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January 2012
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March 2012

Some Tips for Preachers

It's Tuesday and Sunday's coming. For those of us who preach or teach at church on a regular basis, that can be a bit daunting. But it's encouraging to know that every message or sermon begins with a blank page. We all have to start somewhere. Over the years, I have written a vareity of articles to encourage and assist those who communicate. You will find articles on everything from principles of effective communication, speaking without notes, and some recommended books to invest in. Click here to begin ... Communicating God's Word in such as way as to encourage and... Read more →

Mark Conner's BLOG update

By the time you read this, I will have started my 12 week sabbatical. During this time, I will be doing a bit of a technology detox - so no work email, Facebook, Twitter or BLOG activity. Yes, I'm expecting severe withdrawal pains! During this time my BLOG will have a variety of posts which I have written ahead of time that will post every few days. However, the Comments section will be closed, as I won't be checking my BLOG. There will be plenty of content to enjoy. Happy reading! Mark Conner Read more →

The Jesus Story

The Jesus Story Matthew’s begins his story about Jesus with a family tree that any first century Jew would have been pretty impressed with. It includes heroes such as Abraham and David, but also some surprise inclusions such as Boaz (son of Rahab the prostitute) and Solomon (born out of the adulterous relationship of David and Bathsheba), hinting at the unexpected ways God often works. Jesus (a popular boys name, similar to Joshua, which means “the Lord saves”) came to “save his people from their sins (Matt.1:21-23).” Jesus would rescue people not from slavery in Egypt (like Moses did) but... Read more →

Kingdom Stories

Kingdom Stories Jesus parables are among the best-known and most influential stories in the world. Even if people know nothing about Jesus, they either know about his stories or have encountered their impact in expressions like “prodigal” or “Good Samaritan.” The importance of the parables of Jesus cannot be over-estimated. Jesus was the master creator of story and nothing is so attractive and so compelling as a good story. Children (and adults) do not say, “Tell me some facts.” They want a story. Stories are inherently interesting. They entertain, involve, motivate and mirror our human existence. Jesus was not the... Read more →

2012 Global Atheist Convention

The 2012 Global Atheist Convention is back in Melbourne this year (April 13-15th). Some Christians become concerned and worked up about events such as this. Personally, I don't believe that people of faith have anything to fear about doubt or skepticism. No need to picket or boycott events. In fact, dialogue and discussion can be helpful in all areas of belief. Events such as this give us a terrific opportunity to talk about God and faith with those around about us. Let's pray and show the love of Christ. One of the main speakers is Richard Dawkins, one of the... Read more →

Understanding WD40

A friend passed this on to me. Interesting reading ... Before you read to the end, do you know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is? Who knew? I had a neighbour who bought a new car. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of his car (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do.... probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbour... Read more →

My Upcoming Sabbatical

This year is my 28th year on staff at CityLife Church and my 18th as Senior Minister. It's been quite a journey and I am thankful for all that God has done during this time and for the support of our congregation and leadership team. In discussion with the Elders and our senior staff, there was agreement that I would benefit from taking an extended sabbatical this year. A sabbatical isn't a holiday. It's a time of disengagement from the normal aspects and pressures of ministry life in order to spend time in replenishment, reflection and learning for the next... Read more →

Ministerial Sabbaticals (Pt.2)

In the foreword to Clergy Renewal, Roy M. Oswald lists the following six reasons for a church to encourage a pastor to take regular sabbaticals. 1. The very nature of being a pastor involves continual spiritual growth. Spiritual depth does not happen by accident; it takes hard, intentional work. Basically, it is a lifelong process involving big chunks of time set aside for reading, prayer, solitude and reflection ... A spiritual director can help a minister reflect on their own spiritual journey ... If ministers are to deliver deep and challenging sermons regularly, congregations will need to provide opportunities for... Read more →

Ministerial Sabbaticals (Pt.1)

Church work is not necessarily more difficult than other work, but it is hard. Staying fresh, alive and creative week after week, year after year, in the midst of the stress, emotion, study, as well as the people and leadership tasks that are required, can be quite a challenge. As a result, a minister's levels of passion, enthusiasm, excitement and vision for the future may not be where they would like them to be or where the church deserves them to be from someone in such an influential role. Sometimes a tiredness and fatigue settles in that normal holidays don't... Read more →