Kid’s Humor (Part 2)

Children-laughing-together
I love kids. Especially their sense of humor.

No wonder Jesus loved them too. I love the story about Jesus and some children that is recorded in the Gospel of Mark (10:13-16) …

“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.’ Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.” [NLT]

Here are some of my favorite kids’ letters to the pastor.

  • “Dear Pastor, I’m sorry I can’t put more money in the offering, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my pocket money. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my pocket money?” Patty (10)
  • “Dear Pastor, How does God know the good people from the bad people? Do you tell him or does he read about it in the
    newspapers?” Marie (9)
  • “Pastor, I know God loves everybody but he never met my sister.” Arnold (8)
  • “Dear Pastor, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there.” Stephen (8)
  • “Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon on Sunday. Especially when it was finished.” Ralph (11)

Enjoy 🙂

Kid’s Humor (Part 1)

Laughing_kids
I hope you had an enjoyable Father’s day a few weeks back. It’s a happy day for many people as we take time to thank and honor our dads. But not for all. Maybe you always wanted to be a dad but it hasn’t happened OR you had an absent or abusive father OR maybe you didn’t even know your dad. That can be hard. May you know God’s comfort and strength.

My dad is 91 years of age now and he grew up in a Salvation Army boys home, never knowing his dad or mum. That was incredibly difficult for him but after he married my mum he tried to be the dad he never had to my sister and me.

When our kids were little, when father’s or mother’s day came around one of them was bound to say, “When’s kids day??” Of course, I told them that every day was kid’s day. I love children – their sense of wonder, their frequent laughter, and even their mischievousness.

I thought today I would post a few funnies from the kids of this world … enjoy!

Kid’s Doctrine – taken straight from Sunday Schools around the world:

  • “The first book of the Bible is the book of geniuses in which Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.”
  • “Noah’s wife’s name was Joan of Arc.”
  • “Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night.”
  • “Samson slayed the Philipines with the axe of the apostles.”
  • “Unleavened bread is bread that is made without ingredients.”
  • Moses went to the top of Mount Sianide to get the 10 commandments and the seventh one is, ‘Thou shalt not admit adultery’.”
  • “Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.”
  • “Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.”
  • “The people who followed Jesus were the 12 decibels.”
  • “The epistles were the wives of the apostles.”
  • “A Christian should only have one wife. That’s called monotony.”

[Source: Unknown]

NEW Book Release: “How to Avoid Burnout: Five Habits of Healthy Living”

How to Avoid Burnout (Front Cover) copyThis year I set a goal of writing three new books. Early in the year, I released Money Talks: Practical Principles for Becoming Financially Free which has already helped a lot of people.

I am excited to announce the recent release of How to Avoid Burnout: Five Habits of Healthy Living. Continue reading “NEW Book Release: “How to Avoid Burnout: Five Habits of Healthy Living””

Ancient Celtic Christianity

C
Have you ever heard of ‘Celtic Christianity’ or ‘Celtic spirituality’?

It refers to the form of Christian faith that existed among the Celtic-speaking people of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales during the Early Middle Ages. Although, we don’t know everything we’d like to know about these people, we can glean much from their writings and the historical narrative of their era.  Continue reading “Ancient Celtic Christianity”

NEW Book Release: “How to Avoid Burnout”

I am excited to announce the release of my latest book “How to Avoid Burnout – Five Habits of Healthy Living.”

Here is the description:

“In a world of rapid change, growing complexity and increasing pressure, stress and burnout are becoming far too common. In this practical book, Mark Conner shares five habits for healthy living, gleaned from his decades of experience as an organizational leader and Christian minister.” Continue reading “NEW Book Release: “How to Avoid Burnout””

Could You Live to 100 Years of Age? (Part 4)

100
Peter Drucker,
the father of modern management, once noted that we are the first generation to have two lives – a first half and a second half. Over a hundred years ago, many people lived to only 45-50 years of age. Now, as we have seen in this series of posts, many people are living well into their 70s and 80s … and some well beyond this (100+ and 110+).  Continue reading “Could You Live to 100 Years of Age? (Part 4)”

Beware: Impulse Buying!

