I hope you enjoyed John O'Donohoe's poem, For A New Beginning. It really resonated with me, mainly because of the changes and transitions that Nicole and I have navigated over these last few years. Back in October 2015, I was at Phillip Island with some pastors on a two-day retreat. Early one morning I went for a walk on the beach and down to an area where there is a heap of rock pools. I took the photo below on my iPhone. You can see in the foreground this beautiful rock pool which is a complete eco-system, teeming with life. For any fish or marine life in there, that is their entire world - and it is a BIG world... Read more →

My wife, Nicole, just returned from a week's Silent Retreat on the beautiful Bellarine Penisula in Victoria. The dogs (we have two - Oscar, the kindest labrador you've ever met, and Nikki, the naughtiest, yet smartest pugalier ever to enter the world) and I managed to survive while Nicole was away. In fact, we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed the time to work in the garden, watch some sport, hone my cooking skills, read a lot, and do a heap of office tasks and projects. While away, Nicole sent me this poem by Irish poet, author and priest John O'Donohue called "For a New Beginning". It really captures our personal journey at this stage in the story... Read more →

In my recent farewell address, I noted how differently you see life at age 55 compared to your early 20s and 30s. When you are young, you think you will live forever! But life and time do move quickly. The stages of life seem to progress with increasing speed: childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, midlife, mature adulthood and late adulthood and before you know it, the end of life is in sight. Yes, it's a sobering thought. As we move into another weekend, why not take some time aside, find a quiet place, and reflect on your own life. Where have you come from? Where are you now? Where are you going? What time is it for you? What is your... Read more →

Good morning, everyone. It's hard to believe it, but Christmas is over and the new year is well underway. I've just returned to work after 3 week's of holidays and I only have 6 more weeks before I finish up in my role as Senior Minister as CityLife Church. I turned 55 years of age back in October and for me, time seems to be moving faster as life goes on. I was reflecting on this one morning last week and put a few words together around the theme of 'time' - in my amateur form of poetry. Have a read. Slowly. Savour the words. Think about your life. Enjoy. Tick tock Hear the clock Always moving forward Relentless motion... Read more →

Today was my last official day of work for 2016. I spoke at all 5 of our church's Christmas carols presentations this weekend. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people there, especially so many visitors. It's now 2 months and 8 days till I finish up in my role as Senior Minister of our church. That's 70 days all up but once you take out holidays and some days off, I only have 31 days of actual work left. That's hard to believe! Especially after being employed for 32 years at the same place. Early this morning, I was thinking about and reflecting on the idea of a 'finish line' and wrote... Read more →

Sometimes in life we experience 'more of the same' as we deal with the familiarity of routine. At other times, there is the adventure of new things and of entering uncharted waters. That's my life right now. I am in the process of transitioning out of a staff role at CityLife Church where I have served in various roles for almost 32 years, and for 22 years as the Senior Minister. I'll take 6 months off when I finish at the end of February 2017 then see what new opportunities may present themselves. I am also living between our new home in the Sunshine Coast and my continuing ministry work in Melbourne. Talk about liminal spaces. It's a bit like... Read more →

Mountain top and valley Sunshine and rain Calm and storm Ease and pain Joy and sorrow Hope and disappointment Laughter and tears Known and unknown Darkness and light Night and day Summer and winter Blue skies and fog Confidence and fear Faith and doubt Answers and questions Lost and found Enemies and friends Acceptance and rejection Approval and shame Sin and forgiveness War and peace Unity and conflict High and low Life and death Yet these three remain Faith, hope and love Father, Son and Spirit Eternal God Ever faithful and true. Read more →

At another crossroads So many options Destination competition Loud voices Multiplicity of signs Stay on the same course Or make a turn? Popular highway Or the road less travelled? Moving fast Trying to read the map Traffic congestion Important decisions Take a pit stop Pull out of the race Just for a moment Catch your bearings Where have you been? Where have you come from? Where are you now? Pin point your location Big picture Zoom out on the map Where are you headed? Check the compass What is true north? Where do you really want to be? Don't follow the crowd Wide and easy road Dare to be different Be true to yourself Hear the voice Heed His call... Read more →

