Acts 2

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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GIVE ME PENTECOST AFRESH – I WANT, I NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT!

(May 22, 2021) Charles Schwab reflects on Pentecost and encourages believers to know a living personal empowering Holy Spirit experience today

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday! Pentecost is an experience for every Christian; not merely a denominational title…  and limited to a denomination!

Yes, let’s be strong on remembrance and annual celebration of Pentecost – the day the Holy Spirit was given to the first Christian believers (Acts 2) and widely considered as the birthday of the church.

Pentecost experience is for all believers
Let’s not miss this!

The Bible assures that God intends all who love Christ to be strong in their personal experience of what Pentecost was then… and can be today in their own lives. Our Lord wants all his followers today to experience Pentecost for themselves. And… not only a one-time experience but a marvellous ongoing empowerment of ‘Pentecost alive’ in them.

The Lord is still spiritually empowering the lives and ministries of all Christians who sincerely ask and keep asking! Personally, I believe – I know –  I need the Holy Spirit’s power to do what the Lord has called me to accomplish. So do you, dear reader.

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THE ‘OTHERS CAN BUT YOU CAN’T’ CHALLENGE!

(May 6, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect…

Sunday May 23 this year is regarded by many churches as Pentecost Sunday, especially Holy Spirit-filled ones, celebrating the outpouring of God’s Spirit on those humble first disciples.

Since that Acts 2 experience the church has grown – about 2.6 billion adherents globally in early 2020. Testimonies, Christian books, even secular encyclopedic history, record demonstrations of Holy Spirit assistance, miracles, emboldened men and women anointed by him to move in the Spirit and speak forth genuine prophecy, words of knowledge and wisdom, cast out demons… and more!

Praise God for churches that have been open to the Holy Spirit… and for individuals who have been bold in allowing the Spirt to use them to brighten darkened lives. But… sadly, many churches, many bold Christians have not been regarded or respected for their service (See Erica Grace’s heart-touching April article True Fruit – From Unsung Heroes).

The reality is that it isn’t always been easy to be bold for Jesus and allow the Spirit to take one down a different road to others… yet remaining humble and down-to-earth!  Indeed, for all of us, there is the constant challenge to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us under control so that we don’t get bigheaded and move beyond our station – unless of course it’s God directed, and he gets the glory in all that’s achieved for the kingdom.

The challenge
Such recollecting reminds us that some 40 years we came across the following challenge by the late Bill Britton, entitled Others May, You Cannot)… still fresh, challenging, and meaningful, especially if you’re sold out to the ministry call of Christ on your life.

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MOVING OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES IN 2021

(February 08, 2021) Maureen McQuillan shares …

Carol Round shares this month how important it is to drop hindering baggage in following the Lord’s leadings and moving ahead (See Recover-Your-Life-With-Jesus-Help).

Spot on, Carol!

Yielding to God
I believe that in this new year of 2021, God is wanting to move many of us out of our comfort zones – and I would encourage us not to hesitate.

Let’s be bold and allow the Lord to stretch us further and not be afraid of taking hold of opportunites ahead (whatever they may be!). You’ll be amazed at the results as well as the joy and satisfaction your ‘leap of faith’ will bring.

Now, I know, I know… we’re very human when it comes to change – we don’t generally like it! But life is all about change! Now we don’t change from fundamental biblical Christianity principles but we may need to change our attitude regarding yeilding to God’s directions!

Comfort zones and change
Comfort zones… Admit it: We all know what these are – and how we love feeling comfortably
safe and at ease because they require little effort. But, sadly, comfort zones don’t always yield results that God wants.

Change… now this requires determination, a turnaround in our thinking. Dictionaries tell us that change basically means to alter; it’s likewise in scripture!

So… if we’re going to move on, move ahead this year, change can mean altering our attitudes when we’re called on to move out of our comfort zone(s)! (more…)

PENTECOST ‘LOCKDOWN’ AND CHAPTER 29 WILDFIRE

(May 14, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Pentecost Sunday is only a couple of weeks away – the last Sunday, last day, of this month!

In Judaism, Pentecost – Shavuoth – was the harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the second day of Passover (Pesach) on the sixth and seventh days of Sivan, and commemorating the giving the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Today it’s a two-day holiday for Jews to renew acceptance of God’s gift, pledging everlasting loyalty to him, and God’s ‘re-giving’ the Torah.

Christian Pentecost Celebrations
It’s not known exactly when the first Christian Pentecost Sunday celebration occurred, but it was mentioned in the Epistula Apostolorum, an Eastern church work, 2nd century. As time went on Pentecost celebration became popular, in fact in Europe it was a more popular time for baptism than Easter.

In any case Pentecost Sunday for Bible-believing Christians, especially Pentecostals, became a festival celebration of Holy Spirit baptism, not water baptism!

On the seventh Sunday after Easter, it commemorates the initial outpouring, the descent of the Holy Ghost, on those faithful believers who had gathered together waiting as Jesus had instructed them – ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Now we can’t gather in church buildings to celebrate Pentecost this month due to lockdown but let’s take a fresh look at some things that happened in their ‘time of lockdown’ to those faithful followers who were committed to following the risen Saviour. (more…)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH!

(June 6, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares about ‘the dynamite’ of Pentecost

The Christian Pentecost is sometimes called the ‘Birthday of the Church.’  While some question the accuracy of that description, it nevertheless is a helpful reminder of a unique day in the life of the church.

Almost 2000 years ago a group of about 120 people (Acts 1:15) began a journey that was to impact the whole world. As that group of Jews who were followers of Jesus met to worship and celebrate the Jewish festival of Feast of Harvest (aka the Feast of Weeks), they were not expecting that what they were about to experience would change them, the church and ultimately the world!

The first Christian Pentecost was a hugely significant event. Luke recorded the event in this way: ‘Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’ (Acts 2:2-4).

That is what happened, but why did it happen?

Peter explained it this way, ‘Exalted to the right hand of God, he (Jesus) has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:33).

Pentecost was not just a random spiritual revival-type experience for those first Christians – it was a fulfilling of Christ’s promise in John 14:16-17. And it bonded those Christians together as a new community of faith.

The day of Pentecost is significant for many reason, such as:

1. Presence
In the midst of that group a mighty wind began to blow and flames of fire appeared.  In this startling and memorable way God demonstrated his presence with his people. They certainly would never forget those symbols of his powerful presence. (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).

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