Salesssss

I remember early on in our marriage shopping for a new BBQ. The store had a sale on so I bought not only a whiz bang BBQ but also a heap of extras to go with it. In the end, I had overspent and busted our budget plans. It took a few months to recover from that impulse buying spree. Nowadays, when Nicole and I are discussing a possible purchase we will often say to each other, “Let’s not do another BBQs galore!” Continue reading “Beware: Impulse Buying!”

To Russia With Love

As I teenager I loved to play RISK, a board game similar to Monopoly, but in RISK the goal is to conquer the world, not just own the houses in the neighbourhood. Each player is dealt a certain number of countries and armies to placer on them. Then through the roll of the dice they choose to attack neighbouring countries endeavouring to conquer them and expand their territory. The winner is the one who eventually conquers the world. We played it for hours, even creating multi-day games through treaties and all sorts of secret strategies. 

I also loved Geography while growing up and I have been privileged to travel to over 30 countries of our wide world in my fifty-six years on the planet so far.

In 2010, I visited Russia for the first time. I had an invitation to speak at a pastor's conference in Moscow which allowed me to then apply for an entry visa. The visa process was complex. Just ONE of the questions was, "What countries have you visited in the last 10 years (date of entry and departure)?" I needed extra paper for this one and it took hours to backtrack my overseas trips, as you can imagine. 

During my first visit to Russia, I found the people to be friendly, very hospitable and they have a terrific sense of humour. I have now been back to Russia four times, having visited St. Petersburg and more recently two trips to Siberia – to the cities of Novosibirsk and Achinsk. 

RiskWhen I visited Siberia for the first time, I suddenly remembered all of those remote Russia regions on the RISK board – places such as Ural, Yakutz, Irkutz and Kamchatka.  

Here are a few interesting facts about Russia:

  1. Russia is a huge country. In fact, it is SO big that there are 11 time zones! Think about that. 
  2. Moscow is amazing. So many people, so much history, such rich culture and so much traffic!
  3. St. Petersburg is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world and home to the State Hermitage Museum with over 3 million artefacts including the original of Rembrandt's Prodigal Son painting.
  4. In Siberia, it gets so cold in the winter (-52 Celsius!) that people leave their car engines running 24 hours a day so they don't freeze. 
  5. Russia is rich with history and both heroes and villians. If you love reading big books and want to grasp the full sweep of Russia's history, check out the 945 page historical novel by Edward Rutherford called Russka. It is an epic story, covering over 1800 years of Russian history traced through the generations of four families.
  6. Alexander Pushkin is Russia's most famous poet. He influenced many other writers such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Check out my wife's BLOG post on "From Russia with Love" for more about this creative poet.

R1

This old building pictured above (with a huge below ground basement) is in the remote city of Achinsk, Siberia. It was once a storage place for vegetables for the Russian military. When I was there a few weeks ago week it was packed with 3,000 enthusiastic Russian Christians worshipping Jesus. See below for a short video clip.

Hundreds of these people are former drug addicts, alcoholics and criminals whose lives have been literally transformed by their experience of Jesus. Grace is still amazing! It reaches out to every person, even to the remotest places on our planet.

R2

 

If you can ever visit Russia, please do so … with love.

The Mystery of our Emotions (Part 3)

Inside

Yesterday, we talked about sadness and I shared a very personal poem with you. Like journalling, poetry is another way to give expression to our emotions. I am very much an amateur but writing poetry has been worth the effort. It helps me to put my feelings into words, my thoughts on to paper, and to give a voice to my emotions. [Read more of my poems here]
 
In our modern society, men have often been known to bury their feelings and therefore to not be in touch with them. Sadly, these suppressed feelings can fester there and then burst out through the common emotion of anger or even violence. This is not healthy and does a lot of damage. 
 
Can I encourage you to give more attention to your feelings. Slow down a bit and look within. How DO you feel? What is going on inside of you? Don’t just skim through life at breakneck speed. Hurry is a great enemy of the soul and nothing of quality or depth can be done at high speed. 
 
