Encouragement

WHY WORRY? IT’S CHRISTMAS

(December 14, 2017) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging Christmas linked thought…

Worrying doesn’t solve our problems or lift our burdens! In fact it causes us to ‘stew’ over matters and they hang around causing additional headaches and trouble minds and hearts!

Thought: It’s almost Christmas… think of young Joseph and the burdens that he could have been carrying some 2000 years ago and worrying over…

  • Newly married… to a young girl with whom he’s never been sexually intimate and discovers she’s pregnant!
  • Then has a strange notification by an angel that the baby was conceived by the very Spirit of God!
  • Has to take the pregnant Mary with him to Bethlehem to register for a census!
  • This approximately 160km trip would have taken them 8-10 long days of walking.
  • Probably a scary, uncomfortable journey for the young pregnant Mary, but what about Joseph?
  • Then at Bethlehem, he’s unable to find lodgings as the time of her delivery of this babe draws so close!

Joseph’s attitude
I like Joseph’s attitude to his uncertainties when he first contemplated what lay ahead if he honoured marriage with his beloved… like his forefather, David, he too was obviously a man after God’s own heart. (more…)

DECEPTION – A DIFFERENT VIEW ON ‘THE CHRISTMAS STORY’

(December 8, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share …

Great! It’s almost Christmas! And what a joyous time it can be!

This Sunday several churches with present their Carols by Candlelight evening, believing for a grand turnout of joyous Christians to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of this fallen world – and to worship our gracious God from full hearts.

Of course many Christians are aware that ‘Christmas’ as such isn’t mentioned in scripture, that no one really knows the exact date, let alone month, when  Jesus was born – but that’s okay for those who really know what this season is truly  all about and celebrate from the heart, not the head!

We’re really celebrating God’s incredible love for every sinner in willingly giving us his Son, born incarnate of the virgin Mary and destined to become our redeemer by dying on Calvary’s cross as our substitute for sin’s penalty (John 3:16).

Traditionally Christmas is a 5F matter… food, family, fun, fellowship and freebie gifts. But the genuine Christian aspect is all about our celebrating that God so loved the world that he freely gave us the greatest gift of all – Jesus – and that forgiveness and full salvation is available on repentance of sin to everyone who accepts Jesus as Saviour.

What an amazing event that so-named ‘first Christmas’ was!
No wonder the angelic host heralding that first good news declaration proclaimed to the bewildered shepherds: ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David’s town… Glory to God… Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.(more…)

STANDING FIRM ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE GOD’S WORD TEACHES

(November 30, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage those going through challenging times, especially leaders who teach solid scripture truths…

Ever wonder which unrealistic idiot came up with ‘Just trust Jesus and everything will be absolutely fine in life’ or ‘The Christian life will be like a bed of roses so no worries’ or led new converts to think Christianity is ‘Easy Street to heaven’ – or that ‘Ministry’s great… all fame and glamour, no hassles.’

Probably some dodo man, think you wise realistic ladies!

The reality is that …

  • Life is a gift from God, to be appreciated each new day and lived to the full as best possible.
  • Ministry is a privilege, not to taken carelessly or irresponsibly as it must honour the Lord.
  • Unfortunately we have a lying, distracting enemy!
  • Although we can fully trust God and his word for our needs, we live in a fallen world.
  • Life itself – not just Satan – can unexpectedly unleash furious storms against us!

Bad things happen, even to Christians! (more…)

DON’T BE A SQUATTER – DARE LET YOUR MIND BE ‘TAMPERED WITH’

(October 11, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge all who feel something is missing …

Some time ago we read somewhere a very meaningful observation of Know the Truth blogger Philip De Courey, Kindred Community Church’s pastor, Anaheim.

He wrote that ‘The average Christian is a theological kindergartner lacking a basic knowledge of Christian doctrine … When it comes to doctrine; this is a day of the lowest common denominator. Congregations want preachers to play on their hearts not to tamper with their minds.’

Our own observation is that the line following is still so relevant in October 2017: ‘Ours is a time when people want to feel God and know God without having to think biblically about God.’

Christianity playacting
Often we find ourselves pointing out to congregations that we live in a day when many Christians are playacting, not participating – that they have problems simply because they can’t trust God and don’t (to use an often quoted expression church/business) move forward! (more…)

SPIRITUAL HOONS… WHEELS SPINNING, GOING NOWHERE!

(September 11, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge…

Hoon is a derogatory term often used  to refer to anyone, especially  young people, who engages in loutish activities that can include speeding, burnouts, doughnuts or screeching tyres. In other words… irresponsible behaviour.

Commitment lacking
We were talking recently with a mature young friend about dependability – or the rather the lack of it – in some church circles.

Now our insightful friend is not only dedicated to his commitment as a husband and father, he’s a highly reliable but ever so busy businessperson. And yet he’s also totally committed to doing whatever is required of him by the both the Lord and his pastor to help build his home church.

And as we shared, he pointed out his observations of a major problem with many Christians, particularly the younger ones – although they claim they want to serve Jesus and their church through their talents and skills but they have no concept of commitment.

Actually this observation came up when we shared that we grew up in a day when one’s word was their bond. That if you said you would do something, then you did it no matter what it cost you… time, energy, personal expense especially if your promise – your commitment – involved doing something for your pastor and local church. And you answered letters and as phones with call-back messages became the in-thing, you replied to them! (more…)

NOT HOME YET – WORK STILL TO BE DONE!

(August 8, 2017) Maureen McQuillan encourages all who feel unappreciated …

There’s a tale that’s been around since my Sunday school days – an unsourced homecoming story that’s been told and retold over the years in various ways. Basically it goes something like this…

A missionary couple, old and wearied, was returning home to the States to retire after toiling many years in what we were told back then to capture our imagination was ‘Darkest Africa.’ Not overly successful in their missionary service they were unknowns compared to such ‘greats’ as Dr David Livingstone.

But they’d been faithful to their calling and had shared God’s love and the gospel of Jesus in many caring ways. They had reached to neighbours – strangers – not only to preach but to help in practical ways. And they would pray for the sick and needy and witness miracles – and over many years had known the joy of seeing several indigenous people accept Christ as Saviour.

This couple had grown old together as they laboured on despite many difficulties, opposition from demonic forces, misunderstandings from locals including other ministries, and even lack of meaningful prayer and financial support from their church back home. (more…)

DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP FOCUSED!

(August 6, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage renewed confidence and not quitting…

Confidence – typical dictionary definition:

  • Quality or state of being certain;
  • Feeling or consciousness of one’s powers;
  • Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.

How we yearn for abundant confidence when challenged to do something new, especially for the Lord and in church life. And how we can feel so disappointed when things don’t work out, or we feel – even wrongly believe that we’ve missed it, we’ve failed – and unfortunately are not aware of, do not discover what we have achieved because we were determined to be faithful no matter what price we had to pay.

The reality is that in our limitation as humans we’re unable to visage the ultimate bigger picture’s ongoing and end results. We’ll never know all we’ve achieved when we even willingly offer a mere glass of water in Jesus’ name… but as the Message Bible says, ‘Count on it that God will notice’ (Mark 9:41). (more…)

The Key Stone

(July 23, 2017) Maureen McQuillan encourages any who feel discarded …

An impossible task!

That’s what the project that I had set myself suddenly seemed as I looked down at the pile of rocks – or to be technical – large pieces of cut or sawn stones.

I had been working on the back garden we had some years ago and, being creative, had envisioned an attractive dry stone wall. And I had decided that I could build that wall by myself and save costs.

The various shaped stones arrived, several quite heavy. But I wasn’t desponded, even though I had never built a dry stone wall before and had neither instruction manual nor helper – Robert was away ministering.

Well, here goes, I thought (plus ‘Help, Holy Spirit’ and similar prayers!). In my mind I planned it all out and then began to build so creatively. And all went well until a certain point …

I just couldn’t find the right piece of stone for the next joint. Nothing would fit the breech in the design. I searched and searched to no avail. There just wasn’t a beautiful shapely stone that would fit in. (more…)

THE CRY OF OLIVER TWIST – AND SOME CHRISTIANS!

(July 12, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share a challenge on commitment in following and serving Jesus…

‘Please, sir, I want some more’ from Charles Dickens’ second novel Oliver Twist are words so famous that virtually everyone remembers them.

The outraged response of Mr Bumble, the workhouse supervisor, is well known too.  The musical Oliver portrays Bumble’s enraged reaction as ‘More? You want more?!’

In other words, ‘What you have already received is enough, more than enough!’

The Christian catchcry of ‘More’
Some twenty-five years ago ‘More, I want more’ became many a Christian’s Oliver Twist catchcry in various church circles.

Today as we minister around various denominations and engage in pastoral care/mentoring, we still hear another cry for more, and not  just from a mere few Christians.

It’s a cry of longing for something better than …

  • An unsettled heart
  • Discontentment with current personal circumstances or marriage
  • Churches not displaying friendliness and Christian love
  • A lack of taught ‘real’ biblical truths of meaningful ‘meat’
  • Weird so-called ‘new’ teaching
  • No personal relationship with our loving heavenly Father
  • Not knowing the written promises of God, and neither reading or grasping their truths
  • The absence of the supernatural Holy Spirit in church life and people’s lives (even leaders).

The above short list and other things result in that Dickensian expression of ‘More. I want more’ but for more of something precious, meaningful and wholesome. (more…)

PENTECOST – CHANGED, CHARGED, CHALLENGED, COMMITTED, COMMISSIONED!

(June 1, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on some Pentecost realities…

Acts 2:2-4 Message records an amazing breakthrough that the frightened, uncertain early church 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.’

Wow! This was out of the blue! But it was something more than just worshipping God in new languages! It mightily changed those first disciples and they became daring men and women of faith who immediately witnessed the gospel and saw many converts genuinely repent of sin and turn to Jesus for salvation!

This Sunday, June 4 – is Pentecost Sunday this year and many churches ( not just Pentecostal) will be celebrating it as the…

  • Fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to everyone who follows him (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:45)
  • Supernatural occurrences of how that promise was fulfilled – flames of fire resting on everyone and a mighty wind (Acts 2:2)
  • Additional manifestation of the Spirit causing Jesus’ followers to speak in tongues that not only centred on declaring the wonderful works of God but so confounded unsaved people outside that it led to many salvations! (Acts 2:5-13)
  • First ever public pronouncement of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:31, 32, 36)
  • Confirmation that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for every born-again believer, not just a chosen few or a particular church group or only leaders! (Acts 2:38b)
  • Ground-breaking declaration that repentance is the only way to forgiveness of sin and to gaining salvation – not like many of today’s weak pleas of ‘All you have to do is just give your heart to Jesus, nothing else’! (Acts 2:38a).

(more…)