(May 30, 2023) Maureen McQuillan, by special request, shares her last article again, with a new intro…

On  Sunday past many churches, both Pentecostal and mainstream, celebrated Acts 2 Pentecost Sunday when the Holy Spirit fell with holy fire on those first believers and the church was born!

From that amazing day in Christian history, every born again Christian has been filled with the Holy Spirit and able to boldly reach out to the lost, and be a blessing to many. To move in the anointing, and to receive guidance from this blessed helper of Christians (John 14:16ESV). No wonder Jesus promised He’d be our Friend (John 14:16NIRV).

One thing we need to realise is that helping us sometimes can mean directing us, especially in building confidence in us to fully trust this great friend. And that sometimes He does this through secular experiences, even unusual ones, and by a simple whisper.



(May 22, 2023) Richard Winter enquires…

If asked the above genuine question, how would you answer?

Some of us might say: ‘Not too bad’ – with a fragment of truth in our answer. But the asker’s quick rejoinder probably might be ‘So you’re not too good, eh?’

And if they were to hear ‘I’m great, everything’s fantastic!’ they might doubt the veracity of that response.

An apt answer
In reality most of us are learning life lessons, so a more apt answer to the question ‘How are you?’ most probably would be: ‘I’m learning and growing.’

Now there’s nothing to be ashamed of about growing and learning – we all process life at different speeds, and with some different responses. Sometimes we learn quickly, at other times it is slow and possibly downright painful. It could look like three steps forwards and two steps back.

Being a Christian is not like going to a spiritual Disneyland –

  • You don’t get every prayer answered your way.
  • You don’t always get a miracle when you ask for it.
  • But you do get to pray for God’s will to be done!

Spiritual flaws
Life is not always easy and you can wonder does anyone else ever have it like me?



(February 01, 2023) Richard Winter begins a series on Mark’s gospel…

In you had children in the 1990s, you may remember they were glued to the TV when Power Rangers were on – that group of ordinary teens who when faced with evil changed into a super group to fight the foe.

They taught that –  

  • Everyone is a hero in his or her own way.
  • You can unleash your secret power!
  • Taking a step back is not a problem.
  • Focusing on the mission is vital!
  • Evil forces are out there trying to take over the earth.

The series captured the hearts of a generation and many who go to Comic Con today dress as a Power Ranger.

  • The story is rather universal.
  • Good versus evil and good wins.
  • There are losses.
  • But you stay together as a team and don’t give up.
  • When you face an enemy you power up, or as they would stay Morph Up.

It’s almost as if the Power Rangers’ theme and storyline was stolen from the Bible! What do I mean by that?

Evil needs to be fought!
The Bible is about universal sin and evil fighting against God! And His sons and daughters fight evil, and He has equipped us by giving His Holy Spirit and power, enabling us to ‘morph up’ and live life as ‘Power Ranger Christians.’



(November 29, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share …

It seems so obvious to many that we live in dark times, depressing days because again and again we hear of the latest sad news. And not just more about war between Russia and Ukraine, uncertainty about China and north Korea’s intentions, covid and other health threats, rising anti-Semitism, increasing crime… but now we learn more and more that kids – mere teenagers – are hitting the headlines as the cause of serious crimes,  and that youngsters are longing for help from someone from a Peer Chat type group.

Yes, some good news does come through that we’re glad to hear… huge drug bust, some new medicine breakthrough, our favourite footy team or other sports star winning. Or something that makes us smile like cute new born babies, or a happy well-presented TV show such as Better Homes and Gardens.

But… there is a darkness hanging around many individuals and it is so evident that many people need encouragement, even a meaningful thank you!

Even some in ministry will openly admit they’re troubled, that although they’ll readily confess God is still on the throne, something has happened that has ‘got to them.’ Some uncertainty, lack of assurance, disappointment, illness, something they can’t put their finger on… and they’re feeling low in spirit.

Everyoneneeds encouragement at times! Our blog is called Encouragement and we would encourage every Christian to be an encourager!

Proverbs 12:25NLT reads, ‘Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.’ 



Brian Bell 2016(November 16, 2016) Brian Bell asks some challenging questions …

In the Old Testament there are many men and women whose names are well known and from whose experiences we are able to draw lessons of life and faith. The names of Abraham, Joseph and Ruth are examples of persons whose lives have often been studied.

The same can be said of New Testament characters among whom are numbered Peter, Stephen and of course Paul.

In Paul’s letters we find him naming people he has met, some like the well-known Barnabas and Timothy but he includes less well known persons from who we can take encouragement and be challenged.

One such person is Epaphroditus. This little meditation is taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians 2: 25-27 (NLT). In verse 25 we learn of Epaphroditus’ characteristics. He was a …

True brother
This phrase speaks to me about relationship.

No doubt you will agree with me that the most important aspect of life, both family and in other areas is that of relationships.

Now we do not get to choose our family and even those relationships may not always be as smooth as we would wish!

However this short factual description used by Paul, the emphasis on the word ‘true’ enables us to ‘read between the lines’ and arrive at the conclusion that in Epaphroditus Paul found a person of significant character. How many people have known me and would they describe me as true or how many people have you known and could you describe them in this way?

Faithful worker
This phrase with the emphasis on the word ‘faithful’ speaks to me about reliability.

A believer may be well educated, even talented. However a believer who is reliable need not have any specific educational attainment or talent to speak of but they will be worth knowing if work needs to be done because they can be counted upon to see it through.

When I examine my life, I would have to admit there have been times when I realise I may have been a disappointment to others – not because I set out to be so – perhaps because of lack of thought, commitment or immaturity I was not as faithful as I should have been.

Clearly this was not Paul’s experience of Epaphroditus. This challenges me to strive for a more consistent application of faithfulness in every area of life and faith.

Courageous soldier
This phrase emphasises the word ‘courageous’ and speaks to me about resilience.

You may have heard it said, courage is not the absence of fear it is going ahead despite it. In the context of these believers in the first century world dominated by the Roman Empire which even deified its emperors, there is no doubt they needed to be courageous – not easily thrown off track.

Those of us who live today in the relative peace and security of well-established nations may find we need resilience more to resist apathy and ease than direct persecution which some of our brothers and sisters in parts of the world still face. Can I say I’m a soldier of the cross and a courageous one?

Helpful associate
This phrase speaks to me about resourcefulness.

The context of Paul’s words here tell us this is about much more than giving Sunday offering (a practice recognised by committed Christians and is a practical way to meet a specific church life need).

The emphasis in this phrase has to do with discerning general needs and, while there may be times it does involve a financial element, I believe it goes deeper and I wonder how I match up when it comes to discerning and helping with the needs of others.

This applies not simply to the disadvantaged or destitute whose needs may be more obvious to us, it includes the lonely, the fearful, the sick, the weak, the broken-hearted hurting people who may even be found in our church fellowships as well as outside the church.

Can I say I am like Epaphroditus and am I making any progress in discerning and meeting needs?

Challenge to all Christians!
You’ll notice that I’ve been challenging myself.

But there are challenges here to all of us, that when acted on others will be able to call us true brothers and sisters in the Lord, encouragers like Epaphroditus.

If like me, you find reading Paul’s commendation of Epaphroditus makes you realise you’ve got a way to go and you need to keep working at it rather than giving up, then I believe we are on the right track.

Incidentally, Epaphroditus means ‘devoted to.’ Whatever our known name means, may we be devoted to the same characteristics he was. May God the Holy Spirit help us become all we can be in him and through him.

Brian Bell attends Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland and describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’ Brian is also a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. Link: