Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

I Will Not Lose Heart

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart

Ray 2018Have you ever lost heart? There are a number of times I have lost heart. With injuries and age creeping up on me – my sport playing life has changed (I spend more time with golf these days). I love me some basketball – if you didn’t know that fact. With two rotator cuff surgeries the last two springs – I have not played a lot of basketball in the last two years or so. If you ask my wife or my friends – they would tell you I have contemplated leaving the game for good. My doctor even suggested it when I injured my shoulder playing basketball – which led to my last surgery. I went back Monday and enjoyed the full-court running (it might help me lose some weight). For most of my life I have been a 3-point bomber. I would find an open spot and the ball would find me and I would bomb away – hitting a high percentage typically. But – after two shoulder surgeries – gaining some age – and not working out much for two years – my 3-point shot is weak right now. I actually had to abandon the 3-point shot today and shot and hit from inside the arc. I will get my shooting touch back! I will not lose heart! I will keep trying! Continue reading

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September 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Become Like Little Children

Matthew 18:3

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

My wife and I have five grandchildren. They remind us of when we had little children. Children have a way of trusting – at least until we prove untrustworthy. They will do most anything you ask of them – or at least try it – as long as they feel you are there to catch them or help them or look after them.

I remember my oldest daughter Shelly – when she was two or so. We had gone camping and the campground we were at had a jungle gym type apparatus. She was on the top level and I urged her to jump to daddy. She came to the edge of the platform – her feet were above my head – and jumped into her daddy’s arms. I caught her of course. A year later – we went to the same place and tried the same process. This time she came to the edge and said – but dad I might fall and hurt myself. In a short year – she went from totally trusting her dad to catch her to adding some doubt (by the way – she eventually jumped after some coaching). Continue reading

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is My Super Hero

Psalm 42:8

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

I grew up reading comic books. I had many first editions and full series. I enjoyed the ones that were mild mannered people in day-to-day life but when trouble arose – they would become super heroes. One of my favorites was mild mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. I wouldn’t miss an episode and even today try to catch the old TV show when I can. My brother was a fan of Batman!

I must admit – I don’t watch much TV these days – other than some really old shows – sports and the news (you can guess which news program I watch the most). Some of the shows I tape and try to watch are the ones about super heroes. I like the supernatural! Continue reading

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Comfortable In Our Faith Walk?

Matthew 10:32

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have we ever taken the time to figure out what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like? If we have – have we tried to be that person? Would we say that being a disciple is something that would be easy or hard – comfortable or a stretch?

How does being a disciple of Jesus Christ play out in our lives? Do we know what God desires of us? Do we seek His face and desire His grace? Are we in a comfortable place – as a disciple – or are we struggling with the place God placed us? Are we being stretched as a disciple or are we comfortable? Is God calling us to places that will require our faith to work or do we find ourselves in places where we can rest and be comfortable? Continue reading

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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