Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Easter Is Everyday!

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Life ChangeEaster has come and gone for another year. Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this.  Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year – April 12th.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were more regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When The Foundations Are Being Destroyed

Psalm 11:3

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Life ChangeAndy Griffith is one of my favorite all-time shows. I grew up watching Andy – Opie – Barney and Aunt Bea. Times were good and even the unchurched were fairly moral and had values in Mayberry. This show took place during the 50’s & 60’s just a few states south of us.

I wish that the troubles Opie had would be the troubles our youth would get into today. Unfortunately – our youth – and our society as a whole – are far beyond the sins of Mayberry. Our communities used to resemble Mayberry’s morals and values. I can remember growing up near here. As a matter of fact – I can remember watching Mayberry as a child – and thinking our community was like it. How did we get to the place we are today? How have we become so corrupt and sinful?

A 1994 survey conducted (I know – 25 years ago) by Josh McDowell’s ministry team showed some startling results. The study showed that among churched youth from 11-18 – 66% lied to a parent – teacher – or another adult in the previous 3 months. Continuing – 59% lied to one of their peers – 36% cheated on an exam – and 23% intentionally tried to hurt someone. I was blown away when I first read that survey in 1994 and I only imagine it has gotten worse.  Additionally – the survey showed that – 55% have engaged in sexual behavior by age 18 – 50% say they are stressed out – and 55% say they are confused. Remember – these were the churched youth! And 25 years ago! Continue reading

February 20, 2019 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Everyone Welcome?

1 Corinthians 12:26

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

Ray 2018At a Bible Study – not too long ago – the discussion on a Psalm went to community and small group connections. We talked about how important our connections as sisters and brothers in faith really are to our spiritual walk. Body ministry is very significant and not to be taken lightly. The church is a place for folks to connect and support one another. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.

Have you ever heard the phrase – the church is a hospital for sinners? In that statement – the church is trying to say that we are more than a building. The church is the people of God gathered – and we are a safe place for sinners. Why – because the Lord we serve offers forgiveness for sin and we ARE all sinners. I love the old bumper sticker I saw many years ago – it read: Not Perfect Just Forgiven.

Jesus told His disciples He came to live and die – to offer forgiveness to all who sought it. Luke 24:45-48 – 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Continue reading

September 14, 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

Corporate Worship

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I hear more and more about the unchurched. We should try to reach them with the love of Jesus. I hear even more about those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior who choose to stay away from corporate worship. Not attending worship – going to church – was never an option as I was growing up. It was a Scriptural mandate and a mandate in our home. Gathering with the body of believers was primary – it came before anything else. If we were out on a date on Saturday night – it didn’t matter how late we came in – we were getting up to attend corporate worship on Sunday.

Today – it seems – many things come before attending to the regular worship of God – together. It seems like children and youth games – overnight guests – late nights – Sunday activities (other than worship) – and more come before corporate worship for many these days. Even among those who think of themselves as regular in worship – some think once or twice a month is regular. This is obvious on Sundays like Easter when most all attend and attendance sky-rockets yet there are few guests. Continue reading

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter Has Come And Gone – Or Has It?

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Easter has come and gone for another year – or has it? Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this. Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons – and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter is celebrated again next year.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folk all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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