GOD SHOWED UP!

(November 13, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage expectation of the unexpected…

Remember the ‘The Spirit showed up!’ catchcry of a few decades ago when the Holy Spirit had freedom to move in any meeting he chose… and did?

A catchcry, yes, but an acknowledgement that God had moved in the church service and blessed his people through supernatural actions by his Holy Spirit! And Jesus was glorified.

At times it seemed that if the blessed Holy Spirit hadn’t ‘showed up’ the pastor, Bible teacher, evangelist, guest speaker or whoever would have floundered over whatever he or she was presenting!

And also at times, it all seemed a big surprise when the Spirit ‘did show up’ and a miracle or a healing happened, or prophetic words and words of knowledge were uttered (spoken genuinely and meaningfully!) and a wonderful dimension of heavenly bliss descended.

Others sayings come to mind… for example, ‘God shows up when you least expect it’ and ‘Everything was lost but out of the blue God showed up and saved the day.’

Yes we confess that we too have used the ‘God showed up’ expression… but only in the sense of acknowledging and confirming that God the Holy Spirit had done something wonderful, not us or any church leader or preacher alone.

Actually the reality of church life is that we should always be expecting the all-powerful third person of the Godhead to ‘show up’ with power at every meeting, not just Sunday morning, and bless us as we worship our Saviour Jesus and exalt our heavenly Father. (more…)

DARE ASK ME FOR A SIGN

(December 10, 2019) Brian Bell reflects

It’s almost Christmas when Christians and churches celebrate the birth of Jesus who would become the Saviour of the world.

We’ll sing Christmas carols and choruses and refer to those scriptures that come naturally to mind at this time… from the gospels of Matthew and Luke and also Isaiah 7:14NLT, ‘All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).’

As I mediate on this Old Testament verse the background of Isaiah 7 comes to mind – God prompting Ahaz, the king of Judah, who was in a difficult situation to ask him for a sign… ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want –’ (Isaiah 7:11 (NLT).

Now that’s an amazing dare by God – and, equally amazing, when Ahaz didn’t respond was God’s choice of a ‘difficult sign’ (v14).

I wonder… If God were to ask you to ask him for a sign – and you didn’t hesitate to ask – what would come to your mind?

This leads me to several ‘little seed thoughts’…

A Personal Sign
Reading verses 1- 6 of this chapter we get a fuller picture of the situation in which Ahaz found himself. Facing attack and a siege of Jerusalem, in addition to fear he was likely struggling with doubt. And God always knows how best to answer the doubts of his people – remember how God spoke to Elijah (1 Kings 19) and how the Lord Jesus dealt with Thomas (John 20). (more…)

MARY’S KEY – WILLINGNESS

(December 10, 2019) Geraldine Brandt reminds us of a special lady who willingly trusted God to fulfil his word…

Almost Christmas! May I bring a particular aspect to the Christmas story – the biblical Mary that I see!

When we think of Christmas we naturally think of Jesus Christ –

  • Born of Mary, a virgin
  • Born in a manger
  • Born to die on a cross for the sins of the world.

And that’s as it should be at Christmas for it’s the real Christmas message way beyond the tinsel, sparklers, crackers and gifts! There is no greater message to be proclaimed, nor any other focus that should be given.

But… can I add that one of the greatest messengers of this truth is the mother of Jesus, Mary herself.

Mary does not preach this message, she lives it!

When we take time to go through the gospels and study this woman of God we find a very humble woman, great in faith, persistent in prayer and steadfast in her trust in God, specifically trusting that what he said about her son, Jesus, would come to pass.

Willing to obey
From the very beginning – Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, the archangel of God Most High – we see a woman who is willing to do the will of God, and to do that will without fanfare, complaint, or requested recognition.

In Luke 1:29-37 we read the conversation Mary had with Gabriel and her willing acceptance of God’s plan for her life – ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.  ‘May it be to me as you have said’ (v38). (more…)

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET UP…!

(December 9, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, asks a challenging question

2019 is almost gone! Christmas – a time when people are expecting good things and encouragements by way of cards and gifts – is only a couple of weeks away.

But beyond meaningful cards and gifts, churches and Christians will be celebrating that the heart of God and the gospel message that speaks of the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

It’s every Christian’s responsibility to share the good news of the gospel. And, as the Holy Spirit leads, we can find opportunities to share the good news of the real reason for the season. We may not be a missionary overseas but even here at home we can fulfil the great commission in our local suburbs!

The babe of Jesus Christmas would grow up to become the Saviour of the world, calling many to follow him and share the good news of the gospel.

(more…)

BAH! HUMBUG?

(November 25, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares …

Christmas is almost with us again. Most people enjoy the season but you will always find some people who will mutter and complain about it.

One of the most famous is Ebenezer Scrooge, a character who was invented by Charles Dickens in his book A Christmas Carol.  Scrooge was a man who had a cranky and very negative outlook on life and his disapproval of Christmas was expressed in the words, ‘Bah! Humbug!

And I’ve met some Christians over the years whose attitude to Christmas is very ‘Scroogeish’ (if that is a word). What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas’?

The Christmas atmosphere
There are so many things that we associate with Christmas today. Obviously we can’t avoid the secular interpretation of Christmas with Santa Claus and the Christmas tree and lights and presents (many of which we don’t particularly want) and all the other associated secular trappings.