Get in touch with your own feelings. Set aside some extended time to talk openly to a counsellor or a safe friend. Then seek to be more aware of the feelings of others. Practice empathy – which means to “feel with”. Slow down and really listen, not just to people’s words but to their feelings and emotions. Everyone has a story and it needs to be heard. Be a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a supportive friend. 
 
The world will be a better place. 
 
P.S. For extras credit, why not get some friends together and watch the animated film Inside Out, then discuss it together. Yes, the picture above is from the movie 🙂
 

The Mystery of our Emotions (Part 2)

Inside

Yesterday, we started talking about the mystery of our emotions. 
 
I am a fairly optimistic person and therefore I have a lot of positive emotions. My family have called me everything from 'Peter Pan' to ‘Tigger'. Yes, I do have a lot of enthusiastic energy … usually from the moment I wake up. 
 
In the first few decades of my life, I had little experience with some of the darker emotions of life such as sadness, grief, disappointment and depression. But as life has gone on, these have come into my world and added new colours to my life. 
 
Three years ago, Nicole and I were in the midst of what seemed like the perfect storm. We were experiencing a diverse array of negative emotions at the time – worry, fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, uncertainty and yes, sadness.
 
As we took off on a plane for our mid-year holidays I wrote a poem unpacking the sadness that I felt. 
 
It’s okay to feel sadness. Even Jesus wept. The Psalmist even believed that God stores our tears in a bottle.
 
Overwhelming sadness
Like a wave crashing hard
A dam of tears about to burst
I can barely hold it back
 
Is this it?
Paradise lost
Dreams faded
Hope run dry
 
Do I want out?
Back to simplicity
Is this what life's meant to be?
Return to innocence
 
Feeling alone
Fragmentation
Too many hills climbed
Can I take one more?
 
Uncharted territory
Unfathomable complexity
Perplexing riddle
Trying to be solved
 
Incredibly tired
Out of reserves
Running on empty
Emotionally rung out
 
Time for a break
Replenishing holiday
Away to the mountain
Drink deeply of the river
 
Fresh perspective
No hasty decisions
Do what's right
No reactionary emotionalism
 
Another storm to navigate
Think clearly
Stand still
Be courageous
 
Stay the course
 

The Mystery of our Emotions (Part 1)

Inside
Emotions. 
Feelings. 
Difficult things to understand … at least for me.  
 
I wouldn’t describe myself as an emotional person while growing up, although I would easily tear up while watching a movie that had anything to do with family. I am an Achiever type. Head down, suck it up, tough it out, get on with it, do what needs to be done … regardless of how you feel. There are many things we do in spite of our feelings not because we necessarily feel like doing them. 
 
As I have grown older, I have learnt to get more in touch with my feelings. Some counselling has helped. Counsellors have a way of drawing out what is deep inside, getting us to talk about our lives and the affect of circumstances that we have navigated through. 
 
Journalling has also helped me. One of the regular questions I ask myself is, “How do I feel?” It forces me to get in touch with the more subjective part of my psyche. By externalising my feelings, I can think about them and reflect on them, which helps me to gain greater understanding of myself.
 
During any given day, we will probably experience a range of emotions – joy, boredom, sadness, annoyance, anger, resentment, jealousy, doubt and disappointment, just to name a few. This is all part of what it means to be human. It’s normal to feel. 
 
Feelings are indicators of what is happening on the inside of us. Although they are not meant to control us, they are there to serve us by getting our attention about what is going on beneath the surface of our lives. Even negative emotions have a place. If a red light comes on somewhere on the dashboard of your car don’t smash it with a hammer and say, “I rebuke you, you negative thing!” No, the red light is your friend. It is getting your attention that something under the bonnet needs looking at. 
 
Not all emotions need fixing. Just let them be. Don’t judge them so quickly. Feel them fully and deeply. Often they simply pass on, like the weather, if we give them time. 
 
 
What are you feeling now? This too shall pass.