Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Day 40 of Lent 2018

Matthew 7:7

They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

Today is day 40 of the 40 Days of Lent – our Lenten reading plan (since Sundays don’t count in Lent – we will have 47 days in our study). I hope you have stayed with us – leave some comments – if you would. Today’s passage is about some who worship in vain – instead of focusing on God – they focus on the art of worship. Folks had moved away from the commands of God and focused on other things.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we want to read about Jesus’ instructions about worship. If Jesus were here today – would our form of worship meet His standards? Are we focused on Him and His commands or are we focused on things like the style of worship or even the location of worship? Continue reading

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving Jesus

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.”

There is a sad statement that is common knowledge in the church world! 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 workload. 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%?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – etc. – and not giving anything back? In essence are we a taker without being a giver as well? Continue reading

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Eve 2017 Is Coming!

John 1:14 – KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Well – here we are – the week of Christmas. I hope that everyone has made their plans to celebrate Christmas with family and/or with friends. I hope you also plan to share some of Christmas Eve with your church family. At First Church we are planning our Christmas Eve services in detail this week. We’d love to hear back from you about the services we are offering and how they meet or don’t meet your needs and the needs of your family. This feedback will help us as we plan services for next year. Please share next week after the services.

On Christmas Eve – December 24th for those who might not remember – lol – we will offer 4 services (this year Christmas Eve is on a Sunday). The same sermon will be preached at the first three services (our regular Sunday services) with a different sermon preached at the 8 pm service. All except the 5 pm service will be held in the Sanctuary. Continue reading

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is My Super Hero

Psalm 42:8

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

I grew up reading comic books. I had many first editions and full series. I enjoyed the ones that were mild mannered people in day-to-day life but when trouble arose – they would become super heroes. One of my favorites was mild mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. I wouldn’t miss an episode and even today try to catch the old TV show when I can. My brother was a fan of Batman!

I must admit – I don’t watch much TV these days – other than some really old shows – sports and the news (you can guess which news program I watch the most). Some of the shows I tape and try to watch are the ones about super heroes. I like the supernatural! Continue reading

November 22, 2017 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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