Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Extraordinarily Good and Wonderful Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

Life ChangeThe other day I was singing a song to my children. I remember the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. These are the lyrics of the chorus of that song from Mary Poppins.

It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough, You’ll always sound precocious. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I. The grands seemed mystified that Pop knew this song. They were excited to say the least.

I remember the definition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – extraordinarily good – wonderful. As I was reading some old blogs I had posted in the past – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. But the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came to mind. What if this word was related to our worship of God?

Reading today’s passage – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. And I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Would we call it extraordinarily good or wonderful? Continue reading

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judging a Book By the Cover

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

A number of people want to label people. They have a hard time seeing people as people – instead they lump them into categories. A number of people in the world judge a book by the cover.

For instance – some will look at a person’s age and assume they are too young or too old to accomplish a job or task. The United Methodist Church – for instance – has a mandatory retirement age (72). That doesn’t mean a person is no longer able to provide effective ministry – now does it? Shouldn’t a person’s effectiveness be the standard rather than an age?

Some will look at a person’s size or looks and assume they are not the person they want for the job. Can you think of occupations where looks count? The Naval Academy has physical standards – or at least they did. People had to have a certain height and weight and physical condition.

Israel used the eye test when it came to their king. Samuel – the prophet of God – used the eye test when selecting a king.  Yet – God looks not at the outward appearance – but rather the inside of a person – the heart – the inner person. Today’s passage tells us how God looks at people. Continue reading

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One in Authority is God’s Servant

Romans 13:4

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Ray 2018Before I pen the first words in this devotional thought – I imagine there will be those who agree with me and those who disagree with me. I have friends who will debate this passage with me and argue that the current circumstance doesn’t fit into this passage. I’ve love to hear their take on this section of the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the world where Paul lived for a moment. In the early church – Christians were being persecuted by their own people – in many cases – as Orthodox Jews saw them as heretics (Paul/Saul was among them early on). Not only were they being persecuted by the Jews – who put their Lord to death – they were being persecuted by Rome. Rome was an oppressive power at the time Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. Christians were being crucified in arenas – put before wild animals and gladiators as well. It was the worst of times some might say.

Paul writes these words to those Christians under such a terrible burden and oppression. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Romans 13:1–7 – 1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Continue reading

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christ Came To Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

It won’t be long and March Madness with be upon us. I’m not certain my favorite college team – the Maryland Terps – will be in it this year. They have not played very well of late.

The competitive juices begin flow in almost everyone during March Madness. Even if a person doesn’t like or follow sports in general – they often get excited in the office place (and on Facebook) for their alma mater (go Terps!).

I wonder – have we ever had a competitive spirit about following Christ? I mean – have we ever thought of giving our very best effort – spending a day or a lifetime – seeking His face and desiring His grace? Have we ever gone out of our way to connect with others around our faith? With numerous Lenten season events happening at First UMC in Laurel – it would be a great opportunity to invite someone to join us. Continue reading

February 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s View People As God Views Them

1 Samuel 16:7c

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Our culture spends lots of time and money trying to work on our outward appearance. We pay tons of money and spend tons of time trying to lose weight – and to tone up what we have left. We spend major resources on our clothes and on our hair. Some of us even have surgeries to try and improve our outward appearance. We seem to care a lot about our outward appearance.

Today’s passage is found in the midst of God’s rejection of Saul as King. He was the people’s favorite because of his stature and his skill in battle. But as Samuel and God discuss this subject – Samuel saw another that seemed to fit his view of what a king should look like in Eliab – an older brother of David. David – of course – at his tender age – didn’t look anything like a king – but God knew his heart. In the midst of this we read these verses: 1 Samuel 16:6-7 – 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Continue reading

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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