Author: Life Focus Ministries

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:


(February 01, 2023) Richard Winter begins a series on Mark’s gospel…

In you had children in the 1990s, you may remember they were glued to the TV when Power Rangers were on – that group of ordinary teens who when faced with evil changed into a super group to fight the foe.

They taught that –  

  • Everyone is a hero in his or her own way.
  • You can unleash your secret power!
  • Taking a step back is not a problem.
  • Focusing on the mission is vital!
  • Evil forces are out there trying to take over the earth.

The series captured the hearts of a generation and many who go to Comic Con today dress as a Power Ranger.

  • The story is rather universal.
  • Good versus evil and good wins.
  • There are losses.
  • But you stay together as a team and don’t give up.
  • When you face an enemy you power up, or as they would stay Morph Up.

It’s almost as if the Power Rangers’ theme and storyline was stolen from the Bible! What do I mean by that?

Evil needs to be fought!
The Bible is about universal sin and evil fighting against God! And His sons and daughters fight evil, and He has equipped us by giving His Holy Spirit and power, enabling us to ‘morph up’ and live life as ‘Power Ranger Christians.’


The New Testament is full of victories… men and women facing evil, sometimes winning and sometimes failing, what to do when you fail and how God makes it all good.

Scripture’s last words confirm that good triumphs over evil, that we win! That Christians ‘will reign for ever and ever’ (Revelations 22:5) Hallelujah!

One young man who knew and wrote about God’s power was Mark. In his gospel, he focuses on Jesus’ many miracles and healings, and His authority over sicknesses – and demons.

Mark’s gospel –
1. Author’s journey
Mark started out good, experienced failure, reentered as an active part of life in the church, and was fully appreciated for his service to Christ and His church!

  • Most scholars believe Mark was the young man who ran away naked after Jesus was taken in Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52).
  • Believed to be the son of Mary, an apparently wealthy woman whose home Christians gathered in for prayer (Acts 12:12-13).
  • Peter’s scribe. Papias, an early church father, said about Mark’s gospel: ‘Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord.’
  • Ancient Christian writers ascribe him as John Mark – John was his Jewish name and Mark (Marcus) his Roman one.
  • He was a helper (Acts 13:5) to his cousin Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and Paul. Together they undertook the first missionary journey (Acts 12:25).
  • Unfortunately, for some reason things went bad for Mark and he left before the journey was over. Could it have been that he didn’t like the travel, the food or the people being ministered to. ‘So I’m off home’? (Note: Being a Christian missionary is a tough job).
  • Whatever Mark’s reason, it caused dissension between Paul and Barnabas regarding their next missionary trip. Barnabas wanted Mark to come (Acts 15:37-39).Paul said no, as in ‘He bailed out last time so no thank you.’End result was Paul and Barnabas splitting up, going in different directions.
  • However, the relationship between Paul and Mark was obviously repaired. 2 Timothy 4:11 reads, ‘Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.’ See also Philemon 1:24.
  • According to tradition, he was the first person to bring Christianity to Africa, also founding around 49 AD the church in Alexandria (one of the most important churches in early Christianity).
  • An obscure biblical figure, Mark was an important early Christian!

2. Some facts

  • Earliest gospel.
  • Written for new believers.
  • Lacks the Jewish family tree of Jesus.
  • Doesn’t mention the shepherds or angels in the fields.
  • Doesn’t tell of Jesus’ childhood, His visit to the temple.
  • Doesn’t record Jesus’ sermon on the Mount.
  • Has four strategic confessions!

Confession is the telling of a personal truth… here’s Mark’s four –

1. The beginning of the story of Jesus the messiah (Mark 1:1).
2. Peter’s recognition and declaration that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8:29).
3. The high priest asking, ‘Are you the Messiah? and Jesus answering, ‘I am’ (Mark 14:61-62a)
4. A centurion, when Jesus died at Calvary, declared, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God! (Mark 15:39).

3. Basic beliefs
In his troubled time when Rome cruelly treated those they’d conquered, Mark set out to strengthen the foundations of the faith, revealing how God kept His promises and immediately shared about the messiah of action – what He did, rather than what He said.

We live in troubled times today! Many question if the story of Jesus the messiah can be believed, saying,

  • We know God started this world but He’s not very present today!
  • He doesn’t answer all my prayers.
  • He’s called the healer… but not everybody gets healed.
  • There are too many hypocrites in the church!
  • I think God is letting us do our thing, whatever that is.

Mark’s revelations are basic to what Christians believe! We know that Jesus is still the messiah of action! And we pray that many will come to discover this so that they too will have faith in Jesus, and also declare that He is the world’s Messiah!

4 Logical truth
Mark has a logical way of presenting truth in a simple straightforward way…

‘The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ (Read Mark 1).

To the world of his day, Mark’s opening words about John simply meant that the Lord was coming… and people should get ready!

Now this raises some issues for any who call themselves Christians today…

We are all in ministry, every church member, every Christian and every pastor! We need to know that we are all required to tell the world that Jesus is coming back soon. We are all to tell the same story… that it’s time our society, nation, the world clean ups its act in our minds, relationships and activities.

Incidentally, this cleaning up begins with us!

5. Mirror moments
Now some Christians are ready to say this is good news… but, sadly, others will reject it out of hand. I challenge you to make this a mirror moment! What do we (I, you!) see when we look in the mirror?

What do others see? More importantly, what does God see?

Have these mirror moments depressed you to the point that you feel inadequate, that you could never be a ‘power ranger’?

John the Baptist could have his own negative moments! Here’s what Mark wrote: ‘John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey’(Mark 1:6).

Many negative comments were probably made about him…

  • Camel’s garment?
  • Meals of locust and wild honey? Arhhhh!
  • No credentials that we know of!
  • No Jerusalem Bible College graduation (If there had been such!).
  • Why he’s just a wandering preacher who says he’s not worthy of someone greater than himself…

6. Simple revelations
Mark tells that despite how John the Baptist humbly dressed and ate, humbly lived, humbly considered himself unworthy of Jesus.

How he humbly shared a clear message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I… I baptise you with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit’ (Mark 1:6-8). In effect this humble servant led us into the unfolding of redemptive history!   

It’s been said that because of Jesus, history became His Story – the story is about redemption from sin!

Mark reveals that John personified a man in God’s service, giving us an example to follow. We must not follow the cult of personality pastors, rather those who are humble in the service of Christ.

7. Two signs
Note here there are two baptisms: water and Spirit‘I baptise you with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit ’(Mark 1:8).

Immersion in water is for the forgiveness of sins, a sign to you that you want to bury your old life with all its sin. It’s also the sign to those watching that you are joining Jesus in a public declaration of dealing with your past. And it has historically been the entrance activity for anyone to be admitted into the church.

But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something that covers the outside of your skin, it’s a baptism that is done on the inside…

The Spirit of God –

  • Operates on giving us a new heart because ‘out of the heart the mouth speaks.’
  • Knows that our behaviour is formed and decided inside us – our decisions, relationships, beliefs.
  • Is aware that our understanding of who and what God is must be firmly settled in our heart.
  • Wants us to be aware in our minds and hearts what God wants us to do in this world.

This is the reason why every person needs to be baptised in the Holy Spirit.

Mark thrusts before us the  coming of the Holy Spirit and when He baptises you, He will touch your soul and

  • You will know who you are in God, know His plan for you.
  • You will know you are forgiven, sanctified, justified and family.
  • Your life will change to one where you think about holiness as the standard to live by because God is holy.

Water baptism is a sign that you have joined the community of faith called Christians. Holy Spirit baptism is a sign that you are empowered for ministry and witness.

8. Powering on!
If you were a TV Power Ranger, when faced with trouble you would power up by the term Morph On.

Christians – when we see evil in the world let’s Power Up! We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live holy and fight against evil and the works of the devil. Just as the first Christians did after the Day of Pentecost (Acts2), you’ll see power in your life when the Holy Spirit resides within you.

If there was ever a time for the church to power up, it’s today! Let’s live that people see God’s Son, Jesus the messiah-Saviour, in our lives, thought, words, and actions.

Let’s be Power Rangers for Jesus, focusing on the mission of sharing the gospel, standing tall against evil forces are out there! Let’s ‘morph up’ with the fulness and power of the Holy Spirit!

May our desire, our prayer, be ‘Come Holy Spirit in your fulness and power… fill me, mold me, make me I pray. Amen.’

Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California and will be sharing more about Mark’s gospel. Link:


(January 29, 2023) Maureen McQuillan seeks to comfort a distressed sister…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I’m going through a difficult time. I’ve prayed and prayed but don’t seem to be getting answers, or help. I want to  believe that I can trust God but I just feel He hasn’t heard my prayer. My heart is sobbing, I cry myself to sleep. Doesn’t God care? I am a Christian, I have accepted Jesus. Bella.

Dear Bella

Oh yes, God does hear our prayers… your prayers, and yes, He does care! I’ll be open, honest with you, won’t mislead you… becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we’ll have a carefree life. Yes, we will have a good life, sins forgiven and an assurance that we’re heaven-bound. But… presently we’re still here and things can go wrong, even for God’s children! Accidents, sicknesses, disappointments, marriage and family troubles, sudden loss of loved ones, even disasters.

But we can keep trusting God, we can bank on His love, provision, protection in that He will help us and bring us through whatever the issue is! Your prayers are heard by God (1John 5:14-15, 1 Peter 3:12). 1 Peter 5:7 is particularly precious: ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.’



(January 29, 2023) Mark Ellis shares good news …

For over 88 nights in a row, a small country church in Kentucky has been the site of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as many are being saved, baptised and set free from addictions and bondages.

The North Main Community Church, Heidrick has been packed with roughly 300 hungry people every night, which has left Pastor Scott Phipps searching for ways to expand their facility. The town of Heidrick has a population of about one thousand, according to Pastor Phipps (Photos: S. Phipps).

‘The aisles are full every night,’ Pastor Phipps told God Reports. ‘It was the end of the 54th night when I really realised things had changed. Last night you could also feel a shift come in the church. A man was praying for healing. We were praying for him, and I went numb all over. You could feel the power of God in such a way and even the lead evangelist looked at me at the same time.’

Saved from drug addiction
Scott Phipps and his wife, Tammie were saved out of drug addiction 29 years ago. ‘I was deep in drug addiction and trafficking in drugs and had a store with a 24-hour game room and a lot of other illegal activities going on,’ he recalled.

‘A backslidden preacher come in one night and lost all his money in one of the poker machines,’ he says. Somehow, Scott and Tammie ended up with the preacher’s rusting Chrysler LeBaron convertible, leaking through the roof. They found a rain-soaked Bible in the back of the car.

‘My wife was drying the Bible out and she started reading it,’ he reports. The power of the word and the Spirit grabbed Tammie’s heart and she visited a church nearby. ‘She went one night and God delivered her of almost seven years of opiate addiction and saved her.’

Phipps was shocked when Tammie returned from the church and said, ‘Honey, God saved me. I don’t want to do drugs anymore, and I love you now.’

He didn’t like the change. ‘I got upset over it. She wouldn’t get high on drugs. I mean, that was our life and I thought, Well, I’ve always been the leader in her life; she’d been with me since she was 13.’

After a few sleepless nights, Phipps made his way to a church, fell to his knees at the altar, and was born again. ‘I realised I was blind. Looking back now, I didn’t know how miserable I was. You’ve got to realise that me and my wife had no experience in church. We weren’t raised in Christian homes. When she was three her dad was shot and killed in a bar that got robbed.  I was introduced to drugs by my own father. And so, we were the opposite of being raised in a Christian home.’

Inexperienced but led to church plant
They left their old life behind and went to Lexington, temporarily homeless, living in a Super Eight motel with their twin, one-year-old boys.

After he found work, they lived in Lexington for two years, then returned home and felt called by God to plant a church. ‘It had one his and hers outhouse, a potbelly stove in it for heat, and held about 40.’

‘We planted the church in 1998, which wasn’t long after we found the Lord. I knew nothing… I had flashcards many times, with a story you hold up and you read them off the back. I knew nothing about preaching.’

After several years, they moved into their present location. They also run one of the area’s largest addiction recovery centres, Hope City and Redemption Road Recovery.

‘It’s a dark hour and a lot of people are just lost,’ he observes.  The area is inundated with drugs, mainly cheap Methamphetamine and heroin. ‘Now an ounce of meth is US$200. People are trading their lives for it.’

From ashes to beautiful lives
Many filling the church are escaping the emptiness of drugs. ‘Eighty percent of our church people come out of addiction like us and then other people that just didn’t know a lot about church, and others who lost that first love,’ he says.

 (Pastor Scott Phipps and his wife, Tammie. Photo: Facebook)

‘We’ve been blessed with a group of people that truly love much because they’ve been forgiven much. They love much, and they feel they owe their life to Christ. The world says there’s no hope for people like this, there’s nothing for them. People are just coming from everywhere. A lot of them say they’ve been waiting for this‘ he added.

Pastor Phipps says, ‘Only God can take the ashes of a life and make something beautiful out of it. Only God can do that.’
_________________________________________________________, founded by Mark Ellis in 2009, is devoted to promoting Christian missions by sharing stories and testimonies from missionaries and mission organisations.


(January 27, 2023) Brian Bell reminds us that in anxious times the Christian’s confidence is in our God…

I am taking a little poetic licence here in describing Psalm six by using this musical term, but it is also one of those psalms in which David mentions the name of stringed instruments to which the psalm should be accompanied.

Movement #1 (v1-5)
What often encourages me as I read the psalms is their honesty – I remind myself the words are spoken/written not in private prayer but for public worship in their context as songs, so they make honest references –

  • To weakness, pain (agony), sickness, helplessness (verses 2 and 3).
  • To help… ‘rescue me, save me’ (verse 4NLT).

Movement #2 (v 6-7)
David says, ‘I am worn out by sobbing, every night tears drench my bed, my pillow is wet from weeping….’



 (January 26, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled young believer…

Dear Dr Robert

This may be nothing…  or something! Maybe it’s because I‘m feeling a little concerned. It’s just that some of our key people, including the minister, have suddenly left, or are leaving. I feel a little bit uneasy. Grant.

Hi Grant

I know how you’re feeling. Long time ago in the early days of my Christian journey, there were a lot of things I didn’t know about, didn’t understand, hadn’t worked out. Maybe if I share as follows, it’ll help you…

People, key people or others, do leave church at times, even a great church such as the one you attend. In a nutshell, this is life – it happens! I’ll give you some reasons –



(January 26, 2023) Elizabeth Kendal requests urgent prayer for the following…

These January updates are but the tip of the iceberg! Always remember that the context is spiritual!

‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12ESV).

Therefore, please keep always praying and interceding for the saints.

* AZERBAIJAN: 120,000 Armenian crisis
Background: Nagorno-Karabakh (N-K) is a mountainous Armenian Christian enclave inside Turkic Muslim Azerbaijan. The most recent conflict – which saw Azerbaijan (along with Turkish and numerous jihadist forces) seize large swathes of N-K’s surrounds – occurred in October-November 2020 (see RLPB 570 [6 Oct 2020]). The short but bloody war ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire [see RLPB 575, Genocide Postponed? (11 Nov 2020)].

Update: Since December 12, fake ‘eco-activists’ sponsored by the Azerbaijani government have been maintaining a blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Over 1000 N-K residents are stranded in Armenia, while around 120,000 besieged N-K residents face a looming humanitarian catastrophe. Schools are shut due to lack of food and, while some food and basic medicines have been delivered by various alternate means, it is far from enough. Store shelves are empty and medications for diabetes, cancer and other serious conditions have run out. Who will stop Turkey-allied, oil-rich Azerbaijan from completing its ethnic cleansing of Armenians from N-K? (Answer: No-one who wants its oil!) BarnabasAid is raising funds to deliver aid to its partners inside besieged N-K.

* BURKINA FASO: Priest assassinated
On January 2, armed men assassinated Father Jacques Yaro Zerbo (67). Travelling through Soro village in the Boucle du Mouhoun region to accomplish a mission for his bishop, he was intercepted and murdered. Before his death, the Mali-born priest had taught in seminaries and formation centres throughout Burkina Faso. Aid to the Church in Need reports, ‘Over the past few years he focused his ministry on helping young people at a centre for addicts in Gouyèlè.’ The region has been wracked by terrorism for years.

(1) Baptist leader charged again

Background: Reverend Dr Hkalam Samson is one of Burma’s most influential religious leaders and human rights activists. Arrested on December 4, 2022 [see RLPB 675 (14 Dec)] he was charged with two counts of ‘unlawful association’ on the basis of footage showing members of the Kachin Independence Organisation attending worship services where he was preaching.
Update: Jailed in Myitkyina, capital of the predominantly Christian Kachin state, Pastor Samson has now also been charged with ‘incitement’ UCA reports (16 Jan): ‘If found guilty, he could face three years in jail for the unlawful association, another two years for incitement and have to cough up a fine.’ Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, comments that by going after Samson, ‘the junta is effectively declaring war against Kachin civil society organisations and the people whom they assist with their daily needs.’

(2) Junta escalates airstrikes

The junta has been escalating its airstrikes against civilians, doubtless pressing for a surrender. In September junta forces bombed a school in Sagaing’s Depayin township, killing twelve, including seven children. In October they bombed a concert in Hpakant township, killing more than 60, making it the deadliest single airstrike since the junta seized power in February 2021 [see RLPB 675 (14 Dec)].

(3) Bombings on…
The Chin:

On January 10-11 junta forces conducted two bombing raids on Camp Victoria, headquarters of the Chin National Army located high in the Chin mountains. On  January 12 they destroyed the main hospital inside the camp using two precision-guided bombs. [Camp Victoria’s Christian-run hospital features prominently in Matt Davis’ documentary, Myanmar’s Forgotten War (Aug 2022): see RLPB 659 (24 Aug 2022)]. Seven members of the Chin resistance were killed and over 20 civilians were injured. At least 200 Chin refugees fled over the border into India after the strikes.
The Karen:
On  January 12, junta forces bombed Lay Wah village, destroying two churches and the school as well as many other structures. Fortunately, the school was not in use as cautious teachers had already moved their classes into the forest. However, two women were wounded and several villagers – including a mother and her child, a Baptist pastor and a Catholic deacon – were killed. The people have fled.  

* D.R. CONGO: Church massacre
On Sunday January 15, believers gathered at a Protestant church in Kasindi to worship and conduct a series of baptisms. However, during the service a bomb exploded sending burning shrapnel ripped through the congregation. At least 14 worshippers were killed and around 70 wounded, many seriously. Islamic State Democratic Republic of Congo (IS-DRC) claimed responsibility for planting the explosive in the church. Morning Star News reports (22 Jan): ‘Church elder Paluka Kivugha said two men entered the church building and left a bag, which contained an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that soon detonated.’



(January 25, 2023) Robert McQuillan shares encouragement …

As with other articles in this issue 2023 can be a time of accepting a challenge from God, whatever it may be. And if one does, it’ll involve three Cs Callings, Changes and Challenges.

Callings – that’s between you and God. Answering them, I’ll just point out, will mean…

  • Trusting the Lord more than ever.
  • Discovering more about God.
  • Serving Jesus in new position(s) with the Holy Spirit’s anointing and power.
  • Believing for and seeing more miracles and salvations.
  • Making your mark for Christ.

As for changes and challenges, they’ll involve…

1) Convincement
John 14:1 is such a well-known scripture, and often preached on. As I’m talking about challenges and changes, some of which I’ve mentioned above and some readers might be concerned (oops, another C!), I’ll quote from the CJB (Complete Jewish Bible) – ‘Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in me.’

Trust is pisteuo… to believe, have faith in, be persuaded, to place trust in. Read the preceding chapter and note that tension was really in the air among the first disciples! Jesus had been indicating challenges and changes that lay ahead His betrayal, death, the depths of Peter’s commitment, and now He indicating that He will be leaving them. Doubt, distrust and uncertainty had crept in already. No wonder John 13:22 tells that the disciples were staring at one another!



(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.



January 22, 2023) Michael Ashcraft shares another amazing conversation.

To combat depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, Eden Frenkel delved into personal development, self-actualisation, Buddhism, meditation, Hinduism and the mystical interpretation within Judaism known as Kabbalah.

‘To be honest, I enjoyed the process of studying those cultures, but they were very temporary fulfillments,’ the Jewish born singer said on her YouTube channel, Graves into Gardens. ‘I constantly needed to go back and search for more. They didn’t fill the emptiness. I was looking for peace and happiness.’

Praying longingly
As a 12-year-old in the synagogue, she stayed before the ark and prayed longingly to God after everyone had left and gone to eat.

‘God, I know there is something,’ she uttered. ‘I don’t understand. I feel like there is something  i feel like there’s something us.’

Eden had a proclivity for music but joined the Canadian Army as a career. In addition to seeking peace from religion, she sought peace from psychedelics. She had suffered some abuse as a child, she says, and sought in vain to resolve the trauma.

When she got stationed in Toronto, she met some Christian women who were extremely friendly and they invited her to study the Bible. Why not? she thought, since she had studied so many other religions.

What she found out about Jesus startled her.



(January 20, 2023) Ross and Donna, Mandate Ministries, share from Chiang Mai, northern Thailand…

Last weekend another Karen village was bombed by government jets in Myanmar, forcing the villagers to live in the jungle!

No crops, no shelter, and seemingly no hope as the world looks on indifferently.

Thank you to all who contribute to our efforts to help. Thanks to our rapid-response team, we were able to get food products, rice, dry foods, and oil, as well as solar-charged batteries for their torches (flashlights) to these desperate people.