John 3:16

WALKING THE TALK

(August 8, 2021) Carol Round challenges us to ask God’s will for our lives…

Our pastor often asks the congregation the following question: ‘Do you know who you are and to whom you belong?’

In other words, do we belong to the world, or do we belong to Jesus Christ?

Belonging to the world means we’re not following the example of our Saviour and Lord. If we claim to be a Christian, yet let ourselves be swayed by the world’s values, we can’t walk the talk. While none of us is perfect, it requires us to walk in love to follow Jesus’s example.

In 2020, contemporary Christian artist, Josh Wilson released a song called Revolutionary.  I love the lyrics. In part, he sings about our differences and that we don’t always agree on everything. He says that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. Maybe we need be brave, take a leap of faith, call a truce, and find a better way, he adds.

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THE GENERAL’S UNANSWERABLE QUESTION

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(April 01, 2021) Robert McQuillan recalls an Easter reflection…

As many know, Maureen and I often relax by watching old movies and TV series. Anyone remember that avant-garde classic cult British series from the 60s The Prisoner?

The late Patrick McGoohan, its creator, played an unnamed secret service agent who for no apparent reason resigns only to be taken captive to a mysterious coastal locale in Wales known as The Village. Here he is technologically interrogated as to his real motive for resigning – with what was then unheard-of equipment.

Consequently the question his inquisitors repeatedly ask is – Why? meaning ‘for what purpose; with what intention, reason, or motive.’

Unanswerable question
Number 6 as he’s referred to – turns the tables in one episode when his interrogators are using The General, an invincible machine regarding any question asked. He requests to type in a one-word question claiming it cannot be answered.

‘Impossible,’ he’s countered, told that there’s no question The General can’t understand, answer.

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But on his one word being inserted the machine abruptly goes haywire, smoke and sparks flying everywhere.

To the inquisitors’ amazement, it totally disintegrates exploding with a great erupting bang.

What was the question that Number 6 then states as being ‘Insoluble to man and machine’? The one unanswerable word – ‘Why?’

Different ‘General’
Some 40 years ago I knew a certain businessman – whose name I can’t disclose – but call the General. Taking me to lunch at a classy restaurant, he insisted on lavishly treating me.

But this was more than a business luncheon… it was his way of thanking me for having gladly stood alongside him for several hours in a private hospital while surgeons preformed a dangerous operation on his wife.

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THE JOHN 3:16 TWELVE GOLDMINE TREASURES

(April 01, 2021) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes, we run one of his Easter blogs, a reminder that the real message of Easter is a precious goldmine treasure:

Easter is an annual holiday celebrated by many millions around the world.

  • For devout followers of Christ it is a highlight of the year; a time to give thanks to God for his great gift of the Saviour. 
  • For many others it may be the one-day they attend or think about attending a church, because it seems the right thing to do. They hope it might help when the day of accounting comes.
  • For a vast number of people it has no meaning… so they simply treat this time as a holiday break from normal routines.

Easter’s great truth
Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, especially at Easter, though most also celebrate the great victory of Calvary every time they take communion.  Many Christians say that they regard Easter as the most important celebration of the year.

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THAT BLACK DOG

(March 22, 2021) Trevor Pugh shares his testimony…

Thank you, Connecting with You contributors Pastor Charles Schwab, Dr Jim McClure, Geraldine Brandt, and Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan for your articles this month (Links below*).

I appreciate you all sharing this journey, especially Pastor Charles’ very open candidness.

That constant companion
DepressionThe Black Dog – has been a constant companion, biting away at me since l was young – unloved, uncared for, and hurting so much inside.

It was while being ‘bitten yet again’ at age 40 that I thought I had the final solution to such ‘bites’… suicide!

That dark night l held a rifle under my chin and was pressing on the trigger, when l suddenly stopped and decided to go outside and call into the night sky.

‘Why?’ I wondered as I stood there outside, making a lot of noise and shouting inanely.

My shouting woke my wife, Jan, and she rushed out to see what was going on, who or what I was yelling at.  With her help I sensed God speaking to my heart and l quieted down. I ended up going back to bed, although secretly thinking, ‘Anyway, I can suicide tomorrow.’

But praise God in the morning, l felt different! I had called out to God and he had heard me! (more…)

WHAT ON EARTH DO WE NEED THE BIBLE FOR?

(January 13, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges Christians to value and uphold God’s word!

A pastor was announcing the coming marriage seminar to his congregation.

To encourage his people to come along, he said: ‘Don’t worry! The seminar won’t have anything to do with the Bible so it’s safe to bring your friends along. there will be no Bible bashing!’

How misguided can you be! Four important issues to note here…

1. The Bible teaches God’s word, not humanistic reasonings…
This young pastor erred in having such a Bible centre-less seminar in his church.

  • People can get humanistic teachings (that is, based on human reasoning) anywhere else.
  • But the function of the church is to teach God’s word, not humanistic teaching. (Well, isn’t it?)

