Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

For the Lord is My Life

Deuteronomy 30:20

that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life

profileAs a pastor I have performed many funerals – too many funerals if you ask me. I tried to make a deal one time with members of a church I was serving. I told them I would not perform any more funerals if they agreed to not die. Everyone was for this agreement of course – but we all knew we couldn’t hold to it – as much as we tried.

I have heard a lot of eulogies over the years at the funerals I have led or attended. I have heard a lot of family members and friends stand and try to sum up a person’s life from a few sheets of notes. Sometimes it seems easy. Sometimes it seems hard.

I guess – because I have been to so many funerals I sometimes wonder what people will say when I’m gone. What will my children and close friends say? What would your family and friends say about you? Would they remember some humorous moments in our lives?   Would they remember your favorite moments? Will they remember any of your accomplishments or will they even matter? As a Christian – if you are – will they remember your love for Jesus? Continue reading

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April 9, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Calls Us By Name

Romans 9:28

God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. The Message

profileToday’s devotional thought is an observation based on nearly 40 years of ministry.  I hope it makes sense to our readers.  It is based on Scripture but has some personal opinion/experience in it.

Jenna Ryan – after giving her testimony at a recent revival – reminded the congregation that in the end it is about relationships.  As we give and hear testimonies – we are telling and hearing parts of our story and the stories of others.  The more we tell and hear our story and the stories of others – the more we are known and get to know others.  By the way – happy 22nd birthday Jenna!  May this year be the best yet in your spiritual growth and as you and Shaun marry! Continue reading

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Welcome in the Church Part III

Wow, did we ever hit a hot topic the last few days.  It is sad to hear of some of the stories of feeling unaccepted.  Typically – some folks have seen cliques in our church – people who hangout almost exclusively with each other.

We need to be more aware of those around us – not only the new people but also the regulars who don’t seem to have found a niche in the church.  Think about this – do you tend to talk to the same people Sunday after Sunday?  When you plan to meet outside of worship, do you try to include different people or the same people?  One might argue that they have long-standing friendships – and there is nothing wrong with that fact – but in the church we ought to be about reaching out to others – to help folks connect and grow in their faith.

Here’s something you could try this coming Sunday (or if we are snowed out this weekend – the next Sunday we gather).  Try sitting in a different seat – instead of your regular seat.  When we tend to all sit in the same general section each week – even the same seat – we tend to sit near the same people – week after week.  In order to meet new people – to help others connect – try moving around.

Another thing you could do is arrive early – hope no one had a heart attack there – and visit with folks before worship.  Visitors tend to arrive early and they do not tend to find the Upper Room.  Come early and meet them and invite them for a cup of coffee with you.  Spend some time getting to know them.

Finally, there might not always be a visitor each week or enough visitors to go around, so how about making a commitment to meet one new person (even other regulars in worship) you don’t already know well each week and spending some time with them.

One of our new couples remarked recently that they have never attended a friendlier or warmer church.  I knew we had it in us.  Several people came over to meet them and greet them.  People seemed to care about them and wanted to help them connect.  Praise God.  We need to be looking around us each week – seeking to find someone who we might help connect with Mt. Oak in a new and exciting way.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

February 4, 2010 Posted by | Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Worship | , | 6 Comments

Rejoice in the Lord Part III

Yesterday in worship Jason talked about rejoicing in the things that God has been doing in the life of our church.  There are so many blessings God has given us personally and collectively.  God wants to bless us and we need to acknowledge those blessings.

God made a promise to bless the people who follow Him, all the way back to Abram (Abraham).

Genesis 12:1-3 – 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

How has God blessed you as you have followed Him?

Psalms 24:1-6 – 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. 5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

E-Mail me or go on my blog page and share some of the blessings God has given you so that we may rejoice in the Lord together.  One blessing God has given my wife and me is that we have lived to see our three daughters grow up and accept Christ and find godly young men to share their lives.  How about you?  What blessing has God given you?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Church, Daily Devotion, Encouragement, From the Pastor | , , , | 1 Comment

   

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