Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Allow the Holy Spirit to Connect with Our Spirit

Romans 8:27

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Rays HaircutDuring this pandemic – many of us have probably been speechless at times. There have probably been times when we just couldn’t imagine what we are facing or will face in the future. I know there have been times when I couldn’t express myself and I simply let out a roar or primitive scream. I know some parents and some children have had some new experiences around the house – out of school for so long or trying to learn new skills with online learning.

During this pandemic – many of us miss gathering for worship. I spoke today on the phone with a number of our folks and to the person they asked me – pastor – when will we be able to meet at our church again? Several have been able to view our services online – but others have not been able to do so. I think we’ll ask those seniors if they had DVD players and cut a few with several weeks of worship on them. Continue reading

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Encouraging Spirit

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Rays Haircut

I want to write today about a subject that is essential. I think it is essential that we encourage one another – especially during this pandemic.

The Bible tells us in today’s passage in Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. I think the day is fast approaching. We need one another. We need Jesus. We need to encourage one another. We need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another. Let’s try and see how we are blessed by it and one another.

It is so easy to be critical. Tearing down doesn’t build up the Body of Christ. We do not ignore that which needs attention or correction – but we do so in love and as much as possible through encouragement. We can correct and even rebuke as Scripture says through love. But – often – we fail to praise and encourage. It is easy to see and report and have an opinion about what we dislike. How about what we see going well? Continue reading

April 29, 2020 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

We Are An Easter People

Romans 8:1

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

Rays HaircutEaster has come and gone for another year – although it might come back in a few weeks as we gather together again some day. Churches would have been packed – I know our online services were packed. Some of my colleagues often have to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some usually want to reach the unchurched on Easter and try off-site locations – which 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 – if not all – see larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year.

If their attendance is 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 – the way it used to be. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if our regulars were more regular – our normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encouragement Is Very Important

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Rays HaircutEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – love or encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture. What I’m questioning is the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction. Continue reading

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 37 of Lent 2020

Matthew 7:7

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

Ray 2020Today is day 37 of the 40 Days of Lent – our Lenten reading plan (since Sundays don’t count in Lent – there are 47 days total in Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – leave some comments below – 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. When we worship the building or the ornaments or something other than God – we are worshiping things rather than God.

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?

During this pandemic – we have learned to be community without physical contact. We have been able to worship without a building. A good question – how is our worship these days? Continue reading

April 8, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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