Encouragement

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…)

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND

(May 2, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on some realities:

‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is a saying quoted every now and then. Particularly when we hear of certain nations – normally considered enemies, or could-be enemies, that no one ever envisaged working together – suddenly becoming friends against a possible new enemy.

Actually it’s ancient proverb going back to the 4th century BC, suggesting that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy. Evidently, the first recorded use of the current English version was in 1884.

A classic example was the tension in WW2 Europe common between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Both US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were wary of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union leadership. But despite their inherent differences, they recognised a need to work together to meet the threat of Hitler’s leadership and Nazi aggression. They developed foreign policies with an understanding that Soviet cooperation was necessary for the Allied war effort to succeed.

(more…)

LOST DREAMS AND HOPES?

(April 23, 2017) Maureen McQuillan brings a great encouragement …

When you were very young did you have dreams and hopes about what life had to offer you?

I remember as a little girl sitting on the doorstep of our small home in a little country town back in Northern Ireland and dreaming of travelling faraway and – well, many other things too.

I guess we all did something similar. But I wonder… perhaps life has had its disappointments and today you’re sitting somewhere looking back – with regrets.

The too hard basket
Perhaps those little child’s dreams and hopes of yours have long gone, maybe even been shattered. Today they’re in the too hard basket. Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet by life’s hard knocks and it’s just too difficult to start dreaming and hoping afresh.

Maybe too many doors of opportunity have been slammed in your face, or you feel locked into in an unsatisfactory lifestyle with no apparent way out. You’re thinking: What’s the use of even hoping, never mind dreaming for something better?

And perhaps as you look in the mirror each morning, you realise yet again how time has passed so quickly and you wonder what you have really achieved in life. (more…)

THE QUESTION THE LATEST SUPER-DUPER COMPUTER COULDN’T ANSWER

(April 6, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Easter thoughts:

So many times we hear people raving about our amazing world of computerisation – and the vastness of the information one can find so quickly on Google. Such as the oft-quoted ‘Got a question? Ask the computer – Google knows everything!’

And countless times this is true. Google is regarded as the biggest dictionary in the world!

But, having heard such a proclamation yet again recently and with Easter only a few weeks away, our thoughts went back to the heart of an article/story we ran a few years back.

And so this blog is all about a certain question – one that even the latest, greatest super-duper computer couldn’t answer and broke up into pieces trying! The question? A single three letter one – Why? (more…)