Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Friends: We All Need Them

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad). I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the early stages of the NBA and College Basketball season) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist. Continue reading

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A True Friend or Two

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

profileI have a couple of months before I enter my last year in my 50’s.  I know some folks who are already in their 60’s and they seem to be doing OK.  I must take better care of myself so I can see my 60’s – 70’s – 80’s and beyond – the Lord willing.  My wife seems like she will be around for a while – so I better be to enjoy life with her in our senior years.

As we age – we develop friends along the way.  Friends are awesome.  As a pastor and family – making friends is different at times.  We were blessed to stay in one church for 24 years so our children grew up with the same friends from birth and we have remained in the area – so they have some longtime friends.  Many pastors and family do not stay that long in one location.  The normal is 5-8 years.  For me – friends – lasting friends – are few and far between.  I made some friends from my 24 years at one church but have to remove one large area of discussion when I am with them – our church relationship.  We can talk faith – we can talk family – we just can’t talk about the church they attend or the one I attend.  Rules! Ugh! Continue reading

January 14, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal | , , , , | 3 Comments

Being Family and Having Close Friends

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

RayBlogI’ve been spending some time lately reading – the Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news as we approach the Super Bowl (go Ravens) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist.

HappyFamilyFamily and friends – real friends – are what most successful people point to – that and a deep abiding relationship with Jesus of course! What relationships can you point to in your life’s story? Who was instrumental in your development? Was there a special teacher – a special friend – a sibling – a fellow church member – your parents?

In writing about the church Paul writes – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. The church is supposed to be both family and a familiar place for the members of the Body of Christ. In my church life I have heard folks from out-of-town talk about their church as a family. I have experienced this family feeling at times myself. I remember an older man at Mt. Zion who became a father for my father (his died while serving that same church) and a grandfather to us. When I returned some 18 years after we left to be the pastor of that church – this same man was in the last years of his life and still made me feel like family. Family and friends can make such a huge impact on our lives.

I’ve also experienced – and heard stories from others – about fake or pretend friends in the church as well as outside the church. Fake or pretend friends are people who appear to be your friends while a certain relationship exists but drop out when that relationship changes. Usually it is a relationship that is based on what they can get from you or a position you hold. Beware of these type friends. Pastors – for instance – have a hard time maintaining friendships after they move to a different church. In our denomination we are all but required to divorce ourselves from our previous church so that the next pastor can develop relationships. It makes it hard to develop friendships – since many pastors dive into their church work and the social life of the church and community they serve. It is hard to find time outside of church for pastors to make friends – especially when connecting as family is what the church is supposed to be all about according to Paul.

But throughout life – whatever you do professionally – the hope and prayer is that you begin to experience true friendships. True friends – whether family or not – are a blessing. True friends will hurt when you hurt and rejoice when you rejoice as Paul wrote in today’s passage about the church – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. My hope and prayer is that your family and your friends are these type of relationships and not the kind that are surface only and change depending on the circumstances. I know my family and my close friends have been very impactful in my life.

I put a survey up to see if what I have said is true or not – do close family ties and friendships impact our lives? You can take the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JYM79KD.

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

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January 30, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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