Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Here We Go 2020

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ray 2020One of my favorite passages is Philippians 2:5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. We’ve handed out WWJD bracelets at church in the past. WWJD stands for What Would Jesus Do? The bracelets are a reminder that we should constantly think about how Jesus would handle a given situation – and try to model His example. As we walk through 2020 – I pray that we will ask ourselves that question throughout the year – WWJD.

In today’s Scripture we are told to turn away from the sins of our life – the sins we lived with before turning to Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Putting off the old self is not easy. Another favorite passage goes like this – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! I usually add – but the old doesn’t go very far! Continue reading

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Called To Reach The Lost

Luke 15:10

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

My father concluded his active ministry as an evangelist. He preached in revivals all over the east coast and some in some other states like Ohio – West Virginia – Minnesota – and Indiana. He loved sharing the Gospel with folks. He loved when folks would open their hearts to Jesus and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. I love being a pastor of a local congregation – but the times I have preached revivals for other churches has given me a glimpse of what dad shared in those twilight years of his active ministry. I too love it when the lost come to know Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation.

Revivals seem to be a thing of the past. It seems that many pastors today don’t believe in hell or Satan and his demons. It stands to reason that the belief in hell and Satan would fade for those who don’t believe they are real. For eight years I served on our conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) and have served many terms on the District Committee of Ordained Ministry (DCOM) as well. I often ran into pastoral candidates who were Universalists – persons who simply believed that all persons went to heaven. There were times – during examinations – candidates (many who eventually were ordained) couldn’t clearly define salvation because they couldn’t explain what the alternative would be. Continue reading

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smile – What Brings a Smile to Your Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals (even a win would be great at times). The opening day win in the 11th inning by the Birds Monday brought a smile to my face. Still another might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Transformed After Christ

James 1:22-24 (The Message)

22-24Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

112015 Ray McDonaldToday’s passage reminds me constantly that we might be able to fool those around us – and maybe even ourselves – but we cannot fool God.  As I was growing up – before I received Christ – I knew all the right words – all the right actions.  But I hadn’t given my heart – my life to Christ.  Even after giving my life to Christ – I didn’t always obey and follow God’s will – but at least with the Spirit living in me – remorse and repentance were swift and drew me back to the cross for forgiveness.

Too many times – I believe – people – even people in the church – fool themselves into thinking they are walking with Jesus.  I had a brother come up to me after worship one Sunday and share that for 40 plus years he walked a lie – never really knowing the Jesus he proclaimed to know.  I wonder how many are in the same place?  I wonder how many are trying to become a car by spending time in a garage?  It isn’t about spending time – even a lifetime – in the church – that makes us a Christian.  It is hearing God speak to us and then inviting Him into our hearts – our lives – to be our Lord and thus our Savior.  It is hearing and being transformed – changed within – so that our hearts desire is to serve Him – to love Him – to be changed.

Continue reading

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Changes Your Countenance?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

82015 RayWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children) (see my granddaughter Scarlett on the Radio Flyer). Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins (even a win would be great).  Still another might be time spent with my wife (we IMG_0416have the children and grandchildren in our home this weekend (minus a couple of husbands).  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight?  Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after) (my daughter from New Jersey greeted me last night with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread (go Mark) – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Build, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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