CONNECTING – CARING CONTACT!

(July 17, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan caringly – and concernedly – encourage connecting …

Wandering along a beach one time we unexpectedly met an old friend. In the ensuing chitchat she expressed how difficult it was to connect with people in her church. Yet she had done her best in reaching out to various folk but, despite promising, they hadn’t got back to her.

The result was that no meaningful contact has been established and this friendly, insightful lady was thinking about finding a more amicable church.

On another occasion, when we were in our local library a lady from yet another church recognised us and shared something similar: ‘There are so many lonely women in church that can’t seem to make a close relationship. It is so hard.’

Connecting widely
We’ve also come across men who haven’t been able to connect in church life and be able to share their feelings with other guys.

And then there are ministers of busy churches who do not have real friends to confide with. Some wrongly feel they can’t even share with their denominational leaders in case the ‘upper echelon’ thinks they aren’t spiritual enough or not capable of dealing with things. (Side comment here: We’re delighted to now know Kelvin, a great guy dedicated to reaching pastors, priests and ‘lay people’ who need the connection of ‘a friendly ear’).

Seniors too can have their difficulties – but the biggest shock is when a precious child confides with you that he or she feels they cannot share their heart secrets with anyone, not even their dad or mum. Kids too need reaching and blessing, as our brother-in-law Ken Gardiner of Life4Kids, kendor.life4kids@gmail.com will tell you. (more…)

A HEART FOR THE HARVEST

(July 19, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects …

The Lord gave me ‘a heart for the harvest’ early in my life journey of faith! Through prophecy and a vision, within a year of my conversion I was called to the nations!

But… I failed to understand the prophecy and direction that God set before me. For many years I did not understand it: In fact it wasn’t until almost ten years later when Charles Greenwood, my pastor at Richmond Temple, guided me toward the first steps that began to unfold this major step in my life.

There’s a world harvest, not just local!
After serving as a local pastor in five churches, over about 15 years, I was asked to visit Papua New Guinea for some weeks in 1968.

Until then, my focus was on local people who needed Christ.  I did not yet have a ‘heart for the harvest’ in the world. That came progressively over some years. My annual visits to Papua New Guinea were in reality my training for the harvest in the world. I owe much to the older missionaries who demonstrated a commitment and love for the indigenous people that I did not yet have.

A lesson I valued early in my many travels as I visited missionaries and negotiated with government authorities for permits, was the necessity of never giving up and not getting tired of doing what is good, because reaping time is ahead. I also learned well that it is God who supplies ‘the seed’ of the word of truth that can set the captives free and produce an ever-growing number of new local churches of new believers (2 Corinthians 9:10).

Keys of responsibility


Every local church where the believers honour the word of God has the biblical responsibility to consider and obey the words of the Lord Jesus to look with open eyes and observe the fields where there is a ripe harvest. This is a responsibility that must be honoured in faith. (more…)

‘EATING JESUS’ BODY AND DRINKING HIS BLOOD’

(July 19, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, explains on this powerful imagery challenge declared by Jesus…

We are living at a time when we are increasingly compelled by the dictates of those who have embraced the philosophy of ‘political correctness’ to avoid the use of language and actions that may ‘cause offence.’  People are being encouraged to rage against those things that they claim have offended them and increasingly that rage is funnelled into legal action!

Consequently a diverse range of people, including comedians, sports people – and preachers – are being silenced for fear of prosecution.

When Jesus caused offence!
Of course, such taking of ‘offence’ is often a manipulative tool to silence and control and as a tactic it has been used for thousands of years.

In fact, Jesus sometimes ‘offended’ those to whom he spoke. For example, one day when he was in Capernaum a crowd gathered to hear what he had to say and they were quick to take offence at his words.

We read in John 6:32 that he said, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.’

And in verse 41-42 we see the outraged response to this – ‘At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven?”  How dare he say that! What an arrogant upstart!’ How offensive are his words!

Despite this reaction, Jesus ploughed ahead – ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”’ (John 6:51-52). (more…)

MEANT TO RUN YOUR OWN RACE

(July 17, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to keep running the Christian race…

In my early 40s, I began competing in 5K races. I never considered myself an athlete. But, I’ve always had a competitive edge, less so since I’ve grown spiritually. I’ve learned it’s not about who wins but doing my best with my God-given gifts.