My joy, my peace, my source, my life My rock, my anchor, my refuge, my strength My healer, my freedom, my restorer, my transformer My wisdom, my guide, my creator, my courage My hope, my future, my vision, my inspiration God Almighty Blessed Trinity Father, Son and Spirit Selah Pause and think about it Read more →

A new day. A fresh start A clear page Wonders waiting to be discovered. New dreams yet to be born. Visions still unseen. Insights unknown. Wisdom from God's world. Yesterday is gone. Only a memory now. Lessons learnt. Experience gained. Tomorrow's not yet here. A future unrealized. Always beyond our grasp. The distant horizon. Live in this moment. Right here right now. The present is what we have. Pregnant with possibility. HE is here. All you need. Nothing lacking. Fulness revealed. Conquer fear. Walk in faith. Love is here. Trust and wait. Wide awake. Seize the day. Drink it full. All the way. Nothing wasted. Nothing spared. Brave and strong. Free at last. Climb your mountain. Sing your song. Reach... Read more →

God's world. The power of the sea. Endless motion. Seasons come and go. The sands of time. Vast humanity. Creation care. Human achievements are but castles in the sand. Erosion. Shaped by relentless movement and motion. His love never fails. His faithfulness reaches beyond - from generation to generation. Mercy un-ending. The finite meets the infinite. Read more →

Questions, doubts, disappointments Like a wet blanket settling down Lower, deeper, darker Feels like your going to drown Can't cope, can't breathe Intense pressure mounting Will it ever ease? A burden, a weight, heaviness Dark clouds, stormy wind, rainy days Frazzled mind Numb heart Spirit down Weak will Is there a light? Is there a word? Is there a song? Will it be long? Dawn slowly conquers the night A new day born Words break silence Peace stills the storm He is here He is good Truth will prevail Faith will triumph Breathe IN Courage Hope Love Peace Joy [Mark Conner - 2nd July, 2014] Read more →

Seasons come and seasons go The sun rises then sets Day turns to night Summer to winter Time is always moving It never stops Ceaseless forward motion The cycle of life The past is gone The future’s not yet here The present is all we have Right here, right now Be at peace Let anxiety go Say goodbye to regret Worry’s a waste, you know Live in this moment Fully present Fully alive God is the great I AM Feel His love Never far away Wake up! This is your life Love and be loved Be a force for good Fight injustice Work for Kingdom come One day time will end History’s great convergence Into God’s heart For Eternity [Mark... Read more →

The journey is difficult at times Shadows fall Can’t quite see A little dark Sunshine is far away The path is narrow Seems confined Can’t go back But can’t see far ahead Take the ancient path Ways well trodden Pilgrim travellers Spirit led Going home That’s the call Keep on walking Not alone [Mark Conner - 5th January, 2015] [Picture taken on pathway near Point Lonsdale, Victoria] Read more →

"Christ is in me, and I in Christ. In Christ, my home, I belong - I see and am seen, I hear and am heard, I love and am loved - I belong. In Christ, my home, I am safe - there is nothing that separates me from Him. In Christ, my home, I have purpose - my purpose is to share the joy of home. I am in Christ and Christ is in me - in Christ I have the joy of home - for He is the home of joy." By Nicole Conner Read more →

In the shadows A cold chill Shivering spine Dark and dreary Feeling down Low mood Flat and lifeless Depressing thoughts Get up Take a step Just one Start to move Toward the light The warmth of God's love Feel the hope Live again Energy returns Clouds clear See again God is here [Mark Conner - 5th July 2014] Read more →

An open door Opportunity knocks Someone calling A mountain to climb Divine opportunity? Or nice distraction? Hard to tell Difficult to know Did it choose me? Or did I choose it? Is my heart leading? Or simply following the lead? Am I writing the script? Or just reading what’s already there? Am I in control? Or just fulfilling my role? Creator or creature? Director or actor? Leader or follower? Yes or no? Go deep Into the unknown Uncharted waters Dreamtime Follow the storyline See the narrative A new chapter Turn the page What do you see? [Mark Conner - 2nd April, 2014] Read more →