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THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT

(December 6, 2020) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes we rerun one of his previously posted Christmas blogs, the incident of the ‘voice in the night’ phenomenon…

In contrast to stories of apparitions and spirits these ‘mysterious voice’ speaking to Muslims reports have been extremely specific, constant and detailed.

There have been literally thousands of reported dreams and visions of devout Muslims, including many Imams, Mullahs and Sheiks who have seen ‘Isa’ and heard him speak to them.

(Note: Isa an Arabic translation of Jesus, itself having a Hebrew origin).

Phenomenon converts many Muslims
This phenomenon has led to the conversion of large numbers of Muslims. They have become convinced of the gospel by the appearance of Jesus and by his words of life. I and many others are convinced these reports are genuine.

God loves every Muslim – as indeed he loves every man, woman and child on earth. His love for all humanity was focused on Calvary when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified as the sin-bearer and Saviour of the world (John 3:16).

The scriptures declare in Romans 5:6 that, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. The apostle Peter wrote that, ‘Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God ‘(1 Peter 3:18).

This gospel truth is transforming people right around the world, with a significant number of conversions occurring among former Muslims.

Mysterious encounters with Christ
Stories are being told of many such encounters, where the Lord Jesus Christ appears to individuals, even leaders in the Muslim world. These are days of amazing contrasts between light and darkness, hope and hopelessness. (more…)

STORMS OF LIFE? JESUS CARES!

(October 24, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind readers that Jesus truly cares…

Life is like a terrifying storm to several at this pandemic time – including some Christians!

And not just because of uncertainties regarding loss of income, delayed/postponed desperately needed operations, increased crime, unruly behaviour in our streets and beaches, lockdown, and such.

Many, including some church leaders, are concerned about the future… and seemingly unanswered prayers. We’ve had some share feelings of ‘I don’t know what I’m meant to be doing… now or in future days. Doesn’t Jesus care?’

Doesn’t Jesus care?
What an audacious, unwarranted question! Of course, he cares!

Remember the Mark 4 incident where Jesus directed his disciples to cross over the lake by boat to a different region?

Verse 37Message recounts that ‘A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it.’  Verse 38a appears to casually mention that in all this fury ‘Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!’  Then we read that the obviously frightened disciples ‘woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”’

See the bigger picture here… Jesus’ friends are accusing him of not caring! And with the storm raging around them, they would not have been gently whispering in his ear! No, this would have been a harsh, possibly screaming frantic, ‘Hey! Don’t you care?’ And no acknowledgement of his status as either Rabbi, Teacher or Friend! (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…)

JESUS –THE MISSIONARIES’ MESSAGE

(April 2, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, brings an Easter reminder that God so loved the world…

Admittedly the world is going through trying times such as never encountered before! But we Christians know that our God is real, loving and caring for those who know and love him. And… that Jesus is still the final and absolute answer to the greatest need off all – the way back to God and full salvation!

As I reflected this year on Easter as a special time on the Christian calendar, I thought immediately that the message of all true missionaries is Jesus.  He is the reason that we celebrate Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest evidence of the love of God for humanity that could ever be.

I first heard this message in a little Salvation Army meeting in July 1949. That was the day I knelt at the penitent form in that simple chapel and surrendered my life to God. That was the day I called on the name of Jesus and was saved.

That is now seventy years ago and the joy, the peace I found that day is richer and deeper than ever!

Powerful hope!

  • The celebration every Easter by followers of Jesus centres on him.
  • And why? God’s gift to the world was his only Son!
  • This is the good news that has been declared not only at Easter, but all year every year, for centuries.
  • This is the event that changed the world, bringing fallen, sinful humankind a hope that shines brighter every year!

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WE HAVE A REDEEMER, A PASSOVER LAMB OVER US!

(March 16, 2020) Hope Flinchbaugh shares encouragement in these days of virus panic…

Daily news from around the world regularly reports people panicking over the COVID-19 virus… the resultant sicknesses, deaths, sports events and shows being cancelled, businesses closing, insufficient stocks of various essential and other grocery items in stores… and more.

For Christians it’s a time not to be panicking but to recall we have protection as we trust in Jesus our redeemer and his power.  And as I do so afresh I’m reminded of something that happened back in 2002.

I had accompanied my father – Reverend Glenn Keenan – on one of his missionary trips, this time to China. In meetings arranged by my dad I would play the piano and sing.

One evening Dad drew this chalk picture for the Chinese people.

As Dad drew the picture I played and sang, then he spoke on its meaning. These are the Chinese characters (pictures really) for the word ‘redeemed.’ The characters mean ‘Lamb over me’ – the top is a lamb and the bottom character translates ‘me.’

Isn’t that beautiful? ‘The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, over me.’ Jesus is over every Christian!

Power in the blood of Christ
Just as we left China in October 2002, the SARS epidemic broke out – face masks everywhere, panic setting in. (more…)