Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Living With Plenty – When Is Enough – Enough?

1 Timothy 6:8

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWhen is enough – enough? I’ve often written about our fleshly desires and how they can be contrary to the Holy Spirit’s desire for us. Today I ask the question – When is enough – enough?

In a society where entertainers – from ball players to actors – get millions upon millions for acting in a movie or TV show and playing a game – When is enough – enough?

In a society where the haves and the have nots are so far apart – When is enough – enough? When should those of us with plenty feel an obligation to help those of us who have very little? (I know – some people have made personal decisions that have gotten them where they are today – but there are plenty of people – if you have this concern – to help who are trying their best and are down on their luck). Often the church is called upon to help those who are in need. As a pastor I am often put in the position of deciding or discerning the difference between someone in need and someone trying to scam the church. It is not an easy place to be. Continue reading

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

Deny Self and Follow Christ

Matthew 26:35

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Life ChangeLent is almost over for 2019. We have a special Seder meal tomorrow night. I hope you signed up. Hope to see you there. We have our Good Friday service Friday at 7 pm. We will continue our walk toward the cross with John’s gospel. Lent – according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary – is defined as – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ. 

Today’s passage is about Peter and the disciples saying they would not deny Christ – that they would actually die with Jesus if need be. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 26:30-39 – 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Continue reading

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Numbers Are Awesome – God Is More So

Psalm 147:4

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Life ChangeThe Orioles lost yesterday. They are 4-3 – having already won two away series. They only won three away series all of last year. They had a 4-1 lead – late into the game – but couldn’t hold down the Spankees in the late innings.

I’ve mentioned – in the sermon titled Let’s Talk About the Pastor – that I loved baseball because I love numbers. I was preparing to be a CPA in college when God called me into the ministry – so I love to crunch numbers and baseball is filled with them. For instance – if the Orioles only lose 100 games this year – they will have improved by 15 games over last year – an amazing turnaround. That would give them a 62-100 record. If they improved the following year by 15 games – they would be 77-85 – pushing .500. The third year of a 15 game improvement would give them a 92-70 record and in the thick of the playoff picture. I know – that is a tall order – but – you have to improve a little each year. If they don’t improve by 15 games a year – it might take them longer or they may need to improve by more than 15 games in some years. Baseball is filled with numbers. A player that fails 7 out of 10 times to get a hit for a career can go to the Hall of Fame. Continue reading

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Church Life

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMIn church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%? If you are in one camp or the other – why?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing or little else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. – and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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