Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Search Our Hearts Dear Lord!

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart;

Who is it that knows you better than any other? That might be a curious question and the Sunday School answer would be Jesus for sure. But think about it for a moment. If you’re married – as I have been for nearly 38 years – your spouse might know you pretty well. If your children have any age on them – mine are 35 and nearly 30 (twins) – they might know you pretty well. If you worked in the same place for a few decades – your co-workers might know you pretty well too. Your parents – if they are still alive – might know you pretty well also.

Unless we are hermits – there are those in our life who know us pretty well. Well enough in some cases to guess how we will react to certain things – or even finish our sentences (isn’t that scary?). I perform a lot of funerals and often friends and family have some of the same stories about their loved one. They laugh and cry at the same memories. Yet – no one knows us like we know us and know one knows us like God knows us. We can hide so much from others – our deepest thoughts – yet we know them and God knows them. We can put on a show or a façade for many who see us – even on a regular basis – but we can hide from God. Continue reading

April 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Excites Us?

1 Corinthians 7:12-14

If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.

What excites us? Did we get excited during the NBA or Hockey playoffs – even if our team didn’t go far? My favorite teams made it to the playoffs but didn’t go far. Did watching the NBA Finals excite us? Did watching the Stanley Cup Finals excite us?

If sports don’t excite us – what does? Did the elections last year excite us? Did our candidate win? Whenever we vote we should not take our party into the booth with us – but rather – after careful consideration and prayer – vote for the candidate(s) we think will do the best for the people. Which candidate has the Christian values we support? Who would support abortion or who is for the life of the unborn child for instance? Who is out to protect the environment that God gave us dominion over? There are so many issues that as Christians we should be concerned about and we should search for the candidate who thinks as we do. Were we excited about the elections just past? How excited are we about the outcome? Continue reading

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

RayMcDOne Sunday not too long ago we mentioned in a sermon that Christians sometimes take Jesus for granted.  It seems to be human nature that if things are going well – at work – in our marriages – at church – in life – we tend to take Jesus for granted. Most Christians spend more time on their knees when crisis is at their doorstep than when life is good. When life is not going well – we tend to turn to Jesus more often and with more ease.

Attendance in most churches the Sunday after 911 was an indication (September 16, 2001) of what I just wrote.  I was pastoring a church at the time with an average attendance of about 300 give or take a few on any given Sunday. But the Sunday after 911 there were well over 400 in attendance. It seems that crisis brings us to Jesus. Attendance figures during World War II saw this same truth played out.  The Sunday after 911 week (September 23) – when life was still in an upheaval – but out of crisis mode – attendance was back to normal. It is the same thing with Easter it seems – attendance almost doubles for one week and then we are back to normal – and at times less than normal – because folks who do not attend every week all came on Easter. Attendance this past Sunday (September 11, 2016) was slightly above normal as we came to remember. Continue reading

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Soul Thirsts For God

Psalm 42:2

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

112015 Ray McDonaldHave you ever thirsted for something? I’ve fasted from things during Lent before and for other reasons. I have thirsted or hungered for them. When we do without something for a period of time and we desire that something – we hunger or thirst for it.

Were you ready for the current baseball season to start? In a way – did you thirst for some baseball? I know some people who are already counting down the days until College Football or the NFL returns. What about thirsting for a Stanley Cup in DC?

If married – is there a yearning for your spouse when you are away for some time? I have a hard time being away from my spouse for even a day (we both work outside the home and the time a part is not fun). Some day – when we both retire – we might get tired of being around each other so much – but until then – I will continue to thirst for her company during the day! I text her several times a day to let her know I miss her. Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: