Who are we? Dr Robert McQuillan is recognised as an inspiring encourager, counsellor, mentor to ministries and Bible teacher ministering meaningfully on the prophetic edge. Robert and Maureen, a gifted communicator with an uncanny insight into knowing 'where people are at', delight to bless and encourage God's people and ministries... and touch the hearts of the unchurched in the marketplace. Contact: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
(May 31, 2023) The late Dr Andrew Evans’ 1997 Heart to Heart challenge is still very relevant today! [See footnote]
Where are you in relation to God? James 4:8NKJV is a powerful scripture: ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’
Not even close? If you’re not a Christian, Ephesians 2:1-3 describes you well –
Doomed forever for your sins,
Going along with the crowd,
A heart against God, and
Doing wicked things stemming from evil thoughts.
Strong words from the apostle Paul, yet that’s how you stand in your relation to God! The good news is in verses 4-6. In His mercy God loves you and wants to bring you into His family so that you can be close to Him.
(May 30, 2023) Maureen McQuillan, by special request, shares her last article again, with a new intro…
On Sunday past many churches, both Pentecostal and mainstream, celebrated Acts 2 Pentecost Sunday when the Holy Spirit fell with holy fire on those first believers and the church was born!
From that amazing day in Christian history, every born again Christian has been filled with the Holy Spirit and able to boldly reach out to the lost, and be a blessing to many. To move in the anointing, and to receive guidance from this blessed helper of Christians (John 14:16ESV). No wonder Jesus promised He’d be our Friend (John 14:16NIRV).
One thing we need to realise is that helping us sometimes can mean directing us, especially in building confidence in us to fully trust this great friend. And that sometimes He does this through secular experiences, even unusual ones, and by a simple whisper.
BANGLADESH [RLPB 692 (3 May)] The Bangladesh Armed Forces is waging a counter-terror operation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Because the BAF accuses the Christian Kuki-Chin minority of providing aid and support to al-Qaeda-linked jihadists (JAFHS), the Christian Kuki-Chin – who are seeking autonomy so they might preserve their people, lands and culture – are also under attack. Thousands have been driven from their homes, with the help of a tribal Buddhist militia that has forged a peace deal with the Bangladeshi government. This is an on-going – and indeed, existential – Christian crisis.
LIBYA [RLPB 693 (10 May)] Six Libyan nationals arrested for apostasy (leaving Islam) and Christian proselytism (missionary work) could face the death penalty if found guilty. The authorities have broadcast video footage of their recorded ‘confessions’; one believer had already broken under torture.
INDIA [RLPB 694 (May 17)] Rioting in the North East state of Manipur by the dominant, mostly Hindu Meitei tribe against the mostly Christian Kuki-Chin hill tribes has left the Christian community deeply traumatised.
INDIA: Religious rights upheld in Goa [RLPB 647 (June 1, 2022)] In May 2022 Pastors Domnic and Joan D’Souza, of Five Pillars Church, Goa (a former Portuguese colony on India’s west coast), were arrested for allegedly ‘luring’ people to convert to Christianity. Lacking an anti-conversion law, the authorities booked the couple under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act for allegedly using magic to heal and convert people. Hindu nationalist BJP MPs – including the Chief Minister – immediately got busy plotting anti-conversion legislation.
The couple were subsequently bailed on health grounds. Then, in December 2022, the North Goa District Magistrate banned Pastors Domnic and Joan from carrying out religious activities in their own residence, citing communal tensions. On 19 May the Goa High Court quashed the order, ruling not only that the accusations of forced conversions levelled against the pastors were totally baseless, but that the state has a duty to extend all possible protection to its citizens to propagate their religious practice, as guaranteed under India’s constitution.
INDIA: Supreme court backs Christian appeal Update:On May 17 India’s Supreme Court (SC) heard a petition filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum appealing for urgent intervention to contain the violence. The SC’s Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud denounced the order of the Manipur High Court that led to the sectarian violence, declaring it ‘absolutely wrong’, and asked Manipur’s BJP-led state government to furnish the SC with a status report.
A senior Catholic Church leader described the effect of the Chief Justice’s words as ‘like applying balm on the wounds.’
‘The high court order paved the way for violence and now the top court in the country has termed it illegal. This is something heart-warming amidst tension and fear,’ Father Velikakkam told UCA News on May 18. The toll to date: more than 70 dead and 231 injured; with 121 churches and some 1700 homes burned. The state has opened 318 relief camps in which 47,914 persons have been accommodated. While those in the camps are receiving some aid, those taken in by relatives and those languishing in the bush, are not receiving any government assistance. Around 62 companies of Central Armed Forces and 126 columns of the Indian Army have been deployed along with state police to maintain law and order.
N-K residents requiring urgent medical care in Armenia are having to be escorted by Russian peacekeepers. Armenians in N-K feel abandoned, particularly by the West which is heavily invested in Azerbaijan and needs its oil. For the Armenians of N-K, the threat of genocide looms larger by the day.
BURMA (MYANMAR): Rev. Dr Samson’s appeal denied Update to RLPB 675, Burma: Christian Leader Arrested, Dec 14 2022 On May 3, to mark the occasion of Vesak (an important Buddhist festival), the Burmese junta amnestied and released 2135 political prisoners. Among those not released was the Rev. Dr Samson (65), a former leader of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and respected peace advocate. Arrested on December 4, 2022, Dr Samson was charged with ‘terrorism, unlawful association, and inciting opposition’, and sentenced on Good Friday 7 April to six years in prison [RLPB 689 (April 12)].
CHAD: Christian villages attacked On Monday morning May 8 Fulani Muslim militants attacked Christian communities in Logone Oriental, a region in Chad’s deep south bordering north-west Central African Republic and north-east Cameroon. According to Barnabas Aid, at least 17 people were killed, including (according to Catholic media) an infant. ‘Among the dead were a pastor, Doumro Tadingao Gaston, and 12 other worshippers who were attending a prayer meeting in the village of Don.
Around 20 villages in the region have been burned down, with several thousand people displaced by the violence. This follows Islamist attacks on four other southern Chadian villages a month earlier, in which two pastors were killed and many other people injured.’
In April, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on the escalating ‘clashes between [semi-nomadic Arab] herders and [sedentary indigenous] farmers in southern Chad’. Authorities accuse ‘rebels based in neighbouring Central African Republic [CAR] of igniting the trouble’. According to Chadian General Ahmat Dari Bazine, the rebels are aiming ‘to create problems between herders and farmers, between Muslims and Christians.’
One Christian leader warns (in personal correspondence) that there is a ‘drift towards genocide of some villages and communities… [as] people speaking Fulani have attacked villages and church services killing many people including three pastors and a Catechist… There has been the move of many Fulani Communities from CAR to settle in the forest of Southern Chad. These Fulanis seem armed and ready to deal with any opposition to their ambition. Chad has experienced since last year many horrible situations in the South.
The recent attack on churches and the killing of people in villages has affected the church in Chad. The Evangelical Fellowship of Chad is sending a high-level team to access the situation, encourage Christians who are traumatised, seek ways to assist the victims, and promote peace according to the Bible…’
IRAQ: An existential Christian crisis
On Friday May 12 hundreds of Christians – including many nuns and priests – gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square to show support for Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, as tensions between the Church and Iraq’s political leaders heat up. Iraq’s electoral law mandates that five parliamentary seats be reserved for Christians. However, anyone – not just Christians – may elect those Christian representatives.
Consequently, major Kurdish Sunni and Arab Shi’ite political parties work to ensure the election of corrupted Christians who – for personal gain – will advance Kurdish or Arab Shi’ite interests at the expense of the mostly indigenous Assyrian Christian community. For advocating for change and for the rights and future of Iraq’s Christians, Cardinal Sako has come under intensive attack. The current situation further exacerbates Iraq’s existential Christian crisis.
MALI – Burkina Faso: Dr Ken Elliot released On 19 May media reported that Australian missionary Dr Ken Elliot (88) had been released from captivity in Mali and reunited with his family in Western Australia. In January 2016 Dr Elliot and his wife, Jocelyn, were abducted from their home near Djibo, in northern Burkina Faso, by terrorists linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [RLPB 341 (Jan 27, 2016)]. While Jocelyn was released a few weeks later, Dr Elliot was retained. As a medical doctor, he was far too useful to be let go.
The jihadists released a video in July 2017 in which Dr Elliot gives his name and requests that governments do what they can to negotiate his release. From the 6:20 minute mark, he addresses his family: ‘I just want to say again, I love you all. I appreciate all your prayers and all your cares; and I look forward to one day being reunited… I pray God will bless all of you, abundantly.’ At that time many (possibly including Dr Elliot himself) suspected the terrorists would never release him, and that he would die in captivity. We do not know any details about how he came to be released. What we do know, is that his release and homecoming is a wonderful miracle of divine mercy ‘in answer to the prayers of many’ (2 Corinthians 1:11).
PAKISTAN: Christian teens charged with blasphemy On May 18 police in Lahore’s Qurban Lines neighbourhood arrested two Christian teenagers after a passing police officer claimed to have overheard them ‘disrespecting’ Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The boys – Adil Babar (18) and Simon Nadeem (14) – deny they had even been discussing Muhammad. Adil’s father, Babar Sandhu Masih (a Catholic) told Morning Star News (MSN) that he had been inside resting after lunch when he heard a commotion. He went outside to investigate, and found a policeman named Zahid Sohail beating Simon, and Adil trying to intervene. Sohail subsequently registered a blasphemy case against the boys – a case Masih insists is absolutely baseless.
Masih saw the boys briefly on 19 May. ‘Both boys were in a state of shock and fear and are still unable to understand why Sohail had gotten them arrested.’ Napolean Qayyum of the Pakistan Centre for Law and Justice told MSN that they were helping the two families and arranging legal support for their children. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports (May 22), ‘Approximately 50 Christian families reside in the Qurban Lines area, and most of these families fled the area for fear of violence after the accusation was made.’
SUDAN: Christian flee Khartoum; Churches attacked Since the conflict erupted on April 15, Christians have been fleeing Khartoum. Many Christians were settlers from the war-ravaged Nuba Mountains and South Sudan; they have fled back into harrowing situations, exacerbating an already serious humanitarian crisis marked by food insecurity and near total absence of medical care. But not all Christians have been able to flee and for those trapped in Khartoum the situation is rapidly deteriorating. On Sunday morning May 14, fighters belonging to Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces attacked the Coptic Mar Girgis (St George) Church in El Musalama in old Omdurman (Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile).
Three worshippers received bullet wounds to their legs, while the church guard was shot in his abdomen. Assistant bishop Anba Sarabamonwas assaulted; he sustained several fractures. His residence at the church premises was destroyed and his car was stolen. The Rapid Support Forces have forcibly occupied several churches, including the Episcopal All Saints Cathedral and the Coptic Virgin Mary Cathedral in Khartoum. These church compounds include schools, dormitories, and clerical residences. Everyone living in these compounds has had to be evacuated.
URGENT PRAYER NEEDED! Please pray that our merciful God will protect, intervene, sustain and energise…
‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’ (powerful and effective) James 5:16b. _________________________________________________________________________________
Elizabeth Kendalis an international religious liberty analyst and advocate for the persecuted church. To support this ministry visit www.ElizabethKendal.com. Above updates excerpted from RLPB reports.
Elizabeth, an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam, Melbourne School of Theology, has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne) which offers a biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA). ________________________________________________
Iranian authorities released two Christian leaders from prison last week after a judge broke with common judicial practice in the country and ruled that home church participation was not illegal, sources said.
Throwing out a 2020 conviction, a judge in Branch 34 of the Appeals Court in Tehran on May 9 found there was no evidence the couple had violated Iran’s national security laws by participating in a home meeting, according to advocacy group Article 18.
In his ruling, the judge found that belonging to or participating in a ‘home-group’ with people of the same faith was not illegal but ‘natural.’
‘The reports by the officers of the Ministry of Intelligence about organisation of home-groups to promote Christianity, membership, and participation in home-groups, are not considered as acts against the country’s security, and the law has not recognised them as criminal activity,’ the judge wrote.
The ruling was in some ways similar to a November 3, 2021 Supreme Court judgment that stated that nine converts could not be charged with acting against national security merely for belonging to a house church.
The acquittal struck down a November 2020 conviction in which Ahmadi, accused of being a house church leader, was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison for ‘founding or leading an organization that aims to disrupt national security’ and ‘membership in organisations that aim to disrupt national security.’ In December 2020, Ahmadi’s original sentence was reduced to a total of eight years in prison.
(May 28, 2023) Stuart Reynolds shares a revelation…
From the presumed monopoly by denominations to the limits of our clever labelling, the Holy Spirit has been hijacked and sabotaged!
The sharp-sighted evangelist Vance Havner described the result of this misunderstanding, mishandling and misapplication: ‘Satan has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy Spirit… that we may miss the true in our fear of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never go up the tree!’
We need to let the Holy Spirit be Himself, and that we may become and do all we were intended to.
May I introduce you to ‘The Pentecostal Baptist’ – someone the Bible records having these Holy Spirit credentials: ‘Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus’ (John 10:41-42).
1) An inviting clarification We believe in ‘full salvation.’ The reality of God in the gospel of Christ is radical – God’s book teaches it… truly knowing Jesus demands it… the presence of the Holy Spirit enables it.
