Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Do We Thirst For Each Day?

John 4:13-14

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

RayMcDI’m one of those people that just can’t seem to get enough to drink. As a youth I could put away several gallons of sweet tea a day – especially in the summer. I seem to have an unquenchable thirst. I need lots of fluids each day!

I don’t drink coffee – never have gained a taste for it. My current favorite drinks are diet Pepsi (which my wife is still trying to get me to drop) – diet Snapple half and half (tea & lemonade) – and Sparkling ICE (especially the Coconut Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit). I also use Kool-Aid water enhancer (Cherry is my favorite) because I need taste with my drinks. I like hot chocolate too. Straight water – although great for me – just doesn’t cut it. I need to taste something in my drink.

Bottom-line – I thirst and need lots of fluids each day. I would not do well in a region where there was little to drink. In today’s passage – I would have gone to the well several times a day to get enough water to quench my thirst. Continue reading

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing Off Our Sinful Nature

Ephesians 4:22

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. NLT

RayMcDWe’re approaching a new year. New Year’s Day is usually the time folks make resolutions. Rather than wait till January 1st – how about we agree today to throw off our old sinful nature and our former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception? Make a resolution today to follow Jesus and strive to shed sin in our lives. Seek His face and desire His grace.

Sin is nothing new – yet it does seem to be stacking up pretty high – even in folks that profess Christ as Lord and Savior. Sin comes in many forms. We can sin through thought – word – and/or deed. We can sin by what we do and we can sin by what we do not do. As Christians we should be striving to remove all sin from our lives. We should be striving to follow the example set by Jesus!

Our sin nature is part of our struggle as children of God. Here are a few Scriptures that speak to sin and our sin nature.

Romans 8:3 – For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, Continue reading

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

RayMcDI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) during one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. Continue reading

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan For Our Lives

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

112015 Ray McDonaldI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocer (it actually works when she remembers to check it). I use a program that keeps all of my important info or data (no secrets or deep treasures) available to me wherever I am. I plan out future sermons well in advance. I try to give as much information to the worship team as possible. I allow my office manager to review and even edit my work calendar. I have my work & personal calendar and several other calendars on my devices. My wife and I have planed – financially – for our retirement (we have a target figure and conditions we wish to achieve before we retire). In other words – and I could go on and on – I plan and try to execute my plan(s).

Are you a planner? Do you make plans or do you fly by the seat of your pants? One of my favorite saying is – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it. Making plans is important for most of us. Carrying those plans out is what we should all aim at – allowing for adjustment of our plans as things develop. For instance – the Orioles plan to win their division and thus make the playoffs. If during the season that doesn’t seem possible – the next target would be to make the playoffs by being a wild-card team. Continue reading

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Walk With Jesus

Psalm 146:8

…the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.

112015 Ray McDonaldI was driving a golf cart – late at night – on the golf course – near the clubhouse. It was pitch dark – I was there late – and I drove off the cart path. I hit a sign. The club pro tried to warn me just before I hit the sign and maybe – just maybe – that saved me from wrecking the sign and the cart and doing damage. I replaced the sign and went on! Driving without lights in the dark – not a good thing to do. Driving blind – so to speak – is not a fun way to drive. I need a golf cart with headlights if I’m going to be out that late. I noticed this year that they placed some ground lights along the cart path I was on. Folks can thank me later!

Humility is something that we seek in leaders – while also seeking self-confidence. Seems contradictory – right? We want a leader who can lead – but also one who is humble enough to know they don’t have all the right answers. We need a leader who will surround themselves with experts in many areas because they don’t know everything. Continue reading

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

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