Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

I’m not much of a cook (believe me). I can cook a few things. Mostly I use the microwave for my stuff. With my limited knowledge of cooking – I do know that a little salt is all you need to add flavor to a stew or soup or most any dish. A pinch here and there will do the trick (except with French fries). A little salt helps most things (although I only use it on certain foods.

I know salt has gotten a bad reputation when used too often. It has been linked to high blood pressure for some. I remember they use to give us salt pills in the summer during Football practice in High School to replace the salt we lost working out in the heat – so some salt it needed for sure (although I think that practice has stopped). Continue reading

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May 15, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

All of my life – growing up – I was told that my actions reflected on my earthly father and mother. My dad was the pastor of my home church and as I grew into my teens – people knew him and if I did something good or something not so good – it would reflect upon him (and mom).

I remember a time in my early twenties when my friends wanted to go downtown Annapolis – drinking. I went along with them (I didn’t and don’t drink). I remember wrestling with the idea of my witness to my friends (that I could have a good time without drinking) and the witness of someone seeing me coming out of a bar (I was raised in the old Methodist belief that drinking was something to be avoided – we called it abstinence). Continue reading

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

RayMcDThe new sermon series that begins on Sunday is on A Family Legacy. Services are at 8:15 & 11 am at 424 Main Street in Laurel at First United Methodist Church. All are welcome and come as you are! Today’s passage is one that speaks to letting our light shine – as we develop our legacy.

Everywhere I turn – every devotional I do these days – brings me back to our upcoming sermon series on legacy. Today’s passage tells us about letting our light shine – letting our witness shine – so that those who see us will see Jesus and come to glorify our God. We are to let others see the Christ within us.

It is so important that our children – the next generation – and others – see that our faith is sincere. If they do not see Christ in us – if they only see a façade of faith – they will not be drawn toward God. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak – Bringing Folks In

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak

The Problem: Families are under attack.

The Solution: Reaching the whole family for Christ

The Process: Bring in, Build up, Send out

The Win: A changed life or family for Christ

Over the next few weeks (January 9 – 16 – 23) we will preach messages that are centered on the vision and mission of our church.  Last Sunday we preached about bringing people into environments where they can encounter Christ.  This coming week we will center our thoughts on the second part of the process – namely building people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ.  To see a listing of future sermons and Scriptures – and to listen to past sermons – click this link http://wwww.mtoak.org/media/mo-sermons.

Today we want to look at the first part of the process – namely bringing people into environments where they can encounter Christ.  The sermon Sunday was centered on this subject.  We talked about being the salt of the earththe light of the world.

Matthew 5:13-16 – 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Bringing people into environments where they can encounter Christ is more than merely inviting someone to church.  It is about our witness (the light) that we show others each day and our intentional efforts (the salt) to flavor their lives with Christ.  In worship – we took the time during the sermon to introduce ourselves to others and then we introduced those we met (a few did this).  It opened our eyes to the need to be constantly reaching out to others.  Even some long-term attendees met each other last Sunday – as well as some new folks.  It was a great moment and something we will find a way to continue.

How can you be the salt and light of Christ?  How can your church help you to be the salt and light of Christ?   We thought of some ways in the message and encouraged you to write some ways in your sermon notes.  How about sharing some ideas with us on this blog?

A number of comments have been posted to our E-News under the Encouragement Corner this week. Check them out when the January 13th E-News is posted – http://wwww.mtoak.org/media/e-news.

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

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January 12, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology, Vision | , , , | Leave a comment

Mt. Oak’s Vision and Mission – You Can Make a Difference

Our Vision and Mission at Mt. Oak

The Problem: Families are under attack.

The Solution: Reaching the whole family for Christ

The Process: Bring in, Build up, Send out

The Win: A changed life or family for Christ

Folks – I am looking for some feedback from the sermon yesterday.  We started the three-sermon series on our vision and mission with a sermon on bringing people into environments where people can encounter Jesus titled: You can make a difference.

We talked about how we can make a difference – helping to bring people into environments where they can encounter Jesus.  In worship we took about 5-10 minutes and met some people – all over the worship center – that we didn’t know well.  We asked some folks to introduce the people they had met.  Some were visitors or relatively new people to Mt. Oak – and it was nice to get to know more about them.  Jeris Bowlding – who normally sits on the congregation’s left side went over to the right side and met Walt Hammond.  Both have been attending Mt. Oak for many years – yet they didn’t know each other.  Making a difference – by helping to make people more comfortable – and to feel more accepted.  The sheets that we turned in last week told us many feel lonely!

The Scripture for the day was Matthew 5:13-16 – 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

We talked about ways we could be the salt of the earth – flavoring the environments – and lives – around us with Jesus.  Being salt is a proactive thing – we reach out and intentionally touch someone’s life with Jesus.  Examples might be giving Jesus the credit when we accomplish something – rather than taking credit ourselves.

We talked about ways we could be the light of the world and asked if in our homes – in our workplaces – in our daily lives – if we hide our witness – our love for Jesus under a bushel (we almost broke out in a verse of this little light of mine.  Being the light of Christ is about our daily walk – about people seeing Jesus in us as we walk in the darkness of the world around us.  Do we reflect Jesus?  Do people see a difference in us?

How about some feedback from the sermon today?  Constructive criticism is the only way to improve.  Even positive comments help us grow – as we hear what worked in your life.

You can listen to this week’s sermon on http://wwww.mtoak.org/media/mo-sermons or you can sign up to get them on iTunes – as we podcast each sermon.  Simply search in the iTunes store for Mt Oak UMC and subscribe – then you will get each podcast we put out automatically.

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

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January 10, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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