Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Lamb Is Worthy!

Revelation 5:12

In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

82015 RaySeveral times in sermons and Bible studies of late I have mentioned Christians – at times – take Jesus for granted.  It seems to be human nature that if things are going well – at work – in our marriages – at church – in life – we tend to take someone or something for granted.  It isn’t much different in our faith journey.  Most Christians spend more time on their knees when crisis is at their doorstep than when life is good.  That just seems to be the pattern for many.

Attendance in most churches the Sunday after 9-11 – for example – was an indication.  I was serving as pastor at a church at the time with an average attendance of about 300 give or take a few on any given Sunday.  But the Sunday after 9-11 there were well over 400 in attendance.  Crisis brings us to Jesus.  Attendance figures during World War II saw this same truth – according to some reports.  The Sunday after the Sunday after 9-11 – when life was still in an upheaval – but out of crisis mode – attendance was back to normal.  It is the same thing with Easter – attendance almost doubles for one week and then we are back to normal – and at times – even less than normal because folks who do not attend every week all came on Easter. Continue reading

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh To Have The Zeal For Christ From Our Youth Again

Revelation 2:4

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

In Sunday’s message we talked some about the zeal and excitement most new Christians have when they first receive Christ. We mentioned – if we could take a mature Christian and return them to the zeal of the conversion – we might actually be able to change the world like the early disciples. Unfortunately many Christians allow their zeal to slide down the scale as their knowledge and understanding increase.

One of the elements of our mission at Mt. Oak is to build people up in their knowledge and understanding of Christ. Our hope is that people will gain zeal and excitement for their faith as they mature in the Lord. Trying to reverse the trend of some is not an easy task.

John recorded the Lord saying some of the same things.

Revelation 2:1-5 – 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

These must have been mature Christians who would not tolerate wicked people. They had tested the teachings of some who claimed to be apostles and found them to be false. They discerned the truth and persevered through some tough times for Jesus. Yet Jesus wasn’t happy about their lack of zeal – they had forsaken their first love.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says it this way: The sin that Christ charged this church with was their decay and declension in holy love and zeal: Thou hast left thy first love; not left and forsaken the object of it, but lost the fervent degree of it that at first appeared. Observe, (1.) The first affections of men towards Christ, and holiness, and heaven, are usually lively and warm. God remembered the love of Israel’s espousals, when she would follow him withersoever he went. (2.) These lively affections will abate and cool if great care be not taken, and diligence used, to preserve them in constant exercise. (3.) Christ is grieved and displeased with his people when he sees them grow remiss and cold towards him, and he will one way or other make them sensible that he does not take it well from them.

Oh what God could do with a church filled with people who had knowledge, understanding and zeal. If the Body of Christ was filled with the zeal of our first love – God would be glorified even more than He is now. What is it that hinders or saps your zeal and excitement? Can we make changes so that we will be excited once again for our faith – the way we were at first?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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June 9, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment


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