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November 2008
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January 2009

BLOG Update

Hi everyone ... My family and I will be taking some holidays during January. I have scheduled regular posts for the blog so there'll be lots of good content coming your way, at least every few days. This includes ten great questions to ask yourself as you start another year. Because I'll be taking some time off, I won't be able to answer comments on the blog so I have turned this function off just for this month. Take care and God bless you! Mark Conner P.S. Some blog trivia ... since starting the blog just over a year ago... Read more →

A Drummer Boy?

Some random Christmas musings from my mildly cynical wife, Nicole ... "This morning to my great horror I was humming that Drummer Boy carol ... This might have to do with the outstanding job that our creative arts team did with it at our recent Christmas production. As I was contemplating my fallen state of singing Christmas carols, I realised how weird some songs are ... A Drummer Boy ... In the middle east ... dressed in stripes and all???? Ok, let’s get past that hurdle ... to the fact that he is drumming down the streets of Bethlehem at... Read more →

What Would Jesus Say to Santa Claus?

Have you noticed that Santa Claus has gradually been taking centre stage at Christmas of late and that Jesus has been forced to take more of a back seat? Who is this Santa guy and where did he come from? Christmas is the most widely celebrated holiday in Western world. It was Pope Gregory that established December 25th a the supposed birth of Christ. "Christmas" literally means "mass of Christ". Christians after the time of Constantine converted a number of pagan festivals, adding Christian elements to them. To the December winter solace and various harvest festivities, they added a nativity... Read more →

Christmas Humour

A funny Christmas story ... Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favourite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle’s picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent. "The flight to Egypt," said Kyle. "I see … and that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus," Ms Terri said. "But who’s the fourth person?" "Oh, that’s Pontius – the Pilot!" Read more →

The Christmas Season

In a few days we will celebrate Christmas together. The early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Jesus and Jesus never asked them to. They focused on his death and resurrection, as well as his promised return. Christmas Day as it is celebrated today did not begin until the fourth century. Interestingly enough, Jesus was most likely born in October not December. Shepherds don't have their sheep out in the December snow in the northern hemisphere! Many of today’s Christmas traditions (including Santa Claus and Christmas trees) have nothing to do with the message of Christ as portrayed in... Read more →


All of us experience adversity in one form or another on a regular basis. We respond to adversity by thinking about it. Those thoughts rapidly form beliefs and these beliefs have consequences – in how we feel and what we do next. A simple example: Your best friend hasn’t returned your phone calls. In response you think ... “They don’t like me anymore; maybe I did something to offend them.” As a result you are fairly depressed all day and you don’t get much work done Or imagine the same event ... but this time in response you think ...... Read more →


We live in a world where the pursuit of happiness is most people’s highest endeavour. Everyone wants to feel good, to have positive emotions, and to avoid negative ones. Studies on the subject of happiness have found that: Most people have a set range of happiness that they will return to even after good or bad things happen to them. Most external circumstances don’t have a long-lasting impact on personal happiness – including matters such as money, marriage, health, or education. What makes the biggest difference in an individual’s level of happiness is a number of voluntary actions that they... Read more →


Problems – no one likes them but the truth is that everyone has them. I use to think that the aim in life was to have no problems at all ... but then I discovered that as soon as I solved one set of problems, some new ones would arrive on my doorstep. After a while I came to accept that problems are part of life. The crucial thing is not avoid them or to ignore them but to face them head on – with courage and wisdom. Often when problems arise we tend to immediately focus on why they... Read more →

Clarity in Uncertainty

Today we all live in fairly turbulent times. There is a lot of uncertainty and that can bring all sorts of fears and worries into our life if we aren’t careful. One of things you’ll discover in life is that you can’t always be certain but you can be clear. Uncertainty is a permanent part of our lives. It never goes away. We all have to at times make decisions with limited information. So our goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, it should be to ensure we develop the art of clarity. On a sports team, can you... Read more →

Border Control

I have been privileged to have traveled to a number of other nations now and every time I enter a country I have to go through customs or ‘border control’. Before they let you in, they want to know lots of things such as: who you are, why you are visiting, how long you are staying, and what you are bringing in with you. I have often thought what it would be like to have such good border control for our mind and our inner world. After all, our life is shaped by our thoughts. Every day we have all... Read more →

Apostles of Fear

I am currently reading a recently released book by Morag Zwartz entitled Apostles of Fear. It is a tragic story about a number of events that have taken place over the years in two related churches: Melbourne Christian Fellowship (formerly called "Immanuel") and Brisbane Christian Fellowship, under the leadership of Vic Hall. The injustices done to so many people over so many years needs bringing to the light and confronting appropriately. My dad, Kevin Conner, was involved in Immanuel (now Melbourne Christian Fellowship) in the very early years. Ray Jackson was the leader of the church at the time and... Read more →

7 Things To Do Before Christmas (Pt.7)

7. Plan Your Holiday. Hopefully, you're planning on taking some time off around Christmas and the New Year. Do something different and make it your best holiday yet. Shut down, turn off, and enjoy your God, your friends, and your family. I'm sure you have lots to do before Christmas, but hopefully these seven suggestions will be of benefit to you as you finish this year. All the best! Read more →

7 Things To Do Before Christmas (Pt.5)

5. Do Some Pastoral Care. If you are a leader of other people, take a few moments to reflect on the 'people flow' in your area. Here are a few questions to ask: Who are the interested people who need hope and a vision? Who are the new people who need a welcome and some clear direction? Who are the core people who need some encouragement and affirmation at this time? Who are the disgruntled people who you need to take some time to listen to and help work through some issues that are important to them? Who are the... Read more →

7 Things to Do Before Christmas (Pt.4)

4. Do Some Planning for 2009. Think about some of your main events or activities for next year. What's happening with - your life, your family, your friends, your work, and your church? Start doing some planning and organisation for the first quarter of the year. Create some personal life goals for 2009. What would you be excited to have accomplished by the end of the year? What are you passionate about? How about planning some holidays too! There's something energising about just planning some time off or away. Read more →

7 Things To Do Before Christmas (Pt.3)

3. Strengthen Your Team. All of us do life, work, and ministry with other people. We are all part of some sort of team, maybe even as a leader of a team. Spend some extra time with these important people before Christmas. Encourage them and express appreciation to them for who they are and how they have benefited your life. Remember, encouragement is like oxygen to the soul - we all need lots of it. Give them feedback on what they have done well. If you are a leader, coach people on your team a little by sharing some ways... Read more →

7 Things To Do Before Christmas (Pt.2)

2. Evaluate Your Own Personal Effectiveness. What are your priorities? Are you using your time to accomplish them? How is the balance of your life? Consider areas such as your spiritual life, your family and friendships, your energy level, as well as your social and recreation life. How is your joy? Your enthusiasm? Your love for people? Your vision? How much are you growing personally? What new things would you like to learn? What training could you consider for next year? Take some time to think about your life and plan any necessary changes or adjustments for the coming year. Read more →

7 Things To Do Before Christmas (Pt.1)

We are into December now and it's only a few weeks before Christmas. I'm sure you've got a lot to do this month and the last thing you think you probably need is another list! But I thought I'd share with you seven things that would be good to do before Christmas comes - which I shared with some of our church staff recently. 1. Evaluate Your Ministry or Career. Take some time to think about how the various areas of life that you are involved in are going. What's going well? What's not? Where are you heading? Think about... Read more →