Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Small Fellowship Groups

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Life ChangeA men’s ministry I was blessed to work with in years gone by used a very similar passage as their base Scripture – Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. They believed that part of the benefit of being in fellowship together was the way they could enhance each other’s walk with Christ. They called themselves Iron to Iron. They met monthly for a meeting. Many of them were in the same weekly Bible Study and Sunday School class. We had 25-30 men in a weekly Bible Study and over 80 adults in one class for Sunday School. It was a time of great spiritual growth. A number of the men took road trips together to Promise Keeper events. One such event was Stand in the Gap in Washington – DC – on October 4, 1997. I was there and reports are – so were nearly 3 million men. It was a life experience I will never forget.

I mentioned recently – to our current Bible Studies – that part of the reason we spend the first portion of our studies talking about praises and prayer concerns is to get to know one another better. Small group ministries are very important. I would imagine that upwards of 50% of a typical congregation only attend worship each week with the church family. If folks only spend an hour plus with one another a week – with the pastor – with the family of God – at their local place of worship – they will not know each other well. Spending time in a small group where one could ask questions – where others can interject their thoughts – always opens up dialogue. Continue reading

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May 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

So – What Do You Treasure?

Luke 12:34

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

Life ChangeAdvent is here and Christmas is coming – just in case you haven’t been to any of the retail stores of late. I went today (Wednesday) to drop off a computer to have a new hard drive put in – rather than buy a new one. I know the speed of the new hard drive will make me think I have a new computer (it worked on my laptop). I wasn’t at the Mall – yet where I went – I found a crowd. I know the Mall is crowded too – and I will stay away as much as I can. I purchase most of my stuff online these days (who would have thought this nearly 64 year old would take to the Internet so well?).

Some stores had Christmas stuff up during the summer months (really – I saw it) – some had Christmas stuff up before Thanksgiving – all have Christmas stuff now! We are singing Advent songs and even some Christmas songs in worship this Sunday (I know – liturgically they are not supposed to be sung yet – but – I love them so – as do our folks).

So what is on your list for Christmas? Would you like the latest new iPhone or the all new iPad Pro? Is there some piece of clothing you’re hoping for this year? 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 cold early. I remember marking things in the Sears Christmas catalog for my parents when it came out. I guess I’m dating myself with that remark. Continue reading

December 6, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After Thanksgiving!

Ephesians 5:19-20

19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Life ChangeI hope and pray you had a fantastic Thanksgiving Day yesterday. I also hope you had time with the family. Around Thanksgiving table – we asked the question – what are you thankful for this year – and some heartfelt responses came our way. What would your answer be to that question? Maybe you are thankful for your health (maybe you haven’t had good health this year but are feeling better now). Maybe you are thankful for family and friends. Maybe you are thankful for your job or for your home. Maybe you are thankful for a son or daughter or a grandson or granddaughter coming home. I’m thankful for a new son this Thanksgiving – and of course – for all of my family.

The passage today gives the Sunday School answer – lol – and reminds us that we should be thankful for God and for all that God has allowed in our lives. We are even to greet one another with praises – even with songs of praise – acknowledging our thanks for God. Continue reading

November 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

So – where or when did we learn to behave? For me it was a combination of home life – Sunday School – and my second grade teacher. I must admit it took a village to tame me and even then I’m not sure they got the job done. I have always had a little rebellious streak in me. There are a number of things I wish – in hind sight – I could go back and undo!

At home – in Sunday School – and in School (in my elementary school – Owensville Elementary – we said the Lord’s Prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance before class began and said Grace before we ate lunch) – I learned The Golden Rule. It has been a standard for behavior – for our morals and values – even for non-religious folks – for as long as I can remember. We’ve all heard our Lord’s words – do unto others as you would have them do unto youeven if we didn’t know they were His words. Many of us were taught the Golden Rule growing up in Sunday School and/or at home. Do you remember it? Continue reading

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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