Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

It Is All About Relationships

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

It is all about relationships! The older I get – the more years I have been in ministry (42 full years this summer) – the more life I live – the more I am convinced it is all about relationships.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is not about the dos and don’ts. It is not about how often we attend worship. It is not about what we give to the church. It is not about how often we sin or how little we sin. All of these are measurable things for sure and Christians will strive to lessen sin in their lives. Christians will attend worship – as often as possible – to be in the fellowship of other believers and to praise God (and worship is not just done in the Sanctuary on Sundays). Christians are called to tithe and give even more to the poor and the needy.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is just that – it is about our relationship. Our prayer life is our lifeline – our communication with God. Our devotional life is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus. How much time we spend – and the quality of that time is so important. Continue reading

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 14 of Lent 2018

Mark 12:42

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Today is day 14 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan.  Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross.

Today’s reading reminds us that it isn’t how much we give to the Lord’s work – but rather the heart with which we give it. The widow gave her all – the rich – they gave from their abundance. How do we give? Do we give our tithe and think we are doing so well – when a sacrificial gift might be 15 or 20%? Are we giving sacrificially to God or are we giving from our abundance? Let us search our heart today and be honest with ourselves. Do we give our all t Jesus or only from what we think we can spare? Continue reading

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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