Sadly, we have long since lived in a church-day when and where the focus is not so much on being radical for God as on being ridiculous for God! In some church circles the mentality is that the more bizarre something is, then the more it must be God. It is this that has caused the fear-filled fall-out Havner described.
(May 26, 2023) Angeline Selvakumari encourages us to discover God’s dawn light…
Great is God’s faithfulness!
He has led us thus far and will continue to carry us through! Psalm 46:5 is one of His great promises of protection – ‘God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.’
This scripture refers to ‘the city of God’ (v4). In Matthew 5:14, our Saviour, Jesus, referred to His followers as an important city: ‘You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.’
As such in these troubled times we need our faithful God’s protection! And we can relate to Psalm 46:2 which depicts why the verse five promise is sosignificant. It’s our assurance of God’s faithfulness, to be grasped in dark times that cause fear… even when if the –
Mountains are carried into the midst of the sea,
Waters are troubled and roar and
When everything is moving, shaking and we are very troubled, the Bible confirms that our God is there for us! Even if everything around us ‘moves’ we will not. God is in the midst of every storm and will help us at the break of dawn.
Our God is a good God! Whatever He does is good! He’s the God of impossibilities, the God of the new dawn.
‘This message was given to Amos…’ These are the opening words of Amos 1:1NLT.
Possibly not one of the most frequently read books of scripture, here in my homeland of Northern Ireland the words in Amos 4:12 ‘… prepare to meet your God…’ have often been used as the basis for ‘evangelistic sermons.’
Like other men God had chosen to speak His word, Amos had a very humble background. A shepherd, not what was regarded as an illustrious occupation, he came from a little town called Tekoa, some 12 miles (19k) south of Jerusalem.
God’s choices Yet when it comes to choosing men to speak for Him, God is not primarily interested in their occupation, its status or lack of it, or their physical location. Remember how God called Noah to build the Ark and later Abraham from Ur to found the nation of Israel.
Move into the New Testament scriptures and we find Jesus chose a mixed bag of men, mostly fishermen but also a former tax collector, that have been described in scripture as ‘ignorant and unlearned men’ – a rather disparaging reference to the fact that they had not been tutored in the Rabbinical schools of the day!
God does the choosing and gives His word to those He chooses, so really all other factors are of secondary importance. Encouraging for you and me is that the Lord may enable any of us to speak on His behalf when the Holy Spirit enlightens our understanding to His word.
(May 24, 2023) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on some Pentecost realities…
It was an amazing day for the early church!
Scripture records the incredible breakthrough those frightened, uncertain 120believers experienced on the Day of Pentecost – ‘Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force – no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them’ (Acts 2:2-4 Message).
In reality, they were changed, charged, challenged, committed, commissioned!
More than just worship This was something more than just worshipping God in new languages, glossolalia! It mightily changed those first disciples – they became daring men and women of faithwho immediately witnessed the gospel and saw many converts genuinely repent of sin and turn to Jesus for salvation!
May 28 is Pentecost Sunday and many churches (not just Pentecostal) will be celebrating it as the…
(May 22, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan recalls Pentecostal memories…
May 28 is Pentecost Sunday when it’s expected Pentecostal and charismatic churches will celebrate that Acts 2 occasion when the Holy Spirit fell powerfully on those first Christians.
Pentecost (pentēkostē – fifty) is the Jewish holiday festival of Shavu`ot.Originally firstfruits of the wheat harvest were presented to God 50 days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread (See Leviticus 23:16-17), celebrating the expectation of a great agricultural season ahead. Its theme became one of revelation – of God Himself, His power and His Torah (teaching, direction, guidance, law).
Reverberating Traditionally where Jesus followers gathered in Jerusalem has been known as ‘the upper room.’ Acts 2:1 calls it a ‘place’, but interestingly this word is a reflexive pronoun linked with ‘a baffling wind.’ Little did those faithful believersimage the roaring wind ahead!
That windstorm (NLT) blew through on that first Pentecost Sunday! Acts 2:2CJB records the ‘place’ as a home – ‘Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled thewholehouse…’
Act 2:3-4 records, ‘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…’ They were a changed, charged and challenged people!
(May 22, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan shares some more thoughts on the Holy Spirit…
Dear Dr Robert Last month you told me you’d share on the anointing. Kelvin.
There’s much to share about the anointing… such as the Old Testament mashach anointing of priests, kings and prophets and of course the New Testament chrio anointing you want to know about, indeed the one every Christian should know about. There isn’t enough space here to list the many linking scriptures, and quote examples, so I’ll just draw your attention to the following brief notations…