Day of rest Work now done Life is blessed Thank the Son Enough No need for more Just this moment Time to pause Stop Let go Finish Say 'No' Yesterday is gone Tomorrow hasn't come Today is life The Great I AM Serenity In the air Melody Everywhere Eternity Here and now Beauty Quite profound Can you hear? Can you see? Do you know? Come with me Sacred time Sacred space Still your mind Holy place Breathe Renew Calibrate Refuel Seven Rest Perfection Blessed Sabbath … [Mark Conner - 24th February, 2014] See also: Ministerial Sabbaticals Read more →

Quiet and still Peaceful A new day born Hopeful Birds singing Joyful Heart beating Grateful Before the rush Before the noise Cacophony of activity Whirlwind of productivity It's coming … Be still Wait No rush Meditate All you need All you desire Here right now Come up higher Holy place Sacred time Not alone Heavenly company Breathe out Fear and worry Breathe in Peace and joy Gentle brook Deep and wide Come and drink Life inside Stay awhile … Morning moments [Mark Conner - 24th February 2014] Read more →

Musing replaced by amusement Preoccupation over meditation Noise for quiet Activity for depth Elders replaced by celebrities Glitz over substance Acting for being Gossip for wisdom Better replaced by bigger Trendy over timeless Speed for well-being Quick fix for deep change Time for a great reversal Selfishness replaced by love Joy over sorrow Grace for guilt Peace for the storm Lies replaced by truth Justice over abuse Hope for despair Good news for bad Lethargy replaced by passion Purpose over aimlessness Courage for fear Faith for doubt God over all and in all Ready to swap? [Mark Conner - January 22nd, 2014] Read more →

God in human form Immanuel God with us Jesus calls Follow me Will we go? Spirit calls Gentle whisper Will we hear? Father waits We play with toys Will we turn? An invitation From heaven’s throne room Come and see Trinity Other invitations Distant preoccupations Distract and clutter Competition For my heart Tug of war Who wouldn’t go? What greater call? What better company? Just a quick visit Or a lengthy stay Or maybe another day An invitation Just for me Time to RSVP [Mark Conner - January 24th, 2014] Read more →

Struggle … caterpillar … earth bound Darkness … cocoon … transformation New birth … butterfly … flight New life … colour … beauty … Sudden death - one life for another All too soon. Is there more? [Mark Conner - January 23rd, 2014. Written after observing a willy wagtail eat a butterfly on a walking trail, leaving just it's beautiful wings. Note the ant already there] Read more →

Day started well ... a walk, silence, conversation, coffee. Serenity invaded by noise. Walking away now … … Slow down An invitation … to silence … Just to BE. Sit down … stay awhile No rush … no hurry Still Peace. Joy. Loved. Content. Enough. Look … listen … No agenda. Together, that's all. One. Timelessness … present … this moment Now. Here. Today. With the I AM. Wait … No outcome … just experience ... and presence. Jesus walked everywhere In conversation Listened and observed Taught people from that Simple. Profound. Fresh. New. Life [Mark Conner. January 23rd. 2014] Read more →

Prophets are poets Wordsmiths and craftsmen Musicians who muse Prophets are seers Artists and artisans Visionaries who venture Ears always open Listening to hear Waiting for words Attentive to sound Eyes always open Looking to see Watching for pictures Observant to images Bushes still burn God waits to see Most pass on by Few stop to look God's heart, God's mind Pathos and ethos then logos Words with power To change and transform Where are the prophets? Time to roar [Mark Conner - January 22nd, 2014] Next Poem - Silence and Solitude Read more →

Cars replace donkeys The pub over the synagogue Image over character Looks trump who you are Crowded yet lonely Advanced yet stunted Welcome to our world Yet people are still the same Hungry and thirsty For meaning and friendship God is still the same too Speaking through burning bushes When people take time to look Busy, busy, always in a hurry Faster than ever before Distraction, obsession, boredom Attention deficit disorder Quickly moving on to what's next Hardly noticing … no time Packed but empty lives More turns out to be less Slow is actually fast And less is really more Simplicity calls To love and be loved That's all … A very different world. [Mark Conner - January 22nd,... Read more →

Rhythm more than rhyme Feelings over form Words over whatever No thunder No lightning Just a whisper Listen then write Read then listen Inspired circle Express the heart Tease the mind Stir the spirit Articulate life Words have power Shape your world Never the same See the change Transformation [Mark Conner - January 23rd, 2014] Next Poem - A Very Different World Read more →