Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Corporate Worship

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I hear more and more about the unchurched. We should try to reach them with the love of Jesus. I hear even more about those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior who choose to stay away from corporate worship. Not attending worship – going to church – was never an option as I was growing up. It was a Scriptural mandate and a mandate in our home. Gathering with the body of believers was primary – it came before anything else. If we were out on a date on Saturday night – it didn’t matter how late we came in – we were getting up to attend corporate worship on Sunday.

Today – it seems – many things come before attending to the regular worship of God – together. It seems like children and youth games – overnight guests – late nights – Sunday activities (other than worship) – and more come before corporate worship for many these days. Even among those who think of themselves as regular in worship – some think once or twice a month is regular. This is obvious on Sundays like Easter when most all attend and attendance sky-rockets yet there are few guests. Continue reading

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May 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do We Feel About Jesus?

Matthew 4:20

At once they left their nets and followed him.

Growing up I had people I looked up to for sure. I looked up to my father – as a man I wanted to be like when I grew up. I looked up to athletes like Boog Powell – Frank & Brooks Robinson – Wes Unseld – Earl “The Pearl” Monroe – and more. As I grew older there were others I looked up and respected as well. I felt like I wanted to be like these persons – I wanted to be a great dad – I wanted to be an athlete.

If you were to ask me whom I would leave everything to follow – I’m not sure I would have followed any of these – except maybe my father. Of course the Sunday School answer would be Jesus – I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. But would I? Would we? We’d like to think we would – but from time-to-time we fail to do so – don’t we? How do we really feel about Jesus? Continue reading

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Is Coming – Where Is Our Heart?

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Christmas is fast approaching. The remembrance of Christ’s birth is fast approaching. We will begin singing Christmas this coming Sunday to help prepare us for the season. I know the stores have been advertising Christmas since July 4th is seems – but now – it is merely 20 days away.

So – what is on your list for Christmas this year? Would you like a new iPad Pro – even if you have a workable iPad or other pad? How about the latest video game? We use to get loads of clothes for Christmas – at times we got them early so we could wear them before Christmas – like a winter coat if it got really cold early in the fall. I remember marking things in the Sears Christmas catalog for my parents when it came out. What new tech item is out we might want? What new item for our Christmas decorations do we want or have we gotten already? Christmas is only a short time away. Continue reading

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Harvest Is Plentiful

John 4:35

I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

It is harvest time or soon to be for many crops. I live in a rural area and farmer’s markets dot the roads selling local corn and an assortment of vegetables. Local sweet corn is one of the things I love the most. I really enjoy this time of the year.

Farmers are beginning to harvest their crops in the next few weeks – even into September. Wheat – barely – beans – field corn – and more will be harvested. Living in a rural area – I drive past fields all the time that produce the crops that keep our markets full and help our farmers make a living. I also watch throughout the year as the farmers work the fields and prepare for the next crop. It is an almost endless job.

Farmers often begin to prepare for the next harvest even as they harvest the current crop. Farmers prepare the soil – fertilize the fields – cultivate the fields – plant the fields – tend to the fields – and only after much work and much prayer (and God’s grace with the weather) – the harvest time comes. Right now we have had so much August rain in our area that some crops that would normally be ready to harvest still have too much moister in them. Some crops may waste in the fields because of the excessive rain at this time of the year. Continue reading

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Place Our Trust – I Place Mine In Jesus

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Where do we place our trust? Planning ahead is something some do and some do not. I’m a planner myself. As I age – I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were older too). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 3-10 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one. I am a planner.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome. General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Ozzie is a planner. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand. Both Buck and Ozzie are planners too. Continue reading

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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