During the four years I raced competitively, my time steadily improved. At first, it was about beating others in my age bracket to the finish line. I won some trophies and medals, which now mean very little to me. At the beginning of my racing years, I focused on my competition – those women in my age bracket. When I did, my time didn’t improve much.

Then, I learned a secret to persevering and not giving up. I began to focus on a goal ahead of me on the race course. I’d locate a tree, a utility pole or some other object in sight. As I passed each goal, I set another one, leading me to the finish line and improved race times.

Focus is the key! Focusing on my personal best instead of the competition was the answer to winning. (more…)

BAD NEWS OR GOOD NEWS!

(June 26, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reminds us of scriptural bad news – and scriptural good news…

Nobody likes bad news!

But sometimes we need to hear the bad news if it urges or provokes us to do something that may correct a tragedy or help us avoid disastrous consequences.

In Australia each year bush fires cause heartbreaking devastation to trees, animals, towns and, of course, people. How hard it is to watch the horrendous and frightening images of out-of-control fires raging through trees and homes, destroying livelihoods, creating havoc, causing death, pain, sorrow and financial devastation.

Fortunately many lives are saved each year when advance warning is given that enables people to vacate their properties, perhaps save their animals and leave with some treasured possessions. The tragedies would be significantly worse if warnings were withheld because they represented ‘bad news.’ Therefore, sometimes we do need to hear ‘bad news’ in order to avoid even worse consequences.

Angry response
However, the fact remains that no one likes to be on the receiving end of bad news. Some people deal with it by denying it. Others respond by anger at the person who delivers it.

There is an old saying that states, ‘If you don’t like the message, don’t kill the messenger.’  This advice has been around for a long time. For example, in the middle of the 5th century BC, Sophocles, a Greek poet and playwright, wrote, ‘No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.’

However, in recent days we have seen a ‘messenger’ being savaged by the media and social media. Israel Folau, who quoted from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, has not only lost his employment as a rugby player but has also been roundly condemned as bigoted, intolerant, homophobic and so on.

But the bottom line is that what he tweeted is wholly in line with scripture. He was sharing a message that was not his and if the warning it contained was not to the liking of those who read it, he cannot be blamed for its content! (more…)

CLEAN YOUR HOUSE AND RENEW YOUR SPIRIT

(June 7, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to ensure our ‘inner house’ is clean…

Psalm 51:10 TLB speaks of ‘being cleaning’ – being filled with clean thoughts and right desires.

I like a clean house. But, as I grow older, it seems to take me longer. But what used to take me three to four hours on a Saturday morning, now takes all day – and then some. I attribute it to my wandering mind, or should I say forgetfulness.

Here’s how it works
I start in one room, usually the master bath, with intentions of working my way from north to south.

However, while wiping the bathroom mirrors clean, I remember something I need to do in the kitchen, like thawing a frozen chicken for my supper. After taking care of that task, I see something else that needs doing while I’m there.

Then I notice the trash is overflowing, so I remove the bag and deliver it outside to the garbage can. (Some of you can probably relate).


By the time I return to the master bath, I’ve wasted time. It also requires me to refocus on my original task. Now where did I put that bottle of Windex?

Cleaning out the unnecessary
In the process of a recent house cleaning, I decided to go through cabinets, drawers and closets to rid myself of things taking up space. I’m blessed with an abundance of storage in my house. I’m also a coupon clipper and redeem them to stockpile items I need before the coupons expire. (more…)

FIVE C’s OF PENTECOST

(June 6, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share serious kingdom thoughts/concerns about some Pentecostals today…

Pentecost Sunday this weekend – the church’s Easter celebration now seems so long ago!

Oh we can never forget the real Easter story… of a Saviour who loved us so much that he freely gave his life for us at Calvary, paying the price of sin, offering everyone full salvation and a way back to our Father God!

Scripture speaks the love that flowed that from Calvary’s hill …

  • ‘He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2).
  • ‘If you continue in the teaching of Christ, you will have fellowship with both the Father and the Son’ (Romans 8:10, 17).

But… now it’s almost Pentecost Sunday! We need to remember, to joyfully celebrate that the good news of God’s love continues beyond that extraordinary Passover event we call Easter.

Why? God had a further free gift to give to all who believe in his Son Jesus – the outpouring of his Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 2 to enable us to not only praise him in tongues but to serve him in powerful (dunamis) ways and touch the world!

