Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Being Connected

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

A month or two ago (time blurs together) our church was struck by lightning. We suffered a number of electrical issues. One that seems to be lingering is an Internet issue. We shortly got the main system up and running so that the office could operate – but – the lingering issue seems to be all of the runs around the building. Things are connected – and finding all of the affected connections has been a task. We have replaced a number of connectors and boasters but still have some issues. Everything is connected to the core and if each run of wire or each Wi-Fi connector or boaster is not synced or working – people in parts of the building will not have access to the Internet.

Is there a patriarch or matriarch in your family that holds everything together? My mom and dad were the Lynch pins for our family. Mom and dad drew the family together for most of the holidays. We all wanted to be around mom and dad. It seems like – with them now residing in heaven with Jesus – each of our families are scattered – doing their own thing. We still try to get together – but it isn’t the same without mom and dad. When an arsonist burned down our family home in West Virginia – an era ended for our family. Continue reading

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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