Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

No Jesus – No Peace – Know Jesus – Know Peace

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

RayMcDYesterday – we preached a sermon about death and dying. As I was preparing for this message – it became clear to me that I couldn’t cover all of the questions surrounding death and dying in one message. In the message and in a Facebook post – I asked folks to share with me their questions about death and dying. I have received a number already and I’m planning the series soon.

A number of people said I answered some of their questions yesterday in the sermon (listen to it here when it posts – the title will be Do Not Be Ignorant). The base Scripture was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. You can read the sermon notes here – but listening will help a lot because much of the message is not on the sermon notes. The notes will allow you to have all of the Scriptures I used in the message. Continue reading

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August 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clothe Ourselves in Christ

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

I remember as a child dressing up like a soldier and playing Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow. I even had a play machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage.

We just finished a week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme was super heroes and many of the workers were dressed up like super heroes. The children too got to play dress up. We had real life super heroes like our local police – our local fire department – a teacher from our local elementary school – and others – come and visit with the children. We even collected funds to support them in their super hero work – over $1,000.00. Continue reading

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real and Will Try To Defeat Us

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

RayMcDIn another week we will begin a new sermon series titled New Believers. It will include a number of basic beliefs and doctrines of the church. It will be a good review of the basics for those of us more mature in the faith while it will be a basic lesson plan for new believers. Recently we had 31 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I thought a basic plan was needed.

In the series we will cover such topics as Temptations Still Strike, Hypocrisy Impacts All, The World Embroils, False Claims – Prosperity, and The Whole Gospel. The series will begin on February 12th and run through March 12th. If you live in the area – join us! If not – listen online when the messages are uploaded to our website – www.fumcl.org.

Before we read today’s passage and begin the new sermon series – here is a truth we must all understand – Satan is real! Satan is our to steal our joy and our peace. If possible – Satan is out to steal our walk with Jesus. Today’s passage is from the story about Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Temptations are real and every day – even constant. We can find today’s story in Matthew chapter 4.  Here is a wider view of today’s passage. Continue reading

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No One Can Serve Two Masters

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

RayMcDOk – Christmas is coming – ready or not. Christmas has turned into a commercial season for many for sure. Buying gifts is all the rage. Stores are trying all sorts of ways to get you to buy from them – online stores as well. The advertisements are amazing at times.

Christmas is a good time to determine where our priorities are for sure. When we check our expenditures for Christmas compared to say what we give to God’s work through His church – we might get the idea. When God’s Word says much about giving to God and God’s work but nothing about giving gifts to one another at Christmas – we might realize that we have bought into the lies about Christmas. Instead of a season to give to God it has turned into a season to out do the neighbors and spoil our children and grandchildren.

Our church – not unlike many churches this time of the year – is behind in our giving in relationship to our budget. We budgeted what we thought was a conservative budget for the working of God’s work for 2016. Unfortunately – for a variety of reasons – our giving has not kept up with our expectations. Continue reading

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deny Self and Draw Near to God

Luke 9:23

 Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

112015 Ray McDonaldDenying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I enjoy a good Diet Pepsi or ten – I love the carbonation and the taste. But I might be addicted so I need to deny myself! Some studies have also shown that they are not good for the body!  It will not be easy – but my last Diet Pepsi was Saturday at noon.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I’m cutting out desserts and as much sugar and flour as possible. I’m sure it will be hard at first – but in time – I will not miss it at all! And it will be better for my body for sure.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I like technology and I enjoy social media and some online games (like solitaire). But they can become time consuming and they can take valuable time from each and every day – time I could use to be more productive and to spend with God.  In a previous prayer/fast – I stopped playing Farmville – and have never played it again.

I plan to use the time I gain from cutting things out of my day to spend more time with Jesus! Here are some devotional materials for our 49-day Prayer/Fast. Continue reading

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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