Encouragement

2020: 24 ACROSS – ANTICIPATES (7)

(January 17, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share 2020-centred inspirational thoughts…

Wondering what on earth that title 2020: 24 Across – Anticipates (7) is all about?

As our articles’ themes this month are encouragements to move ahead boldly in God this new year the ‘2020’ bit is obvious… but what about the rest?  Well, we’re crossword (not Sudoku or other puzzles) addicts and our title comes from today’s puzzle.

The answer? Why ‘expects’… of course. But then, you knew that of course – didn’t you?

A prime meaning of this transitive verb ‘expect’ is to ‘think or believe something will happen’ (Cambridge Dictionary). We like that! Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains it this way – ‘consider probable or certain.’

‘Expect’ is regarded as a word that ‘implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of envisioning.’ It’s a verb we need to consider in regard to 2020 – and in relation to the supernatural movings of the Holy Spirit as we call on him to enable us to build/expand our local churches!

Envisioning in 2020!
For some time now we’ve been saying that 2020 is going to be a year of 20/20 vision for those hearing from God and daring to be of kingdom service, expecting and seeing great things happen such as souls saved, miracles and healings and more of the (genuine) prophetic word!

Now don’t misunderstand us – 20/20 vision isn’t, as some think, perfect vision. Rather it refers to our visual acuity, which is the clarity or sharpness of our vision.

So then, think spiritually, clearly regarding 2020 and your consideration of your church and its future/vision this year, thinking also about your own vision of what you want to achieve for yourself this year… and what God wants of you.

We encourage everyone to be perfectly clear, keenly sharp in respect to God’s vision for ourselves in 2020. Know it, live it! Believe in your destiny, the calling of God on your life – and don’t let anything, any ‘thinking small’ or even ‘gigantic towers’ (see Norman and Margaret Moss’ Ignoring Gigantic Towers) hold you back. (more…)

IGNORING ‘GIGANTIC TOWERS’ IN 2020!

(January 9, 2020) Norman and Margaret Moss encourage us to fearlessly move ahead in 2020…

Last month, December 6, so many people were enthralled as they watched four 400ft high gigantic cooling towers of the former powers station at Ironbridge, near Telford in Shropshire, England adjacent to the River Severn, being demolished.

Those unused, colossal towers, which had dominated the landscape for almost 50 years, came crashing down.  Carefully controlled explosion meant that all four collapsed in four seconds! 

Demolition leads to proposed advancement
Of course it was obvious that there had been months of preparation, and that there would be an ensuing massive clearing up operation lasting a long while. But those four seconds were amazing to watch.

The reality is that most of us enjoy a good demolition!  You can see it too – Ironside Towers Demolition. (more…)

‘AMEN’ (AND OTHER MEANINGFUL WORDS)…

(December 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Christmas and beyond-centred thoughts…

Had interesting phone calls last week from Israel – very early in the morning(!) being evening up there – from a Bible college in Jerusalem inviting me (Robert) to be involved in one of its language programs.

That’s timely, I thought, especially as a Middle-Eastern church had recently suggested I take on the deanship of a proposed Bible college and I was aware that language knowledge/interpretation would be involved there too. In both cases understanding and explaining certain words would be important; especially as some countries’ grammar is limited whereas English is so expansive!

That affirmative ‘Amen’
Now Hebrew is the language most commonly used in everyday life in Israel and this Israeli lady (let’s just call her Sarah) asked me if I knew what certain biblical words really meant in modern everyday Hebrew language. I didn’t have a chance to say anything for she promptly reeled off ‘Do you know what “Amen” really means, Dr Robert?’ And before I could say that I did, ‘Sarah’ went into an in-depth explanation… to which I quickly got in an ‘Amen’ indicating my agreement.

Some people have wrongly considered the word to indicate a soft, quiet ‘Selah-type pause’ or merely the right thing to say after prayers… but it’s actually quite a strong word, meaning ‘to agree.’

It’s a declaration of affirmation, used colloquially to express strong agreement, thus affirming that we firmly believe in what has just been said.

For example the ’Amen’ of the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20 indicates vigorously agreeing with Jesus to get the gospel ‘out there.

That popular ‘Noel
Of course one thing leads to another!  Later we were tinkering with our new versatile Google Home musical unit and heard the most beautiful rendition of that well-loved The First Noel Christmas carol. (more…)

FEELING INCONVENIENCED? PERHAPS THERE’S A BIGGER PICTURE!

(November 16, 2019) Maureen McQuillan shares encouragingly…

Inconvenienced’… now there’s a word that even sounds like trouble! Basically it indicates problems or difficulties caused by someone or something – and often we can be left wondering ‘What’s going on here?’ Or ‘Why me?’

We Christians are certainly not immune! We have our disappointments too – but many times we need to see a bigger picture, recognise God’s ways and timings.

Let me share such an incident…

When ministering interstate one time we borrowed our host’s car and took a short Saturday afternoon break. And, after some relaxation on a local beach, we visited a nearby shopping precinct.

Car problem inconvenience
All enjoyable but on returning to the car we found it wouldn’t start! Now we had been warned that the key only turned a certain way but Robert tried every way for almost an hour.

Nothing happened – except that he got sore fingers and was almost frustrated. And the happiness of that afternoon was quickly vanishing.

Then Robert (I’ll be cheeky and add finally) got a bright idea! Phoning a local pastor he knew, he shared the problem.

‘No worries’ responded the pastor, ‘I have a helpful mechanic in our church and I’ll ask him to drop by.’ Jonny did so, very promptly, and soon had the car going. And as we stood by the vehicle, we had some precious fellowship with this new brother and encouraged one another. (more…)

GOD SHOWED UP!

(November 13, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage expectation of the unexpected…

Remember the ‘The Spirit showed up!’ catchcry of a few decades ago when the Holy Spirit had freedom to move in any meeting he chose… and did?

A catchcry, yes, but an acknowledgement that God had moved in the church service and blessed his people through supernatural actions by his Holy Spirit! And Jesus was glorified.

At times it seemed that if the blessed Holy Spirit hadn’t ‘showed up’ the pastor, Bible teacher, evangelist, guest speaker or whoever would have floundered over whatever he or she was presenting!

And also at times, it all seemed a big surprise when the Spirit ‘did show up’ and a miracle or a healing happened, or prophetic words and words of knowledge were uttered (spoken genuinely and meaningfully!) and a wonderful dimension of heavenly bliss descended.

Others sayings come to mind… for example, ‘God shows up when you least expect it’ and ‘Everything was lost but out of the blue God showed up and saved the day.’

Yes we confess that we too have used the ‘God showed up’ expression… but only in the sense of acknowledging and confirming that God the Holy Spirit had done something wonderful, not us or any church leader or preacher alone.

Actually the reality of church life is that we should always be expecting the all-powerful third person of the Godhead to ‘show up’ with power at every meeting, not just Sunday morning, and bless us as we worship our Saviour Jesus and exalt our heavenly Father. (more…)

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

(October 24, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Funny title again this month too…  just to get you thinking!

A few weeks ago an email article arrived from a stranger – obviously a minister pf the good news of Jesus Christ – expressing his delight to be in good health once again and able to post encouraging blogs. Evidently he’d been ‘out of ministry circulation’ for a couple of years and was now knowing a release within and sensing fresh purpose in God.

Something very important too… he felt that he really knew that he had something important to say, to share in his new blog writings that would bless people.

(Robert shares from here…). Must say that the other Sunday in ministering at a great church I had similar feelings! After not having ministered in a church for a couple of years I felt, I knew in my heart, that I had something important to share that was timely in God and would challenge, bless and encourage.

And that’s what happened… as confirmed not only in my heart by the Holy Spirit but several times by the inviting pastor and his wife. And by those receiving not just from me but from the Holy Spirit!

Oh, what a feeling!
That jovial line may be the catchcry of a certain motor company but it describes what I sensed in my spirit that Sunday – and in a church where English wasn’t the common denominator! (more…)

THIEVING – WORSE THAN MURDERING?

(September 25, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share some ‘Food for thought’…

Well – did that this blog’s title get your attention or not? Probably did. So what’s it all about? Let’s share the background – and then bring out some challenges…

It’ll soon be two months since we moved into our new home in Melbourne and a thoughtful man called the other day to do some maintenance just as we were going out to an appointment that couldn’t be cancelled.

Now we’d already meet this chap and ‘liked what we’d seen’ – so we made a decision to allow him to work away in our home even though we wouldn’t be there. Asking him to kindly lock up, we quipped, ‘Of course security cameras are everywhere so our “millions of dollars” will be safe!’

We were joking of course – but his response blew us away! Looking us straight in the eye he said very seriously: ‘You know what… I’d rather be caught as a murderer than as a thief. Thieving is a terrible thing!

Wow! Thieving worse than murder in his vocabulary and he’s not a churchgoer! Our new friend got us thinking… of wrongdoing from God’s point of view! For example… a lie of any kind, big or small, is still considered a lie by God and any crime is a crime. In his eyes a sin is a sin whether it’s murder or stealing.

Thieving – it’s off grounds for God’s people!
Dictionaries described this word to mean the activity of stealing. That’s thieving in a nutshell! (more…)

OTHERS AND YOU – THE CHALLENGING VESTIBULE

(August 25, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring some challenging reflections…

Vestibule – now there’s a word that indicates a chamber or channel opening into another. Hmm.

As we follow Jesus many times doors open that lead into new discoveries and adventures in God as we hear and yield to the Holy Spirit’s soft whispers to our heart. In this connection we recall the following challenge that speaks of discovering an important vestibule leading to heaven’s riches…

Others May, You Cannot … over the years there have been a number of items, tracts or articles based on this challenging thought and its relating issues.

Some 40 years we were handed the following thought-provoking piece that we were told was written by Bill Britton – one that’s still fresh, challenging and meaningful, especially if you’re sold out to the ministry call of Christ on your life. 

‘If God has called you to be really like Jesus, he will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians.

‘And, in many ways, he will seem to let other good people do things that he will not let you.

‘Other Christians (and ministers), who seem very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull strings and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot, and if you attempt you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

‘Others may boast of themselves, their work, success and writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. And if you begin to, he will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

‘Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or have a legacy left them, but it is likely that God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold, namely a helpless dependence on him that he may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. (more…)

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…)

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…)