede the truth of God’s Word for some. I was reading some church publications recently online – and some of our churches and even some of our conferences seem more focused on social correctness rather than understanding the truth found in God’s Word. Continue reading

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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