Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following God’s Example

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

So who stands out in our lives as an example we follow? As a child and a youth – I had favorite ballplayers I followed. Boog Powell – Brooks Robinson – Frank Robinson – were players I liked in my youth. They played for my home team Baltimore Orioles. Eddie Murray – Cal Ripken – and others were baseball players I followed later in my life. In basketball some of my favorites were Wes Unseld – Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and Walt Frazier (from the Baltimore Bullets). In football I liked Johnny Unitas – Raymond Berry – Tom Matte. They were football players – Baltimore Colts – that I followed.

In school I had my favorite teachers – did you? I had my favorite singing groups I followed as well like James Taylor – Cat Stevens – Stevie Wonder – 3 Dog Night – Diana Ross and the Supremes and more. I had men and women who I looked up to in church and in other circles. I looked up to my dad the most. Continue reading

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Transformation

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

RayMcDLast night in the Men’s Bible study we were talking about real transformation – the real change that comes over us when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. From time to time – shows appear on TV that seem to be popular. Shows like Extreme Makeover or Strong or Biggest Losers appeal to the general population because we like to believe – given the right circumstances – we can all become better than we are right now. We can lose the weight – we can reshape our appearance – we can have a better home and a better life. If nothing else – we can get lost in the fantasy of someone else’s transformation and wish it were really about our lives.

From time to time – most of us – looking back on the life choices that have led us to where we find ourselves – most of us would make a few changes. We often hear people say – if I had it all to do over again I wouldn’t change a thing – but in reality – most of us would change some things.

From time to time – have we ever thought of taking a different career path? Have we ever thought about living in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world? Have we ever regretted choices we have made? I bet the answer to that is a resounding YES for many of us. Continue reading

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Life Transformations

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

RevRayMcFrom time to time – shows appear on TV that seem to be popular. Shows like Extreme Makeover or Strong or Biggest Losers appeal to the general population because we like to believe – given the right circumstances – we can all become better than we are right now. We can lose the weight – we can reshape our appearance – we can have a better life. If nothing else – we can get lost in the fantasy of someone else’s transformation and wish it were really about our lives.

From time to time – most of us – looking back on the life choices that have led us to where we find ourselves – most of us would change a few. We often hear people say – if I had it all to do over again I wouldn’t change a thing – but in reality – most of us would change some things.

From time to time – have we ever thought of taking a different career path? Have we ever thought about living in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world? Have we ever regretted choices we have made? I bet the answer to that is a resounding YES for many of us. Continue reading

June 28, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Uphold Us!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

112015 Ray McDonaldI love playing basketball (I only wish my 61-year-old knees could still hold up – but the three ball still shows up from time to time). Growing up – basketball was a game I could play by myself – for hours at a time. I still remember – behind the parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC (now Gethsemane UMC) – the hoop we had up above the garage door. There was a flood light out back and I would play for hours on end – deep into the summer night.

I remember – I was either Earl The Pearl Monroe or I was playing along side him. Wes Unseld was playing too – in my fantasy world – and many others. They would be counting on me to make that last bucket either as The Pearl or as me (I told you it was fantasy time). They would be relying on me to make that great pass – if not the last shot – to uphold them and the team.

In modern times – I was Stephen Curry – I couldn’t miss. Even when I did miss – I would grab the rebound in a crowd and put it back up for the winning points – just a split second before the buzzer would sound. Time and again – the winning basket! In my make-believe world – I was all that and a bag of chips! Continue reading

March 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving the Lord – Paid or Unpaid

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

profileA job worth doing is a job worth doing well (an ancient proverb attributed to no one in particular).  My dad use to tell me this while I was growing up.  He believed in it.  Have you heard it before?

One day – dad gave me the job of moving a pile of gravel from one place to another.  It was a huge pile of gravel but apparently where the truck dumped it wasn’t where my dad wanted it.  So there I was with a shovel and a wheel barrel and the heat of the summer!  To his credit he didn’t ask me to move it all in one day – just over the course of a week or so.  It was a hard task.  I have never liked working alone so I tried to imagine I had help (that didn’t get the job done any quicker – but I had my imaginary friends to help me pass the time).  Before you have me committed – I knew they weren’t there – it just helped pass the time!  It was sort of like playing basketball alone and imagining you had teammates playing with you (and Wes Unseld rebounds and passes to Earl Monroe who passes the ball to Ray McDonald who hits the game winner as the buzzer sounds). Continue reading

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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