Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Can We Live in Peace With Others?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2I was born in the mid 50′s and remember a lot about the 60′s and 70′s. I remember the peace movement surrounding the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. I remember the protests on college campuses all over America about the war and the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately – some of those asking for peace didn’t give much peace when the veterans from Vietnam came home. These veterans faced anger and hatred that shouldn’t have been aimed at them. These young people – men and women – many who wanted nothing but peace so they could come home – were not welcomed home with much peace – respect or dignity! It seems that peace is not as easy as we might think – nor is it as easy as a protest march.

Think for a moment. Is there someone we have a hard time dealing with these days? Someone we have a hard time being at peace with these days? Is someone giving us a hard time? Has someone hurt us? Maybe it is our ex-spouse who is giving us trouble with our divorce settlement or with child support? Maybe it is someone at school who seems to enjoy being a bully? Maybe it is someone at work who always seems to pick on us or take credit for something we have done? Maybe it is someone who just won’t leave well enough alone? Is there anyone like that in your life today? Reading today’s passage we might say/ask – and God wants us to live at peace with these persons? Continue reading

February 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Continue reading

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agree to Disagree?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2Well – here we are in the year 2020. This year – we will see much debate – numerous votes – and an opportunity to agree to disagree with many friends – family and others.

I am disturbed by the number of colleagues and others that think they are being prophetic by speaking evil about and toward the current POTUS. I disagree greatly with much our current POTUS says and does – as I have with previous presidents – but I wouldn’t say some of the things others are saying. There needs to be a way of disagreeing with the POTUS or others without speaking evil. How are we a witness for Jesus when we join in the name calling and judging? I hear some of the same rhetoric when it comes to those who support the conservative side of our denomination.

Living at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – pre-2020 elections and pre-2020 General Conference – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – even socialists – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together either. Continue reading

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We MUST Hold Onto Truth!

2 Timothy 4:2

to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. CEV

Ray 2019As the partisan impeachment fiasco continues – more of my colleagues are weighing in with their thoughts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion for sure. It seems to me that those who line up on the left theologically are lining up on the left ideologically and politically. The same can be said about those who line up on the right theologically – as they also tend to line up on the right ideologically and politically. The United Methodist Church’s map almost perfectly matches the red and blue map of the political scene.

I mentioned Sunday that I would love to be able to preach the warm and fuzzy theology that some on the left preach. I would love to say that everyone goes to heaven or that there is no place some call hell or to say that there are other ways to heaven than Jesus. But I cannot – because it would be heretical to do so.

Some pastors will do almost anything it seems to be liked by their congregations. I’ve known pastors who are people pleasers (many are it seems). I personally will do most anything to keep peace in the church – as far as it involves me and what I wear – how I work – etc. Where I draw the line – and I hope many pastors draw the line here – is with the truth of God’s Word. I will not dilute the Word of God. I will not water it down (for those who don’t know what dilute means – lol). I will not back away from preaching and teaching the truth of God’s Word.

Some pastors – IMHO – seem to be drawn toward political correctness. A social agenda seems to supersede the truth of God’s Word for some. I was reading some church publications recently online – and some of our churches and even some of our conferences seem more focused on social correctness rather than understanding the truth found in God’s Word. Continue reading

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is Included In Your Prayers?

1 Thessalonians 1:2

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

Life ChangeSo – in our prayer life – whom do we mention? The typical nighttime prayer for a child is – God bless mommy and daddy – God bless my brother and sister – and maybe the child might add – God bless my grandma and granddad and my doggy too. We might add prayers for someone sick – for world peace – for that new job we are starting Monday – and other items on our plate. We might even praise God for simply being God. But what about praying for our enemies or for those whom we disagree with – even on important issues?

My family has four continuous generations of Methodist/United Methodist pastors. We are heaped in orthodox Wesleyan theology and practice. Over the last four plus decades (a time that has encompassed my entire time as an ordained minister) – the divide between the left and the right leaning positions in the church has grown. We have debated the Bible and the Book of Discipline (the two rule books of the church). General Conference after General Conference has dealt with numerous issues where the two theological extremes have differed. Even as we prepare for yet another battle at our 2020 General Conference in May – the two sides are opposed to one another and at different places in theology and practice. The future of the unity in the UMC is at stake. We are facing schism and more. Some are outwardly defiant to the Bible’s teaching and the instructions of the Book of Discipline and the Judicial Council of the church. Continue reading

November 27, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: