Acts 2

EXCUSES THAT COULD KEEP YOU OUT OF HEAVEN 

(November 05, 2022) Richard Winter highlights that there is no excuse for concealing wrong actions!

On the spur of the moment one day, my good friend Ray and I decided to ditch school and play golf. It was an easy decision; the golf course was behind a pine forest right that was itself behind our high school and we wouldn’t be seen from the school.

So Ray and I rode our bikes through the pines, retrieved some old clubs and balls from the golf shed, and took off our school blazers and ties that identified our school – and away we went.

We had only played five holes when conscious struck us, and we decided we’d better go to school. So, ties and jackets back on, we cycled down the hill and joined others who were going into the next class, hoping that no one had missed us.

What we didn’t know was we were seen ditching school by a passing driver who went to our school office and reported us! Suddenly an announcement came through: ‘The two boys seen riding through the pine forest this morning – come to the office.’

Well, Ray and I stood up and off we marched. But not bravely, we were really scared and everyone was watching us. What could we say, as we were ushered into the principal’s office – we were completely rumbled.

Excuses’ don’t excuse!
There it got scarier. The principal kept doing whatever he was doing, writing apparently. Occasionally he would look up, glare and start writing again. Minutes went by and soon we were perspiring!

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‘AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS’… BUT IS IT?

(July 19, 2022) Robert McQuillan challenges…

Psychologist Dr Andre Tessier, counselling a friend who is wondering about himself, who he really is, his future, answers honestly… ‘I’m only a doctor. I can’t tell something I don’t know… but let me show you something. See those books over there?’

Tapping several books in the packed bookshelves, he names Carl Jung and other well-known thinkers commenting, ‘Hundreds of books! Sum total of man’s knowledge of his fellowman. Yet in a moment like this, they fail. That’s why when I’m faced with such a moment, I always turn to this book, older than all the others by thousands of years.’  

Taking a black jacketed book, he searches through it. ‘Ah, here we are,’ he smiles, ‘Proverbs, twenty-third chapter, seventh verse,  “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”’

Leaving it with the troubled man to consider the reality of Solomon’s words, Dr Tessier encourages him tobelieve deeply in his heart, his soul, emphasising… ‘And that’s all that matters.’

Believing in one’s very soul
‘Heart’ is an interesting word found throughout that ‘ancient book’, speaking of various hearts troubled by  grief, deceit, discouragement, hatred, hardening (that’s the short list!).

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PENTECOST’S FIVE ‘C’S

(June 3, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge to both Christian leaders… and so-called ‘ordinary’ Christians.

Shavuot or Pentecost, the Hebrew celebration of the Festival of the Weeks, is here. As mentioned in Christian Pentecost-the Feast That Never Ended  it was initially a special time of remembrance and celebration for Israel.

We Christians celebrate (or should) our Pentecost this Sunday! Our celebration is the good news that God’s love continued beyond that extraordinary Passover event we call Easter.

Our thoughtful God had a further free gift to giveto all who believe in His Son Jesus – the outpouring of His Holy Spirit! That powerful Acts 2 infilling of God’s Spirit as promised by Jesus meant (and still means)…

  • Enablement praising God in that special prayer language called tongues.
  • Empowerment – serving Jesus in powerful ways and touch the world.
  • Enthusiasm – caring for/generously sharing with fellow Christians, ministries and missionaries needs (See Pentecost Sunday-Shavuot).
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CHRISTIAN PENTECOST – THE FEAST THAT NEVER ENDED

(June 1, 2022) Ed. Note: Honouring the late George Forbes, highly respected former missionary statesman, we rerun one of his special messages on Pentecost …

This weekend many churches and indeed countless Christians around the world will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday!

The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks) was observed by Israel over many centuries. It was an important time each year to celebrate the beginning of the early weeks of harvest with thanksgiving to God. Also a time to celebrate God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt.

After His resurrection from the grave, Jesus had given His followers a command to not depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them: ‘John truly baptised with water; but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ (See Acts 1:4-5).

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PENTECOST SUNDAY… SHAVUOT

(May 29, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan responds to a young man enquiring about Pentecost Sunday…

Dear Dr Robert

You’ve helped me before when I asked questions about the Holy Spirit and Pentecostal matters. I’ve heard that not all Pentecostal churches celebrate next Sunday as it was done years ago. What do you consider the most thing to remember about what is regarded as Pentecostal Sunday? Jonno.

Dear Jonno

Wish we were having a Bible study hour or so ! However as I share some truths, I’ll particularly direct your attention to something very important that even some Pentecostal churches omit to share.

But first, let me point out the two usually highlighted consequences of that first Pentecost Sunday when the Holy Spirit fell on the 120 Christians gathered in the upper room… as we read in Acts 2 –

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FIVE BURDENS YOU DON’T NEED TO CARRY

(May 15, 2022) Richard Winter reminds us that…

It’s often been said that it’s been a hard life and there have been many tough times. Well, l guess most of us can resonate with that… after all, who hasn’t lost a little sleep through worrying?

We’ve all carried burdens real and unreal… and, if we are honest, we have worried most about some things that never materialised. So here is the word of God that applies to our worries –

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you… and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ (Matthew 11:28–30).

A yoke is something Jesus would have made in a carpenter’s shop. It’s a wooden frame joining two animals (usually oxen) at the neck, enabling them to pull a plough or wagon together. The function of the yoke is to make the burden easier to carry.

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‘A MAN NAMED EZRA’

(May 07, 2022) Brian Bell challenges us to be a worthy servant like ‘a man named Ezra’ …

With these four almost inconspicuous words contained in chapter 7 of the book of Ezra, we are introduced to the character of Ezra.

The book of Ezra tells us about the return of Jewish exiles from Babylon, beginning with those who returned with Zerubbabel and at a later time with Ezra. Ezra and the other exiles who returned to Jerusalem with him, got there about 13 years before the return of Nehemiah and other exiles, described in the book of Nehemiah.

The primary action carried out by the returning exiles as described in Ezra, was the reconstruction of the temple led by Zerubbabel, Ezra’s role is what I would describe as leading ‘spiritual renewal’ or ‘revival’ while the focus of Nehemiah was the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls which is replete with spiritual applications.

I believe both Ezra and Nehemiah could be said to be men who were ‘directed’ by the Holy Spirit, while those words are not specifically used when speaking of them, I believe it is borne out in the scriptural descriptions given of them. In this meditation I will share only some thoughts about Ezra.

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τέταρτος μάγος – THE FOURTH MAGI

(November 26, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan, as with other contributors this month, again encourage blessing others…

As many know, we relax watching good movies, particularly film noir, and wholesome TV shows. Recently, although it’s only November, we kept finding great Christmas-centred YouTube ones highlighting the Christmastime season as one of generosity and giving.

Next month, of course, brings around that time of year when we celebrate the coming to earth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, born of the young virgin Mary, fulfilling Isaiah 9:6.

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Celebrating Christ’s incarnation
Sadly
, to many it’ll just be a holiday season but to those who know the gift of our gracious, loving God, we’ll celebrate it remembering we owe him so much for the miraculous incarnation of his Son who would willingly sacrifice himself on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty of our sins (John 3:16).

And, of course, we owe much to the Holy Spirit who, as Romans 8:11 declares, ensured that Jesus rose from the grave (‘With healing in his wings’ to quote from that Wesley/Whitefield hymn that became the carol Hark the Angels Sing), as well as birthing the church (Acts 2).

Looking ahead, most Christians will be making Christmastime special, getting together with family, enjoying fellowship and good food, gift-giving, relaxing and happiness-finding and making. But… unfortunately some will miss out next month because they’ve heard myths generated around what we call the Christmas story and been disillusioned!

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FINISHING WELL

(September 2, 2021) Brian Bell encourages finishing the race of life…

Exciting and yet in the current climate, challenging as the 2020 rescheduled Olympic Games in Japan may have proved, they may not have been your favourite ‘must watch’ event of 2021 to date.

In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul tells Timothy that ‘Bodily exercise is of some benefit, but godliness with contentment is of greater gain.’

While I believe the apostle’s words about bodily exercise were specifically directed to Timothy’s situation, as with all scripture we too may benefit from its general exhortation.

Paul’s words remind us about priority (a common theme in scripture) our aim as believers is for ‘God likeness’ in our attitudes and daily living but if we are able to take physical exercise, it is good to do so within our limitations.

Keep going
At the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City, Tanzania was represented in the marathon by John Stephen Akhwari. Part way through the race, Akhwari fell and was injured. He decided to get bandaged up and continue, which he did, finishing in last place over an hour behind the other runners.

 When interviewed later Akhwari was asked, ‘Why did you bother to get up and finish the race’ to which his reply was ‘My country didn’t send me to Mexico to start the race, they sent me to finish.’

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MORE ABOUT THE PROPHETIC WORD

(May 26, 2021) Robert McQuillan responds to a further question on prophecy…

Dear Dr Robert
You explained to me a while back what a word of prophecy is. Please tell me some more. Jono

Dear Jono

All right… seeing we’ve just passed Pentecost Sunday, the one day of the church year we should gladly celebrate as it recalls the coming of the power of the Holy Spirit, I feel to share the following, Jono.

It used to be common practice for pastors (especially Pentecostal ones!) to allow this precious Holy Spirit gift to operate in Sunday services… as well as other meetings. What would happen would be along these simple lines… At an appropriate moment that didn’t disrupt the flow of the service especially the preaching, say, after an exhorting chorus or hymn, or general prayers, someone (not necessary the pastor or other church leader) would in faith speak forth an encouraging, perhaps directive, word of prophecy from the Lord. (They were allowing the Holy Spirit to use their voice and would ‘just’ know when to stop speaking. They would be natural in it all, never saying anything foolish like ‘Thus saith the Lord-da…’).

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