Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Serve One Another Humbly

Galatians 5:13

Serve one another humbly in love

Life ChangeSunday ended our week this winter – serving the homeless community – with the warm night shelter program. I’m always impressed by those who participate in this ministry. Many stay up all night and then go to work the next day. I know this is hard – regardless of your age – because I have been doing it one night each year. If the men are calm and sleeping – the hardest part of spending the night is staying up all night and then going to work the next day. From Monday at 6 am till Tuesday at 10 pm I got about 2 hours of sleep and it wasn’t easy. I crashed on Tuesday night and slept in some Wednesday morning. I know others who have worked more evenings than one. I’m not sure how they do it.

Aside from the lack of sleep – the amazing part of the week is getting to know the men who visit the shelter. I usually take the time to sit and eat several dinners with the men – talking with them and getting to know them. Several of the men have jobs. We talked about their work. Several of the men were new to the shelter program this year. Several of the men from years past have found shelter elsewhere. Continue reading

December 19, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sincere Heart

Hebrews 10:22

…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

112015 Ray McDonaldA lot of what God has been showing me during our prayer/fast has been about the heart. There has been nothing new from God – simply a reaffirming word that our hearts need to be pure and set on Jesus. All too often – I feel – we speak one thing with our words and walk something different with our hearts and actions – even in the church. We do not always represent Jesus well – now do we?

There are hurting people in this world folks. A woman came to the office Wednesday afternoon. She had a sad story and I sat and listened. She had previously been removed from the women’s shelter for her behavior. Even when trying to help – there are limits to what we – the untrained – can do. She is definitely a hurting person and I tried to sympathize with her plight and condition. It wasn’t easy for me – a pastor – with what I knew about her – to completely be in the moment!

I found myself battling my heart during the conversation. I knew of the previous removal from the shelter and I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and listen intently. Her story made little sense to me – yet I tried to stay in the moment and listen. It wasn’t easy. Continue reading

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Neighbors

Matthew 5:43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

112015 Ray McDonaldAt Christmas time – love is felt by many but not by all. I remember the little girl next door to us when we lived in Seat Pleasant – who didn’t seem to have anyone to love on her and how my dad would welcome her to play with us or eat a meal with us. My dad would even buy her some Christmas gifts as I remember. Dad showed love to others – his heart was as big as the whole outdoors.

Who will we show love to this Christmas? It is easy to love those who love us back. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 5:43–48 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Continue reading

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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