I have to admit that I quite enjoy all that even though most of it bears little resemblance to the real significance of the event. And I also have to admit that, having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere, in Ireland and then ministering in England, where Christmas is a mid-winter celebration, I miss that kind of Christmas atmosphere.

 

But as Christians the first thing, and the most important thing, we associate with Christmas is the coming of Jesus because that’s what it is really all about. And so – (more…)

FEELING INCONVENIENCED? PERHAPS THERE’S A BIGGER PICTURE!

(November 16, 2019) Maureen McQuillan shares encouragingly…

Inconvenienced’… now there’s a word that even sounds like trouble! Basically it indicates problems or difficulties caused by someone or something – and often we can be left wondering ‘What’s going on here?’ Or ‘Why me?’

We Christians are certainly not immune! We have our disappointments too – but many times we need to see a bigger picture, recognise God’s ways and timings.

Let me share such an incident…

When ministering interstate one time we borrowed our host’s car and took a short Saturday afternoon break. And, after some relaxation on a local beach, we visited a nearby shopping precinct.

Car problem inconvenience
All enjoyable but on returning to the car we found it wouldn’t start! Now we had been warned that the key only turned a certain way but Robert tried every way for almost an hour.

Nothing happened – except that he got sore fingers and was almost frustrated. And the happiness of that afternoon was quickly vanishing.

Then Robert (I’ll be cheeky and add finally) got a bright idea! Phoning a local pastor he knew, he shared the problem.

‘No worries’ responded the pastor, ‘I have a helpful mechanic in our church and I’ll ask him to drop by.’ Jonny did so, very promptly, and soon had the car going. And as we stood by the vehicle, we had some precious fellowship with this new brother and encouraged one another. (more…)

ADVENTURES OF ‘THE GINGER VICAR’ AND ‘THE BALDING BISHOP’

(November 14, 2019) Michael Ireland, media missionary, shares about an unusual adventurous missions duo…

Richard Ellerington, an English church leader known as the ‘Ginger Vicar’ has embarked on a 500-mile trek along the Camino route with a surfboard attached to his back, to raise awareness of the growing global Surf Church movement.

The Ginger Vicar is the first pilgrim ever to walk the Camino with a surfboard strapped to his back… for all 500 miles.

 

Richard Ellerington with his surfboard

Vicar Ellerington, originally from Bristol, Somerset will be hiking the famous pilgrimage over a 35 day period and will be the first to do so with a surfboard in tow. (more…)

THE BIGGEST BUSINESS IN THE WORLD!

(November 13, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, challenges us to be involved in God’s business – now

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come’ declares Matthew 24:14.                              

Too often we are prone to look for the end before we have really considered the allotted task – and before we have really done enough that is realistic about witnessing to even one nation, let alone all of them.

Nevertheless the end is ultimate! But between the beginning and the end there are many factors, including time, season, opportunity, and God’s enabling.

The certainty is that the gospel must be proclaimed in the entire world, nothing less, as a witness to all nations not one less, and then and only then, will the glorious end come. Then and only then…

  • Christ will appear in the clouds
  • The dead in Christ will rise
  • We (who are still living) will be caught up and together we will meet our Saviour Jesus in the air to be forever with him!

The biggest business on earth!
Meanwhile we must be about our Father’s business
. With his guidance, enabling and power, there is much work to do that must be done! (more…)

ARE YOU SEEKING THE LORD’S PURPOSE?

(November 13, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to seek God’s purpose for us in life…

‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails’ declares Proverbs 19:21.

Never doubting God
In 1975, I graduated from college and was immediately hired to teach in the public school system. While I never doubted my life’s calling as a teacher, God steered me from majoring in elementary education to that of a secondary educator.

And, because I was surprised by this unexpected turn in my path, I’ve never doubted it was God’s plan for me all along.

During my 30-year teaching career, God repeatedly reminded me through the relationships I had with my students, both during and after their high school years, that his purpose had prevailed.

Even after my retirement from education, God has used me to encourage, and to minister to, my former students.

Redirected by the Holy Spirit
But while I had post-retirement plans, God had a greater one. (more…)

A BRAVE NEW WORLD AWAITS?

(October 26, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges brave Christians…

In 1931 the author Aldous Huxley wrote a novel called Brave New World (a phrase he borrowed from William Shakespeare). In his novel Huxley presented an alarming vision of the future.

But not even Huxley imagined a world intent on self-destruction by pursuing goals and embracing tainted ideals that ultimately result in dehumanisation.

Age of deception
We are living in an age when a spirit of deception is sweeping the world and millions of people are being caught up in it.

Atheistic Marxist philosophy, which is committed to social transformation, has penetrated and perverted a wide range of social values and scientific theory with the inevitable consequence of social instability and hostility.

How effective the media has been in disseminating this false gospel of social manipulation –

  • Movies and television series frequently (and inevitably) include sub-agendas that drip-feed incorrect information and corrupt values with the purpose of radically changing good and Godly principles that have served individuals and nations well for many centuries.
  • Television, radio and newspaper reports are increasingly interpretations of facts designed to shape the opinions of those who want to know what is really happening in the world. A duplicitous use of adjectives and adverbs in those news reports often corrupts the information from the dissemination of ‘facts’ to ‘propaganda.’

(more…)