Yet, as shared on Facebook last weekend we had found it dismaying that we hadn’t at that point come across any adverts or articles mentioning this coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Not even the Pentie church we attended last week highlighted it! Hmm! Let’s look at what we’ll term The 5 C’s of PentecostCarpeting, Correction! Celebration, Cenacle and Challenge. (more…)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH!

(June 6, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares about ‘the dynamite’ of Pentecost

The Christian Pentecost is sometimes called the ‘Birthday of the Church.’  While some question the accuracy of that description, it nevertheless is a helpful reminder of a unique day in the life of the church.

Almost 2000 years ago a group of about 120 people (Acts 1:15) began a journey that was to impact the whole world. As that group of Jews who were followers of Jesus met to worship and celebrate the Jewish festival of Feast of Harvest (aka the Feast of Weeks), they were not expecting that what they were about to experience would change them, the church and ultimately the world!

The first Christian Pentecost was a hugely significant event. Luke recorded the event in this way: ‘Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’ (Acts 2:2-4).

That is what happened, but why did it happen?

Peter explained it this way, ‘Exalted to the right hand of God, he (Jesus) has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:33).

Pentecost was not just a random spiritual revival-type experience for those first Christians – it was a fulfilling of Christ’s promise in John 14:16-17. And it bonded those Christians together as a new community of faith.

The day of Pentecost is significant for many reason, such as:

1. Presence
In the midst of that group a mighty wind began to blow and flames of fire appeared.  In this startling and memorable way God demonstrated his presence with his people. They certainly would never forget those symbols of his powerful presence. (more…)

SUDDENLY – POWER FROM ON HIGH!

(June 3, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects on a very special day in church history, one being celebrated by many churches this Sunday…

Suddenly… that word which indicates something out-of-the-blue! Such as what happened to those first followers of Jesus Christ on that special Day of Pentecost over 2000 years ago!

Before the Day of Pentecost came round in the year that Jesus died at Calvary and rose from the dead three days later, and before he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9), he ordered his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem – but to wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about’ (Acts 1:4).

The incredible gift Jesus promised

  • That they would receive power when God’s Holy Spirit fell on them.
  • That they would be his witnesses not only locally but across the world!

What a bold promise the Lord Jesus made in Acts 1:8: ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’

And so they waited! Then, we read in Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost arrived… that annual Feast of the Harvest, one of Israel’s three major yearly celebrations, lasting only one day. It was on this particular feast day something powerful was going to happen in the plan and purpose of God!

Note the wording that opens chapter two… that ‘they were all together in one place.’  The ‘all’ this time was different from the group in the first chapter; it was the apostles and other disciples who had joined them to celebrate the Day of Pentecost.

This gathering would be unique in both Israel and the early church’s history because it was believers in Jesus who gathered in the upper room of a particular house on this particular day of celebration. It appears likely that the number was about 120 believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 1:15). And they obviously did not even dream what lay ahead! (more…)

THE COST AND THE CROWN OF DISCIPLESHIP

(May 16, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, solemnly opens ups on a reality that many Christians tend to either ignore or are unaware of…

Around 67 AD the apostle Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting execution under the order of the Roman Emperor Nero who intensely hated Christians.

As he waited for the sentence to be carried out, he wrote to Timothy, ‘The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing’ (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

About ten years earlier Paul had written in his letter to the Christians living in Rome, ‘I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world’ (Romans 1:8).

Personal witnessing
In his commentary The Epistle to the Romans the late theologian Karl Barth made the following comment on this Romans 1 verse: ‘The resurrection has proved its power; there are Christians – even in Rome.’ Barth was explaining that Paul was rejoicing and thanking God because the message of Christ crucified and resurrected had penetrated right to the heart of the Roman Empire, to Rome itself, where Christians were living and worshipping.

How amazing it is that within about 25 years from the resurrection of Jesus the good news of his redeeming love and gifts of forgiveness and eternal life had spread ‘all over the world.’ Without the help of mass evangelistic rallies and without the modern aids of radio, television and Facebook the Christian gospel spread like a fire through the simple and effective method of personal witnessing.

And so the Christian message continued of spread for the following centuries and in 311 AD the Roman emperor professed his Christian faith.

But …
1. The successful penetration of the Christian message throughout the world came at a cost!
First of all, the greatest cost of all, the suffering and death of Jesus. (more…)