(January 23, 2023) Robert McQuillan reflects…

Recently I found myself recalling bandleader Billy Cotton’s rousing catchphrase intro to his BBC radio and television shows – ‘Wakey, Wake-aaaay!

Now I’m going back! Cotton’s popular band shows ran from 1949 to1968! But beyond his successful musical career – Billy Cotton lived life to the full!

Cotton had seen action in World War 1 even before he was 19! He became a pilot and had his own Gypsy Moth, worked at several jobs and, even though he couldn’t play an instrument or read a word of music, started his own orchestra. He had been a footie player, a boxer, a presenter, and an accomplished racing car driver.

Billy Cotton’s life was regarded by many as ‘a life less ordinary.’

Don’t miss God’s calling
Our monthly Onliner doesn’t always have a particular theme, but this month it’s mainly about responding to God’s current call on our life.

When I link this with what I’m picking up from Skype, emails, ministers,  telecasts, podcasts and so-called ‘ordinary’ Christians it seems that God is a sending wakey, wake-aaaay! call to the church and to Christians!

In this connection, have you considered living a life less ordinary for Jesus? Or are you content with things as they are, even if dull and boring? Have you missed out on daring to be an achiever for God.

I think of my friend, Dr Sam Selva Raj. What an extraordinary life he has lived, having responded to God’s calling 54 years ago to bless so many in India and beyond by sharing about Jesus in 16 languages (see bio paragraph of Cast off Unwanted 2023 Baggage). And now he has willingly, readily accepted God’s latest challenge to embrace a media ministry sharing the good news in four languages daily on YouTube! (No permanent financial support, simply believing that, as he puts it, ‘Our Lord Jesus is our provider’).

Others I know of have made decisions to accept new 2023 calling(s) from God, even as I have myself in my literati ministry. What about you, dear reader?

Don’t miss out on life itself
Overall people in general have been encouraged to enjoy this new year. In earlier writings I too have challenged readers to embrace 2023 and to move ahead in life itself, and especially our Christian journey – both with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Despite TV news continuing to report incidents of outlandish crime, tragedies and other disasters, we can have a good life! It’s great to learn of those who have heard from God and, despite above bad news, are venturing into new territory, enjoying life itself and responding to God’s current calling whatever it may have been.

But… I’ve also learned of some discouraged Christians, even of some who are just happy to go with the insipid flow they’re in. The first lot of Christians, I remind that the Holy Spirit is our comforter, our encourager and to call on Him. As readers know, I call Him my forever friend (as Jesus promised in John 14:16Mge)… I know that He’s always there for me.

The second lot of Christians, I remind that life is a gift from God and quote two old adages, ‘Life is short!’ and ‘Time really flies when you get older!’ Indeed I would encourage all Christians not to let disappointments or uncertainties make this a time of missing out on life itself… and especially God’s calling!

In other words, folks, enjoy life to the full, but especially responding to His callings.

Don’t miss out by sleepwalking
In 1 Thessalonians 5:6Mge, Paul encouraged Jesus’ followers not to miss out on life: ‘So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart.’ 

I’m highlighting this verse to encourage Christians to be awake to not going through life missing out on the fullness of  the Christian journey, including whatever God’s calling may be for you this year! Whether it’s in the church you attend, especially areas where you can be of assistance to your pastor, let alone other people, or it’s a call to move to another state or suburb, support oversea missions, accept ministry appointments – whatever!

In saying all that, I would draw your attention to the word ‘not’ above – it’s the Greek word – indicating ‘absolute denial.’ It’s a matter of ‘God forbid’ that any Christian should waste time and opportunities because of ‘sleepwalking’ through life!

Praise God that every time Maureen and I have taken steps of faith into ‘new  things in God’ He has never let us down. Yes, there has been challenges, difficulties, trickery by the devil, negative friends, having to trust God… but He has always brought us through. And we grew stronger in it all.

An open attitude is vital! I remember the Saturday God spoke to me to check the paper as there was a job in it for me. Here’s the background: I knew that my months of fulltime volunteering at our then church were up and I had to find employment. Christmas was just ahead and we’d told the kids that we might not be able to do everything we’d like to. So we all prayed and trusted God. And I looked again… through pages and pages, but still couldn’t find anything. Then I distinctly sensed the Spirit whisper, ‘Look again, you missed it. Be open.’

Obediently I did so and was stopped by a manager’s job interstate. Interstate? I was happy in the fantastic state where we were.

But, obediently I applied. Within a few days, I received an airticket and spending money! And after praying with and farewelling Maureen, I left home early the following Friday to fly interstate for an interview. That night a happy me phoned her to say I had the position despite several other more experienced applicants… but that the company wanted me over there immediately and we’d better start packing when I returned home!

I’ll never forget Maureen’s response… ‘Robert, I started packing as soon as you left at 7am this morning.’ I gulped. Maureen, ever sensitive to the Spirit, had ‘just known’ that it was all in God and things would work out! For us it was not only a new lifestyle to be enjoyed, but another step in our many years of ministry involvements… all with ever-developing confidence in trusting God, even in trials.

Sadly we know of others who have declined to go with God’s flow, and are still sleepwalking.

Don’t miss being refuelled
Paul’s warning to every believer in Romans 12:11Mge is ‘Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fuelled and aflame’). He goes on encouragingly saying to be ‘…cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder’ (v12).

This is an outworking of a strong principle found in the Matthew 25 parable – that every follower of Christ has at least one God-given talent, and that not even one should be wasted! Every servant, even a one-talented follower, should be kingdom involved and neither waste time nor the gift. Such sleepwalking so displeases the Lord!

So we would boldly sound this ‘Wakey, wake-aaaay’ call to all Christians, not just pastors!

Matthew 10:1 (Mge) tells us the tool disciples are given for the task: ‘Jesus called twelve of His followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power (exousia… authority) to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives.’ Result? They, even Judas, didn’t returned with woeful tales of failure but reported incredible results.

Yes, accepting and flowing with the calling of God isn’t easy at times – but we should never lose heart. May none of us ‘sleepwalk’ and miss out on an exciting, meaningful, fulfilled life.

Recently we’ve had Christians commenting that they feel God is giving them, their church, their nation, and the world a wake-up call. Wake-up calls are meant to be acted on!

May we all live a life less ordinary for Jesus!

Dr Robert McQuillan’s links: and Facebook



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